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EJ
01-28-07, 11:09 PM
Last warning: 10 years to save world (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2569944,00.html)
January 28, 2007 (The Sunday Times)

Scientists say rising greenhouses gases will make climate change unstoppable in a decade

THE world has just 10 years to reverse surging greenhouse gas emissions or risk runaway climate change that could make many parts of the planet uninhabitable.

The stark warning comes from scientists who are working on the final draft of a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report, due to be published this week, will draw together the work of thousands of scientists from around the world who have been studying changes in the world’s climate and predicting how they might accelerate.

They conclude that unless mankind rapidly stabilises greenhouse gas emissions and starts reducing them, it will have little chance of keeping global warming within manageable limits.

AntiSpin: I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to seeing some serious science on this topic. Al Gore's comedy on the subject didn't do it for me.

Intuitively, it makes sense that if you raise global CO2 levels several times higher than in the past few thousands years and leave them there, you're going to break something, and if you get whacked out weather, you have positive correlation but you don't have causation. I hope this report is definitive on both the timing and the expected results. Be good to put this in either the list of items to discuss and plan for or dump into the doomer heap along with Y2K.
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Still roaring (http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8406955&top_story=1)
The Economist

China's economy grew by a dramatic 10.7% last year, but this year will be slightly quieter

ROSS PEROT, a populist American politician, predicted in the early 1990s that a trade pact with Mexico would create a ‘‘giant sucking sound’’ as jobs headed south. Instead, America experienced full employment. So giant-sucking-sound detectors turned to China. In time, China became the workshop of the world, although by then America had long hollowed out much of its manufacturing.

Now there really is a giant sucking sound—not one made by the flight of jobs, but by China ferociously hoovering up commodities and raw materials. Although it accounts for roughly 4% of global GDP (measured at market exchange rates), China consumes 30% of the world’s supply of minerals and other raw materials. This time around, the world has not only heard the sucking sound, but has also felt its effects, as the prices of commodities such as iron ore, copper and zinc have soared, doubling or tripling in just a couple of years.

If China does slow down, obviously the commodities sucker will slow down with it. Prices will fall. Jim Rogers (http://www.itulip.com/jamesrogers1.htm) told us that set backs like that are typical in commodity bull markets. No sweat. They'll be back.
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http://www.itulip.com/images/heisler.jpgStark picture from Rocky Mountain News (http://www.pulitzer.org/year/2006/feature-photography/works/heisler03.html)of a U.S. Marine's coffin being loaded into the baggage section of a passanger plane as the passengers look on. When's the last time you saw any evidence of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, other than on TV or the Internet? How do you experience the war economically? Higher taxes? More inflation? Nope. Just more government jobs and a housing bubble. This must be the most peculiarly "free" war any nation's citizens have ever experienced, at least for now. But eventually we're going to have to "grow our way" out of debt, as the optimists say.
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One-third of students in Texas don't graduate (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/4505682.html)
Associated PressOne out of three Texas students don't graduate, and more students drop out than finish high school in the state's largest cities, according to education experts.

Statewide, more than 2.5 million students have dropped out of Texas high schools in the last 20 years, and each graduating class loses about 120,000 students from freshman year to senior year, according to the San Antonio-based Intercultural Development Research Association.

The research group says more than half of students in Texas' largest cities drop out. The dropout rate among blacks, Hispanics and low-income students is about 60 percent, according to the Center for Education at Rice University.

The statewide dropout rate is about 33 percent — or 20 points higher than what the Texas Education Agency reports.

If we're counting on young people and immigrants to pay our social security, looks like we can scratch Texas off the list of likely major contributors. At least they can get jobs that don't require a high school education, such as running Ford and GM.
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Behind Ford's scary $12.7 billion loss (http://money.cnn.com/2007/01/26/news/companies/pluggedin_taylor_ford.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2007012611)
Alex Taylor III - FORTUNE MagazineThe Big Three are hemorrhaging money, and struggling to stay competitive with foreign rivals. Fortune's Alex Taylor crunches the numbers.

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- An enormous gap still separates the performance of Detroit automakers from their foreign competitors - and it isn't all their fault.

The stupefying $12.7 billion loss that Ford Motor Co. reported Thursday for 2006 comes one year after General Motors' equally horrendous $10.6 billion loss for 2005.

But for all the bad decisions these companies have made by not listening to their customers, they aren't entirely to blame. Structural inequities between the U.S. and Japan - notably in labor costs and currency - account for a big chunk of Detroit's problems.

The article is almost too painful to read. How, you might ask, did Toyota and other Japanese car companies manage to out-compete the U.S. while the U.S. was supposedly "booming" and Japan suffered through it's "lost decade" of "deflation"? I wonder what it was like being a politician in Japan during the years they shoveled manufacturing jobs to the U.S. Maybe we'll be lucky enough to get a lost decade, too.

Jim Nickerson
01-28-07, 11:56 PM
Thanks, EJ, nothing like bits of good news to wrap up a nice weekend.

Did you ever see the pictures of some Muslims somewhere marching while lashing their own backs with chains I believe it was. Is such self-flagellation presumably of value? I am beginning to think reading iTulip is a form of self-flagellation; however, so far I remain in the dark as to its value.:confused:

Tet
01-29-07, 12:33 AM
Last warning: 10 years to save world (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2569944,00.html)
January 28, 2007 (The Sunday Times)

AntiSpin: I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to seeing some serious science on this topic. Al Gore's comedy on the subject didn't do it for me.

For me, unless we have somehow found ourselves a lot closer to the sun, Al Gore's power point presentation is nothing other than a good scam.

Behind Ford's scary $12.7 billion loss (http://money.cnn.com/2007/01/26/news/companies/pluggedin_taylor_ford.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2007012611)
Alex Taylor III - FORTUNE MagazineThe Big Three are hemorrhaging money, and struggling to stay competitive with foreign rivals. Fortune's Alex Taylor crunches the numbers.[/quote]
If I were the Ford's preparing to take my company private again, I would certainly want to buy the shares back at $7 or $8 instead of $30.

EJ
01-29-07, 12:41 AM
Thanks, EJ, nothing like bits of good news to wrap up a nice weekend.

Did you ever see the pictures of some Muslims somewhere marching while lashing their own backs with chains I believe it was. Is such self-flagellation presumably of value? I am beginning to think reading iTulip is a form of self-flagellation; however, so far I remain in the dark as to its value.:confused:

Now, Jim. There is no shortage of feel-good pieces on the tulip. It's just that, compared to, say, Cramer, they look like bad news. But who prepared his readers better emotionally in 1999, me or Cramer? Also, some apparently bad news may be good news. I project a recession later this year. The Fed, for political reasons, treats a recession like the end of the world. For the administration in power, it usually is, politically. So the Fed has accepted the idiotic role of trying to prevent them, except when they don't (ask Bush I).

I have no confidence in the ability of politicians to engineer economies and markets. I am, however, optimistic that when they eventually fail and a recession happens, the markets and economy will fix not only the natural imbalances that build up during booms but the gross distortions created by central banks in the attempt to prevent them, as well. In this, I am perhaps more optimistic than your average contrarian. Of course, there is always the possibility that I am wrong and the system goes haywire again ala 1997/98 but this time we don't get it back. We shall see.

Here's a feel-good piece for you by our hero, Alan Greenspan. The picture is not part of the original text, but added for comedic effect:

http://www.itulip.com/images/derivatives.gifAt the Adam Smith Memorial Lecture, Kirkcaldy, Scotland (http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/Speeches/2005/20050206/default.htm)

Over the past two centuries, scholars have examined these issues extensively, but our knowledge of the source of inbred value preference remains importantly shaped by the debates that engaged the Enlightenment. The vast majority of economic decisions today fit those earlier presumptions of individuals acting more or less in their rational self-interest. Were it otherwise, economic variables would fluctuate more than we observe in markets at most times. Indeed, without the presumption of rational self-interest, the supply and demand curves of classical economics might not intersect, eliminating the possibility of market-determined prices. For example, one could hardly imagine that today's awesome array of international transactions would produce the relative economic stability that we experience daily if they were not led by some international version of Smith's invisible hand.

Spectator
01-29-07, 02:29 AM
Did you ever see the pictures of some Muslims somewhere marching while lashing their own backs with chains I believe it was. Is such self-flagellation presumably of value? I am beginning to think reading iTulip is a form of self-flagellation; however, so far I remain in the dark as to its value.:confused:

Yeah, you and the fat and happy masses. If you think serious analyses of what can go wrong is useless self-flagellation, you're in good company with our idiot president.

And your bias is showing. I grew up Catholic, and they sell self-flagellation better than any Muslim.

I don't know if there's any basis for global warming. But this partisan pre-judgement on both sides is sickening.

spunky
01-29-07, 07:45 AM
Thanks, EJ, nothing like bits of good news to wrap up a nice weekend.

Did you ever see the pictures of some Muslims somewhere marching while lashing their own backs with chains I believe it was. Is such self-flagellation presumably of value? I am beginning to think reading iTulip is a form of self-flagellation; however, so far I remain in the dark as to its value.:confused:

I simply drink more cheap vodka to cope.

akrowne
01-29-07, 09:47 AM
On gub'mint jobs:

http://br.endernet.org/~akrowne/econ/charts/government_labor_force-05.gif

Jim Nickerson
01-29-07, 11:31 AM
Did you ever see the pictures of some Muslims somewhere marching while lashing their own backs with chains I believe it was. Is such self-flagellation presumably of value? I am beginning to think reading iTulip is a form of self-flagellation; however, so far I remain in the dark as to its value.:confused:

In my opinion, self-flagellation is of no value especially at it might have to do with any religion. On the other hand, what I have been able to glean from participating on iTulip in the past nine month has been of real value with regard to making me more aware of how screwed-up things are economically. There is no pleasantness to me in many of the items posted and discussed here, but to the contrary there is to me much enlightenment that is mentally burdensome, and were I not 65 but 10, 20, 30 or 40 years younger it would be much more so. I made no plea to EJ or anyone to post only feel-good topics.

Why do I remain in the dark as to the value while seemingly gaining insight into the screwed-up world of economics? Simply, I have not positively profited very much from it, which is likely a reflection of my investment skill. On the other hand, the ballgame isn't over until my ashes are bottled. I love (might be too strong a verb) iTulip, but I really am not lifted psychologicially by the knowledge that I believe I have gained here. It is unpleasant, and answers for change are to my reckoning far in the future, thus my not being unhappy at all with being a senior citizen.


Yeah, you and the fat and happy masses. If you think serious analyses of what can go wrong is useless self-flagellation, you're in good company with our idiot president.

There is something to be said for the dictum, "ignorance is bliss," expecially in the US which for the seeming average Joe is all about possessing stuff now, and to hell with tomorrow or paying for the stuff. Whether it is valid or not, it has been said optimists live longer than pessiments, and I, as I recall jk characterizing himself, believe I am a pessimist by nature. Optimistically, being a pessimist with a shorter life-span might be a good thing that is unless you are really into being flagellated by self or otherwise.


And your bias is showing. I grew up Catholic, and they sell self-flagellation better than any Muslim.

Without real intent to instigate discussion on religion or to hurt anyone's feelings who is religious, I think most religions are the bastion of ignorance, but to each his own--that is part of a free society. Actually I have no bias against Islam. It was just the image of those dudes chaining themselves over "celebration" of something Islamic that popped into my mind. Nothing so graphic came to mind with regard to Catholicism.


I don't know if there's any basis for global warming. But this partisan pre-judgement on both sides is sickening.

If you took the time to watch the video on iTulips home page "Peak Oil, First Conversation 101," it points out mutiple values for application of intelligence when applied to energy utilization. If we, as the Earth's populace, had more intellectually and morally honest leaders Earth would, I believe, undoubtedly be a planet with prospects for a better future. If we were just wiser with how we expend our resources and capital we might not even be wondering about the truth of global warming.

jk
01-29-07, 12:22 PM
How, you might ask, did Toyota and other Japanese car companies manage to out-compete the U.S. while the U.S. was supposedly "booming" and Japan suffered through it's "lost decade" of "deflation"?

if i'm not mistaken, about $1500 of each car produced by gm and ford represents the cost of health care, a cost accounted for differently in societies which provide national health insurance. that's at least part of the problem.


If I were the Ford's preparing to take my company private again, I would certainly want to buy the shares back at $7 or $8 instead of $30.

about taking ford private: my impression is that neither gm nor ford has any value. they are owned by the retirees present and future, and the health insurance beneficiaries. essentially, those 2 companies are pension and health insurance companies, with inadequate reserves invested in car production and finance divisions.

let me recommend bill gross' column of may 06, http://www.pimco.com/LeftNav/Featured+Market+Commentary/IO/2006/IO+May+2006.htm

in which he discussed gm's problems as those of the u.s. as a whole, present and future, just writ smaller: uncompetitive products, uncompetitive labor costs and huge unfunded future liabilities.

c1ue
01-29-07, 12:40 PM
The vast majority of economic decisions today fit those earlier presumptions of individuals acting more or less in their rational self-interest.

Interesting that sociology in the present day continues to find examples where supposed rational self-interest does not actually occur.

1) Fairness more important than absolute gain

The previously mentioned monkeys throwing away cucumbers if only one member receives a grape

2) Loss avoidance more important than statistical gain

Social Rationality versus Rational Egoism (http://www.springerlink.com/index/g2707660124g7858.pdf), Lindenberg 2001

3) Brain seems to work differently for credit purchases vs. cash

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=F342BB4F-E7F2-99DF-357AE7622439F27F&sc=I100322

c1ue
01-29-07, 01:22 PM
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=6 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=alt2 style="BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset">Originally Posted by tet
If I were the Ford's preparing to take my company private again, I would certainly want to buy the shares back at $7 or $8 instead of $30.
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

There are easier ways to take over a company - for example scrap existing stock and recapitalize. This is a common VC tactic, but on the other hand I don't know if I've ever seen it on a GM/Ford scale. Then again, Sears.



about taking ford private: my impression is that neither gm nor ford has any value. they are owned by the retirees present and future, and the health insurance beneficiaries. essentially, those 2 companies are pension and health insurance companies, with inadequate reserves invested in car production and finance divisions.

The other option (vs. recapitalization) is to go the airline route: declare bankruptcy and use that to hack retirement and labor costs. United did it, again not on the GM/Ford scale.

The health insurance angle is more interesting: Japan has national health insurance and so you could argue that this reduces the cost to Toyota et. al.

The Japanese have furthermore invested significantly in automated production with robots.

However, I do wonder just how much difference there is in relative corporate expenditure on employees between Japan and the US.

Japan seems to have a strong push towards keeping employee compensation below the 7M/9Myen levels - where taxation becomes heavy - but instead compensates with off-book benefits such as subsidized housing, 'expense accounts', etc.

This applies all the way up the chain of command - it is one reason why Japan's executives have a relatively low multiple vs. lowest paid worker.

EJ
01-29-07, 02:25 PM
[/b]

For me, unless we have somehow found ourselves a lot closer to the sun, Al Gore's power point presentation is nothing other than a good scam.

Behind Ford's scary $12.7 billion loss (http://money.cnn.com/2007/01/26/news/companies/pluggedin_taylor_ford.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2007012611)
Alex Taylor III - FORTUNE MagazineThe Big Three are hemorrhaging money, and struggling to stay competitive with foreign rivals. Fortune's Alex Taylor crunches the numbers. If I were the Ford's preparing to take my company private again, I would certainly want to buy the shares back at $7 or $8 instead of $30.[/quote]

Not sure I follow this one. Are you saying the Ford's decided to run Ford into the ground so they could buy the company back cheap?

Ford's and GM's demise is, to me, more of a Big Bet (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php?t=608) issue. When I was at a conference in Atlanta a few years ago, I had dinner with a guy in middle management in Ford's financing department. He said, and I quote: "We don't make cars. We are a bank that lends money so that people can buy cars. We might as well be making soap."

So it should be no surprise that if you've organized your manufacturing business around making money in finance versus in making product, and later the financing money dries up and you don't know how to be competitive as a auto manufacturer anymore, that you're going to get your ass kicked.

Tet
01-29-07, 02:32 PM
about taking ford private: my impression is that neither gm nor ford has any value. they are owned by the retirees present and future, and the health insurance beneficiaries. essentially, those 2 companies are pension and health insurance companies, with inadequate reserves invested in car production and finance divisions.

I have a feeling that both Ford and GM have quite a large bundle of unrepatriated savings sitting in China, that would be my guess anyway. The Ford's would like to repatriate these savings for themselves and their buddies not the shareholders. That's what it looks like to me. I did pretty well buying GM about this time last year and sold it at the end of the summer. If GM's not making any money, their stock sure did.

Spectator
01-29-07, 05:49 PM
Sorry about my critical comments yesterday - they were not justified. It was a reaction to a broad frustration that people do not think independently anymore. Every issue is now split into right versus left, us versus them. We find it much easier to just pick our leaders and buy into their sugar-coated message.

Both right and left are each dangerously wrong on so many issues, and sometimes both wrong on the same issue. We're doomed if we do not have a strong middle that swings back and forth. I hope we soon see a return to a strong show-me swing block.

Jim Nickerson
01-29-07, 05:58 PM
Sorry about my critical comments yesterday - they were not justified. It was a reaction to a broad frustration that people do not think independently anymore. Every issue is now split into right versus left, us versus them. We find it much easier to just pick our leaders and buy into their sugar-coated message.

Both right and left are each dangerously wrong on so many issues, and sometimes both wrong on the same issue. We're doomed if we do not have a strong middle that swings back and forth. I hope we soon see a return to a strong show-me swing block.

Spectator, see your skin was pricked by the psychologically burdensome content of iTulip. You must, I believe, admit that to read all posted here is some form of self-flagellation. You would be happier if you knew nothing of what is discussed on this board, wouldn't you? I would.

qwerty
01-29-07, 06:20 PM
"In modern times, it has been speculated that the more extreme practices of mortification of the flesh may have been used to obtain altered states of consciousness for the goal of experiencing religious experiences or visions;"
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flagellant)

Keep giving us the strokes Eric.


By the way, your doubting of global warming is the best piece of news I've had today.

Those simulations they've been cranking out (probably for twenty odd years now) have all been predicting warming. They (scientists) are pretty good at simulating the weather, nuclear detonations, spread of epidemics - what do you have against the global warming ones?

Tet
01-29-07, 07:03 PM
If I were the Ford's preparing to take my company private again, I would certainly want to buy the shares back at $7 or $8 instead of $30.


When I was at a conference in Atlanta a few years ago, I had dinner with a guy in middle management in Ford's financing department. He said, and I quote: "We don't make cars. We are a bank that lends money so that people can buy cars. We might as well be making soap."
Obviously Ford doesn't let the finance guys go to China, Ford makes cars in China in very highly advanced, highly automated, state of the art factories there. Yes I'm saying the Ford family doesn't care about the stock price, why would they they haven't sold a share since the company went public. The Ford's make their money on the dividend and there is a huge pile of loot sitting in China right now that the Fords would like to pay out as a private dividend rather than a public dividend. Yes the Fords are painting the picture that the company is being run into the ground. Why wouldn't they, they can buy the whole thing back on the cheap.

jk
01-29-07, 08:11 PM
tet, ford and gm can't get rid of the pension and health liabilities unless they take the companies through bankruptcy, at which point it's the bond holders, not the stock holders, who'll own it.

ej, i'll second qwerty here:

They (scientists) are pretty good at simulating the weather, nuclear detonations, spread of epidemics - what do you have against the global warming ones?
you'll be able to sail north from boston and around to alaska soon, watching the polar bears drown.

Ann
01-29-07, 09:34 PM
Spectator, see your skin was pricked by the psychologically burdensome content of iTulip. You must, I believe, admit that to read all posted here is some form of self-flagellation. You would be happier if you knew nothing of what is discussed on this board, wouldn't you? I would.

See the happy idiot,
He doesn't give a damn.
I wish I were an idiot.
My God! Perhaps I am.

-Anon:rolleyes:

EJ
01-29-07, 09:58 PM
"In modern times, it has been speculated that the more extreme practices of mortification of the flesh may have been used to obtain altered states of consciousness for the goal of experiencing religious experiences or visions;"
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flagellant)

Keep giving us the strokes Eric.


By the way, your doubting of global warming is the best piece of news I've had today.

Those simulations they've been cranking out (probably for twenty odd years now) have all been predicting warming. They (scientists) are pretty good at simulating the weather, nuclear detonations, spread of epidemics - what do you have against the global warming ones?

I love this kind of thread. We got some folks here saying we'd have to get the earth closer to the sun to warm it up, which I know isn't true–the theory that more heat gets in an atmosphere when there's more CO2 in it is provable. Then we got others who say global warming models have the predictive value of weather models. Weather models are good for looking out about two weeks into the future. After that, they get pretty bad. Ten years? Really not good.

If you look at the 163 comments over on Reddit (http://reddit.com/info/11f0d/comments) you'll see the majority of this high tech centric group view global warming is more ideology than science. I'm pretty sure it's more science than ideology, but then as a lad in college I thought the Club of Rome "Limits to Growth" book was the last word on that topic. No matter how sympathetic I am with the issue emotionally–who isn't for not wrecking the environment?–I need to see clear, irrefutable causation before i defend the idea of global warming with conviction, and I don't see why that's so hard to come up with. Showing graphs of CO2 and noting that there's no snow in Maine or Finland in January and the ice caps are melting is not science. The ice caps have melted before and re-froze. It's been warm in Boston before, just not in the lifetime of anyone around today. When it was 70 degrees in Boston three weeks ago, everyone you ran into would say, "Wow. Global warming." Now it's friggin' 19 degrees out and the temp was 3 degrees the other day when I got up, but I don't hear anyone saying, "All clear. Global warming is over!"

The tobacco companies kept the anti-smoking groups at bay for decades with doubts. They were hammered with evidence. The story was broken by my friend Rob Stein at the Washington Post. The turning point, if you recall, was a whistle blower who revealed with hard evidence that the tobacco companies were in fact intentionally creating confusion. If the oil companies are creating the uncertainty that's causing policy paralysis on global warming, then where's the same level of evidence? Where are the whistle blowers?

Jim Nickerson
01-30-07, 02:08 AM
I love this kind of thread. We got some folks here saying we'd have to get the earth closer to the sun to warm it up, which I know isn't true–the theory that more heat gets in an atmosphere when there's more CO2 in it is provable. Then we got others who say global warming models have the predictive value of weather models. Weather models are good for looking out about two weeks into the future. After that, they get pretty bad. Ten years? Really not good.

If you look at the 163 comments over on Reddit (http://reddit.com/info/11f0d/comments) you'll see the majority of this high tech centric group view global warming is more ideology than science. I'm pretty sure it's more science than ideology, but then as a lad in college I thought the Club of Rome "Limits to Growth" book was the last word on that topic. No matter how sympathetic I am with the issue emotionally–who isn't for not wrecking the environment?–I need to see clear, irrefutable causation before i defend the idea of global warming with conviction, and I don't see why that's so hard to come up with. Showing graphs of CO2 and noting that there's no snow in Maine or Finland in January and the ice caps are melting is not science. The ice caps have melted before and re-froze. It's been warm in Boston before, just not in the lifetime of anyone around today. When it was 70 degrees in Boston three weeks ago, everyone you ran into would say, "Wow. Global warming." Now it's friggin' 19 degrees out and the temp was 3 degrees the other day when I got up, but I don't hear anyone saying, "All clear. Global warming is over!"

The tobacco companies kept the anti-smoking groups at bay for decades with doubts. They were hammered with evidence. The story was broken by my friend Rob Stein at the Washington Post. The turning point, if you recall, was a whistle blower who revealed with hard evidence that the tobacco companies were in fact intentionally creating confusion. If the oil companies are creating the uncertainty that's causing policy paralysis on global warming, then where's the same level of evidence? Where are the whistle blowers?

Eric,

I am tired and may be wrongly reading the essence of what you wrote, but it brings to mind something I periodically go through with my dear wife.

Over my lifetime, I have developed a sense of not wasting things. I arrived at this not so much from concern about the waste of the stuff as I came to be concerned about the consideration of the waste of my money--but they are actually the same thing. If I suggest to my wife to turn off a light in the room, the invariable reply is, "It doesn't cost that much." But the fact, as I see it, is actually not the cost of the waste, but the immorality--which may or may not be the best word--of wasting anything. What is the value of wasting anything?

If I ask my wife to justify the waste of electricity she has thus far failed to do so, and she has become more attentive to not wasting electricity. Whether or not the world's behavior has caused climatic change that is going to greatly negatively impact the Earth's population is to my thinking a secondary issue. I think I know enough about you to say that you are motivated to do things because of the self-satisfaction of doing them, if I am incorrect, then please correct me. Should we as a society not seriously strive not to waste anything simply for the satisfaction of not being wastrels? With all the crap we waste in this country, does it make you proud to be an American?

I'll reference the "Peak Oil, Conservation 101" video again (incidentally, I do not see links in the Video Public Discussion Forums that allow one later to view a video after it has been removed from the front page of iTulip. Shouldn't there be a link in the discussion thread?). It clearly pointed out a better way to utilize energy for heat and electricity while cutting down on the presumed damage to the atmosphere. What is wrong with conservation? Nothing that I can write. The example in that video suggested to me it is reasonable to build a better "mousetrap" for energy utilization, why not do it?

Whether peak oil is real or not, perhaps attempts at scientifically determining the answer might never occur before it may become an irrefutable fact one way or the other. We can speculate, and someone will be proven right in time. But in the mean while, where is the value in wasting resources of any type?

There was speculation about Y2K calamity, and you placed your bet and your thinking turned out correct, but I expect someone else's thinking was wrong. I know I turned on my computer that night to see if it would work, and when it did, the answer was proven.

With regard to there being definitive evidence that global warming is just around the corner in some report, I would bet the report doesn't resolve the issue in a manner that will effect a worldwide change in behaviours, though it might clarify your or anyone's thinking on the issue. Those that profit from things being as they are will deny the validity, and those who worry about coming generations will assert the report corroborates a doomsday scenario. Probably time wil prove the truth. Were the report to prove to you definitively that global warming is a hoax, does it then justify society's wasting resources?

I speculate that the best that can come out of the report is information that is so scary that it will force governments to change whatever their tunes to something seemingly oriented toward long-term preservation of life on the planet. Not many bad things in life seem to go away without something forcing a change. Have people stopped screwing without regard to preventing AIDS? It will only happen when populations are so devastated that it provokes serious attention to self-protection, unless that natural sequence of events is aborted by medical progress.

If science came up with a magic gas that negated the effects of increasing CO-two, would it justify society continuing to waste energy by its inefficent use?

To me personally, I don't care what the report shows. My mind is that we, all socieities, need to wisen up and stop poorly utilizing our resources based purely on how much profit is to be made one way or the other. How condemnatory of the so-called progress of science is it if we only utilize technology if someone can get rich doing so, and to hell with the fallout to society in general if science that advances quality of life is not profitable enough for Wall Street to promote?

Let's see. We could use energy in Combined Heat and Power production, but we, the TXU capitalists, will make more money if we continue to build 12-15 coal burning generation plants in Texas, which by the way will eventually suffocate all of the high school dropouts here, but unfortunately too those who got all the education they could afford to borrow.

qwerty
01-30-07, 02:10 AM
The tobacco companies kept the anti-smoking groups at bay for decades with doubts. They were hammered with evidence. The story was broken by my friend Rob Stein at the Washington Post. The turning point, if you recall, was a whistle blower who revealed with hard evidence that the tobacco companies were in fact intentionally creating confusion. If the oil companies are creating the uncertainty that's causing policy paralysis on global warming, then where's the same level of evidence? Where are the whistle blowers?

It's not a conspiracy here on the part of the oil companies suppressing hard evidence. It's not a puzzle it's more like a mystery (<a href="http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/070108fa_fact">just like Enron</a>) : All of the evidence is out there, it's just people disputing its meaning.

But anyway, hard evidence is not usually come across in many situations although we all believe in the explanations.

For examplle, say you deny a kid vitamins and watch them come in under normal growth rate for a few months. Does that prove that the lack of vitamins is stunting their growth? No! It could be something else, or it might just be random growth variations. Would we all believe that the lack of vitamins had stunted their growth? You bet! BECAUSE science has a predictive theory about how your body grows, and the role of vitamins in the body.

There would be another, statistical way of proving this, and that would be to run hundreds of kids without vitamins for quite a while until the statistical results were considered too significant to discount as random.

(Come to think of it, where's the evidence that the Moon causes the tides? Has anyone ever tested that claim? How come there's a high tide on both sides of the earth, even the one farthest away from the Moon. How do they explain that! Could be something else doing it. [N.B. That was satire] )

At the present, with global warming you have IMHO, those two kinds of support for CO2 triggering global warming. The one, predictive type is based on simulations using the known physical processes operating on the planet and some starting assumptions about how much of what stuff is where. The second type is statistical analysis of what's happened so far; Does what's been happening recently look particularly odd compared to what's happened in the long term?

Simulations can suffer from a number of things, not the least group-think in their design when it comes to making assumptions about starting conditions and some kinds of planetary processes. But, I read that when they run thousands of simulations with varying assumptions, the vast majority of them when modelling the rapid increase in CO2 levels of the kind observed, turn out producing global warming. This is what we should be taking a good, critical look at IMHO. Simulation, by the way, is very predictive and can be used to test theories about large or complex systems where it would not otherwise be possible to test (e.g. nuclear warhead detonations. new aircraft aerodynamics, etc). And we are not talking about modeling weather fronts and clouds out 50 years. The simulations are not at that level of detail in space or time, so it's a canard to think that accuracy is diminished with time as it evolves.

The second kind of support, statistical analysis, hasn't gotten through to me convincingly (yet). This might be because I tend to think there are a lot of poor statisticians around But we can't knock down statistical trends over several decades by appealing to the innumerate masses talking about last month's weather. (By the way, the simulations predict a rising temperature trend, but also greatly increased local volatilily. It's the VOLATILITY in the weather these past few years which should be intriguing people).

Anyway, there seem to be a couple of eye popping statistics banded about of the kind: CO2 has risen to a level seen only once before and that was such and such million years ago and it came with a high global temperature, and it took N hundred thousand years to reach that level whereas we have just seen the same level reached in 100 years. Stuff like that makes me stop and think.

I think there is a lot of poor scientists and bad PR guys for science labs, jumping on the bandwagon, but that kind of thing will happen and it's unfortunate because non-scientists, who are not competent to judge the merits of the competing stories, can point to this as doubt on the part of science about what's considered correct. If you get a bad car mechanic who trashes your gearbox instead of fixing it, that's not proof that no one really understands how cars work.

There is an ethos in science and its methods which bases the whole enterprise on objectivity and truth. I don't pay too much attention to those French post-modernists who say science is just all sociology. (Although it does exist and has even had a good run recently even in physics, the most nakedly objective science, with the take-over by String Theory)

I think that you need to listen to the big guys in science who seem to be coming over more and more to the greenhouse gas belief. It might be group-think but I'm afraid there's not going to be any "hard evidence" and maybe we are going to have to be convinced some other way. That's the problem.

[PS. I think it might be interesting to look at the historical record for the story of the ozone hole. I thnk it started with some physicists saying that all those freons from fridges and deodorant sprays would destroy the ozone layer, starting above the poles. Ha ha ha. Then the holes were found above the poles. Ho Ho Ho. Maybe they've always been there! Still controversy. Holes gets bigger. Few years until the big guys knock strongly enough on the pols desk, and then action is taken. Freons phased out. Holes dimishes (gone even?). Happy ending.]

jk
01-30-07, 09:52 AM
When it was 70 degrees in Boston three weeks ago, everyone you ran into would say, "Wow. Global warming." Now it's friggin' 19 degrees out and the temp was 3 degrees the other day when I got up, but I don't hear anyone saying, "All clear. Global warming is over!"
the information content of a piece of data is a function of its improbability. [the inverse of the log of its probability, if i'm not mistaken.] thus, as naive as the behavior you describe appears, there's actually some merit in it.

WDCRob
01-30-07, 01:23 PM
What would someone blow a whistle on, EJ?

Saying global warming isn't happening and actively hiring and funding compliant or minority-view scientists to tout what they believe (thus elevating a fringe position to one of near parity with the scientific consensus) isn't a crime.

The difference with tobacco is that the issue was much simpler to know with certitude -- nicotine is addictive. No serious scientist believed otherwise. But the tactics, sowing confusion about the science to protect profits, are the same.

Global warming is obviously much more complicated and until very recently there was a minority of legitimate scientists who seemed to have real doubts about global warming. The oil companies hired and funded those folks not out of a desire for good science, but to ensure they held off reform for as long as possible in the event that global warming was a fact.

Not sure if you're arguing they didn't do this, or that it's ok that they did, but either way I disagree.

Jim Nickerson
01-31-07, 01:11 AM
Thanks, EJ, nothing like bits of good news to wrap up a nice weekend.

Did you ever see the pictures of some Muslims somewhere marching while lashing their own backs with chains I believe it was. Is such self-flagellation presumably of value? I am beginning to think reading iTulip is a form of self-flagellation; however, so far I remain in the dark as to its value.:confused:

When I wrote this the other night, I was aiming at joking. I, for one, am not into all the crappy stuff that makes it into the news that might categorized as "feel good" about the economy. If bad things are happening economically, I hope either EJ and his staff will post them or that others will in new threads or work them into existing threads.

freedomofproperty
02-01-07, 09:08 AM
Eric (EJ) and everyone who is open to a more rigorous analysis of global warming, check out this interview (audio) with Dr. Richard Lindzen the climate expert from MIT.

http://www.punditreview.com/2006/08/14/the-global-warming-hysteria-mit-professor-sets-us-straight/

You'll be blown away by how calmly and a-politically the professor addresses the data and evidence. He even reveals how he was forcibly ejected from the Democratic party because of his honesty on the issue, and how that has not altered his scientific analysis.

Have patience (and try a different browser if the built-in audio application does not work). This is probably the most important data point you'll encounter in helping you make up your mind on the issue, Gore's video included.

WDCRob
02-01-07, 11:41 AM
Money talks...

"In November 2004, climate change skeptic Richard Lindzen was quoted saying he'd be willing to bet that the earth's climate will be cooler in 20 years than it is today. When British climate researcher James Annan contacted him, however, Lindzen would only agree to take the bet if Annan offered a 50-to-1 payout."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1552092,00.html

Also...I'd be interested in reading his presentation in a peer-reviewed science journal. Can you provide a link? Or a title so that I can look it up in Lexis-Nexis?

qwerty
02-01-07, 11:52 PM
Models 'key to climate forecasts'

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6320515.stm

jk
02-03-07, 10:22 AM
{post#18} you'll be able to sail north from boston and around to alaska soon, watching the polar bears drown.

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http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/02/02/world/03clim600.1.jpg