Reality and Sanity

July 8, 2007

60th Anniversary of Roswell

Filed under: Junk Science Propaganda — Paul @ 9:37 am

Yup, it happened 60 years ago: Thousands Commemorate 1947 UFO ‘Crash’.

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) – If you truly believe a UFO and its crew of bug-eyed aliens came crashing down here 60 years ago, rest assured: You’re not alone. At least 35,000 people have descended on Roswell this weekend for the 2007 Amazing Roswell UFO Festival to commemorate a purported flying saucer crash on a nearby ranch in July 1947. Participants have filled hotel rooms and nearly doubled the southeastern New Mexico town’s population for a few days.

My take on all this? I’ll simply quote Bll Whittle, who wrote a far more eloquent (and humorous) passage in his Magic essay:

UFOs, proponents tell us, are physical vehicles from other solar systems carrying large-eyed, small bodied beings who are so technologically and spiritually advanced that they can wing through the light years at will, carry objects aloft on beams of light, move through walls, dispense advice for cultural survival and administer anal probes. [Ed. Love the South Park reference.]

The constancy of the speed of light as a natural speed limit has been so thoroughly and completely tested and vindicated, that these aliens must have learned to harness the power of entire galaxies to bore wormholes through spacetime, which would be necessary to have these infinitely fast, staggeringly maneuverable, gravity-defying, super-hardened space-metal saucers in the skies over our planet.

Sweet!

Well, turns out that in 1946 one of these antigravity, faster than light, space-metal disks…uh…ran into a hill. The ultra-classified alien voice data recorder yielded a single sound: zzrrzzrrrD’oh!rrzzzrr!

Yes, in 1946 one of these ultra-advanced beings was arguing with the little podlings in the back seat, took his eye off the Iludium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator, and then came the Earth-Shattering Ka-Boom! right outside of Roswell, New Mexico.

They – The Government – recovered a few strips of crumpled aluminum. UFOlogists point to the picture of the Air Force officer holding up a couple of Jiffy-Pop fragments as “hard evidence” – but as for me, I’d like my anti-gravity, faster-than-light intergalactic hyper-dimensional space-metal saucer to produce something more than one-fifth the wreckage you’d expect from a Cessna 150 hitting the ground at 40 mph flown by some teenager experimenting with The Weed.

Heh.

June 13, 2007

A Band For Every Continent

It seems Al Gore has fulfilled his Live Earth promise: Antarctica Cements Act for Gore’s Live Earth. (HT: Drudge)

Make sure you click the link to check out the accompanying picture…words fail me.

In an effort to fulfill his promise of a concert on every continent for his “Live Earth” event on July 7 to 8, Al Gore approached the British Antarctic Survey in February to explore the possibility of flying a band in to its Rothera Research Station in Antarctica.

No, he was told, July is mid-winter in Antarctica, and no planes or boats can get in or out.

But all was not lost. BAS officials told Gore that a band was already in place on the South Pole. BAS press representative Linda Capper told blogger Tim Slagle, “We have a house band — five of our science team. They are very good indie rock-folk fusion. The remaining 17 will be the audience on location.”

They’ve never played in front of an audience. To make matters worse, the band, named after a Greenlandic word for “summit,” will be playing outside on the ice, where temperatures could be as low as minus ten degrees Celsius. One of their colleagues will film the performance for broadcast on TV and the Internet.

I don’t even need to make jokes or snarky observations since the commenters are far more clever than I am. A sampling of my favorites:

shapiro: Just wait 2-3 years and it will be as hot as Florida in Antartica, and make the concert then. June 13, 7:40 PM

Cici: They should dress like Devo and shoot it like old-style MTV. June 13, 7:15 PM

manny: It figures, A concert about global warming and its -10c. When will they get it, the earth warms, cools, warms, cools, and thats been going on millions of years before Algore invented the thermometer! June 13, 5:55 PM

Bob Kelly: As a musician myself, it is virtually impossible to play any guitar or keyboards with gloved hands, let alone thick mittens, which leads me to believe this is a farce. Or, on the other (frostbitten) hand, they could attempt to play w/o the gloves and risk having their blued finger snap off! The drummer may be the only fella out there who has a chance to jam! June 13, 5:08 PM

Guitarist: How do you fret an E-shaped barre chord with those mongo gloves on? I sure couldn’t do it without buzzing like a bee. June 13, 4:59 PM

Steve-O: Its rather ironic that a group of scientists are planning a “concert” against global warming in an environment where their very survival depends upon….massive and continuous consumption of fossil fuels! Bunch of losers June 13, 4:15 PM

Heh.

June 1, 2007

Nessie is Back

Filed under: Junk Science Propaganda, The Printed Page — Paul @ 7:53 pm

And this time, we have film shot by an amateur

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) – The Loch Ness monster is back – and there’s video. A man has captured what Nessie watchers say is possible footage of the supposed mythical creature beneath Scotland’s most mysterious lake.”I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this jet black thing, about 45 feet long, moving fairly fast in the water,” said Gordon Holmes, the 55-year-old a lab technician from Shipley, Yorkshire, who took the video Saturday.

Nessie watcher and marine biologist Adrian Shine viewed the video and hoped to properly analyze it in the coming months.

“I see myself as a skeptical interpreter of what happens in the loch, but I do keep an open mind about these things and there is no doubt this is some of the best footage I have seen,” said Shine, of the Loch Ness 2000 center in Drumnadrochit, on the shores of the lake.

Holmes said whatever it was moved at about 6 mph and kept a fairly straight course.

“My initial thought is it could be a very big eel, they have serpent-like features and they may explain all the sightings in Loch Ness over the years.”

Loch Ness is surrounded by myth. It’s the largest inland body of water in Britain, and at about 750 feet to the bottom, it’s even deeper than the North Sea.

“There are a number of possible explanations to the sightings in the loch. It could be some biological creature, it could just be the waves of the loch or it could some psychological phenomenon in as much as we see what we want to see,” Shine said.

I think the last statement is the truth.

Notice how the AP simply passes the story along, as if there isn’t any other side of the story, even running the famous Nessie photo without stating said photo is a well-known fake.

The entire notion that there is a creature living in Loch Ness is preposterous. Why?

I could tell you, but Bill Whittle at Eject! Eject! Eject! wrote a far better debunking than I could:

There is a lake in Scotland inhabited by a giant, long-necked creature, a plesiosaur that we thought went extinct fifty million years before man came down from the trees. This gigantic, air-breathing reptile inhabits the cold, dark, murky depths of Loch Ness.

Got it. Granting the premise…

What have we got? Some stories from eyewitnesses. Like the one by the British naturalist who took the most famous picture of the Monster, the famed “surgeon photo.” You’ve all seen it.

Only the son of the photographer has admitted that this single most compelling piece of evidence was a fake. He made a recreation of the model – it’s about the size of a large rubber ducky (and if you look at the picture again, you realize just how small and out of scale it looks relative to the waves).
Loch Ness Monster
Divers and automated remote cameras have scoured the Loch. There’s a picture of a fin – only the picture has been enhanced, rotated, and ‘dodged’ – the original shows an unremarkable — and tiny — bit of debris on the bottom. No sign of Nessie. What is much more damaging is that there is no sign of much of anything – especially fish. This ten-ton ancient dinosaur presumably does not order out for pizza. What the hell does it eat?

And this is most damning: plesiosaurs were air-breathing. Why is it that the best evidence for the Loch Ness Monster is a distant, grainy video of an ‘unexplained’ wake, shot in the far distance. This creature has to come up for air several times an hour. If we grant that there is a breeding population of aquatic dinosaurs surviving in Loch Ness, they should be sticking their heads out of the water like a giant whack-a-mole game, 24/7. If air-breathing dinosaurs really inhabited these lakes in Europe, and Africa and the US, then the best evidence would be the body hauled ashore by a shotgun-toting British Marine after Nessie ate a busload of tourists in full view of the world press.

Think about it. What if there really is an air-breathing dinosaur in this lake. How many HDTV recordings would there be in a single day. Fifty? A hundred?

Divers did find many sunken logs on the bottom of these peaty, dismal waters. Some of these will, on occasion, float to the surface as the gases from their decay increases their buoyancy. From a distance, they look like a dark, humped shape breaking the water. They eventually sink again.

So which is more likely? A log floats loose, maybe a boat wake propagates across a glassy lake for ten or twenty minutes? Or that a ten ton air-breathing dinosaur the size of a city bus, extinct for 50 million years, escapes detection in a fish-free lake scoured by dozens of cameras every day for the past fifty years?

I already was a skeptic, but Whittle’s analysis grounded in the scientific method and critical, clear logical thinking removed any doubt I had left. Too bad more people haven’t read his essays.

June 24, 2006

U.S. Should Exercise The Nuclear Option (Energy…Energy!)

Filed under: Junk Science Propaganda — Paul @ 9:55 am

For over 25 years, the US has allowed Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas and Jack Lemmon to dictate our nuclear energy policy, the trio of stars in The China Syndrome. There were supposed to be 1000 US nuclear plants supplying power by now, only 100 exist. So successful were the “No Nukes” crowd in the 1980s, using The China Syndrome and the Three Mile Island incident to curtail and effectively eliminate any new plant construction. Now the US lags behind the modernized world in nuclear energy. (I have always found it facinating that liberals suggest we emulate the French in matters of love and war, but not their energy policies.) Olivia Albrecht states what should be painfully obvious to every US citizen: The U.S. Should Lead the Way in Nuclear Energy.

It is time for the U.S. to reassess nuclear energy as a tool in the sensible need to diversify our energy portfolio and to meet escalating energy demands in developing countries without putting additional strain on global energy resources. We must do so in a manner that promotes global energy security and upholds established non-proliferation policy principles. New technology, new policies and new global consortia can all contribute to the revival of nuclear energy as a viable, safe and secure energy source.

Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace and former adversary of nuclear energy now turned vocal proponent of the ‘nuclear option,’ explained in a recent op-ed that while other energy options exist, it’s all too clear that nuclear energy remains the only feasible option for the future.

Wind and solar power are intermittent, unpredictable and inherently uneconomical, thus limiting their capacity to replace mega power sources such as coal, nuclear or hydroelectric. Even natural gas – a fossil fuel – is consistently too expensive and its price often too volatile to risk justifying large investments. It is an unfortunate fact that hydroelectric resources are built up to capacity at this point.

Therefore, the next logical step is a reevaluation of nuclear energy — a fuel based system of uranium, which is both abundant and inexpensive.

June 22, 2006

Global Warming Paranoia

Filed under: Junk Science Propaganda — Paul @ 7:11 pm

I didn't know farmer's almanacs had been arond that long: Earth Hottest It's Been in 2,000 Years.

Yep, they figured it out, and here's the story to show how they did it:

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Earth is running a slight fever from greenhouse gases, after enjoying relatively stable temperatures for 2,000 years. The National Academy of Sciences, after reconstructing global average surface temperatures for the past two millennia, said Thursday the data are "additional supporting evidence … that human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming."Other new research showed that global warming produced about half of the extra hurricane-fueled warmth in the North Atlantic in 2005, and natural cycles were a minor factor, according to Kevin Trenberth and Dennis Shea of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a research lab sponsored by the National Science Foundation and universities.

The academy had been asked to report to Congress on how researchers drew conclusions about the Earth's climate going back thousands of years, before data was available from modern scientific instruments. The academy convened a panel of 12 climate experts, chaired by Gerald North, a geosciences professor at Texas A&M University, to look at the "proxy" evidence before then, such as tree rings, corals, marine and lake sediments, ice cores, boreholes and glaciers.

Combining that information gave the panel "a high level of confidence that the last few decades of the 20th century were warmer than any comparable period in the last 400 years," the panel wrote. It said the "recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia," though it was relatively warm around the year 1000 followed by a "Little Ice Age" from about 1500 to 1850.

Their conclusions were meant to address, and they lent credibility to, a well-known graphic among climate researchers – a "hockey-stick" chart that climate scientists Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes created in the late 1990s to show the Northern Hemisphere was the warmest it has been in 2,000 years.

It had compared the sharp curve of the hockey blade to the recent uptick in temperatures – a 1 degree rise in global average surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere during the 20th century – and the stick's long shaft to centuries of previous climate stability.

So answer this, gentlemen: if it is so hot right now, why is Greenland still frozen? Today Greenland is the most misnamed body of land in the world, with its glacial covering. Less than a thousand years ago it was covered in lush vegetation.

Well?

Update: The lovely and articulate Michelle Malkin and the Hot Air crew decided to vent about a related story.

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