For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a warm and safe Christmas, and may 2010 be a year of health, happiness and success for you and your loved ones.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Conspiracy, huh?

Every now and then, some "skeptic" would write that the AGW hoax was a thinly veiled attempt at forming a world government.  They would, of course, be immediately shouted down as conspiracy theorists.

The problem?  Well, Al Gore has said it (video: at 1 min. 10 sec).  Chirac has said it (see last paragraph of his speech). Ban Ki Moon is saying it (second question).  PM Brown is saying it.  Now the Greek PM, Papandreou is saying it.

So much for it just being a "consipracy theory."

Friday, December 18, 2009


It's been a week since I've posted last, but it sure hasn't been for lack of subject matter!  With all the stuff surrounding Copenhagen, there's almost too much to keep up with!

The last little while, though, I've just been feeling tired, tired, tired.  Too tired to write.  Too tired to think clearly.  Too tired to keep on top of things.  It doesn't help that my husband has been ill a lot lately, so I'm rather concerned about him, too.  He's been put on a new cocktail of meds to try and control his blood sugars, since his body has been doing the opposite of what it's "supposed" to do.  So there's a whole new batch of side effects to deal with.  His back gave out on him again, and the pain is so bad it makes him dizzy and nauseous - which just happens to also be some the side effects of his medications.  He just got a refill of meds for his back, which actually do help, but wipes him out.  When he got his refill he was told to take it three times a day, which he's NEVER been able to do.  Just taking one knocks him out for the day, so he tries to take them only just before bed.  The dr. wanted to give him something else for his back, too, but with the side effects of that drug, on top of the side effects of the others, he didn't think that would be a good idea. 
At least these latest drugs are actually covered by his insurance plan, and he doesn't have to pay up front and submit receipts for reimbursal.

Meanwhile, there just doesn't seem to be an end to the things that need to get done, and the way I'm feeling, they just don't get done at all.  We were supposed to take a group photo last weekend, so I could use it to make up a Christmas e-card to send out, which we've been doing every year since moving away from family.  I was assured we'd get it done, but when the weekend came, nothing happened.  We've actually been meaning to get a new group photo for some time now, as the only ones we have are about a year old.  When the time comes, though, it just doesn't happen. 

I still haven't finished putting up Christmas decorations around the house.  I'd intended to make the place look more festive, but just can't seem to gather the energy to do it.  It doesn't help that I seem to be the only one that's even interested, since the tree's been put up.  Eldest did some decorating while I was out with Youngest and did a great job of it, but nothing's been done since.  Well, unless you count taping things to a door to replace something I had to take down.  I've got strings of lights I want to put around windows, but don't have the energy to clamber around shelves, onto chairs, or over counters.  I've got garlands I wanted to hang at various places around the main floor, etc. and it's just not happening.  I tried to get into the spirit of things by playing Christmas music. Thanks to my sister, I even have some Polish carols I remember from my childhood.  My husband, however, has a habit of mocking songs.  He means to be funny, playing around with the lyrics and stuff (and is really quite creative at it), but it totally ruins the songs for me.  I'd rather not play the songs at all than have them lampooned like that.  I get the impression he really, really hates Christmas music.

I need to figure out a menu for our Wigilia dinner.  Every since we've lived in this province, we've been celebrating Wigilia on Christmas Eve instead of Reveillion after midnight, as we'd done at Dh's parents every year before the move.  Today I brought it up, as I need to plan my grocery shopping.  Youngest looked at me blankly, having no idea what I was talking about (I guess she'd forgotten the name?) and Dh "corrected" me by saying "Reveillion?"  How can we have celebrated Christmas with Wigilia for 3 years in a row, and neither of them remembers?

I'm starting to really not look forward to planning the menu.  Eldest and I both would like to try something different.  She'd like to have a fish dish - which would actually be much more traditional, since Wigilia is supposed to be a meatless meal.  I'd have liked to try a goose.  Dh won't eat fish, though, and his reaction when I mentioned a goose was ... less than positive.  More like stunned that I would even suggest such a thing. :-P  I have no idea what Youngest would like, because she doesn't contribute any ideas or opinions at all. I end up feeling like I'm trying to coerce everyone, and it shouldn't be that way.  If I *don't* say anything, though, no one else will step up to the plate.  Sometimes, I feel like we could forget Christmas completely, and no one would notice. 

Bah.  I probably shouldn't write at all when I'm feeling tired like this.  Friggin' depressing.  A good night's sleep and some iron in my blood will probably go a long way to me feeling better about the whole thing. :-P  Not that the problems would go away.  They just wouldn't bug me as much.

Time to see if there's any red meat in the fridge I can eat. ;-)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Is Palin the new Bush?

I've noticed something interesting lately. 

While GW Bush was president, he was frequently vilified by the left.  Comparing someone to Bush was almost a standard, knee-jerk insult.  Now that Bush is no longer in office and Obama can do no wrong, there was a gap in evil right wingers to blame on things.

In the past few days, however, I've noticed that Palin's name is being flung about in the same was Bush's was.  I myself was recently "insulted" by being compared to Palin by someone who didn't appreciate my disagreeing with their ACC (anthropgenic climate change) views.  I've seen several other emails, editorials and news articles in the past few days that have similarly cast Palin as the face of Bush-like evil.

Of course, like Bush, Palin's popularity has been increasing, while Obama's has been decreasing. 

So what does that tell us?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Trying to sweep it under the rug...

I've been trying to keep on top of things while running around and preparing for Christmas, among other things.  The news is full of stories about COP15 in Copenhagen, most mindlessly spouting AGW dogma.  The National Post is one of the few papers that's actually calling a spade a spade and pointing out a lot of the hypocrisy of the conference, as well as countering false claims with fact.

As much as many in the warmist camp have been trying, "climategate" isn't going away.  Since it's not going away by ignoring it, a few papers and columnists are trying a different tactic: write about it, but try to sweep it under the rug as being meaningless.

Today, Lyn Cockburn wrote a particularly disgusting column in her attempt to make light of the leaked/hacked documents.  I won't bother touching her attempt to redicule climategate with ridiculous "comparisons" to child abuse scandals, infanticide and WMD's.  I'll just cover some of her closing remarks.

The scientific body of climate research conducted by tens of thousands of scientists from many nations is not in question.
 This is one of the more amusing claims.  The number is always changing, too.  First is was 2000 or 2500 scientists, in reference to the IPCC contributors.  Never mind that the contributers didn't all agree, were specialists in a variety of fields and wrote only on their specialties, that the actual number of scientists putting all these contributions together was about 53 (it wasn't the same number for every report) and the final say was for even fewer people on the IPCC panel who weren't contributors at all, but bureaucrats.  Al Gore recently claimed 4000 scientists, and one commentor defending the "science" of global warming actually said "hundreds of thousands."

To begin with, there aren't that many climate scientests.  I've heard as many as 250 people worldwide are dedicated climate scientists, and that only 8 could be truly considered experts.  There are, of course, many more fields related to climate either directly (ie: meteorology, and specialists studying hurricanes, tornados and the like) or indirectly (ie: geologists, marine biologists, etc.).  Some are in completely different, but useful fields.  Computer modellers, statisticians, economists, etc. all have valuable contributions to make.

The reality is that there are not thousands of scientists conducting climate research (unless you use a very loose definition of what climate research includes), and there has never been a concensus even among those that believe in AGW.  It's also a fallacy to say their research is not in question, because the scientific method itself is based on the questioning of research.  Questioning is the foundation of scientific research, and scientists continue to question even the most basic assumptions, like the laws of physics.  That's what science is supposed to be all about.

In regards to the climategate emails and computer codes, however, it does call to question the work of so-called scientists all over the world, not just inside the CRU.  The CRU data is used by other researchers, so if the foundational data is corrupt, any conclusions drawn from that data is questionable.  As for the other sources, HADCRUT has actually been one of the places that had the least extreme results.  When monthly averages get released, NOAA frequently shows warming greater than HADCRUT.  GISS stations are a serious problem to the point that the raw data suspect, even before homogenization, smoothing, etc. is applied.

Global warming is a reality.

A play on wording that I find irritating.  Of course global warming is a reality.  We're not, however, talking about global warming.  We're talking about anthropogenic global warming.  This is where the controversy reigns.

The danger of greenhouse gas emissions is a reality.
This is one of the more silly claims.  Dispite the EPA trying to have GHG's ruled as dangerous to humanity, this claim is pure BS.  Which greenhouse gas?  Water vapour?  Of course not, but water vapour makes up as much as 95% of GHGs.  Water vapour usually doesn't even rate a mention when GHGs are discussed.  CO2? CO2, which makes up from 2 - 5% of GHG's, has a very limited role in warming.  The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the less effect it has on warming, not more. We've had CO2 levels far higher than they are now, without any negative effect. If anything, we can be viewed as being in a CO2 famine, as rates have rarely been as low as they are now.

How about nitrous oxide? N2O is also known as laughing gas and is frequently used medically.  While potentially dangerous in concentrations as high as are used in operating rooms, atmospheric concentrations are too low to be a concern.

Methane is found in concentrations far lower than CO2, but has many times the effect of CO2.  So it must be a problem, right?  Oops... not quite.  First off, it doesn't stay long in the atmosphere, so any effect it has is short lived.  There's a bit of a mystery, though.  Methane is apparently being released into the atmosphere in far greater amounts - but the atmospheric levels aren't increasing.  They had been steadily increasing for years, but then the numbers stabilized, and have actually started to drop slightly.  Why?  No one really knows.  Either way, it doesn't seem to be having much effect on global climate, one way or another.

Check out the United Kingdom Meteorological Office, which has just released data from more than 1,300 weather stations around the world showing that the globe is getting warmer.

This is probably the most laughable claim.  Did anyone expect them NOT to claim the world is getting warmer? Or that it isn't warming even faster than expected?  Never mind that the last couple of years have seen record cold temperature around the world.  Of course, looking at the code revealed by climategate, we know exactly why they can make those claims.  Their software is designed to do nothing else.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

CTV poll question

About half way down the CTV news page and on the right is this poll question...

Should Canada put its climate change policy on hold due to information gleaned from the 'ClimateGate' emails?

At the time of this writing, there have been 1627 votes, with 966 (59%) saying yes and 661 (41%) saying no.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A little bit more...

Finally have a chance to sit down and write a bit more about the Munk debate.

There hasn't been a lot in the MSM about the debates, and "climategate" is still barely rating mention.  There are a few columnists and the National Post that will talk about it without trying to sweep the whole thing under the carpet.

In thinking about the debate (which I'll have to go back and watch agan, now that it's up on the Munk Debates website, so I can hear what Lawson was saying), I'm thinking the debaters exemplified my thoughts on logic and emotion, and the role they play in AGW alarmist/skepticism.

May and Monbiot argued from almost purely emotional viewpoints.  May did attempt to use facts and figures, but they were pure BS (more on that later).  I still can't say for Lawson, but Lomborg's position was almost pure logic.  While I disagree with his premise that AGW is real and a problem, I have no disagreement with his including climate change in his top 10 list of things we need to deal with, since adapting to climate change - warm or cold - is something we humans will always need to deal with.

I found a few of May's statements ludicrous.  For example, at one point she claimed to have followed up every single reference used in Lomborg's book and found them to all be wrong.  Every single one.  Ridiculous!  The only way that could be possible is if she allowed her own personal bias to reject any source or information that disagreed with her own conclusions.  She also tried to get all scientific in talking about the bubbles in ice cores (irritating, in that she sounded like she was talking down to the audience, as if they were children, or mentally difficient, but that could be just her speech mannerisms), and went on to claim that CO2 levels have never been this high in a million years.  Pure fallacy.  Rarely in the earth's history have CO2 levels been as LOW as they are now, and the last million years have been a slow drop, not an increase (with a few blips in each direction along the way).  Of course, there are plenty of sites that claim otherwise, but I've noticed that they are also predominantly sites that promote AGW alarmism already (ie: Wikipedia, Science and Nature magazines, and the like).  Of course, that works on the assumption that CO2 drives temperature which, again, is a false assumption.  As our technology improved and we could study various core data (ice, ocean sediments, etc), we see that CO2 is as likely likely to follow as lead, and there's very little correlation between CO2 and temp, and even less causation.

Monbiot was the champion as using the emotional arguement.  Well spoken, amiable and friendly looking, he finished off his portion of the debate with a dramatic experience of his.  In a nutshell, a Kenyan village he was supposed to visit but didn't because he ended up in the hospital got massacred, which was discovered when he finally did make it out there.  98 people were murdered, their bodies left for the hyenas.  He claims that this was done by people made desperate by a severe 4 yr drought that was "almost certainly" caused by global warming, and that this incident was the turning point for him to fight AGW.

Lets take a look at this "logic." 

First, he's assuming that the drought was caused, not just by global warming, but human induced global warming.  Because somehow, there's a difference (assuming we're actually causing any warming at all).  This implies that, if the world weren't warming, the drought wouldn't have happened.  Which also implies that, if things were cooler, there would be no drought.

Second, he blames these drought conditions for the atrocity committed by people.  If there were no drought, he implies, people wouldn't be desperate enough to kill each other.  (I noticed that, while he mentioned the villagers were cattlemen, he didn't mention if their murderers actually took the cattle, or anything else for that matter.)  No drought, no attrocities.

I happen to live in a fairly northern part of the prairies, which are typically pretty dry to start with.  We're a whole heck of a lot colder than Kenya.  We've also been experiencing drought for the last 10 years.  I haven't noticed any gangs of desperate people toting AK47's going around killing people (though we certainly have had our share of murders).  Why?

Well, for starters, I'm in Canada, where even our poor have more personal wealth than most people in third world countries.  We have a comparitively stable government and rule of law.  Canadian culture also doesn't accept AK47 toting gangs going around slaughtering entire villages.  Our desperate farmers are being forced to sell their breeding cattle because they can't afford to feed them - and those animals are going to slaughter, rather than another breeding operation.  People are losing their homes and farms, going into debt, declaring bankruptcy, and a few truly desperate commit murder-suicide.  Instead of killing other people, they kill their own families, and then themselves.

Monbiot would have us believe that, if we combate climate change, stop global warming (a questionable goal in itself) and cool down the earth (yeah... cause my garden did so well this past cold summer... NOT), there will be no more severe droughts, and therefore no more attrocities.

Pure emotionalism.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Munk Debates done - UPDATE

I just finished watching and listening to the Munk Debate. The poll results are still coming in, so the numbers are continually changing, but it looks like the pro side got a higher precentange, and the best debaters were rated as Monbiot, Lomborg, Lawson and May, in that order.*

My thoughts on the debate itself:  I can't say I was satisfied with it, but then, I'm not happy with the debate question in the first place, which was "Be it resolved that climate change is mankind's defining crisis, and demands commensurate response."  Personally, I would have prefered a debate on the science behind AGW/climate change.

Lawson wasn't particularly articulate, which was a bit disappointing.  Lomborg, as usual, was quite articulate.  He knows how to put his thoughts out understandably.  Monbiot did, too.  May was... well, her usual self.  There was a bit of a shouting match between her and Lomborg at one point.  Lomborg had cut her off to argue against something she had just said and the moderator had to shut them both down and give them a time out.  Lomborg sat down again, but May kept shouting, with that infamous finger pointing, long after her mic was shut off.

In general, the debate went over all right.  The moderator did his job and kept things going.  The speakers all went a little off topic.  I felt Lomborg kept things tightest on target.

What I found the most interesting, however, was the live discussion beside the screen.  There were several people commenting, plus people watching could send in comments, which may or may not get posted.  There was an obvious bias to the pro side going on!  A couple of commentors were constantly sending belittling remarks (did they really think climategate wouldn't be mentioned??) against Lawson and Lomborg.  Of the allowed viewer comments, if the ones I made where any example, they were extremely selective and biased as to what they allowed to be shown. Again, biased to the pro side.  There were a few people that I think were supposed to represent the balanced other view, but if they were, they didn't do a good job of it.

There were a number of claims made that I found questionable, such as May's data claiming catastrophic results if CO2 levels and temps were allowed to go any higher.  Monbiot told of a rather harrowing event in Kenya that he blamed on drought caused by global warming, which I find questionable to the extreme.  The assumption would be that, if there were no drought, people wouldn't take AK47's and murder entire villages.  Who knew that ending atrocities was as simple as controling the earth's temperature? :-/

Lomborg was very clear that he believed that climate change is a problem that needs to be dealt with, but that there are other things that would more useful to attend to first, like food scarcity, education for girls, etc.  Lawson, I'm afraid, I couldn't make out very well.  I have trouble hearing words that aren't articulated clearly (there's even a name for it, I've found out - Auditory Processing Disorder), and I'm afraid most of what he said, my brain heard as little more than gibberish.  I literally could not hear what he was saying (I had the same problem, though not as severely, when May spoke).  I'm going to have to see if there's a transcript later on.

* regarding the poll numbers, they stopped collecting them very quickly - and I noticed that it was stopped when the pro side was at a higher, rather than lower, point (it was fluctuating from about 63% to 74% pro).  At closing, it's at 72% pro, 27% con.  Interestingly, the running tally under the player reads 59% pro, 41% con.

I'll probably post more on this later, but I need to get off the computer.

UPDATE: Okay, something is fishy here.  I went back to the Munk Debate site to look something up and noticed the running tally votes have changed.  Now they read:
Pro: 922 votes (60%)  Con: 612 votes (40%)

At the end of the debate, when I originally posted, it had read:
Pro: 680 votes (59%) Con: 470 votes (41%)

Is the vote is still open (since I voted during the debate, I can't see if it is or isn't)?  It was strange enough that the running tally was accepting votes before the debate even started, but they're still taking votes while the debate is long over?

Monday, November 30, 2009

No One Peer-Reviews Scientific Software

No One Peer-Reviews Scientific Software

Posted using ShareThis

What justification?

While busily procrastinating getting our living room ready for Christmas, I've been going through my morning news, editorials and letters to the editor.  I am finding myself increasingly frustrated and perplexed in the fall out - or lack of it - of the leaked Hadley CRU documents.

First off, there's still surprisingly little coverage in the media.  Had this sort of scandal emerged from the "other side," the headlines would've been screaming about it.  Instead, there's hardly anything.  A few columnists, like Lorrie Goldstein, are writing about it.  If it weren't for Tom Nelson's blog, with his diligent posting of stories from all over, I'd be finding far less.

A few other main stream papers are finally writing about it, and some of them really blow my mind.  They are actually justifying the actions of these CRU "scientists."  A number of letter writers and commentors also try to excuse and justify this incredibly unscientific behaviour by the CRU.  How?  How can someone look at the leaked data and not realize that it calls into doubt everything about AGW theory?  It's not just the CRU that screwed up.  Similar problems are being revealed in New Zealand, and those following the data over the last few years know that the US data is woefully corrupted.

There is no excuse or justification for this sort of shoddy science and deliberate manipulation of information.  What we should be doing is putting all proposals to "fight climate change" on hold.  All current programs should also be stopped.  A thorough, independant investigation needs to be done, not only into the CRU, but all major climate data organizations.  We can't be pushing for global action based on bad information.  To continue to do so would be stupid and irresponsible.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Science News Cycle

My daughter sent me this, and I just had to share...

A good read...

I just wanted to call attention to this excellent opinion piece from Lorrie Goldstein.

Why 'climategate' won't stop greens

The problem, however, is those who hijacked science to predict a looming Armageddon unless we do exactly as they say, have already done their damage.
The moment they convinced politicians the way to avert the End of Days was to put a price on emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the unholy alliance of Big Government, Big Business and Big Green was forged.
Big Government wants more of your taxes. Big Business wants more of your income. Big Green wants you and your children to bow down to its agenda of enforced austerity.
What about saving the planet, you ask? This was never about saving the planet. This is about money and power. Your money. Their power.
 It's been fascinating to read some of the letters to the editors some papers have been publishing in reponse to pieces like this.  Certain papers simply didn't print any that agreed - and I know they got them - but those that disagreed.  Talk about head in the sand responses!  After shooting the messanger (you're not a climate scientist!  How dare you diss [fill name of alarmist person or organization here]?) to chastising the paper for publishing the piece at all, many then went on to talk about concensus and the IPCC as proof that AGW is really happening, and the writers are evil for disagreeing.

Let's see if I get this right.  The emails and code released show that the so-called scientists who's data CONTRIBUTED to the IPCC reports was fudged, massaged, falsified, while they discussed ways to hide information they didn't agree with (because they just *knew* AGW was really happening, even if the data showed it wasn't), thereby calling to question anything the IPCC and alarmist have ever said... but the IPCC and the alarmists are used to "prove" that AGW is real.

Uhm...  yeah.

Maybe they should lie down for a bit until the fever passes, 'cause that sort of twisted "logic" has got to hurt the brain.

While I'm at it, here's another excellent read from Steve Janke.

So what does this have to do with scientists and climate change?  Scientists are supposed to be the purist expression of realists.  For them, it is all about the data.  The data is never right or wrong in a moral sense, it simply is.  What the data shows can't be denied.  Anidealist will gladly ignore or denigrate data that conflicts with his ideal view of the universe, but a scientist does not have that luxury.
A proper scientist does not believe in man-made global warming.  It is a theory that may or may not be supported by evidence.  If not, it is rejected.  It is as simple as that.
For believers in man-made global warming, the ideal universe is one in which global warming is real, and is attributable to Western industrial activity.  From that ideal state flows the ideal solution -- massive de-industrialization of the West and a subsequent reduction of wealth and influence.  From that follows a crash in the standard of living, culminating in dramatic depopulation. 
Don't be naive.  This is what global warming idealists want to happen.

Yes, it is what they want.  Many have even said so rather bluntly. 

Funny how skeptics of AGW have been called deniers and equated to Holocaust deniers who should be put to trail and jailed.  Who are the deniers now?  Deniers of reality, that is.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Can it be more frivolous?

This takes the cake when it comes to frivolous lawsuits!  (h/t)

Comer v. Murphy Oil USA, No. 07-60756 (5th Cir. Oct. 16, 2009): The plaintiffs filed a diversity suit seeking only damages against numerous defendant petro-chemical companies.  The panel summarizes:
"The plaintiffs, residents and owners of lands and property along the Mississippi Gulf coast, filed this putative class action in the district court against the named defendants, corporations that have principal offices in other states but are doing business in Mississippi. The plaintiffs allege that defendants' operation of energy, fossil fuels, and chemical industries in the United States
caused the emission of greenhouse gasses that contributed to global warming, viz., the increase in global surface air and water temperatures, that in turn caused a rise in sea levels and added to the ferocity of Hurricane Katrina, which combined to destroy the plaintiffs' private property, as well as public property useful to them. The plaintiffs' putative class action asserts claims for compensatory and punitive damages based on Mississippi common-law actions
of public and private nuisance, trespass, negligence, unjust enrichment, fraudulent misrepresentation, and civil conspiracy."

Sure, take the oil companies to court!  They will then have to prove we humans really are causing global warming (in light of the Hadley CRU data, it would be pretty easy for the defense to prove we're not). 

Assuming there's such a thing as an unbiased court anymore.

Too funny!!

I love this!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009


After reading a post over at Dr. Roy's Thoughts, I followed a link to a Liberal Poll.  I didn't answer it, as they want me to put in my name, postal code and email, and I don't want any political party to have those.  We somehow got on the NDP mail list as it is.  Not only have I been getting NDP "ten percenters" regularly since we moved, but so has my husband - and the woman who lived here before us!  Yup.  I get three Layton ten percenters, every time they get sent out.

Check out the loaded questions on the Liberal site, though.  After a misleading blurb using the phrase "Reform-Conservatives" (because they just have to dig up the ghosts of those scary old Reformers), the first two questions are yes/no choices.

1. Are the Harper Reform-Conservatives right to oppose pay equity for women?

Strange. That's not at all how I understood things. Equal pay for work of equal value, sure, but as a woman who's been home with the kids for more than 16 years, with a couple of forays into the world of employment in the last few years, I certainly don't expect to walk into the same wage as men who've been doing the job longer than I have, just because I'm a woman.  I expect to have to earn my way up, just like anyone else.

2. Do you agree with Stephen Harper that those supporting women's equality are “left-wing fringe groups”?

Another loaded question.  Most "women's groups" are indeed "left-wing fringe groups."  Therefore, their supporters are most likely to be extreme lefties and modern feminists (not to be confused with the feminists that actualy got us the vote and equal rights).  So there are left-wing fringe groups, and there are their supporters.  The supporters and the groups are different entities.

Not that either has anything to do with women's equality in the first place.

Then they ask:

3. Who do you trust more to advocate for the rights of women in Canada and abroad?

 (Cut and paste problem - it should just read "Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals" by itself, but Blogger won't let me edit out the repeated question.  I don't have the time or energy to fuss with it, so there it is...)

Again, they use the term "Reform-Conservative."

To the Libs making this poll: the Reform party doesn't exist any more.  The hard line Reformers didn't like the merger and don't support the Conservative Party of Canada all that much.  They think the CPC is too... wait for it... Liberal.

Now explain to me: how can you phrase a question so dishonestly and misleadingly - and make it a question about trust?

No, I don't trust the Libs.  I trust Ignatieff even less.  Of all our current political leaders, I trust Harper the most.  Which really isn't much of a compliment, considering how little I think of the other leaders.  Layton is so slimey, he gives me the creeps.  May is off her rocker, but at least she seems genuine.  Ignatieff is a nobody who thinks his status makes him a somebody.  I don't like everything the CPC is doing, but they're a whole heck of a lot better than the alternative.

I honestly wish the Liberals would get their act together and be an effective opposition.  Our parliamentary system needs that.  Instead, they're so busy trying to get themselves back into office (with the other opposition parties goading them all the way), it's crippling Parliament.  We don't need any more faux scandals and knee jerk opposition to anything or everything, including the stuff you guys actually wanted in the first place. ie: complaining about lack of stimulous money in one breath, then berating the gov. for our debt the next.  Hello... you guys were the ones threatening to topple the gov. with a coalition supposedly because of the lack of stimulus funding!

We need you all to get your butts in gear, get to work and quit playing games, because those games are costing us regular folks (you know... the ones you want voting for you) a lot.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A successful evening!

Well, our first historical dinner as part of a formal group is done, and it was quite a success!  The only hitch of the evening was discovering the bathroom across the hall was locked, so we had to take people across the street to our place if they needed to go.  *L*

There were some last minute changes in the number of people.  One person ended up staying home with a fever, possibly a flu, but two other last minute additions made it.  We totalled 20 people, I think.  My husband wasn't able to stay very long - not too much of a surprise there, with the way his health has been lately - and Youngest went home with him.  The noise levels got a bit much for her. 

I'll detail more about the dishes we had on my home school blog once I've gone through my photos.  I did the rabbit, which went over quite well, wild rice.  Eldest did bannock, which also went over quite well, and fake coffee, which everyone seemed to find rather odd tasting. *L*  I also made some "hay time switchel" for a drink.  I imagine it would have tasted quite good after a day in the sun making hay - with all that sugar and molasses, it would have been quite the pick-me-up.  Otherwise, it was... not something I'd make again. LOL

Now, let's see if I can remember all the other dishes without having to go back to the photos. :-D  There were little potatoes, baked whole, a fish and carrot dish, a fish soup that included mushrooms and cattail roots, freshly made saurkraut, rose hip jam, pemmican, roasted pumpkin seeds, a thick lentil and smoked hamhock soup, and a dessert of... I think it was pears, prunes and raisins, but I'll have to double check that.  One of our guests even brewed up some spruce beer (used as a tonic to fight scurvy).  They had to make "essense of spruce" using their own spruce trees and a bit of guesswork.  Like the fake coffee and switchel, molasses figured heavily, too, though they had to make sure the molasses was preservative free, so the yeast wouldn't be killed off.

One of the surprised while researching recipes - when they had it, the pioneers used a LOT of sugar or other sweetener.  Huge amounts of salt was also used, though more often as a preservative.  I guess, with depending on game so much in the early years, fat and protein weren't much of an issue, but carbs were a little harder to come by.  Well, except for the poor souls that died of rabbit starvation.  Hard to imagine starving to death while having plenty to eat.  In our day and age, with dietary fat being viewed as such an evil, we tend to forget we can't live without it.

I think I remembered everything that was there. 

My personal favorites were the lentil/ham hock soup and wild rice.  I'm not big on fish, but the fish dishes worked out quite well.  I completely forgot to try the rose hip jam, though, which I was looking forward to.  The pemmican was an experiment, and I'm not sure if it worked or not, not knowing what "real" pemmican is supposed to taste like.  I was surprised by how much I liked the saurkraut.  I grew up with my mother's saurkraut and never liked it - it was so incredibly sour and acidic - but this was really nice.  The person who made it said it was saltier than it was supposed to be, but I wouldn't know any better. *L*

Before we started, we all talked about the dishes we'd brought and how close we could get to authentic to the theme.  I was surprised to find that lentils were being used in NA that far back.  There are always allownaces to be made when trying to recreate historical dishes, if only because information tends to be sparse or cryptic. 

Some of our guests even dressed up a bit, and one family brought a small table loom used for making narrow strips of fabric for sashes.  Another guest had brought her fiddle and played us a few tunes.  There were games and even dances - it was all a lot more elaborate than anything I'd expected.  The kids had a blast, that's for sure. 

Unfortunately, things went on a bit too long and we never got to the story telling.  One of our guests is actually a professional storyteller and I was really looking forward to hearing her. She had to leave, though, so it never happened.  :-( 

Things got loud, sometimes a bit chaotic, and was overall a success.  The theme was chosen by Eldest (I picked the last themed dinner we had, before the group was formally created), so the next one will have to be hosted by another family.  It may not happen until the spring, though! ;-D  We have plenty of themes we'd like to try, but I look forward to seeing what someone else might come up with!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Link Dump: the death of AGW alarmism?

Fascinating to see which media are or aren't talking about the hacked data showing that yes, AGW really was a manufactured lie.  With that in mind, here are some links to look at what you might not be finding anywhere else.

Global Warming Fraud Exposed has a number of links to follow.
Climate Depot has, at the moment, a great many stories to check out.
Watts Up With That, the blog alarmists love to hate, has plenty of good stuff.
Tom Nelson, as always, has lots of links to all stories climate related and is frequently upated.
Climate Realists is following the stories, too.
Icecap provides even more.
And you can't miss Mann's nemesis at Climate Audit.

Enjoy reading.  Me?  I'm going to start cooking for a pioneer themed dinner we're hosting tonight.  Canadian prairies, pre-1850, settler.  Researching for this has been quite fascinating.  A lot of people starved because they couldn't grow the foods they'd brought with them, due to the short growing season and cold.  Those that didn't know how to hunt or couldn't buy/trade for food from local Natives or nearby forts were often in dire straights.  Almost no grains of any kind, few vegetables, wild foods limited by season, difficulties preserving food for the winter.  I couldn't help but see the irony of how nutritional deprivation was such a danger because they only foods they had were local and seasonal - which is what we're being told we should be doing for the sake of the environment.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I don't get it.

Forgive me for a bit of a rant, here, but I just don't get it.

What is it with women's painted eyebrows these days?

Women have been painting their eyebrows for a long time.  My mother used to do it.  That's because she really didn't have eyebrows.  She was a dark haired woman with sparse, light haired eyebrows.  Hollywood starlets used to paint fine arcs, and that's kindasorta come back.  What on earth for?

I can't figure out the weird painted eyebrows I'm seeing more and more of these days.  These are the chunky, blocky, stencilled things.  I didn't realize stencils were used, or even existed, until I picked up a recent Avon catalog and saw some.  The write up described removing any hairs outside the stencil shape, appling the stencil, then filling in the shape completely with makeup.  Today I followed a link to an online fashiom magazine - I normally avoid fashion magazines - and there was this model with stencilled in eyebrows.

They looked like painted on mustaches.

Groucho Marx mustaches.

Over her eyes.

It didn't help that the thickest part was drawn well towards the bridge of her nose, looking like she's had a uni-brow, but someone erased a space in the middle.

How is this attractive?

Then there are the shavers.

Why would anyone shave off perfectly good eyebrows so that they could pencil in fake ones?  In odd shapes, no less.  I once saw a woman on the bus with eyebrows painted on where no eyebrows would possibly grow.  Her natural browline, devoide of hair, was completely ignored in favour of this weird, clown-like arc that went half way up her forehead at its highest point.

I realize I'm blessed with well shaped eyebrows.  How I managed that, with my mother's non-existant ones and my father's bushy visors, I have no idea, but all my siblings and I have pretty normal eyebrows.  No stray hairs growing in weird places.  No unibrows.  Still, according to fashion, I should be plucking, threading or waxing them anyway.  Then painting them.  Screw that! 

I'll save my eyebrow painting for Halloween.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I wonder how media play this will get?

Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of "Anthropogenic Global Warming?"

But perhaps the most damaging revelations  – the scientific equivalent of the Telegraph’s MPs’ expenses scandal – are those concerning the way Warmist scientists may variously have manipulated or suppressed evidence in order to support their cause.

Which was already known, though ignored, even encouraged, by the MSM and speical interest groups.

So what do you think?  Right now, there's nothing to suggest the hacked data is anything but genuine.  Will this finally reveal AGW alarmism for the lie it is, or will it get buried?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Munk Debates on climate change

I'm really looking forward to the Dec. 1 live webcast Munk Debate on climate change.

C02 levels in the atmosphere are climbing steadily higher. Some believe this is having a devastating effect on humans and nature, while others argue that the threat has been overstated. Is this the moment for a bold international treaty to curb carbon emissions? Or, are the social and economic costs of reducing C02 emissions too high in world where a billion people live on a dollar or less a day?

 There are 4 people to take part in this debate, two on each side.  They all have two things in common.  All of them are published authors, and none of them are climate "experts."

Those listed on the "con" side are Lord Nigel Lawson and Bjorn Lomborg.  A strong showing there, I think.

Lord Lawson is by far the most distinquished of the bunch, IMO.  He had a long and distinquished career in journalism before turning to politics.  He served as Energy Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer, and advisor to former British PM, Margaret Thatcher.  The positive economic results of his tenure are known as "The Lawson Boom."  He's well informed, logical, and has a backbone - something that seems to be missing in most politicians.

Also on the "con" side is Bjorn Lomborg.  It should be noted that Lomborg actually believes in AGW.  His arguement is that trying to stop or control climate change is a waste of resources, and that it would be much more prudent to use those resources differently.  An economist, he organised the "Copenhagen Consensus" to get together some of the top minds in the field to look at where it would be most effective to use our resources.

On the "pro" is, we have Elizabeth May.  She is the current leader of the Green Party of Canada - and the reason I no longer vote green.  She's a lawyer and environmental activist.  As a Canadian, I've seen her in action, and quite frankly, I find her difficult to watch or listen to, her behaviour is so atrocious.  No more so than, say, Jack Layton *shudder* but that's hardly a complement.  She seems to be all about the emotion and little to do with logic.

Of all the debaters, the "pro" is saddled with the man who is perhaps the least qualified - or sane - person of the bunch, George Monbiot.  When trying to read and review his book, Heat, his claim to relevance seems to be that he's a "thinker."  He's also travelled the world as an activist, suffering injuries and near death in the process.  His bout with cerebral malaria might explain his over the top rantings, such as his statement that, every time someone drowns in a flood in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be taken out and shot. 

Looking at this line up, I'd say the "pro" side is in for a trouncing.


Check this story out...

Subway train stops short of woman on tracks.

The security videos caught it all.

That is one very lucky woman.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Religion in our schools

There is a lot of hue and cry to ensure religion is kept out of our schools (unless, of course, it's a Judeo-Christian bashing course on so-called "world religion").  Prayer was taken out long ago, crucifixes are removed, and people are trying to purge virtually every reference to (a Judeo-Christian) God.  (For the record, I don't believe religion should be in schools, other than as part of history or social studies; religous belief systems belong in the hands of the parents.)

Now that belief in anthropogenic climate change has been legally recognized as a religion, does that mean we'll finally have it removed from our schools?

Monday, November 02, 2009

What did people expect?

For months now, headlines have been screaming about the dangers of H1N1.  Government officials, medical personnel, and more have been telling us to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.  Even those not in high risk categories were being told to get the shot, because they might still be carriers.  While there were a few calm voices, the overwhelming message was one of panic.

Then, once the vaccine finally becomes available, frightened people line up for hours, only to find the clinics have run out of vaccine.  Everyone seems to be angry, scared and...


Seriously, folks.  How could anything else have been expected?

We've made no attempt to get vaccinated, and probably won't.  My husband and half his office has probably already had it, at which point, getting the shot is useless.  Even if we were planning to, we sure as heck wouldn't have tried to get it as soon as the vaccine became available, for the same reason we never go to movies on opening night - crowd avoidance. 

But it's so much more fun to point fingers at everyone else and play the blame game.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Getting stung by Sting

Don't you just love it when celebrities stick their heads up and weigh in on politics?  I don't mean the ones that are politically active on their own time. I mean the ones that normally have nothing to do with politics (or whatever the topic du jour happens to be).

This time, it's Sting that has popped up in praise of Obama, putting forward this fascinating observation...

He says Obama’s opponents are “aggressive and violent and full of fear.” 
Unlike 8 years of anti-Bush folks, who were aggressive, violent and full of hate.

It's okay now, Sting.  You can duck your head back into oblivion again.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A new one for my bookmarks...

We're Chuck Norris fans in this household, but now I think he's all sorts of awesome.  I didn't realize he had a regular column.  Nothing unusual about that, I suppose.  A lot of celebrities write publicly in one form or another.  Some are good.  Some go a long way to proving the vapidness of Hollywood.  Norris' columns are exceptional, whether or not you agree with him.  He writes well, intelligently, and is thoroughly knowledgeable when it comes to his topics.  How many politicians can say they've read the treaties and proposals he writes about? 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Spots on othe windshield

Forgive me for a bit of rambling, but I'm sick with a head cold right now, so lucid moments are rather few and far between today. *L*

In 1954, in Seattle Washington, people began to notice something strange.  Pits, spots, dings and holes began to appear on the windshields of their cars.

At first, it was blamed on vandals.  However, as more and more people reported the mysterious appearance of these spots and pits on their windshields, increasingly fantastic causes were entertained.  BB guns, sand flea eggs, military radio transmissions, cosmic rays, shifts in the Earth's magnetic field, and even supernatural sources were blamed.  Some people reported seeing the glass bubble before their very eyes.  The first reports emerged at the end of March, but by the middle of April, there were 3000 cases reported and people were freaking out.

In the end, it was determined that the pits were always there.  It wasn't until word of the pitting started getting reported by the media that people actually started looking at their windshields closely.  After all, people usually look through their windshields, not at them.  Suddenly they were seeing the pits they'd never noticed before.

What had really happened was another outbreak of what's now called mass hysteria. A varient of this is the nocebo effect, where people's belief that something is harmful is so complete, that they will display physical symptoms of illness, even when there is no cause.There is nothing fake about what these people are feeling, which is what makes the nocebo effect and the larger mass hysteria so potentially dangerous.

I find myself thinking of such things as I go through my morning news and continue my research into the mess surrounding AGW/climate change/whatevertheycallitnow.  How is it that groups like the Caitlin Arctic Survey can have so many struggles due to the cold, including equipment failures and endangerment of their own lives, find ice thicker than expected, find more multi-year ice than expected, all during a time when Arctic ice had increased by 25%, only to come back and report that the North Polar ice is disappearing faster then anyone predicted?  How can we seen increases in total ice coverage in Antarctica, but only see headlines claiming Antarctic ice is melting every faster?  How can people see temperatures plummet around the world while CO2 levels continue to increase, yet claim global temperatures are increasing, and that CO2 is the cause?

The Food Network show, Food Detectives, demonstrated an example of this when looking into the effects of MSG.  Scientific testing repeatedly show that MSG doesn't negatively effect our health, yet people insist that it does.  When serving 30 people the exact same meal in a Chinese restaurant, under the belief they were doing a taste test, they served half the room the meal with MSG, the other without.  Of the 6 people who claimed they felt the effects of MSG from the food they ate, 5 of them had been served the MSG free meal.

Likewise, I hear people talk about how strange the weather has been lately.  It's never been so warm before... or so cold.  It's never been this wet, or this dry.  Spring has been coming earlier.  No, it's been coming later.  Of course, they all blame it on AGW.  Never mind that historical data shows that there's nothing unusual about the local weather.  They're seeing the spots on the windshield for the first time.  Suddenly, having become aware of this thing called Anthropogenic Global Warming, they are seeing signs of it wherever they turn.

It's the only reason I can think of for otherwise intelligent, thoughtful people to throw all logic to the wind and support "interventions" that won't even do anything to effect climate, whether it's carbon capture or cap and trade schemes, throw billions of dollars away on carbon credits, or accept increasingly draconian limitations to our freedoms.  Some even go so far as to try and deny freedom of speech to anyone who disagrees.  I'm not talking politicians or celebrity "scientists," here.  I'm talking regular folks who become so incensed at the suggestion they might be wrong, they verbally attack their "opponent" with insults and threats, or simply shut down even the potential for dissenting voices before they happen - a form of online censorship I've experienced a few times already.

They just can't seem to be able to handle someone pointing out that the spots on their windshield were already there.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Emergency! Emergency!

In the news this morning... Pres. Obama has declared an H1N1 state of emergency.  I actually tried to watch some tv news last night (man, sometimes I wish we could stop our cable...) and they were showing people who'd lined up for hours, even camping overnight, for the flu shot.

I actually know a few people who've had H1N1 (or Swine Flu, as the CBC continues to insist on calling it).  They found it the mildest flu they've ever had, and would take H1N1 over regular flu any day.  One woman, who discovered she's had H1N1 only because she'd gone to the dr. for something else afterwards, was told by her doctor he doesn't even bother testing for it anymore.  For a while, everyone who came in with the flu was being tested, and they all came back positive.  As the dr. put it, H1N1 is this year's flu, and that the majority of people had very mild symptoms, compared to regular flu.  Only one person got pneumonia afterwards, and was told it'll take her up to a year to recover from that.

Not everyone is throwing common sense out the window.  In the Vancouver Sun, there's this...

With few exceptions, most of the 86 deaths in Canada (nine in B.C.) attributed to H1N1 as of Oct. 22 have been linked to underlying medical conditions.
In fact, most documented cases of swine flu have been mild ones, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, which also reminds us that other flu strains account for between 2,000 and 8,000 Canadian deaths each year.
Today's National Post front page headline is, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Flu?  In Pandemic paranoia: Are fears justified or overblown? they write...

To be sure, the H1N1 virus is cause for concern. It has appeared in 191 countries, struck roughly 400,000 people globally and claimed the lives of at least 5,000 people. However the virus, a novel strain of influenza that can be treated with two widely available drugs and for which there is an effective vaccine, has killed fewer people over the past six months than the seasonal flu kills every six days. Yet fear of the flu has spread ferociously, as if H1N1 anxiety were more contagious than the virus itself.
"It appears that the global health community, including the WHO, is committed to worst-case thinking," said Frank Furedi, professor of Sociology at the University of Kent and author of Politics of Fear, Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone? "Health officials are today framing medical problems like H1N1 as threats to human existence."
For Mr. Ferudi, much of the language surrounding the flu is inflammatory and does little more than instil a paralyzing paranoia among a species already programmed for fight or flight and which increasingly views any uncertainty as a threat. Fear, of course, can be a positive emotion that protects people from taking dangerous risks, and is partly credited for humankind's early abilities to survive. But fear can likewise manifest into debilitating paranoia, and prevent people from engaging healthily in society.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You know, folks, that he's not president anymore, right?

First, Calgary.  Then Edmonton, Saskatoon and now Montreal.  Former president George W. Bush has been doing speaking engagements.  At every venue, there have been protestors.

Police fend of protesters at Bush speech in Montreal

MONTREAL – As George W. Bush joked with a business crowd inside a historic hotel ballroom Thursday, hundreds of people outside the room cheered while he was being burned in effigy.
Police in riot gear and others on horseback held back a crowd of hundreds, including several people who tossed shoes at the Queen Elizabeth hotel in a demonstration of disdain for the man speaking inside.
Two protesters tried forcing their way through the line of shield- and baton-carrying police, were wrestled to the ground, and arrested.

What's funny is that, these are the same types of people who claim Pres. Obama is being treated so badly by those racist, redneck Republicans.  Can you imagine if protestors were doing the exact same thing in front of a venue Obama was speaking at?  But somehow, it's acceptable if the speaker is Bush.

These people seem to be forgeting that Bush isn't president anymore.  They're also ignoring the fact that Obama is continuing quite a few of the Bush policies these people are protesting.

Don't you just love double standards?

update:  For the point of view of someone who actually saw GWB speak, check out Dr. Roy's blog. Like every other review I've heard so far, the venue was sold out and GWB recieved several standing ovations.  All without teleprompters, too.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Things that happen while we're away... (trying again)

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians.  We were able to spend our Thanksgiving back in Manitoba, with a double family reunion. We did a lot of driving - including some rather dangerous driving in near whiteout conditions at night - and a lot of bouncing back and forth between Dh's parents' place and my family farm.  We got to see almost all our family.  One of my SILs and her daughter made a weekend trip to the US rather than join the rest of us for our family reunion.  Nice to know how high we rate on their priority list.  After all, it's only been four years since we've seen them. ;-)  No, it doesn't really bother me.  I'm more amused than anything else.

*sigh*  I was going to write a longer post, but Dh keeps MSN'ing me and sending me off to look at things. I'll have to try this again later on...

Second attempt: Oct. 16

Wow.  It took a while to get back to this. :-P

Our Thanksgiving was a full and hectic time of bouncing between my family farm and the in-laws in a neighbouring town, as well as a couple of visits with old friends squeezed in.  My husband brought his laptop along, expecting to be able to do a bit of work.  That didn't quite happen, we he found the hotel's internet connection was insecure wireless.  Not something he can make use of. So while I wasn't able to get my daily news browsing in, I did at least catch a few headlines.

When I first heard the Pres. Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize, it was little more than a rumour.  It wasn't until we got home that I had a chance to catch up on it.  Having already been awarded to the likes of Yassar Arafat and Al Gore, it's already become pretty meaningless, but this really takes the cake.  Especially when you stop and realize that, in order to win the prize, someone had to have nominated Obama after he'd been president for only 2 weeks.  Nominating is one thing, but for the Nobel committee to actually award it to him is pretty ludicrous.  Sure, Obama might someday do something to warrent such an award, but he hasn't done anything yet.  To be fair, Obama publicly stated that he didn't think he deserved it, either.  That didn't stop him from accepting it, though.  The appropriate thing to do would have been to turn it down with thanks and respect.

(H/T to Dr. Roy for the video)

It seems to me that Pres. Obama won the Peace Prize the same way he got elected - not for the things he is, but for the things he's not.  He's not GW Bush.  He's not white.  He's not old.  He's not Republican.  He's not female. 

This whole fiasco has managed to make an already worthless prize even more meaningless.

Closer to home, a tragedy unfolded over the time we were gone.  Just before we'd left, I caught stories about a bath house fire in Winnipeg, killing two.  It wasn't until we came back that I discovered one of the young men killed, someone I didn't know personally at all, is the son of a couple I've known most of my life.  Learning more about it, I wish I had known him.  He sounds like someone I would have really liked.  A facebook group in his memory already has over a thousand members.  At the same time, I can't help but cringing, and feel the need to somehow contact his parents and apologize ahead of time for anything my mother might say to them.  This young man was openly gay and performed in drag (some fabulous photos of him on the facebook group).  Entertaining was his life, and I'd love to have seen him perform.  My mother, however, is a homophobic religous fanatic, and I know she'd say something horrible to his parents.  It's bad enough that freaked out group of gay haters in the US have said they plan to attend and disrupt his funeral.  While hurtful, they're still strangers and easily dismissed.  It's not quite the same hearing their sort of poison from someone you've known all  your life, and my mother has known both his parents since they were born.

In somewhat more cheerful news, Cirque du Soleil founder and space tourist, Guy Laliberte, is back on earth.  He actually performed in space!  Now there's a challange.  Laliberte is the founder of the One Drop Foundation, who's goal is combating poverty through clean water.  A laudible goal, though with associations with Gore and Suzuki, I doubt it'll accomplish much.  Laliberte paid $35 million to go into space.  While I certainly wouldn't presume to tell anyone how they should spend their own money, it seems obvious to me that that money could have gone a long way towards providing safe water to people without. If someone has the money to pay for a trip into space, more power to them, but to do so while promoting a cause that could really use those millions seems rather hypocritical to me.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Our PM in action...

What a hoot!

I do remember vaguely hearing that he could play the piano, but his singing is all right, too. 

Who'da thunk it?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

SG: Universe and the post AGW paradigm switch

While doing some crochet the other night, I decided to see if there was anything in the 500 channels we now get that's worth watching.  The premiere of Stargate: Universe was pretty much the only thing on worth watching.  I'd already missed the first 20 minutes or so, but I decided to watch the rest, anyway.  I started right in the evacuation scene, just before the planet blows up, so that made for some confused watching for a while. *L*

After this point, the show follows the surviving evacuees that ended up on an abandoned alien space ship for some reason I never quite caught onto.  The ship is damaged and leaking air - hence the title of the premier, Air, I suppose.

Now, I like sci fi, though I don't really watch a lot of it anymore. TV series like Star Trek, Battlestar Gallactica and Buck Rogers were things I enjoyed as a kid.  The Star Wars movies, Enemy Mine, The Last Starfighter were some of the movies.  More recently, we've discovered the Firefly series (it came out at a time when we had no tv, so we never saw it when it first came out), etc.

Most sci fi movies set in space will, at some point, deal with that greatest of dangers in space: lack of air.  So it's no surprise that SGU dealt with it right from the start.  What was different was how it was protrayed.

Picture this for a moment.  Imagine yourself as a character in a sci fi story.  You're on a ship, lost in space.  The ship is damaged and leaking air.  So what is your greatest concern?

Well, always before, the concern was lack of breathable oxygen.  If your ship is leaking its internal atmosphere, not having any oxygen left to breath would seem to be the paramount concern.

Not so in the world of SGU.  Throughout the show, their greatest concern was...

The build up of CO2.

Now, this can be a legitimate concern.  If you're in an enclosed area where the air in the room is all you've got, you will eventually have more CO2 than oxygen.  At which point, yeah, you're gonna die. Not from the CO2, necessarly, but from the lack of oxygen.  It takes a bit of twisted logic, but sure, you could say that, at this point, a build up of CO2 can be deadly.

That's not, however, the scenerio on SGU.  Here, the ship is actually leaking air.  There wouldn't be a build up of CO2 because the CO2 would be draining along with the oxygen and other gases in their air.  CO2 couldn't have built up to dangerous levels.

But in the post AGW world, CO2 surmounts lack of oxygen in deadliness.  It seems that, just as AGW alarmists tell us that increased CO2 will only increase the growth of things we don't like (like weeds) but kill the things we want (like food plants), apparently a space ship leaking air will only leak the air they want (oxygen) and leave behind the air they don't want (CO2).

Well, since both theories are firmly routed in fantasy, I guess it can work. :-P

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Even breastfeeding is being marketed ...

... as being "green."

With World Breastfeeding Week coming up, there's good reason to promote breastfeeding.  Like everything else these days, there are those that will turn just about anything into an environmental issue.  :-P  I happen to be very much in favour of extended breastfeeding.  I bf'd both my girls for about 3 years each.  This was an accomplishment with my elder daughter.  Hers was a hospital birth with two shots of demerol, an epidural and forceps.  The only reason I agreed to the drugs was because the hospital staff lied to me, saying they would not have any effect on her.  She was drugged out for several days and, when they finally wore off, no longer instinctively knew how to nurse.  After a disasterous first week that was ended only with the help of a La Leche League leader (the dr's didn't even know what to look for), we finally figured it out.  By then, I was so badly injured on one side, I couldn't use it until it healed.  When it did, my daughter would no longer even try to nurse on that side, so for the next three years, I had one breast several sizes than the other. *L*  This actually worked out well.  I never had to remind myself to switch sides.  With my second daughter, born at home without any drugs at all, nursing was never any problem, though I did find myself tempted by the convenience of nursing one sided again, anyways. *L*

With my first pregnancy, my husband and I went to prenatal classes.  At one point, the nurse teaching the class asked who planned to bf their babies.  All the pregnant moms raised their hands, with a lot of "of course, it's best for baby" type comments.  After everyone in the class had their babies, there was a get together with all our babies. All the babies were 3-6 weeks old.  What I found interesting was that, of all the people there, I was the only one who had actual problems with nursing - and I was the only one still nursing!  All the other moms had tried to bf, but quickly gave up.  One even went to far as to thicken her baby's formula with cereal.  Considering who adamant everyone had been about bf'ing before, I couldn't believe how quickly they all gave up, even though none of them actually had problems bf'ing.

Bottle feeding will never go away, and I don't think it should.  There will always be babies who, for one reason or another, cannot nurse.  Today's formulas, as inferior as they are in many ways, are a significant improvement on the early baby foods used when bf'ing wasn't an option.  In a perfect world, bf'ing would be the norm with bottle feeding available, without guilt, for those rare occaisions where bf'ing isn't possible.

I won't go into any of that now, though.  Instead, I wanted to respond to the current re-marketing of bf'ing as being the "green" thing to do.  Apparently, the greens are just discovering this now.  Go figure.

In the Sun Media, today, I found lists of 10 reasons to breastfeed, and environmental reason to bf.  Here's my take on both...

10 Great Reasons to Breastfeed

1. It's free.

I'm glad this one is first, actually.  We were pretty broke with both our kids, and not having to worry about money for formula really took away a lot of stress (that and those feel-good hormones that get released while bf'ing... ;-D).  I can't believe how expensive infant formula is!  How can anyone afford it???

2. Health Canada, The Canadian Paediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend it.

Personally, I wouldn't consider this a plus.  Medical organizations go through their fads just like any other and, quite frankly, I don't consider them necessarily reliable.

3. Breastfeeding is associated with higher IQs. 

 Junk science alert.  "Associated with" is meaningless.  It just means there's a correlation.  Correleation does not equal causation, but it does make for a good selling point for all those new "smart baby" infant formulas out there. :-P

4. It is nature's most perfect food, custom designed for human babies.

 This is absulutely correct.  All mammals product milk specific to their species, which is why cow's milk has to be modified so much before it can be safely used for human babies.  As it is, goat's milk is closer to human milk than cow's, but cow's milk is more plentiful and cheaper.  Early commercial infant formulas used the milk byproducts left behind in the making of other dairy products.  The manufacturers used to throw it away until they found a market for it in baby formula.  This actually meant less waste, but it didn't make it any easier for human infant digestive systems to handle.

5. Breastfeeding means more sleep for baby (and mom and dad!)

 I certainly found it so.  Especailly after I figured out how to nurse lying down (being as large as I was, the recommended way didn't work).  Since I was sleeping with my daughter anyway, this immediately added another 2 hours of sleep to my nights.  My daughter would start fussing, I'd roll into postion, she's latch on, and we'd both drift back to sleep.  Not that she had to fully awake in the first place.  What bliss!

6. Breastfed babies get fewer cavities and have healthier dental and jaw development.

 I don't know.  It didn't stop my elder daughter from having jaws that are shorter than they should be, resulting in malpostioned teeth.  I think genetics plays a stronger roll, though nursing certainly helps.

7. Sweeter smelling diapers. 

 True enough, but they still stink. *L*

8. Breastfeeding makes for happier, healthier babies.

 There's truth to this statement, but it seems to imply that bottlefed babies are neither happy, nor healthy, which isn't true. 

9. Breastfeeding is great for moms, too. It helps to shrink the uterus, prevent postpartum hemorrhaging and increases weight loss. 

 Helping shrink the uterus is one of the side benefits of the hormones released while nursing.  Regarding the weight loss, that's misleading.  Breastfeeding does seem to use up some of the mother's fat reserves, particularly from the "saddlebags" on the thighs - at least it seems to.  That does not actually mean there will be weight loss, since weight is more complex than simple adiposity.

10. It's what breasts were designed for! 

True enough.  Too bad our culture sexualizes them so much.

Environmental Benefits of Breastfeeding

- No garbage. 

Unless breast pads are used.  There are disposable ones as well as washable types.  They do a decent job of preventing stains from leaking.

- Saves energy. No factories are required to manufacture it.

I'm not sure "saves energy" is the right term to use here.  There's a lot more involved when using factories as an example.  Quite a lot of resources go into manufactuing infant formula, including research and development.

- Saves electricity. Breastmilk doesn't need to be refrigerated or heated.

 Isn't electricity energy?  :-/  The point is quite accurate, though.  This is particularly important in those areas of the world that do not have reliable refrigeration or safe water supplies.  This is where the Politics of Breastfeeding comes into play.  Some serious ethical issues involved.  Even in first world nations, with clean water and refridgeration reliably available, I think there's a tendancy for people to forget that keeping a bottle in the diaper bag for hours while going about the day is potentially dangerous.

- Saves gas. Fewer trips to the supermarket, drug store, doctor's office and hospital. 

 I'm not so sure about this one.  With the supermarket and drug store, it would save gas only if parents are making trips just to buy formual seperate from all their other shopping.  While I can see people making an dash to the store if they run out unexpectedly, but generally people will buy formula at the same time they're doing their grocery shopping, etc.  The dr's office and hospital again makes it seem like bottle fed babies are all so much sicker than bf babies.  I don't think the difference is enough to make that much of a difference in overall gas useage.

- Breastfeeding means fewer cow-induced greenhouse gas emissions.

 Nope.  Sorry, but bf'ing isn't going to change the number of cows there are in the world.  Even if infant formual became uncommon, used only when medically needed, that won't change.  We don't have whole herds of dairy cows producing milk only for infant formula.  (And we'll just ignore the cow farts and burps causing global warming myth for now.) 

- No stuff to buy - formula, bottles, nipples and other paraphernalia.

 Not if the mother pumps and stores milk for future feedings, as many women who work out of home do successfully.  There aren't too many jobs out there were Mom can bring her baby to work to bf as needed.  Otherwise, yes, not having to get all that stuff is a definate bonus.

- Reduces the need for disposable sanitary products. 

 Yes and no on an individual basis. Some lucky women have delayed menses for the entire time they're nursing.  Me?  I didn't last 6 months. :-P

- Effective birth control when none else is available.

Again, this is an individual thing, but nursing and frequent physical contact between mother and infact, especially skin to skin contact, does delay fertility.  Baby wearing and co-sleeping increases this effect.

Hmmm... the new version of blogger seems to have gotten rid of the spell check function.  Well, I've got other family members wanting the computer, so if there are any typos, I apologize now. ;-)

Monday, September 21, 2009

What if?

H/T to Climbing Out of the Dark for this. 

Apparently this is making the email rounds, though I've yet to see it elsewhere.  Just an example of some of the double standards that are out there...

If George W. Bush had been the first President to need a TelePrompTer installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how he inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

If George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan's holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly narcissistic and tacky?

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have winced in embarrassment?

If George W. Bush had misspelled the word advice would you have hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and potato as proof of what a dunce he is?

If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?

If George W. Bush's administration had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?

If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans, would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?

If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

If George W Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?

So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive?

Can't think of anything? Don't worry.

He's done all this in 5 months -- so you'll have three years and seven months to come up with an answer.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What is healthy?

Just going through my morning news, when I caught this headline.

Half of all fat people think they are healthy.

What does this mean?  Being a headline, you know it's a play on words.  With size bias being so rampant in our culture, my automatic interpretations tend to mentally add things like "but they're wrong..."  Using the phrase "think they are healthy," seems to imply that what they think does not reflect the reality.

Then the article itself opens with...

One in six obese Australians and more than half of the overweight population wrongly believe they are a healthy weight, a new survey has found.

Ah ha.  Right.  It's not actual health they're talking about.  It's a "healthy weight."  And, of course, these people are wrong to believe their own weight is a healthy weight. 

The tendency to judge ourselves against other people, rather than scientifically based weight guidelines, was ''normalising'' obesity, said the Heart Foundation, which commissioned the survey.

 Scientifically based weight guidelines?  The BMI, the article tells us, which is a totally useless measurement of health and was never originally intended to be one?  And of course, there's the dreaded "normalising" of obesity.  Because heaven forbid anyone should think themselves normal.

The survey of 1200 people found one in four people who are considered obese using the body mass index (BMI) rate their health as being very good or excellent, and one in five believe their risk of getting heart disease is low to very low.

So here we have a survey, where people are asked to rate their own health.  Did anyone follow up with these people and actually test their health indicators?  No.  It's completely self reported. 

So I ask you, who would better know what an individual's health is like?  The person filling in the survey, or the person reading it without ever having met, seen or examined the people surveyed?

Because the people surveyed are fat, as defined by the BMI, the people doing this survey seem to be concluding that they MUST be unhealthy, therefore any who claim their health to be very good or... dare I say it... excellent, must be delusional.

Let's look at this for a moment. 

I am fat.  No question about that.

Blood pressure?  Good
Cholesterol?  Good
Blood sugars?  Tending to the low side of the numbers, but still well within the "safe" range.
Diabetes? (T1 or T2)  No, and no family history
Liver function? (yes, I've had that tested.  It's not normally tested for, but I had been put on a prescription with a possible side effect of liver damage, so it was being monitored.)  Good
Heart?  Good with no family history of heart disease.
Lungs?  Aside from my chronic cough, healthy, with some tests rating me healthier then average.  In fact, according to the tests, I shouldn't have a cough.
Allergies?  None that I know of.
Cancer?  No.  The only direct family member to get cancer in my family is my grandmother, who was killed by an undiagnosed brain tumor.  She was in her 80's and, according to her medical check up the day she died, she was in good healthy - except for the "snakes" in her head that she kept complaining about.  After her dr's visit, she lay down for a nap and never woke up.

I also don't smoke, don't drink, eat a variety of foods in moderation, and get as much exercise as I am physically able to.

Based on my family history, I'm going to be a fat woman in my late 80's when something kills me.  So I've got another 40+ years to go, yet.

What problems do I have?  Aside from the cough already mentioned, I have post traumatic osteoarthritis in my feet and knees. Probably some arthritis in my fingers and right wrist.  Tennis elbow in my left elbow that is still bothering me.  All of these are related to injury or over use, and are not caused by being fat.  Most predate my weight gain, so if there's any association to make, it would be that they have caused some weight gain due to restricted mobility.  The lump I found in my breast?  A cyst posing no health risk, though it will be monitored.  Again, unrelated to my weight.

Based on repeated medical tests and examinations, I can honestly say that my health is very good.

Any guess what?  My risk of heart disease really is very low, for two reasons. 1) family history and 2) I've never gone on a diet, therefore my heart has never had to go through the stress of yo-yo dieting.

Yet, according to the people who did this survery, the mere fact that I am fat means that I should not believe my own health to be good in any way.  In spite of all evidence to the contrary, the very fact that I am fat should mean that I am unhealthy. 

By extension, being thin should mean healthy, and we all know that thin people never had heart attacks, strokes, get cancer or diabetes, have high blood pressure and cholesterol levels...

Uh huh.

Thanks, but no thanks.  I'll deal with my real problems, not imaginary ones because people who know nothing about me think I should, simply because of my weight.