Saturday, July 12, 2008

Uncomfortable Truthiness...

At right is a graph (click to enlarge) that you won't find in the data from the global warming catastrophists. They don't like this graph, because it doesn't support their notion that mankind's activities are causing our Earth to heat up...

This graph comes from Dr. Roy Spencer, a meterologist who is very skeptical of anthropomorphic global warming. This piece of data is one that I find very convincing. It shows the raw data for temperature measurements made across the entire globe, by satellites, from 1979 through the present. The satellite observations are not biased by poor placement of the sensors (as ground-based stations are), and there are multiple satellites making the same observations (thereby cross-checking each other), something that does not happen on ground-based measurements. Dr. Spencer has circled a couple of interesting pieces, showing the correlation with natural events.

Note the lack of any clear upward trend. Note the temperature dropping rather dramatically over the past year.

And note how the anthropomorphic global warming proponents ignore this data, preferring instead their data from ground stations – which is known to be biased, and which they fudge the heck out of.

Home Briefly...

I returned home late last night from a three day trip to Boise, Idaho. Monday I take off again, this time to Wheeling, West Virginia. The city of Boise is a customer of the company I work for. The IT team works in an annex to the City Hall, and as I arrived on Wednesday, at right is what I saw as I approached. The annex is attached to the City Hall, directly behind it and out of sight in this photo.

I had a enjoyable time in Boise – the people were very pleasant to deal with; everybody always seems to be cheerful there. They were delighted with our product, which of course made it all the more fun for me. Outside of the work, there were several memorable things about the trip.

Each evening I was there, I had my dinner at Emilio's, a restaurant located in the hotel (The Grove) I was staying in. All of the meals were good, but Wednesday night's feast was nothing short of spectacular. The entree was sea scallops and jumbo shrimp (both perfectly cooked), covered with a mound of chopped vegetables and oyster scallops in an absolutely heavenly sauce. The portion was huge, and my first reaction was that I'd never be able to finish it – but it was so good, that I forced every last morsel down. And the last morsel tasted just as wonderful as the first!

For lunch on Friday, I went to a little cafe that's actually inside the annex (but it is privately run). I ordered the special: two fish tacos for $6. When I got back to the office with my tacos and opened them up, I could scarcely believe it – these folks (obviously not from California, and probably never visited there) had done just about everything wrong. The tacos were cheap grocery-store flour tacos. The fish was (horrors!) ordinary fish sticks. The sauce was a sweet, heavy tomato-based salsa, awful on its own and even worse on the fish. There was a heavy dose of shredded fake cheddar on top. Oh, those tacos were hideous! I took one bite, quickly determined that they were even worse than they looked, and into the trash they went. Ugh!

My taxi driver back to the airport was a very talkative fellow; he appeared to be about 60 or so. He was tall and thin, with a grizzled, leathery face and several evident scars (on his face, one ear, and both hands and forearms). Very friendly, he was – invited me to sit up front with him, and we chatted amiably all the way to the airport. At one point I asked him how he got the scars, and that launched him into a series of stories. I can't tell how many of them were tall tales, or whether they were all real – but he was a convincing raconteur.

The most interesting story was one of several about his years in the Special Forces. He was an Army Ranger, an enlisted EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) technician. Just prior to the famous Blackhawk Down incident in Mogodishu, Somalia, he was assigned to a team there. He told the story of one mission in which they had to traverse part of the city that was controlled by the gangs. He was carrying a satellite phone, and right in the middle of a firefight the phone rang. It was his girlfriend, worried about him because she'd seen news reports of the increasing tensions and violence there. Just as he said hello, the building they were in came under fierce attack – and he just dropped the phone and started shooting. His girlfriend hit the record button on a tape recorder she kept attached to the phone, and listened to about ten minutes of intense firefight. Soldiers on both sides yelled out in pain when they were hit, bullets were smacking and ricocheting; his girlfriend was terrified for him. Then the bad guys succeeded in entering the building, and my driver and his comrades beat a hasty retreat – leaving the satellite phone on the ground. His girlfriend heard a bit of foriegn language and then a short crunch, and then no more. Apparently one of the bad guys crushed the phone under his heel. My taxi driver said that the tape ended up being played on Fox news, and I can easily imagine that would have made for some dramatic television. I searched for the file on line, but in vain – that was quite a few years ago, long before the ubiquitous posting of news on the web that we have today.

Then there was one more memorable event, this time in the airport. Like any airport, Boise's has a P.A. system for announcements. Unlike most, Boise's airport has a decent quality system – all the announcers voices were easy to hear over the normal din of the airport. There were many announcements, but one series of them really stood out. It started with a sweet-voiced female announcer saying "Mr. John Delfs, please pick up any courtesy phone for a message." This was repeated several times, with increasing urgency in the announcer's tone. Then came this announcement: "John Delfs, get off your butt and pick up a courtesy phone! Your wife will never speak to you again unless you do!" One could hear lots of chuckles around the terminal over that message. A minute or so later, a new message: a laconic "Thank you, John." That brought the house down, so to speak!