Saturday, November 28, 2009

Quote of the day

From my father-in-law, on Climategate:

"For someone interested in science, who loves the process, it's a black eye."

Friday, November 27, 2009


...Sunset. This was our view off the bacony at dinnertime. Unusually clear enough to see San Clemente Island (that little black smudge to the right of the sun - hey, it was a cameraphone picture, OK).
Great way to spend Turkey Day...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Enjoy your day. I know I will. Heading out to the beach on my bike - celebrating turkey day at the in-laws condo...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Now I can relax...

...Albeit briefly...
After frantically cramming for the best part of this last week, I finally took my certification exam today - along with 366 other people (minus the one guy who got caught trying to sneak in some notes), and I feel cautiously optimistic about it.
I got home, feeling like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and popped open my emails, to find one from an organization that I had applied at back in the beginning of October. "Congratulations" it opened up...
Apparently I had been selected from amongst the many applicants to proceed to the next step of the selection process, which is....
...You guessed it...
Another exam! With my choice of Dec 12th or Dec 19th as exam date.
Sigh. Back to the books...

Friday, November 20, 2009


HUGE news in the science world today...
It turns out that the University of East Anglia, Climate Research Unit - a facility funded to study Global Warming - got hacked this week. The data, containing a selection of over 1,000 emails over the past decade, as well as various other files and documents totalling about 62MB of information, was briefly posted up at a Russian server and quickly got disseminated throughout the internet.
It is now available here.
I first read of it last night at The Smallest Minority, but I didn't post on it right away because I wanted to see how things developed. The emails were quite damning, authored by and/or sent to some of the most prominent names in the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) camp, such as Michael Mann, the author/creator of the famous "hockey stick" diagram of warming, and some of the stuff in there seemed just a little too good to be true for Global Warming skeptics.
Well, the CRU confirmed today that it had been hacked, and Mann seems not a little pissed, which is unsurprising, because the contents of that data are more than enough to tarnish a number of careers.

Highlights include:
Deliberate fraud
Distorting data
Trying to delete information subject to a FOI (Freedom of Information) request
Conspiring to blackball scientific journals that publish dissenting views
Smug cheeriness at the death of a noted GW skeptic
Strategies to influence politicians at GW summits

Some thoughts...
Obviously hacking a research center like that is unethical, and it calls into question the validity of the data. That said, the consensus seems to be that it was an inside job, and may actually amount to whistle blowing, given the comments and practices outlined in the emails.
As to the veracity of the emails, at least some were genuine, as Phil Jones (CRU director) admitted as much, and Steve McIntyre, author of said the emails released that were sent to/by him were "100% genuine"*
The release of this information is not necessarily proof that GW does not exist; however, it is pretty damning evidence of some major ethical issues with those involved in collecting the data, their shouting down of opposition, and the overt politicization of the whole subject - a classic example of what happens when politics enters the scientific arena.
In short this "science" - if it can even be called that - is tainted.**
Proponents of GW theory have called upon masive government intervention in the form of higher taxes, limited freedoms and immense spending to "save the world" based on what is increasingly seeming to be fraudulent data.
This may be the biggest hoax perpetrated on the human race to date, and if this turns out to be true, then a lot of "scientists" need to be going to jail for a long time.
Not going to happen, of course, since this whole theory dovetails quite nicely with big government agendas, but one can at least hope that their careers will be over - at least within the scientific community.

I've long been skeptical of AGW, partly due to the alarmist tone of the reports, the idiocy & hypocrisy of their famous figurehead, as well as the cries of "consensus!" (as though science is a democratic process. Science deals in fact, not popularity, and any findings must be peer reviewed as part of the process. The well documented resistance to such review by those at the forefront of this theory raised a few hackles for me, to say the least), but mostly because of the sheer arrogance of anyone who can stand up and say that they have all the answers on a subject so vast, with so many known and unknown potential variables, as the climate of the entire planet, and who will either ignore or ridicule any data (and believe me, there's plenty) that does not fit their hypothesis.

I haven't seen much on the MSM yet - I'll be most interested to see how this is portrayed.
The BBC is focusing on the hack itself, rather than the data released, as is Nature.
More GW defenders starting their spin.

Either way, kick back and grab the popcorn, because this promises to be a wild ride...

*See comment #23773 here
**Providing all these communications are legitimate, of course

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Timeless...Prophetic even

Made in 1948. It's like they had a crystal ball, or something...

Watch the whole thing.

Sent to me via email.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Random stuff...

Number One Son's teacher found out what I do for a living (I'm an environmental chemist) and since the class just learned about the water cycle, he asked me to come in and speak to the kids.
I have the type of job that sounds cool, but two minutes into a description of what I do, eyes start to glaze over, regardless of the audience. I'll try to keep it at their level, and bring in some props, so maybe I can push it out to five minutes or so before the kids check out...

This last weekend was pretty busy again - I've been putting in quite a bit of time in lately trying to help get our tackle football league off the ground. We've distributed fliers to 38 elementary schools and 8 middle schools, I've personally spent lunch hours at two middle schools talking to kids about the program. We've tossed out 25,000 fliers in all, spent two weekends manning a sign up booth in front of our local Wal Mart, and we have just under 100 kids to show for it. It's really not enough. We were hoping to get somewhere in the region of 400 kids, but it's the wrong time of year I suppose to try and get commitments from parents, what with the holidays right around the corner and this crapulent economy doesn't help at all...

My beautiful, gleaming new AR that I loving built a couple of weeks ago has been languishing in my safe ever since, and it's starting to chap my ass. I'm itching to try it out, but I just haven't had the time lately. I don't see much free time in the immediate future either, worse luck. Doesn't help that my local range got shut down by some jackass with a lawsuit. There's another one a little further out, but I'm not very familiar with it and I'd like to test the waters before I bring out an OLL that they may or may not be cool with.

I'm taking a test this weekend for a certification, that I really need to be studying for, but I'm here blogging instead - hopefully it'll be an easy enough one... it better be, because I'm going to have to take it quick and get over to My Little Princess' dance recital twenty miles away from the test site. I am NOT going to miss that.

Sunday afternoon will probably be spent manning the sign-up booth... again...

I'm going to make some changes to my blogroll - it just keeps expanding... I'd also like to reciprocate, so if there's anyone out there that links to me, let me know and I'll return the favor.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Seems like someone over at Calguns has come up with an interesting idea to allow folks to carry concealed throughout the entire country...
Apparently, under HR218, law enforcement officers are able to do so - and the prerequisites for becoming an LEO can vary quite wildly throughout the country. Some places it seems require little or no LEO training (NOT California), so the idea is to contact one of these out-of-the way places and set up a program where a (fairly large)fee is paid, a background check is conducted, and LEO ID is issued. The ID holder would have no powers/authority outside his jurisdiction aside from the ability to carry concealed. Could be a pretty large shot in the arm for some needy community in these tough times.
Sounded a little shady at first, but it's an interesting thought exercise at least, and it typifies the out-of-the-box thinking approach to 2A problems that I have seen in the Calguns community. Naturally, the cops in the forum are not too supportive, but it seems like a lot of the other folks are. I'm interested to see how this plays out, if it even does. Doubt I'd jump on board though.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fort Hood

Major Nidal survived and will be going to trial... but I guess it has still not been determined whether he'll face a military or civilian court, at least according to his defense attorney, who was just on with Greta Van Susteren...
While I agree 100% with the concept that everyone deserves a fair trial, even a mass-murdering animal like Nidal who was caught in the act (sorry, I know - there's a presumption of innocence), I don't know if I would share the lawyer's sentiment that it is a "privilege" (his word, I swear) to defend such a creature.
Until the shooting, I confess that I had no idea that our military bases were "gun-free zones" (although I had heard grumbles around the internet in the past about having to register and check personal weapons with the base commander) and I have small hope that an incident such as this will change that policy. Our soldiers can be trusted to carry their weapons into battle, but in this day and age, where are the front lines? There are none, really. As Fort Hood demonstrated, our servicemen may need to do battle in their very homes.
Arm. Our. Soldiers.
Does the federal government understand how stupid that sounds, that we even have to demand that our guardians, our warriors who work tirelessly to protect us, be armed?
Well, it's out now - on every news channel. Looking for a safe, convenient place to go on a shooting spree? Look no further than your local neighborhood military base.

Lionel McIntyre, Master Debater...

... and Columbia professor, who in the midst of a heated discussion about "white privilege" - whatever the hell that is - realizing that he was not getting his point across to his opponent, a female white university employee, decided to reinforce his argument by putting his fist into her face.
Eloquently put, professor.
I'm sure she will come to appreciate the thrust of your argument now.
I really cannot communicate my contempt for men who treat women this way. That this man is in a position of responsibility with influence over young minds makes it all the more worse. You expect thuggish behavior from thugs, but university professors?
McIntyre, you are a complete scumbag. However passionately you feel about whatever cause du jour, on what fucking planet is it ever acceptable to hit a woman? Not only hit her, but punch her in the eye so hard it closed up. Wow, professor, there are some SERIOUS gaps in your societal education that really need to be addressed. Hopefully by the judge at your hearing, asshole.
The female, fearing repercussions (hmmm.... "Ivy League privilege", perhaps?) did not even press charges for three days. The professor was booked and released without bail because apparently he isn't a threat to society.
Unless you're white, female and happen to disagree with him.

All honor... those who have served.
Thank you for your sacrifice.

Friday, November 06, 2009

That was interesting...

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I took pretty serious issue with my pastor's sermon last Sunday. After some thought, and encouragement, and time to calm down some, I decided to fire off a snail mail letter to him expressing my opinion. In no way did I want or expect an apology, I just felt that I had some feedback that he needed to be aware of. After a revision or two (the first draft was a little, shall we say, caustic) I mailed it yesterday with more than a little apprehension. I had no idea how receptive he would be, if at all to the letter.
Today, in the early afternoon, I received a call from an unknown local number that turned out to be my pastor. We had a pleasant conversation (at least as far as I was concerned) and he apologised for the tone of his sermon, as well as a few of the details. This was a little awkward for me, as I really hadn't looked for an apology, I was just expressing my opinion and told him so. I still don't think an apology is really warranted. I am, however, more firmly convinced by his response and our conversation that this church was a good choice for mine and my family's spiritual home.
Nuff said, though I will be cringing in my seat this Sunday if he makes any mention of this. I wrote him a letter by snail mail rather than posting it here or on facebook to let him address it as he wished - or if at all, if that was his wont...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Fort Hood

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those caught up in the shooting at Fort Hood today, with the obvious exception of the perpetrator. He can go rot. I don't know matters military well enough to know how this crime will be handled, but I hope it falls under the military's jurisdiction. I don't think the army will take too kindly to a soldier shooting up a bunch of his own at all.
That's about all I'll have to say on the matter, at least until I know more.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

It's been a rough week so far

It started out on Sunday with me having to sit through a poorly conceived anti-evolution tirade by my pastor at church, who was clearly angry (as was I) about the events surrounding the gang rape of that poor girl up in Richmond.
Sunday afternoon was spent manning a booth for our league's new tackle football program, which culminated in very few signups and a realization on my part that I wasn't going to see any NFL games at all, since the World Series was on.
As for the rest of the week, I've been getting progressively more sick with the attendant flu-like symptoms and rotten disposition. Feeling crappy, but not quite bad enough to call in.
The icing on the cake was my learning that our lords and masters in Sacramento have decided to avail themselves of an interest-free loan taken from the taxpayers without so much as a please or thank you as an idiotic and unethical budget shortfall stopgap, starting this week. I'm not kidding. Since it's not strictly a tax increase, (we'll supposedly get it back come tax time), those grasping thieves managed to slip this one under the radar. So until tax time, they'll get to use that money of mine, not me.
Well, maybe the rest of the week will improve.

Last night

I finally realized the cause for the incessant ache I've been experiencing in my right elbow joint of late - and no, it's not what you may be thinking, thankyouverymuch...
When I take our big dog, Lena, out for her last potty break of the day, I hold the leash in my right hand. Being the last break of the day, it is always after dark, and living at the foot of the mountain means there are plenty of rabbits around. Lena has a strong prey instinct, made all the stronger by having caught and eaten a couple of these critters, so she knows full well how yummy they taste. Being the one responsible for cleaning up the gastrointestinal explosions that result from these deviances from her diet, I am quite reluctant to let her have any more.
So, the result is a wrestling match every evening where she spots a bunny, launches herself at it and yanks on the leash. Hard. Multiple times. Whereupon I yank back to regain control.
There you have it. See, I can figure things out eventually. Usually.