Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The carbon tax and the triumph of green


Driving from Calgary to Vancouver reveals some stark contrasts. The vast farmlands of the foothills morph into the majestic Rocky Mountains. The ominous mountain passes lead to an oasis of sprawling lakes in the Okanagan Valley before climbing into the heavens to traverse the Coquihalla Pass. The desolate mountain landscape then fades away to reveal the lush Lower Mainland before heading into the sprawling metropolis of Metro Vancouver.

If one looks closely, however, another stark contrast can be seen. Between the rocky divide that separates Banff and Golden, one may notice a significant increase in the price of gasoline. The price then increases again when you hit Vancouver. This is because B.C. has much higher gas taxes than Alberta. Residents of Metro Vancouver pay 20.5 cents per litre in gas taxes, plus 5 per-cent GST and a six cent transit tax, compared to just nine cents plus GST in Alberta. If this wasn't bad enough, the "right-wing" Liberal government recently imposed a carbon tax, which adds 3.51 cents to a litre of gas and will eventually reach 7.2 cents by 2012. In a show of just how out of whack B.C. politics is, it was the NDP that campaigned against the carbon tax in the last provincial election.

There was a time when so-called "progressive" politicians could at least pretend their policies were designed to help people. If one promises to steal from the rich and give to the poor, it actually sounds like they intend to help the poor. And while I don't agree with these policies, I can see the rationality in electing someone who promises to give you something for nothing. The remarkable thing about the green movement is that they have somehow made it possible for politicians to implement policies that are designed to help no one.

Let's take a step back for a moment. When I was young, the environmental movement seemed like little more than a bunch of under-sexed soccer moms whining about the rain forest. Yet, in a relatively short period of time, they have managed to fundamentally alter the way people think and vote. We are now at a point where people actually think it's in their interest to vote for policies that make all of society worse off. Let's take the carbon tax as an example.

Who benefits from the carbon tax? Businesses certainly don't benefit. It now costs more for them to produce and transport goods. The poor don't gain anything either. They are now faced with higher prices at the supermarket and higher transportation costs. The policy is actually designed to help mother nature and satisfy a far-left constituency. Do I need to mention the fact that there is a growing body of scientific evidence that contradicts the theory of man-made global warming or that even if it is true, higher taxes in one province will do little to solve the problem?

The green movement has successfully devolved public policy to that of ancient times. Government is now in the business of sacrificing virgins to appease their mythical gods. No matter what you think of their politics, this is an amazing feat.

The success of the green movement can partially be attributed to the diverse coalition they have managed to build. Environmentalists who are genuinely concerned with saving the planet; communists who see this as an opportunity to increase government involvement in the economy; enterprising capitalists who realize that there's money to be made off green technology; scientists who see large swaths of government money flowing their way by preaching man-made global warming; and religious zealots who are mesmerized by stories of Armageddon are all working together to change the minds of the populace and affect public policy.

That's right, the same money interests the left usually blames for all the evils in the world suddenly find themselves in the same camp as the socialists and communist extremists. The problem is that many of the policies the green movement is pushing are downright evil. If they had their way, they would wipe out centuries of human achievement. We would be pushed back to the stone age, unable to utilize all the technologies that have brought about the biggest increase in the standard of living in all of human history. Yet, despite the dangers we face, those of us who want to push back can learn a lot from the green movement. Their organizational skills and ability to persuade citizens and lawmakers alike have been remarkably effective. These same tools can be used against them in the quest for balanced policies that protect the environment, don't hurt society's most vulnerable, and leave men free to be innovative and productive. On the eve of this December's global warming summit in Copenhagen, this is something we should all keep in mind.

Further Reading

[Cross-posted at jesse.kline.ca]

Posted by Jesse Kline on September 20, 2009 in Science | Permalink | Comments (32)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cool bulbs mean cold homes

The long arm of the law of unintended consequences has once again reached out and grabbed a much-heralded, widely-supported anti-global-warming initiative, the compact fluorescent light bulb. Common sense once again steals the spotlight from ideology.

But why is this story buried inside the business pages of today's Vancouver Sun, and not on page one? Perhaps the editors don't want to embarrass one-time guest editor David Suzuki.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 17, 2009 in Science | Permalink | Comments (19)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Counter-intuitive science

I don't know how many times I've seen or heard stories suggesting, without solid evidence, that environmental pollutants are a cause of the modern spike in the number of reported cases of breast cancer. Here's one example.

Well, guess what. It turns out that eco-toxins can actually help suppress breast cancer. Read more details about the SFU scientist's findings here.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 5, 2009 in Science | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Nature finds its balance

From today's Globe & Mail:

The Norwegian Polar Institute's Kit Kovacs estimates warming water and accompanying biochemical processes will increase the sea's productivity by 20 to 30 per cent - and that means more fish still. Already, herring, mackerel and Arctic cod are swimming north as waters warm.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on December 1, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Monday, November 24, 2008

Who in Edmonton wouldn't want warmer winters?

A year-and-a-half after I published my story in the Western Standard, about the positive effects on Canada of global warming, the Edmonton Journal has finally discovered the same facts.

Better late than never.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on November 24, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Friday, November 21, 2008

(Video) Fiery meteor sighted in Edmonton and over prairie skies

The Calgary Herald reports:

In Edmonton and across the Prairies, hundreds of people reported seeing a bright flaming object light up the sky around 5:30 p.m. local time. It was variously described as green, yellow, purple or blue, and appeared as either an explosion or an object streaking through the sky.

Sightings came from across the Prairies; from as far south as Medicine Hat, Alta., to as far north as Beauval, Sask. - 600 kilometres from Edmonton.

Marcel Gobeil, who lives on a farm south of Edmonton, was in his living room when he heard what he describes as a ``loud boom,'' followed by bright colourful light in the sky.

"At first I thought it was fireworks,'' said Gobeil. "I've never seen anything like it; it was green and blue and then turned to bright red. It was pretty big.''


"What we probably saw was a fireball, which is the result of a rock coming into the atmosphere,'' said Chris Herd, an associate professor in the University of Alberta's department of earth and atmospheric sciences and curator of the university's meteorite collection.

"The big question now is whether or not anything hit the ground.''

Richard Huziak, a member of the Royal Astronomical Society who lives in Saskatoon, believes it was likely a meteor that did land somewhere near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.

Reports of sightings are even coming from as far away as Montana.

It's possible that parts of the meteor made it to the ground as meteorites, but they are hard to locate since nobody is exactly sure where it might have landed. Frank Florian, an astronomer at the Telus World of Science explains to the Edmonton Journal:

"There's too much space, there's a lot of wooded areas, a lot of muskeg in northern Alberta that swallows up most anything, we have lakes. It's really hard to determine exactly where things could fall.

"That's why we need as many reports as we can get."

"It's so bright it gets misleading, People think because it's so bright it's really close, but it's really not.

"We really need to take a look at all the reports from Alberta and Saskatchewan and anywhere else that saw it and try to figure out by their line of sight where they saw it in relation to the horizon, which direction they were looking, how high above the horizon they saw it --start and end -- so they can make an educated guess about where it has fallen."

The Meteorites and Impacts Advisory Committee is requesting detailed reports to help them locate any meteorites before they get buried in the snows which are forecasted over the next few days. If efforts at locating fragents fail now, scientists will have to wait until the spring to retrieve any meteorites.

Here's a stunning video of the meteor taken from a police patrol car's camera:

More videos of the meteor after the break:

Some news reports:

This footage captured by Alister Ling using equipment at the University of Calgary:

Posted by Kalim Kassam on November 21, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pulling the trigger earlier

With news of a new, "non-invasive" way of determing whether a pregnant women is carrying a child with Down Syndrome, comes the inevitable question: Will this breakthrough lead to more women having more abortions?

In a story that somehow fails to mention Sarah Palin's son, Trig, the CBC reports: "It's highly likely that within the next two years, this test will be available to Canadian women and prospective families," said Krista Flint, executive director of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society in Calgary.

"We know that these medical advancements will continue, and we think information is terribly important to families. But we want families to receive fair and balanced information, not just about the challenges of a life with Down syndrome, but also the richly rewarding lives that are possible for citizens with Down syndrome."

In the U.S, it is estimated that 80 to 95 per cent of pregnancies with an early determination of Down syndrome will be terminated.

"I think we have to be honest about the fact that a determination of Down syndrome very early in a pregnancy is very likely going to be accompanied by pressure to terminate a pregnancy, and that's been the experience of most of the families that are connected to the Canadian Down Syndrome Society."

Posted by Terry O'Neill on October 7, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Monday, September 29, 2008

Make that Global 'Cooling'

National Review online reports today:

The four major agencies tracking Earth’s temperature, including NASA’s Goddard Institute, report that the Earth cooled 0.7 degree Celsius in 2007, the fastest decline in the age of instrumentation, putting us back to where the Earth was in 1930. The climate is changing, but not in the direction Al Gore thinks.

h/t: sda

Posted by Terry O'Neill on September 29, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Enjoy the warmth; fear the cold

The benefits of global warming: "The facts are enough to make Al Gore shiver."

Posted by Terry O'Neill on September 3, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Monday, August 11, 2008

Warming to global warming

Remind me again: Why is a "history-making meltdown" of Arctic ice the "worst ever"? Why not the "best ever" or, at least, a neutral "most ever"?

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 11, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I guess this now means the evidence is 'controvertible'

The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming.  The APS is also sponsoring public debate on the validity of global warming science.  The leadership of the society had previously called the evidence for global warming "incontrovertible."

Hat-tip to Drudge

Posted by Terry O'Neill on July 17, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Ric Dolphin Writes Again

Although loath to use another of those horrible words  concocted by the geeks  who, sadly, have inherited the world, there seems to be no avoiding it. I now have a "blog" which I shall endeavor to update at least every Monday and which you are invited to visit at, ricdolphin.com
Be aware that, unlike when I wrote for Western Standard magazine, I am not being  censored for language. I am also not specifically writing about politics, although the subject may be broached on occasion.  Be assured, however, that I shall never  use "blog" as  a verb.

Posted by Ric Dolphin on July 9, 2008 in Aboriginal Issues, American History, Books, Canadian Conservative Politics, Canadian History, Canadian Politics, Canadian Provincial Politics, Crime, Current Affairs, Film, Humour, International Affairs, International Politics, Media, Military, Municipal Politics, Religion, Science, Television, Trade, Travel, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Western Standard, WS Radio, WStv | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Smoke gets in their eyes

Earth to libertarian reefer reformers:

In March 2007, The Lancet, Britain's leading medical journal, declared cannabis to be more dangerous and addictive than LSD and Ecstasy. About the same time, Professor Colin Blakemore, chief of the Medical Research Council (and in 1997, the moral authority behind The Independent's liberalization campaign) unequivocally reversed his cannabis-friendliness: "The link between cannabis and psychosis is quite clear now; it wasn't 10 years ago."

Read Barbara Kay's entire anti-legalization column, published in today's National Post, here.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 22, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (66) | TrackBack

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cool heads over hot air

Just in time for Earth Day, more than 76,000 people have now signed an online petition opposing climate alarmism.

And, oh yes, there was frost in Greater Vancouver this morning.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on April 22, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (41) | TrackBack

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Bad timing department

In the same week as Time magazine devotes a cover package ("The Clean Energy Scam") to the direct link between biofuel production and environmental destruction (not to mention high food prices), the B.C. Liberal government introduces a new law calling for gasoline to contain an average five percent ethanol within two years.

Question for Premier Gordon Campbell: Still Enjoying your ride on the climate-change bandwagon?

Posted by Terry O'Neill on April 3, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Solomon series now in book form

Fans of Lawrence Solomon's "Deniers" series in the Financial Post (a series of columns that profiled leading scientists who don't subscribe to climate-change orthodoxy) will be happy to know that Solomon has now published a complete book on the subject called, fittingly enough, The Deniers.

Solomon said in a mass email sent today to "Friends of Energy Probe" (Energy Probe , the organization he founded in 1979, promotes "safe and clean alternatives to coal and nuclear power") that the book is the culmination of two years' research. "What I found when I started digging first surprised and then shocked me," he writes. "I found dozens of truly eminent and world renowned scientists who reject the conventional wisdom on global warming. I also found that, in case after case, the scientists putting forward the contrary argument were far more accomplished than those who originated the UN's doomsayer view.

"In short: the scientists I found and profiled are too eminent and their research too devastating to allow narrow and simplistic views of global warming to survive."

Solomon's important book is now available on Amazon.com.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on April 1, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Monday, March 31, 2008

Now it's only 'many' scientists

I detect at least one admirable note of prudence in this Canadian Press story about the start today of "complex" new talks to produce a Kyoto II agreement. Specifically, this line: "Many scientists and the United Nations agree that the world needs to stabilize emissions of greenhouse gases in the next 10-15 years and slash them by 50 per cent by 2050 to prevent rising temperatures from triggering devastating changes in the environment." Note, the story does not say most scientists, or a scientific consensus, but simply "many" -- a number which could mean a minority, of course.

However, the story goes in the other direction with this one-sided declaration: "News of accelerating effects of global warming, such as the recent collapse of a massive chunk of Antarctic ice and worsening cyclones and flooding, has put even more pressure on the UN talks to provide decisive action." Omitted, of course, is any recognition of the deccerlation of global warming, as manifested in this winter's (and spring's!) unusually cold weather.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 31, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour: My Response

Gerry stole a little bit of my thunder with this post but, since the pictures were taken, I'm going with it anyways.

I object to this "Earth Hour" nonsense.  I believe it to be fundamentally wrong-headed to begin with, arising from a belief that humanity and human ingenuity is a cause of problems rather than the solution to them, but I particularly object to the coercive and bullying sort of fashion in which the media has covered this event.  The obvious implication, of course, in all of this is that if you don't fall in - if you don't accept the socialistic view that we ought to reduce our standard of living rather than improving it through technology (though, I should note, I don't expect that any of the rich backers of this sort of stuff will be reducing their own standard of living anytime soon).

Thus, my response to Earth hour is as follows.  When I finish this post, I am going to get into my car and drive first to Bellingham, WA, then to Lynnwood, WA, then possibly to Seattle.  Before I leave, I am going to turn on every single light in my apartment (most of which, by the way) are incandescent 100w bulbs.  I am also going to leave my television on (though with the volume muted, in a concession to my neighbours) and I am going to leave all three of my computers running, specifically encoding video files.

Yeah, it'll cost me a few bucks.  But, frankly, just for the pure joy of going against the grain - and of doing it while it's still legal - I'm going to do it.

Also, while I'm in Washington, I'm going to purchase expensive clothes, doubtlessly produced by Asian child labourers.  Needless to say, I feel good right now.

Pictures after the break.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on March 29, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Monday, March 10, 2008

Going nuclear over nukes

It's been said that if water were invented today, nanny statists would want to declare it a fire hazard because its component parts, oxygen and hydrogen, are so incendiary. I think this sort of mindset is behind opposition to nuclear energy, as manifested by my regular debating partner, Mary Woo Sims. Her most recent offering in the Tri-City News is here. Mine is here.

PROBLEM WITH LINK: The TCN web page for my column has put Sims' column atop mine, all under my byline. My contribution starts half way down with the para beginning with, "Despite the massive oil reserves...." I'll try to get the problem sorted out.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 10, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (50) | TrackBack

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The "fictitious" greenhouse effect

I'm guessing nearly everyone who reads this space also reads Small Dead Animals, so I suspect everyone already know what I'm talking about.

But, for those who don't, it's a real eye-opener:

"It is shown that this effect neither has experimental nor theoretical foundations and must be considered as fictitious. The claim that CO2 emissions give rise to anthropogenic climate changes has no physical basis."

Now that's a real inconvenient truth.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on January 23, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I guess Florida's oranges never heard of Al Gore

The global warming debate is over.

The earth is getting warmer.

Pay no attention to those Florida farmers desperately trying to save their crops from freezing.

Nothing to see, here.  Move along.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on January 3, 2008 in International Politics, Science | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack

Friday, December 21, 2007

Scientists Dispute Man-Made Global Warming Claims

The new report by the US Senate on Global Warming is getting zero coverage in big dinosaur media:

Read for yourself

Posted by Winston on December 21, 2007 in Current Affairs, Science | Permalink | Comments (40) | TrackBack

Monday, December 17, 2007

Optical illusion

B.C. Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon painted himself as Mr. Enviro on December 10 when he announced a contract with a Canadian company to supply the province with hydrogen to fuel its proposed fleet of hydrogen-powered buses. “When these buses are up and running, BC Transit will have the largest hydrogen fuel cell bus fleet worldwide,” said Falcon. “The development of this fleet is a major step in our commitment to hydrogen and fuel cells as a zero-emission transportation solution.”

One little thing, though: that oh-so-green hydrogren fuel will have to be trucked about 5,200 kilometres by not-so-green diesel-powered trucks to get from the Quebec plant to B.C.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on December 17, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Will Stephane Dion be renaming his dog?

"Scrap Y2Kyoto", says science journal "Nature"

A report in an influential science magazine says it is time to forego the Kyoto protocol because the United Nations treaty has failed to bring about any significant action on climate change.

Not only has the decade-old treaty not delivered cuts in global emissions of greenhouse gases that continue to soar, but it is the wrong tool for the job, say Gwyn Prins of the London School of Economics and Steve Rayner at Oxford.

(crossposted at halls of macadamia)

Posted by Neo Conservative on October 25, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Deep sea, deep green

Here's another of my unpublished stories from the vaults of the late Western Standard. I wrote it early in the summer, so it's a bit dated now. For more news about the company I'm reporting on, see its website: http://www.planktos.com/Newsroom.

Somewhere off the shores of the Galapagos Islands in the South Pacific Ocean, a lowly phytoplankton needs a boost of iron. But, according to Planktos Corp. of San Francisco, plankton living in this environmentally important area of the sea can’t get enough of their daily iron dose, a problem that’s causing the population of the minuscule sea organism to collapse, adversely affecting all sea life in turn. But Planktos, a publicly traded company that employs controversial Vancouver financier Nelson Skalbania, has a solution: dump 45 tons of iron filings into the ocean, thus not only pumping up the carbon-dioxide-gobbling phytoplankton but also reducing global warming in the process.

Save the seas and cut global warming at the same time? Planktos says it’s feasible, but its plan hinges on eco-sensitive corporations, individuals and governments paying the company to spread the iron dust in the ocean to offset their greenhouse-gas producing activities elsewhere. But while the company and its European subsidiary, KlimaFa (which specializes in reforestation), churn out press releases promoting their carbon-offset work, critics say the company’s science and business plan are both questionable.

Shares of the company were trading on the risky OTC Bulletin Board in the (US) $1.30 range in mid-July, compared to eight cents last fall. Critics have noted that Skalbania was charged in 1997 and ultimately found guilty of stealing $100,000 from an investor. He was also involved in several stock-market ventures of dubious integrity.

The centerpiece of Planktos’ activities is a ship called the Weatherbird II, which sailed from Washington, D.C. last spring but by mid-summer was still in Florida taking on 10 tons of iron, along with supplies and scientific equipment to ready itself its test-run “voyage of recovery” to the South Pacific. “Our real goal this year, more than any of the business experiments,” spokesman David Kubiak says, “is to try to get some public awareness, to put plankton right up their with penguins and polar bears, the poster kids of planetary distress.”

Stirring words, but they’re largely falling on deaf ears among environmentalists. "This is an irresponsible and unpredictable venture by purely profit-driven individuals," Elizabeth Bravo, of Accion Ecologica of Ecuador, said earlier this year. "It threatens our climate, our marine environment and the sovereignty of our fisherfolk and it should be stopped."

Nevertheless, the acting leader of the B.C. Green Party, Christopher Bennett, says he is intrigued by the Planktos plan. “My gut reaction is that polluting the ocean can’t be the way to clean the ocean or the planet,” he says. “But I’m open to new ideas.” In the meantime, he’s calling for the formation of a voluntary association to assess all companies’ environmental claims. “Based on my own experience over the last two to three years,” says the former corporate public-relations consultant, “30-40 per cent of businesses are making claims about their environmental record that are false, that are probably not entirely accurate at all.” Will Planktos end up in this group? Only the plankton know for sure.



Posted by Terry O'Neill on October 16, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Reefer Madness

My local TV listings magazine, TV Week, has a column by Dr. Rhonda Low, who gives health advice on CTV news programs. Her column from Sept. 29 (which never made it online) addresses a recent study, in The Lancet, compiling the results of 35 medical studies on marijuana use:

      ....The studies found that smoking marijuana could increas the risk of developing a psycholtic illness by an alarming 40 per cent. And worse, the more you use, the greater your risk. "Heavy users" (defined in the research as daily or weekly users) showed a 50 to 200 per cent increase in the risk of developing psychosis.

        "It is actually confirming what we have seen clinically, in that people are prone to psychosis have a chance of having exposure to a drug like marijana and that will bring the psychosis home," says Dr. [Bill] MacEwan [director of the Schizophrenia Clinic at the University of B.C.]"

Dr. MacEwan goes on in the column to qualify what he says, noting that there are many factors in a person's life that lead to mental illness, but he adds "So, if you have that family history of schizophrenia, I'd say yes, you should maybe watch what kind of substances you use and how much you are using."

It will be interesting to see if these sorts of medical findings will lead to Canada having a stricter law-enforcement attitude towards marijuana.

Posted by Rick Hiebert on October 14, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (75) | TrackBack

Friday, September 21, 2007

What about 300, 3,000 or 30,000 years ago?

"Melting of Arctic ice shatters record," blares the CBC's website. Some record! They've been keeping track of this sort of stuff for only 30 years. All in all, it's another example of Chicken Littlism.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on September 21, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The dominant dominion of 'deniers'

An exhaustive survey of scientific papers has concluded that less than half of all scientists support the "consensus" theory of man-made global warming.

Why isn't this page-one news around the world?

Let us hope that Drudge's link to the story sparks worldwide interest. And a re-evaluation of expensive, wasteful and ultimately destructive government policies.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 30, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Forget Viagra

Daily Mail: World's oldest father has 21st child at 90. So what's your secret, Nanu Ram Jogi?

Mr Jogi, who attributes his remarkable virility to daily walks and plenty of meat, said: "I eat all kinds of meat-- rabbits, lamb, chicken and wild animals."

What's that collective gulp I hear? Nothing, just PETA members swallowing their tongues. Okay everybody, conga line! "You don't win friends with salad! You don't win friends with salad!"

Posted by Kevin Steel on August 22, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Monday, August 20, 2007

The continuing Kyoto crisis, part X

Via Kate and the National Review comes news of this new and rigorous scientific study that concludes the earth's climate is only about one-third as sensitive to carbon dioxide as the IPCC has claimed.

Message to Al Gore: Your movie has now been completely, absolutely and thoroughly debunked. Do the responsible thing and pull it from circulation.

Message to the msm: It's now officially OK for you to start covering the other side of the climate-change story. Go ahead. Do it. It won't hurt.

Message to all climate-change hysterics: Shut up.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 20, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Could Link Byfield be greener than David Suzuki? In this case, yes.

The other day, I came home to find an envelope from the David Suzuki Foundation, full of environmentalist advertising,  nestled amongst my mail. The envelope, sent out in Dr. Suzuki's name from his Vancouver-based foundation,  boasted that it was "Printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled fibre. Processed chlorine  and acid free."  However, I also knew that the materials were sent out as part of a mass distribution to my neighborhood because the back of the envelope also reads:

If you are already one of our supporters-thank you! Please pass my letter on to a

Even though the materials might be earth friendly, I considered that it is surely is a waste of time for the David Suzuki Foundation to send out a mail-out that might go unread. Particularly one written in English sent to a heavily ethic part of town, such as my own.

And then I thought of my old boss, Link Byfield.

Mr. Byfield now operates a provincial rights think tank. He keeps me informed of his doings by e-mail and has never sent me any envelopes full of materials, even though he may suspect that I may sympathize with his goals enough to contribute. For that matter, in all my experiences with small-c conservative or religious groups I  always have to  ask to be put on a mailing list to get any materials, so that the group in question knows that they won't be wasting resources by sending me things.

I understand that the "green" saying is "Reduce. Reuse. Recycle." Perhaps Mr. Byfield can give Dr. Suzuki some handy suggestions in that regard.

Posted by Rick Hiebert on July 4, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


As a bonus feature to my article, The gospel of green, in the June 4 WS, here is an excerpt from the interview I did with David Orrell, a computational scientist and author of Apollo's Arrow: The Science of Prediction and the Future of Everything. I tracked him down to London, England, where he now works. I started our conversation by introducing the topic, green religion, and then had asked whether scientific predictions are being taken on faith these days;

DAVID ORRELL: That aspect of science as a whole has definitely taken on some of the characteristics of a religion. The whole business of prediction has typically been the preserve of religion since the Delphic Oracle and before. It’s typically been the established churches that have been in charge of telling us where we’re from and what’s going to happen in the future. Science has taken that role over from religion to explain both our origins and what the future holds.

The problem is that it has gotten to the point where people really want to predict the future and scientists want to be able to supply these predictions, so it gotten to the point where scientists don’t question their predictions enough. Scientists are famous for their skepticism, but when it comes to predictions their skepticism seems to be put on hold.

Religions have good aspects and bad aspects, so it’s not totally disparaging to say that science plays some roles of a religion. There are community aspects, and the whole caring about the meaning of life, etc. and all that’s great. I guess the problem can come when you have a priestly class of people who are interested in protecting their own version of the world. That’s sort of the sense I got a little bit of with some of these scientific models of the atmosphere. For example, the IPCC report that came out at the beginning of the year with the latest climate change predictions. If you actually listened to what the prediction was, it was basically saying that if carbon dioxide doubles from pre-industrial levels, the warming should be between 2 and 4.5 degrees and definitely not less than 1.5. So that’s a big spread. But on top of that, with other uncertainties, like exactly how much carbon dioxide is going to get released the prediction becomes something like 1.2 to 7 degrees. So it was incredibly vague. Most the media didn’t pick up on that. They all said that this is evidence, complete proof, the world is warming and then they spun off all these more detailed predictions which scientist had kind of thrown out. It was weird because there weren’t very many people who were saying, hang on a sec, this prediction is so vague it’s not really even useful. It doesn’t really tell us anything in detail. It’s a strange thing. It’s sort of like if you mention the Oracle in ancient Greece giving some really mysterious utterance and everyone goes, ‘Oh they’ve predicted the fall of the king!’

It’s one of those things where the prediction is kind of vague, but very authoritative at the same time. The weird thing is though that that prediction actually underestimates the error in the model. For example, the statement that warming could be between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees, if you actually look at the computer models… they did some experiments a couple of years ago at Oxford University where they randomly varied several of the variables that control the way clouds are modeled, and they ended up getting a much larger spread than that. And some models showed no cooling and other ones shot off to above 10 degrees. My background is more in engineering, and engineer modelers tend to have a built in conservative approach, mainly because they have something personal on the line. You design something and it fails, doesn’t work, then you are responsible for it. But in predictions of the future, no one really has anything personal at stake. There’s a big market for predictions, but it’s not something we go back and check very often. It’s the same kind of thing in economics as well. Again, there’s a huge market for predictions. There are loads of people who claim they can predict what’s going to happen on the markets, but if you go back and look at their track record, more often than not they’re no better than random.

In the priestly class I am thinking of people who want to protect positions of power and that would include funding. The whole climate change community is dependent in a way on … if they said our models don’t work and we should just pack up on go home, then that would be it, that wouldn’t work, right? I get the feeling they’ve lost some of the skepticism that scientists normally have, that they have sacrificed it more for job security. I don’t think scientists are going to like to hear that.

I support the environmental movement. But I think it has some contradictions. One of them is that a lot of environmentalists support this Gaia theory idea, that earth could be viewed as a living entity. So I thought it was a contradiction that on the one hand they say that the earth is this incredibly complex thing, similar in complexity to a living being, but on the other hand saying we can predict it and model it and say exactly what is going to happen to it in 10 or 20 years time. Those two things don’t really gel. One of the properties of living things is that they are extremely hard to predict. And I think there is a lot of truth in that idea, that the earth is kind of a complex, self-regulating system. If you imagine climate change as putting an extra layer of insulation on your house, then it is kind of predictable. But if you think of climate change as putting a blanket on a person or an animal who is cold and shivering, then you can imagine a computer model might not be the best thing for that because it depends on the response of the system. I kind of feel the environmentalists are throwing their lot in too strongly with the mechanistic, scientific models. This really doesn’t convince skeptics because skeptics can easily point to flaws and not be convinced.

Posted by Kevin Steel on June 13, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We've made the fish gay

Obviously this explains the prevalence of gay marriage, metrosexuals, and Colin & Justin.

Back in the summer of 2001, a team of Canadian and U.S. researchers spiked a lake in Northwestern Ontario with traces of synthetic estrogen used in human birth control pills. They then repeated the unusual treatment for the next two years and sat back and watched what happened to minnows living in the lake.

The results were nothing short of frightening. Exposing fish to tiny doses of the active ingredient in the pill, amounts little more than a whiff of estrogen, started turning male fish into females. Instead of sperm, they started developing eggs. Instead of looking like males, they became indistinguishable from females. Within a year of exposure, the minnow population began to crash. Within a few years, the fish, which at one time teemed in the lake, had practically vanished.

Ok, but what do these fish have to do with Colin & Justin, you ask? Fair question. It seems that the test samples of estrogen were meant to mimic the type and quantity of estrogen that makes it through waste water purification. Which means I - on the Pill - take a piss. It gets cleansed and purified, and your son drinks it. Next thing you know he's talking about his feelings, writing poetry, and making moon-eyes at the boy next door.

It's not known what effect, if any, human exposure to estrogen in drinking water might have, although Dr. Kidd said it is an area that should be a research priority. Reproductive problems in human males, such as declining sperm counts and testicular cancer, have been rising in recent decades, and the causes are not known.

"When we see these kinds of responses in fish, it raises a red flag for what these compounds are doing to humans," she said.

Dear God, what have we done? We take the Pill to avoid having children, and it emasculates our men to virtually ensure that we'll never have children. Obviously I can't cast the first stone here, but I definitely think it's worth further study.

Posted by RightGirl on May 22, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The global-warming emperor has no clothes

I look forward to Larry Solomon's weekly "Deniers" feature in the National Post, in which he profiles a prominent scientist who has not jumped on the man-made global-warming bandwagon or has recently jumped off.

Now, I see the deniers/doubters movement is being noted south of the border too. Marc Morano, communications director for U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), declares that "a remarkable momentum shift is taking place in global warming science." What sort of shift? "Many former believers in catastrophic man-made global warming have recently reversed themselves and are now climate skeptics."

Here's the link to the full text of the above statement, which includes an impressive list of some of those new skeptics.

[h/t to small dead animals]

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 17, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (35) | TrackBack

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Not all glaciers are melting

I caught a bit of a PBS show last night, out of Seattle, touching on the fact that there's a new glacier growing atop Mount St. Helen's. That's right, a glacier that's growing, not shrinking. The phenomenon was explained by the fact that the rock face keeps the inside of the dome in the shade, thus shielding the area from the warming effects of the sun.

Hmmm. I'm wondering how this fact fits in with the two sides of the global-warming debate: the one side positing that a warming atmosphere, caused by human carbon-dioxide emissions, is causing glaciers to melt, the other side holding (for the most part) that solar activity is causing the atmosphere to warm and the glaciers to melt.

Here's a link to a scientific article about the growing glacier at Mount St. Helen's. Here a link to a photo of the glacier. And here's a link to a website listing all the glaciers that are growing around the world. The keeper of this site seems to think we're on the verge of another ice age. I don't actually see much evidence of that, but I do agree that the fact that not all glaciers are melting is very interesting in light of the global-warming hysteria now gripping the western world.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 16, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (28) | TrackBack

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

An inconvenient truth for Dr. Suzuki

Amadea Vance, a teen who attends Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Surrey B.C., may already be on the way to becoming a good reporter. She notices things...to Dr. David Suzuki's possible dismay.

Dr. Suzuki recently came to her church to give a talk. Miss Vance reports on his visit in the current issue of Topic, the local Anglican monthly newspaper.

She begins (emphasis mine):

"It was only 10 AM and already Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church was packed. David Suzuki arrived in a campaign style tour bus...."

I would like to be wrong, but I doubt there is any "campaign style tour bus" that is environmentally friendly. Perhaps Dr. Suzuki might like to try the "mass transit" style of bus. I can assure him, from personal experience, that that type of bus can get him almost anywhere in Surrey that he might wish to go.

I wonder if local media outlets, such as The Vancouver Sun, have thought about doing an article on Dr. Suzuki's own impact on the enviroment? At any rate, I doubt that the Sun shall be doing such an article in the May 5 issue of that newspaper, when Dr. Suzuki will be "editor for a day".


Posted by Rick Hiebert on April 4, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (37) | TrackBack

Friday, February 09, 2007

An inconvenient snowfall

One has to wonder what the hardy folks in upper state New York must be thinking about Richard Branson's new $25-million  C02-reduction prize, which he announced in relatively balmy London. Something tells me that, after digging out from under more than six feet of snow, the last thing the New Yorkers would want to do would be to curse the skies for trapping too much heat.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 9, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (39) | TrackBack

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mayo spreads the news

The Mayo Clinic has finally gotten around to publishing a news release about the groundbreaking article it published a few weeks ago about the link between breast cancer and birth-control pills. I'll be interested in seeing how the mainstream media, now duly alerted, cover this important medical news.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on October 30, 2006 in Science | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Friday, October 20, 2006

A link that can't be denied

Good to see that former Western Standard bearer Andrea Mrozek, now working in Ottawa with the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, is continuing to keep her journalistic skills sharp. The National Post has published a big op-ed by Ms. M, in which she points out that a new meta-study, conducted by the Mayo Clinic, has shown that the use of birth-control pills increases by 44% the risk of breast cancer in pre-menopausal women who have not had a child.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to those of us who have followed the subject for years, but it likely will come as news to the vast majority of Canadian woman. This newsworthiness raises an important question: why hasn't a single Canadian media outlet carried news of this important finding until now? Well, it might have something to do with the fact the Mayo Clinic itself appears to have done little to publicize its finding. In fact, the Clinic's web site still carries an entry, on the Pill and breast cancer, saying evidence of the link is inconclusive.

Here's a link to the full Mayo Clinic report.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on October 20, 2006 in Science | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Global Warming: The New-Age Fundamentalism?

David Suzuki and his colleagues in the anti-consumption, anti-global warming community boast that their findings are merely the product of objective, amoral and verifiable science. Tim Denton argues convincingly that they are but the latest manifestation of an ongoing effort to label and punish human "sins".

Paul Canniff

Posted by Paul Canniff on September 5, 2006 in Science | Permalink | Comments (72) | TrackBack

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Chillax over Global Warming

Washington Post columnist George F. Will:

"Eighty-five percent of Americans say warming is probably happening, and 62 percent say it threatens them personally. The National Academy of Sciences says the rise in the Earth's surface temperature has been about one degree Fahrenheit in the past century. Did 85 percent of Americans notice? Of course not. They got their anxiety from journalism calculated to produce it. Never mind that one degree might be the margin of error when measuring the planet's temperature. To take a person's temperature, you put a thermometer in an orifice or under an arm. Taking the temperature of our churning planet, with its tectonic plates sliding around over a molten core, involves limited precision."

Will says the biggest problem in debating global warming -- whether it is occurring, if it is a problem, what to do about it if it is --  is the pernicious influence of  "big crusading journalism." Too often journalists don't bring context as much as personal opinions and what they wish were true to the major debates of the day. It's just too bad that sensible columns such as Will's too often get drowned out by the misleading stories.

Posted by Paul Tuns on April 2, 2006 in Science | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Garden of what?

The insidious way in which preservationists and deep environmentalists distort our perceptions,  and the ease with which the gullible mainstream media fall for the greenies' wordplay -- it's all been on display over the past 24 hours in the coverage of the  supposed "Garden of Eden" found in New Guinea.

The key is found in those three quoted words, "Garden of Eden." The story concerns several heretofore unknown species of animals discovered by scientists during an expedition to the Foja Mountains of New Guinea. Every story I've seen about the discovery plays up this quote from Bruce Beehler of the U.S.-based Conservation International organization: "It's as close to the Garden of Eden as you're going to find on Earth,"

Oh really? In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the Garden of Eden is believed to be that place where animals and humans lived together in perfect natural harmony. Today, however, most deep-green thumb-suckers see humans only as a negative force in their relationship with nature, and, accordingly, they have corrupted the idea of the Garden of Eden to signify a place where animals alone live in perfect harmony with nature, without the despoiling effect of mankind.

I'm reminded of a Time magazine cover story of the early 1990s, entitled "Inside the World's Last Eden,"which described a place in deepest darkest Africa in which human civilization had not yet come into contact with animal "civilization." This was a new Eden, one bereft of humans.

Follow the logic in what was said in regards to New Guinea and Africa and see where it leads: to the conclusion that the entire Earth would be one big Eden if it weren't for we bad old humans.

And you still wonder why the late John Paul II termed ours a "culture of death"?

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 8, 2006 in Science | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Global warming will save lives

CO2 Science points to studies in China, Israel, Japan, Korea and Russia that indicate cooler climates are corelated to increased (early) deaths and concludes:

"In conclusion, the results of these several Asian studies suggest that low temperatures tend to foster a number of life-threatening maladies that could be considerably reduced by a good dose of global warming everywhere, but especially in (1) cold climates, during (2) the cold season of the year, and at (3) the coldest time of the day, which is precisely when and where most real-world warming typically occurs.  Clearly, therefore, global warming must be acknowledged to be good for our health, and for our prospects of living long and productive lives, which is exactly the opposite of what climate alarmists continually preach."

The Japanese study, for example, found that "deaths due to infectious and parasitic diseases including tuberculosis, respiratory diseases including pneumonia and influenza, diabetes, digestive diseases and cerebrovascular and heart diseases rose during the most "bitterly cold" time of year.

So the question is: doesn't Prime Minister Paul Martin and his ilk who push Kyoto and other anti-global warming schemes care about the lives of Canadians?

Posted by Paul Tuns on September 25, 2005 in Science | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Homo Sapiens: Fewer Genes Than Rice

And why this may limit future evolution;

Research published in the July issue of Trends in Immunology, shows how a more advanced immune system in humans could explain why the human genome may have only a slightly greater number of genes than the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and probably less than rice, Oryza sativa.

Dr Andrew George, from Imperial College London and based at the Hammersmith Hospital comments: "Although humans are normally thought to be considerably more complex than organisms, such as plants, rice, yeast and earthworms, this is not reflected in their number of genes, with humans having less genes than other supposedly less complex organisms."

Dr George suggests that the limited number of functional genes in the human genome may be a result of the presence of a more advanced immune system. The immune system is designed to protect us from disease, but it is important that the cells of the immune system do not recognise our own tissues or cells, as this would lead autoimmune disease.

Autoimmune disease is avoided by killing off any immune cells that recognise molecules produced by the body (self-molecules). This means that the larger the genome, the more self-molecules the immune system needs to tolerate.

As a result, the immune system has to kill more immune cells. If there are too many genes then this results in the vast majority of immune cells dying, paralysing the immune system, and leaving the body unable to fight off disease or infection.

Dr George adds: "The limited size of the human genome could make further evolution for humans difficult. Fortunately, the human genome has been able to create genes which have multiple uses, thus making the best use of a limited number of genes."

Posted by Kate McMillan on August 30, 2005 in Science | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A rat is a pig is a dog is a Holocaust victim

It might be the only comment supporting animal rights which could possibly be more tasteless than "A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy."

I'm indebted to conservative Australian journalist and blogger Tim Blair (http://timblair.net/) who brought this to our attention.

Mr. Blair reports that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (which is much like our CBC, for good or ill) recently profiled Australian animal rights activist Brian Sherman, which led local environmentalist Tim Flannery, director of the South Australian Museum, to opine:

"I think that Brian sees something akin to what went on in the Holocaust. You know, that this is a terrible tragedy unfolding before our eyes, and unless we act to do something about it, we’re complicit in this cruelty and this degradation."

Mr, Sherman, for his part, has had the grace to disassociate himself from this opinion. But one has to wonder when North American PETA activists will start to think this way.

Posted by Rick Hiebert on July 24, 2005 in Science | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Unexpected insight from Ottawa

I experienced one of those all-too-rare "holy crap!" moments this morning when going through my mail. The cause was the Spring 2005 edition of the Carleton University Magazine, whose surprising cover story is entitled, "Global Warming? Kyoto controversy rages in the scientific community."

What!? Could it possibly be true that a publicly funded journal, produced in the very heart of global-warming myth-land, would give serious treatment to the common-sense, scientifically solid objections of global-warming sceptics? Turning quickly to the story inside, I discovered that, yes indeed, the story lived up to its billing. Let's hope Carleton is sending a copy of the magazine to every single one of our now-vacationing MPs.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 29, 2005 in Science | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Well, This Explains A Few Things

A study that will resonate with more than one blogger.

Posted by Kate McMillan on May 25, 2005 in Science | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Friends Of Science

I understood instinctively that getting two scientists to agree at what time the sun is coming up tomorrow is--at best--difficult.

But here were tens of thousands, from around the world, all agreeing on one issue: that there is no scientific evidence of man-made global warming.

The numbers of scientists staggered me--17,100 basic and applied American scientists, two thirds with advanced degrees, are against the Kyoto Agreement. The Heidelberg Appeal--which states that there is no scientific evidence for man-made global warming, has been signed by over 4,000 scientists from around the world since the petition's inception. I strongly questioned these high numbers, since I've had benefit of the Canadian government's public relations machine on this issue. Dr. Leahey has since sent documentation to back his figures up.

All those scientists were in total agreement: the Kyoto Protocol was complete fiction.

They made a 27 minute documentary - paid for it themselves. And why haven't you heard about this? Read for yourself.

(Here is the link to Friends of Science. Click on "video" at the left to view the documentary.)

Posted by Kate McMillan on May 8, 2005 in Science | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Friday, May 06, 2005

Global Dimming

Huh. Anyone got a match? Looks like it's time to fire up those rain forests again.

Posted by Kate McMillan on May 6, 2005 in Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Chemical Free Repellent

Last night on CTV News, an item on DEET and other mosquito repellents included a recommendation by the reporter of a mixture of cis- and trans- p- menthane-3,8-diols for those didn't like to put "chemicals" on their skin.

Posted by Kate McMillan on May 4, 2005 in Science | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack