Monday, April 30, 2007

Making travel easier

I am on the road a lot these days, too much, if truth be told. Half the travel is in jet aircraft, and the other half in noisy little turboprops that threaten to loosen my fillings.

These good headphones make the experience better. Useful noise reduction, somewhere in the 20 - 25 dB range. Excellent, excellent sound quality, which we would expect from Sennheiser.

And if the batteries die in the part that takes the soundwaves and inverts them, the on-the-ear headphones still work. Clear advantage over Bose in this area.

A bit pricy at retail, but available on eBay at good discounts.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Product names you'll probably never see (part 1)

"Pit Stop" antiperspirant

"For the Mean Time" PMS medicine

"Remains to be Seen" embalming make-up

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Doing the math

Water vapour % of Greenhouse Gases: 97%
CO2 % of Greenhouse Gases: 1.9%
CO2 from natural sources: 1.84%
Man-made CO2 (balance) .06%

Let's see now. The change in CO2 concentrations that is caused by man-made emissions is the main factor that is driving temperatures upwards. For a while in the 1940-1975 period CO2 changes couldn't drive anything because temperatures fell while CO2 was rising. But whatever atmospheric anomaly occurred back then won't repeat itself. For sure. Even though we aren't quite sure what that anomaly actually was. Maybe the atmosphere hadn't read the script.

Yep, I'm satisfied. Stop the economy; we have identified the threat to our planet beyond a shadow of a doubt, and we know what we have to do.

I will gladly freeze in the dark, knowing I am saving the planet for my grandchildren.

We'll call this one "adios"

From a collection called 'the last picture I ever took' that friend Rusty sent around.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Adelson Illusion, proven

Our eyes interpret characteristics of three-dimensional representations in subjective ways, that make the illusion of three dimensions "work". Check this link and click on the question buttons for a really cool demo.

A newly-described contributor to global temperature cycles

One of the recurring themes of the IPCC and its supporters is "the science is settled". So what are we to do with an entirely logical, little-known, mathematically-demonstrable link between the roughness of the ocean and its exchange of heat with the atmosphere above it?

This study shows a link among conditions which lead to stronger winds, rougher seas and cooling temperatures, and, alternately, calmer winds, smoother seas and warming temperatures. The bottom line?
  • "Sea water emissivity amplified the solar influence on climate during the Medieval Warm Period"
  • "Wind dependant sea water thermal emissivity is a dominating climate parameter, also in comparison with anthropogenic atmospheric greenhouse gas and aerosol concentrations."
Imagine finding a dominating parameter, entirely unaccounted for in the climate models, that amplifies the effect of fluctuations in solar radiation. Now think of being a climate modeller, using fudge factors to cover all the things that you don't understand.

If the models were attributing changes in temperature to changes in CO2 levels, then suddenly there is less room left for CO2 to be an influence. Dr. Volz has found a significant new contributor to temperature regimes. Fear and loathing of CO2 emissions is suddenly sillier than ever.

An inconvenient truth indeed...

Only gangstas may call a black woman "ho"

There is justifiable outrage that some white sportscaster in the US has called the women of the Rutgers basketball team "hos".

There is no outrage from the same people, when virtually every gangsta rapper calls black women hos and bitches, and the accompanying videos reinforce the notion that women are simply there to shake their attractively rounded parts in the direction of the "artist".

No double standards here. Move on...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Adelson Illusion

The squares marked A and B are actually identical in tone. I will post the proof of this on the weekend. For now, just shake your head skeptically...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Arrogance and humility

"Save the planet!"

I am SO tired of hearing this admonition. It bespeaks the worst kind of arrogance, the kind that is wrapped up in false servitude and earnestness, while implying that the speaker knows what is best for all of creation.

My own view can be summarized as "Do what is right for those you care about - the planet can take care of itself."

Those who wish to roll back CO2 emission levels to their 1990 values are the noisiest these days. What was special about 1990? What is magic about CO2? What difference will it make? Nothing, nothing and nothing. But we will show our commitment to "saving the planet", and that's the most important thing, isn't it?

Just ask the families of malaria victims, a million deaths a year, about how they feel about "saving the planet" by forbidding the use of DDT.

We are merely foolish when we presume to know that which is beyond our understanding. We become arrogant when we seek to impose our foolishness on others. And when arrogance turns into bullying ("Silence them! The science is settled!") and theft (carbon taxes and imposing a market for carbon offsets), this so-called moral issue of Global Warming becomes cancerously immoral. If and when the solution imposes unemployment, personal danger and economic hardship on the world, it is not a stretch to call that solution "evil".

Jesus Christ models humility for us. Not the weak kind of humility where whatever you say or want is exalted over whatever I say or want, but the kind of humility that recognizes our human place in the world, and our relationship to its Creator and our fellow humans.

I don't believe that my own brand of faith must be imposed on anyone; it just makes more sense to me than anything else that I have looked into. Christ suffered, that we would have life. The relationship that God wants to have with us is based on free will, a great gift, and (in all likelihood) a great disappointment to God in the way we exercise it.

These days we could use more washing of feet, i.e. service to our brothers and sisters. We could use more humility, that not one of us has all the answers. We could definitely use more worshiping God in awe and gratitude.

These are the ways in which we will save the planet. Enjoy your Easter weekend.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Now THIS is cool

I hate jogging. The only times I have ever sustained any sort of exercise program have been the times that I was competing for something, and I needed to get into shape. The older I get, the fewer competitive athletic situations I find myself in, so the less exercising I do.

When a recent medical suggested that I had strength and flexibility but not enough cardio fitness, I figured I should do something. I also figured that if I didn't leverage my own temperament in some way, whatever the 'something' was, it was likely to be a flash in the pan.

Clearly, this calls for Technology, and plenty of it. Nothing like a good gadget to capture the Halfwise heart and mind.

Enter the Garmin ForeRunner 301. GPS. Heart Monitor. Training Log. Built-in rival to run against me. Cool device, available on eBay. The one I bought had been gently used, and arrived from Winnipeg at a very fair price. So far I have jogged twice with it, and am proud to report that the second time around the route my time was 45 seconds faster, and my average heart rate one beat per minute lower. This is the sort of artificial rivalry that can keep me going for months.

I can even track my running online at as well as on my own system. Compare times, pace, pulse rate, calories burned, lap times, elevation changes, etc etc.

Now Garmin has an even cooler one, called the ForeRunner Edge 305. Whatever gets your motor running...

It's time

Dear readers,
I imagine that the typical return visitor to this little blog can relate to the issues that are found here. So I have no hesitation in asking for your support of this effort, the National Resources Stewardship Project.

The NRSP offers an antidote to the mainstream 'the science is settled' bullying that passes for journalism these days. They need your money. I am pledging my support to them, for the first time.

As the scientific results come in with more plausible explanations of climate change than the oh-so-convenient CO2 hypothesis, the rhetoric ramps up. Today we were treated to the NY Times concluding that the third world would suffer disproportionately from Global Warming. Fear! Guilt! We are doomed and we caused it! There is more of this stuff coming; the public needs to hear a dissenting opinion. Then maybe gullible reporters will ask a few basic questions, and check some facts, before shilling for the doomsayers.

The NRSP is one voice that is making a difference already. Check them out. Then help them out. Please.