Daily Kos: Science Friday: Tis The Season

Daily Kos: Science Friday: Tis The Season: “Science Friday: Tis The Season
by DarkSyde
Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 03:41:48 AM PDT

In the aftermath of the devastating 2005 hurricane season, the following soundbite was repeated incessantly, packaged in various ways, on every network news station by head meteorologists with impressive four-letter acronym’s after their names:

There is consensus among NOAA hurricane researchers and forecasters that recent increases in hurricane activity are primarily the result of natural fluctuations in the tropical climate system known as the tropical multi-decadal signal.

It sounded credible, it came from experts, it was reassuring–it was also known to be highly suspect. The view put forward indicated a consensus that simply didn’t exist. To be fair, even some of the natural cycle people at NOAA were said to be uncomfortable with it. We’ve also since learned that at the same time this misinformation was being doled out to a nervous public, dissenting views were being censored at other institutions by a heavy handed White House, often enforced by hand-picked ‘minders.’ Even more disturbing, at the time carefully selected NOAA spokespeople were making the decadal cycle pronouncement on national news stations, research indicating that climate change was producing more intense storms was growing.

A new study by Professors Michael Mann (Realclimate) and Kerry Emanuel (MIT) adds even more weight to the idea that human-caused increases in sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are responsible for higher intensity hurricanes:
Human induced climate change, rather than naturally occurring ocean cycles, may be responsible for the recent increases in frequency and strength of North Atlantic hurricanes, according to Penn State and Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers. “

As I am working on this post, our local public television station is doing a debate on Global Warming. They have two PhD’s arguing that Global Warming is a fact, A rep from BP just saying “Hey, whether it is or isn’t we are lowering our carbon emissions.” And then, the only person arguing against Global Warming is a local Meteorologist, and that floors me…

I guess what it boils down to now is, do we trust what our government is telling us? Do we trust that if they are wrong they will be prepared for the consequences of being wrong?

As I look out my window tonight, there is still water standing from the last three days of rains. Now my part of America is flat…F L A T…water does not drain fast. My elevation is probably less than twenty feet above sea level, and according to the latest maps my home is just outside of the Cat 4 storm surge area. Were will that leave me if the sea level rises and the Gulf storms get stronger…hopefully, living on a mountain and not here. But I will have family and friends still living here. And that gives me reason for concern…



“How is it that the richest country with the most democratic ideals of any country in the history of the world has 45 million people with no health coverage and millions more with pathetic coverage? And how is it that We The People pay $1.2 trillion a year to a corporate health care complex (more than any other people pay) and rank only 37th in the world in the quality of health care we receive?”

“The Powers That Be just shrug their shoulders and say, well, sadly, America can’t afford a system of good quality coverage for all. Can’t afford it? George W says America can afford the $1.2 trillion in tax giveaways he’s bestowed on the wealthiest people in our land. He says America can afford the $300 billion in direct costs already shelled out for his war of lies in Iraq. He says America can afford the hundreds-of-billions of tax dollars being pocketed by drug companies and insurance giants through his boondoggle prescription drug program.”

Between healthcare, global warming, avian flu and God only knows what else is coming down the pike, shouldn’t we give some more back to that all important upper 2% so they can afford the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed…And yes it is class warfare, and we have been losing for a long time.

Estate Tax Lunacy

Estate Tax Lunacy: “A decades-long campaign by right-wing activists (brilliantly documented by Yale professors Michael Graetz and Ian Shapiro in their book ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts’) has convinced many Americans that the estate tax poses a threat to countless hardworking families. That was always nonsense, and under the estate tax revisions that almost all Democrats support — raising the threshold for eligibility to $3.5 million for an individual and $7 million for a couple — it becomes more nonsensical still. Under the $3.5 million exemption, the number of family-owned small businesses required to pay any taxes in the year 2000 would have been just 94, according to a study by the Congressional Budget Office. The number of family farms that would have had to sell any assets to pay that tax would have been 13.

On the other hand, an estate tax repeal would save the estate of Vice President Cheney between $13 million and $61 million, according to the publicly available data on his net worth. It would save the estate of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld between $32 million and $101 million. The estate of retired Exxon Mobil chairman Lee Raymond would pocket a cozy $164 million. As for the late Sam Walton’s kids, whose company already makes taxpayers foot the bill for the medical expenses of thousands of its employees, the cost to the government for not taxing their estates would run into the multiple billions.”

Don’t you just love seeing an example of great marketing at work?

I am caused to remember the quote from, of all people, Abraham Lincoln, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Which, in my Google search, led me to this quote attributed to the present holder of the office, “You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.” George W. Bush. And next Google led me to “Leon Panetta Commentaries”, who expanded the quote more fully to include the preceding sentence:

“In a now famous quote, President Abraham Lincoln was said to have commented to a visitor to the White House in 1865: “If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

Which pretty much brings us to where we now find ourselves in America…We have been “fooled”. Personally, I don’t like to use such ambiguous words. Folks, we have been lied to. Over and over and over again, starting in the ’90’s as George W Bush began his attack on America for the ruling class that put him in office. I have followed George W Bush and his road to the White House with some bit of disdain over the years. Listened to him lie about his accomplishments in the state 4 generations of my family have called home. Become frustrated with the American Press Corps as they refused to live up to their part of the bargain we the people struck over 200 years ago to protect their “freedoms”.

Now, when they are being attacked by the very administration their lack of integrity helped put and then keep in power, they scream first amendment. Where were they with their fact checkers in 1999 and 2003? What were they doing as the lies were passed of as opposing opinions? Whose rights were trampled when the current administration lied us into war with Iraq? What ever happened to the old equal access rules on TV (yes I know, they were inconvenient to those in power).

Then there’s the Congress…

Harold Meyerson - Estate Tax Lunacy - Google Chrome 5312015 20627 PM

A List Apart: Articles: 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web

I was cleaning up my bookmark list this morning and what usually happens when I try happened. I followed an old link that crashed. Then in trying to find a new clean link to the site I found a article that has more relevance to me now than when it was first published…

10 Tips on Writing the Living Web · An A List Apart Article - Google Chrome 5312015 20353 PM

A List Apart: Articles: 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web: “Snapshot :
Your information architecture is as smooth, clear, and inviting as a lake. Your design rocks. Your code works. But what keeps readers coming back is compelling writing that’s continually fresh and new. Updating daily content can challenge the most dedicated scribe or site owner. Mark Bernstein’s ten tips will help you keep the good words (and readers) coming.”

That was the Blurb on the home page of A List Apart that caught my attention. Which led to a really good article on not only why to write, but how.

In first reading I was struck by some of the points Mark Bernstein had to make. Since I am in the beginning stages of trying to define not only why I am writing but what I am being pulled to say. I was particularly impressed by:

“Write for a reason, and know why you write. Whether your daily updates concern your work life, your hobbies, or your innermost feelings, write passionately about things that matter.

To an artist, the smallest grace note and the tiniest flourish may be matters of great importance. Show us the details, teach us why they matter. People are fascinated by detail and enthralled by passion; explain to us why it matters to you, and no detail is too small, no technical question too arcane.

Bad personal sites bore us by telling us about trivial events and casual encounters about which we have no reason to care. Don’t tell us what happened: tell us why it matters. Don’t tell us your opinion: tell us why the question is important.”

I guess that makes my reason for writing more of the search for the reason, than the reason for the search. If you follow along with my search maybe we can both arrive at the reason together. I promise to try not to bore, and if I do please tell me.

“If you are writing for the Living Web, you must write consistently. You need not write constantly, and you need not write long, but you must write often. One afternoon in grad school, I heard B. F. Skinner remark that fifteen minutes a day, every day, adds up to about book every year, which he suggested was as much
writing as anyone should indulge. You don’t need to write much, but you must write, and write often.”

I like the idea of the”Living Web” which Mark attributes to Dan Chan of Daypop. As I write this I am reminded of something I have seen over and over in the years I have been online and reading others blogs. It is the shared data that is out among the readers. Fred First has seen it when he asks a tech question and gets an answer from his readers. Jerry Pournelle has had it for years, when he would throw out a problem he was having with his technology, he would often get answers almost faster than he could post. It is almost like we are watching the evolution of the first glimmers of a shared human brain.

Then there’s that old bugaboo about writing often. I have always heard that it is harder to get started writing and develop the habit than it is feeding the monster in the long run. Hopefully, like all habits, doing something regularly for 30 days and it becomes a habit…

When he speaks of being good friends, I interpret that as the sense of community that grows from the interhnge of ideas that comes from sharing…

Read widely and well, on the web and off, and in your web writing take special care to acknowledge the good work and good ideas of other writers. Show them at their best, pointing with grace and respect to issues where you and they differ. Take special care to be generous to good ideas from those who are less well known, less powerful, and less influential than you.

Weblog writers and other participants in the Living Web gain readers by exchanging links and ideas…Find ways to be a good friend. All writers thrive on ideas; distribute them generously and always share the credit. Be generous with links. Be generous, too, with your time and effort; A-list sites may not need your traffic, but everyone can use a hand.

There is plenty of useful info in this article, so follow the link and read the whole thing.

the ramblings of my brain over that first cup… and other meanders