Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Food for thought

This is from The Australian, Australia's national newspaper (my sister sent this to me, so I can't take credit for finding it). Global warming is definitely real, and happening, but what is the real evidence and what's just smoke? This article is interesting, and though I'm not saying I agree whole-heartedly, I like the point he's making. Also it doesn't help that I'm not a fan of Gore. But take it as you wish. Oh, and here's the link for the original article. :)

No smoking hot spot

David Evans | July 18, 2008

I DEVOTED six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian Greenhouse Office. I am the rocket scientist who wrote the carbon accounting model (FullCAM) that measures Australia's compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, in the land use change and forestry sector.

FullCAM models carbon flows in plants, mulch, debris, soils and agricultural products, using inputs such as climate data, plant physiology and satellite data. I've been following the global warming debate closely for years.

When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty good: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the old ice core data, no other suspects.

The evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we were certain when it appeared we needed to act quickly? Soon government and the scientific community were working together and lots of science research jobs were created. We scientists had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet.

But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming. As Lord Keynes famously said, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

There has not been a public debate about the causes of global warming and most of the public and our decision makers are not aware of the most basic salient facts:

1. The greenhouse signature is missing. We have been looking and measuring for years, and cannot find it.

Each possible cause of global warming has a different pattern of where in the planet the warming occurs first and the most. The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. We have been measuring the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes: weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. They show no hot spot. Whatsoever.

If there is no hot spot then an increased greenhouse effect is not the cause of global warming. So we know for sure that carbon emissions are not a significant cause of the global warming. If we had found the greenhouse signature then I would be an alarmist again.

When the signature was found to be missing in 2007 (after the latest IPCC report), alarmists objected that maybe the readings of the radiosonde thermometers might not be accurate and maybe the hot spot was there but had gone undetected. Yet hundreds of radiosondes have given the same answer, so statistically it is not possible that they missed the hot spot.

Recently the alarmists have suggested we ignore the radiosonde thermometers, but instead take the radiosonde wind measurements, apply a theory about wind shear, and run the results through their computers to estimate the temperatures. They then say that the results show that we cannot rule out the presence of a hot spot. If you believe that you'd believe anything.

2. There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming. None. There is plenty of evidence that global warming has occurred, and theory suggests that carbon emissions should raise temperatures (though by how much is hotly disputed) but there are no observations by anyone that implicate carbon emissions as a significant cause of the recent global warming.

3. The satellites that measure the world's temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the past year (to the temperature of 1980). Land-based temperature readings are corrupted by the "urban heat island" effect: urban areas encroaching on thermometer stations warm the micro-climate around the thermometer, due to vegetation changes, concrete, cars, houses. Satellite data is the only temperature data we can trust, but it only goes back to 1979. NASA reports only land-based data, and reports a modest warming trend and recent cooling. The other three global temperature records use a mix of satellite and land measurements, or satellite only, and they all show no warming since 2001 and a recent cooling.

4. The new ice cores show that in the past six global warmings over the past half a million years, the temperature rises occurred on average 800 years before the accompanying rise in atmospheric carbon. Which says something important about which was cause and which was effect.

None of these points are controversial. The alarmist scientists agree with them, though they would dispute their relevance.

The last point was known and past dispute by 2003, yet Al Gore made his movie in 2005 and presented the ice cores as the sole reason for believing that carbon emissions cause global warming. In any other political context our cynical and experienced press corps would surely have called this dishonest and widely questioned the politician's assertion.

Until now the global warming debate has merely been an academic matter of little interest. Now that it matters, we should debate the causes of global warming.

So far that debate has just consisted of a simple sleight of hand: show evidence of global warming, and while the audience is stunned at the implications, simply assert that it is due to carbon emissions.

In the minds of the audience, the evidence that global warming has occurred becomes conflated with the alleged cause, and the audience hasn't noticed that the cause was merely asserted, not proved.

If there really was any evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming, don't you think we would have heard all about it ad nauseam by now?

The world has spent $50 billion on global warming since 1990, and we have not found any actual evidence that carbon emissions cause global warming. Evidence consists of observations made by someone at some time that supports the idea that carbon emissions cause global warming. Computer models and theoretical calculations are not evidence, they are just theory.

What is going to happen over the next decade as global temperatures continue not to rise? The Labor Government is about to deliberately wreck the economy in order to reduce carbon emissions. If the reasons later turn out to be bogus, the electorate is not going to re-elect a Labor government for a long time. When it comes to light that the carbon scare was known to be bogus in 2008, the ALP is going to be regarded as criminally negligent or ideologically stupid for not having seen through it. And if the Liberals support the general thrust of their actions, they will be seen likewise.

The onus should be on those who want to change things to provide evidence for why the changes are necessary. The Australian public is eventually going to have to be told the evidence anyway, so it might as well be told before wrecking the economy.

Dr David Evans was a consultant to the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999 to 2005.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad

I almost forgot to write about my Dad today! It's his birthday! He's 25. Haha, not really. That would mean that I was born when he was 2 weeks old...which is just gross. NO, not 25. But not 50 either (between the two). That's all you need know ;)

One of the only old pictures of Dad on my computer. He looks happy ;)

So it's his birthday today. You know, I think that over the last 8 years I've only been with my dad 3 times on his birthday. Let's reflect on those three times:

2002: I was at home right before my mission. I don't remember much of the birthday or general festivities made, but I do remember that it was fun. I think at least. Come on, it was a long time ago!

2004: This one was interesting. I was a missionary. Yep, still had my badge of courage on. My missionary service was to end on the 14th of July, 2004, but my family came down to tour Costa Rica for a week and take me home (though I was probably more of a side item, hehe). So I was making all these plans and calling hotels and stuff to make my family's stay in Costa Rica the best and funnest it could be (and it was, lemme tell ya), and then it struck me: Dad's birthday is gonna be in the country! On a Monday no less! (FHE people, FHE) So I got everything ready that had to be gotten ready, and my family didn't have the shadiest. After playing throughout the country we ended up in my last area for Sunday and Monday, culminating with a ward FHE, which I was conducting. Monday night came around, we all went to the chapel, and there were probably 60-70 people from my ward there (including all my baptisms) and this really, really big cake there with something like 'Happy Birthday Greg' written on it. And we all sang Happy Birthday in English to him and then in Spanish. He was totally shocked and taken by surprise. And he cried (in a good way, of course). That was one of the best memories of my mission. :)

2005: A year later I was a waiter at The Italian Inn: Home of the Singing Waiters in Fort Worth, so we celebrated there. I can't really remember that one either, but I'm sure it was good. They always are. Come to think of it, I think he may have come to the restaurant. I might have sung for him. And we may have sung Happy Birthday as a restaurant, with free drinks all around...or maybe not. But I'm pretty sure it was there, cause I remember my boss giving him a free dessert. Yeah, I had connections.

Just so you know what could have been taking my time the other 5 years, here's a quick list: 2000: music camp; 2001: music camp; 2003: mission; 2006: pest control; 2007: school; 2008: work in Utah.

I do wish I could be there with him in Texas. I don't say it enough, especially to others, of how much I love and admire my dad. Now that I'm getting on in years myself I can see how the little things he did have influenced me greatly. He's a HUGE stickler on responsibility, which has helped me land more than one job and do well in classes. He taught my brother and I the importance of patience, respect, and tactfulness (word?). He puts his family above all other priorities, which has probably taught me the most of everything he's done - how much he loves us. I don't know if he knows that I brag to so many of my friends that when I was in high school and on my mission my dad didn't work a ton, which he could've done. He worked as much as was needed and spent the rest of the time with his family. When he was a bishop he cared for the ward and took care of it, but his family came first. Always.

What an inspiration and role model he was and still is for me. My biggest wish today (besides wishing him a happy birthday) is to have been able to be there with him and my family. Maybe one day we'll all end up together on July 19th to celebrate. Maybe at #50... ;)

Happy Birthday Dad :)

Pain & Bliss

Funny, normally people don't think of pain and bliss put together or being felt together. Unless you're a masochist. Which I'm not. So don't go thinking I felt these two together, because I didn't. Geez. What are you thinking?


This morning I woke up at 6:25 (the worst idea to do on a Saturday morning after a 40-hour workweek) and began getting ready for a run. The run. The longest run of my life (so far). At 7:10 Trevor, Angie, and I started our 6-mile run at Utah Lake. It was much more...umm...less-hard than I thought it would be (the word "easier" carries connotations way too flowery and happy to be had here and would mask the difficulty that is running for an hour straight.) We enjoyed ourselves during our exercise hour by talking more than we ever have during a run, wishing dozens of people good morning (who else exercises at 7am on a Sat?!? Oh, and I didn't greet anything non-human today - it's progress), and enjoying the sounds, smells, and sights of the Provo River basically right next to us the entire time. Also there are tons of Cottonwoods everywhere, so in some parts it looked like it had snowed given all the white fluff everywhere covering the grass, dirt, and sometimes leaves and branches. At least that's what it looked like blind. Yes, I was blind again. But during the daylight hours additional pain is kept at a minimum. Thank heavens. ;)


After the run we took quick showers, got somewhat ready, and picked up Jess and headed over to the Utah College of Massage Therapy for...yep, you guessed it. Tuba lessons. Ha! Bet you thought I was gonna say "massages." Well, I didn't. But I will now. Massages. Or in Spanish: masajes. Which should never be confused with "mensajes," which unfortunately is confused among almost all Spanish-speaking missionaries at least once, often leading to awkward moments which bond investigators to missionaries and vice versa. i.e.: "Hi, we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we've come to share a massage. May we come in?" Oh, the memories... :'-)

But where was I? Oh, yeah, UCMT. So, we head over there with Jess and took advantage of their 2-for-1 deal THIS WEEKEND ONLY (which actually happens a few times a year, so don't worry - you can go next time with us). And oh, were those lovely. A full hour of a full body massage, fully wonderful. I actually got daring this time (it was my second time) and let them do my glutes. My reasoning behind this (haha, behind) was because I've been running for the last month and a half, and I think my butt deserves some pampering. And my hamstrings, quads, and calves. Oh, it was good. :)

The rest of the day was fun too, but that massage was the culminating activity. Of the day. The week. Hey, maybe even the whole month! It was that good. You should try it :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Last night I ran 4 miles with Ang & Trev (hmm...I don't know what I think about those cropped names. I'll have to think about it) and was pretty cool with going, thinking it'd be the same as the other 4-mile runs we made. And in most aspects it was.

Except I was blind.

Well, not really blind. But close enough.

I ran out of contacts last week and have been wearing my glasses for almost 10 days straight, which is quite an accomplishment for me. I just can't seem to get used to only seeing what's in front of me in full clarity and half guessing what's in my peripheral vision. Who knows, so maniacal killer could be stalking me just on the edge of my peripheral vision on purpose and enjoying my rather unresponsive attitude to his deadly plans.

But my senseless fears were only heightened last night when our decision to run hadn't taken into account my terrible uncorrected vision and even more lamentable night vision (I can't run with glasses on). I remember on my mission once I had to throw out my contacts (Focus Dailies. oh yeah...) early before coming home, and the 30 minute walk through urban San José (~3 million people) was fraught with danger: shadows, puddles, and potholes. I couldn't tell the difference. (My companion had fun with me, but that's besides the point.) I came home wet and with an aching back and knees. And that was just walking. Try running 4 miles. Last night I came home with aching knees from misstepping for almost 40 minutes.

These pictures are really from Costa Rica.

Misstepping wasn't the only thing that was different last night. I could hear sprinklers but couldn't see them as they blessed me with sprays of refreshing water. I didn't see low hanging branches that mockingly rapped me in the head, multiple times. And I kept saying "Good evening" to inanimate objects like lawn chairs and For Sale signs. Angie got a kick out of that.

Moral of the story: athletic activities are less enjoyable if the [aspiring] athlete in question can't see.

But it's many times more enjoyable to those who can.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Too long

Wow, entropy does reign - look at the date above. It's been forever since I last wrote, and not because I don't want to. I started working 2 jobs on June 23rd, 40 hours/week, and suddenly I don't have time. Oh, and much more important is that I have a girlfriend, so my other time is occupied. Either way, my blogging time has been hampered.


I think I'll go ahead and take time out every few days to at least update the world and the current 3 people who subscribe to my blog to my present activities. Well, to a degree. Here's what's going on right now:

This morning I ran 5 miles. That's the first time in my entire life that I ran more than 3. A couple weeks ago was my 4 mile victory, and next week will be my 6 mile triumph. It's on Saturday, so if I never write after next Saturday y'all will know perfectly well why not. SO this morning's run was long, but after about 35 minutes it just seemed to glide on. Not that it was easy to any degree, but my body was like "Fine, whatever!" and it seemed to not get any more tired than I already was. Was that a second wind or just numb from over exertion? I'm banking for the latter, but somebody who may have already experienced this can comment if wanted. :)

Also this morning I went to the funeral of a close friend, Craig Decker. (One of my best friends, Becca, wrote a beautiful post about him.) He passed away last Saturday in a drowning incident on Utah Lake, and since then I've been really affected by it. On Tuesday night I watched the ClearPlay version of "Into the Wild," in which (PLOT SPOILER!!) the protagonist dies at the very end. It was a pretty sad ending, but very instructive, but the fact that he dies on top of the real death of my friend Craig just hit me on Tuesday night, and for the first time since I was in middle school I cried myself to sleep. To add to that, the funeral was incredibly beautiful and brought the spirit in strong. I was like a sieve today, tears everywhere. Angie tells me it wasn't embarrassing, but I don't know...at least I wasn't the only one crying. There were probably over 600 people at the funeral, quite possibly more. The stake center parking lot was overfilled and we had to park in the street. It was incredible to see how many people this young man had influenced and affected during his lifetime (many of which weren't at the funeral).

That was just this morning.

It was a great day, though. I spent some time with friends who are getting married and heading to Iceland (yeah...) and time with other friends who've been married for 2.5 years and had their first son 2 months ago. It was a good day.

Tomorrow I'll see if I can post something. Maybe even some pictures if I'm lucky. We'll have to wait to see... ;)