Saturday, March 17, 2007

Some Paddy's Day lists

Some Paddy's Day lists for yez all. My five favourite Van Morrison albums:
  1. Live at the Grand Opera House, Belfast
  2. Into the Music
  3. Irish Heartbeat (with the Chieftains)
  4. St Dominic's Preview
  5. Tupelo Honey
Five favourite Christy Moore albums:
  1. Live at the Point
  2. Smoke & Strong Whiskey
  3. Ride On
  4. Ordinary Man
  5. Moving Hearts
Five favourite Pogues songs:
  1. Boys from County Hell
  2. Streams of Whiskey
  3. Fairytale of New York
  4. A Pair of Brown Eyes
  5. Thousands are Sailing
Five favourite Irish drinks:
  1. A Guinness from Temple Bar (or from Galway, accompanied by Atlantic oysters).
  2. A pint of Kilkenny
  3. A pint of Muphy's
  4. A hip flask of Jameson's Irish Whiskey
  5. A shot (or three) of Tullamore Dew
Five favourite rebel songs to sing after (or during) drinks One to Five:
  1. James Connolly
  2. Boys from County Hell
  3. The Wild Rover
  4. Boys from County Armagh
  5. Billy Bold
Enjoy your Patrick's Night -- and be careful about all them old emissions. :-)

Something to think about on St Patrick's Day

Something to think about on St Patrick's Day:


Fear not, dear readers. I'll be giving it a great deal of thought beginning later this afternoon, and later this evening at a medium-sized private gathering. Better start practising my singing now, methinks.

Cross-party consensus "deeply conservative, backward, and reactionary."

Spiked Magazine's Mick Hume lays out the chief reason for British politicians embracing the politics of warming -- he could just as easily have been writing about New Zealand:

The major parties have all gravitated towards greenery on global warming because they lack any political principles of their own.

With their public standing at an all-time low, politicians are attracted to the issue of climate change because it allows them to scramble out of the mire and back on to the moral high ground. Rather than fending off endless allegations of sleaze or trying to explain why they cannot run a decent health service, Blair and Brown are set free to make portentous speeches about saving the planet. And instead of tackling the tricky issues of coming up with alternative policies on the economy or Iraq, Cameron can strike statesmanlike poses while hugging a glacier.

For "Blair and Brow" read "carbon neutral" Clark. For "hugging a glacier" Cameron read John "Al Gore pushed all my buttons" Key. But Hume hasn't finished. The bids by Clark, Key, Blair and Brown to out-boast each other, in Annie-Get Your Gun style, ignores that what is strangled by fatuous boasts to ration airline travel and to cut emissions by sixty percent is human activity and human industry.
Leave aside for now the vexed and complex question of the actual science of climate change. I am no climatologist, but then you surely do not need to be to see that the simplistic, conformist politics of global warming are about something else. Even if we were to accept that some of the far-reaching expert predictions about climate change were true, there would be no necessary straight line from those scientists’ estimates to the sort of policies now being proposed by Brown or David Miliband or Cameron. Instead, they are using the language of science to express their own politics of low expectations and policing our behaviour.

When humanity has been faced with great challenges in history, the solution has been to go forward, to apply human ingenuity and endeavour to overcoming problems by advancing society. There is no record of tackling future problems by going backwards or restraining development. Yet that is what is effectively proposed through the politics of global warming.

As George Reisman puts it, the action that is proposed by governments to tackle this questionable problem is not in fact action, it is government action intended to stop private action. The ideas underpinning this cross-party shackling of human life and human fecundity are, as Mick Hume points out, "deeply conservative, backward, and reactionary."
To challenge them is not a job for scientific inquiry, since that is not really what such prejudices are based upon, but for political argument. The pressing need is to recast notions of human agency, and develop a future-oriented vision based on a belief in our ability to tackle problems through economic and social advance.

For starters, here is one straightforward historical idea that might sound ‘revolutionary’ today: the more control humanity is able to exercise over nature, and the larger the ‘footprint’ we make on the planet, the better the future is likely to be.

Can't argue with that at all. Read it all here: Any colour you like, as long as it's greens -- Mick Hume, Spiked.

RELATED: Global Warming, Politics

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DEBATE: "Global warming is not a crisis"

A high profile New York debate last Wednesday night between warmists and skeptics saw the warmists routed, say reports on the debate in Scientific American, Newsday, and on a cock-a-hoop Senate Environment and Public Works blog. Said Newsday's Ellis Henican, 'The Climate's Just Perfect for a Debate':
This issue will never be resolved in one brainy evening, even one as pointed and personal as this. In the previous five IQ2 U.S. debates, there hadn't been all that much mind-changing in the room. But this time, there was. Before the debate, not-a-crisis got 30 percent of the vote. After, the number rose to 46 percent. The is-a-crisis tally dropped from 57 to 42. The undecideds dipped slightly, from 13 to 12.
Oddly enough, one of the warmist participants' blog accounts is more subdued than the other accounts. "So are such debates worthwhile? On balance, I'd probably answer no," concluded Real Climate blogger and NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt, voted by the audience to be on the losing side on Wednesday.

Arguing for the motion, that global warming is not a crisis, were author Michael Crichton, British biogeographer Philip Stott, and MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen. Ranged against them were warmist scientists Brenda Ekwurzel, Richard C.J. Somerville, and our friend Mr Schmidt. Notes the Senate EPW blog, who look forward to Al Gore appearing before them next week to testify on global warming:

Before the start of the nearly two hour debate the audience polled 57.3% to 29.9% in favor of believing that Global Warming was a “crisis”, but following the debate the numbers completely flipped to 46.2% to 42.2% in favor of the skeptical point of view...

After the stunning victory, one of the scientists on the side promoting the belief in a climate "crisis" appeared to concede defeat by noting his debate team was ‘pretty dull" and at "a sharp disadvantage" against the skeptics. ScientificAmerican.com’s blog agreed, saying the believers in a man-made climate catastrophe “seemed underarmed for the debate and, not surprising, it swung ag ainst them."

The New York City audience laughed as Gore became the butt of humor during the debate.

"What we see in this is an enormous danger for politicians in terms of their hypocrisy. I’m not going to say anything about Al Gore and his house. But it is a very serious point," quipped University of London emeritus professor Philip Stott to laughter from the audience.

The audience also applauded a call by novelist Michael Crichton to stop the hypocrisy of environmentalists and Hollywood liberals by enacting a ban on private jet travel.

"Let’s have the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the Sierra Club and Greenpeace make it a rule that all of their members, cannot fly on private jets. They must get their houses off the [power] grid. They must live in the way that they’re telling everyone else to live. And if they won’t do that, why should we? And why should we take them seriously?" Crichton said to applause audience.
The ScientificAmerican.com’s blog also declared the global warming skeptics the clear winner of the debate in a March 15 post titled: "Debate Skills? Advantage: Climate Contrarians."
"The proponents [of a climate crisis] seemed underarmed for the debate and, not surprisingly, it swung against them, particularly when Schmidt made the fatal debating error of dismissing the ability of the audience to judge the scientific nuances," ScientificAmerican.com’s David Biello wrote. The advocates of climate alarmism "were faced with the folksy anecdotes of Crichton and the oratorical fire of Stott," Biello wrote at ScientificAmerican.com. Biello concluded, "…the audience responded to Crichton's satirical call for a ban on private jets more than Ekwurzel's vague we need to throw ‘everything we can at the climate crisis.’

By the final vote, 46 percent of the audience had been convinced that global warming was indeed not a crisis, while just 42 percent persisted in their opinion that it was." Biello also criticized climate "crisis" advocate Richard Somerville as "perplexed" and "hardly inspiring."
Some money quotes from the winning team:
LINDZEN: "Now, much of the current alarm, I would suggest, is based on ignorance of what is normal for weather and climate."

"The real signature of greenhouse warming is not surface temperature but temperature in the middle of the troposphere, about five kilometers. And that is going up even slower than the temperature at the surface."

CHRICHTON: "I mean, haven’t we actually raised temperatures so much that we, as stewards of the planet, have to act? These are the questions that friends of mine ask as they are getting on board their private jets to fly to their second and third homes.

"Everyday 30,000 people on this planet die of the diseases of poverty. There are, a third of the planet doesn’t have electricity. We have a billion people with no clean water. We have half a billion people going to bed hungry every night. Do we care about this? It seems that we don’t. It seems that we would rather look a hundred years into the future than pay attention to what’s going on now. I think that's unacceptable. I think that’s really a disgrace."

STOTT: "The first Earth Day in America claimed the following, that because of global cooling, the population of America would have collapsed to 22 million by the year 2000. And of the average calorie intake of the average American would be wait for this, 2,400 calories, would good it were. [LAUGHTER] It’s nonsense and very dangerous. And what we have fundamentally forgotten is simple primary school science. Climate always changes."

"Angela Merkel the German chancellor, my own good prime minister (Tony Blair) for whom I voted -- let me emphasize, arguing in public two weeks ago as to who in Annie get the gun style could produce the best temperature. ‘I could do two degrees C said Angela.’ ‘No, I could only do three said Tony.’ [LAUGHTER] Stand back a minute, those are politicians, telling you that they can control climate to a degree Celsius.”

“And can I remind everybody that IPCC that we keep talking about, very honestly admits that we know very little about 80% of the factors behind climate change. Well let’s use an engineer; I don’t think I’d want to cross Brooklyn Bridge if it were built by an engineer who only understood 80% of the forces on that bridge."
The full transcript for the debate can be found here, at the debate organiser's website. A debate podcast should be available here early Thursday morning, NZ time.

UPDATE 1:
More comments on the debate, this one from an audience member:
I attended it, and must say that the characterization recently distributed which described Crichton, Stott, et. al. as being "humorous" and "entertaining" is false. They were cogent and salient and stuck to the facts (though Stott indeed has an engaging preachy style). Lindzen of course was dry and direct with no attempts at humor. Crichton did talk about enviros and their jets etc., but he talked much more about science, epistemology, his own conversion to skepticism, and the need to prioritize enviro/social ills. It was the other side that attempted (unsuccessfully) to be entertaining and wax poetically, by describing earth as a human-body-like organism, and by characterizing global warming investigation as an episode from "CSI." The bloggers were right about who won, but wrong about how and why they won.
UPDATE 2: Another site to get the podcast of the debate, when it appears.

UPDATE 3: The co-debunker of the 'Hockey Stick,' Steve McIntyre, has excerpts from the transcript showing Real Climate's Gavin Schmidt to be, well, a real plonker. He starts with a patronising CSI reference; gets the audience groaning by telling them they're too dim to understand all the science; then Richard Lindzen spots him making up quotes; and later, in the question period where the influence of cosmic rays is being debated, he offers this powerful rejoinder to the studies suggesting their possible impact:
GAVIN SCHMIDT - ….So any change that there might have been because of cosmic ray impacts on climate, can‘t possibly have an impact on what‘s been going on in the last changes.
PHILIP STOTT: But the most famous astrophysicist working on it say that it has.
GAVIN SCHMIDT Uh, he is drunk.
Posting on his blog he says he was "misquoted." Possibly believable if he hadn't already shown himself to be such a pretentious twat.

RELATED: Global Warming, Science

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Beer O’Clock – Invercargill Pitch Black

Beer tidings on St Patrick's Eve from a grumpy beer correspondent, Neil from Real Beer -- it may be something to do with Scotland's loss to Ireland in last week's Six Nations...

I cannot continue to deny the self-evident truth that Saint Patrick’s Day is almost upon us once again.

It may surprise some, but it is not my favourite day of the year – not even close. In my opinion, Saint Patrick’s Day is now too much like New Year’s Eve – everything feels a bit forced. There are too many people in the bars, drinks are expensive and everyone seems grimly determined to “have a good time” even if that means waiting twenty minutes for a green Guinness while watching a drunk bureaucrat sit on your two-dollar top hat. [Clearly the man has been going to the wrong venues - Ed.]

I’m going out on a limb here, but that is not my idea of a good time or a suitable way to celebrate Irish culture. I’d rather sit in an over-sized armchair with a pint of Guinness and a snifter of Tullamore Dew reading from the works of Oscar Wilde. Instead of hordes of drunken revellers yelling at each other over yet another version of “Dirty Old Town,” I could listen to an album by the Pogues. (Did you know you can actually tell how late in the day every Pogues track was recorded by how hammered Sean MacGowen sounds?)

So, on Saint Patrick’s Day Eve, I’m not to talk Guinness but I am going to talk stout. Normally I leave the stouts and porters to my good friend Stu. Stu just loves beers you can eat with a spoon, particularly if they are so dark their gravitational field threatens to pull your eyeballs out.

Today, I’m going to give a plug for one of my favorite stouts - Invercargill Pitch Black (4.2%).

Uncommonly, the darkest beer in the range is the Invercargill Brewery’s best seller. The brewery has recently moved to new premises in “central city” Invercargill as brewer Steve Nally had to expand production to meet demand. It’s much nicer than his old cow shed brewery.

Easily mistaken at first glance for a good strong coffee, Pitch Black Stout is a deeply black beer with a coffee-coloured collar of foam. Smelling like a piece of well toasted Vogel’s bread next to a chocolate, this beer is rich, sumptuous and finishes clean.

A perfect Patrick's Day pint.

Slaithe!
Neil

LINKS: Invercargill Brewery
SOBA: www.soba.org.nz
The RealBeer Blog

RELATED: Beer & Elsewhere

Many a true word spoken in anger

Taken to task over The Great Global Warming Swindle by two prospective scientific collaborators, film-maker Martin Durkin had obviously had enough of all the hand-wringing, replying to his would-be interlocutors with a short, pithy insult, following it up (says The Times) with this riposte:
“The BBC is now a force for bigotry and intolerance . . . Since 1940 we have had four decades of cooling, three of warming, and the last decade when temperature has been doing nothing.

“Why have we not heard this in the hours and hours of shit programming on global warming shoved down our throats by the BBC?

“Never mind an irresponsible bit of film-making. Go and f*** yourself.”

Many a true word spoken in the anger of an erstwhile private email, methinks. [Hat tip Marcus]

NB: Some correspondents argue, as The Times' Science Editor does, that "the mid-century ... fall came about chiefly because of sulphate aerosols – particles that have a cooling effect on the atmosphere. These are no longer produced so heavily by industry because of environmental regulations to combat other problems, such as acid rain." It's worth pointing out that climate modellers have used this hypothesis to introduce the necessary fudge factors into their computer models, but this in no way proves what is still a hypothesis -- a hypothesis that its progenitor Patrick Michaels discarded when it failed to fit observational evidence -- and one that ignores the dirty industrial revolution going in in China and India today.

RELATED: Global Warming, Politics-UK

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Print-friendly PC?

I've been asked a few times if I can install a 'print-friendly' button somewhere on posts to allow them to be easily printed. I can't. This 'template' doesn't allow it. That's the bad news.

BUT, here's the good news. What you can do is this: click on that wee envelop icon at the foot of each post, which opens a page that you can easily print, and very easily email -- so after you've printed a copy to read over your cup of Dilmah tea, you can email a copy to a friend, or even an opponent...

Anti anti-smacking march

Are you one of the reportedly eighty percent of New Zealanders outraged at Sue Bradford's anti-smacking Bill*?

Are you outraged that Helen Clark is retracting an absolute commitment from the election not to ban smacking**?

Then join other outraged New Zealanders in a march on Parliament Wednesday, 28th March, organised by libertarian Mitch Lees, and tell Nanny you don't want the soft fascism of Nanny's disciplinarians coming into your home telling you how you may and may not treat your children. Says Lindsay Perigo:
The police made it unambiguously clear [on Wednesday]*** that if they receive a complaint about a "light smack" they'll be obliged to make an arrest. And they're right. That's what the legislation says. This will be neighbour-dobs-in-neighbour a la East Germany/Soviet Union et al. And when the police have carted off the parent(s), CYFS will cart off the kids. This is truly disgraceful and must be fought tooth and nail. Hat's off to Mitch for stepping up. ALL [those opposed], please, GET IN BEHIND THIS!!!!!!!!!!
For more information, or to help with the organisation of this march, please e-mail Mitch at antiantismacking@gmail.com, and keep an eye on Mitch's blog.
- - - - -
UPDATE: March to start at 12pm at the Civic Square (Wellington). Note it is Wednesday the 28th, not next Wednesday. Another strong rumour is that Bob McCoskrie of Family First is organising an Auckland March. More details to come...
- - - - -

* BARRY SOPER (to Sue Bradford, yesterday):"After this Bill becomes law, will parents be allowed to smack their children?"
SUE BRADFORD: "No."

**RADIO RHEMA INTERVIEWER (to Helen Clark, before the election): "So you don't want to see a ban on smacking?"
HELEN CLARK: "Absolutely not. I think you're trying to defy human nature."

***Police Association president Greg O'Connor confirmed Wednesday that police guidelines in their current form made it clear they would have no choice but to act on smacking complaints...

Unless there was a change to the guidelines once the law was passed, police would have no discretion. "If it is family violence and there is evidence of violence, the policy is quite clear, the offender must be arrested. "That means an admission or a witness saying they saw someone smack. Police will have no choice but to arrest a person acting on a complaint.

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Cheaper to buy rail-riders an apartment close to work

Rail religionists are crowing over the announcement that the rail line to Onehunga will be re-opened, thirty-four years after it closed due to lack of interest. LibertyScott has run the rule over the numbers, and he's worked out
you're gonna be made to pay $374,000 up front to shift one person from car to train, and subsidise 60% of that person's trips, whereas before you didn't. You could always buy them small apartments next to work instead.
You can read his working here. And before you get even more excited about extending the line to the airport, Scott suggests you should take a deep breath:
Remember the city-airport rail service in Sydney isn’t economically viable, and Melbourne looked at it and couldn’t justify it, developing an express bus service instead (which was introduced after the Citylink tollway was built, greatly reducing travel times to/from the airport).
Hmmm. Not really a goer here either, then. Won't stop the rail religionists though, will it?

LINK: The railway religion - LibertyScott

RELATED: Auckland, Economics

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City of Arts & Oceanographic Sciences - Santiago Calatrava

A conscious nod to architect Felix Candela, this 2005 project is set to be "the newest jewel in Valencia's crown." Not only that, it's a superbly expressive use of thin shell concrete hypars.

RELATED: Architecture

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

There's a lesson down there in Queen St

News that Auckland City Council want to ban cars from Queen St, however temporarily, is just another chapter in a long story of unintended consequences.

Once upon a time, say about twenty-five years ago, retail rentals in Queen St outstripped retail rentals elsewhere by quite some margin. If you were a retailer or a shopper, this was the place to be in Auckland.

Then, to "encourage greater use of public transport," Auckland City Council began limiting the number of central city car parks that were allowed to be included in new developments. As car park numbers shrank, people didn't begin using buses, they simply went down the motorway to Newmarket. This is when Newmarket became the new shopping mecca that it is now.

Later on, in the mid-nineties, lower Fort St, Customs St and the Britomart area was a thriving night-and-day business and entertainment area. Then, to "encourage greater use of public transport," the Auckland City Council announced plans for a a large, new, downtown transport centre, and they began boarding up businesses and buildings in the area to make one.

Nearly ten years later the area was reopened, and those retail businesses and the landlords who had stayed in the area were found to be out of business, and the city's 'centre of gravity' had moved away from the shiny, new and expensive transport hub -- a hub that still remains well underutilised.

At the same time, private interests had been working away on privately owned shopping malls like St Lukes, Shore City and Westmall, doubling the capacity of these retail centres without closing down the retail businesses therein -- unlike the council's treatment of retailers, the mall owners treated their tenants with courtesy and respect -- which left these malls perfectly placed to pick up the increased retail traffic coming their way because of the ever-increasing council push to keep cars out of the city and to "encourage public transport use."

People didn't jump onto buses. The kept right on jumping in their cars, and headed off to the malls. This is when these malls became the real shopping meccas they are now for many people -- and once again the consequences that council planners intended were turned up on their heads. If people now want to go comfort shopping, they don't go to Queen St, they head off to the mall or to Newmarket (and retail rental levels reflect this reality).

And now? After more than two decades of council "encouragement," public transport use has still barely climbed above the levels of two decades ago, and no-one outside the twenty-storey council building would see Queen St as a retail mecca.

Where Queen St retail levels were once the highest in the country, Queen St retail rentals now lag rentals elsewhere by quite some margin, and Queen St itself is populated largely by two-dollar shops, cheap tourist tat, and shops serving the Asian student population who inhabit so many of central Auckland's former office buildings ... and the Auckland City Council are now talking about banning cars in Queen St.

They just don't learn. Perhaps the councillors could get in their own cars and head to Onehunga, which is another popular shopping destination, and another lesson for planners: Onehunga, which died as a retail centre when cars were banned from the main shopping street, has become increasingly popular as a shopping destination ... especially since the cars were allowed back into the main shopping street.

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Filibustering

For an explanation of how Bradford's anti-smacking Bill was delayed last night, read David Farrar's short summary of the methods by which a Bill may be filibustered.

And note too that before the last election Helen Clark -- who last night was whipping her MPs into the 'Yes' lobby -- answered an interviewer this way:
INTERVIEWER: "So you don't want to see a ban on smacking?"
HELEN CLARK: "Absolutely not. I think you're trying to defy human nature."
So much for election promises. (You can hear the audio of that interview throughout Leighton Smith's morning show on ZB. Here for example, during an interview with Maurice Wimpianson, who argues (correctly) that this Bill will put Nanny State right inside New Zealanders homes.

So who's up for a march on Parliament? Or on the offices of MPs who might be persuaded to cross the floor?

UPDATE 1: Here's the audio from Leighton Smith's show in a slightly better and more permanent package, courtesy of Whale Oil. Image courtesy of Murray: Helen's Mastercard Moments.

UPDATE 2: Barry Soper asked this direct question today of a dissembling Sue Bradford: "After this Bill becomes law, will parents be allowed to smack their children?"
Her response: "No."

Clear enough. those of you who deny that this is an anti-smacking Bill might wish to reconsider their position.

RELATED: Smacking

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All spent up and nothing to show for it

A twenty billion dollars spending binge every year ... and bugger all to show for it. That's the news that New Zealand taxpayers wake up to this morning after the Clark Government's eight-year spend-up which has seen an ever increasing burden of taxes imposed, and ever decreasing returns delivered.

The news is delivered in a new report from the Centre for Independent Studies showing that government spending is now higher by every measure than it was under Muldoon, and with as little to show for it. Notes the report:
Government spending in New Zealand is now $20 billion higher than it was in 2000, says the yet has delivered disappointing results. In this paper Phil Rennie analyses a range of social indicators and finds that little has changed despite a massive increase in funding. He argues that public spending in New Zealand has reached such a high level that it is now delivering diminishing returns.
The overspend is so much, notes the study, that if this extra $20 billion of expenditure was allocated to tax cuts, nearly all income tax could be abolished, and all remaining public services funded solely by a combination of GST and a low corporate tax rate. That's something low-paid Labour voters might care to consider, particularly since all available 'social indicators' have shown negligible improvements since 2000.

Life expectancy, infant mortality, hospital outputs, literacy, violent crime, suicide, poverty and income inequality have all barely changed, says the report, despite a massive increase in social spending.

This is a complete failure for the tax and tax, spend and spend policies pursued by the Clark Government -- an epitaph for Michael Cullen's eight-year ideological burp -- and an utter waste of some largely fortuitous economic golden weather that has been pissed away on middle class welfare and vote-buying, instead of allowing New Zealanders their own money to make real, quality investment for the future.

The 16-page report can be downloaded at the CIS website.

LINK: New Zealand's spending binge - Centre for Independent Studies [16-page PDF]

RELATED POSTS: NZ Politics, Budget & Taxation, Labour Party, Cartoons

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Wunsch still a warmist - Wunsch

Professor Carl Wunsch (right) says he was "completely misrepresented" by the film The Great Global Warming Swindle, and "totally misled" by the people who made it.
Carl Wunsch, professor of physical oceanography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the film, The Great Global Warming Swindle, was "grossly distorted" and "as close to pure propaganda as anything since World War Two." He says his comments in the film were taken out of context and that he would not have agreed to take part if he had known it would argue that man-made global warming was not a serious threat...
(Here's his very visible Mea Culpa to his colleagues for allowing himself to be included, which all but screams, "Don't worry! I'm still one of you!") Now, here's what he said in the film:
Transcript of TGGWS:

Professor Wunsch:
25:43 The ocean is the major reservoir into which carbon dioxide goes when it comes out of the atmosphere or to from which it is re-emitted to the the atmosphere. If you heat the surface of the ocean, it tends to emit carbon dioxide. Similarly, if you cool the ocean surface, the ocean can dissolve more carbon dioxide.

Professor Wunsch:
26:44 - The ocean has a memory of past events ugh running out as far as 10,000 years. So for example, if somebody says oh I'm seeing changes in the North Atlantic, this must mean that the climate system is changing, it may only mean that something happened in a remote part of the ocean decades or hundreds of years ago who's effects are now beginning to show up in the North Atlantic.

Professor Wunsch:
49:22 - The models are so complicated, you can often adjust them is such a way that they do something very exciting.

Professor Wunsch:
50:46 - Even within the scientific community you see, it's a problem.
If I run a complicated model and I do something to it like ugh melt a lot of ice into the ocean and nothing happens, ugh it's not likely to get printed. But if I run the same model, and I adjust it in such a way that something dramatic happens to the ocean circulation like the heat transport turns off, ugh it will be published. People will say this is very exciting. It will even get picked by the media. So there is a bias, there's is a very powerful bias within the media, and within the science community itself, toward results which are ugh dramatizable. If Earth freezes over, that's a much more interesting story than saying well you know it ugh fluctuates around, sometimes the mass flux goes up by 10%, sometimes it goes down by 20%, but eventually it comes back. Well you know, which would you do a story on? That's what it's about.

And here's the email sent to him, inviting his participation:
From: jo locke
Sent: 19 September 2006 16:22
To: Carl Wunsch
Cc: Eliya Arman
Subject: Climate Change Documentary
Dear Professor Wunsch,
Many thanks for taking the time to talk to me this morning. I foun
d it really useful and now have the issues much clearer in my mind.
I wanted to email you to outline the approach we will be taking with our film to clarify our position. We are making a feature length documentary about global warming for Channel Four in the UK. The aim of the film is to examine critically the notion that recent global warming is primarily caused by industrial emissions of CO2. It explores the scientific evidence which jars with this hypothesis and explores alternative theories such as solar induced climate change. Given the seemingly inconclusive nature of the evidence, it examines the background to the apparent consensus on this issue, and highlights the dangers involve
d, especially to developing nations, of policies aimed at limiting industrial growth.
We would like to do an interview with you to discuss the notion that there is a scientific consensus on the effects of global warming on the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt, the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Drift.
It has been widely reported that Britain and Western Europe could soon be plunged into a mini ice age, and we would like to show that it is simply not true that they will shut down. We would like to talk to you
about the numerical models and whether they give us a realistic perspective of the impact of climate change on the oceans. We would also like to talk to you about the 'memory' of oceans, and how it can take varying amounts of time for a disturbance to be readable in the North Atlantic.
Fundamentally, we would like to ask you whether scientists have enough information about the complex nature of our climate system.
Do the records go back far enough to identify climate trends, and can
we conclusively separate human induced change from natural change?
Our filming schedule is still relatively fluid at the moment, but we hope to be in Boston around the second week of November. Please don't hesitate to contact me or my producer, Eliya Arman, if you have any further questions, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Yours sincerely,
Jo Locke
Assistant Producer
WagTV
2d Leroy House
436 Essex Road
London N1 3QP

t 020 7688 5191 f 020 7688 1702
www.wagtv.com
Decide for yourself whether he represents someone who has been "duped," or a scientist wriggling under the light of the very real New McCarthyism that now affects all so-called "deniers."

Was Wunsch duped? Swindled? Misled? Or is he now simply trying to protect his reputation with his more warmist colleagues? You decide.

UPDATE: As always, Cox and Forkum get straight to the point:

LINKS: Scientists receive death threats for questioning global warming - Newsbusters
Scientists threatened for 'climate denial' - Sunday Telegraph
Soft censorship of global warming film - Bernard Darnton, Section 14
Swindled: Carl Wunsch responds - Real Climate

RELATED: Global Warming, Science, Free Speech, World Politics

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Lovell 'Health' House - Richard Neutra

Richard Neutra's Lovell 'Health' House.

Revolutionary when it was built in 1929 Los Angeles by Neutra, a recent Austraian émigré excited with the methods and materials of American industrialisation -- he boasted that all the 'parts' came straight from a catalogue -- but perhaps difficult to see now with fresh eyes. Too much bad imitation has made the original seem somewhat jaded to today's eyes.

A 'companion' to this one, the 'Lovell Beach House,' was built by Neutra's Austrian companion (and fellow Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiast) Rudolph Schindler.

RELATED:
Architecture

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

FREE RADICAL 74: The Environmental Noose is Tightening!

We often joke that each new Free Radical magazine is the best one yet. This latest issue really is the best one yet. Issue 74 of The Free Rad tackles all the popular delusions that threaten life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and gives you the ammunition to defend yourself against the purveyors of misery who promote them.

In this Free Radical, find out about:
  • The tightening environmental noose, and how, in their push to punish emitters, the high priests of the state religion of environmentalism are well on their way to criminalising productive activity altogether.
  • Global warming -- does the latest UN report mean "the panic is officially over"? Find out inside.
  • What's the inside word on Richard Dawkins and 'The God Delusion,' why has the delusion lasted so long and why does it infect morality so -- and what does the God delusion and its wall-to-wall sackcloth and ashes have to do with the environmental delusion of doom and gloom?
  • What makes talkback king Leighton Smith tick? And he seems so sensible, so why isn't he a libertarian?
  • The man who took a knife to a gun fight, and why the police want to crucify the man who didn’t.
All this and more, much more, including more leaked billboards, news of ethnic fundamentalism in New Zealand, more bans on free speech, the case for a new scientific enlightenment, why Sweden works (or appears to) ... and some welcome signs of victory over Nanny State. All this and more in the Free Radical magazine -- 74 blows for freedom and still going strong.

This is compulsory reading for everyone who swears off compulsion. Enlightening reading for everyone who values Enlightenment culture. Good reading for everyone who likes a good read. The Free Radical -- "a magazine of rare courage and intellect," says George Reisman.

Buy your copy now -- or a year's subscription to make certain you never miss a copy again -- and you can share his enjoyment.

THE FREE RADICAL: IT WILL MAKE YOU THINK!

The Free Radical. Subscribe now.

Free Radical 74: Buy your digital copy now (online shortly).

UPDATE: In response to several emailed questions: Yes, you can buy the Free Radical from most of the better newsagents who carry it, and order it from those who don't.

Those I know who do carry it include Borders and Whitcoulls in Auckland's Queen St and many Whitcoulls and Paper Plus branches, many Magazino branches, and at good old Magnetix in Lambton Quay. I'll see if I can get a complete list for you and post it later this 'arvo.

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Child beaters won't listen anyway

I paraphrase from Lindsay Mitchell:
Just as micro-chipping dogs does not stop dog attacks, neither will repeal of section 59 stop child abuse.
As Lindsay says, Sue Bradford's bill is a red herring. Removal of section 59 won't stop child abuse because child abuse is already against the law -- and none of the child abusers care. Removal of section 59 won't stop child abuse because it won't tackle the causes of child abuse, but it will make criminals out of good parents.

But good parents won't get prosecuted, you say? Remember to whom you're giving discretion: to Clint Rickards' colleagues. D'you trust Clint et al to exercise power with discretion?

Notice too that Sue Bradford, the promoter of repeal, says we'll all need to be re-educated to conform to her view of the world. As I've said before, this is about far more than just smacking: it's about getting the state further into families.

PS: Do you think the Pink Tories will overturn this when or if they come to power? Don't make me laugh.

UPDATE: Discretion? Don't make me laugh, says Police Association president Greg O'Connor [hat tip Sir Humph]:
O'Connor said police guidelines in their current form made it clear they would have no choice but to act on smacking complaints...

Unless there was a change to the guidelines once the law was passed, police would have no discretion. "If it is family violence and there is evidence of violence, the policy is quite clear, the offender must be arrested. "That means an admission or a witness saying they saw someone smack. Police will have no choice but to arrest a person acting on a complaint."
A commenter at the Humphs makes the telling point: "I think that the biggest impact the passing of this bill will have is not really going to be in the criminal courts but in the family court. Where there is a bitter divorce this will be a favoured weapon." And so it will.

RELATED POSTS ON:
Smacking, NZ Politics, Greens

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Global warming trek ends in frostbite

What do you have when a "consciousness raising" trip across the North Pole to highlight global warming winds up with the trekkers pulling out with frostbite? Answer: a good laugh, two emabarrassed activists, and a point that is the opposite of the one intended. It wasn't just cold, it was "quite a bit colder," than trekkers] Bancroft and Arnesen had expected.
One night they measured the temperature inside their tent at 58 degrees below zero, and outside temperatures were exceeding 100 below zero at times, [organiser Ann] Atwood said.
So these two did draw attention to something, huh? Yep. It's cold up there.

And in other news: Even the New York Times is now prepared to challenge Al Gore's beatification. "Some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous," concedes the Times, including:
  • his claims about the increasing severity and frequency of hurricanes;
  • his predictions of catastrophic sea level rises of up to 20 feet, inundating entire states like Florida (even the latest prediction by the alarmist UN climate panel is only 23 inches);
  • his declaration that recent temperatures are the highest in a millenium;
  • his smug assertion of a scientific "consensus" that humans are the main culprits in climate change;
  • his completely ignoring natural climate variability and historic cycles;
  • his warning that we face massive increases in malaria and other diseases due to warming; etc.
LINKS: From a rapt audience, a call to cool the hype - New York Times
Frostbite, equipment damage end latest Arnesen-Bancroft trek - Discovery

RELATED POSTS: Global Warming, Science

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When the truth really **is** inconvenient

THE GREAT GLOBAL WARMING SWINDLE is a wonderfully concise presentation of the issues around global warning -- the errors in the warmists' science; the claim that all warming is 'man-made' warming, and all scientists are in agreement; some possible explanations for natural causes; the politics behind the warmists' hysteria.

It's presented as the antidote to Al Bore's slick slideshow, and it sure as hell works.

Let's have a look at some of warmists' errors as highlighted in the film:
  • There has been no warming since 1998.
  • CO2 is not a pollutant -- indeed, it is what makes plants grow.
  • Most warming in the last 120 years took place before 1940 -- that is, before modern industrialisation took place before, and certainly well before the vast bulk of human CO2 emissions began (see pic above).
  • There is contrary evidence from 1940-75, when human CO2 production really began in earnest, and temperatures went down
  • There is no evidence that advanced global warming would be detrimental -- indeed there is much evidence that it would be beneficial.
  • There is no evidence that the upper atmosphere is warming, which is where the warmists' models say it shoud be.
  • There is no evidence, none at all, that global warming is man-made, and certainly not with the mechanism for warming that is frequently cited by the warmists.
CO2 is not even the primary greenhouse gas. That prize goes to water vapour, which contributes a massive 95% of beneficial warming, which reponds more to the sun and cosmic rays than to any human infuence. CO2 only makes up 3.5% of earth's greenhouse gases, and just a tiny 3% of that CO2 is attiributable to humans. The rest is all nature's work: Volcanoes. Rotting leaves. Animals. Add that up and human-induced greenhouse warming is an almost negligible 0.12% of all warming.

And the earth needs to warm, it needs its greenhouse gases; without it we'd all be dead.

The earth has been warmer, much warmier than it is at present -- in the Mediaeval Warm Period for example, when all those cathedrals were built; and right back too in the Holocene era when it was several degrees warmer -- and the polar bears didn't die then either.

In fact, temperature trends for the past 15,000 years include 10 large swings, including the Mediaeval Warm Period. These shifts were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.”

The warmists say that CO2 causes warming. If that's so, there's no evidence in the history. Never in recorded history has a rise in CO2 preceded warming. For good reasons, mainly to do with the oceans, it has always and everywhere followed warming, with a time lag of some eight-hundred years (see below left). There is no evidence that fundamental relationship has changed, despite the slick sleight-of-hand performed by Al Bore's slides.

And what of the claim that global warming exacerbates extreme weather events? Not so, says Richard Lindzen, who points out that the primary driver of weather events is the temperature gradient between the hot mid latidudes and the freezing poles. And what do you think happens if this difference is made smaller? You'll forgive me if I don't offer the person who answers correctly a chocolate fish.

Anybody who actually looks at the science and still takes the warmist hysteria seriously is really not seeing the forest, and may be looking too hard at the wrong trees, argues the film.

WHAT MAKES THE PLANET warm? The sun.

So what does the film suggest is making the planet get warmer? Yep. The sun. Sun activity provides a way better 'fit' with the temperature record says the film's scientists, and without that nasty eight-hundred year time lag that Al Bore glosses over. Note that it' s not incumbent upon skeptics to explain the cause of the recorded warming -- that is, the observed rise in the temperature record from 1975 to 1998. Nonetheless, the film makers offer a compelling answer.

MARCUS HAS MORE ON the film here. For a reasoned summary of objections to the film, Frogblog has the team at Real Climate, and former IPCC assessment committee co-chairman James Houghton doing his bit for his science (in two parts, here and here). Careful of the spin. For example, you will note that Houghton's story about Paul Reiter fails to tell the whole truth. It is not what Reiter himself reports, and indeed not what he reported in the film. Reiter wasn't upset that "his expert work on malaria failed to get recognition in the relevant IPCC chapter," as Houghton claims.

In fact, he was apoplectic because the chapter summary to which he had contributed was dead against the science; that it was written behind his back by non-experts, and released in a high-profile press conference to which he wasn't invited, and he had to resort to legal action to get his name removed from what he called "a sham." His later non-inclusion from the IPCC panel (despite nomination as a lead author by the US Government) in favour of non-experts speaks more of an attempt to manufacture a consensus than it does about science -- as Christopher Monckton describes it, "the panel vetoed his appointment because they knew he disagreed with the alarmist view that they were determined to purvey."

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Jorgine Boomer House - Frank Lloyd Wright

The Boomer House was designed for the Arizona desert back in the days before air conditioning made designing for the desert a doddle -- more than one client of my own has been captivated by the wonderfully playful intersection of geometries at work here.

As have I. :-)The picture comes from Wright's 1954 book, The Natural House.

RELATED: Architecture

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Time for building authorities to start wriggling

What are your chances of suing the state when the state gets it wrong?

What chance of suing one of the state's regulatory authorities when they get it wrong, and you end up paying for it? How about suing two state authorities, one regulatory and one advisory, who between them mandated, prescribed and certified construction techniques and materials upon which builders, designers, developers and home-buyers relied in good faith -- many of which turned out not to be worth the accreditation certificates upon which they were promoted.

Since the very first signs of a screw-up, the two authorities I describe -- the Government's building industry authority and the country's leading building research organisation -- have adopted a "Who, us?" approach to the houses crumbling around them, houses that for the most part were built by builders who were simply following what was required of them by the Government's building industry authority and by the country's leading building research organisation.

They've been dodging ever since. Until now. The Herald reports that an adjudication has just found against the two in a case involving a $4.6 million Ellerslie development (left), opening them up to a potential billion-dollar liability if that decision is supported in the High Court.

A while back I posted a wee fairy tale about a leaky home or two after a major court decision that did threw out acase against these two. It might be worth reading it again just to see what the stakes are:

Let me tell you a brief fairy tale.

Once upon a time, several years ago, in a land awfully much like this one, a government department called the BIA, and an eager young researcher cousin BRANZ, were set up to mandate and oversee standards and practices in buildings, to authorise and dictate building systems, and to stamp the government's authority on an errant building industry -- in essence to say what the King would and would not allow in building, and to give what they had allowed the Royal seal of approval.


Many people rejoiced that this would save them the brain-ache of being allowed to decide for themselves what was safe and sound. 'Stuff with our seal of approval is safe and sound,' said the nice bureaucrats. 'Excellent!' said the people. Meanwhile, those who did wish to decide for themselves were told not to. 'Don't worry,' the BIA and BRANZ told everyone, 'as long as you all do what you're told and as you're told and when you're told, we'll make sure nothing untoward happens to you.'


And for a while, everything was good in the BIA, and many careers in government were confirmed, and many building suppliers got rich by getting their building systems and their materials approved by the BIA; and many important meetings were attended, many bureaucratic salaries paid, and many BIA determinations and approvals issued.


And the little people of this fair land did all that they were allowed to do and all that they were told to do, and many houses on many hills were erected in the fashion that BIA determinations and approvals said they were allowed to be and told to be - and everyone knew they were safe and sound and could stop thinking for themselves, because as everyone knows the job of the King is to keep everyone safe and sound, and wasn't he and his men doing their job so well! 'Approved by the BIA.' 'Tested by BRANZ.' These were Royal seals of approval and official stamps of safety and soundness that could be relied up on to keep everyone warm and dry.

And lo, the people rejoiced in ther homes, and the bureaucrats rejoiced in their big, shiny offices that the people were made to pay for. And the King decided that all was good, and he went off to climb a mountain.


Until one day, the rains came. And it turned out the job had not been done so well; that some of what BRANZ
had approved and the BIA had determined had to happen shouldn't have happened at all. And then it also turned out that the people at BRANZ and the BIA were not all-seeing and all-knowing, and that their job had really been one of 'all care and no responsibility.' 'Whoops,' said BRANZ. 'Whoops,' said the BIA; and they they pointed fingers, changed their name, withdrew their approvals, and promptly vanished in a puff of bureaucracy.

And the good people of that merry, green land looked to each other and wondered why they had ever taken the government and their minions seriously. They wondered why they had worried more about 'fly-by-night' builders, when it was clearly 'fly-by-night' government departments that were the witches and warlocks.

And meanwhile, good builders and good designers and home-owners who had relied upon the determinations and approvals of BRANZ and the BIA as being safe, found that the policy of 'all care and no responsibility' only applied to government, and to government departments, (and of course to big suppliers with good political connections and big legal departments).

And the good people began fighting amongst each other. And many good people were ruined. And many other good people went to Queensland and retired. And the cost of building doubled in that green and merry land.


And everyone wondered why they had let it happen.
(Meanwhile, some others wondered whether the government should set up a Car Approval Authority, to take responsibility for approving second-hand cars before they're sold... 'Well, it works for houses,' said one wag.)

LINK: Top bodies found liable for leaky homes - NZ Herald

RELATED: Building, Housing, NZ Politics, Bureaucracy

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Warming? It's about politics, stupid.

Climate scientists unconvinced by the warmists' mantra and "who question mankind's impact on climate change have received death threats and claim to have been shunned by the scientific community" says the Daily Telegraph. The Telegraph summarises some of the threats, and also the claims of politicisation made by non-warmists in the film The Great Global Warming Swindle -- "several scientists claimed the theory of man-made global warming had become a "religion", forcing alternative explanations to be ignored."

Richard Lindzen pointed out in the film a reason for that new 'paradigm.' The budget for US climate science pre-IPCC was a modest $170 million, mostly going to sober and serious (and mostly un-newsworthy) research.

In a few short politically-driven years however, this had rocketed to over $2 billion -- a twenty-fold increase -- with all that funding politically dependent on the science of calamity. The scientists conclusions were too often the conclusions they were paid to find, or else.
  • "Scientists who dissent from the alarmism," says Lindzen, "have seen their funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves labelled as industry stooges. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science."
  • “Fact of the matter is that tens of thousands of jobs depend on Global Warming right now. It’s a big business.” Says Professor Patrick Michaels – Dept of Environmental Sciences – University of Virginia.

  • “Climate scientists need there to be a problem in order to get funding.” Says Dr Roy Spencer – Weather Satellite Team Leader – NASA.


LINK: Scientists threatened for 'climate denial' - (UK) Daily Telegraph

RELATED POSTS ON: Global Warming, Science, Politics

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Has apartheid gone from the curriculum?

Explicit references to Te Tweety in the draft education curriculum have gone, reports the Herald [Hat tip Elliot].
The Treaty was one of nine guiding principles in the previous curriculum adopted in 1993, which explained that the Treaty recognised "the unique position of Maori in New Zealand society".
Not any more -- at least, not in the draft. No surprise to find that some people are upset that "the unique position of Maori in New Zealand society" may not be taught to impressionable youngsters. But those people are not racists. Oh no.

LINK: Treaty omission in draft curriculum causes concern - NZ Herald

RELATED POSTS ON: Education, Racism, Multiculturalism

Hoshino Wedding Chapel - Karuizawa, Japan - Kendrick Bangs Kellogg Architects

TAGS: Architecture

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Monday, March 12, 2007

"What have you got?"

IN THE CLASSIC biker movie 'The Wild One,' gang leader Marlon Brando is asked what he's rebelling against. He shrugs, and mumbles, "What have you got?"

I was reminded of that this morning when reading of the latest comments of National's leadership "dream team."

Quizzed on tax cuts, Little Billy English says despite record government surpluses, his party is set to ditch its policy of tax cuts -- the Nats would not introduce extensive tax cuts if it was in power now.

Quizzed on housing, John Boy Key declared National is set to ditch its policy of market-related rents for state houses, and confirmed the National Socialists will build more state houses and stick with Labour's policy of income-related rents

So what will these two sell out next? "Well," I hear them saying, "What have you got?"

It's impossible to be any more pathetically ineffectual than these two Pink Tories. Anybody proud of them?

NB: Yes, I said I wouldn't post anything else today -- but how can you ignore this appeasing crap.

RELATED POSTS: NZ Politics, National Party, Hollow Men

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Your job for today: Watch THE GREAT GLOBAL WARMING SWINDLE

No posts from me today: there's only one thing you need to do today and that's to make sure you do whatever has to be done to see THE GREAT GLOBAL WARMING SWINDLE. The issue is one on which your whole future depends, and this film is the very best short exposure of the scam -- a one hour fifteen minute knife thrust to the heart of the nonsense. This is a film you must see -- you owe it to yourself, your business, your family and your future health, wealth and prosperity. It's THAT important.

Click the picture to see it online. Details below on how to order the DVD.

Photo by Jack Scoresby

Here's the original image that we used for the cover of the latest Free Radical:

The photographer is a chap called Jack Scoresby, who clearly has an eye for a powerful image. You can check out his work on Flickr. I'd like to thank him for allowing us to use his work on our cover.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

'The Great Global Warming Swindle' - NOW ONLINE

Screening last Thursday night in the UK, Martin Durkin's doco 'The Great Global Warming Swindle' has made an undeniable impact. So let me say right off the bat that you can now see it on the internet, and there's a link either at the foot of this post, or by clicking on the picture at left.

This is not a review, it is a flat-out endorsement: YOU MUST SEE THIS FILM!

It is the ESSENTIAL antidote to Al Bore's doomfest, and the single best short answer to all those seeking to shackle productivity in the name of 'carbon neutrality.' I suggest you do whatever you can to make sure that
you see it, and that as many warmists as you know see it with you.

Marcus Bachler summarises both the film and the reaction to it from the UK's major dailies, and Brian at Samizdata puts in his own two penn'orth.

Undeniably interesting is Durkin's background, alluded to in the Samizdata review, and profiled more fully by NBR's Nevil Gibson:
I hadn’t previously heard of him but Durkin is associated with the former UK-based Revolutionary Communist Party, a group that has moved from neo-Marxism to libertarianism. Its views can be found in the works of Frank Furedi (‘Politics of Fear’) and at spiked.com.

It believes poverty is solved by free trade and economic growth; that Marx was right about invincibility of capitalism and its ability to deliver prosperity (it is then a matter of spreading it around); and that bringing (electric) power to the people is a virtue.

While radical, the group’s pro-technology and anti-environmental stance, plus opposition to all forms of regulation and censorship, make it appealing to right wingers as well.

The enemy is new age socialism that favours heavy regulation and inhibits progress in favour of turning the clock back from globalisation and capitalism to a world where nature rules and (preferably) man has disappeared.

Durkin achieved notoriety for an earlier documentary, ‘Against Nature’ (1997), in which he exposed how the DDT ban now causes millions of deaths from malaria and why the campaigns against hydro-electric dams prevent the supply of safe water and sanitation to millions of others.

Durkin isn’t afraid to take his camera into the Third World hovels of Africa and the Indian subcontinent ... to show the wretched state of their inhabitants, who are denied the benefits of science and industry in the name of ‘sustainable development.’
And I'm sure you'll all be as pleased as I am to learn that you can see 'The Great Global Warming Swindle' for yourself at Google Video.

I'll be tuning in the minute I finish typing this up.

UPDATE 1: Amit at Thrutch lays out the bottom line:
Though debunking the bogus “science” behind the environmentalist movement is important, an editorial in today’s NY Times illustrates that, as with so many social/political issues, it is at the moral level that the battle truly must be fought. And in this sense, Objectivism is the only system that can offer a true (i.e. scientific) defense of man and his place on earth.

From the editorial:
Whether or not you agree with them about, say, homosexuality and abortion — and we emphatically do not — it is antiquated to limit the definition of morality to the way humans behave among humans.

Those days have been over ever since it became apparent that humans — busy thinking only about their own lives — had the power to destroy huge numbers of species, whole landscapes of habitat and, in fact, the balance of life on earth. The greatest moral issue of our time is our responsibility to the planet and to all its inhabitants.
Looks like there's one thing that Objectivists and Al Gore do agree on: that this is a moral issue. The difference is that Objectivists recognise that morality does not require sacrifice, and certainly not any sort of sacrifice to the high priests of a non-existent apocalypse.

UPDATE 2: The folks at WAG TV, the producers of this documentary, start producing DVDs on a small scale on Monday. Price: US$ 19.99 / £9.99. They also report they are seeking a mainstream US broadcast outlet.

If you want it screened on NZ TV, the best thing to do is write, phone, email or visit the two main broadcasters and insist (politely) that they do. TVNZ contact page is here; TV3's is here.

This is a film you have to get hold of and show all your warmist friends who have been seduced by Al Bore. It's a much better film than Bore's, and this one actually makes sense -- it is the single best one-hour-and-a-bit anti-warmist argument you can offer. It is that good!

UPDATE 3: Great interview at Spiked with Martin Durkin, director of The Great Global Warming Swindle, on green intolerance, soft censorship and his ‘dodgy’ Marxist background: 'Apocalypse, My Arse.'

LINK: The Great Global Warming Swindle - Google Video

RELATED POSTS ON: Global Warming, World Politics, UK Politics

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"Demonising drugs does more harm than good"

"Demonising drugs does more harm than good," says ... well, says who?

Blair Anderson and the Mild Greens?

David Slack?

NORML?

Nandor Tanczos?

Libertarianz?

The correct answer is (drum roll please) ... The Herald, reporting a British study with that telling conclusion -- one with which all those named above would, I'm sure, agree. "Drug laws are driven by "moral panic" says the study, "which concludes that most drugs have been wrongly "demonised."

Don't like that conclusion? Then take issue with the facts of the two year study, commissioned by the UK Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, who conclude that "whether we like it or not, drugs are and will remain a fact of life."

True enough -- if no government, however officious, can even keep drugs out of its prisons, then it's clear enough that drugs aren't just going to disappear by passing laws about it, no more than alcohol did when laws were passed prohibiting that. Realism, then, demands facing up to the many harmful consequences of prohibition, which this study concludes are more harmful than many of the drugs themselves.
"The use of illegal drugs is by no means always harmful any more than alcohol use is always harmful," Professor Anthony King of Essex University, the commission chairman told Britain's Daily Telegraph.Professor King added: "The evidence suggests that a majority of people who use drugs are able to use them without harming themselves or others... The harmless use of illegal drugs is thus possible, indeed common."
Which all makes the Libertarianz transitional policy on drugs look increasingly sensible: that is, legalisation of all drugs objectively shown to be less harmful that alcohol.

Any objections? Any reasonable objections?

UPDATE: The good chaps at Pacific Empire, who no more 'do drugs' than I do, argue compellingly that Graham Burton's post-release crime rampage was another harmful consequence of prohibition:
He was doing exactly what the cops do legally, just with more brutality. Taxation, confiscation and so on: just enforcing the laws. It does sound like the police turned a blind eye to him until his final rampage. A compelling argument for legalization is that it would remove a major source of violent crime - competition between drug dealers, who have no legal remedy against assault or theft, and can only retaliate in the same way, risking escalation.
RELATED POSTS ON: Victimless Crimes, Libertarianz

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