Dog Brothers Public Forum
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
71873 Posts in 2164 Topics by 1022 Members
Latest Member: RSB
 Show Posts Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 56
 1 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: May 11, 2013, 04:28:30 PM
 2 DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: March 8-10, 2013 DBMA Training Camp on: March 01, 2013, 08:59:02 AM Excited to be signed up and attending. Trust my aging and out of shape carcass will manage to keep up. Plan to stay at the hotel, but won't be able to book it until I'm sure a potential complication isn't going to sneak up on me. If worse comes to worse, got a couple of trees I can hang a hammock from? I backpack a lot and it's my preferred way of snoozing in the field. More than happy to share my shower if I do manage to book a room. Look forward to training with y'all.
 4 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Carbon Sequestration Masks on: December 05, 2012, 08:12:52 AM At climate talks in Qatar (something of an oxymoron to begin with) participants are duped into wearing a "carbon sequestration" mask. Critical thinking does not seem to be something the participants caught here are endowed with: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/04/doha-delegates-pwned/
 6 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How Many are Too Many? on: November 28, 2012, 08:41:18 AM QuoteYou seem unfamiliar with the concept of deterrence. Using your logic, the razor wire and gun towers that guard the perimeters of medium/high security prisons are unneeded, as they rarely have prisoners try to escape that way.Poor analogy. Razor wire demonstrably keeps felons in prison, security theater demonstrably does not keep box cutters out of secure airport areas.QuoteBecause the American public demands security and also demands convenience and the USG lunges for every high tech "solution" drug before it in an attempt to placate the citizens.Correct, and thanks for making my security theater argument for me, though I wouldn't characterize the current autocratic regimen as "convenient." QuoteYou kind of gloss over how important it is to keep flammibles and explosives off of aircraft, as well as firearms.While you gloss over how easy it's proven to get the same past the TSA. Is effectiveness not something we can demand, or is confusing gross and ineffective intrusions for security acceptable to you? BTW, as I've already mentioned, a bomb placed up a person's rectum has been used in an assassination attempt, while rumors abound regarding explosive breast implants. By you logic shouldn't Americans be dropping trou, bending over, and coughing or getting mammograms before boarding an aircraft? Your security uber alles take on things would seem to necessitate those sorts of intrusions. Why are you not making arguments for those measures? You're not weighing the benefits and costs of doing so while taking me to task for suggesting the same, are you? QuoteWhat's the libertarian solution to this threat?Get the vast, ineffective, bumbling, autocratic TSA out of the picture and let private firms run security as they are all ready doing at other airports with measurably better results. I'd also start talking to the American people like adults, rather than treating them like sheep, telling them that we live in a violent world with violent people and that it is not possible to anticipate or address all possible threats, and indeed that attempts to do so in fact play in to the hands of our enemies as those measures create the exact kinds of disruptions our enemies intended. I would make the actuarial point that the amount of time currently spent in line awaiting security theater performances greatly exceeds the number of life hours lost in past attacks and so some sort of rational benefit/risk assessment has to come into play as it does in all other activities from driving to walking into a 7/11 at night. I note, by the way, when we get into these exchanges you regularly disparage my Libertarian creed, and I confess that grates on me as it doesn't seem too far removed from denigrating someone's religion or heritage. You've made it abundantly clear that you feel the founding values of this nation are an inconvenience where security is concerned and that extra-constitutional end runs are therefor more than justified; as such I understand you view my embrace of liberty as a trifling thing to be dismissed with disdain, along with all those dead white guys who attempted to found a nation based on inexpedient principles of liberty. While doing so, however, it'd be nice if you could find a way to be dismissive based less on my creed and more on the issue at hand. As that may be, is it safe to assume you have no issue with 250 Americans dying a month directly due to TSA's onerous and ineffective measures? If so, how many Americans are too many to kill to keep Americans safe?
 7 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / High Sticking on: November 28, 2012, 07:32:23 AM Nice overview of sundry hockey stick foolishness. Doomed Planet“Today’s debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom. The environmentalists would like to mastermind each and every possible (and impossible) aspect of our lives.”Vaclav KlausBlue Planet in Green ShacklesSpeak loudly and carry a busted hockey stickby Walter StarckNovember 19, 2012The average temperature for the Earth, or any region or even any specific place is very difficult to determine with any accuracy.  At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. Weather stations are relatively few and located very irregularly. Well maintained stations with good records going back a century or more can be counted on one’s fingers. Even then only maximum and minimum temperatures or ones at a few particular times of day are usually available.  Maintenance, siting, and surrounding land use also all have influences on the temperatures recorded.The purported 0.7°C of average global warming over the past century is highly uncertain. It is in fact less than the margin of error in our ability to determine the average temperature anywhere, much less globally. What portion of any such warming might be due to due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions is even less certain. There are, however, numerous phenomena which are affected by temperature and which can provide good evidence of relative warming or cooling and, in some cases, even actual temperatures. These include growth rings in trees, corals and stalactites, borehole temperature profiles and the isotopic and biologic signatures in core samples from sediments or glaciers. In addition, historical accounts of crops grown, harvest times, freezes, sea ice, river levels, glacial advances or retreats and other such records provide clear indication of warming and cooling. Recent Warming Nothing UnusualThe temperature record everywhere shows evidence of warming and cooling in accord with cycles on many different time scales from daily to annual, decadal, centennial, millennial and even longer. Many of these seem to correlate with various cycles of solar activity and the Earth’s own orbital mechanics. The temperature record is also marked by seemingly random events which appear to follow no discernable pattern.Over the past 3000 years there is evidence from hundreds of independent proxy studies, as well as historical records, for a Minoan Warm period around 1000 BC, a Roman Warm Period about 2000 years ago, a Medieval Warm Period (WMP) about 1000 years ago and a Modern Warm Period now developing. In between were markedly colder periods in the Dark Ages and another between the 16th and 19th centuries which is now known as the Little Ice Age (LIA). The warmer periods were times of bountiful crops, increasing population and a general flourishing of human societies. The cold periods were times of droughts, famines, epidemics, wars and population declines. Clearly life has been much better in the times of warmer climate, and there is nothing to indicate that the apparent mild warming of the past century is anything other than a return of this millennial scale warming cycle.Good News Unwelcome to AlarmistsThis rather good news about a possibly warmer climate has not met with hopeful interest from those who purport to be so concerned about the possibly dangerous effects of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). On the contrary, their reaction has overwhelmingly been a strong rejection of any beneficial possibility. It is apparent that their deepest commitment is to the threat itself and not to any rational assessment of real world probabilities or the broader consequences of any of their proposed remedies.Fabricating a Hockey Stick from Hot AirThis blanket rejection of any possibility other than the hypothetical threat of AGW has led to some strange behaviour for people who modestly proclaim themselves to be the world’s top climate scientists.  Not only have they ignored and dismissed the hundreds of studies indicating the global existence of a Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, they have set out to fabricate an alternate reality in the form of a graph purporting to represent the global temperature for the past thousand years. It portrays a near straight line wiggling up and down only a fraction of a degree for centuries until it begins an exponential rise gradually starting at the beginning of the 20th century and then shooting steeply up in the latter part of that century. This hockey stick-shaped graph was then heavily promoted as the icon of AGW. It appeared on the cover of the third climate assessment report of the IPCC published in 2003 and was reproduced at various places in the report itself.Among the emails between leading climate researchers released in the Climategate affair were a number which revealed a concerted effort to come up with some means to deny the existence of the MWP. The implement chosen to do this became known as the Hockey Stick Graph.The methodology used to construct the graph involved the use of estimates of temperatures from a very small sample of tree growth rings from the Yamal Peninsula in far northern Siberia and ancient stunted pine trees from near the tree line in the High Sierras of California. This data was then subjected to a statistical treatment later shown by critics to produce a hockey stick form of graph even when random numbers were used as raw input data. To make matters even worse, the same tree ring data also indicated a significant decline in temperature for the 20th century, but this was hidden by burying it in a much larger number of data points from instrument measurements. The resulting study was published in the prestigious scientific journal, Nature in 1998. Remarkably, this very small, highly selected and deceptively manipulated graph was proclaimed to be an accurate representation of global temperatures and the extensive body of contrary evidence was simply ignored.Continuing the Game With a Busted Stick When serious shortcomings of the hockey stick study began to be exposed and questioned the climate alarmists closed ranks and proclaimed their preeminent authority and expertise but refused to engage in any genuine scientific debate with their critics. Instead, they appealed to a supposed consensus of experts, peer review, and personal denigration of any who dared to disagree.All of the name calling, pissing contests over credentials and abstruse statistical manipulations made it difficult for the general public to come to any conclusion. Regardless of various provable errors and conflicting evidence, the alarmists could and did simply ignore it all and claim the HS graph as gospel truth.Then came Climategate. Obvious scams, lies and connivance are something that doesn’t require a computer model or a PhD to recognise. In the Climategate emails discussion of things like things like “…Mike’s Nature trick…,”, manipulations to “…hide the decline”,  requests to destroy correspondence, efforts to supress publication of conflicting studies, vilification of critics, and abuse of peer review were matters anyone could see were not ethical. Certainly they were not the kind of behaviour we should expect from high level scientists whose advice we are being asked to accept in policies that could be expected to have major effects on the prosperity of our entire society.The loss of public trust and credibility resulting from Climategate was immense and has been compounded by additional ongoing exposures of misconduct, repeated failures of alarmist predictions and the slow motion economic train wreck of green energy initiatives.Although one might rationally expect that the obvious collapse of alarmist momentum would have them reassessing their approach and perhaps even the validity of their earlier assumptions, it seems that the idea that they may have been wrong in any respect must be be inconceivable to them. Instead, their response to conflicting reality and declining credibility has been only to declare still greater certainty and ratchet up the alarm to an even less believable level of hype.If at First You Don’t Succeed, Repeat the FailureIntroduction of the carbon tax in Australia was supposed to lead the world along the path of righteousness toward cheap renewable energy and environmental correctness. Unfortunately for the current government both economic reality and climate itself have not co-operated. The intended good example is becoming one of an obvious foolishness to be avoided and nobody is following. Ongoing exposure of scientific misconduct by alarmist researchers and repeated failure of their predictions haven’t helped either. The alarmist community is in disarray and becoming increasingly shrill in the tone of their pronouncements. The need for strong new scientific evidence to reinforce the shredded remnants of their discredited claims is becoming desperate.CSIRO has tried to help with a series of increasingly dire predictions but having become a heavily bureaucratised and politicised institution they have been careful to cover their backsides with qualifiers and disclaimers which dull the sharp edge of hype, certainty and urgency needed by government. However, through generous grants government has also bought and paid for reliable cadres of university based academics whose funding and even whole careers are now based on research into Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW). Although science may aspire to value free objectivity, it is observable fact that when generous funding is provided to study a purported problem, one thing is certain. It will never be found that there really wasn’t one.In early June this year a new research report announced the finding of a distinct hockey stick shaped graph for Australian climate over the past millennium. If correct, this would be of great value in supporting the faltering case for CAGW. As the original HS graph was based entirely on data from the northern hemisphere, finding the same pattern from the Southern Hemisphere would bolster the claim that the recent warming is indeed global and unprecedented. Based on different much more extensive data and free of the inappropriate statistical treatment of the original HS study, this new one would also greatly bolster the tattered credibility of the original study.The new study appeared in Journal of Climate under the title, "Evidence of unusual late 20th century warming from an Australasian temperature reconstruction spanning the last millennium". It was authored by Joelle Gergis, Raphael Neukom, Ailie Gallant, Steven Phipps and David Karoly.   In mid-May 2012 it was made available online in preprint form, having been peer reviewed and accepted for print publication in an upcoming issue of the journal. In a number of key aspects what followed has been a rerun of the original HS story. Shortly after the online preprint appeared, the Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre pointed out that a statistical procedure which was stated in the Gergis et al. study to have been applied had not in fact been used.Not coincidentally, it was McIntyre who exposed the statistical shortcomings in the original HS study.Although advanced statistical analysis is widely used in science, very few researchers have a thorough mathematical understanding of what they are doing in this regard. Most are simply following a recipe. However, there is little risk of having to justify the validity of anything as their peers are not statisticians either. McIntyre has an unfair advantage in this. He is a genuine expert in statistics critiquing the work of researchers who are really not very skilled in his discipline. What ensued in subsequent critical discussion on the Internet and in emails between the authors, their colleagues and the journal editors was a litany of shifting denial, obfuscation, excuses, trivialisation and denigration that could have been borrowed from the original HS script. Without going into the tedious and tawdry details (readily available on the net), the key points of the story are that in response to McIntyre’s finding of the statistical problem the authors announced they had already discovered it themselves the day before McIntyre pointed it out, and that it was really just an oversight in the data processing routine which could quickly be corrected and would have no effect on the overall findings of the study. The journal editors accepted this and gave the authors a deadline with sufficient time to rerun the data routine and make any necessary corrections to the MS.After much speculation in the blogosphere and varying opinion among the authors and their supporters about what to do and how it might affect the outcome, the deadline passed without a corrected MS being received by the journal. The editors then asked for the study to be withdrawn. Such a request is the scientific equivalent of hara-kiri, a dishonour so great that the only honourable atonement is what amounts to ritual scientific suicide.If, as publically maintained, all that was involved was a data processing error which could easily be corrected and would have no important effect on the outcome, surely the correction would have been made. However, email correspondence between the authors (which became available through an FOI request) revealed a concern that if properly applied the omitted data processing routine would not result in the desired HS graph or, if it did so, would at best yield only highly uncertain results.The direct cost of this fiasco to taxpayers is reported to have totalled some $950,000 in research grants from 2009 to 2012. To further this failed work the latest Australian Research Council grants announcement also lists another$350,000 in funding to the lead author approved for 2013 – 2015.  The climate gravy train can provide a sumptuous ride for those whose work shows promise of producing what the government wants. Climatology - Science or Ideology?Climatology is no longer recognisable as a science but has morphed into a fundamentalist ideology of a millenarian nature. Science only serves it to enhance claims of authority and certainty. Scientific ethics and evidence are employed selectively in accord with the noble cause of saving the planet from the corruptions of humanity and capitalism. Any conflicting reason or evidence is never sufficient for doubt but is only a test of faith to be overcome. Any opposing argument is not simply incorrect but driven by wilful evil, in league with big business if not Satan himself.For third rate academics CAGW has much to offer. One doesn’t need to be particularly capable to speculate about some dire consequence of warming, receive widespread publicity and be treated as an important expert. Unlike in real science, no colleagues will dispute them and the few sceptics willing to question anything will generally be ignored and denigrated by all their peers. The news media will describe them as experts and provide the public attention they know they deserve but somehow had never been recognised by anyone else until they climbed onto the climate bandwagon. Grants then flow and jetting off to attend important conferences in attractive places with all expenses paid provides frequent welcome breaks from the tedium of academia. Perhaps best of all, is a delicious feeling of importance and moral superiority over all of the high achievers striving so hard to discover something of consequence about the real world.  The only personal cost is to one’s own scientific integrity and that’s not worth much if one is just another unrecognised minor league academic no one had ever heard of before they joined into the climate alarm. In any case, saving the planet is the noblest of all causes and absolves any tinge of guilt in such regard.Uncertainty and a Duty of CareRecently an Italian court sentenced several scientists to jail terms in connection with a failed prediction regarding an earthquake. The court decision provoked widespread condemnation from the global scientific community because earthquakes are beyond the ability of current science to predict. However, the legal basis of their culpability was not in failing to predict the quake but in falsely asserting certainty in their own prediction. In this instance the scientists assured the local population that there was little risk of a dangerous event and that they should all go home, have a nice bottle of wine and not worry. A strong quake took place and several hundred people were killed.The situation was perhaps exacerbated by a conflicting opinion from an independent researcher who had detected a sharp rise in radon gas in the air and felt this was evidence of an impending temblor. The government experts disagreed and assured everyone they were the experts and they were confident there was little or no risk.If scientists are going to claim high levels of expert authority they have a duty of care to make clear the level of uncertainty in their predictions. This is especially so where there are potentially major detrimental consequences from following their advice should it prove to be incorrect. The essential difference between belief and science, or between alarmists and sceptics, is that the former assert certainty while the latter admit room for doubt. False claims of certainty and expertise by alarmist researchers have been a major obstacle to any rational public debate of the matter.Fantasies vs. RealityIn the meantime, while we have been indulging the fantasies of activists and academics vying for our attention on the threat of CAGW, the economies of the developed world have come to teeter on the brink of financial chaos.Democracies everywhere have voted for more government and more benefits than their productive sectors can support. Deficits are now chronic and blowing out while productive activity struggles under the burden of ever more government imposed restrictions and demands. The climate-alarmist push to penalise and restrict the use of fossil fuels and force the premature adoption of expensive, inadequate, unreliable renewable energy is a dagger to the very heart of our society at a time of great vulnerability. Ironically, if the alarmist aim is achieved they themselves, the urban non-producers, will be among the first to become truly unsustainable. The next few years look to become a decisive reality test.  In news just in (and curiously ignored in the mainstream Western media) it is reported that for the first time since it began The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was not invited to attend an upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference. Could it be that in a global financial crisis nations have finally come to realise that climate hysterics are more of a problem than a solution?http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2012/11/speak-loudly-and-carry-a-busted-hockey-stick
 8 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: November 27, 2012, 09:23:16 AM QuoteSmoking rubble filled with body parts where towers once stood is part of the cost, which is ignored by the article you posted. How many 9/11 attacks a week can we absorb until we move back to trying to secure aviation ? Or did I miss out on the al qaeda surrender ceremony?An appeal to emotion. What a surprise. Remind me again how many terrorist plots the TSA has foiled. Some number less than one, yes?And did you read the news about how the nudie scanners were prone to breakdown and generally gumming up the flow through security so they've been removed from large airports and sent to smaller ones . . . that are too small to accommodate them and so now that critical piece of infrastructure that formerly was all that stood between us and more postulated smoking holes sit in warehouses across the country. Couple billion burnt on the altar of security theater. Lovely planning abilities shown by the folks in charge of airport security. Confidence inspiring.Then there's the fact the TSA regularly fails security audits, is currently unionizing, and regularly produces nasty employees that make it into the news. Hardly inspires confidence in the organization and its management abilities, either. Add to that the smoking holes were created by a couple smuggled box cutters; do you have any doubt that a couple more box cutters could be smuggled past these clowns? The TSA appears to be of the opinion American citizens are sheep that need to be herded on to aircraft, yet the only instances where Al Qaeda was foiled in their attempts occurred when non-sheep stepped up and shut the attacks the fornication down. But hey, let's keep trying to cow Americans into meekly submitting to "security" measures that in fact would do little to slow a committed terrorist down. The reason there have not been more smoking holes is because our enemies have opted not to commit the resources to creating them. They have in fact succeeded in creating ongoing disruptions having enlisted the petty and short sighted bureaucrats of the TSA to impose ham-fisted security theater measures that regularly fail when audited and no doubt would do so again when dedicated terrorists get around to attacking the air travel infrastructure. But hey, in the interim let's kill 250 Americans a month on roads while wasting countless man hours standing in dubious security theater lines so the TSA can conjure and illusion of security while practicing DC CYA along the way. The bad guys need a good laugh every now and then too; I've little doubt the TSA provides them.
 9 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: November 26, 2012, 02:13:08 PM QuoteDo the people in the buildings struck by hijacked aircraft get a voice in the matter?No more voice than the 250 a month dying on the highways do as part of the TSA's ongoing production of Security Theater. Or are we in some sort of zone where benefits and costs aren't allowed to be weighed or even mentioned?
 10 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 242 Per Month on: November 21, 2012, 08:42:02 PM How TSA Kills Peoplefrom John Stossel by John StosselThere are plenty of news stories this Thanksgiving about TSA incompetence. But having to deal with lines, groping, and rude agents may not be the worst thing about the TSA. The worst thing may be that, to avoid the TSA, some people drive instead of fly - and that is far more likely to get them killed.As Bloomberg writer Charles Kenney points out:"To make flying as dangerous as using a car, a four-plane disaster on the scale of 9/11 would have to occur every month, according to analysis published in the American Scientist. Researchers at Cornell University suggest that people switching from air to road transportation in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks led to an increase of 242 driving fatalities per month-which means that a lot more people died on the roads as an indirect result of 9/11 than died from being on the planes that terrible day."The trend towards driving instead of flying has grown since the TSA started. This Thanksgiving, AAA estimates that 4.5 million people will fly for the holiday and 31 million will drive. Before the TSA, on Thanksgiving AAA estimated there would be 6 million flyers and 28 million drivers.Thanksgiving travelling.............2000.........2012Flying.....6 million....4.5 millionDriving...28 million...31 millionSlate blogger Matt Yglesias is right to question whether the TSA is so bad that even having NO airport security might be better.The best solution would be to allow airports and private companies to set their own security measures, as I reported in this segment.http://www.foxbusiness.com/on-air/stossel/blog/2012/11/21/how-tsa-kills-people-0
 11 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Snowballing on: November 16, 2012, 08:48:30 PM
 12 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / No Percentage in Initiative on: November 16, 2012, 08:14:21 PM Why the U.S. Job Market Remains Terribly Bleak By John C. Goodman  |  Posted: Fri. November 16, 2012, 4:24pm PTAlso published in Forbes on Thu. November 15, 2012Full time work is about to get scarcer. The reason? By hiring part-time workers who put in less than 30 hours per week, employers can avoid a mandate dictated by the new health reform law: either provide expensive health insurance or pay a fine equal to $2,000 per worker. Avoiding the mandate becomes even more attractive for low-wage employees, since they can get highly subsidized insurance in the newly created health insurance exchanges. According to the Wall Street Journal:Darden Restaurants [parent of Red Lobster and Olive Garden] was among the first companies to say it was changing hiring in response to the health-care law.Pillar Hotels & Resorts this summer began to focus more on hiring part-time workers among its 5,500 employees, after the Supreme Court upheld the health-care overhaul.CKE Restaurants Inc., parent of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s burger chains, began two months ago to hire part-time workers to replace full-time employees who left.Home retailer Anna’s Linens Inc. is considering cutting hours for some full-time employees to avoid the insurance mandate if the healthcare law isn’t repealed.In a July survey, 32% of retail and hospitality company respondents told [Mercer] that they were likely to reduce the number of employees working 30 hours a week or more.Clearly the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is a major factor holding back economic recovery. But it’s not alone. Other public policies enacted during the Obama administration’s first four years have been affecting the supply side of the market.A new book by University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan explains that through a major expansion of the welfare state we are paying people not to work:n the matter of a few quarters of 2008 and 2009, new federal and state laws greatly enhanced the help given to the poor and unemployed—from expansion of food-stamp eligibility to enlargement of food-stamp benefits to payment of unemployment bonuses—sharply eroding (and, in some cases, fully eliminating) the incentives for workers to seek and retain jobs, and for employers to create jobs or avoid layoffs.Mulligan gives the example of a two earner couple—each earning$600 a week. After the wife gets laid off she obtains a new job offer, paying $500 a week. But after deducting taxes and work related expenses her take home pay would be$257. Since untaxed unemployment benefits total $289, clearly she is better off not working.All in all, Mulligan estimates that about half the precipitous 2007-2011 decline in the labor-force-participation rate and in hours worked can be blamed on easier eligibility rules for unemployment insurance, food stamps and housing aid.As Steve Moore writes in a review of Mulligan’s book:The annual value in average benefits for not working rose to$14,000 per recipient in 2011—the high was $16,000 in 2009—up from$10,000 in 2007. Such increases were inversely related to changes in average hours worked. On average, Americans worked a stunning 120 fewer hours in 2009 than in 2007—the largest contraction in work effort of any recession since the Depression. Since 2009, work hours and labor-force participation have remained at record lows even though the recession officially ended in June 2009.Mulligan notes that it was the collapse of the housing market that set off the financial crisis that led to the Great Recession. But our problems are not confined to housing. They are systemwide. For every one job lost in construction, five others were lost is other sectors. One thing that affects all sectors, however, is overly generous incentives not to work.Another frequently heard explanation for the slow recovery is the Keynesian idea that there has been a lack of consumer spending—which caused businesses to cut production and lay off workers. Yet:Mulligan shows that, during the worst of the 2008-09 troubles, most sectors “outside of hard-hit construction and manufacturing…increased their use of production inputs other than labor hours.”…“Businesses perceive labor to be more expensive than it was before the recession began,” Mulligan writes. The reason for the added cost was that easier requirements for benefits—even as the government was pumping “stimulus” money into the economy— unwittingly reduced the supply of workers.Meanwhile, health reform will require family coverage that is expected to average more than $15,000 a year. For$15 an hour employees, that sum equals more than half their annual wage. Unless they move to part-time employment or pay a hefty fine, employers of low-skilled workers are about to get hit with mandated benefit that will increase their labor costs by 50% or more.To make matters worse, employers don’t really know what insurance they will have to provide or what it will cost. The $15,000 number I refer to is an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office. And even though employers will have the option of paying a$2,000 fine, does anybody think the fine is likely to stay that low?The uncertainty created by all this is possibly worse than the actual monetary burden.John C. GoodmanJohn C. Goodman is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and President and Kellye Wright Fellow in Health Care at the National Center for Policy Analysis. The Wall Street Journal and the National Journal, among other media, have called him the “Father of Health Savings Accounts.”http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=3497
 14 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers: on: November 13, 2012, 06:16:15 PM Liberty and democracy are eternal enemies, and every one knows it who has ever given any sober reflection to the matter. A democratic state may profess to venerate the name, and even pass laws making it officially sacred, but it simply cannot tolerate the thing. In order to keep any coherence in the governmental process, to prevent the wildest anarchy in thought and act, the government must put limits upon the free play of opinion. In part, it can reach that end by mere propaganda, by the bald force of its authority — that is, by making certain doctrines officially infamous. But in part it must resort to force, i.e., to law. One of the main purposes of laws in a democratic society is to put burdens upon intelligence and reduce it to impotence. Ostensibly, their aim is to penalize anti-social acts; actually their aim is to penalize heretical opinions. At least ninety-five Americans out of every 100 believe that this process is honest and even laudable; it is practically impossible to convince them that there is anything evil in it. In other words, they cannot grasp the concept of liberty. Always they condition it with the doctrine that the state, i.e., the majority, has a sort of right of eminent domain in acts, and even in ideas — that it is perfectly free, whenever it is so disposed, to forbid a man to say what he honestly believes. Whenever his notions show signs of becoming "dangerous," ie, of being heard and attended to, it exercises that prerogative. And the overwhelming majority of citizens believe in supporting it in the outrage. Including especially the Liberals, who pretend — and often quite honestly believe — that they are hot for liberty. They never really are. Deep down in their hearts they know, as good democrats, that liberty would be fatal to democracy — that a government based upon shifting and irrational opinion must keep it within bounds or run a constant risk of disaster. They themselves, as a practical matter, advocate only certain narrow kinds of liberty — liberty, that is, for the persons they happen to favor. The rights of other persons do not seem to interest them. If a law were passed tomorrow taking away the property of a large group of presumably well-to-do persons — say, bondholders of the railroads — without compensation and without even colorable reason, they would not oppose it; they would be in favor of it. The liberty to have and hold property is not one they recognize. They believe only in the liberty to envy, hate and loot the man who has it.H.L. Mencken, "Liberty and Democracy" in the Baltimore Evening Sun (13 April 1925), also in A Second Mencken Chrestomathy : New Selections from the Writings of America's Legendary Editor, Critic, and Wit (1994) edited by Terry Teachout, p. 35
 15 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: November 13, 2012, 01:41:06 PM QuoteMitt Romney 59 million, Gary Johnson 1 million, for one example, or almost any race, any state, any year.  That's all I was saying there.Meh, apples and oranges where statist and statist lite suck up most the oxygen. Call it 100 to 1 once both sorts of statist are combined. Seeing as the statist market is cornered, perhaps another approach is in order assuming a different outcome is preferred? QuoteYou didn't address my question, liberty for whom - meaning who protects the unborn, the most innocent among us.While you had little in the way of response to the Judith Jarvis Thompson piece I posted quite some time back that spoke to many of these distinctions far more eloquently than I will. Be that as it may, I am intentionally avoiding getting into a "most innocent among us" argument because doing so feeds into the current dynamic. I'm asking instead what can shatter the current paradigm and lead to less statist outcomes? I don't see a way of getting from here to there with the abortion issue as the primary grail.
 16 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: November 13, 2012, 10:30:14 AM What he said ^^^.Worry not, the panic mongers can always roll out the polar bears.
 18 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Planetary Influence on Solar Activity on: November 10, 2012, 08:10:58 PM Fascinating look at a new paper that charts planetary tidal influence upon the sun and then relates them to known terrestrial solar cycles. If true it ought to suggest to carbon fetishists that there are subtle and powerful influences on the earth's climate that transcend the single variable they obsess over. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/11/10/is-there-is-a-planetary-influence-on-solar-activity-it-seems-so-according-to-this-new-paper/
 19 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 09, 2012, 05:34:45 PM Quote from: G M on November 09, 2012, 04:30:11 PMThe hispanics in the statist camp are there not because of immigration, but because class warfare and free stuff taken from others is cool with them. Just like the others in the statist camp. I haven't read the exit polling directly, but several sources I've encountered of late have said that Bush pulled in substantially more Hispanics than Romney and that Catholic Hispanics have their share of conservative issues that are trumped by the perceived "deport 'em all" GOP policy.
 21 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Uplifting Responses on: November 07, 2012, 08:08:24 AM QuoteDick Morris is a blowhard. I've taken him to task elsewhere, but I hope others can see that his credibility at this point is shakey.But his hair is so telegenic, his loyalties so expedient, and his scruples so lacking that it makes for great TV, assuming you enjoy the sound of fingernails on a blackboard muted by an unctuous grin.QuoteAll the talk of unscientific polls, liberal bias in those polls, etc., etc., etc. There IS a method to the polls. They aren't perfect (hence the margin of error), but they consistently went for Obama. Even in the wake of the terrible Obama showing in the first debate, 538 had Obama with a 70% or so chance at reelection. It was at 90% yesterday morning. Not quite the conservative narrative. And statistical methods won the day. This will increasingly be the case, as the scientific method is improved with technology and the skill of the practicioner. The days of Dewey defeating Truman are gone. Well kinda. As a second amendment guy I have seen all sorts of dubious polling. The term "assault weapon," for instance, is essentially meaningless yet anti-gun politicians with MSM collusion have worked long and hard to make it appear that black guns are full up automatic weapons. They are not. Hence, when pollsters ask questions about assault weapons they tend to be furthering a false narrative as much as they are gathering data. Indeed, I wonder if all these late season MSM polls had asked "Do you approve of the President's handling of Benghazi," with the MSM explaining why the question is germane, would we have seen a shift in the polls? At the risk of going all McLuhan on you, perhaps we've transcended the "medium is the message" stage and are now on to "the measurements we create and then choose to report are the message." QuoteSo, given the president's victory, how do we heal as a country and as a people?Heal what exactly? $16 trillion in debt and rising? Easy, stop borrowing money to spend. Is that likely to happen? No. Heal concerns over a vast system electronically monitoring Americans? Doubt we'll be shutting down the NSAs facility in Utah any time soon. Cease herding all Americans toward a socialized health care system? I suspect yesterday's result will be seen as an endorsement of that vast intrusion. And so on. First step toward healing is to stop picking at the wound. Fat chance.QuoteWhat can be done, constructively, by us and others to assist in this process?Ibid. What needs to be done is for freedom loving Americans to quit worrying about who sleeps with whom, put aside concerns about at what point a fetus becomes viable, and unite to toss statist off all stripes out. Alas, I think that what's coming to be known as the Free Sh!t Army comprised of statists and their charges have a leg up on the kind of organizing that will be required to surmount those of a statist bent. QuoteWhat does the fact that all of the "rape" congressional candidates lost (Mourdock and Akin, the latter decisively in an election that he once had 7-9% lead in)? That saying stupid stuff is ill advised, particularly in an environment where the MSM endlessly replays and inflates the gaffs on one side while averting their gaze from the gaffs of those they favor.QuoteWhat does it say that many Tea Party candidates lost or nearly lost?Relentless vilification works, particularly when forums where one can effectively respond to two-dimensional claims are so hard to come by. QuoteIs the Brown loss in Massachusetts a referendum for the Tea Party in the same way his victory was pitched as such for Obama in 2010?Hmm, despite the fact Brown worked relentlessly to change his Tea Party stripes and repackage himself in a manner he thought MA would find more progressively palatable? Think it's more of a tea leaves issue: Repubs don't often win national offices out of states as blue as MA, regardless of packaging effort.QuoteWhat does it say that the GOP retained the House? Is it simple incumbency or other? Incumbency for the most part. But at least it allows the hope that statist brakes might be applied every now and then.  22 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Strong Terms for a Weak President on: November 02, 2012, 03:18:15 PM Editorial excoriating the administration and lapdog media over the handling of Libya:http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/benghazi-blunder-obama-unworthy-commander-in-chief-176736441.html  23 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Department of Departments Department on: November 01, 2012, 12:40:47 PM Department of Cronyismfrom Reason Magazine by David HarsanyiYou know what could really help the economy? A huge new bureaucratic department in Washington, that’s what.President Barack Obama, a man who recently asserted that the “free enterprise system is the greatest engine of prosperity the world’s ever known,” intimated that once he secures a second term in office, he would appoint a Secretary of Business to manage a newly-merged, but still unnamed, agency that would offer Americans that top-down guidance they never asked for—a homeland security for cronyism, if you will.“We should have one Secretary of Business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like giving loans to SBA or helping companies with exports,” Obama explained in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “There should be a one-stop shop.”The Department of Business promises to do to business what the Department of Education has done for education. It’s the sort of idea that sounds like it adds efficiency but actually offers the opposite. The larger context of the idea comports well with the president’s belief that a healthy private sector is healthiest when relying on the dedicated technocrats.But as a political matter, it promises results. If Mitt Romney, for instance, loses the election over Ohio and the president’s auto bailouts, a handout that allegedly saved one in eight jobs in the Buckeye State, politicians will surely have re-learned an invaluable lesson: the more taxpayer money you spend, the more votes you earn.And if winning elections means funding busy work at a union-run money pit or keeping a pleasing sunflower-logoed company afloat via a stimulus package, imagine what an entire agency giving out favors could accomplish? On the surface, a consolidation of a bunch of agencies sounds like a bright idea, but there is, as you know, plenty of room for mission creep in the pretending-to-do-good business. With 54 former lobbyists (according to Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner) in the Obama Administration, it, no doubt, has a keen sense of what the business world is looking for — handouts.But the most obvious pitfall of a Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, or whatever it’ll be called, is that it would further institutionalize the absurd notion that government can foresee what consumers desire and then “invest” accordingly. When Obama talks about “jobs of the future” he means jobs the government will subsidize because people who vote for him like the sound of it. The more they fail, the more it will have to “invest.” It’s not about what you want, it’s about you need.If the Obama Administration was an investment house, it would have tanked long ago. Its record on green energy is horrid. It has heaped federal loans and subsidies onto coal-powered electric cars—an “investment” that “will not only reduce our dependence on foreign oil,”Obama said in 2009, but “put Americans back to work.” Hardly. The Chevy Volt’s been a tepid seller, at best, and without taxpayer subsidizes few could afford a$100,000 compact car. Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker, has stopped mass production of a new sub-compact iQ plug-in. Toyota executive Takeshi Uchiyamada recently explained that, “current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars run, or the costs or how it takes a long time to charge.”Does government care if ethanol or a windmill meets society’s needs? Does it care about cost? Uchiyamada risks stockholder investments—real investments—while politicians’ decision-making rests on political and ideological pressures. So how could a Department of Business be a good idea?http://reason.com/archives/2012/11/01/department-of-cronyism
 24 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Now That's Cold Treatment of a Warmist on: October 31, 2012, 08:08:19 PM Oh my goodness. Several months back National Review Online published a piece excoriating Michael Mann of Hockey Stick statistical manipulation fame. Mann claimed he would sue NRO for the piece, and indeed did so in a DC court recently, claiming, among other things, to be a Nobel laureate. Some called BS on the claim, and the Nobel committee stated Mann in fact was not a winner. As such NRO took a full page ad out in Penn State's student newspaper: Ought to be amusing to see what sort of hyperventilation this inspires in Mann. Might want to set up a wind farm in his office. . . .Whole piece here:http://nationalreviewonline.tumblr.com/post/34722632643/honoring-michael-manns-nobel-prize-to-mark
 25 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Know Your Target & What's Beyond on: October 31, 2012, 06:32:13 PM Blaze kills Saudi Arabia wedding guestsWomen and children perish in Eastern Province after celebratory gunfire brings down power line, local media say.Last Modified: 31 Oct 2012 12:33Women and children perished in Tuesday night's fire in Ain Badr village of Eastern Province. At least 25 people have been killed by electric shock in a wedding in eastern Saudi Arabia, civil defence officials and local media say.Celebratory gunfire brought down an electric cable at a house in Ain Badr village where the wedding was held on Tuesday night, Abdullah Khashman, an Eastern Province official, said.Thirty others were injured in the incident near Abqaiq, a centre of the Saudi energy industry.Some Saudi media reports said the blaze erupted inside a tent, killing at least 23 women and children. The kingdom's conservative codes require genders to be separated at most public events, including weddings.The media cited civil defence officials as saying that celebratory gunfire brought down a power line that touched off the fire.However, Reuters news agency quoted Khashman as saying: "At the wedding, the cable fell on a metal door and the 23 people who died were all electrocuted."The victims were reportedly trying to escape through the door, the only exit from the courtyard, when they were killed.All those killed were from the same tribe, Khashman said.Saudi Arabia last month banned the shooting of firearms at weddings, a popular tradition in tribal areas of the country.Prince Mohammed bin Fahd, Eastern Province's governor, ordered an investigation into the incident, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.In July 1999, 76 people died in a similar incident in the Eastern Province.Forty-three women and children were killed at a wedding in neighbouring Kuwait in 2009 when a fire engulfed a tent.The ex-wife of the groom said she started the fire to avenge her former husband's "bad treatment" of her.http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/10/2012103192352586941.html
 29 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / F&F Whistleblower Reinstated on: October 25, 2012, 11:51:07 AM Those who have been following Fast and Furious know that much of the original reporting was developed by sources at Clean Up ATF. ATF officials have been gunning for an ATF investigator who is also a founder of CUATF, Vincent Cefalu, and terminated his employment in a Denny's parking lot several weeks back. Cefalu just one a stay on his termination and has been ordered reinstated. With luck future hearings and law suits will bring the ATF house of cards down. Order of reinstatement here: http://www.mspb.gov/netsearch/viewdocs.aspx?docnumber=766615&version=769489&application=ACROBAT
 31 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Flip Off the Big Bird on: October 24, 2012, 07:27:51 PM Big BirdPosted by John Stossel | October 24, 2012 Print Email Share 0 CommentsTweetGive me a break.The left screams because Romney says he'll cut PBS.A Huffington Post writer says that would be "a cultural and spiritual disaster for the nation."Please. America is going broke! If we can't cut PBS, what can we cut?Public broadcasting costs taxpayers "only" $420 million per year, but that's real money, and even if it weren't, the price is not the point. Government should not fund any broadcast networks.As for news programs, government funding means taxpayers pay for lefty propaganda like Bill Moyers and most of NPR. We need separation of News and State. Thomas Jefferson warned that it is wrong to force citizens to pay for "the propagation of opinions which [they] disbelieve." He was right, but now I have to fund NPR.As far as children's programming, Big Bird doesn't need the money! Sesame Street has assets of$355,858,257! Sesame Workshop makes $46M in licensing fees. The company is such a gold mine, it paid its recent president$929,629. Big Bird will do fine without taxpayer subsidies.PBS once asked, "If not PBS, then who?" Cato's David Boaz points out that now the answer is: HBO, Bravo, Discovery, History, Science, C-SPAN, The Learning Channel ... and so on. I'm told that kids' programs like Noggin (Nick Jr.) are like pre-school on TV.Yes, you have to pay for cable, but 63.7% of people below the poverty line have cable or satellite TV.Those who don't have cable still get education programs on free TV. NBC alone has The Wiggles, Noodle and Doodle, and LazyTown (get up & go, eat healthy).Funding public broadcasting is welfare for rich people. PBS viewers are richer than average Americans.NPR even bragged about its listeners' wealth to potential advertisers: "152% more likely to have a home valued at half a million or more ... 194% more likely to travel to France."It's fine that they appeal to rich people. But you shouldn't have to fund it.http://www.foxbusiness.com/on-air/stossel/blog/2012/10/24/big-bird
 32 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Past 16 Years of Panic? Nevermind. . . . on: October 15, 2012, 04:01:57 PM Report: Global warming stopped 16 years agofrom Watts Up With That? by Anthony WattsUPDATE: There’s a response from the Met Office hereA report in the UK Daily Mail reveals a Met Office report quietly released… and here is the chart to prove it:By David RoseThe figures reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012 there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperaturesThis means that the ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996The world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago, according to new data released last week.The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years.The new data, compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land and sea, was issued  quietly on the internet, without any media fanfare, and, until today, it has not been reported.This stands in sharp contrast  to the release of the previous  figures six months ago, which went only to the end of 2010 – a very warm year.Ending the data then means it is possible to show a slight warming trend since 1997, but 2011 and the first eight months of 2012 were much cooler, and thus this trend is erased.Some climate scientists, such as Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, last week dismissed the significance of the plateau, saying that 15 or 16 years is too short a period from which to draw conclusions.Others disagreed. Professor Judith Curry, who is the head of the climate science department at America’s prestigious Georgia Tech university, told The Mail on Sunday that it was clear that the computer models used to predict future warming were ‘deeply flawed’.Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2217286/Global-warming-stopped-16-years-ago-reveals-Met-Office-report-quietly-released–chart-prove-it.html#ixzz29E78OR9Hh/t to reader “Dino”regarding the significance of the period from 1997, recall that Dr. Ben Santer claimed 17 years was the period needed:http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/17/ben-santers-17-year-itch/They find that tropospheric temperature records must be at least 17 years long to discriminate between internal climate noise and the signal of human-caused changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere.MIT Professor Richard Lindzen said something similar in a WUWT guest post:There has been no warming since 1997 and nostatistically significant warming since 1995.Bob Tisdale did a 17 and 30 year trend comparison hereHere’s the HADCRUT4 4.1.1. datasethttp://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/10/13/report-global-warming-stopped-16-years-ago/
 33 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: October 12, 2012, 01:12:59 PM I expect my appearances will be fairly erratic as I've pretty much sold out on internet argument. With that said, 'tis nice to be back.
 34 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Failure Graph on: October 12, 2012, 01:10:21 PM
 35 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Healthcare Hand and Whitewashing on: October 11, 2012, 07:31:48 AM Why Sebelius Campaigns So Hard for Her Boss — and Why He Won’t Fire Herfrom Cato @ Liberty by Michael F. CannonBy Michael F. CannonSecretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has been campaigning so enthusiastically for President Obama that she — whoops! — broke a federal law that restricts political activities by executive-branch officials. Federal employees are usually fired for such transgressions, but no one expects that to happen to Sebelius. Heck, she got right back in the saddle.Every cabinet official (probably) wants to see the president reelected, and no president relishes dismissing a cabinet official. But in this case, there’s an additional incentive for Sebelius to campaign for her boss and for Obama not to fire her.ObamaCare creates a new Independent Payment Advisory Board that — “fact checkers” notwithstanding — is actually a super-legislature with the power to ration care to everyone, increase taxes, impose conditions on federal grants to states, and wield other legislative powers. According to legend, IPAB will consist of 15 unelected “experts” who are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Yeah, good one.In fact, if the president makes no appointments, or the Senate rejects the president’s appointees, then all of IPAB’s considerable powers fall to one person: the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The HHS secretary would effectively become an economic dictator, with more power over the health care sector than any chamber of Congress.If Obama wins in November, he would have zero incentive to appoint any IPAB members. The confirmation hearings would be a bloodbath, not unlike Don Berwick’s confirmation battle multiplied by 15. Sebelius, on the other hand, would not need to be re-confirmed. She could assume all of IPAB’s powers without the Senate examining her fitness to wield those powers. If Obama fired her, or the voters fire Obama, then the next HHS secretary would have to secure Senate confirmation. Again, bloodbath. That makes Kathleen Sebelius the only person in the universe who could assume those powers without that scrutiny.No wonder she’s campaigning so hard. No wonder Obama won’t fire her.Why Sebelius Campaigns So Hard for Her Boss — and Why He Won’t Fire Her is a post from Cato @ Liberty - Cato Institute Bloghttp://www.cato-at-liberty.org/why-sebelius-campaigns-so-hard-for-her-boss-and-why-he-wont-fire-her/
 36 Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Green Density on: January 30, 2012, 08:00:23 AM Perhaps misfiled, but a look at how some of the shibboleths of the environmental crowd fail to stand up to real world examination.Get DenseIt’s time to stop wasting land and resources in the name of environmentalism.JIM RICHARDSON/CORBISThe opposite of dense: windmills in Kansas.More than three decades ago, the British economist E. F. Schumacher stated the essence of environmental protection in three words: “Small is beautiful.” As Schumacher argued in a famous book by that title, man-made disturbances of the natural world—farms, for example, and power plants—should have the smallest possible footprints.But how can that ideal be realized in a world that must produce more and more food and energy for its growing population? The answer, in just one word this time, is density. Over the course of the last century, human beings have found ways to concentrate crops and energy production within smaller and smaller areas, conserving land while meeting the ever-growing global demand for calories and watts. This approach runs counter to the beliefs of many environmental activists and politicians, whose “organic” and “renewable” policies, as nature-friendly as they sound, squander land. The real organizing principle for a green future is density, which not only provides the goods that we need to survive and prosper but also achieves the land-preservation goals of genuine environmentalists.Food cultivation is an excellent example of the virtues of density. During the second half of the twentieth century, hybrid seeds and synthetic fertilizers, along with better methods of planting and harvesting, produced stunning increases in agricultural productivity. Between 1968 and 2005, global production of all cereal crops doubled, even though the amount of cultivated acreage remained about the same. Indur Goklany, a policy analyst for the U.S. Department of the Interior, estimates that if agriculture had remained at its early-sixties level of productivity, feeding the world’s population in 1998 would have required nearly 8 billion acres of farmland, instead of the 3.7 billion acres that were actually under cultivation. Where in the world—literally—would we have found an extra 4.3 billion acres of land, an area just slightly smaller than South America?There is an important exception to the historical trend of ever-denser agriculture, however: the production of organic food, which doesn’t use many fertilizers and pesticides. Various recent studies have found that land devoted to organic farming produces 50 percent less wheat, 55 percent less asparagus and lettuce, and 23 percent less corn than conventionally farmed land of the same acreage does.A large-scale transition to organic production therefore makes little sense. In a 2011 essay in Slate, James McWilliams, a history professor at Texas State University and a fearless debunker of the hype over organic food, pointed out that the global population was likely to increase by some 2.3 billion people over the next four decades. So many people, combined with an emerging middle class in developing countries like China and India, would require the world’s farmers to grow “at least 70 percent more food than we now produce.” The latest figures from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which showed that the world had little unused arable land, led to an obvious conclusion, McWilliams wrote: “Skyrocketing demand for food will have to be met by increasing production on pre-existing acreage. . . . Ninety percent of the additional calories required by midcentury will have to come through higher yields per acre.” That is, agriculture must become even denser, producing still more food from the available land. Organic farming would do the reverse.Inefficient organic production would also undoubtedly increase the cost of food. That’s a particular concern at a time when global food prices are near record highs: last February, the FAO reported that its Food Price Index, a basket of commodities that tracks changes in global food costs, hit its highest level since the organization began documenting prices in 1990. Though food prices have fallen somewhat since then, the Food Price Index throughout 2011 was roughly 60 percent higher than it was back in 2007. Adopting low-density agricultural techniques could also increase deforestation, as farmers desperately seek more farmland—a result that should disturb true environmentalists.Yet we are continually bombarded with arguments for organic agriculture. In 2010, Maria Rodale—the chairman and CEO of the Rodale Institute, a pro-organic organization—wrote an essay arguing that organic farming was “the most effective way to feed the world and mitigate global warming.” Organic-friendly grocers, like Whole Foods Market, have seen huge increases in their market share, and industry groups like the Organic Trade Association point out that global sales of organic food and beverages more than doubled, to some $51 billion, between 2003 and 2008.A related crusade against density is the push for biofuels, which are supposed to help reduce carbon-dioxide emissions but will divert huge blocks of arable land away from food production and into the manufacture of tiny amounts of motor fuel. The leading biofuel at the moment is corn ethanol, whose “power density”—the amount of energy flow that can be harnessed from a given area of land—is abysmally low. Some energy analysts put it as low as 0.05 watts per square meter of farmland. By comparison, a relatively small natural-gas well that produces just 60,000 cubic feet of gas per day has a power density of 28 watts per square meter; the power density of nuclear plants is even higher.The power density of ethanol is so low that in 2011, to produce a quantity of motor fuel whose energy equivalent was just 0.6 percent of global oil consumption, the American corn-ethanol sector had to convert a mind-boggling 4.9 billion bushels of grain into ethanol. That’s more corn than the combined outputs of the European Union, Mexico, Argentina, and India. It represents 40 percent of all the corn grown in the United States—about 15 percent of global corn production and 5 percent of all the grain grown in the world. The EU, too, is pushing to produce motor fuel from farmland.These efforts have, unsurprisingly, driven global food prices upward. In a June 2011 article in Scientific American, Tim Searchinger, a research scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School at Prince- ton University, observed that “since 2004 biofuels from crops have almost doubled the rate of growth in global demand for grain and sugar and pushed up the yearly growth in demand for vegetable oil by around 40 percent.” We need to consider the moral impact of our actions, Searchinger continued: “Our primary obligation is to feed the hungry. Biofuels are undermining our ability to do so.” Yet each year, Congress lavishes some$7 billion worth of subsidies on the ethanol industry, and in his January 2011 State of the Union speech, President Obama declared that “we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels.”Biofuel enthusiasts, recognizing the moral problems with converting food into fuel, have long promoted cellulosic ethanol, which is derived from inedible biomass, such as switchgrass and trees. In 1976, Amory Lovins, cofounder of the Rocky Mountain Institute and a darling of the Green Left, wrote in Foreign Affairs that “exciting developments in the conversion of agricultural, forestry and urban wastes to methanol and other liquid and gaseous fuels now offer practical, economically interesting technologies sufficient to run an efficient U.S. transport sector.” Three decades later, not a single company in the United States was producing significant quantities of cellulosic ethanol—yet in 2004, Lovins and several coauthors wrote Winning the Oil Endgame, still clamoring for cellulosic ethanol and even claiming that it would “strengthen rural America, boost net farm income by tens of billions of dollars a year, and create more than 750,000 new jobs.”Will it? Cellulosic ethanol’s power density, though higher than corn ethanol’s, is nevertheless very low. Even the best-managed tree plantations achieve power densities of only about 1 watt per square meter of cultivated area. That means you need gargantuan quantities of biomass to produce meaningful volumes of motor fuel. Let’s say that you wanted to replace just one-tenth of U.S. oil consumption with ethanol derived from switchgrass. That would require you to produce about 425 million tons of switchgrass per year, which would mean cultivating some 36.9 million acres of land—an area roughly the size of Illinois. Put another way: to replace 10 percent of the country’s oil needs with cellulosic ethanol, you’d need to plant switchgrass in an area equal to 8 percent of all American cropland currently under cultivation.Nevertheless, in May 2008, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi helped pass a subsidy-packed \$307 billion farm bill, declaring it an “investment in energy independence” because it provided “support for the transition to cellulosic ethanol.” Under Pelosi’s leadership, Congress also mandated that fuel suppliers in the United States blend at least 21 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol into the American gasoline pool by 2022. To reach that standard, Congress set production targets: in 2011, for instance, domestic distilleries would supposedly produce some 250 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol. But the commercial production of cellulosic ethanol remains so insignificant that the Environmental Protection Agency, which administers the government’s renewable-fuel rules, was forced to slash the production target to just 6.6 million gallons.Over the past decade, global energy consumption has increased by about 28 percent. Today, the world’s inhabitants are consuming the equivalent of 240 million barrels of oil per day. We cannot depend on the planet’s farmland to provide the enormous quantities of energy needed by countries like China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil as millions of their citizens move into the modern economy. We must rely on forms of energy that have the highest density and, therefore, the smallest footprints.Biofuels aren’t the only renewable sources of energy whose low power densities make them impractical. Wind turbines have a power density of about 1 watt per square meter. Compare that with the two nuclear reactors at Indian Point in Westchester County, which provide as much as 30 percent of New York City’s electricity. Even if you include the entire footprint of the Indian Point project—about 250 acres—the site’s power density exceeds 2,000 watts per square meter. To generate as much electricity as Indian Point does, you’d need to pave at least 770 square miles of land with wind turbines, an area slightly smaller than the state of Rhode Island. Further, few people could live on that great expanse of land because the low-frequency sound that wind turbines generate can cause health problems.Until now, we’ve examined density chiefly as it relates to area: how much food or energy can be produced on a certain quantity of land. But wind projects defy density in a second way, eating up not just huge tracts of land, relative to their poor performance, but enormous quantities of steel as well. Installing a single wind turbine requires about 200 tons of steel. The newest turbines have capacities of about 4 megawatts. Divide four by 200, and you’ll find that such a turbine can produce about 0.02 megawatts of electricity per ton of steel. Compare that with a conventional natural-gas-fired turbine—say, General Electric’s LM6000. The LM6000 weighs nine tons and can generate nearly 43 megawatts, meaning that it produces about 4.7 megawatts per ton of steel—more than 230 times as many as the wind turbine does.These numbers are only ballpark figures, of course, and they don’t account for the other resources needed to produce electricity. For instance, wind turbines are generally located far from urban areas and require the construction of thousands of miles of high-voltage transmission lines, while gas turbines must be supplied by long steel pipelines carrying methane from distant wells. But even if the calculations are off by a full order of magnitude—and gas-fired generation uses steel merely 23 times as efficiently as wind generation does, rather than 230 times—it remains clear that wind energy production is an enormously resource-intensive process.Fortunately, opposition to wind projects is growing rapidly. The United States has seen the rise of about 170 anti-wind groups over the past few years. Ontario in Canada alone has more than 50, the European Platform Against Windfarms has 505 signatory organizations from 23 countries, and in the United Kingdom, some 250 anti-wind groups have formed to fight industrial wind projects in Wales, Scotland, and elsewhere. The resistance is easy to understand: people don’t want to look at 400-foot-high industrial turbines all day, or at flashing red lights all night, or at unsightly transmission lines.Environmentalists themselves have begun to recognize the inefficiency of wind turbines. In 2009, the Nature Conservancy, one of America’s most conservative environmental groups, issued a report condemning the “energy sprawl” that comes with large-scale wind-energy projects. Even hard-core environmental groups like Earth First! have sprung into action. In November 2010, five people, several of them from Earth First!, were arrested for blocking a road leading to a construction site for a 60-megawatt wind project in Maine. According to the Portland Press Herald, one of the protesters carried a sign: STOP THE RAPE OF RURAL MAINE. But politicians have been slower to object to energy sprawl. In March 2010, governors from 29 states implored Congress and the White House to install more wind turbines across the country, arguing that wind energy would “reduce electric-sector greenhouse gas emissions by about 25 percent.”The virtues of density can be seen even in nuclear waste. The American commercial nuclear-power industry, over its entire history, has produced about 60,000 tons of high-level waste. Stacked to a depth of about 15 feet, that would cover an area the size of one football field. Coal-fired power plants in the United States, by contrast, generate about 130 million tons of coal ash, much of it contaminated with heavy metals, in a single year. Yes, radioactive waste is toxic and long-lived, but it can be stored safely. France produces about 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear fission, and all of its high-level waste is stored in a single building about the size of a soccer field.Perhaps the most familiar example of environmentally friendly density, though, is the way humanity has concentrated itself by moving from the country to cities, a process that is happening especially rapidly in the developing world. The opposite process, suburbanization, requires far more land area per resident—and therefore more miles of streets, electricity cables, and sewer lines (see “Green Cities, Brown Suburbs,” Winter 2009). In a 2009 essay for the Atlantic, architect and author Witold Ryb- czynski wrote that “being truly green means returning to the kinds of dense cities and garden suburbs Americans built in the first half of the 20th century.”The greenness of density leads to two conclusions. First, those who make environmental policy should consider density a desirable goal in nearly all the issues that they confront. And second, the real environmentalists aren’t headline-seeking activists and advocacy groups; they’re farmers, urban planners, agronomists, and, yes, even natural-gas drillers and nuclear engineers.Robert Bryce is a senior fellow at the Center for Energy Policy and the Environment at the Manhattan Institute.http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_1_environmentalism.html