People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Elk Once Roamed These Parts?

Seems so.

Seems they will again too:
Plan recommends elk in 3 Va. counties
By Steve Szkotak, Associated Press Writer

Richmond, Va. (AP) -- A committee developing an elk management plan for Virginia is recommending a restoration plan that would establish 1,200 of the Rocky Mountain natives in three southwest counties.

The restoration would be achieved over 12 years by releasing 200 elk in the Coalfields counties of Buchanan, Dickenson and Wise, which border Kentucky. That state has approximately 10,000 elk, and some have already wandered across the state line into Virginia.

The proposal will be reviewed by the board of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries at a meeting Tuesday in Richmond. [link]
I'm not sure why we want to go to the trouble and expense, but hey, if it brings in tourists, I'm always for it!

What's this going to cost, by the way?

Does The Scientific Community Care About Fraud?

You'd think, with what we know about former University of Virginia professor Michael Mann's "research" that led to his now infamous "hockey stick" proposition, and from those scandalous ClimateGate emails that involve him up to his eyeballs, that the scientific community would be both denouncing Mann and distancing, as best they could, science from "climate science."

Instead, the scientific community, at least here in Virginia, is rallying around the professor and his possibly fallacious work.  A sad undertaking, painful to watch.

So what is it these guys and gals in academe are defending anyway?
Ken Cuccinelli v. 810 academics
by Paul Driessen, writing in Townhall

“Scientific debates should be played out in the academic arena,” insists University of Virginia environmental sciences professor David Carr. “If Michael Mann’s conclusions are unsupported by his data, his scientific critics will eventually demonstrate this.”

Carr and 809 other Virginia scientists and academics signed a petition launched by the activist Union of Concerned Scientists, protesting Commonwealth Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s investigation of former University of Virginia professor Michael Mann. The American Association of University Professors likewise opposes Cuccinelli, who is seeking documents from UVA, to determine whether there are grounds to prosecute Mann for violating the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, by presenting false or misleading information in support of applications for state-funded research.

Carr claims Cuccinelli is attempting to “drown out” scientific debate.” Others have accused the AG of conducting a “witch hunt,” engaging in “McCarthyite” tactics, and “restricting academic freedom.”

It’s time to clear a few things up.

Mann is the former UVA professor, whose “hockey stick” temperature chart was used to promote claims that “sudden” and “unprecedented” manmade global warming “threatens” human civilization and Earth itself. The hockey stick was first broken by climatologists Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, who demonstrated that a Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were clearly reflected in historic data across the globe, but redacted by Mann. Analysts Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick later showed that Mann’s computer program generated hockey-stick patterns regardless of what numbers were fed into it – even random telephone numbers; that explained why the global warming and cooling of the last millennium magically disappeared in Mann’s “temperature reconstruction.”

The Climategate emails revealed another deliberate “trick” that Mann used to generate a late twentieth-century temperature jump: he replaced tree ring data with thermometer measurements at the point in his timeline when the tree data no longer fit his climate disaster thesis. During his UVA tenure, he employed other sly statistical tricks to generate a purported, and truly unprecedented, CO2-driven warming of 2-4.5 degrees F per decade (1-2.5 degrees C). That extrapolates to as much as 45 degrees F per century!

Not surprisingly, he refused to share his data, computer codes and methodologies with skeptical scientists. Perhaps worse, Climategate emails indicate that Mann and others conspired to co-opt and corrupt the very scientific process that Carr asserts will ultimately condemn or vindicate them.

This behavior certainly gives Cuccinelli “probable cause” for launching an investigation. As the AG notes, “The same legal standards for fraud apply to the academic setting that apply elsewhere. The same rule of law, the same objective fact-finding process, will take place.” Some witch hunt.

There is simply no room in science, academia or public policy for manipulation, falsification or fraud. Academic freedom does not confer a right to engage in such practices, and both attorneys general and research institutions have a duty to root them out, especially in the case of climate change research.

Work by Mann and other alarmist scientists is not merely some theoretical exercise that can be permitted to “play itself out” over many years, if and when the “academic arena” gets around to it. These assertions of climate crisis are being used right now by Congress, states, courts and the Environmental Protection Agency to justify draconian restrictions on energy use and greenhouse emissions. They would shackle our freedoms and civil rights and hammer our jobs, economy, health, welfare and living standards.

If the science is wrong – or far worse, if it is manipulated, fabricated, fraudulent and covered up – then grave damage will be done to our nation, liberties and families, before the truth gets its boots on. [link] [emphasis mine]
Science "manipulated, fabricated, fraudulent and covered up."  And scientists around the state would rather not know.

By the way, the word "science" - at least once long ago - derived from the Latin "scientia," meaning "knowledge."


What is science today?

Sad.  So very sad.

A Good Move

Ford Motor Company seems to be doing everything right these days.  Including this foundation-shifting move:
Ford to End Production of Its Mercury Line
By Micheline Maynard, New York Times

Detroit — Edsel Ford conceived the Mercury brand in the 1930s as a way to fill the gap between basic Fords and luxury Lincolns. Now, that gap will again go unfilled.

Ford Motor announced Wednesday that it would discontinue selling Mercury models this fall, ending a 71-year-old brand that once stood for innovation and speed but that became a “me, too” division.

Mark Fields, the president of Ford’s Americas region, said Ford directors approved the step on Wednesday. He said the company would focus its resources on its core Ford division as well as Lincoln. [link]
We would all agree that the world has changed considerably since the 1930's. And nowhere has there been more change than in the auto industry. It's good to see Ford (finally) responding to that Nissan/Honda/Toyota change.

I'd suggest that GMC be next.  But we would be talking about Government Motors in that instance. So ...

Gov't Doing What Gov't Does

I remember being flabbergasted the day I heard that then-President George W. Bush, in response to the dastardly terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon, decided to fight the jihadists by firing all the airport screeners around the country and replacing them with union members.  How bizarre was that?  Jihad?  Terror attack?  Slaughter?  Bring in the union?

Besides bizarre, though, how's that effort working, there, big guy?
Danger in the Skies
by Hans Bader, Open Market

Since the government took over aviation security since 9/11, security has actually gotten worse. Fake bombs usually pass undetected by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the government agency set up to take control of airport passenger screening. One study found that the TSA is 2.5 times as likely to fail to detect a bomb as the none-too-effective private security firms it replaced. And investigators have invariably succeeded in smuggling common ingredients for explosives past TSA screeners. The new Congress, meanwhile, has worked to extend collective bargaining rights to TSA employees, so that their unions can protect them from being terminated for incompetence. [link]
Yeah, the information is dated.  But the point hits home when we see Obama going down to the Gulf to pick up globules of tar from the beach, letting us know that he's on top of the oil spill disaster. 

Expect him to unionize workers in the shrimp boat fleet soon.

There is precedent.

Gov't Doing What Gov't Does II

Want to get rich? Work for the government:
$239,000 Conductor Among M.T.A.’s 8,000 Six-Figure Workers
By Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times

In an era of generous municipal salaries and union-friendly overtime rules, it may not come as a complete shock that there are thousands of Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees — 8,074, to be precise — who made $100,000 or more last year.

One of those workers, a Long Island Rail Road conductor who retired in April, made $239,148, about $4,000 more than the authority’s chief financial officer, according to payroll data released on Wednesday.

In fact, more than a quarter of the Long Island Rail Road’s 7,000 employees earned more than $100,000 last year, including the conductor, Thomas J. Redmond, and two locomotive engineers — who were among the top 25 earners in the entire transportation authority. [link]
New York is not alone.  Government employee paychecks across the country are out of kilter compared to those of the people who pay those government paychecks - the private sector.

And there's no letup in sight.

Want to get rich?  Sit behind the gauges of a government locomotive a few hours a day and watch the train go down the track.  Ah, the good life. It don't get better than that.

The Sun Slowly Sinks ...

Obama's popularity continues its decline as Americans get to know the mystery man.

From Gallup:
Exhibiting socialist tendencies will do that.