Saturday, September 13, 2008

Last Comments on Al Messina - (one last lesson)

(If you came to see the slide show or read about my father, it is in the next blog below.)

Now I want to share with all of you the last gift my father gave our family, in case you want to take steps to give the same to yours. 

A couple of years ago my father became member of the People’s Memorial Association (PMA)  a Washington State organization that let him choose, ahead of time and for an agreed price, the terms of his final services and burial (PMA and Barton web sites have links to similar organizations in other states).

Three times in my life I have had to make or assist family members making similar arrangements: it always was an awful experience punctuated by sales pressure on the survivors to increase their budget and complexity of the choices. Not knowing what the deceased wished, at a time of extreme stress, the pressure is irresistible and the experience miserable for the survivors. My father made those choices simply and clearly himself. 

When the time came my mother was relieved of that worry and from PMA’s statewide roster we picked Barton Family Funeral Service in Kirkland.  There we were so lucky to run into Molly Rampage a kind and caring woman truly committed to relieving my mother’s pain and delivering on the choices my father had already made.  In minutes we handled a painful step and with her help (at no benefit to her) we also arranged the memorial service at The Kirkland Women’s Clubhouse that many of you so kindly attended. Heed my father’s lesson and do the same for yours; they will think as kindly of you as we do now of him. 

A final note: many people assisted my father in his last days and hours and our family in the days that followed. Our family thank you from the bottom of our hearts and acknowledge:
Linda and Carolin, Oncology Nursing Staff at U of W Medical Center
Dr. James Dean,     RNs:   Oncology Nursing Staff at U of W Medical Center

Joie Goodwin and the serene Kirkland Women’s Clubhouse

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Father - Al Messina (1/1/1922-8/20/2008)

What can I say in 3 minutes of a man of whom I could easily write a book?

To many that knew him; my father was a renaissance man that also retained a great sense of humor. To many a teacher’s teacher.

To my mother he was the immovable rock on which she built a life that befits her stoic character. After he retired he made supporting her and her artist career the mission of his remaining years. His greatest wish was that he could outlast her by a day so to spare her today’s anguish.

To those that trusted him, he gave unflinching loyalty to the point of taking a bullet not by accident, but in a calculated gamble to pursue safety not for himself, but for the group. When I met his commander 55 years later, he could not stop telling me how I exist against all odds.

To me he was a father in the warm and loving sense we all have one, but as I grew into adulthood he became even more than a best friend. He became the only one on earth that understood my drive and sometimes quixotic goals; the one that shared my sense of being, in this new country, always a bit of a stranger in a strange land.

He backed me to the end on a hopeless business venture because he alone understood that honor demanded it and finances be damned. We both loved Shackleton’s story and understood that against the slimmest chance of success it is one’s duty never to give up.

He was my Chief Editor for all I wrote and tried to publish – Sorry for you he did not get to edit these thoughts for today.

He was my Software Testing Department whenever I needed a partner to test the countless programs that made my professional career possible – Let it now be known: that was my secret.

He was my Research Department – Every day on my way home from the office I could call and ask “Se ghe’, what’s new today” and I got the news summary, analysis of politics, global economics, capital markets, global warming, peak oil. I often wished our president had ½ that much insight available.

He was my library – I never left Bellevue without new books and often got them in the mail. English, Italian, French were all in he game; latin and greek he just quoted on occasion. Engineering, architecture, economics, computer systems, art history, painting, photography, movie making, writing, philosophy, physics, classical music, opera and jazz, his favorite. For him, the whole of this added up to the wonder of our reality and consciousness and character.

Who but me had his personal Mensa-scale Socratic philosopher to teach endless curiosity, logics, reasoning, dialectics, objectivism and the irony of life and yet always hunting for teaching accounts of human courage and survival in the service of a grander purpose.

I had it all and so grand it was. So grand is the void now that will never fill.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Al Messina (1/1/1922 - 8/20/2008)

Al was born 1-1-1922, moved from Italy to the USA in 1969 and retired in Bellevue in 1989. Wednesday August 20 he suddenly passed away with acute leukemia while surrounded by his family.
Family, friends and his airplane were his loves. He was a man with a wonderful mind, intelligent and inquisitive, generous and with a huge sense of humor; a polymath who lived to learn and understand and share his insights until his final moments.
A man who gave of himself beyond compare and lived to make a difference for all around him has now left friends and extended family around the world with a void that will be hard to fill.
His adored wife of 57 years, Pia, sons Marco (Darlene) and Andy (Valerie), grandchildren Alex, Sarah, Ali (Bill, Sadie, Mandy) and Ryan will try to go on without him.
A memorial service will be held Sunday August 24 at 2-5 pm at Kirkland Woman’s Club, 407 First Street, Kirkland 98083.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

National Michael Phelps Day

Since the start of the 2008 Olympics we've seen Phelps smiling, Phelps yelling, Phelps cheering, Phelps concentrated, Phelps sleeping, Phelps spitting, Phelps swimming, Phelps winning, Phelps awarded, Phelps whatever.

Congratulations Michael Phelps! It's a tremendous feat so far, and perhaps to become more so.

So here is a proposal: lets make a National Phelps Day - we all go swimming for a day and honor the hero. Along the way we may also give thought to what the networks seems to have forgotten:

1 We have dozens of other athletes competing, if not as successfully, at least with as much effort and determination. From that, we may remember that it's harder to continue to compete day in and day out when you are not at the top but while you struggle to get there, and don't make it, and try again.
2 There are hundreds of sports that once in four years we could admire and learn something about. Not football, not baseball, not basketball, not golf and even not tennis, but all those sports that promise no professional high paying careers to heir stars, those sports that participants pick just for the sake of competing, those that have no incentives to use drugs to win because winning unfairly would be no win at all.

Those are the sports that some of our children who did not make it into the high school popular sport team may have picked to learn about sportsmanship, about good manners in winning and losing, about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. The sports that are still just sports.

There are more than the gold-medal-count obsessed networks are letting us see. Buying a monopoly on broadcasting obviously is a ticket to do what you please, yet I wonder if along with the power there isn't a moral responsibility. In this case a responsibility to: sportsmanship, to the values of fair play, struggle, persistence, graciousness in winning, graciousness in defeat.

Every four years, for so brief a moment, one someone somewhere has the opportunity to decide for us all what we'll see and understand and remember of hundreds of sports and competitors, either with a broad mind or a narrow provincial view. We'll just have to wait another four years for another chance.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Measuring CO2 concentrations

In August 2006, Georg Beck, a biologist at Merian-Schule Freiburg, Germany, published a study that proved how CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is NOT caused by human industrial activities but it's a natural phenomenon that follows climate variations recurrent in the natural history of the planet. You can find the study's full text at It is written for the specialist, but there is a Summary at the end, which I transcribe here.180 years accurate CO2 air gas analysis by chemical methods (short version) Dipl. Biol. Ernst-Georg Beck, Merian-Schule Freiburg, 8/2006This is an unofficial extract of E-G Beck's comprehensive draft paper and is for discussion not citing .SummaryAccurate chemical CO2 gas analyses of air over 180 years show a different trend comparedto the literature of IPCC climate change actually published. From 1829 the concentration of carbon dioxide of air in the northern hemisphere fell down from a value of e.g. 400 ppm up to 1900 to less than 300 ppm rising till 1942 to more than 400 ppm. After that maximum it fell down to e.g. 350 ppm and rose again till today, 2006 to 380 ppm. Accurate measurements had been done amongst others by de Saussure 1826, ..........or Scholander 1946 with accuracy of +/-0,0006 Vol% to under +/-0,0003 Vol% =~3 ppm (Lundegardh 1926)...These pioneers of chemistry, biology, botany, medicine and physiology constituted the modern knowledge of metabolism, nutrition science, biochemistry and ecology. Modern climatology ignored their work till today even though it is the basis of all textbooks of the mentioned faculties and was honoured with several Nobel prizes. In total over 90 000 measurements within nearly every year since 180 year gave the following results:1. There is no constant exponential rising CO2-concentration since preindustrial times but a variing CO2-content of air following the climate. E.G. around 1940 there was a maximum of CO2 of at least 420 ppm, before 1875 there was also a maximum.2. Historical air analysis by chemical means do not prove a preindustrial CO2-concentration of 285 ppm (IPCC),as modern climatology postulates. In contrast the average in the 19th century in northern hemisphere is 321 ppm and in the 20th century 338 ppm.3. Todays CO2 value of. 380 ppm, which is considered as threatening has been known several times in the last 200 years, in the 20 th century around 1942 and before 1870 in the 19th century. The maximum CO2-concentration in the 20th century roses to over 420 pmm in 1942.4. Accurate measurements of CO2 air gas contents had been done from 1857 by chemical methods with a systematical error of maximal 3%. These results were ignored reconstructing the CO2 concentration of air in modern warm period.5. Callendar and Keeling were the most important founders of the modern greenhouse theory (IPCC) beside Arrhenius. Literature research confirmed that they ignored a big part of available technical papers and selected only a few values to get a validation of their hypothesis of fuel burning induced rise of CO2 in air. Furthermore these authors discussed and reproduced the few selected historic results by chemical methods in a faulty way and propagated an unfounded view of the quality of these methods, without having dealt with its chemical basis.6. To reconstruct the modern CO2 concentration of air icecores from Antarctica had been used. The presented reconstructions are obviously not accurate enough to show the several variations of carbon dioxide in northern hemisphere.

The scam of CO2 concentrations

Just a self serving play in 5 acts or a global tragedy?Try this for size:Act 1You just lost an election, you have no job outside of politics since that is all you or your daddy ever did, you got money to spend and people who believe you when you claim you invented the internet. Then you imagine a good strategy: find a cause and lead the parade; better yet, make it a real crusade. But how do you find a crusade?Act 2Go to Harvard and listen to some lectures on a subject you know nothing about, get excited, you find a crusade, select data that suits your arguments (and eventually admit the fraud in an interview - that's moxy), use your followers (the one who believed you invented the internet?) and those who like your name to fuel their own crusade - lead the charge.Act 3Some misguided souls follow your arguments ignoring some 3000 scientists that disagree. They buy your hocus pocus "science", you give it a clever name like "inconvenient truth" that smells of conspiracy and implies you are the only honest one to call a spade a spade. Create a crusade leveraging your notoriety on the United Nations, make a movie, become a guru, get a nobel prize (lower case is intentional).Act 4You get our crusade. The world may pay a high price for undertaking misguided efforts premised on untruth convenient just to you. Who cares, you are important, the leader, the guru, the nobel.Fantasy? No, you can do it too with the right resources and character. It has been done.Act 5 (and this is where I hope I can help)At first few, then more (3000+) scientists become incensed at the irrationaity of it all, they see the making of a modern day Inquisition (uncritical belief and fear - a state of fear), of a crusade usefull to some politico willing to "use" well intentioned environmentalists to reinvent themselves. This time it is far more dangerous than claiming to have invented the internet.Reports start circulating. Even young teenagers build web sites debunking the "convenient" hocus pocus (of course they are dismissed as young, ignorant and naive by the Grand Inquisitor). But, in fact there is still serious science out there and people willing to find it, willing to put it in terms we all can understand. Even the wizard admits in interviews having skewed the numbers to incite to action (somewhat like yelling "fire" in a theater?).I am not a scientist or subject matter expert, but I felt compelled to read about the sudden "crisis". In the process I easily found credible dissenting supported and peer-reviewed arguments.As a public service I am posting what seems to make common sense and ask for all to do so - submit a summaries of the argument that we all can quickly digest, and provide the full scientific reports and references linked or attached as back up. Come back and check out what we find, and bring what you find.Let's try to change the end to this play about a self serving monumental ego and fool before it becomes a tragedy of global proportions.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ignorance is inconvenient and no truth

The only thing more dangerous than fools for leaders is ignorant ready-to-believe followers. Understanding the issues before following the leader is the only way to avoid wars (as we have seen) and crusades that break that national bank and economy for no valid reason.Ask yourself what you think you know and why. Here are some thoughts inconvenient to the Church of Gore, but recognized bymore and more scientists. Read carefully, the stakes are high. What do you believe and why?
Global Warming and the Price of a Gallon of Gasby John Coleman
You may want to give credit where credit is due to Al Gore and his global warming campaign the next time you fill your car with gasoline, because there is a direct connection between Global Warming and four dollar a gallon gas. It is shocking, but true, to learn that the entire Global Warming frenzy is based on the environmentalist’s attack on fossil fuels, particularly gasoline. All this big time science, international meetings, thick research papers, dire threats for the future; all of it, comes down to their claim that the carbon dioxide in the exhaust from your car and in the smoke stacks from our power plants is destroying the climate of planet Earth. What an amazing fraud; what a scam.
The future of our civilization lies in the balance.
That’s the battle cry of the High Priest of Global Warming Al Gore and his fellow, agenda driven disciples as they predict a calamitous outcome from anthropogenic global warming. According to Mr. Gore the polar ice caps will collapse and melt and sea levels will rise 20 feet inundating the coastal cities making 100 million of us refugees. Vice President Gore tells us numerous Pacific islands will be totally submerged and uninhabitable. He tells us global warming will disrupt the circulation of the ocean waters, dramatically changing climates, throwing the world food supply into chaos. He tells us global warming will turn hurricanes into super storms, produce droughts, wipe out the polar bears and result in bleaching of coral reefs. He tells us tropical diseases will spread to mid latitudes and heat waves will kill tens of thousands. He preaches to us that we must change our lives and eliminate fossil fuels or face the dire consequences. The future of our civilization is in the balance.
With a preacher’s zeal, Mr. Gore sets out to strike terror into us and our children and make us feel we are all complicit in the potential demise of the planet.
Here is my rebuttal.
There is no significant man made global warming. There has not been any in the past, there is none now and there is no reason to fear any in the future. The climate of Earth is changing. It has always changed. But mankind’s activities have not overwhelmed or significantly modified the natural forces.
Through all history, Earth has shifted between two basic climate regimes: ice ages and what paleoclimatologists call “Interglacial periods”. For the past 10 thousand years the Earth has been in an interglacial period. That might well be called nature’s global warming because what happens during an interglacial period is the Earth warms up, the glaciers melt and life flourishes. Clearly from our point of view, an interglacial period is greatly preferred to the deadly rigors of an ice age. Mr. Gore and his crowd would have us believe that the activities of man have overwhelmed nature during this interglacial period and are producing an unprecedented, out of control warming.
Well, it is simply not happening. Worldwide there was a significant natural warming trend in the 1980’s and 1990’s as a Solar cycle peaked with lots of sunspots and solar flares. That ended in 1998 and now the Sun has gone quiet with fewer and fewer Sun spots, and the global temperatures have gone into decline. Earth has cooled for almost ten straight years. So, I ask Al Gore, where’s the global warming?
The cooling trend is so strong that recently the head of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had to acknowledge it. He speculated that nature has temporarily overwhelmed mankind’s warming and it may be ten years or so before the warming returns. Oh, really. We are supposed to be in a panic about man-made global warming and the whole thing takes a ten year break because of the lack of Sun spots. If this weren’t so serious, it would be laughable.
Now allow me to talk a little about the science behind the global warming frenzy. I have dug through thousands of pages of research papers, including the voluminous documents published by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I have worked my way through complicated math and complex theories. Here’s the bottom line: the entire global warming scientific case is based on the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the use of fossil fuels. They don’t have any other issue. Carbon Dioxide, that’s it.
Hello Al Gore; Hello UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Your science is flawed; your hypothesis is wrong; your data is manipulated. And, may I add, your scare tactics are deplorable. The Earth does not have a fever. Carbon dioxide does not cause significant global warming.
The focus on atmospheric carbon dioxide grew out a study by Roger Revelle who was an esteemed scientist at the Scripps Oceanographic Institute. He took his research with him when he moved to Harvard and allowed his students to help him process the data for his paper. One of those students was Al Gore. That is where Gore got caught up in this global warming frenzy. Revelle’s paper linked the increases in carbon dioxide, CO2, in the atmosphere with warming. It labeled CO2 as a greenhouse gas.
Charles Keeling, another researcher at the Scripps Oceanographic Institute, set up a system to make continuous CO2 measurements. His graph of these increases has now become known as the Keeling Curve. When Charles Keeling died in 2005, his son David, also at Scripps, took over the measurements. Here is what the Keeling curve shows: an increase in CO2 from 315 parts per million in 1958 to 385 parts per million today, an increase of 70 parts per million or about 20 percent.
All the computer models, all of the other findings, all of the other angles of study, all come back to and are based on CO2 as a significant greenhouse gas. It is not.
Here is the deal about CO2, carbon dioxide. It is a natural component of our atmosphere. It has been there since time began. It is absorbed and emitted by the oceans. It is used by every living plant to trigger photosynthesis. Nothing would be green without it. And we humans; we create it. Every time we breathe out, we emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is not a pollutant. It is not smog. It is a naturally occurring invisible gas.
Let me illustrate. I estimate that this square in front of my face contains 100,000 molecules of atmosphere. Of those 100,000 only 38 are CO2; 38 out of a hundred thousand. That makes it a trace component. Let me ask a key question: how can this tiny trace upset the entire balance of the climate of Earth? It can’t. That’s all there is to it; it can’t.
The UN IPCC has attracted billions of dollars for the research to try to make the case that CO2 is the culprit of run-away, man-made global warming. The scientists have come up with very complex creative theories and done elaborate calculations and run computer models they say prove those theories. They present us with a concept they call radiative forcing. The research organizations and scientists who are making a career out of this theory, keep cranking out the research papers. Then the IPCC puts on big conferences at exotic places, such as the recent conference in Bali. The scientists endorse each other’s papers, they are summarized and voted on, and viola, we are told global warming is going to kill us all unless we stop burning fossil fuels.
May I stop here for a few historical notes? First, the internal combustion engine and gasoline were awful polluters when they were first invented. And, both gasoline and automobile engines continued to leave a layer of smog behind right up through the 1960’s. Then science and engineering came to the environmental rescue. Better exhaust and ignition systems, catalytic converters, fuel injectors, better engineering throughout the engine and reformulated gasoline have all contributed to a huge reduction in the exhaust emissions from today’s cars. Their goal then was to only exhaust carbon dioxide and water vapor, two gases widely accepted as natural and totally harmless. Anyone old enough to remember the pall of smog that used to hang over all our cities knows how much improvement there has been. So the environmentalists, in their battle against fossil fuels and automobiles had a very good point forty years ago, but now they have to focus almost entirely on the once harmless carbon dioxide. And, that is the rub. Carbon dioxide is not an environmental problem; they just want you now to think it is.
Numerous independent research projects have been done about the greenhouse impact from increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide. These studies have proven to my total satisfaction that CO2 is not creating a major greenhouse effect and is not causing an increase in temperatures. By the way, before his death, Roger Revelle coauthored a paper cautioning that CO2 and its greenhouse effect did not warrant extreme countermeasures.
So now it has come down to an intense campaign, orchestrated by environmentalists claiming that the burning of fossil fuels dooms the planet to run-away global warming. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is a myth.
So how has the entire global warming frenzy with all its predictions of dire consequences, become so widely believed, accepted and regarded as a real threat to planet Earth? That is the most amazing part of the story.
To start with global warming has the backing of the United Nations, a major world force. Second, it has the backing of a former Vice President and very popular political figure. Third it has the endorsement of Hollywood, and that’s enough for millions. And, fourth, the environmentalists love global warming. It is their tool to combat fossil fuels. So with the environmentalists, the UN, Gore and Hollywood touting Global Warming and predictions of doom and gloom, the media has scrambled with excitement to climb aboard. After all the media loves a crisis. From YK2 to killer bees the media just loves to tell us our lives are threatened. And the media is biased toward liberal, so it’s pre-programmed to support Al Gore and UN. CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The LA Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press and here in San Diego The Union Tribune are all constantly promoting the global warming crisis.
So who is going to go against all of that power? Not the politicians. So now the President of the United States, just about every Governor, most Senators and most Congress people, both of the major current candidates for President, most other elected officials on all levels of government are all riding the Al Gore Global Warming express. That is one crowded bus.
I suspect you haven’t heard it because the mass media did not report it, but I am not alone on the no man-made warming side of this issue. On May 20th, a list of the names of over thirty-one thousand scientists who refute global warming was released. Thirty-one thousand of which 9,000 are Ph.ds. Think about that. Thirty-one thousand. That dwarfs the supposed 2,500 scientists on the UN panel. In the past year, five hundred of scientists have issued public statements challenging global warming. A few more join the chorus every week. There are about 100 defectors from the UN IPCC. There was an International Conference of Climate Change Skeptics in New York in March of this year. One hundred of us gave presentations. Attendance was limited to six hundred people. Every seat was taken. There are a half dozen excellent internet sites that debunk global warming. And, thank goodness for KUSI and Michael McKinnon, its owner. He allows me to post my comments on global warming on the website Following the publicity of my position form Fox News, Glen Beck on CNN, Rush Limbaugh and a host of other interviews, thousands of people come to the website and read my comments. I get hundreds of supportive emails from them. No I am not alone and the debate is not over.
In my remarks in New York I speculated that perhaps we should sue Al Gore for fraud because of his carbon credits trading scheme. That remark has caused a stir in the fringe media and on the internet. The concept is that if the media won’t give us a hearing and the other side will not debate us, perhaps we could use a Court of law to present our papers and our research and if the Judge is unbiased and understands science, we win. The media couldn’t ignore that. That idea has become the basis for legal research by notable attorneys and discussion among global warming debunkers, but it’s a long way from the Court room.
I am very serious about this issue. I think stamping out the global warming scam is vital to saving our wonderful way of life.
The battle against fossil fuels has controlled policy in this country for decades. It was the environmentalist’s prime force in blocking any drilling for oil in this country and the blocking the building of any new refineries, as well. So now the shortage they created has sent gasoline prices soaring. And, it has lead to the folly of ethanol, which is also partly behind the fuel price increases; that and our restricted oil policy. The ethanol folly is also creating a food crisis throughput the world – it is behind the food price rises for all the grains, for cereals, bread, everything that relies on corn or soy or wheat, including animals that are fed corn, most processed foods that use corn oil or soybean oil or corn syrup. Food shortages or high costs have led to food riots in some third world countries and made the cost of eating out or at home budget busting for many.
So now the global warming myth actually has lead to the chaos we are now enduring with energy and food prices. We pay for it every time we fill our gas tanks. Not only is it running up gasoline prices, it has changed government policy impacting our taxes, our utility bills and the entire focus of government funding. And, now the Congress is considering a cap and trade carbon credits policy. We the citizens will pay for that, too. It all ends up in our taxes and the price of goods and services.
So the Global warming frenzy is, indeed, threatening our civilization. Not because global warming is real; it is not. But because of the all the horrible side effects of the global warming scam.
I love this civilization. I want to do my part to protect it.
If Al Gore and his global warming scare dictates the future policy of our governments, the current economic downturn could indeed become a recession, drift into a depression and our modern civilization could fall into an abyss. And it would largely be a direct result of the global warming frenzy.My mission, in what is left of a long and exciting lifetime, is to stamp out this Global Warming silliness and let all of us get on with enjoying our lives and loving our planet, Earth.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hey Al Gore, anybody home?

While at Harvard did you hear about sunspots? They talked about them in my high school back in Italy in the 60's. Not clever enough for a Nobel perhaps, but at it was real science tested by centuries of observation. Check it out below.
When the world finally discovers the magnitude of your "inconvenient" contributions by way ov conveniently selective data analysis we'll really know you should have been president (you'd make a good match for Dubya). May be the committee will institute a Nobel for Inconvenient Cretinism so you can become a multiple prize winner.
With the debate focused on a warming Earth, the icy consequences of a cooler future have not been considered

By Lawrence SolomonYou probably haven’t heard much of Solar Cycle 24, the current cycle that our sun has entered, and I hope you don’t. If Solar Cycle 24 becomes a household term, your lifestyle could be taking a dramatic turn for the worse. That of your children and their children could fare worse still, say some scientists, because Solar Cycle 24 could mark a time of profound long-term change in the climate. As put by geophysicist Philip Chapman, a former NASA astronaut-scientist and former president of the National Space Society, “It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving into another little ice age.”
The sun, of late, is remarkably free of eruptions: It has lost its spots. By this point in the solar cycle, sunspots would ordinarily have been present in goodly numbers. Today’s spotlessness — what alarms Dr. Chapman and others — may be an anomaly of some kind, and the sun may soon revert to form. But if it doesn’t – and with each passing day, the speculation in the scientific community grows that it will not – we could be entering a new epoch that few would welcome.
Sunspots have been well documented throughout human history, starting in the fourth century BC, with written descriptions by Gan De, a Chinese astronomer. In 1128, an English monk, John of Worcester, was the first person known to have drawn sunspots, and after the telescope’s arrival in the early 1600s, observations and drawings became commonplace, including by such luminaries as Galileo Galilei. Then, to the astonishment of astronomers, they saw the sunspots diminish and die out altogether.
This was the case during the Little Ice Age, a period starting in the 15th or 16th century and lasting centuries, says NASA’s Goddard Space Centre, which links the absence of sunspots to the cold that then descended on Earth. During the coldest part of the Little Ice Age, a time known as the Maunder Minimum (named after English astronomer Edward Maunder), astronomers saw only about 50 sunspots over a 30-year period, less than one half of 1% of the sunspots that would normally have been expected. Other Minimums — times of low sunspot activity — also corresponded to times of unusual cold.
The consequences of the Little Ice Age, because they occurred in relatively recent times, have come down to us through literature and the arts as well as from historians and scientists, government and business records. When Shakespeare wrote of “lawn as white as driven snow,” he had first-hand experience – Europe was bitterly cold in his day, a sharp contrast to the very warm weather that preceded his birth. During the Little Ice Age, the River Thames froze over, the Dutch developed the ice skate and the great artists of the day learned to love a new genre: the winter landscape.
In what had been a warm Europe , adaptations were not all happy: Growing seasons in England and Continental Europe generally became short and unreliable, which led to shortages and famine. These hardships were nothing compared to the more northerly countries: Glaciers advanced rapidly in Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia and North America, making vast tracts of land uninhabitable. The Arctic pack ice extended so far south that several reports describe Eskimos landing their kayaks in Scotland. Finland’s population fell by one-third,Iceland’s by half, the Viking colonies in Greenland were abandoned altogether, as were many Inuit communities. The cold in North America spread so far south that, in the winter of 1780, New York Harbor froze, enabling people to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island.
In the same way that the Earth shivered when sunspots disappeared, the Earth warmed when sunspot activity became pronounced. The warm period about 1000 years ago known as the Medieval Warm Period — a time of bounty in which grapes grew in England andGreenland was colonized — also was a time of high sunspot activity, called the Medieval Maximum. Since 1900, Earth has experienced what astronomers call “the Modern Maximum” — the 20th century has again been a time of high sunspot activity.
But the 1900s are gone, along with the high temperatures that accompanied them. The last 10 years have seen no increase in temperatures — they reached a plateau and then remained there — and the last year saw a precipitous decline. How much lower and for how long the temperatures will fall, if at all, no one yet knows — the science is far from settled on what drives climate.
But many are watching the sun for answers, and for good reason. Several renowned scientists have been predicting for some time that the world could enter a period of cooling right around now, with consequences that could be dire. “The next little ice age would be much worse than the previous one and much more harmful than anything warming may do,” believes Dr. Chapman. “There are many more people now and we have become dependent on a few temperate agricultural areas, especially in the U.S. and Canada. Global warming would increase agricultural output, but global cooling will decrease it.”
We are now at the beginning of Solar Cycle 24, so named because it is the 24th consecutive cycle that astronomers have listed, starting with the first cycle that began in March, 1755, and ended in June, 1766. Each cycle lasts an average of approximately 11 years; each is marked by sunspots that first erupt in the mid latitudes of the sun, and then, over the course of the 11 years, erupt progressively toward the sun’s equator; each is marked by a change in the polarity of the sun’s hemispheres; each changes the temperature on Earth in ways that humans don’t fully understand, but cannot in all honesty deny.
Financial Post Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and author of The Deniers: The world-renowned scientists who stood up against global warming hysteria, political persecution, and fraud.
Photo: The spotless Sun, as it appeared yesterday at 12:48 p.m. The Sun’s spotlessness is giving rise to speculation of another Little Ice Age.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Crazed By Bad Science?

For many months now I have encountered debates and circumstances that, in my view, demand a concerted effort to: expose charlatan politicians, rediscover facts (scientific facts not convenient or inconvenient ones) and develop rational policies to deal with global warming. I am asking for your participation and collaboration.

Recent observations

  • More and more people are worried about global warming

  • More people are adamant that it 's all human caused

  • Virtually all seem to have come to believe that it is all reversible, if we just wanted to try seriously enough

  • Few appear willing to pay any price for remediation but most will sanctimoniously advocate action at someone else's expense

  • Energy conservation, at least in the US is at best a posturing with virtually no action

Many research papers widely available and unread by the masses show that a general and gross misunderstanding exists for the following reasons:

  • Global warming is UNQUESTIONABLE

  • Valid proof that it is primarily human-caused is scant at best or non existent

  • Much documentation demonstrates that the "human caused" conclusion was reached through data selected to prove a political view, not a scientific conclusion

  • Politicians in search of a crusade have hijacked the subject and the discussion leading the masses to convenient lies and conclusions to build their popularity and importance at the expense of logically grounded policy decisions. In some cases they have even publicly admitted doing so

  • The artistry of popular politicians rests in having framed a very complex subject in simple sound bites that followers could repeat like a mantra to create a state of increasing fear

  • Scientists holding dissenting opinions continue to present their view in technical and scientifically rigorous language that is unread by the masses and has little effect on political opinion and action

The cost of the convergence of the above includes:

  • The virtual impossibility of sensible debate as 1. Global warming as a fact, 2. Human responsibility for it and 3. the possibility of its reversibility are systematically confused so that anyone disagreeing with points 2 or 3 is immediately attacked and tar-feathered as if refusing item 1

  • Incorrectly framed or unfocused debate leads to: a. pursuing quixotic reversibility strategies of staggering cost, b. prevents consideration of policies of amelioration of an unavoidable event, c. dilutes a legitimate effort to change undesirable social habits to improve the stewardship of the planet

The purpose of this blog is to encourage the collection and presentation of scientific truths in as simple terms as "inconvenient truths" have been so that all participants in the discussion may weigh all facts, not just the "inconvenient" ones.

I propose a Wikipedia-like effort where contributors create posts that meet these criteria:

  1. Summarize the message of your post in 200-400 words

  2. Add supporting data and quotations using outside links to pages, PDFS, etc.

  3. Write in outline form with brief simple factual statements and paragraphs of few lines (write for non scientist, for non-engineers, write for 6th graders)

  4. Challenge yourself to communicate in simple terms and leave the subtle nuances and uncertainties in your links and quotations. They will demonstrate your understanding of the complexities and uncertainties involved, but you will create material that the average-Joe (6th grader) may read and may be moved to look at your references and become a rational participant in the debate.

This we MUST do or else we allow ignorant debate of inconvenient truths to lead to the disastrous consequences of ill conceived policies.

Our grand children will leave in a warmer world without doubt, we must incite better stewardship of the planet without a doubt, but we do not need to pay for quixotic crusades that will leave unattended the needs of those who will be impacted the most by global warming (example: if global warming will cause the Seychelles Islands to go under the ocean we need to spend resources to prepare to relocate and aid the poor inhabitants. If we spend the money in a quixotic crusade to reverse warming to find that it is not reversible by humans, we will have nothing left to cope with reality inconvenient as it will be). Let's push to put our money where it can make life better for people that need it not to enlarge the ego of self important and self appointed leaders.

Thank you for your participation.

Hello world!

It had to happen

well, ladies and gentlemen here it is: my first effort at blogging. I resisted it like the plague since the net seems to be awash with soap boxes upon which scarcely meditated opinions are broadcasted to the world.

I really thought it unlikely that I may suddenly be the exception to the rule, but in my job as director of technology programs at Maricopa Community Colleges Small Business Development Center (SBDC) I grew tired of admitting no hands-on experience with this medium.
Ergo, I constructed (very easily thanks to Google and this little soap box of mine and hereby step upon it to deliver over time my finer thoughts about entrepreneurship (I began lecturing on the subject at Seattle University in 1983), IT technology as a strategic tool for small and mid size businesses (I've consulted on ERP implementations since 1984) and venture financing (I've financed privately and publicly several start-ups and experienced all related pains several times since the late 70's- who said dinosaurs are all gone?) and knowledge management and navigation, my current field of interest and research.

I also promise to remember: your time is short, sharing it to me is a valued gift, my opinions are... well everyone has one, so I promise I'll KEEP IT SHORT
Seeking your comments in response to my priming the discussion is the reason for starting this. I look forward to your opinions, not for the sake of blog statistics, but for the sake of learning of them.

See you around. Thanks for visiting
and now I've got to figure out how to get this darn thing found :(