“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Take precautions

As regular readers will know, the precautionary principle is a prime element in Envirostatist rhetoric. For example, it justifies a Luddite opposition to genetically engineered plants, and encourages a reflexive support of the Kyoto treaty. The fact that "golden rice" could eliminate beriberi as a disease, for free, is irrelevant. The risk posed by global warming climate change is said to be so great that no preventive expenditure is too large. Failure to act could mean extinction of all life.

However, by estimation of its proponents, the Kyoto Protocols might reduce global warming climate change in the year 2100 by two-tenths°C (from 2.1°C to 1.9°C) - at a cost of a trillion dollars. It is argued that the enormity of the risk justifies the expense, despite the fact that the prediction, and its mitigation, rely on computer models which - beyond even their serious methodological deficiencies and "plugged" data - cannot even “predict” past climate change given certain knowledge of the variables.

The precautionary principle seeks to convince you, ipso facto, that the absolute minimization of risk is desirable. It pays no attention to the costs. The idea is that you should be allowed to live a zero risk life. Strike that, you must be forced to live a risk free life.

This is mistaken. Had we followed the precautionary principle throughout history, we would have forgone, for example, fire, penicillin, electricity, the wheel, internal combustion and aspirin. None of these technologies are risk-free.

Following the precautionary principle results in conclusions such as this: Since the global warming climate change threat is so serious, we must ban incandescent light bulbs because they are less efficient than Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs. Carbon dioxide production must be reduced, or we will all become bit-players dying in a movie imagined by Al Gore.

So, do you prefer incandescent light-bulbs to CFL bulbs? Too bad. Incandescents have been banned through the efforts of "environmental lobbyists" and, specifically, the corporatist whores at General Electric.

This has come to pass despite the fact that CFLs contain mercury in sufficient amounts to cause the Feds to tell you to clear the room for 15 minutes if you break one; while leaving the windows open. Used CFLs present a mercury pollution problem for our landfills far beyond that of dry cell batteries, and infinitely larger than incandescent bulbs*.

Now, we find out that you should not have a CFL near your head, as you might do if you were reading, because CFLs give off toxic chemicals while intact and in normal use.

"They should not be used in unventilated areas and definitely not in the proximity of the head,” because a fog of carcinogens is generated when they are on.

Where is the precautionary principle when you need it? Well, it isn’t about risk, it’s about power.

*Apparently, the tungsten lobby wasn't up to the challenge.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Envirostatist Day

Reason.tv: The Top Five Environmental Disasters that Didn't Happen

In 1976, Greenpeace became internationally recognized because of their protests against Canada's annual seal hunt. It was this Greenpeace fundraising scam that kindled my skepticism about environmentalist promoted panics. Greenpeace was quite happy to destroy the livelihood of Newfoundlanders for no reason other than that baby seals are cute enough to boost donations.

Of course, clubbing seals is gruesome - even if humane - but most of the people offended to the point of contribution by viewing the Greenpeace videos have never visited the slaughterhouses from which they receive their neatly packaged steaks. That is quite gruesome, too. No matter, Greenpeace is concerned about the hypocrisy of their donors even less than they are about their own.

The Envirostatist pattern: Produce scant, or even fabricated, evidence about some future environmental catastrophe; insist on strict observance of the precautionary principle; and demand that governments force their citizens to live as if the dire outcome is a certainty, and tax them as if death were not.

None of this is about the environment. Notably absent from the litany of woe is any mention that it is economic liberty, and the wealth created thereby, that produces a better environment. Witness what we discovered about Romanian industrial production after the Berlin Wall came down. There, the government had absolute control of environmental regulations.

When the panics Reason notes (and there were many others) proved to be nothing more than sequential plots to loot governments and force all persons to affirm that the looting was in their best interest, the envirostatists were not dismayed. They proclaimed global cooling, then global warming and morphed that into climate change.

If the precautionary principle were actually the trump Envirostatists portray it to be, they would be demanding trillions of dollars for an asteroid defense system. There is a danger demonstrated to be life-ending on a planetary scale, and the probability of it's occurence is at least as high as the 0.5 degree reduction in global temperature 30 years in the future; the benefit of the Kyoto Protocol claimed by its proponents.

The application of the precautionary principle as implied by Silent Spring, has made Rachel Carson into a biological mass murderer.

For other interesting views on environmental topics, check some of these links:

They're always available here, just scroll to the "Environment" section of the links.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

On the utter humourlessness of Canadian feminist fellow travellers

Canadian University Suspends Student Team After Racy Photo

The lack of humor, not to say complete dearth of self awareness, by those in charge of the University of Waterloo is evidenced by the fact that University spokesprole Michael Strickland can, without apparent irony, say the following about an attractive female engineering student posing bikini-clad before a car she helped build:
The university's engineering design centre, where the photo was taken, has rules covering the type of equipment that can be brought in as well as the manner in which it can be used.
The equipment Mr. Strickland objects to is apparently not intellectual, but biological. I thought women wanted to be recognized for the former, rather than characterized by the latter.

The message is we can't have that sort engineer displaying that sort of equipment. The UoW's interpretation of what constitutes an independent woman countenances neither elegance in biological design, nor deviation from group thought.

Here's a thought experiment: Would she would have been suspended for wearing a Burqa? If there is any victim here, it is not the University of Waterloo, even if Mr. Strickland's paternal reaction would have it so.

UoW goes on to say,
Engineering remains committed to creating experiential learning opportunities where all members of the community can achieve academic success and personal growth.
Yes, so long as such experiential learning implies no challenge to neo-puritan administrators, or the views of the feminist hegemony in the Department of Wymyns StudBroodies. (I can't figure out how the 'Y' in Wymyn crowd has missed that 'stud' problem all these years.)

To whom, besides the Mrs. Grundys running the University of Waterloo, is it "inappropriate and denigrating" to be intelligent and attractive, and able to demonstrate both?

I speculate: In Canada's legislative equivalent to our Tilte IX there is a clause interpreted by UoW as follows: "Because any female engineering student is, ipso facto, more intelligent than any Wymns Broodies student, the playing field must be leveled. No female engineering student is allowed to be physically more attractive than the average of the females majoring in Wymyns Broodies. Aspirations to science and math must be ruthlessly suppressed in females."

If the Wymyns' Broodies program at UoW really wanted to do something useful, it might apply its talents in defense of a core tenet of its so called philosophy instead of harrassing a woman who actually has some brain. Unearthing Matriarchy

Word choices

Bloomberg is excited:
Shortage Threat Drives Texas Schools Hoarding Bullion at HSBC

BusinessWeek is more circumspect:
Texas University Endowment Storing About $1 Billion in Gold Bars

Hoarding, Storing. One word justifies seizure by the government, the other signifies prudence in uncertain times.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Who is Wesley Mouch?

Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it becomes marked: 'Account overdrawn.'
-Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957
Rand is right: The nature of money is a fundamental moral question.

The Bernank says there is not inflation, or where there is it doesn't result from his creation of "money." The official inflation figures exclude food and energy, but they do include the cost of housing. That certainly keeps a lid on it. As long as the price of your house has tanked, don't worry about buying food or gasoline: It averages out. We are also reassured that the increased capability of iPad2 offsets the increased cost of food, and is factored into reducing the CPI calculation. No worries.

Aside perhaps from corn, production of which taxpayers must subsidize so they may then be taxed when they are forced to burn it in their automobiles - in order to appease lobbyists representing Iowa farmers and Archer Daniels Midland - I can't see why else food prices are so rapidly increasing. Neither can Walmart's CEO, nor the truly poor in Egypt and Libya, for example, who don't buy iPads of any sort.

For a view somewhat contrary to that of Ben and his Banditos - who, after all, have a vested interest in convincing you there is no inflation - I'd suggest checking here and here (you'll have to select a country).