ClimateGate Roundup

There’s been so much ClimateGate stuff lately that it’s been hard to keep up with it all.  Below are some of the more interesting items I’ve read over the past week or two.  All of these are worth reading in their entirety but here are some quotes.

A nice non-technical overview:

Quoting Richard S. Lindzen:

Is there a reason to be alarmed by the prospect of global warming?  Consider that the measurement used, the globally averaged temperature anomaly (GATA), is always changing.  Sometimes it goes up, sometimes down, and occasionally--such as for the last dozen years or so--it does little that can be discerned.

Claims that climate change is accelerating are bizarre.  There is general support for the assertion that GATA has increased about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the middle of the 19th century.  The quality of the data is poor, though, and because the changes are small, it is easy to nudge such data a few tenths of a degree in any direction.  Several of the emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) that have caused such a public ruckus dealt with how to do this so as to maximize apparent changes. [...]

The notion that complex climate "catastrophes" are simply a matter of the response of a single number, GATA, to a single forcing, CO2 (or solar forcing for that matter), represents a gigantic step backward in the science of climate.  Many disasters associated with warming are simply normal occurrences whose existence is falsely claimed to be evidence of warming.  And all these examples involve phenomena that are dependent on the confluence of many factors.

Lots of technical detail about where the "warming" comes from (hint: not from the data):

Quoting Willis Eschenbach:

So you can see why Wibjorn was concerned.  This looks nothing like the UN IPCC data, which came from the CRU, which was based on the GHCN data.  Why the difference?  The answer is, these graphs all use the raw GHCN data.  But the IPCC uses the "adjusted" data.  GHCN adjusts the data to remove what it calls "inhomogeneities". [...]

I went to look at what happens when the GHCN removes the "in-homogeneities" to "adjust" the data. [...] Before getting homogenized, temperatures in Darwin were falling at 0.7 Celcius per century -- but after the homogenization, they were warming at 1.2 Celcius per century.  And the adjustment that they made was over two degrees per century -- when those guys "adjust", they don’t mess around. [...]

Intrigued by the curious shape of the average of the homogenized Darwin records, I then went to see how they had homogenized each of the individual station records. [...]

Yikes again, double yikes!  What on earth justifies that adjustment?  How can they do that?  We have five different records covering Darwin from 1941 on.  They all agree almost exactly.  Why adjust them at all?  They’ve just added a huge artificial totally imaginary trend to the last half of the raw data!  Now it looks like the IPCC diagram in Figure 1, all right -- but a six degree per century trend?  And in the shape of a regular stepped pyramid climbing to heaven?  What’s up with that?

Those, dear friends, are the clumsy fingerprints of someone messing with the data Egyptian style -- they are indisputable evidence that the "homogenized" data has been changed to fit someone’s preconceptions about whether the earth is warming.

One thing is clear from this.  People who say that "Climategate was only about scientists behaving badly, but the data is OK" are wrong.  At least one part of the data is bad, too.  The Smoking Gun for that statement is at Darwin Zero.

More evidence that the "warming" trend is a fraud:

Quoting Charlie Martin:

The green line is the version we saw above as part of the IPCC report, and the red line is the full series -- which goes down rather dramatically, instead of up as the story suggested.  If the full Briffa series had been included, the figure would look rather different.  The hook upward, the blade of the hockey stick, would have been much less dramatic, the implied global warming much less significant.  By truncating the data as they did, the global warming looks much worse.

And as the Climategate emails show, this was the result of a long discussion of how to best deal with "pressure to present a nice tidy story."  A story that fit the IPCC’s political goals, whether it suited the science or not.

The problem with "science" today:

Quoting Jerry Pournelle:

[O]f course science is not unitary, of course there is politics including dirty tricks and outright lying, faking data, character assassination, invocation of police and military power to suppress opposition -- and none of that changes the rules, which are that scientists when they are being scientists should welcome opposition hypotheses, and must account for all the data, not just that which favors their own positions.  Of course most of the time scientists are not acting like scientists.  They are acting like advocates, or sometimes like politicians.  When they do, they should have no more credibility than lawyers and politicians.  I covered all this years ago in The Voodoo Sciences.

Because scientists do not often act like scientists and often act more like bureaucrats, it is important to set up counter-bureaucracies when the subject matter is funded by public money (controlled by a bureaucracy) and the outcome is important to public spending.  I am a supporter of the National Science Foundation, but I want it reformed: I want 10% of its budget devoted to funding contrarian science that challenges existing consensus.  That should be done through establishment of a funded bureaucracy dedicated to finding and funding such challenges.

For better or for worse, the fact is that science is a business.  Science is no less corrupt than other businesses, and it’s just as much in bed with politicians as other businesses are.  We hold businesses accountable by choosing which ones to patronize.  We need to hold scientists accountable by demanding that they show their data.  If you’re not willing to show your data and methods -- if instead you hide and destroy your actual data, leaving only your conclusions, so that no one else can verify your work -- then you’re not a scientist, you’re a fraud.

The Russians state their belief that their climate data was misrepresented by some of these "scientists" as well:

Quoting Telegraph:

On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change based at the headquarters of the British Meteorological Office in Exeter (Devon, England) had probably tampered with Russian-climate data.

The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory.  Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, [but] the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports. ... IEA analysts say climatologists use the data of stations located in large populated centers that are influenced by the urban-warming effect more frequently than the correct data of remote stations. [...]

What the Russians are suggesting here, in other words, is that the entire global temperature record used by the IPCC to inform world government policy is a crock. [...]

The crux of the argument is that the CRU cherry picked data following the same methods that have been done everywhere else.  They ignored data covering 40% of Russia and chose data that showed a warming trend over statistically preferable alternatives when available.  They ignored completeness of data, preferred urban data, strongly preferred data from stations that relocated, ignored length of data set.

Finally, getting right down to the core of the matter:

Quoting Jerry Pournelle:

This means -- assuming you believe in global temperature accuracies to tenths of a degree -- that the Earth experienced a warming of 0.7 degree C over the last century [through 2010].

The idea that there is such a thing as a "global temperature" number that is not only knowable by us, but able to be accurately measured repeatedly and consistently, is a myth.  Most people would probably realize that if they were to think about it -- what was the temperature in your back yard last year?  how about in your whole town?  or your entire country? -- though few people bother to think about it.  But certainly now that the ClimateGate data is coming out, and we’re able to see just what a mess and a fraud it is, few sane people would believe in such a mythical number any longer.  Unfortunately, sanity is not a defining characteristic of global warming alarmists.

Posted by Anthony on reply

TED Talks: the Counterintuitive Psychology of Freedom, Choice, and Happiness; and Invisibility

I watched a few fascinating TED talks recently.  In addition to being really interesting, these guys are pretty funny too.

In Dan Gilbert asks, Why are we happy?, he mentions a study on the reported happiness of two different groups of people: the first group is lottery-winners and the second is paraplegics.  One year after the event (winning the lottery or becoming paraplegic), the groups report the same level of happiness.

Dan also provides this quote from Adam Smith, the first sentence of which helps to explain that seemingly-wrong study:

Quoting Adam Smith:

The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another.  Avarice over-rates the difference between poverty and riches: ambition, that between a private and a public station: vain-glory, that between obscurity and extensive reputation.  The person under the influence of any of those extravagant passions, is not only miserable in his actual situation, but is often disposed to disturb the peace of society, in order to arrive at that which he so foolishly admires.  The slightest observation, however, might satisfy him, that, in all the ordinary situations of human life, a well-disposed mind may be equally calm, equally cheerful, and equally contented.  Some of those situations may, no doubt, deserve to be preferred to others: but none of them can deserve to be pursued with that passionate ardour which drives us to violate the rules either of prudence or of justice; or to corrupt the future tranquillity of our minds, either by shame from the remembrance of our own folly, or by remorse from the horror of our own injustice.

In other words, it’s all in your head.

Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice looks at opportunity cost, and the fact that more choice isn’t always a good thing.  He gives the example of jeans: he went to buy a new pair of jeans and was presented with a hundred different varieties, and his response was "I want the kind that used to be the only kind."  I can totally see my dad in that situation.  When he finally settled on a pair, he got them home and wore them and then was disappointed because they weren’t perfect, whereas in his mind it was easy to imagine that one of the other pairs that he failed to pick would have been perfect -- which is of course false, but nonetheless decreases his satisfaction with the choice he made.

John Lloyd inventories the invisible is less serious and more of a comedy.  I love this part:

You cannot remember what happened to you earlier than the age of two or three.  Which is great news for psychoanalysts, because otherwise they’d be out of a job, because that’s when all the stuff happens.

He also mentions this quote by W. H. Auden:

We are here on earth to help others.  What the others are here for, I’ve no idea.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Caring for Your Introvert

I wouldn’t say that this Atlantic article on introverts is quite spot-on, but it sounds mostly right to me.

Quoting Jonathan Rauch:

Science ... has even learned, by means of brain scans, that introverts process information differently from other people. [...] Introverts are also not misanthropic, though some of us do go along with Sartre as far as to say "Hell is other people at breakfast."  Rather, introverts are people who find other people tiring.

Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone.  They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression.  Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone.  In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge.  My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing.  This isn’t antisocial.  It isn’t a sign of depression.  It does not call for medication.  For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Vitamin D, Or: You're Not Getting Enough Sun

Over the past few months I’ve been hearing more and more about vitamin D deficiency.  Then a few weeks ago Steve Gibson, the guy who does the Security Now podcast, took a rare diversion from security to talk about vitamin D (podcast here).  He created a page about vitamin D explaining everything and citing all the research he’s read, and that page also links to some good videos on the topic: a 90-second video focused on cancer; another 90-second video on cancer and sun exposure; a 6-minute video on vitamin D’s effect on general health (money quote: people who take sufficient vitamin D supplements just don’t get sick anymore); and finally a 1-hour video full of tons of vitamin D science.

Certainly watch the 2-3 shorter videos, and watch the longer one if you have time.  But the bottom line is this: many and probably most people are vitamin D deficient, especially in the winter months; and vitamin D deficiency is linked to not only many forms of cancer but also autism, bone diseases, tuberculosis, psoriasis, and many other diseases.  And in particular, vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and after birth can cause lots of problems for babies, most famously the disease rickets.

Crucially, vitamin D is not actually a vitamin at all; it’s a hormone.  So it’s impossible to get a sufficient amount of vitamin D from your diet, unlike most real vitamins.  The only way to get sufficient vitamin D is from the sun, or via supplement -- but a multivitamin will not give you nearly enough.  For example, in milk that’s fortified with vitamin D, and in most multivitamins, there’s only a few hundred IU of vitamin D, whereas 10-20 minutes of noontime sun exposure will cause your body to create around 10,000 IU of vitamin D.

The problem is that in recent decades, due to the problem of skin cancer caused by overexposure to the sun, we have massively overcorrected, with the scientific, medical, and governmental guidelines generally recommending that we avoid the sun entirely, never being exposed to it without sunblock.  But since sunblock blocks virtually all UVB, your body doesn’t make any vitamin D when you’re covered in sunblock.

The solution is to get a moderate amount of noontime sunlight on a daily basis.  As mentioned above, just 10-20 minutes will boost vitamin D levels into the healthy range, and will not give you a sunburn.  It must be within about 2 hours of solar noon though -- which is 1 PM in the northern hemisphere -- because outside that range, the sun’s angle in the sky forces it to travel through much more atmosphere, which totally blocks UVB outside of about 10AM-4PM.  That’s also the reason it’s much harder to get a sunburn except within a couple hours of solar noon.

But during the winter, unless you live very close to the equator, the sun’s angle again prevents it from delivering enough UVB to generate healthy amounts of vitamin D in your skin.  Because of this, and because you can’t get sufficient vitamin D via diet, I plan to start taking a vitamin D supplement soon; Steve Gibson’s vitamin D page has his recommendations about halfway down the page, and in terms of dosage it appears that 2000 IU/day is a good amount.  And that’s about an order of magnitude below the level at which toxicity begins to become an issue.

This topic fascinates me partly because of its obviousness: for all of human history we’ve been exposed to at least some sun nearly every day, so the idea that we should now suddenly start avoiding it altogether is just insane.  It appears that we’re now suffering many unintended consequences of that advice.  There are lots of interesting statistics in the videos above, but one that sticks out to me is that, for some forms of cancer, vitamin D deficiency causes a doubled risk of metastases and a 75% increased risk of mortality.

Posted by Anthony on 9 replies

Optical Illusion

Someone recently uploaded this optical illusion, and I’ve seen it a few times before.  The marked squares are the same color.

posted image

I hate this illusion.  Despite the fact that I’ve repeatedly verified via my image editor that the marked squares are indeed the same color, my eyes and brain will not believe it.  It drives me crazy.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Exercise Makes You Fat

OK, so maybe that’s not exactly what this Time Magazine article says:

[T]he peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE ... published a remarkable study ... The findings were surprising.  On average, the women in all the groups, even the control group, lost weight, but the women who exercised - sweating it out with a trainer several days a week for six months - did not lose significantly more weight than the control subjects did. ... Some of the women in each of the four groups actually gained weight, some more than 10 lb. each. [...]

Whether because exercise made them hungry or because they wanted to reward themselves (or both), most of the women who exercised ate more than they did before they started the experiment.  Or they compensated in another way, by moving around a lot less than usual after they got home. [...]

"I see this anecdotally amongst, like, my wife’s friends," [Dr. Church] says.  "They’re like, ’Ah, I’m running an hour a day, and I’m not losing any weight.’"  He asks them, "What are you doing after you run?"  It turns out one group of friends was stopping at Starbucks for muffins afterward.  Says Church: "I don’t think most people would appreciate that, wow, you only burned 200 or 300 calories, which you’re going to neutralize with just half that muffin."

I recently discovered that my eating habits were affecting my weight far more than my level of exercise.

Sometime about 6-8 years ago, while I was in college, I noticed that I ate about every 4 hours.  At that point, I guess I subconsciously decided that that was when I was supposed to eat, because ever since then, that’s been the main determinant in deciding when I should eat.

A few months ago, I noticed that my stomach fat was getting a little out of hand, and for some reason it occurred to me that the whole every-4-hours thing was totally arbitrary.  I mean, sure I was hungry at ~4 hours, but what if I stretched it to 6 hours instead?  Over the course of a day that’d cut out an entire meal.

So I started doing that, and sure enough, in 2-3 months, I’ve lost 15 pounds.  I was previously right in the middle of the "overweight" range on the BMI scale -- and no the BMI theory is not perfect, but it’s a useful metric -- whereas now I’m just barely inside the "normal" range.

I’ve also started paying attention to the quantities of food that I eat.  For example, going out to a restaurant and eating the bread, the salad, the appetizer, and the whole entree -- which I used to do, even though I was stuffed afterwards -- is just ridiculous.  And for most of my life I’ve been able to eat huge amounts of everything and not gain weight; that of course changed in my mid-20s and it’s taken some conscious effort to stop eating that way.

But my point is that I achieved this not-insignificant change in my weight purely by adjusting my eating habits -- and only the timing and quantity, not what I eat.  I go for a 2-mile walk a couple times per week, and a ~10-mile bike ride maybe once or twice a week, which is the about same level of exercise I’ve done for the past few years.

Posted by Anthony on reply

A Space Program for the Rest of Us

Writing in The New Atlantis, Rand Simberg presents an interesting and informative insider’s view of the history of our space program.  He takes a critical but rational view of the space program and presents some reasonable solutions to some of the bigger problems.

Quoting Rand Simberg:

[With a] space-refueling infrastructure, propellant would be cheaper, flight hardware wouldn’t have to be as heavy, and alternative launch vehicles would flourish. Every year that we starve the kind of research and technology that would make this possible and instead spend our money on mega-launchers like the Ares V is another year that we delay developing a truly sustainable space transportation infrastructure--and becoming a truly spacefaring people. [...]

The Bush administration might have done well to establish an Office of Space Development (with "exploration" being merely a means to an end) that could draw on other federal resources--not just NASA, but the Departments of Defense and Energy--as well as the private sector.

Of course, an independent space development organization with such power would be politically unfeasible. But that is part of the problem: our sclerotic space agency is subject to forces of legacy politics; it protects existing bureaucratic structures and emphasizes jobs over achievement; and it perversely rewards failure with more funds and punishes success with budget cuts.

He makes a persuasive case for the need to reform the space program.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Link Salad

Various tidbits seen over the past week or two:


From the Times Square Tea Party: "Do I look like a racist redneck teabagger to you?"


A hilarious Good Samaritan story by Scott Adams:

Luckily I did not have jumper cables, because if I did, I knew we would be late for the movie.  I did my best to make a face that said, "I sure wish I could help," while being secretly gleeful that this was officially not my problem.  I wondered if the young man thought I was lying about not having jumper cables.  My fake sincerity face looks like a mime with an intestinal infection.


Joe Biden on rural broadband funding:

The bottom line is, you can’t function -- a nation can’t compete in the 21st century -- without an immediate, high-quality access for everything from streaming video to information overline.

I don’t know what I’d do without a high-quality access to information overline.  In fact, I don’t even know what that means.


This article claims that wheat bread is no better than white bread.  But what’s interesting is some of the detailed information about metabolic functions that it contains.


From amazon: Classic Live Lobster Combo for Two People.  I don’t suppose it needs to be said that amazon rocks, this rocks, and "Lobsters-Online" rocks.


Ceiling cat.  The photo of the cat looking down is great.

Posted by Anthony on reply

The Bethsaida Miracle

Quoting D. Keith Mano:

Virgil, age fifty and blind since childhood, has had "successful" eye surgery.  Five weeks later "he often felt more disabled than he had felt when he was blind. ... Steps ... posed a special hazard, because all he could see was a confusion, a flat surface of parallel and crisscrossing lines; he could not see them (although he knew them) as solid objects going up or coming down in three-dimensional space."

The article goes on to discuss the blind man in Mark 8:22.  Jesus healed the man’s eyes, and the man then said he saw people who appeared to be walking trees.  So Jesus laid his hands on the man a second time, and his sight was restored fully.

Quoting D. Keith Mano:

As far as I can judge, this is irrefutable evidence that a miracle did occur at Bethsaida.  Back in 30 A.D. the blind did not often receive sight: there were few, if any, eye surgeons and seldom a decent miracle-worker.  No shill in the crowd could have faked it all by pretending to be blind -- because only someone recently given his sight would see "men as trees, walking," would see the Cubist jumble that Virgil told Oliver Sacks about.  A faker, not knowing about post-blind syndrome, would have reported that Jesus had given him perfect vision.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Third-Hand Smoke

Quoting The New York Times:

That’s the term being used to describe the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing, not to mention cushions and carpeting, that lingers long after smoke has cleared from a room.  The residue includes heavy metals, carcinogens and even radioactive materials [...] Third-hand smoke is what one smells when a smoker gets in an elevator after going outside for a cigarette, [Dr. Winickoff] said, or in a hotel room where people were smoking.  "Your nose isn’t lying," he said.  "The stuff is so toxic that your brain is telling you: ’Get away.’"

Posted by Anthony on reply

The Fat-Powered Battery

Over the weekend we were in Maryland for Travis and Megan’s wedding.  Before the wedding, I had to go to Best Buy, and this Best Buy was in a mall, which was so packed that I had to park about a quarter-mile away.  As I walked towards the store, I thought, "At least I’m getting some exercise."

What I needed at Best Buy was a battery for Kim’s camera, because hers was dying and the charger was back in PA.

It occurred to me that humans and batteries are constantly dealing with the inverse of the same problem.  For humans, the problem is that our bodies are so good at storing energy that we need to go out of our way to get rid of it on a regular basis.  For batteries, the problem is that they can’t really store very much energy, so they need to be recharged often.

The solution is obvious: we need a way to plug our phones and other gadgets directly into our stomachs and our butt cheeks.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply

Secrets of the Super-Healthy: People Who Never Get Sick

I only get sick about a couple times each year, and even then it’s usually mild, so I may be one of these people.  I checked out this article to see if I match any of their "secrets."

Training for the Body - I’m not an exercise nut, and I could stand to do more of it.  But I do exercise at least a couple times per week, even if it’s just 30 minutes of drumming.

Pay Attention to Your Mouth - gargling with antiseptic mouthwash?  No.

An Apple a Day - No.  One per month, maybe, and then only in pies.

Don’t Worry, Conquer Stress - Yes.  I rarely get stressed over anything.

Up Your Vitamin Intake - Yes; I take a multivitamin daily, and I drink milk daily (mentioned in the article for vitamin D).

Mind Over Body - Uh, this one is talking about some loon who "doesn’t believe in sickness" so... no.

Just Say Om - Yoga/meditation?  No.

Increase Your Social Ties - No.  I’m a hermit.

Accentuate the Positive - "a positive emotional style -- described as happy, enthusiastic, and calm" - yeah pretty much.

Wash Your Hands - Over and Over - Yes.  Also note this video wherein they recommend (a) turning off the faucet using a paper towel so as not to re-contaminate your hands and (b) using your shoe to press the toilet flusher.  Of course (a) is blindingly obvious to anyone who understands the purpose of hand-washing, and (b) is obvious to anyone who has seen a public toilet; unfortunately "obviousness" seems to fail just about everyone I ever see in a public restroom.

Get Your ZZZs - Yes.  Admittedly, being self-employed makes this much easier, since pretty much the only thing that determines when I go to sleep and get up is "when I feel like it."

Posted by Anthony on reply

Cancer Declines in US, Increases in Poorer Countries

It’s good news for the US:

A report released earlier this month showed a decline in both cancer incidence and cancer deaths [in the US] for the first time in a decade.

But in less wealthy countries, the news is not good:

Today, more than half of cancer cases and two-thirds of cancer deaths occur in these underserved countries, and the disparity is expected to rise.

I bet you can guess the primary cause:

The dramatic increase in smoking in low- and medium-income countries, which began in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, is the biggest single cause of the projected increase, which is expected to peak in 2030.

I don’t know how people who work for tobacco companies can live with themselves.

The big tobacco companies started to move pretty strongly into these low- and medium-resource countries in the early 1990s at about the same time that we were working very aggressively to reduce tobacco use in Western countries.

Posted by Anthony on reply

30 Mars Phoenix Discoveries NASA Will Never Show the World

I’ve grown attached to @MarsPhoenix over the past few months and I was sad when it stopped tweeting last week.  Its final tweet was a great one, though.

Gizmodo has a nice collection of some of the lander’s important discoveries.  Here’s the best one:

posted image

Posted by Anthony on reply

Too Much Sleep

An interesting sleep study addressing that age-old question:

[Daniel Kripke] compared death rates among more than 1 million American adults who, as part of a study on cancer prevention, reported their average nightly amount of sleep.  To many his results were surprising, but they’ve since been corroborated by similar studies in Europe and East Asia.  Kripke explains. [...]

Studies show that people who sleep between 6.5 hours and 7.5 hours a night, as they report, live the longest.  And people who sleep 8 hours or more, or less than 6.5 hours, they don’t live quite as long.  There is just as much risk associated with sleeping too long as with sleeping too short. [...]

Morbidity, [or sickness,] is also "U-shaped," in the sense that both very short sleep and very long sleep are associated with many illnesses - with depression, with obesity, and therefore with heart disease and so forth. [...]

One of the reasons I like to publicize these facts is that I think we can prevent a lot of insomnia and distress just by telling people that short sleep is OK.  We’ve all been told you ought to sleep eight hours, but there was never any evidence.  A very common problem we see at sleep clinics is people who spend too long in bed.

It’s always sort of bugged me that I tend to wake up after 7 or 7.5 hours of sleep.  I sometimes go back to sleep and sleep longer than 8 hours, but I never sleep just 8.  But I guess it’s no problem after all.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Oil Information and Statistics from Oil Apocalypse

There’s an interesting episode of Mega Disasters called "Oil Apocalypse" that runs on the Discovery channel.  Here are some details and quotes that I transcribed from it:

In the US, nearly 100% of cars, farm equipment, trains, and planes run on oil.

Oil provides nearly 50% of all our energy needs.

Petrochemicals are the base of many of our day to day products including plastics, asphalt, tires, polyester, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals.

The US produced 10 million barrels per day in the 1950s, but only consumed 7 million, so we exported the surplus.  World consumption was 20 million barrels per day.

Today the US produces 8.3 million barrels per day, but consumes more than 20 million, so we import about two-thirds of the oil we use.  World consumption is now 84 million barrels per day.

Saudi Arabia produces and exports 10 million barrels per day, and has reserves of between 160-260 billion barrels.

The world has consumed 1 trillion barrels since 1859; there are an estimated 1-3 trillion barrels left, but it’s harder to extract than the first 1 trillion, and it’s being consumed much faster now.

Ethanol has for years comprised about 10% of most US gasoline, to reduce engine knock.

Most US ethanol comes from corn, which means that its use as a fuel is hard on our food supply.  Ethanol is expensive to produce, takes lots of energy to produce, and still produces pollution.

Hydrogen fuel cells are expensive, and they aren’t technically an energy source since the hydrogen in them takes energy to produce.

Most of our electricity is currently provided by coal.  Nuclear power provides 20% of US electricity; solar and wind provide less than 1%.  The US is "the Saudi Arabia of coal."

Canada is the US’s primary supplier of foreign oil (surpassing even Saudi Arabia) partly due to the oil sands in Alberta.

Venezuela exports 2.2 million barrels per day, but it is mostly heavy oil considered inferior to middle eastern light crude oil; it needs more refining to be usable.  But the reserves could be hundreds of billions of barrels.

Colorado’s oil shale has more oil than all of Saudi Arabia’s reserves, but it’s probably not feasible to extract/convert it.

Posted by Anthony on 4 replies

Brainy women face handicap in marriage stakes: British survey

I think there are 3 reasons for this.  The first is in the article and men just want women like their "mum". 

The second is because career women don’t have time for a family.  Men want off-spring and we don’t want it to coincide with our mid-life-crisis. 

The last reason, which I think is one of the biggest amongst many males:  Men find dumber women more attractive for some reason.  I believe that this is because smarter women intimidate dumber men.  This reason perturbs me the most.  Men should be grateful to have a smart woman to back them up.  I know I am.  I’m pretty sure Anthony is (just kidding man).  Just suck it up men.  You don’t have to be the best at everything.  And if you are out for looks, those will fade in 10 years.  In 20 years they will be pretty much gone.  The "person" inside those looks will be there forever.

Posted by kaiser on 1 reply
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