Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Norm Kalmanovitch on the Global Warming Hoax

Norm Kalmanovitch is a Canadian scientist whom I met online via the large email gathering maintained by Marc Morano when he was working for Sen. Inhofe's office. He recently visited my home while in Vermont so we could both put a face to a familiar name in the greater climate science pundit community. I had always admired his straightforward engineering-style analysis which always cut sharply to a well defined point without having to resort to excessive techno-babble. He, like myself, knows that it is the average non-scientist out there who deserves a reasonable interpretation of the science for the layman.

Whiling away some idle minutes a while back I conjured up a small graphic extolling the fact that the 14.77 micron band of CO2 is near saturation, AGW was a hoax, and we all have to live with it. Norm claims that little note spurred him to sit down and write the following. I'm please to have been the spark that lit this nice little tome on the obvious outcome of the nonlinear nature of the so-called "global warming" effect. I'm hoping even my non-scientist friends will be able to grasp the gist of Norm's semi-technical explanation of how CO2 is pretty much "all used up" and additional serious warming due to CO2 is simply not possible. You can't change the laws of physics, as Norm so skillfully demonstrates. Enjoy!


Asking one simple question

By Norm Kalmanovitch
17 November 2009

The entire basis for the concept of global warming being caused by CO2 emissions is both predicated and dependent on the answer to a simple question:

“How much of the thermal radiation energy from the Earth in the band centered on the 14.77micron wavelength that is resonant with the vibrational mode of CO2 has already been affected by the current atmospheric CO2 concentration and how much energy remains to be affected?”

This question was never addressed by Svante Arrhenius in his seminal 1896 paper because that paper predates quantum physics and he was not aware that the process by which thermal energy is affected by CO2 is limited to a single vibrational mode with a resonant wavelength of 14.77microns.

In fact a close examination of that paper reveals that the measurements of energy used in this paper excluded this CO2 resonant wavelength and the paper, when scrutinized with respect to quantum physics, makes no actual measurement of the effect of CO2 but only uses an assumed ratio of the effect from CO2 compared to the effect of water vapor (which was all that was actually measured).

This same question was also never addressed by Hansen, who instead of incorporating modern physics into his climate models, used the assumed relationship of Arrhenius and developed a contrived ‘forcing parameter’ that also ignored the fact that most of the observed warming was natural warming since the Little Ice Age and not primarily from CO2 emissions.

This same question was also never addressed in any of the voluminous reports or in fact in any of the IPCC publications which are based on Hansen’s climate models which are in turn based on the Arrhenius assumption.

This same question was also never addressed in Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” which is based on the IPCC reports, which is based on Hansen’s climate models which are based on the Arrhenius assumption.

Remarkably, this question was inadvertently addressed in 1970 by the Nimbus 4 satellite (when the world was concerned about global cooling that had started around 1942).

The satellite measured the radiative spectrum from the Earth through clear skies at several locations. The radiative spectra clearly show a deep ‘notch’ at the 14.77micron wavelength band caused by the 325ppmv atmospheric CO2 concentration of the time. The depth and width of this ‘notch’ demonstrate that over 90% of the Earth’s thermal radiation from this wavelength band that could possibly be affected by CO2, had already been affected at a concentration of just 325ppmv.

To put this in context, we know that about three quarters of the Earth’s 34°C total greenhouse effect is from clouds and only 10% of the effect is from CO2. Ten percent of 34°C is 3.4°C and this is the total effect that has resulted from the observed notch in the spectrum from CO2 as measured by the Nimbus 4 satellite.

Since this 3.4°C effect results from 90% of the available energy within this wavelength band, the energy remaining in this band is only capable of adding another 10% to the 3.4°C greenhouse effect already in place. Regardless of how great the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere becomes, there is only 10% of the available energy left to capture and the possible additional effect from CO2 increases is therefore limited to something in the order of just 0.34°C which is nowhere near the 5°C to 6°C predicted by Arrhenius (because of the assumptions of the process prevalent at the time).

This is clear and absolute proof that at the current concentration, CO2 increases no longer have any possible significant effects on global temperature and one has to question the motivation of creating climate models that incorporate a contrived ‘forcing parameter’ based on the assumptions of Arrhenius instead of being based on the properties properly described by quantum physics.

Science can only advance when past theories are questioned if they are shown to be in error by observation. Rapid global warming came to an end around 1942 and the world cooled for 33 years, until 1975, as the atmospheric CO2 concentration continued to rise. This is completely contrary to the hypothesis of Arrhenius and science protocol would dictate questioning the validity of CO2 increases causing warming of the magnitude postulated by Arrhenius. As well, the rapid increase in global CO2 emissions did not begin until 1945 with post war industrialization, yet the world cooled for thirty years until 1975, so more to the point, one has to question the role of CO2 emissions and not just the concentration.

In 1988, just 13 years after this thirty year period of global cooling with rapidly increasing CO2 emissions, James Hansen created computer climate models employing a forcing parameter based on the clearly falsified assumption of Arrhenius instead of using the well established quantum physics based relationship between radiative energy from the Earth and CO2.

One has to question why instead of following science protocol and questioning the Arrhenius assumption, just 13 years after such a long period of global cooling with rapidly increasing CO2 emissions, the falsified Arrhenius assumption was used as a basis for the forcing parameter of climate models.

This is clearly the point at which honest science and the climate change issue part company. The climate models not only have their connection to global CO2 emissions based on a clearly falsified assumption, the parameter itself is knowingly six times greater than what its physical design criteria would allow. The parameter uses the assumption of Arrhenius referenced to a 100ppmv increase in CO2 concentration causing an observed 0.6°C increase in global temperature without subtracting off the 0.5°C of natural warming since the Little Ice Age.

The climate models are clearly the foundation of the dishonest science that permeates the climate change issue, but the ridiculous claims that have followed demonstrate the lengths that AGW proponents will go to force their ideology on a public that has little understanding of science.

The effect of additional CO2 in the atmosphere is to slow down the rate at which thermal energy is radiated from the Earth; essentially an insulating effect. Since the insulating effect is on energy radiated from the Earth, increasing CO2 concentration cannot send any additional energy to the Earth, which is what would be required for CO2 emissions to cause melting ice caps and sea level rise. Essentially this is the same as wrapping an ice cube in a layer of insulation and then causing it to melt by adding additional insulation.

  • All claims of sea level rise from increasing CO2 emissions are therefore patently false.
  • All claims of melting ice and drowning polar bears due to increasing CO2 emissions are patently false.
  • All claims relating increased CO2 emissions to increased weather events are also patently false.

Catastrophic weather events such as hurricanes require large amounts of energy and since the effect from increased CO2 emissions is merely a passive insulating effect that provides no additional energy.

In fact the saturation of the 14.77micron band and many of the laws of physics make every single claim of adverse effects from increasing CO2 emissions patently false.

Even more ridiculous are the claims about CO2 itself that have nothing to do with effects on global temperature (which is the entire basis for CO2 emissions reduction initiatives):

  • Sea water is ‘basic’ (alkaline) with a pH of about 8.2 on average. Sea water is also already saturated with the carbonate ion and therefore CO2 additions from the atmosphere to the oceans (another impossibility) will not change the concentration of carbonic acid which is already at its maximum.
  • We now have the term ‘pollution’ attached to CO2 emissions and just to make the point graphically clear, the cooling towers from nuclear power plants that emit zero CO2 are used as the icon for CO2 emissions pollution.

These two and dozens more like them are examples of just how far this issue has deviated from honest portrayal of fact.

The only thing true about the climate change issue is the adverse effects to humanity from all these false claims.

Rich nations power their economies with inexpensive fossil fuels, but deny poor nations similar access because of “climate change” and limit them to the inefficient and limited “Kyoto friendly” energy sources; condemning them to continued poverty.

Biofuels initiatives of the Kyoto Protocol have resulted in highly profitable government subsidized biofuel crops replacing basic food crops. This has caused such a rapid escalation of food prices that the poor can no longer afford basic food staples and hundreds of millions of the world’s poor are starving.

Remarkably the UN recognizes this global food crisis; but does not realize that climate change initiatives driven by its own IPCC is the actual cause of this crisis.

After two decades of suffering the consequences of this fraudulent misrepresentation of science for what can only be seen as self serving political and ideological purposes, it is time the world put an end to this travesty and exposed the perpetrators.

All that needs to be done in the spirit of “science protocol’ is to ask this one simple question:

“How much of the thermal radiation energy from the Earth in the band centered on the 14.77micron wavelength that is resonant with the vibrational mode of CO2 has already been affected by the current atmospheric CO2 concentration, and how much energy remains to be affected?”

and have it answered by honest knowledgeable scientists.

The entire case for anthropogenic global warming and the Kyoto Protocol will completely disintegrate.

Norm Kalmanovitch
P. Geoph.
Calgary Canada

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

O-Bummer, Obama - Stimulus Lost

Barack Obama, arguably the dumbest nobody to ever become President of the United States, has now demonstrated that he didn't even know the difference between real money and play money. For the occasional liberal who may stumble upon this blog, I will explain:

"Real" money is money which has been received in exchange for honest goods or services. It's the money we all take home in our pay check every week. It's the money the government taxes us on in order to meet our constitutionally mandated federal responsibility to do things like maintain our armed forces and pay folks to destroy working automobiles.

"Play" money is the stuff that comes spitting out of government approved printing machines. It's actual value is no more than the cost of the paper and ink. It represents nothing at that point except being the product of a printing press.

Obama probably knew a tax cut traditionally spurs the economy, because even he can't be dumb enough to have overlooked it's successful use by JFK, Reagan, and Bush the Second who inherited a weak recession from Slick Willy Clinton. While the Dems called it a "tax cut for the rich", in reality it was a tax cut for small businesses who pay their business taxes at the personal rate. They in turn, invest the extra cash ( money that was not taken from them by the government ) in their businesses, expanding either employee size or capital goods with the loot ( which is real money they have actually earned ).

Obama of course cannot cut taxes because his liberal managers would lynch him, so he mistakenly thinks that simply printing money and giving it away will do the same thing.

It didn't.

The reason his play-money-givaway didn't work was because it wasn't given to the small businesses who would use it to expand and grow. It was given to consumers, rather than to wealth-generators, and that's why Obama's massive stimulus plan is a complete bust. Most of the consumers simply spend their newly-found ( unearned ) cash at the local Wal-Mart or liquor store.

Fox News just announced that the federal tax revenues were going to be the lowest since 1932, during the great depression. That's the note that sent me scurrying to the keyboard. Funny - in the past, when taxes were cut, the federal revenues actually grew quite famously, and the government ended up with even more revenue than they would have received if they had not cut the tax rate on individuals and small businesses.

Yes, Obama has blown it, big time. No tax cut, no stimulus, no increase in federal revenue. Pass out play money, most of it goes to China, still no stimulus to small businesses who are paying most of the freight anyway ( these are the folks the Dems call "rich" ). They've been the life blood of the American economy since day one.

You screwed the pooch, Obama. Now, about that birth certificate......

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Barbra Streisand, what a beauty!

This darling is now charging the Brits 500 pounds per ticket to see her performances.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Assumption vs Reality

I've mentioned many times before that the entire AGW debate swings on the difference between climate models (artificial, man-made ) and "real science" ( based on current data being provided by our latest satellites.

It's now beyond debate that the planet is currently cooling, even in face of increasing CO2 levels, but of course this could be a temporary condition caused by something of which we are not fully aware and we could return to "warming" when the temporary cool spell is over.

But the graph above illustrates the amazing differences between what our satellites are actually telling us and what the UN IPCC models are predicting. ( Remember, the UN IPCC models are predicting doom and gloom only because the modelers are assuming a high degree of what is commonly called "climate sensitivity".) When you pick high sensitivity and plug it into the equations, predictions of rapid temperature rise results. Thus, all of the UN "doom and gloom" predictions are based on the modeler's climate sensitivity assumptions... which are not based on current evidence and scientific fact.

What the current satellite data are really saying is that our climate is remarkably robust and insensitive, and using the "real data" in the models instead of the "educated guesses" of the IPCC, we see a completely different picture.

Here's my personal prediction:

The AGW hysterians are highly likely to begin promoting the idea that both the Aqua CERES and NOAA-15 AMSU channel 5 satellite data.are "flawed" in some way, and in need of "correction" by Dr. Hansen and his merry band of pathological liars at NASA GISS. At least, that's what he been doing of late. If the data is proving AGW is a hoax, change the data so it proves the opposite.

And of course, the general public, being largely mathematically and scientifically illiterate, will buy it hook, line, and sinker, because if "NASA" says it, it must be true, right?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I confess I didn't know that Charles Krautheimer was also a psychiatrist in a previous life. So, when he referred to Obama as a "Narcissist", I took the remark to be layman punditry. But when a number of other psychiatrists and psychologists started voicing the same opinion, it was worth a closer look.

Indeed, Obama appears to closely pattern the major symptoms of Narcissism - a mental defect best understood as "being head over heels in love with yourself".

Obama was the first black editor of his Law Review, so when asked by a publisher to do a book on "race relations", he did an autobiography of himself instead... so early in his youth he had literally not much to write about.

We are reminded about another famous Narcissist, Adolph Hitler, who did the same thing... writing Mein Kampf before he had ever actually accomplished anything of note.

Well, at least that makes him pretty predictable. Everything he does or will do in the future will be calculated to make him as loved by the public as much as he loves himself.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Looking back at "History"

I was cleaning out some old email, and found the below item which I sent out to some of my friends on Feb. 29th, 2008. Interesting to note how my initial reaction and prediction was spot on.

Here's the email:


"As town meeting day and the primary draws closer here in Vermont, I saw my first Obama commercial last night. I found him to be quite charming and imbued with a terrific charisma. He had a classic message of improving education, ending poverty, and bringing world peace through dialog and reason with the rest of the world. I instinctively liked the fellow.

I think his message is going to attract a fairly strong following, particularly among those of lower intelligence, and those with limited to non-existent understanding of the complex and extremely dynamic socioeconomic systems which dictate the human behavior of our culture. He could well end up our next President.

I do wish he had included among his promises one of my personal old-time favorites... that one about everyone having two chickens in every pot.

I really miss that one ..."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'm going to miss America... I really will

I'll admit a free market economy has some shortcomings. Whenever you have a system in which there are no limits on human achievement, there will by necessity be some losers. In my America, now passing, one could dream almost anything, and it could become a reality with a lot of hard work, sacrifice, diligence, and maybe a little luck or some help from our friends. Immigrants could step off the boat with nothing but their clothes on their back and within a few years own a restaurant or dry cleaning shop or factory turning out almost anything you can imagine. In my youth, America produced half of all the manufactured goods for the entire world. And everyone in the world wanted to be here.

But if you weren't willing to work hard and sacrifice, then you didn't fare as well. We provided a baseline subsistence for everyone, so that no one ever starved to death, but for a nice home or automobile or vacation condo by the sea, you had to work.

All that is going now, and much quicker of course with Obama and the far left at the tiller. In my local high school, we long ago did away with cheer leaders... because that would single out a small group as "special", and being "special" is a very bad thing to be, because others might think they were "not special". So, the administration banned cheerleading. Now we are all mediocre. Across town, some sporting events have been eliminated, because things like races produce winners and losers, and we don't want anyone in our utopian society to be a loser.

A friend of mine owns a large local manufacturing plant that builds houses in flat sections and ships them all over the U.S. He hires kids right out of high school and trains them in the job. He recently remarked how his younger employees needed to be constantly congratulated on what a fine job they were doing... they were all graduates of our local public school system, which constantly praised everyone for performing at any level... good or bad... so that there would be no "losers" and everyone would be uniformly mediocre. Mediocrity was the name of the game, all hail and praise the wonderfully mediocre student, who could never "fail" and would never be one of the evil "special" people. So his new employees needed constant pats on the back just for showing up for work and doing the basic job they were supposed to be doing for their paycheck.

The future is clear, now. With the socialization of America, there will be no winners or losers, we will all be mediocre because there is no premium for superior performance and no need to break your back doing a good job for which you will be awarded no more praise than you get for doing a mediocre job.

To me, it's a sad parting. I loved the America where bold men and women took risks and worked hard and succeeded and were rewarded for their hard work. Now, the government is going to take away all of the "excess wealth" earned by America's brightest and best, and redistribute it to the lazy and shiftless losers at the bottom of the food chain.

Adios, America... it was really great to have known you.....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Obama now running GM?

Rick Wagoner, CEO of General Motors, has stepped down at Obama's request. Obama, who has never held a single job in the "real world" considers himself most qualified to micromanage a large multinational corporation. I'm waiting for him to tell me when it's OK to plant my tomatoes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe - by Michael Brooks

IT IS midnight on 22 September 2012 and the skies above Manhattan are filled with a flickering curtain of colorful light. Few New Yorkers have seen the aurora this far south but their fascination is short-lived. Within a few seconds, electric bulbs dim and flicker, then become unusually bright for a fleeting moment. Then all the lights in the state go out. Within 90 seconds, the entire eastern half of the US is without power.

A year later and millions of Americans are dead and the nation's infrastructure lies in tatters. The World Bank declares America a developing nation. Europe, Scandinavia, China and Japan are also struggling to recover from the same fateful event - a violent storm, 150 million kilometres away on the surface of the sun.

It sounds ridiculous. Surely the sun couldn't create so profound a disaster on Earth. Yet an extraordinary report funded by NASA and issued by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in January this year claims it could do just that.

Over the last few decades, western civilizations have busily sown the seeds of their own destruction. Our modern way of life, with its reliance on technology, has unwittingly exposed us to an extraordinary danger: plasma balls spewed from the surface of the sun could wipe out our power grids, with catastrophic consequences.

The projections of just how catastrophic make chilling reading. "We're moving closer and closer to the edge of a possible disaster," says Daniel Baker, a space weather expert based at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and chair of the NAS committee responsible for the report.

It is hard to conceive of the sun wiping out a large amount of our hard-earned progress. Nevertheless, it is possible. The surface of the sun is a roiling mass of plasma - charged high-energy particles - some of which escape the surface and travel through space as the solar wind. From time to time, that wind carries a billion-tonne glob of plasma, a fireball known as a coronal mass ejection. If one should hit the Earth's magnetic shield, the result could be truly devastating.

The incursion of the plasma into our atmosphere causes rapid changes in the configuration of Earth's magnetic field which, in turn, induce currents in the long wires of the power grids. The grids were not built to handle this sort of direct current electricity. The greatest danger is at the step-up and step-down transformers used to convert power from its transport voltage to domestically useful voltage. The increased DC current creates strong magnetic fields that saturate a transformer's magnetic core. The result is runaway current in the transformer's copper wiring, which rapidly heats up and melts. This is exactly what happened in the Canadian province of Quebec in March 1989, and six million people spent 9 hours without electricity. But things could get much, much worse than that.

Worse than Katrina

The most serious space weather event in history happened in 1859. It is known as the Carrington event, after the British amateur astronomer Richard Carrington, who was the first to note its cause: "two patches of intensely bright and white light" emanating from a large group of sunspots. The Carrington event comprised eight days of severe space weather.

There were eyewitness accounts of stunning auroras, even at equatorial latitudes. The world's telegraph networks experienced severe disruptions, and Victorian magnetometers were driven off the scale.

Though a solar outburst could conceivably be more powerful, "we haven't found an example of anything worse than a Carrington event", says James Green, head of NASA's planetary division and an expert on the events of 1859. "From a scientific perspective, that would be the one that we'd want to survive." However, the prognosis from the NAS analysis is that, thanks to our technological prowess, many of us may not.

There are two problems to face. The first is the modern electricity grid, which is designed to operate at ever higher voltages over ever larger areas. Though this provides a more efficient way to run the electricity networks, minimizing power losses and wastage through overproduction, it has made them much more vulnerable to space weather. The high-power grids act as particularly efficient antennas, channelling enormous direct currents into the power transformers.

The second problem is the grid's interdependence with the systems that support our lives: water and sewage treatment, supermarket delivery infrastructures, power station controls, financial markets and many others all rely on electricity. Put the two together, and it is clear that a repeat of the Carrington event could produce a catastrophe the likes of which the world has never seen. "It's just the opposite of how we usually think of natural disasters," says John Kappenman, a power industry analyst with the Metatech Corporation of Goleta, California, and an advisor to the NAS committee that produced the report. "Usually the less developed regions of the world are most vulnerable, not the highly sophisticated technological regions."

According to the NAS report, a severe space weather event in the US could induce ground currents that would knock out 300 key transformers within about 90 seconds, cutting off the power for more than 130 million people (see map). From that moment, the clock is ticking for America.

First to go - immediately for some people - is drinkable water. Anyone living in a high-rise apartment, where water has to be pumped to reach them, would be cut off straight away. For the rest, drinking water will still come through the taps for maybe half a day. With no electricity to pump water from reservoirs, there is no more after that.

There is simply no electrically powered transport: no trains, underground or overground. Our just-in-time culture for delivery networks may represent the pinnacle of efficiency, but it means that supermarket shelves would empty very quickly - delivery trucks could only keep running until their tanks ran out of fuel, and there is no electricity to pump any more from the underground tanks at filling stations.

Back-up generators would run at pivotal sites - but only until their fuel ran out. For hospitals, that would mean about 72 hours of running a bare-bones, essential care only, service. After that, no more modern healthcare.

72 hours of healthcare remaining

The truly shocking finding is that this whole situation would not improve for months, maybe years: melted transformer hubs cannot be repaired, only replaced. "From the surveys I've done, you might have a few spare transformers around, but installing a new one takes a well-trained crew a week or more," says Kappenman. "A major electrical utility might have one suitably trained crew, maybe two."

Within a month, then, the handful of spare transformers would be used up. The rest will have to be built to order, something that can take up to 12 months.

Even when some systems are capable of receiving power again, there is no guarantee there will be any to deliver. Almost all natural gas and fuel pipelines require electricity to operate. Coal-fired power stations usually keep reserves to last 30 days, but with no transport systems running to bring more fuel, there will be no electricity in the second month.

30 days of coal left

Nuclear power stations wouldn't fare much better. They are programmed to shut down in the event of serious grid problems and are not allowed to restart until the power grid is up and running.

With no power for heating, cooling or refrigeration systems, people could begin to die within days. There is immediate danger for those who rely on medication. Lose power to New Jersey, for instance, and you have lost a major centre of production of pharmaceuticals for the entire US. Perishable medications such as insulin will soon be in short supply. "In the US alone there are a million people with diabetes," Kappenman says. "Shut down production, distribution and storage and you put all those lives at risk in very short order."

Help is not coming any time soon, either. If it is dark from the eastern seaboard to Chicago, some affected areas are hundreds, maybe thousands of miles away from anyone who might help. And those willing to help are likely to be ill-equipped to deal with the sheer scale of the disaster. "If a Carrington event happened now, it would be like a hurricane Katrina, but 10 times worse," says Paul Kintner, a plasma physicist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

In reality, it would be much worse than that. Hurricane Katrina's societal and economic impact has been measured at $81 billion to $125 billion. According to the NAS report, the impact of what it terms a "severe geomagnetic storm scenario" could be as high as $2 trillion. And that's just the first year after the storm. The NAS puts the recovery time at four to 10 years. It is questionable whether the US would ever bounce back.

4-10 years to recover

"I don't think the NAS report is scaremongering," says Mike Hapgood, who chairs the European Space Agency's space weather team. Green agrees. "Scientists are conservative by nature and this group is really thoughtful," he says. "This is a fair and balanced report."

Such nightmare scenarios are not restricted to North America. High latitude nations such as Sweden and Norway have been aware for a while that, while regular views of the aurora are pretty, they are also reminders of an ever-present threat to their electricity grids. However, the trend towards installing extremely high voltage grids means that lower latitude countries are also at risk. For example, China is on the way to implementing a 1000-kilovolt electrical grid, twice the voltage of the US grid. This would be a superb conduit for space weather-induced disaster because the grid's efficiency to act as an antenna rises as the voltage between the grid and the ground increases. "China is going to discover at some point that they have a problem," Kappenman says.

Neither is Europe sufficiently prepared. Responsibility for dealing with space weather issues is "very fragmented" in Europe, says Hapgood.

Europe's electricity grids, on the other hand, are highly interconnected and extremely vulnerable to cascading failures. In 2006, the routine switch-off of a small part of Germany's grid - to let a ship pass safely under high-voltage cables - caused a cascade power failure across western Europe. In France alone, five million people were left without electricity for two hours. "These systems are so complicated we don't fully understand the effects of twiddling at one place," Hapgood says. "Most of the time it's alright, but occasionally it will get you."

The good news is that, given enough warning, the utility companies can take precautions, such as adjusting voltages and loads, and restricting transfers of energy so that sudden spikes in current don't cause cascade failures. There is still more bad news, however. Our early warning system is becoming more unreliable by the day.

By far the most important indicator of incoming space weather is NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE). The probe, launched in 1997, has a solar orbit that keeps it directly between the sun and Earth. Its uninterrupted view of the sun means it gives us continuous reports on the direction and velocity of the solar wind and other streams of charged particles that flow past its sensors. ACE can provide between 15 and 45 minutes' warning of any incoming geomagnetic storms. The power companies need about 15 minutes to prepare their systems for a critical event, so that would seem passable.

15 minutes' warning

However, observations of the sun and magnetometer readings during the Carrington event shows that the coronal mass ejection was travelling so fast it took less than 15 minutes to get from where ACE is positioned to Earth. "It arrived faster than we can do anything," Hapgood says.

There is another problem. ACE is 11 years old, and operating well beyond its planned lifespan. The onboard detectors are not as sensitive as they used to be, and there is no telling when they will finally give up the ghost. Furthermore, its sensors become saturated in the event of a really powerful solar flare. "It was built to look at average conditions rather than extremes," Baker says.

He was part of a space weather commission that three years ago warned about the problems of relying on ACE. "It's been on my mind for a long time," he says. "To not have a spare, or a strategy to replace it if and when it should fail, is rather foolish."

There is no replacement for ACE due any time soon. Other solar observation satellites, such as the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) can provide some warning, but with less detailed information and - crucially - much later. "It's quite hard to assess what the impact of losing ACE will be," Hapgood says. "We will largely lose the early warning capability."

The world will, most probably, yawn at the prospect of a devastating solar storm until it happens. Kintner says his students show a "deep indifference" when he lectures on the impact of space weather. But if policy-makers show a similar indifference in the face of the latest NAS report, it could cost tens of millions of lives, Kappenman reckons. "It could conceivably be the worst natural disaster possible," he says.

The report outlines the worst case scenario for the US. The "perfect storm" is most likely on a spring or autumn night in a year of heightened solar activity - something like 2012. Around the equinoxes, the orientation of the Earth's field to the sun makes us particularly vulnerable to a plasma strike.

What's more, at these times of year, electricity demand is relatively low because no one needs too much heating or air conditioning. With only a handful of the US grid's power stations running, the system relies on computer algorithms shunting large amounts of power around the grid and this leaves the network highly vulnerable to sudden spikes.

If ACE has failed by then, or a plasma ball flies at us too fast for any warning from ACE to reach us, the consequences could be staggering. "A really large storm could be a planetary disaster," Kappenman says.

So what should be done? No one knows yet - the report is meant to spark that conversation. Baker is worried, though, that the odds are stacked against that conversation really getting started. As the NAS report notes, it is terribly difficult to inspire people to prepare for a potential crisis that has never happened before and may not happen for decades to come. "It takes a lot of effort to educate policy-makers, and that is especially true with these low-frequency events," he says.

We should learn the lessons of hurricane Katrina, though, and realise that "unlikely" doesn't mean "won't happen". Especially when the stakes are so high. The fact is, it could come in the next three or four years - and with devastating effects. "The Carrington event happened during a mediocre, ho-hum solar cycle," Kintner says. "It came out of nowhere, so we just don't know when something like that is going to happen again."

Related editorial: We must heed the threat of solar storms

When hell comes to Earth

Severe space weather events often coincide with the appearance of sunspots, which are indicators of particularly intense magnetic fields at the sun's surface.

The chaotic motion of charged particles in the upper atmosphere of the sun creates magnetic fields that writhe, twist and turn, and occasionally snap and reconfigure themselves in what is known as a "reconnection". These reconnection events are violent, and can fling out billions of tonness of plasma in a "coronal mass ejection" (CME).

If flung towards the Earth, the plasma ball will accelerate as it travels through space and its intense magnetic field will soon interact with the planet's magnetic field, the magnetosphere. Depending on the relative orientation of the two fields, several things can happen. If the fields are oriented in the same direction, they slip round one another. In the worst case scenario, though, when the field of a particularly energetic CME opposes the Earth's field, things get much more dramatic. "The Earth can't cope with the plasma," says James Green, head of NASA's planetary division. "The CME just opens up the magnetosphere like a can-opener, and matter squirts in."

The sun's activity waxes and wanes every 11 years or so, with the appearance of sunspots following the same cycle. This period isn't consistent, however. Sometimes the interval between sunspot maxima is as short as nine years, other times as long as 14 years. At the moment the sun appears calm. "We're in the equivalent of an idyllic summer's day. The sun is quiet and benign, the quietest it has been for 100 years," says Mike Hapgood, who chairs the European Space Agency's space weather team, "but it could turn the other way." The next solar maximum is expected in 2012.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Oh, that explains it

Psychological analysts looking for the reason Barack Obama is rushing pell mell to destroy the American economy, culture, and general way of life need look no further; the answer comes from a noted psychologist from Israel, an expert on Narcissism. It seems our beloved new president is suffering from something called Narcissic Personality Disorder. In layman's terms, he is head over heels in love with himself, and this, according to Dr. Sam Vaknin, makes him extremely dangerous.

Dr. Vaknin States,

"I must confess I was impressed by Sen.Barack Obama from the first time I saw him. At first I was excited to see a black candidate. He looked youthful, spoke well, appeared to be confident - a wholesome presidential package. I was put off soon, not just because of his shallowness but also because there was an air of haughtiness in his demeanor that was unsettling. His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words. Obama's speeches are unlike any political speech we have heard in American history. Never a politician in this land had such quasi "religious" impact on so many people. The fact that Obama is a total incognito with zero accomplishment, makes this inexplicable infatuation alarming. Obama is not an ordinary man. He is not a genius.. In fact he is quite ignorant on most important subjects."

Barack Obama is a narcissist.

Dr. Sam Vaknin, the author of the Malignant Self Love believes "Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist." Vaknin is a world authority on narcissism. He understands narcissism and describes the inner mind of a narcissist like no other person. When he talks about narcissism everyone listens. Vaknin says that Obama's language, posture and demeanor, and the testimonies of his closest, dearest and nearest suggest that the Senator is either a narcissist or he may have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Narcissists project a grandiose but false image of themselves. Jim Jones, the charismatic leader of People's Temple, the man who led over 900 of his followers to cheerfully commit mass suicide and even murder their own children was also a narcissist. David Koresh, Charles Manson, Joseph Koni, Shoko Asahara, Stalin, Saddam, Mao,Kim Jong Ill and Adolph Hitler are a few examples of narcissists of our time. All these men had a tremendous influence over their fanciers. They created a personality cult around themselves and with their blazing speeches elevated their admirers, filled their hearts with enthusiasm and instilled in their minds a new zest for life. They gave them hope! They promised them the moon, but alas, invariably they brought them to their doom. When you are a victim of a cult of personality, you don't know it until it is too late. One determining factor in the development of NPD is childhood abuse.

"Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations," says Vaknin. "Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident.. Then his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia, a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white)grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995".

One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of pathological narcissists. They project such an imposing personality that it overwhelms those around them. Charmed by the charisma of the narcissist, people become like clay in his hands. They cheerfully do his bidding and delight to be at his service. The narcissist shapes the world around himself and reduces others in his own inverted image. He creates a cult of personality. His admirers become his co-dependents. Narcissists have no interest in things that do not help them to reach their personal objective. They are focused on one thing alone and that is power. All other issues are meaningless to them and they do not want to waste their precious time on trivialities. Anything that does not help them is beneath them and do not deserve their attention.

If an issue raised in the Senate does not help Obama in one way or another, he has no interest in it. The "present" vote is a safe vote. No one can criticize him if things go wrong. Those issues are unworthy by their very nature because they are not about him. Obama's election as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review led to a contract and advance to write a book about race relations.

The University of Chicago Law School provided him a lot longer than expected and at the end it evolved into, guess what? His own autobiography! Instead of writing a scholarly paper focusing on race relations, for which he had been paid, Obama could not resist writing about his most sublime self. He entitled the book Dreams from My Father.

Not surprisingly, Adolph Hitler also wrote his own autobiography when he was still nobody. So did Stalin. For a narcissist no subject is as important as his own self. Why would he waste his precious time and genius writing about insignificant things when he can write about such an august being as himself? Narcissists are often callous and even ruthless. As the norm, they lack conscience. This is evident from Obama's lack of interest in his own brother who lives on only one dollar per month.

A man who lives in luxury, who takes a private jet to vacation in Hawaii, and who has raised nearly half a billion dollars for his campaign (something unprecedented in history) has no interest in the plight of his own brother. Why? Because, his brother cannot be used for his ascent to power.

A narcissist cares for no one but himself. This election is like no other in the history of America. The issues are insignificant compared to what is at stake. What can be more dangerous than having a man bereft of conscience, a serial liar, and one who cannot distinguish his fantasies from reality as the leader of the free world? I hate to sound alarmist, but one is a fool if one is not alarmed. Many politicians are narcissists They pose no threat to others...They are simply self serving and selfish.

Obama evidences symptoms of pathological narcissism, which is different from the run-of-the-mill narcissism of a Richard Nixon or a Bill Clinton for example. To him reality and fantasy are intertwined. This is a mental health issue, not just a character flaw. Pathological narcissists are dangerous because they look normal and even intelligent. It is this disguise that makes them treacherous.

Today the Democrats have placed all their hopes in Obama. But this man could put an end to their party. The great majority of blacks have also decided to vote for Obama. Only a fool does not know that their support for him is racially driven. This is racism, pure and simple. The downside of this is that if Obama turns out to be the disaster I predict, he will cause widespread resentment among the whites.

The blacks are unlikely to give up their support of their man. Cultic mentality is pernicious and unrelenting. They will dig their heads deeper in the sand and blame Obama's detractors of racism. This will cause a backlash among the whites.

The white supremacists will take advantage of the discontent and they will receive widespread support. I predict that in less than four years, racial tensions will increase to levels never seen since the turbulent 1960's.

Obama will set the clock back decades... America is the bastion of freedom. The peace of the world depends on the strength of America, and its weakness translates into the triumph of terrorism and victory of rogue nations.

It is no wonder that Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, the Castrists, the Hezbollah, the Hamas, the lawyers of the Guantanamo terrorists and virtually all sworn enemies of America are so thrilled by the prospect of their man in the White House. America is on the verge of destruction. There is no insanity greater than electing a pathological narcissist as president.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stimulus, Schwimulus

First, let met attest that I wish President Obama every possible success, because I and my family and friends stand to benefit from that success, were it to happen. But I fear he has surrounded himself with economic morons who just don't get it.

President George W. Bush also inherited a recession from the Clinton Administration, but quickly patched it with an across-the-board tax cut. Of course, the Democrats called it a "tax cut for the rich", but since most Democrats have never worked in the "real world", it's understandable that they did not understand it was actually a tax cut for small business... the backbone of the American success story.

Yes, most small businesses... Sole Proprietorships, Limited Partnerships, Subchapter S Corporations and others pay their business taxes at the personal tax rate, and are lumped in with individual taxpayers. To them, a tax break allowed them to retain a little more of their hard-earned business income, with which they obviously reinvested in their companies.. purchasing new equipment, hiring new employees, and generally growing their businesses. The end result was the net Federal tax revenues were even greater than had the tax cut never been enacted. This is a magic trick learned by Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush who all used it successfully.

But Obama has missed this subtle point: To boost the economy, you need
fresh new capital injected into the system. And there's nothing fresher or newer than a hard-earned dollar from the sweat of an honest small businessman's brow. That points to only one possible alternative - a tax cut for the "rich" ( again ).

You see, here's the way the current tax code works:
  • The top 5% wage earners currently pay about 50% of all the personal income taxes.
  • The top 50% wage earners currently pay about 95% of all the personal income taxes.
That leaves about half of the workers paying little or no taxes at all.

Government spending, such as proposed and just passed by the House, is not fresh new capital. It is borrowed money which must be repaid. Taking a dollar from one pocket and putting it in the other is not a "stimulus", it is economic smoke and mirrors. With his "stimulus" package, Obama hopes to produce 4 million new jobs... at a cost of $204,750 per job. The jobs will be temporary, of course, for they will disappear as soon as the money runs out or the bridge has been repaired, whichever occurs first. While shoring up our infrastructure is a good idea in general, unfortunately a rebuilt bridge or highway or ATV path is not a revenue producer... so few if any of his proposed spending targets will result in any permanent boost to the economy. Almost a trillion bucks down the toilet.

My own small company could likely create two or three new good-paying permanent jobs with a fresh, non-taxable cash injection of $204,750 - which could easily be filled with local talent here in Backwoods, Vermont. But it appears the Obama administration would prefer only one relatively unskilled and temporary worker to benefit... with the government bureaucrats running the program skimming off the balance, naturally.

And who would be paying back the $819 billion? Why the "rich", of course... falling squarely on the shoulders of our nations small businesses, as I have previously discussed. And since an enormous portion of the proposed spending spree is dedicated to things which have nothing to do with economic stimulus, the net effect on the aforementioned "rich" small business backbone will be a net loss. And the inevitable result of that net loss will be, in the end, just another nail in the coffin of the American Dream.

Stimulus, Schwimulus... the Emperor has no Clothes.