Month: March 2012

The Tornado Myth

Over at the Watts Up With That blog, there is an article about the number of tornadoes. It seems that the number of tornadoes has been increasing in the last two or three years, but it is nothing out of the ordinary. There is no trend.

The weather bureau people have improved technology with which to spot tornadoes, now, especially with the Doppler radar systems. Before that, they had to depend on eye witnesses to help them with many sightings.

Take a look at the graph. You can see that they are now counting mainly the really strong tornadoes of EF3 to EF5 to look for trends.

So, if you hear of someone who says that climate change or global warming is causing more severe weather events, here is a convenient button for your use.

Picture of BS button
The Easy Way To Declare Something Is BS

Now, here is the graph.

graph of incidents of EF3 to EF5 tornadoes

So Many People

In visiting various sites on my blogroll, today, I found some interesting stuff on Dr Roger Pielke, Jr’s site.

Dr Pielke is an environmental studies professor at the University of Colorado, and writes about some interesting things. Today he talks about How Many People Have Ever Lived On Earth, an article by the Population Reference Bureau. What you may have heard is wrong about the total number of people who have lived.

There is apparently some misinformation that about seventy-five percent of all the people who have ever lived on earth are alive, right now. The article puts the kibosh on that. Somebody once made this up, and stuff like this just never seems to die.

You can watch the video, and look at the chart in the article. The numbers are based on estimates, but approximately 107 trillion people have been born in this world. Note that there is a cutoff in how far back the estimates go, and you  had to be a registered homo sapiens to be considered people.

So, 50,000 years BC is  used for the estimated starting point. The article works it out that only about 6 1/2 percent of the people are alive, now with the 2011 population estimate of the earth at about 6 blllion, plus.

Argue with the estimates all you want, but you will still come up with the answer that a LOT of people have tread this earth, most of them for a short time.

If I had a penny for every person who has ever lived, I wouldn’t need to win the lottery. I could fund the lottery, and even launch a real stimulus program as opposed to what we have seen, lately.

We The People

Congratulations to the Obama Administration for implementing an internet service to allow US citizens to present petitions to the White House. This is a first, and I hope people will use the system responsibility and keep the Government  UFO coverup and space alien stuff to a minimum. Yes, these people are still with us.

In my last blog post I excoriated the White House for running a blog and not turning on the comments for people to reply to the propaganda generated there. While on the White House site, I found the We The People section. To the defense of my last blog, the petitioning process is not exactly like being able to comment to a blog article.

Since the Anthrax scare, US Mail to the Government has been discouraged. I don’t believe sending an email gets the job done, either with the recipients sending automatic replies and answers formulated by staff assistants. There aren’t many ways to make your voice heard by the White House, but the petitioning process is a good start.

The petitioning system is limited by the number of subjects you can address, plus you have to register for an account on Some people will shy away from putting their name on a White House list.

This is the way the system works.

  1. Register for an account to either create a petition or sign a petition.
  2. Create your petition, or sign a petition.
  3. Collect 150 signatures in 30 days. Otherwise, your petition is dead.
  4. Collect 25,000 signatures in the next 30 days and your petition will be reviewed by White House staff, and forwarded to the appropriate federal bureau.

It’s easy, and all you have to do is give your name. Good luck on that.

The White House Blog

Picture of White House, South FacadeYes, there is a White House Blog. Sometimes, it makes for interesting reading, but it was not meant for intelligent people to establish dialogs with the current Administration.

You see, the Comments are turned OFF! I understand that it would require a huge number of moderators to handle a nationwide commenting population. But, why have a blog?

At it’s most simple level a blog is a publishing machine. Anybody can publish their opinions or data on an internet blog. So, the President’s office has established this blog as one way to disseminate its opinions and positions.

The blog is dedicated to White House propaganda, and nothing more respectful can be said. How many people are the US taxpayers supporting to produce this stuff that is clearly political in nature and does not encourage discussions as most blogs purport to do? Normally, the President’s political party is charged with the cost of publishing political propaganda.

Here is an example. One of the paid bloggers, Megan Slack, a left wing writer, quoted the President in a blog article as saying, “Congress “can either stand up for oil companies, or they can stand up for the American people, …”. This is a straw-man argument. It side-steps the real issue and tries to set the focus on something else.

The President is dodging the real issue of high gasoline prices, caused in no small part by his energy policies. The prohibition against drilling for American oil resources causes the anticipated demand for oil to be increased drastically, resulting in the oil futures market reflecting high prices. It matters who is in the White House, and what the policies are.

Since the comments are turned off with the White House blog, this kind of blatant distortion is allowed to continue.

I think the White House has other reasons for not allowing comments on its blog. They are afraid that bloggers, like you and I will call their shortcomings to the nation’s attention, and they will run out of places to publish their unchallenged propaganda.

Save The Red Birds!

picture of a cardinal
Cardinal (Red Bird)

Spring is here, the sun is out, and the birds have all come home. We have been seeing a little family of cardinals on the rear deck of our home, again. The male is a beautiful red bird, and it makes my heart sing to see him flit around so carefree and unknowing of the dangers surrounding him.

Environmentalists say we are polluting our earth, and my little red friend is in trouble. We have to do something about it. Carbon dioxide, methane, di-hydrogen oxide, and pure oxygen are dangerous if there is too much of these gases in the atmospheric mix. The scary thing is that they are all naturally occurring.

Carbon dioxide is a natural fertilizer, and with all the coal fired electric generating stations belching CO2 into the atmosphere, the greener and bigger plant life on earth becomes. Oh, the horror of it all.

Methane is a very flammable gas emitted by pine trees and other denizens of the vegetable world. Large amounts of methane is produced by rotting vegetation, and animals digesting vegetation. Flatulent cows were once thought to be a primary cause of methane in the atmosphere, until they actually measured the stuff.

Too much oxygen will get you high, and can explode in the right concentrations.  Di-hydrogen oxide can ruin a perfectly good wedding gown. There is potential trouble every time that little red bird inhales.

It has been hundreds of thousands of years since there has been more CO2 in our atmosphere than today. It made for a greener earth, and that’s where all that bio-matter came from that eventually made up our oil and coal deposits. That’s where we get our electricity. Well, we will just have to do without all that electricity because those plants are getting too big, too green, and too mean.

Our environmentalist buddies suggest that we all get to a zero carbon state. Biologically, this state of being is called, dead. I suppose this solves their problem of coal use, oil use, over population,and hydrogenated cooking oil.

All we have to do is to get everybody to up and die. Problem solved. The environmental activists want to eradicate human life from the earth, thereby saving the planet.

But, what if our little environmentalist buddies are wrong? What if the history of planet earth says our climate has handled more carbon dioxide before without ill effects? What if all the CO2 is beneficial to life on earth? What if a warming earth is a natural thing, and carbon dioxide has nothing to do with the current warm climate?

My environmental solution is less invasive to existing human life. Among people, the greatest producers of methane events are vegetarians, who also happen to be active  members of Green Peace, The Sierra Club, and the World Wildlife Fund. They produce more carbon dioxide and more methane than saner, more normal people.

Just kill the environmental whackos and we won’t have any problems. My little family of red birds will be able to breathe freely, once again.

iPad Update

picture of ipad

Now that I have had the new iPad for a few days, I am starting to really like the device. Since receiving it, I have  gotten a Bluetooth keyboard, and am using the combination to write this blog.

As assumed, the iPad is a great device for surfing the web, and reading pretty much anything you can find. The screen is only a little over ten inches in the diagonal measurement, and that in itself is a limitation in what you can do with the device. Right now, I am sitting up close to the screen, and have the iPad mounted on a book rest. The print  is very small, and can be a chore to read.  The position you use when typing because of the tiny screen is uncomfortable.

The Kindle reader application works just fine, and gives you a two column display, as opposed to a single column display on a laptop or desktop. There is a built-in reader function that will reformat a web browser article to single column, readable text.

Would I recommend buying an iPad? Yes. The iPad is a high quality device with many uses. However, if you want a good writing instrument, I suggest that you consider a laptop or desktop computer. Adding external options to a tablet computer can get expensive, and not always satisfactory.

History Channel Space Aliens

Can you believe it? The History Channel is running programs that have nothing to do with history, or any facts, either. Shades of Erich von Daniken, Swiss author and devout believer in space aliens as little gods. None of his speculations were based on any set of facts. von Daniken believed that the earth’s ancient cultures had been visited by space aliens.

Now, we have the History Channel buying into that garbage. It is time to set the record straight.

We did not get visitations from space aliens. It didn’t happen that way.

Aliens from other dimensions came for a few visits, and got bored with slave beheading and virgin sacrifices at parties. It was just wrong because the aliens came here for the chicks, anyway.

A space alien would have to come to the planet earth by passing through what we call, outer space. They would have to travel across thousands or millions of light-years, and nobody lives that long. Even if they knew how to do it, space travel would simply cost too much.

Our ancient aliens popped in from another dimension. They had flying machines, and they could bring enough fuel to cruise around the earth for a few months or years. There were no BP stations way back then.

Extra-dimensional aliens look just like us. If some of them do come back, we would not recognize them because they are human.  Surprised? Don’t be.

Returning to their own dimension was a snap, and just as quick as snapping your fingers. We don’t see them anymore because they aren’t interested in us. If they were here we would be invited to their parties. When was the last time you got an invitation from an alien?

Just look at all the so-called evidence which is nothing more than drawings and carvings of ancient people. They look just like us except for hair styles, and the occasional helmet looking thing that is probably just a hat. You know how styles in headwear change over time.

There were likely aliens from several dimensions which accounts for all the different hair and headgear styles seen in rock carvings. This makes more sense than believing in space aliens.

Just because we have no physical evidence of the existence of these other dimensions, at least our mathematicians postulate them. As far as aliens from outer-space is concerned, we don’t even have math to show people exist out there.

The really important thing is that I have never encountered a space alien. In all my space travels I have never met anyone from outside our solar system.

Why Get An iPad?

We waited, breathlessly, for our new iPad to be delivered. The iPad was a gift for my wife who is retiring from her public school teaching career this year. Our daughter has an iPad, and my wife really loves to play with it.

picture of ipad
New iPad

Around six o’clock on March 16, a big, brown truck pulled up in front of the house. Our iPad had arrived. Strangely, the delivery man was not our regular guy. Did UPS reorganize their fleet to handle the millions of iPad’s they would have to deliver on March 16?

When I opened the box, I had the same feeling I get every time I pick up an iPad.


I have been an iPhone user for about four years, and the iPad screen is EXACTLY like the iPhone screen, only bigger. However, the iPad doesn’t have a cell phone built-in. The iPad doesn’t have a keyboard, either. So, why should anybody spend upwards of a thousand dollars to buy a computer that is missing essential components?

Oh, wait. There is a wireless keyboard for the iPad that costs $69.00. Plus, you can get a dock for the iPad for #$29.00 to keep the iPad upright while banging away on the keyboard. Hmmm… That’s OK. It is beautiful thing that you don’t have to use a mouse. The touchscreen is wonderful for navigation.

Including the 4G cellular coverage feature, the new iPad weighs in at 1.46 pounds (662 g). Nice! It is about half the weight of one of those ultra-light laptop computers.

When using the iPad to read my books, it is OK. In our  house we have two Amazon Kindle’s, one of which is the new Kindle Fire. The Fire has a 7 inch diagonal screen as compared to the iPad’s more than 10 inches. However, the Kindle Fire does as good a job as the iPad when it comes to reading a book. It costs less than half as much, and weighs about half as much as the iPad.

picture of Kindle Fire
Kindle Fire

When working means using a computer, I would rather have a regular PC with my 24 inch screen and full-sized keyboard. For reading books, I prefer the Amazon Kindle format. For entertainment, the iPad takes the prize for streaming video, playing games, and just plain leisure surfing.

There is more to come in the computer world. Much maligned Microsoft has improved their operating systems greatly since the VISTA disaster. Indeed, Microsoft 7 is a real winner, and has done lots to repair a damaged Microsoft reputation.

Windows 8 will be a game changer in the computing world. Operating systems are evolving into more usable interfaces between people and machines. Windows 8 makes use of touch screen technology, and extends the use of mouse and stylus interfaces. Laptops and desktops will be particularly blessed, and Windows 8 will drive the market for traditional computers for a long time.

picture of Windows 8 start menu
Windows 8

Look for some really decent laptops competing feature for feature with the Apple Macbook Air, and tablet computers running Windows 8. The new Microsoft system is more powerful than IOS5 which Apple uses for iPhones and iPads. Microsoft is not dead.

This gives us three viable systems for tablet computers and smart phones. The Google Android system is fantastic, and Apple has done a credible job with IOS5. Windows 8 will drive prices down, and feature content up.

We live in exciting times.

If you decide to get an iPad, you are not making a mistake. You will get a useful, high quality piece of hardware and software. If you cannot afford an iPad, there are plenty other devices out there, and in the future the device world just gets richer.

The Critter Man Cometh

picture of flying squirrel
Flying Squirrel

Yep. The critter man came out to my house and checked out my attic where I had heard some varmint sounding things making merry the other day. He was in the attic for about fifteen minutes, and then he walked around the house. I learned later that he was taking pictures of the crime scenes.

Taking pictures? I felt like I was being set up. I already knew I had illegal alien animals in my attic, and I wanted them out. But, nooooo. Nothing is that easy.

Sure enough, I got the sales pitch, including a couple of dozen pictures of wild partying that had been going on in my attic.

First of all, there was tangible evidence of flying squirrels in the attic. The picture showed a tiny wadded-up picnic cloth, along with a pile of acorn shells. Apparently, the squirrels thought they were safe while in my house. I thought so, too.

picture of raccoon
Raccoon, The Fastidious Diner

The next series of pictures brought a whole new meaning to the term, party animal. There had been a raccoon in the attic, just waiting for the squirrels to get into their feast. He wanted a head start on his meal.

The masked bandit waited patiently for the right moment to strike. When he jumped the little rodents, the picnic was over in a big way. The wise old raccoon had brought some of his own picnic fixings.

Indeed, the old raccoon had taste, and devoured his game meat with a Cabernet. The old boy brought along a couple of bottles. This guy was obviously a connoisseur of sorts. It helps to try to put a civilized face on nature.

You would think that with the old raccoon taking care of the flying squirrels, part of my critter problem had been eradicated, but there seems to be an infinite supply of flying squirrels in Georgia. Therein lies the demand for professional assistance.

The drill for animal exterminators is to first, seal up all the avenues of ingress into the attic. Second, after all the holes are covered and no more critters can get in, they set traps in the attic to catch the odd squirrel or rat that was hiding. Those little buggers really know how to hide. In fact you almost never see them.

So, after setting the traps and getting rid of whatever is left, the critter experts then sanitize the attic space to make sure the house will be germ and disease free. That’s a pretty powerful argument for having the professionals on site.

After the sales pitch comes the close. The guy was almost as graphic as I am in this article, and he made the sale. The guys came this morning, and now I have critter traps in my attic, and no more holes.

My instructions are that if I hear a trap snap shut (it will pop, loudly), I must give them a call. Hopefully, there will be no other incidents.

Happy crittering, everybody!

Some Days Are Stone

There is something to be said for being patient about things. That means that you never get in a hurry, nor do you say things you will later regret. Getting older is one of the secrets to patience, and  that’s because when you get older, you don’t have as many parties to attend. Why get in a hurry when you are not going anywhere, and you don’t know why you are going?

Yesterday, I was running about twenty minutes late to my class, especially after stopping at McDonald’s for some breakfast. The drive-through line at McDonald’s was longer than usual, and the woman in front of me in the gigantic SUV could not make up her mind. She was not in a hurry.

The lady at the serving window was uncommonly slow. When she did get me the breakfast burritos I had ordered, they were hot, way too hot to eat. That’s what happens when you are in a hurry.

Departing McDonald’s with a scorched tongue, I raced towards my destination only to get behind one of those long and slow landscaping vehicles. These guys were not in a hurry to go to work.

I took my favorite shortcut that morning, and the road crews were out screwing up traffic. Winding through hundreds of construction barrels while following a creeping dump truck drove me nuts. The driver was in no hurry and was crowding the narrow two lane road, keeping me pinned up.

After about three miles of this, I broke out of the pack only to find myself behind a delivery truck taking his time. He was not in a hurry, either.

I eventually got to my destination, and parked the car at the very end of the parking lot. It was a long walk to class.  I was in a hurry, you see.

Some days are better than others. Some days nobody gets in the way, or cuts you off. Those are the days when you are not in a hurry. When you get in a hurry, everybody else will be taking their time.

I am reminded of the John Denver song, “Some Days Are Diamonds”.