Saturday, September 29, 2007

more lies from the History Channel

The History Channel is running a series on Megadisasters (or Mega Disasters). The one on climate change is the most dishonest show I've seen yet on the History Channel, and that's saying something.

They spend a long time talking about the glaciers melting and the ocean rising. They say that a one-foot rise in the oceans could lead to losing a hundred, or even a thousand feet of land. That wasn't the dishonest part (as far as I know; I'm no climate scientist). But then they talk about six islands off the East Coast disappearing under the water over the last couple of generations and have a tearful tale of one guy trying to save a civil-war era graveyard on another island that is disappearing. Then they talk about the fact that wetlands along the coast have disappeared and how the loss of barrier islands and wetlands is such a huge danger to big East-coast cities if a hurricane ever hits. Then they start talking about what will happen to Washington D.C. if the ocean rises a foot.

Did you catch the sleight of hand there? They never actually said that rising sea levels caused the islands or wetlands to disappear, they just left that impression. Only if you were really paying attention and you know how coastal erosion works did you eke out the information that the island with the graveyard is disappearing due to natural erosion, and then you would realize that this is no doubt what happened to the other islands as well. If I hadn't spent the last two year taking walks along the beach and observing coastal erosion in action, I probably would have missed this point. Yet the History Channel deliberately left the false impression that rising oceans due to global warming have already drowned islands on the East Coast.

They also deliberately left that impression with regard to wetlands and gave no hints to why the wetlands are really disappearing. I suspect that what they are really referring to is the development of the wetlands, which is often cited as a reason that hurricanes cause so much more damage than they used to.

But that wasn't all. They then switched to the Little Ice Age. They said that the Little Ice Age caused severe storms just like global warming is going to cause severe storms. See, if the climate gets slightly warmer we have severe storms and if the climate gets slightly colder we have severe storms. I guess right now the Earth is in an ideal climate cusp. Move just a smidgen in either direction and everything just goes to hell.

But that wasn't all. They suggested that the changing climate somehow caused the black plague. They never really explained how this happened, just waived their hands a bit and then went on as if the idea were proven, attributing all of the deaths of the black plague to climate change. According to this theory, millions and millions of people died due to the Little Ice Age. And then there were famines and wars in that period --more deaths attributed to the Little Ice Age just to pump the fear of the viewer. With the choppy editing and the pictures of people suffering in the cold, if you weren't paying attention, you were left with the impression that all of these millions of people died from cold and exposure due to climate change.

float like a butterfly, pedal like a penguin

Here is a cool idea: the Hobie mirage drive converts bicycle-style pedaling into penguin-style paddling to drive a kayak. They claim that you can get twice the power with this technique as you can get by paddling.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Democrats and scoundrels

The recent theatrics surrounding the Jena 6, the dictator of Iran speaking at Columbia, and the revival of the O. J. story provoke me to ask a question. Why is the Democratic party always sticking up for thugs, brutal dictators, murderers and other scoundrels?

The Jena 6 are 6 black high-school students who beat the crap out of a single white guy at their high school. They hit him from behind, knocking him unconscious, and then kicked him in the head when he was on the ground unmoving. These are the people that the Democrats think deserve their support. Why? Oh, because there is alleged racism involved. Apparently, the Democrats can't imagine any other reason why a prosecutor may have charged the kids with attempted murder other than racism, never mind that that they kicked him in the freaking head while he was on the ground unconscious and had to be pulled off by bystanders or who knows what they would have done. But even assuming that the prosecutor was actually a racist, is that any reason to defend a pack of violent juvenile thugs out to terrorize their high school? Can't you go after the prosecutor for racism without defending the violent criminals that he prosecuted? Don't the Democrats have that little module that sits in the back of the mind (it's called a "conscience") that is shocked by brutality? How can anyone with a conscience actively seek to help the Jena 6 avoid the consequences of their actions?

And then there is Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, who endorses the killing of homosexuals, the enslavement of all women, and the forced conversion of the entire world to his religion. He spoke at Columbia University this week to wild cheering by a group of people that I can guarantee you are largely fanatics in favor of gay rights, women's rights, and religious freedom, and always vote Democrat. And that in spite of the fact that these Democrats claim to care deeply about other people in other countries when there is any excuse at all to blame the US for bad things that happen, they still don't give a damn what happens to gays, women, and non-Muslims in those countries. Don't these people ever get tired of cheering on brutal dictators? From Stalin and Mao to Saddam, Arafat and Ahmadinejad, these people will cheer on any mass murderer, no matter how grotesque, as long as that mass murderer is sufficiently opposed to the United States. OK, I get it --they think that the United States has too much power, is too arrogant, and needs to be taken down a few pegs. But even believing that, don't they ever get tired of defending, honoring, and siding with mass murderers? Don't they ever stop and think to themselves, "Hey, this guy may be doing what I want in attacking the US, but geeze, he murders and imprisons a lot of people. Maybe I should tone down my hero worship a bit." Don't they ever think that?

And then there is O. J. Simpson, who murdered his wife and the party of hysterical measures against wife-abuse leaped to his defense. And when Ted Kennedy killed a woman while drunk driving, the party of hysterical penalties for drunk drivers sent him back to the Senate. Then there are all of the women who have murdered their own husbands or their own (already born) children that the Democrats have defended on the basis that they were really depressed and/or frightened when they did it. Well, OK, have some sympathy for depressed people, but crimeny, when a woman murders five of her own children, she needs to spend the rest of her freakin' life confined. Surely anyone with a healthy conscience recognizes that, don't they?

And it's not just thugs, despots, and murderers. The democrats also defend adulterous presidents, former-KKK senators, bribe-taking Congressmen, cocaine-snorting mayors and other scoundrels. It seems that being a Democrat (or anti-Republican, or in the international arena, an anti-American) is a free pass for just about any form unethical or criminal behavior imaginable. But don't they ever just get exhausted defending the indefensible? I know I get exhausted watching them do it.