Thursday, January 28, 2010

Help!

Because I took so much time off, and because I have so much on my list, I am going to throw out a bunch of topics and ask for help in prioritizing. So, let me know if any of the below trips your trigger. And, if no one comments, well, I'll feel bad.

-What is "pollution", is the earth "dirty", and various on global warming

-Supreme Court case overturning campaign financing, free speech issues, and political correctness in Fort Hood case

-Brown's election and the Republicans

-The meaning of the political decline of Obama

-What's happening in the economy and why? Also, update on the Federal Reserve.

-Some economic's book reviews

-Discussion of Daniel Gilbert's series on PBS "This Emotional Life" (and his book "Stumbling on Happiness")

-Discussion of Cato philosopher Badhwar's criticism of Objectivism

-The Europeanification of America: Why Are American's taken in by European Intellectuals?

-Some more history of fractional reserve banking, it's role in the current crisis, and the (my) case against it

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sugar (and Central Planning): The Bitter Truth

A friend of mine who is an expert in endocrinology sent me this youtube link to a fascinating lecture by Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, in which he details his hypothesis concerning the causes of the explosion in child obesity, adult obesity and metabolic syndrome (diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart disease).

First of all, if you are concerned about your own health, this is a must see and may change the way you think about food. Second, although it is not explicitly characterized as such in the lecture, it provides yet another case study in the horrors of central planning (e.g., see my post Golf Clap for Dear Leader).

The biochemistry of metabolism speaks for itself and much has been learned over the past 30 years. The more subtle component in this story concerns the insidious fingerprint of the central planner. The federal government is in a position to directly affect the health of the entire nation through several mechanisms. First, agricultural subsidies cause prices of certain foods to be more or less than otherwise and provide massive incentives to farmers and the food industry to utilize or substitute certain types of "favored" foods (like corn for example). Second, the FDA directly regulates the production and composition of food and drugs and through its official propaganda, which manifests in pronouncements like the RDA, reaches into every sphere of the public consciousness, e.g., adverstisements, industry incentives (or threats), and direct educational efforts in the public school system.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It Can't Get Any Worse?

Some souls there are that needs must taste
Of wrong, ere choosing right;
We should not call those years a waste
Which led us to the light

-From Life by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)

Yes, I took a month long hiatus from writing, and I appreciate all those who have continued to check back. I'm ready for another year, and so much has piled up I am feeling overwhelmed so let's get right to it.

In reflecting on 2009, I recalled a story once told to me by a friend that I have every reason to believe is true.

There was a guy at his neighborhood bar who came in one night very depressed. Apparently, he had been fired from his job, and his wife had left him all in a short period of time. After drowning his sorrows in his beer all night, he declared, "well, at least it can't get any worse" and stumbled out the door.

They didn't see the guy for quite some time as he stopped frequenting the bar. Later they found out what happened. On the way home from the bar that night, he had been sexually assaulted...by another man. Let's just say that no one at that bar ever said "it can't get any worse" ever again.

That's pretty much how I feel about 2009 and the prospects for 2010.

One link I have to get out almost knocked me off my chair when I read it, and, of course, it was not even back page news.
Science Daily reports that "Wolfgang Knorr of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol reanalyzed available atmospheric carbon dioxide and emissions data since 1850" and published his results in Geophysical Research Letters. According to the article:

In contradiction to some recent studies, he finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades.
Oh, really? Well it's nice to know that scientists are just now finding out that CO2 is not increasing in the atmosphere! That's not a real significant bit of data!!!!!!!

Much more coming soon...

(update:
Beth Haynes informs me that I misinterpreted the article. The study pertains to the fraction of CO2 remaining not to the overall level. The article is still important since AGW alarmists would have us believe that the ability for the earth to absorb additional amounts of CO2 is declining which their models then extrapolate to project temperatures. Evidently, this is not the case. She gave 4 links which discuss this article in more detail and/or debunk this misinterpretation of the headline implication:

Climate Progress, World Climate Report, Met Office Hadley Center, Skeptical Science)