Saturday, November 20, 2004

The Globe Is Warming, Perhaps

This whole global warming debate is making my hair hurt. I'm almost to the point where I think we should take the study of atmospheric trends away from scientists and to put it in the hands of a more reliable segment of the populace. Michael Moore perhaps. Here is the latest from London's Guardian:

Climate change claims flawed, says study

November 9, 2004 - A team of scientists has condemned claims of climate catastrophe as "fatally flawed" in a report released today.

The study appears on the same day that 300 climate scientists warn that winter temperatures in Alaska, western Canada and eastern Russia have risen by up to 4 C in the past 50 years - and could warm by up to 7 C.

Martin Agerup, president of the Danish Academy for Future Studies and colleagues from Stockholm, Canada, Iceland and Britain say in their report that predictions of "extreme impacts" based on greenhouse emissions employed "faulty science, faulty logic and faulty economics".

Predictions of changes in sea level of a metre in the next century were verestimates: sea-level rises were likely to be only 10cm to 20cm in the next 100 years. Claims that climate change would lead to a rise in malaria were not warranted.

Extreme weather was not on the increase but more likely to be part of a natural cycle, not yet understood by climate scientists. The report says a warmer world would benefit fish stocks in the north Atlantic and reduce the incidence of temperature-related deaths in vulnerable humans.

But the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, to be presented in Reykjavik today, tells a different story.

The Arctic scientists predict that north polar summer ice may decline by at least 50% by the end of this century. Some computer models predict almost the complete disappearance of ice.

This would have a devastating impact on indigenous populations, who use the ice for hunting and fishing. Warming could also lead to a "substantial" melting of the Greenland ice sheet. If this were to disappear sea levels would rise by about seven metres. (link)

So is the world coming to an end or not? I have to be in Bethlehem, PA on December 7. Should I cancel my reservation? Should I sell short? Do I need to mow my lawn one last time? Does this mean I won't need to buy Christmas gifts? Change the oil in my car? Worry about my weight? Even change my underwear?!

I need answers, people!

Where Do You Think You Are, Europe?

Ugly news from last night:

Fight Breaks Out Between Fans, Players in Detroit

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Fists were flying. So were cups, plastic bottles and even a chair in one of the ugliest NBA brawls ever -- and Indiana's Ron Artest was right in the middle of it.

Artest and Stephen Jackson charged into the stands and fought with fans in the final minute of their game against the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, and the brawl forced an early end to the Pacers' 97-82 win.

Officials stopped the game with 45.9 seconds remaining after pushing and shoving between the teams spilled into the stands once fans got involved by throwing things at the players near the scorer's table.

"It's the ugliest thing I've seen as a coach or player," said Pistons coach Larry Brown, who was in the middle of the confrontation, trying to break it up.

After several minutes of players fighting with fans in the stands, a chair, beer, ice, and popcorn were thrown at the Pacers as they made their way to the locker room in one of the scariest brawls in an NBA game.

"I felt like I was fighting for my life out there," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "I'm sorry the game had to end this way."

I've been to the Palace several times over the years and to Pistons games there a few. If you like sports, you gotta love the Palace. And my memory of the Pistons fans is that most were there simply for its entertainment value. A rather docile bunch. It's interesting what a few fans can do to affect the outcome of a sporting event.

I remember now why I didn't make the NBA. I was never able to perfect my left jab.

Another Hillarycare Plan Collapses

For those of you who hold out hope that the government can improve your healthcare coverage, here's another example of how it will never happen.

NASHVILLE, Nov. 19 - A decade after Tennessee inaugurated a health care plan for the state's most vulnerable residents that was hailed as a model for the nation, the program is once more being held up as a model - of failure in an era of soaring medical costs and voters' aversion to higher taxes.

Today the plan, TennCare, which sought to improve health care for Medicaid recipients while covering those who fall through the federal program's cracks, is on the ropes. (link)

An unalterable fact of life: The more we invite the government to intrude in our healthcare delivery system, the more it will deteriorate and the more expensive it will become.