Monthly Archives: June, 2013

Marathon Bombing and Verizon Monitoring Rant.

The patriot act. Another government power over us that circumvents the constitution and the liberties we enjoy. Employing high tech surveillance of domestic citizens with the hope that we can stop terrorists attacks. Yet it doesn’t work. As evidenced by the Boston Marathon bombing. Terrorists know where we are looking and learn to avoid methods. Electronic surveillance is not helpful enough, given the tremendous amount of data that is available. Historically governments can not be trusted with unlimited power. Yet because of fear over 9/11 people willingly surrendered their privacy in the hope that we would be protected. A flawed concept and the wrong answer.

The patriot act is an excuse to be able to oversee someone’s every move. Ostensibly to “protect us”. We are expected to believe that the government will be able to restrain themselves and not abuse that power. History says impossible. Worse surrendering our privacy is based on a flawed concept. If we give law enforcement and intelligence bureaus unlimited data we will be safer. Wrong, and not supported by historical precedents. Think about this. Prisons in the US are the most monitored restricted section of our society. Yet we can appreciably stop anything from happening there? Humans are inventive destructive creatures. If you tighten the surveillance you naturally select for “the best of the best”  they get better at hiding. In my opinion the stated goal of catching terrorist cells in the US is impossible. No matter how much data they have someone will find a way. How well did the US do in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In the 90’s they bombed the world trade center still we had no idea they would attack it again. Ridiculous to think that personal privacy was the major barrier to protection. Russia has oppressive surveillance compared to US. Still Chechen rebels attack all the time. It is a flawed premise that just doesn’t work. Except as a tool of intimidation and information gathering for your own law abiding populace. That has a direct negative effect on freedom. Have I brought unwanted attention just by writing this. Maybe I could end up being an FBI focus. Just by exercising my freedom of speech.

Somehow we are supposed to believe that FBI will be able to pull produce terrorists out of an even bigger pile of data, everyone’s phone records. I call BS on this. Yes, if you want to catch someone and you have a idea who it is and what they want this would be helpful. Why not make them get a warrant instead of fishing.  If you assume guilt then the patriot act makes sense. That is the opposite of the US justice system that I was taught.

Ok surrender my freedom, but does it work? I am not an expert but look at the record. How many big cells in the US have been caught? They roll out examples of terrorist idiots with x-ray machines as examples of “50” plots thwarted. Yet two kids detonated two bombs in the middle of Boston. They were caught in 72 hours because of the video from the phones they were monitoring. How helpful is that?

It sounds good to law enforcement and government agencies. It is not worth the loss of privacy. We are but a few steps away from what the founding fathers feared most monolithic government oppression.

I am of the opinion that fear is what drives this. Not reality. We are afraid so we give up freedoms. One little bit at a time. We keep letting people in power get more and more power. All in the name of “Terrorism”, “health” “the children”. For a concept, not an enemy.  You will never stop terrorism, just individual terrorists. Each small liberty surrendered is 10 times the effort to regain. Historically can people in power be trusted? NO. Should we stop this march towards Orwellian dystopia? YES.

With each small link the chain is forged, until we wake up in irons. That is the nature of power and people. It must be stopped. People need to wake up. Make your outrage heard. Stop this before we lose the ability to challenge those in power.

Did medieval serfs know that by working for landowner they would eventually end up virtual slaves? Probably not. We should. The federal government becomes more and more monolithic everyday. They dictate healthcare, education, the military, and money. How far are we away from serfdom? Some would say we are there now. You don’t own your home you rent it from the state. They take it away if you don’t pay your taxes. That is not ownership, it is serfdom to the state.

Forced DNA test and checks are now law of the land thanks to the Supreme court. The federal government can essentially track your every move. All in the name our safety. It is an illusion. Surrendering you freedom to feel safer is not a fair trade. Well fed complacency and fear is ending liberty. One little bit at a time so we don’t feel it and don’t complain. All in the name of the common good. Which history teaches us is “their” good and our common toil.

What can you do? Well if enough people; write, email, and call enough of their representatives then this can end. Either that or let your children have to deal with a country that mouths words like “land of the free” with irony rather than pride.

Anthropogenic Global Warming and CFC’s.

A new paper by Professor Qing-Bin Lu PhD is purporting to demonstrate that chlorofluorocarbons, not carbon dioxide, are behind global warming. Since CFC production has tapered off, he therefore predicts that we’ll see global cooling for the next 50 years or so.

CFC’s or Chlorofluorocarbons were widely used as refrigerants until it was phased out for the ozone friendly R-410A due to the Montreal protocol. CFC’s do in fact have high global warming potential as do all halogenated molecules. As much as 10,000 times the global warming potential of CO2. So this theory has plausibility. I think it is reasonable to turn the colloquial “Skeptical Eye” of Skeptoid toward this claim and the science involved.The findings of Professor Lu’s paper – “Cosmic-Ray-Driven Reaction and Greenhouse Effect of Halogenated Molecules” would be dramatic and ground breaking. Like most extraordinary claims I require extraordinary evidence. Lets review the paper, the claims, it’s author, and the publisher.

The CFC paper (PDF) originated from University of Waterloo Ontario Canada. I am no chemist nor physicist, still on quick evaluation the math appears appropriate. In addition there does appear to be a correlation between CFC’s and global temperature. I quickly find glaring flaws even to a lay person. There does not appear to be any consideration for ocean based warming. The temperature figures are for land based temperatures only. Secondly he makes claims that the global temperatures have been cooling for the last decade. This is not supported by the temperature measurements from multiple lines of evidence. This makes me suspicious that there are more subtle but significant errors in the paper that I lack the expertise to find.

I also have concerns about the author, related to his expertise. He is a physicist not a climatologist. This is a red flag in science for pseudoscience. He is working outside his field. It is unlikely that a physicist can suddenly trump a generation of climatologists research. The Galileo gambit is another red flag for pseudoscience. People from outside a complex field of science suddenly coming up with a simplistic answer to complicated problem is likely bogus.

The publisher International Journal of Modern Physics B is not a peer reviewed climatology journal. Frankly another red flag. Getting your trauma surgery study published in Nature and not in The Journal of trauma and acute care surgery usually means that it has no real basis for surgical publication. Journals are like all publications, sensation sells, and publishing a controversial paper with good physics in it makes a lot of sense. That does not mean that there is any basis for guiding climate science.

For me the final “nail in the coffin” is that the author published a similar paper in 2010 with the same theory and it was roundly criticized then. “Cosmic-ray-driven electron-induced reactions of halogenated molecules adsorbed on ice surfaces: Implications for atmospheric ozone depletion and global climate change. Qing-Bin Lu.” In Physics Review.

So from a non-climatologist perspective. We have a physicist publishing a paper in a physics journal about climate change. Who ignores ocean temperatures, indicates that the planet is cooling when it is not, and bucks what 97% of experts in that field say.

In my opinion implausible and unlikely to pan out. That does not mean I think that CFC’s have no effect on climate. It is part of a global picture of climate change. AGW is multi-factoral. The science and the experts indicate that CO2 is still king. All other factors deforestation, CFC’s, methane, albedo changes, water vapor et al… All play a role but CO2 is still the major player.

It is a pleasant fantasy to think that the problem is already fixed and going away on its own. Unfortunately it is fantasy not science.

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