Entries from blogs tagged with “Kansas politics”

Your Vote

Forty thousand of you reveled in Massachusetts Street Monday night after a basketball game. Unless you were one of the unfortunate business owners who had to repair and pay for broken windows Tuesday morning (and if you are, my sympathy goes out to you), unless you were one of those who ended the night in the emergency room, that one basketball game--won or lost--is not going to affect your day to day life. Not like last Tuesday's election.And yet how many of you made the same effort to get to the polls?I was up at four-o'clock April first. My fellow poll workers and I were at our appointed precincts --YOUR polling places--at six-o'clock, putting up signs in the dark, moving tables, setting up machines, opening envelopes of ballots, all to help YOU cast YOUR VOTE.The polls opened, as usual, at seven. We waited. And waited. At my precinct, it was more than an hour before our first voter came in. We waited there all day for YOU, from seven until seven. We got up one by one every now and then to pace a bit and stretch our legs. We ate our lunches right there, lunches we'd brought from home. You wouldn't have had to stand out in the rain or fight your way through a crowd. Rarely did we have more than one voter at a time. Two would be cause for a little celebration. But YOU didn't come in.YOUR vote might have been the one that made a difference. Instead, YOUR ballot traveled back to the courthouse unopened, unmarked, uncounted.What a shame!


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.


Ryun Advocates Fiscal Suicide: Let Banks Fail & Explode the Deficit

We kind of thought he was just being tongue-in-cheek yesterday on the Raubin & Megan radio show when Jim Ryun said the stimulus package passed by Congress should have been increased by ten fold.We thought it was sarcasm, because how in the world could a self-described "fiscal conservative" advocate for a $12,000 payout to every single American taxpayer? How could a self-described "fiscal conservative" advocate a $1.5 TRILLION jump in the deficit?He wasn't being tongue-in-cheek and he wasn't being sarcastic, because former Congressman Jim Ryun just said again, this time on the Jim Cates Show on KMAJ 1440, that he wishes the Congress would have passed a stimulus package that would have given American taxpayers a $12,000 check.Here's the exact quote from yesterday:

Ryun: Let me just say this- if the amount of money coming back, lets say to the to the typical average family, if $1,200 was good, why not $12,000? You know, let's really stimulate the economy and make it go forward.
Sure, Jim, but how do you suggest we pay for that? New taxes? Borrowing from China? After blathering on about the weak dollar and how flimsy the economy is, Jim Ryun thinks the best way to fix it is to saddle feature generations with trillions of dollars in new debt.This on top of Ryun's off the wall comment yesterday, also on Raubin & Megan, that the Fed should have allowed Bear Sterns to fail- he actually said he would have liked to see that.It's ridiculous statements like these that made Americans know Republicans couldn't handle money, and another reason Democrats like Nancy Boyda will find themselves still in Congress in 2009.

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." 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. 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.


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."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. 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.


Bush Admin Info Planting Scandal

he Bush administration is once again forced to deal with a government agency planting information in the media. Two years ago the Bush administration got into trouble when reporters discovered that the Pentagon had been planting stories in Iraqi newspapers and even paying Iraqi reporters. More recently FEMA conducted a "news conference"in which the questioners were actually FEMA employees. Steve McIntyre is reporting on Climate Audit that NASA has been using one of its employees in apparent violation of NASA regulations to operate an ostensibly private web site promoting NASA's claims about an alleged "global warming" threat. employee, Gavin Schmidt, claims to be operating the web site RealClimate on his own, but NASA provides him the income that allows him to do so.Schmidt is described as a climate modeler which is NASA's term for the glorified fortune tellers who claim they can predict what will happen in the distant future even if they cannot predict what will happen with hurricanes a few months in advance. NASA has financed studies of questionable scientific value such as one on the supposed affect of global warming on tornadoes. One Florida business owner is attempting to sue those who falsely predicted an active hurricane season this past fall.Schmidt's supervisor at NASA, James Hansen, is a known advocate of the Al Gore's global warming religion. The site allows Schmidt to criticize those who question IPCC and NASA claims about climate without it being apparent that the government is behind the site. They can also use the site to criticize NASA director Michael Griffin for not accepting their alarmist claims. Democrats may have trouble taking advantage of the scandal because they support the claims of catastrophic climate change supported by Gore and Hanson.For those who don't see anything wrong with NASA's incestuous relationship with the RealClimate site, what would you say if a high ranking military officer still on the Pentagon's payroll were operating an ostensibly nongovernment site supporting the Bush administration's handling of the conflict in Iraq?


Is Earth Doomed?

Are we all doomed? Is earth about to be absorbed in a manmade black hole? Will a strangelet turn the earth into "strange matter"?Walter Wagner and Luis Sancho are convinced that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will produce a minature black hole that will suck up the rest of the planet and are attempting to use the American court system to shut down the project. They have filed a lawsuit against the European Centre for Nuclear Research, or Cern, along with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the National Science Foundation. the U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over Cern, action prohibiting U.S. agencies from participating could stop the project.The concerns of Wagner and Sancho aren't new. Alarmists expressed similar concerns about the Brookhaven National Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) on Long Island, N.Y., in 1999. That facility began operation in 2000 and we're still here and, if theories about black holes are correct, we are not inside a black hole.The LHC is no more likely to destroy the planet than the RHIC. The ability of humans to destroy life as we know it other than perhaps with an all out nuclear war, is greatly exaggerated. We are more likely to wake up Mothra or Godzilla than we are to turn the earth into a black hole.We live in a age in which the movie industry likes to scare people with disaster movies. Unfortunately, people like Wagner and Sancho as well as Al Gore cannot separate the real world from the make believe world of the movies in which humans have the ability to create major disasters through very minor activities.The suit against LHC should be thrown out of court, but the lawsuit could succeed because American judges sometimes suffer from the delusion that they can decide scientific theories by listening to lawyers argue in court. Five scientifically ignorant U.S. Supreme Court Justices ruled in Commonwealth of Massachusetts et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency et al . that the carbon dioxide humans and other animals regularly exhale through their normal breathing process is a air pollutant. This same carbon dioxide is essential for plant growth which in turn provides the food animals need to live.A comment to my previous post indicates some readers may not understand my concerns. I very much support empirical science. Unfortunately, some people who call themselves scientists don't understand what makes empirical science different from other intellectual activities. These individuals are behaving as if science were some form of religion."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" - J. Robert Oppenheimer


What are you doing during Earth Month?

Earth Day was initiated in 1970. I am old enough to remember. There was even a time of the day that we were supposed to stop and do something regarding the environment. I was teaching in a small college and stopped class to play a couple of environmental songs by Pete Seeger. Almost 40 years of Earth Days! With a median age of 35 in the US, half of us have never known April without an Earth Day. This year it is April 22. What a concept. Set aside a day to celebrate and express concern for the earth. Just as Earth Day moved beyond an hour of the day to an entire day, the number of environmental concerns that have come to public attention since 1970 now require more than one day. April has become Earth Month and there is no shortage of events in Lawrence, nationally or internationally. Check out to see what is going on. Locally the Lawrence Sustainability Network has a list of events. Just go to their website and subscribe to their newsletter event that I will participate in is "Read-Out, Sing-Out, Speak-Out, Act-Out, Dance-Out etc on Earthcare". More than 100 people will come together on Saturday April 5 at the gazebo of Watson Park at 7th and Kentucky to perform. From 8 am to 8 pm your friends and neighbors will read, sing, act, speak or dance in 10 minute segments. Everyone will be celebrating the earth. There is only one ring at the gazebo but it should be quite a circus. Walk, bike or take the T downtown and join the fun.


Average Global Temperature Is Impossible

Discussions on global warming often refer to 'global temperature.' Yet the concept is thermodynamically as well as mathematically an impossibility, says Bjarne Andresen, a professor at The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, who has analyzed this topic in collaboration with professors Christopher Essex from University of Western Ontario and Ross McKitrick from University of Guelph, Canada. It is generally assumed that the atmosphere and the oceans have grown warmer during the recent 50 years. The reason for this point of view is an upward trend in the curve of measurements of the so-called 'global temperature'. This is the temperature obtained by collecting measurements of air temperatures at a large number of measuring stations around the Globe, weighing them according to the area they represent, and then calculating the yearly average according to the usual method of adding all values and dividing by the number of points. "It is impossible to talk about a single temperature for something as complicated as the climate of Earth", Bjarne Andresen says, an an expert of thermodynamics. "A temperature can be defined only for a homogeneous system. Furthermore, the climate is not governed by a single temperature. Rather, differences of temperatures drive the processes and create the storms, sea currents, thunder, etc. which make up the climate".He explains that while it is possible to treat temperature statistically locally, it is meaningless to talk about a a global temperature for Earth. The Globe consists of a huge number of components which one cannot just add up and average. That would correspond to calculating the average phone number in the phone book. That is meaningless. Or talking about economics, it does make sense to compare the currency exchange rate of two countries, whereas there is no point in talking about an average 'global exchange rate'.If temperature decreases at one point and it increases at another, the average will remain the same as before, but it will give rise to an entirely different thermodynamics and thus a different climate. If, for example, it is 10 degrees at one point and 40 degrees at another, the average is 25 degrees. But if instead there is 25 degrees both places, the average is still 25 degrees. These two cases would give rise to two entirely different types of climate, because in the former case one would have pressure differences and strong winds, while in the latter there would be no wind.A further problem with the extensive use of 'the global temperature' is that there are many ways of calculating average temperatures.Example 1: Take two equally large glasses of water. The water in one glass is 0 degrees, in the other it is 100 degrees. Adding these two numbers and dividing by two yields an average temperature of 50 degrees. That is called the arithmetic average.Example 2: Take the same two glasses of water at 0 degrees and 100 degrees, respectively. Now multiply those two numbers and take the square root, and you will arrive at an average temperature of 46 degrees. This is called the geometric average. (The calculation is done in degrees Kelvin which are then converted back to degrees Celsius.)The difference of 4 degrees is the energy which drives all the thermodynamic processes which create storms, thunder, sea currents, etc.These are but two examples of ways to calculate averages. They are all equally correct, but one needs a solid physical reason to choose one above another. Depending on the averaging method used, the same set of measured data can simultaneously show an upward trend and a downward trend in average temperature. Thus claims of disaster may be a consequence of which averaging method has been used, the researchers point out.What Bjarne Andresen and his coworkers emphasize is that physical arguments are needed to decide whether one averaging method or another is needed to calculate an average which is relevant to describe the state of Earth.Reference: C. Essex, R. McKitrick, B. Andresen: Does a Global Temperature Exist?; J. Non-Equil. Thermod. vol. 32, p. 1-27 (2007).


Prophets, Fortune Tellers and Science Fiction Writers

Three groups attempt to foretell the future: prophets, fortune tellers (psychics) and science fiction writers. I've never read Nostradamus, but some people claim he predicted such 20th Century events as WWII. I have read some stories by H.G. Wells written about 1900 in which he predicted airplanes,super highways, television and even something similar to the Internet. Fortune tellers sometimes call themselves "psychics" to get people to believe they have some special ability, but they tend toward vague predictions about "meeting a tall dark stranger". Prophets sometimes claim they receive information from some deity. Science fiction writers merely speculate about what could be instead of trying to predict actual events. Scientists normally don't attempt to predict anything more than what will happen if you mix chemical A with chemical B or apply a force to an object. Astrophysicists do claim that the sun will eventually expand and become cooler, but that is in the distant future. They don't attempt to predict what the sun's exact output will be in future years except to state that the output will fluctuate. They have only recently developed equipment capable of measuring the sun's energy output other than by counting sunspots. It should be obvious that it is impossible to determine future earth temperatures without knowing how much energy the earth will receive from the sun. Climatologists who claim they can predict the future climate of the earth are nothing more than glorified fortune tellers. Predicting the weather even a day or two in advance is still not an exact science. They may be accurate more often than the average fortune teller, but they still make major misses such as predicting the 2006 and 2007 hurricane season would be very active instead of almost quiet. In 2006 they predicted that California would have a wet winter instead of a dry one. (L.A. Times Feb. 2, 2007)Those climatologists who claim they can predict climate years in advance are either ignorant or they are deliberately lying like the fortune tellers with their crystal balls, or whatever fortune tellers use today. The claim about having computer programs that can predict future climate is a lie, because computers lack the computing capacity to do so.


Peopling of North and South America

The antiquity of humans in the "New World" was something that perplexed prehistorians for much of the 19th century. During the early days of the United States, the going theory was that the natives (who many referred to as 'savages') were a population that came in and destroyed an earlier and greater civilization. The many eathworks and mounds that people were encountering as they explored further and further west were thought not to have been created by the current inhabitants. This earlier civilization that the natives were supposed to have destroyed was attributed, among other things, to the lost tribes of Israel. Finally, people realized, through archaeological and skeletal analyses, that the 'savages' and the Moundbuilders were one in the same.This realization led to further questions. The primary question was how long they had been here. Secondly, where they had come from? During the late 1800's, there was a concerted effort to determine the length of time that humans had been present in North and South America. The first site to suggest that humans did in fact exist alongside extinct Ice Age (Pleistocene) animals was the 12-Mile Creek site in Logan County, KS. The site was originally a paleontological excavation of extinct Bison antiquus (1/3 larger than modern buffalo). Within this bonebed, the investigators found what was undeniably a human-made projectile point. Realizing what they had, the investigator (Samuel Williston) returned to Lawrence and held a meeting to reveal what they had found. At the meeting, Williston passed the artifact around the room so that people could see for themselves. The point, however, never made it all the way around the room. The popular rumor is that a pharmacist's wife from Baldwin City, who was especially sensitive to the Biblical implications of the find, pocketed it. Paleontologist Larry Martin allegedly spotted the missing artifact at a garage sale sometime in the 1990's. He ran home to get some money, but the point was gone by the time he returned. Thus, the antiquity of humans in North America remained unsettled.Finally, in 1926 near the town of Folsom in NE New Mexico, a bison bone bed was excavated that settled the issue. An African American cowboy named George McJunkin had found the bones eroding from an arroyo after a flood in the early 1900's. Sadly, McJunkin was no longer around by the time his site was excavated. The excavators were recovering distinctively human-made stone tools in direct association with extinct bison. Ales Hrdlicka, a physical anthropologist who primarily studied skeletal traits, had issued a strict set of criteria that a site proving the antiquity of humans should meet. Many people visited the site just to see for themselves. It became the first unequivocal evidence that humans had existed alongside and had hunted extinct animals.Then, in the 1930's, another site in New Mexico, now known as Blackwater Draw, began producing these same artifacts--now known as Folsom points--in association with these same extinct bison. More importantly, however, human artifacts began turning up in layers below the Folsom materials--artifacts that were in direct association with extinct mammoths. These artifacts were name Clovis points, after the nearby town of Clovis, NM. Slightly prior to that, these same artifacts had been found with mammoth bones at the Dent site in eastern Colorado. Had the folks at Dent realized what they had, Clovis points, like Folsom and 12-Mile Creek, would have been named Dent points. Clovis and Folsom still stand as the names for both the distinctive projectile points and the people who made them.The Clovis and Folsom 'cultures' or 'complexes' has been dated at numerous sites through radiocarbon and accelerator mass-spectometer (AMS) dating of organic materials from archaeological sites. Clovis is generally thought to date between about 11,500-10,800 radiocarbon years before present. If one looks at it in terms of actual calendar years, this roughly equals about 13,400-12,800 actual calendar years ago. Clovis artifacts are found in every continental US state and from Canada southward to Mexico and Central America. Clovis-like artifacts have even been recoved from Venezuela at the Taima-Taima site. The Folsom people came immediately after the Clovis people, and lasted for about 500 years. Folsom points are found primarily on the High Plains from Canada south to Texas. Recently, researchers are beginning to realize that Paleoindians (the term archaeologists use for humans who were here during the Pleistocene or Ice Age) also utilized mountain environments.The debates surrounding how Clovis people first arrived here, or even whether they were actually the first to arrive, is a stinging debate within anthropology today. I will go into those various debates in later posts.For images of Clovis points (from a semi-scientific view) go here: a some images of Folsom points go here:


Science Becoming a Religion

Empirical science and religion differ in some fundamental ways. Scientists look for questions to ask. Priests (preachers, rabbis, etc) just provide answers. Science has theories that are subject to change. In 1896, physicists believed that atoms were the smallest particles of matter. A year latter J.J. Thomson overturned this theory by reporting his discovery that atoms were actually comprised of smaller charged particles he called "protons", "electrons" and "neutrons". Later research demonstrated that Thomson's particles were comprised of even smaller particles. Religion has truths that are to be accepted without question. Those who question these truths may be treated as heretics. Real scientists encourage questions. They even ask questions about established theories including aspects of the Theory of Relativity and try to find ways these theories might be wrong. Stephan Hawking demonstrated what a real scientist does when he suggested he had been wrong when he suggested that information cannot escape from a black hole. Physicists have a model of the atom they are satisfied with, but that hasn't stopped them from checking to see if they might have missed something. They are currently colliding heavy nuclei to test the model.Religion gets its truths from prophets or deities. Science has to do things the hard way by conducting repeated observations and experiments. Science cannot verify theories about physical processes that cannot be examined. Some people who call themselves scientists want science to become a substitute for religion, or at least function more like a religion.. Some believe that science can provide an explanation for events in the distant past that is so accurate it cannot be questioned. Such a claim is illogical because insufficient information is available. For example, those who talk about greenhouse gases state they can precisely determine past temperatures by examining tree rings or ice cores. The width of tree rings depends upon availability of water and the amount of time temperatures are within the range the tree can grow in, not average temperatures. The religious fanatics of the greenhouse gas religion have been accused of practicing censorship of those who disagree with their doctrine. The subject of the origin of the universe and life on earth has traditionally been the province of religion. All the popular theories originated in religion. The idea that "all of creation" came from explosion of what modern scientists call a black hole comes from the Secrets of Enoch which may be the original source of the Genesis account. The idea of humans being related to apes comes from the ancient Tibetan religion. American and other beliefs suggest one species could change to another form.Science can only deal effectively with the present. It cannot observe or manipulate the distant past to verify theories. The subject of the origin of the universe and life on earth is interesting and scientific studies of the present might provide useful information, but science cannot provide a definitive answer to the question of how the universe or biological life came to exist. Science can only say what might have happened.



Vet4Freedom: Once again I respectfully disagree with you. You never answered my last questions: 1. Bush said we went to war because Saddam was a tyrant & he had "WMD's." We now know 1. There never were any WMD's (which is what the UN already had said). 2. We killed Saddam. 3. So what is the excuse this time that we are still there killing our kids? 4. We have stood by silently watching millions of people being murdered in Africa......why aren't we saving them? (oh that's right....they have no oil!).



Jafs: I couldn't agree more...if we look deep enough we may very well find that the enemy is us. But America has to have enemies.....we HAVE to keep our multi-billion dollar "defense" industry intact (even though we have enough Nukes to destroy every living creature on the planet). Don't misunderstand me, what happened on 911 was not & never will be justified, but the Cold war is now we wage war against Terrorism. Keep those dollars coming in!


Insights from the Rail

Health Care, Agriculture, and Utilities. Just a regular Monday at the Kansas legislature.Admittedly, I am not a Kansas political junkie. News media and occasional casual conversations are the extent of my participation in the legislative process. Perhaps it is time to learn my way around, so I accept the challenge to take a day off to watch and listen. The Capitol building itself is familiar. The dome, rotunda, and renovated chambers especially the senate with its ornate art work, are a Kansas treasure. Eight o'clock Monday morning finds me at the lower east entrance where a guard assesses me harmless. I locate the press room and Lawrence Journal World's Statehouse reporter Scott Rothschild. We pick up a Senate and House Calendar from the Document Room on the first floor. These may be downloaded from the internet at Kansas Legislature I scan the calendars of both chambers, circle the committee meetings of interest, and then fit them into the day.Scott is off to the no smoking debate while I attend the meeting of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. There are at least fifteen interested people waiting with me. At the stated starting time, there is an unexplained cancellation and they quickly disburse. I slip up a floor in time to catch the Senate Utilities committee meeting before it is on to the House visitor's area to wait for the call to order. Following opening formalities, there appears to be general disorder on the floor. I happen to sit next to a person who knows the procedures well. He informs me much of the talking is in fact a way of getting things done even if a person is up front is formally reading a bill or amendment. It is obvious from the debates legislators spend many hours working in committees before a bill or amendment comes before the entire house. They speak persuasively either for or against, often quoting constituents of their district. The House session spends a great deal of time discussing a bi partisan health care bill that includes a program to fund insurance for poor families, a plan that enables workers to deduct premiums, longer interim insurance in a job change, and dental care for pregnant mothers. Politics are present when members point out for the record they are making compromises for the good of the entire bill and the people of the State. Listening to the debate lets me know the state is seriously looking at this important topic. The House works through the lunch but at their adjournment, I still have time to rush to the House Budget Subcommittee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. From there it is on to the formalities and business of the Senate. My assessment is the political health of our state is good. While I feel a little impatient with the procedure, our elected officials talk and work together-and apart, but that is the process. Certainly if I feel strongly about an issue, I can speak. On the other hand, if I write or call, they listen. Young people were present in the halls and chambers the entire day. They are there as Pages and groups on tours. Their participation is encouraging for the future of Kansas as well.Click on picture for slideshow of Kansas Capitol

A view from the Rail

Nine seconds of art. years ago I read that visitors to art museums spend an average of nine seconds viewing any individual work. I can't give you a reference, so don't quote me. Does anyone out there know the study? As an avid museum visitor I was horrified by this finding. Then I started observing my behavior and those around me. Try counting 1001, 1002, 1003, :. 1009 in front of a work of art. It really has to be engaging to grab that much attention. Perhaps this is due to my lack of knowledge of how to view art or our attention span related to the constantly changing television images.Last week I spent more than my allotted nine seconds per item viewing the sculpture of Martin Puryear at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. This exhibit of 45 of his sculptures that span 30 years of work is remarkable. These works of Puryear are mainly in wood and are deceptively simple in design. There are circles or loops that look like he went to a forest and found some vines or supple branches that he simply twisted into a form that I would love on my living room wall. Spending more than nine seconds with these works reveals much more complexity. On the other end of the scale is a work entitled 'Desire' that fills an entire gallery and measures nearly 10' x 20' x 24'. It is a spoked wheel with an axle that rests on a pillar. This work requires much more than nine seconds to grasp. It is surprisingly beautiful. On Puryear says of this work that he is interested "in how things are made and how things are done." Me too. The skill required to use 5 different types of wood fully aware of their strengths and weaknesses is amazing. Standing in the gallery I could only imagine how it was designed and constructed. And time. This work was dated 1981. I imagine it took a good deal of that year to complete - perhaps millions of seconds.This exhibit goes through May 18 and is worth the drive to Fort Worth.


Starting Out

Greetings!I am a Military Historian somewhere between Right and Left. As I sat here musing about a title for this blog, I tried to think of some profound and catchy title:not to much success. Then, I just realized as I was thinking, what best describes where I am at:I think this about catches it up as briefly as possible. In this blog, I am going to attempt to write (interestingly) about a multitude of issues that I hope you find engaging. They will be orienting from a person who is keenly interested in issues that delve into military/political/international topics. However, I am not sure where it will ultimately end up as I actually write. It may end up discussing topics of a very dry nature, of interest to only those, like myself, who have flung themselves into a journey (seemingly neverending as it sometimes feels) of earning a Ph.D. in History. But, hopefully, it will also render some good, cogent, and difficult questions, musings, and observations regarding current events and society at large. I hope for the latter, but fear it may fall into the former. I will endeavor not to fall into one of the most dangerous traps of doctoral students who fret over every word written preventing them from simply writing what they think. We are a neurotic bunch when it comes to writing:always concerned how it will be critiqued by our advisors and compatriots. I will simply try to write without much revision (except as necessary for clarity and grammatical purposes that is the best compromise I can make).Writing a blog is a new experience, unlike the other writing we (students) have to do. I appreciate the patience. I hope to post frequently as I establish my rhythm. So:welcome!


Hey Lester!

Lester: Here are the undeniable facts: 1. Bush invaded Iraq because Saddam was a tyrant & he had "WMD's." 2. We now know that there never were any WMD's & Saddam is dead. 3. So please explain to the world why the Hell we are still there? 4. OK, I'm listening..........


Blogging the Capitol

Do you ever wonder if government really works for you? If so, you're not alone. According to the web site Government is Good, "only 29% of Americans trust the government to do what is right always or most of the time. But, writes Amy J. Douglas, project founder and Professor of Politics at Mount Holyoke College, "Beneath the surface lurks surprisingly strong public support for the public sector." For instance, when asked specific questions about issues like automobile safety and healthcare, Americans value government regulations. Many of us take government for granted until it affects us in a negative way. I have been reasonably interested in government on a national level but didn't pay much attention to what was happening in Topeka until the Legislature voted to put the "Marriage Amendment" on the ballot. That political maneuver and the hateful environment that ensued, affected my family personally. I felt so jilted by my government. First, because it happened so quickly that I didn't have a chance to advocate for my family member. And secondly, in spite of fear mongering by lawmakers and others, marriage wasn't even on the radar screen of gays and lesbians I am acquainted with.Once I decided to pay attention to the Kansas Legislature, I found it wasn't that easy to get the information I wanted. Until, that is, I started reading the Lawrence Journal World on a regular basis. So when I saw that LJW was taking applications for the Citizens Journalism Academy, I applied. Now I am attempting to quell the "political junkie" in me by blogging the Capitol.I met LJW correspondent, Scott Rothschild, at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning for a briefing of the days agenda and a tour of the Capitol. Next, I got a press pass and access to the internet, then off to a committee hearing on taxes. Among those testifying in front of the committee, was the mother of an adopted child with special needs who was formerly a ward of the state. Testifying is what you do in order to advocate for or against an issue coming up for vote. In order to testify, you are required to notify the committee assistant 24 hours in advance of the meeting. You also must have thirty copies of your testimony to hand to committee members.After the committee meeting, I headed for the House Chamber for the morning session. After the morning prayer and pledge of allegiance, the House took final action on several bills. All passed easily including a bill that contains new provisions to Kansas abortion law which would presumably create obstacles for women seeking safe and legal abortion services. I left the House Chamber to sounds of cheers reverberating through the rotunda from the first floor. I only paused a moment before hurrying down two huge flights of stairs and into a crowd of about two hundred people. The group, Sunflower Community Action, a grassroots organization that advocates for low income families, had come from Wichita to visit their State Representative. The Senate session got off to a bit of a slow start:blah, blah, blah tax exemptions:blah, blah, blah tax exemptions. Then, discussions about drug courts, board of healing arts licensure, driver improvement programs and noise abatement for motor boats.The session ended with a thoughtful and at times passionate debate about healthcare reform. Senators spoke of the more than 300,000 Kansans without health insurance and the negative effects to individuals and families. Over objections to her proposal to expand SCHIP, Senator Wagel recommended a study - of the study done by the Kansas Health Policy.Senator Barnett said he prefers premium assistance, calling it "market based" but said the money isn't there. Democrats just wanted to do something and expressed concerns that others were engaging in election year politics. In the end, the Republican led Senate prevailed and healthcare reform was put on the back burner...again. .


4-H Learn by Doing

What do St. Patrick's Day and 4-H have in common?The answer is green and lucky four leaf clovers. The clover with four H's signifying Head Heart Hands and Health is familiar to many local residents who are current or former members of the Douglas County 4-H club program or clubs in other parts of the state or country.4-H clubs formed in the early 1900s teaching young people new farming and homemaking practices. "Learn by doing" was the motto. Over the years, emphasis expanded to include personal development by encouraging public speaking, talent and judging.Dr. Virginia Moxley, Dean, College of Human Ecology, Kansas State University, is an alumnus of Kansas 4-H. She appreciates the opportunities 4-H offers kids to learn from each other.

I think the greatest thing about 4-H Community Clubs is the opportunity they afford for kids ranging in age from 7-18 to learn from each other. Children today can choose from a variety of youth organizations and activities that provide the opportunity to learn. But, in most organized youth activities, the youngsters are segregated by age and led by adults.The magic in 4-H Community Clubs is that young members interact directly with older members who have clear memories of what it felt like to practice skills for the first time. These older youth mentors learn through their interactions with younger youth the skills of coaching and leading and nurturing talent. Those of us who benefited from the wisdom and coaching provided by older members in our community clubs passed the skills along to younger members--and I, for one, continue to draw on those capabilities everyday in my work.
Douglas County has an excellent selection of 4-H clubs in all areas of the county and the city of Lawrence. With summer approaching, now is the time to explore what 4-H has to offer. With the current emphasis on living green, children will learn gardening, cooking from scratch and care of animals. My personal favorite was the sewing project because the project meetings were fun.Interested? Call Emily Morehouse, Douglas County 4-H Program Coordinator at 843-7058 for information about Douglas County 4-H Clubs. Visit the official Kansas 4-H site for information about camps and other activities.

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