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Entries from blogs tagged with “International affairs”

Net Metering as Sunflower Compromise

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/apr/30/veto_override_house_set_thursday/Instead of passing a bill to impose a surcharge on ratepayers The legislature should pass a companion bill that would require Sunflower to allow its customers to set up their own generating equipment and pay them if they generate more electricity than they use. The bill would allow the KCC to establish a reasonable charge for maintaining the electric lines connecting the customers to Sunflower's system.Government needs to encourage people to switch to hybrid vehicles that can be charged at home. However such a shift would require a substantial increase in electricity generating capacity. If northeastern legislators had any sense they would want to increase the western Kansas tax base with large facilities that can be taxed and increased individual income taxes from economic development.The Sunflower would produce biofuels without diverting food crops to fuel as is currently being done.

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The Rating for 2007 is Irrelevant

The so-called experts cannot agree on where the year 2007 ranks in comparison with other years. But then the average temperatures for various years only differ by a degree or less. The average temperature changed only 1 F or 0.5 C (0.17%) during the 20th Century which can hardly be considered significant.I recently checked the average temperatures for the three Wichita airports for the 1st ten days of March and found Mid Continent had an average of 37.3 F Jabara 37.6 F and McConnell AFB 36.4 F. Notice that even though the sites are within a few miles of each other and would have similar situations such as runways etc. Jabara was 1.2 F higher than McConnell and Mid Continent was in between them.A one degree temperature difference even if it's one degree Celsius isn't a big deal.

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It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity

Climatologists pay too little attention to the role water plays in earth's energy system, including the way water vapor affects air temperature. Water's potential to affect air temperature is well established in science. As I have noted in previous posts the ability of CO2 to affect temperature is highly questionable. Those who spend much time in greenhouses know that they are often very humid places because water evaporates from plants and from surfaces that get wet when the plants are watered. Meteorologists typically refer to the water vapor content of the air as relative humidity which is how close the air is to holding as much water vapor as it can hold at its current temperature.Unfortunately many climatologists waste so much time on the nonexistent impact of radiation on air temperature that they don't provide sufficient emphasis to the significant impact of water vapor on air temperature. Those who want to blame climate changes on humans ignore the fact that the combustion of hydrogen containing fossil fuels increases the amount of water vapor in the air. Other human actitivies such as watering yards, washing cars and operating public fountains also add water to the atmosphere.Water has some special thermal characteristics that can significantly affect atmospheric temperatures. Water heats and cools signicantly slower than other components of the atmosphere. Water vapor needs to absorb over four times more heat energy than the same mass of other air molecules to raise its temperature the same amount.Thus as the water vapor content of the air increases the atmosphere will heat and cool slower than when the air is drier. This process tends to keep the temperature from rising as high during the day or cooling as much at night, although the increase in the overnight low may lead to an increase in the daytime temperature because the air doesn't have to heat as much to reach a higher temperature. In equatorial areas deserts have higher maximum temperatures and lower minimum temperatures than jungle areas where the humidity is higher.Water vapor possesses what physicists call "latent" heat. Latent heat refers to the heat energy water molecules must absorb to go from a solid to a liquid (heat of fusion 80 calories/gram) or a liquid to a gas(heat of vaporization 540 calories/gram). This energy isn't reflected in the temperature of the water vapor. However, when water vapor condenses back to a liquid, or freezes, the release of this latent heat can raise the temperature of the air. A gram of water vapor releases enough heat energy when it condenses to raise the temperature of 2 kg of air by 1 C.Physicists define a "calorie" as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of a gram of water 1 C. 27 C (82 F) is the same temperature as 300 K[elvin the absolute temperature scale]. At 300 K water vapor has 300 calories of heat from its temperature and 620 calories of latent heat.The dew point is the temperature at which water vapor will condense on objects or aerosals. The dew point normally is the lowest temperature the air will fall to. As the water vapor content of the air increases the dew point rises and the air doesn't get as cool at nightThe situation is more complex than I am presenting it in this post. I will deal with some of these complexities in a subsequent post. The important facts to consider are that increases in humidity can raise the low, or minimum temperature, and limit the high, or maximum temperature, each day.I recently came across a 10 year old study done by David R. Easterling of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., indicating that humidity had increased and, as should have been expected, the minimum temperature had been increasing and the difference between the minimum and maximum daily temperatures, diurnal temperature range (DTR), had been declining.http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/index.cfm?id=3085&method=fullThe potential impact of changes in atmospheric water vapor are real science. Water vapor holds a substantial amount of heat energy. The only potential impact climatologists can find for carbon dioxide is the highly questionable claim about absorbing and re-radiating low energy IR. But then, if would be difficult for the politicians behind the global warming scare to make a case for getting rid of water.

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The Raconteurs in Kansas City

It's safe to assume that any time Jack White is performing within a 100 mile radius, I'm going to go see him. (Okay, so maybe I did go all the way to Detroit once to see the White Stripes play with the Strokes, but that was before I had kids). So, when I heard The Raconteurs were playing at Kansas City's Uptown Theatre, I bought tickets right away. And let me tell you, last night's show more than made up for the cost of a little extra gas and a night's babysitting.I must confess I went into the show with low energy. Hey, it was a Tuesday, the opening act was a bit underwhelming and the tall glass of Boulevard Wheat probably didn't help things. I was all set in the "I'll enjoy this, but probably not as much as the White Stripes" mentality when The Raconteurs stepped out on stage.The energy in the theatre was unbelievable. Jack White broke out in a ferocious piano solo and from then on it just didn't let up. Blues, rock and pop-ish riffs were belted out by a group of guys that truly loved what they were doing. It would be no exaggeration to say that Jack White played guitar like this was his last night on earth and his last chance to tell it everything that's in his soul.There was the obligatory fainting chick rescue onstage and an amazing encore of at least five songs that ended in such an energetic finale that it is sure to remain with everyone who was there that night. On the drive home, I plugged the old ipod into the car stereo and gave some Raconteur tracks a listen. I have to say it just wasn't the same. There was magic in the air last night. The kind that can't be recorded.

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Suppressed Study Contradicts Bush

President George W. Bush has once again claimed the existence of a threatened calamity that is contradicted by a government study.Does the claim involve WMD in Iraq? No, if it did the Main Stream Media would have put the story on page one and it would have led the evening network news programs.Those people who believe in the threat claim that it could involve mass destruction, but it doesn't involve a military weapon.Several years ago NASA whistleblower Ferenc Miskolczi discovered a major flaw in the equations that have been used to predict catastrophic global warming. When Arthur Milne developed the equations 80 years ago he mistakenly assumed an infinitely thick atmosphere as a boundary condition. Assuming boundary conditions is a common practice when solving differential equations, but boundary conditions involving any amount in any way related to infinitely makes no sense for any sitautions other than black holes.In fairness to Milne his speciality was stellar atmospheres rather than planetary atmospheres.Miskolczi eventually resigned from NASA because the agency chose to suppress the study that discussed the error. Miskolczi has revised the equations and they no longer indicate the type of catastrophy suggested by NASA bureaucrats.Prior to reading about Miskolczi's work I had thought those who talked about the idea of a very minor atmospheric gas controlling atmospheric temperature were liars or intellectually challenged. Now that I know they were using an equation containing [from my perspective] such a blatant flaw, I can understand how they would make such a mistake. However I cannot understand how real scientists could continue to make that mistake. Of course government bureaucrats masquerading as scientists don't care about scientific accuracy.There is more evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction than there is for catastrophic "global warming". Hussein had previously used WMD against his enemies and still possessed plans for a nuclear program and unloaded nerve gas shells when the U.S. invaded. C02 levels went up throughout the 20th Century but the temperature went up and down which indicates there is no connection.

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Food Crops Not Good for Biofuels

Those who are criticizing conversion of corn and soybeans to fuel have a good point. Diverting food crops to fuel doesn't do much to increase energy resources, even though it reduces food supplies.Corn and soybeans have been bred for eating to provide energy for animals. Corn and soybeans cannot be efficiently converted to fuel. Too small a portion of the plants can actually be used to produce ethanol. Using wind energy for ethanol plant operation provides a greater net energy yield, but not enough to really increase energy resources.Technology to convert corn stalks and soybean leaves to ethanol would improve the yield, but such technology would eliminate the need to use corn and soybeans. Waste paper and tree trimmings could be used without diverting food crops to fuel.Currently algae provide a much more productive source of biofuels. Glen Kertz president and CEO of Valcent Products says that algae can produce 100,000 gallons of oil per acre compared to 30 gallons of oil from corn and 50 gallons per acre from soybeans. Unfortunately, ignorant politicians think that the carbon dioxide that "fertilizes" algae is a pollutant that should be prohibited. Algae production facilities connected to coal fired power plants can increase the amount of energy produced from the same amount of coal without reducing food supplies.

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CO2 Sequestering Would Be Insane

The people who want to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) don't understand the biosphere. Carbon and oxygen are two of the most important elements for biological life. 65% of the human body is oxygen and 18.5% is carbon. Plants are carbon structures with the percentage of carbon varying according to the type of plant.The CO2 oxygen cycle is critical to the functioning of the biosphere. Animals exhale CO2 which plants then use to produce the molecules such as sugars and starches that animals use for food. Plants release oxygen into the air which animals inhale and combine with the carbon compounds to grow or perform various body functions.CO2 is a major source of that carbon that provides the structure for plants. Absorbing CO2 through the leaves allows plants to use their roots for water and minor nutrients, particularly during the initial growth when they don't have extensive root systems. Some plants grow better as the amount of CO2 in the air increases. Some greenhouses use CO2 enrichment equipment to add CO2 to improve plant growth.Humans are already removing large amounts of carbon from the environment through such actions as construction of wooden buildings and making paper. Much paper and plant wastes are buried in landfills making the carbon unavailable to become part of plants.The combustion of fossil carbon fuels offsets the removal of carbon from the environment and increases the planet's ability to grow more plants. Adding carbon to the ground to replace carbon in harvested plants isn't as practical as adding carbon to the air in the form of CO2.Plants are normally thought of in terms of their biological function, but they have an inportant physics function. Plants are the original solar energy storage devices. Globally plants convert huge amounts of solar radiation into the chemical bonds of complex carbon molecules. This process reduces the amount of solar energy converted to heat energy.The molecules plants produce can be extremely long lived. If fossil fuels are ancient plant wastes as is commonly believed, the combustion of fossil fuels releases solar energy stored millions of years ago.Each CO2 molecule contains 2 oxygen atoms which are essential to animal life because animals breathe oxygen. Burying oxygen would reduce the amount available for humans to breathe and adversely affect human health.A better way to "get rid" of CO2 would be to encourage plant growth to return the oxygen to the air humans breathe. For example, power plants that produce CO2 could have attached greenhouses to recycle the CO2 into oxygen for humans to breathe and plants to convert to food or fuel. Kansas should encourage construction of the power plants Sunflower Electric has proposed rather than attempt to prevent construction.

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Gilligan and the Professor

Kansas Governor Kathleen Gilligan Sebelius has something more in common with the title character of "Gilligan's Island" than just her maiden name.The Professor on "Gilligan's Island" used his intelligence and knowledge to find ways to get the castaways off the island. Then, Gilligan would inevitably and inadvertantly sabotage the Professor's plan.Isaac Berzin may not be employed as a professor but he does have the academic qualification of a Ph. D. Dr. Berzin has developed a technology that allows coal powered electric plants to not only produce electricity but produce additional fuel. Incidentally,.Bob Metcalfe the codeveloper of the Ethernet is the interim CEO of the the company Berzin founded.http://web.mit.edu/erc/spotlights/alg-all.htmlFor someone like Gilligan carbon dioxide might be a pollutant. Berzin recognizes that CO2 is one of the raw materials used by the original solar energy devices such as algae to convert solar energy into the chemical bonds that bind carbon atoms to other atoms. According to Glen Kertz of Valcent Products algae can produce 100,000 galloms of oil per acre compared to 30 gallons of oil from corn and 50 gallons from soybeans. http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/04/01/algae.oil/Sunflower Electric's proposed power plant would use coal to provide electricity while producing the raw material that Dr. Berzin's technology would use to convert the abundant sunshine of the state "where the skies are not cloudy all day" into usable energy. The sun is our primary source of energy. Algae are very efficient solar energy storage devices. In nuclear energy a facility which produces nuclear fuel in addition to using it is called a breeder reactor. The Sunflower facility is the carbon fuel equivalent of a breeder reactor. Governor Sebelius claims to support the concept of renewable energy. So why does she oppose the renewable energy facilities Sunflower wants to construct? Could it be that she and the legislators who agree with her are no smarter than Gilligan?

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Kansas Small Town Needs Votes

Wilson, Kansas, population 800, has pride.With declining school enrollment and more than one-third the commercial downtown buildings vacant, David Criswell, President of Wilson PRIDE, Inc. decided to write a grant to the Case Foundation, an organization committed to helping cities achieve sustainable solutions to complex social problems.Recently he was informed his city made the Top 20 out of 4,641 applications. Not only is Wilson the smallest community in the Top 20, but the only one in the middle of the US. Other finalist cities include Denver, Colorado, Vancouver, Washington, Chicago, Illinois and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Placing in the Top 20, awarded the city of Wilson $10,000, which Criswell says, "We will use to do an aggressive community outreach, visioning and goal setting project."If the grant entitled "Wilson For The Ages" gets enough votes to make it to the Top four, they will get an additional $25,000, a significant achievement for the small town midway between Salina and Russell on I70.Wilson needs our on-line votes to compete against the big cities in the competition.Voting is simple. Click here on Case Foundation, vote for four, placing Wilson first, and follow the commands. To record your vote go to your email in-box and click on the link sent to you by the Case Foundation. Hotmail and gmail type accounts might not work. Your internet carrier issued email address is best. Votes must be confirmed by April 22, 2008.After last week, the Lawrence community appreciates the pride that comes with hitting a goal. Help Wilson Kansas hit theirs.

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Lawrence Arts Center Preschool Exhibit

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Apr/18/wide2.jpgThe paintings and sculptures at the Lawrence Arts Center Gallery were displayed close to the ground this week for the littlest of audiences. The gallery was transformed into a showcase for the talent of the center's preschoolers, ranging from collage to styrofoam art and just about everything in between. Cookies and punch provided children with the experience of a real art reception, with their families and friends in attendance. I can't describe the excitement on my son's face when he ran out of class and grabbed my hand to lead me to his painting that reminded him of one of his favorite books, "Olivia." (Now, in the book she paints her picture on the bedroom wall, so I'm pretty happy the LAC provides him a more suitable outlet for his artistic expression.)It made me think about that documentary from last year, "My Kid Could Paint That," about a four year old whose work was being compared to Picasso. The controversy dealt with whether her parents assisted in the creation of the more complex work which was being sold for large amounts of money.While I wouldn't necessarily categorize the work here as complex, it was definitely from the heart and shows all the playfulness and wondrous awe of this age group. Seasons and holidays show up as themes in this exhibit that encapsulates a year in the lives of these children. Each parent will take away more than a photograph, but a work of creation that represents the will and spirit of their child as they experienced life at this crucial stage of development. And yeah, we can all say, our kid did paint that.

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All Climatologists Aren’t Scientists

Some people seem to believe that anyone who studies some physical phenomenon is a scientist and that anything a "scientist" says is to be accepted as if the "scientist" were a priest. J. Robert Oppenheimer once remarked "There must be no barriers for freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors" Empirical scientists use repeated observations and experimentation to study physical phenomena. Scientists attempt to provide approximate explanations for phenomena. Exact explanations may not be possible, that is unless someone can come up with the holy grail of physics the Unified Field Theorem.. A real scientist would produce experimental evidence to support a claim that CO2 could cause temperature increases instead of claiming that historical data can be interpreted to imply CO2 affects temperature. When dealing with complex situations real scientists set up experiments in which all but one factor is controlled so they can determine the effect of that factor. Real scientists don't expect to have their explanations automatically accepted. They expect to have to prove what they say is valid by conducting experiments and providing evidence. They accept the existence of physical "laws" which control and limit physical phenomena. They accept concepts like those in quantum physics, even if they don't seem to make sense, if there is evidence that they do. Niels Bohr "And anyone who thinks they can talk about quantum theory without feeling dizzy hasn't yet understood the first thing about it." Some climatologists aren't acting like empirical scientists. For example, they claim the existence of things like greenhouse gases that are not consistent with established physics such as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Religious figures sometimes claim that physical laws can be ignored, but they typically suggest that a deity can perform supernatural feats. Scientists recognize that concepts come and go. Physicists have been debating whether light is a wave or a particle for two centuries. Each side has dominated at one time or another. They may think that those who disagree with them are misguided, but they don't call the members of the other side names like "denier" or "contrarian" like the believers in greenhouse gases do. These people who use such terms use them in the same manner religious figures use the terms 'heretic" and "infidel". The greenhouse gas believers believe that consensus is more important than evidence. Real scientists recognize that everyone can be wrong as 19th Century scientists were when they believed that atoms were the smallest particles of matter . Scientists don't vote on which explanation is the best. They develop evidence through experimentation and observation. Real scientists recognize that mathematical explanations are often complex and that throwing a bunch of numbers together and averaging them isn't likely to produce any meaningful result. Greenhouse gas believers think they can average global temperatures and get an exact explanation of the climate of every place on earth. The climatologists who claim to believe in greenhouse gases do not behave like scientists and thus are not scientists. A real scientist wouldn't provide vague explanations like "global warming is going to cause this or that". A real scientist would give specific explanations for climate in each area of the globe. The greenhouse gas believers use the term "global warming" as if it were some type of deity. If the weather is colder or warmer than usual the answer is the same "global warming did it."

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Earth Isn’t a Black Body

Many climatologists misunderstand the theoretical physics concept of a black body model. They falsely believe that earth must radiate most of the energy it receives back into space.The black body model is a theoretical concept that can only be approximted in a lab by examining what is called "cavity radiation". It isn't a practical concept for climatology.A planetary black body, if one existed, would absorb all radiation received, become hotter and then convert the heat energy back into radiation.Substances are black if they absorb all radiation. White substances reflect all radiation. Transparent substances allow radiation to pass through. Substances that are transparent or reflective don't radiate well.A black body concept is a simple linear model that only looks at radiation and heat. A linear model can be represented by a relatively simple equation. Non-linear models require complicated equations that may be difficult to solve. Chaotic models may be difficult to represent with equations.For planetary objects the model can only apply to solids in a vacuum and to be fully applicable the solid cannot be reflective. The model cannot apply to planets with a transparent atmosphere because such planets are non-linear. Planets that also have liquid oceans especially a water ocean, are too chaotic to function as black bodies.For a planet with a transparent atmosphere the solid will still heat up after absorbing radiation, but a portion of the heat is transferred to the atmosphere through conduction. The heated air then rises drawing in colder air which is also heated. As the heated air rises the heat energy is converted to potential energy rather than radiation.Water is transparent to light which means it doesn't radiate very well. Water loses heat through conduction and evaporation instead. Conduction heats the air. Evaporation carries heat energy into the atmosphere as latent heat rather than by raising the temperature of the air or by converting heat to radiation.Earth's biosphere further prevents earth from being a black body. From a thermodynamics standpoint, plants are solar energy storage devices. They convert solar energy into the electron bonds that hold complex carbon molecules together. When animals eat plants they store part of the energy as body parts and convert some of the energy into heat part of which may be transferred to the atmosphere through evaporation of water on the skin or exhaling water vapor. Fossil fuels are believed to be plant parts that weren't eaten and continued to store solar energy.A planetary black body is a simple energy in energy out system. Earth's energy utilization system is far too complex for earth to function as a black body. The above discussion is an oversimplification of that energy utilization system.

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Consider Haskell County Kansas

I spent a lot of time on a dairy farm when I was a kid growing up in Wisconsin. Now living in Lawrence it is easy to become disconnected from agriculture. Rural Haskell County has a natural connection to Lawrence. It was named after Dudley Haskell of Lawrence. He was a congressman back in 1883. Haskell County is now represented by Congressman Jerry Moran. Representative Moran has two important deadlines this week. We all share a tax deadline with him tomorrow. The other deadline is passage of a farm bill by Friday. So why do I care and what is the connection to Haskell County? Well according to the Environmental Working Group Representative Moran's district ranks second in the nation in the amount of farm subsidies received from 2003 through 2005 (http://farm.ewg.org/sites/farmbill2007/cdlist.php). The amount is $1,315,979,151. That is billion with a "B". Haskell County was a recipient of $43.2 mllion of this amount. I have been to Haskell County but I never knew it was so wealthy. As I remember it is flat farm county with little population. The U. S. Census Bureau estimates the 2006 population as 4,171 folks. What a lucky group of people. Of course the Department of Agriculture does not send the checks to Haskell County. There are actually over 100 farm businesses receiving these subsidies. Farming in Haskell County can be a tough business with droughts, late spring freezes, snow, hail storms, : the list could go on. The kind of family farm that I spent time on as a kid would find tough going in Haskell County. They would deserve the subsidies. But wait a minute. Here is a list of the 8 top farm businesses in Haskell County and the amount they received in that 2003 to 2005 time slot reported by the Environmental Working Group. They don't sound like small struggling family farms to me.1Clawson Farm Partnership $2,202,507 2 Cox Farms $1,806,319 3Rooney Agri Business $ 908,518 4Brown Enterprises $ 720,731 5 Bryant Farms $ 666,205 6Garetson Brothers Partners$ 665,377 7 Kells Farm $ 549,252 8 Mclain Partnership $ 514,372

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The EPA Should Regulate DHMO Emissions

The U.S.Environmental Protection Agency needs to adopt regulations for human emissions of dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO). Last year the Supreme Court ruled last year that carbon dioxide (CO2) qualifies as a pollutant subject to government regulation under existing pollution control laws. The gaseous form of DHMO can produce more adverse effects than CO2. Some people refer to DHMO as dihydrogen oxide.Humans add DHMO to the air through various activities including combustion of hydrogen containing fuels such as natural gas and petroleum based fuels.The only alleged adverse affect of CO2 is that it supposedly causes increased atmospheric temperatures through a process that some physicists say doesn't exist. Some climatologists claim that CO2 causes adverse warming by trapping infrared radiation even though physicist R.W. Wood demonstrated in 1909 that trapping IR doesn't cause greenhouses to be warmer.DHMO is said to be more effective at trapping IR under the process that greenhouse gas believers claim is causing global warming which means it should qualify as a pollutant under the same criteria as CO2. DNMO comprises 2-4% of the atmosphere, but CO2 is less than 0.04% DHMO can cause climate changes even if the greenhouse gas warming process doesn't exist.One gram of the gaseous form of DHMO can melt almost 7 grams of ice which means adding DHMO to the air can increase the melting of glaciers and the polar ice caps. The same thermal characteristics that allow DHMO to melt ice allow it to prevent temperatures from dropping below a threshold. Scientists have long known that increasing the amount of DHMO in the atmosphere can keep the low temperature above freezing which can increase the melting of ice and prevent it from refreezing.The severity of flooding and hurricanes depends upon the amount of DHMO in the atmosphere. Severity of both increases with increases in the amount of atmospheric DHMO. Obviously, human DHMO emissions can increase the severity of floods and hurricanes and the EPA should regulate such emissions.DHMO can corrode metal and damage wood products among other adverse environmental effects. DHMO can adversely affect human health.Some people might argue that DHMO cannot be a pollutant because it occurs naturally in the atmosphere. The Supreme Court didn't find that claim important regarding CO2. Various natural processes put CO2 into the atmosphere including venting from the oceans and volcanoes. According to the Court's ruling in Massachusetts et. al. v. Environmental Protection Agency the law is so broad that it allows regulation of any chemical released into the atmosphere. DHMO qualifies as a chemical for the same reasons CO2 does.Plants need DHMO, but they also need CO2. Some greenhouses deliberately increase the amount of CO2 in the air to increase plant growth. The Supreme Court didn't consider the need plants have for CO2 to justify exempting it from government efforts to force the atmosphere to adhere to human law precisely regulating its content.For a further discussion of DHMO and its affect on temperature see my previous post on the subject.

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Kansas Waterfall Roadtrips

What is it about a waterfall. Is it the sound? Feel of mist or reflection of light as it cascades down?All together, waterfalls bring a joyous feel to nature.What if I said there are natural waterfalls just a few hours drive from Lawrence? There are--in Kansas. Come with me to my favorite.Pillsbury Crossing near Manhattan is 59 acres billed as one of the most scenic areas in the Northern Flint Hills region. We agree. Managed by Kansas Wildlife and Parks, it provides free access to a natural crossing of Deep Creek. In normal conditions, water flows gently over a natural flat limestone crossing then over a beautiful horseshoe like waterfall. The day we were there, the water was flowing over the falls nicely but still low enough families were wading about the crossing.Quoting from the Kansas Flint Hills Tourism web site: "During normal stream flow, you may canoe, kayak, or take a small row boat upstream as far as 1/2 mile. There are some areas suitable for primitive camping by special permit only. Birdwatching is popular, and there is a small hiking trail provided in cooperation with a local conservation club in Manhattan. Fishing is also popular at Pillsbury Crossing, where the fish include channel cat, spotted bass, largemouth bass, bullhead catfish, and carp."Pillsbury Crossing is a short 10 minutes drive north of I70 on Exit 313 (GPS: 39.12888 -96.44050). While in the area, visit the self-guided Konza Prairie Hiking trail . A 2.5 mile loop is perfect for the young members of the family and a full 6 mile loop for the full Flint Hills experience.Other Kansas waterfalls we plan to visit include Butcher Falls in Chautauqua county. The one mile stretch of Pool Creek has been determined by American Whitewater to be a class III section. It is located on the Bill Kurtis Red Buffalo Ranch near Sedan Kansas.The town of Elk Falls bills itself as the largest living ghost town. The town's namesake waterfall is located on the nearby Elk River is in the Ozark Region of extreme southeast Kansas.Alcove Springs was a stop on the Oregon Trail as it passed through Marshall County six miles northwest of Blue Rapids. The Alcove Spring Preservation Association in Blue Rapids, Kansas, maintains the short ½ mile hike to the actual falls where travelers waited for the Big Blue River to go down. This is a significant historical site as immigrant names carved into rocks are still clearly visible. It also has the distinction of being the burial place of a member of the doomed Donner-Reed party of 1846.Chase Lake Falls in Chase county on Prather Creek is on the Flint Hills Scenic Byway While there, we plan to visit the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve with its showcase limestone mansion and Cottonwood Falls, site of the Chase County Courthouse.Kansas waterfalls might not be as high or plentiful as those found in other parts of the country but, they are historic, beautiful in their own right and you can't beat the amount of gas to find them.FRIDAY NOTE: Below is a beautiful Kansas waterfall located on private land sent by an anonymous reader. He indicates it is not too far from Lawrence. Any other private falls out there?Note: Check Kansas University's Kansas Geological Survey Kansas Photo Display page. Scroll down to waterfalls and see pictures of those mentioned above and others of interest. Thank you to anonymous commenter Max1

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“Optic Nerve” - Blogisode #5

I threw the teddy bear onto the counter when I got home. Okay, so maybe I didn't exactly throw it. Set it down gently might be a better description of the facts, but I didn't want you thinking I'd gotten all soft on you. It just didn't seem right to treat the thing like a bag of groceries as it was somehow connected to my new way of seeing things."What's that thing doing back here?" Steve asked, looking up from his paper. "She told me to keep it." I said, trying to act casual.Now he put the paper down. "Okay, not caring about a dumb stuffed animal I can understand, but why bother meeting you to get it back in the first place?'"I haven't figured that part out yet." I said and sat beside him, resisting the urge to tell him the animal was not dumb. "Your dad called by the way." Now any other day this bit of information wouldn't do much for me. My birthday was coming up and dads seem to call around this time. Even dads you haven't seen for ten years. But something was different about this year's call. And it wasn't just that my conversation with Mia had made me think about the old man. I could tell something was up just by looking at Steve.He didn't avert eye contact or change his voice in anyway, but something else about him revealed itself to me. His heart was pounding more than it usually did. And I could see it. Shirt, skin and bone seemed to dissolve in front of my eyes, leaving me with the fragile image of a red and blue muscle getting worked overtime by anxiety."What is it?" I asked, not being able to take my eyes away from this image."He's dying, Lucy," Steve said from somewhere outside of me. I could see his heart visibly relax with the release of this information. But this time it was my insides that reacted.Everything faded to black.

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Reporters as Prostitutes

Reporting on the issue of "global warming" demonstrates that often the only difference between reporters and prostitutes is that prostitutes understand what type business they are in. Many reporters are allowing themselves to be used by politicians and others to con the viewers and readers the reporters are supposed to be serving.30 years ago as a graduate student I took some journalism courses. At that time reporters were encouraged to get more than one opinion on issues and to avoid taking sides by reporting allegations as facts. A phrase like "according to" some source should precede or follow whatever claim the source is making.Many reporters willingly repeat the allegation that "greenhouse gases are causing global warming" as if it were an accepted fact instead of a subject of controversy. News stories will state that "CO2 causes global warming" without presenting any evidence to support the allegation. Those who support this hypothesis cannot provide evidence because the process doesn't exist.The situation is occurring in spite of the fact that it is easier for reporters to find alternate opinions than it was 30 years ago. In the 70's reporters had to contact other news sources and ask for other opinions. Today reporters can use internet search engines to find quotes from other sources, including experts who aren't well known, with just a few mouse clicks.Good reporters should be skeptical of their sources and recognize that people who willingly talk to reporters are usually attempting to gain acceptance for their points of view. Such sources may get away with misrepresenting the facts when reporters don't bother to check the validity of statements. Reporters who don't understand the issues they are reporting on are particularly vulnerable.Why should reporters who don't understand science be skeptical of the claims about "greenhouse gases causing global warming"?First, those making the claim admit that average temperatures only increased by 1 F (0.5C) (about 0.17%) during the entire 20th Century. Average temperatures can vary by more than that from one day to the next or from a shady area to a sunny area only a few feet apart.In an era when even priests and preachers can be crooks, there is no reason to assume scientists will tell the truth.Those scientists who believe in global warming sometimes claim that those who disagree are being paid to do so by oil companies, etc. If these scientists don't believe scientists as a group can be trusted to tell the truth why should reporters? Have reporters checked to see how many of those scientists who support global warming claims are being paid to do so.The scientist as con artist is an old movie plot that is based on fact. There have been recent cases of scientists being caught presenting false data to support their claims in addition to those who claim they can provide miracle cures for diseases.The claim that a minor atmospheric gas (0.036% of the atmosphere) can determine air temperatures sounds too much like magic to be taken at face value.Statements by global warming claimants about punishing those who disagree with them should raise a red flag with any real journalist who supports freedom of speech. Such statements made by individuals in authority positions can indicate fear that someone will find out they are wrong. Scientists who believe they are correct welcome challenges.If the idea of "global warming" is valid why do those who support it feel they have to exaggerate everything. Many of their claims sound too much like the traditional Hollywood disaster movie plot to be believable, particularly the claims of the great exaggerator, Al Gore.Journalists have criticized the U.S. military for "planting" stories about the Iraq conflict. NASA's Gavin Schmidt has been running an ostensibly private website supporting NASA's claims about global warming for some time. If the claim about global warming is valid, why does the government need to set up a propaganda site to plant information supporting the claim?S.. Fred Singer who was the first director of the National Weather Satellite Service has questioned claims about global warming for years. John Coleman who founded the Weather Channel recently called the global warming claim the greatest scam in history, but reporters ignore him because they have already made up their minds and aren't interested in facts. How many of those who call themselves journalists have bothered to check with these well known experts?Real journalists report both sides of controversial issues. Propagandists only present one side.Perhaps it is unfair to compare reporters to prostitutes. Prostitutes are professionals who are provide their services to those who pay them. Reporters who present only one side of an issue don't serve the people who pay them.

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The RowHouse, A Topeka Treasure

I split my time between Topeka and Lawrence, but when babysitting and budget gives me the opportunity for fine dining, I think you can guess which town I'll be in. But every once in while, Topeka will surprise you. My past two Valentine's days have been spent at Chez Yazu and lunches at the New City Cafe are quite tasty. And last night I discovered a new stopping ground in the capitol city. The RowHouse, located at 515 Van Buren in the quaint bi-level units called the Ross Rowhouses, provides a truly unique dining experience. Once you step inside the building, you forget you're in Topeka and feel like you're dining some place in a swank San Francisco apartment. The rooms are intimate and the service personal without being annoying. So, here's the deal, it's a prix-fixe (fixed price) menu of $27 where you get a choice of starter, entree and dessert. I went for the tomato vegetable soup, the bleu cheese polenta and spinach napoleon and the chocolate bread pudding. Not only was the food fantastic, but the chef and owner, Greg Fox, brought the food out himself and even stopped to share some cooking tips with guests along the way.So, if you find yourself in Topeka for a night out, take a break from the chains of Wanamaker and head downtown for something truly special. www.rowhouserestaurant.net

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Greenhouse Gas Equations Wrong

The evidence that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions won't cause an environmental calamity by raising temperatures continues to mount. Hungarian scientist Ferenc Miskolczi has discovered the greenhouse gas equation Arthur Milne developed in 1922, and is being used today by those who believe CO2 can cause "global warming", contains a serious flaw. Milne mistakenly solved the differential equation involved by assuming an infinitely thick atmosphere. Miskolczi was working for NASA at the time he discovered the flaw in Milne's equation and NASA suppressed his report which contradicted NASA's claims. That's right readers, presidents and foreign policy agencies like the Department of Defense and the CIA aren't the only federal agencies that suppress views that contradict the official department/agency position.Miskolczi resigned in protest, stating in his resignation letter, "Unfortunately my working relationship with my NASA supervisors eroded to a level that I am not able to tolerate. My idea of the freedom of science cannot coexist with the recent NASA practice of handling new climate change related scientific results."http://www.dailytech.com/Researcher%20Basic%20Greenhouse%20Equations%20Totally%20Wrong/article10973.htmMiskolczi rewrote the equations and the modified equations don't indicate a runaway greenhouse effect. His equations indicate a limit to any greenhouse effect. Thus even if there is a greenhouse effect it cannot do what the Rev. Al Gore of the Church of Global Warming claims it will do. http://images.dailytech.com/nimage/7493_large_miskolczi_03.JPGI haven't studied differential equations for a few decades, but I do remember that guessing at values for variables is sometimes used to solve differential equations because of their complexity. However, there are two values that should never be used, infinity and zero. These two numbers have special mathematical properties that make them unsuitable for this purpose. For example, you may remember learning that division by zero is impossible. However, there is one special case in which division by zero is possible, zero divided by zero. The test to determine if division is correct is multiplication. Zero multiplied by any other number is zero so zero divided by zero can be any number.In the real world it might be possible to have a zero amount of any commodity, but not an infinite amount. An infinitely thick atmosphere would also be infinitely massive, i.e. a super black hole. In an infinitely thick atmosphere it wouldn't make any difference what the gases were because the gravitational attraction would be so high that radiation would be unable to escape. Incidentally, when making temperature calculations the Kelvin scale should be used instead of the Celsius or Fahrenheit scales because both have arbitrarily chosen zero points. In fairness to Milne, his research dealt with stellar atmospheres rather than planetary atmospheres. Milne unsuccessfully attempted to develop a competing theory to Einstein's Theory of Relativity. If there are any negatives to CO2 emissions from the proposed electric plants in Holcomb, Kansas, increased temperature isn't one of them regardless of what our dopey Governor Kathleen Gilligan Sebelius believes. CO2 is essential for biological life because plants require it. For many plants adding CO2 is like adding fertilizer because higher CO2 levels improve their growth.

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Greenhouses Don’t Trap IR to Heat

The idea that greenhouses stayed warm by trapping infrared radiation (IR) was popular among 19th physicists who also believed that atoms were the smallest particles of matter. Physicist R.W. Wood, who invented IR photography, decided to test that hypothesis in 1909 and discovered that trapping radiation was not a factor. Instead greenhouses stayed warm by preventing heated air from escaping. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_W..."There appears to be a widespread belief that the comparatively high temperature produced within a closed space covered with glass, exposed to solar radiation, results from a transformation of wave-length, that is, that the heat waves from the Sun, which are able to penetrate the glass, fall upon the walls of the enclosure and raise its temperature: the heat energy is re-emitted by the walls in the form of much longer waves, which are unable to penetrate the glass, the greenhouse acting as a radiation trap.""I have always felt some doubt as to whether this action played any very large part in the elevation of temperature. It appeared much more probable that the part played by the glass was the prevention of the escape of the warm air heated by the ground within the enclosure. If we open the doors of a greenhouse on a cold windy day, the trapping of radiation appears to lose much of its efficacy. As a matter of fact I am of the opinion that a greenhouse made of a glass transparent to waves of every possible length would show a temperature nearly, if not quite, as high as that observed in a glass house. The transparent screen allows the solar radiation to warm the ground, and the ground in turn warms the air, but only the limited amount within the enclosure. In the 'open', the ground is continually brought into contact with cold air by convection currents.""To test the matter I constructed two enclosures of dead black cardboard, one covered with a glass plate, the other with a plate of rock-salt of equal thickness. The bulb of a thermometer was inserted in each enclosure and the whole packed in cotton, with the exception of the transparent plates which were exposed. When exposed to sunlight the temperature rose gradually to 65 C, the enclosure covered with the salt plate keeping a little ahead of the other, owing to the fact that transmitted the longer waves from the Sun, which were stopped by the glass. In order to eliminate this action the sunlight was first passed through a glass plate.""There was now scarcely a difference of one degree between the temperatures of the two enclosures. The maximum temperature reached was about 55 C. From what we know about the distribution of energy in the spectrum of the radiation emitted by a body at 55 C, it is clear that the rock-salt plate is capable of transmitting practically all of it,while the glass plate stops it entirely. This shows us that the loss of temperature of the ground by radiation is very small in comparison to the loss by convection. in other words that we gain very little from the circumstance that the radiation is trapped.""Is it therefore necessary to pay attention to trapped radiation in deducing the temperature of a planet as affected by its atmosphere? The solar rays penetrate the atmosphere. warm the ground which in turn warms the atmosphere by contact and by convection currents. The heat received is thus stored up in the atmosphere, remaining there on account of the very low radiating power of a gas. It seems to me very doubtful if the atmosphere is warmed to any great extent by absorbing the radiation from the ground even under the most favorable conditions."Originally published in the Philosophical magazine , 1909, vol 17, p319-320. http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/wood_rw.1909.htmlIf greenhouses don't heat up by trapping IR than neither does the atmosphere and changing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere won't affect its temperature. Thus the CO2 produced by coal powered electric plants will not increase temperatures. In fact, by blocking incoming solar IR, CO2 might reduce solar warming of ground and water.

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