Saturday, January 22, 2005

Tax Denial Movement

From the New York Times, concerning a new case in the Sacramento federal court:
[Mr. Thompson's] case illustrates some of the reasons that tax evasion is growing, despite repeated statements by the Internal Revenue Service that it is cracking down on those who deny the legitimacy of the tax laws. The Internet, antigovernment news organizations and dwindling law enforcement resources are all factors in the spread of the tax denial movement.

In the early 90's, I knew several of the principle players in the Pilot Connection, a tax denial organization based in Stockton, CA. Presumably, Mr. Thompson is a member of the Pilot Connection, or a closely-related organization.

What strikes me is that the federal government persists in labeling the activities of these organizations as "tax fraud" rather than what they really are: "political protest." Presumably that is because it is easier to misrepresent the organizations' activities as get-rich-schemes, but someday these convenient lies will collide with reality - perhaps as the tax deniers get high-level (namely Republican) political protection. The tax laws of the U.S. need to be written better - perhaps rewritten entirely - so as to eliminate the little loopholes the tax deniers try to take advantage of (example: the lack of specificity of the term 'United States of America' - the states aren't separately listed!)
Free Trade

In this letter to Walt, John has interesting insights on trade as a small, liberal businessman:

Hi Walt,

A few thoughts on free trade. Before the election last year we wrote about which issues we see as critical to our nation and we differed on many of them. Five of my main issues were controlling deficit spending, rebuilding the manufacturing base of the US economy, enacting meaningful tort reform, making health care more affordable and reforming bankruptcy laws. I regard all four of these as being critical to our nation remaining strong economically as well as morally (I am hesitant to use the latter term because it has been used so frequently in recent years as a political tool, but I refuse to relinquish claim of its use to any political party!)

The US has a strong vested interest in having a skilled workforce which can produce consumer products. Some would argue with that assertion but, given a choice between a worker who knows how to build furniture or cars and a worker who knows how to stock shelves it really isn't hard to see which one is generally more productive. And that's certainly not to denigrate the work of those people who stock shelves--it's merely saying that society could make better use of their abilities in many cases.

There has been a wide scale loss of manufacturing jobs to foreign countries, particularly since the early 1970's. I can recall that when my bother, four years older than I am, was in high school and had no problem finding work in any number of factories in the area where we lived. By the time I reached his age in the early 1970's there was nothing. The plants had all either closed or scaled back operations to the point where there were no work opportunities. I took a job for $1.00 per hour at the local dime store which was by that time about on its last leg. The manufacturers moved outside the US primarily because of the lower cost of production and also because of an increasingly difficult environment with workers comp liability, product liability and environmental regulations. The factory in Earlville, which produced electric motors, moved to Mexico where workers were willing to live and work in poor conditions for wages that amounted to a fraction of what the American workers required.

The result of the movement of manufacturing overseas did benefit the US economy in the short term to the extent that it created a plethora of low priced consumer products which were much more affordable than similar products that were made domestically. But I see that as a short term benefit. In the long term we, as a nation, have paid a heavy price and are continuing to do so.

You wrote that a trade deficit is just an indication that we choose to buy some products from overseas. Fair enough. But the critical word is "some". We now have a trade deficit with China of $300 billion per year and growing. Since 1990 the amount has exceeded $3.2 trillion (figures are from a Christian Science Monitor article last year). Now this represents $3.1 trillion in national wealth that is no longer in the US. And that's just China. The total trade deficit is now on the order of $600 billion annually or more than 5% of the GDP. China has this huge inflow of cash which it using to both build itself into a 21st century superpower and also to make a profit on US Treasury Bonds which are financing federal deficit spending. I cannot see this as a sustainable situation. We, as a nation, are approaching bankruptcy and the creditors are nations which may pose a serious threat to our national security.

I feel that an important step in reversing this problem would be to strengthen the US economy with jobs that produce consumer and industrial products. We cannot, in my opinion, remain a nation with a high standard of living when the population is not producing anything of value to export or consume domestically. It is very much in the national interest to have a skilled work force that is manufacturing such products. The problem is how to accomplish that in the face of low cost labor overseas. For starters, we need tort reform so that every manufacturer would not be anticipating frivolous lawsuits with every product it manufactures. I am intrigued by the "loser pays" system in use across western Europe. That would take a tremendous burden off US manufacturers. It would have the added benefit of cutting the ruinous health care costs that are now such a big factor in the salaries of American workers.

Now there will still be the issue of trying to compete with salaries of pennies per hour in countries such as China and Bangladesh. And that's where I believe the federal government needs to intervene. It seems to me that there should be something of a tiered system for tariffs on products imported into the US. It would be based on the standard of living of foreign countries as well as environmental laws there and whether or not they have tariffs on US made products. It would work something like this: There would be three tiers which a nation could be placed in based on the above mentioned factors. Countries which have a standard of living comparable to or better than the US would be in the first tier, and there would be no tariffs provided that they have no significant barriers to the import of US products. This first tier would include Japan, western Europe and Canada. The second tier would be nations that have a lower standard of living but are improving. It's hard to say which ones specifically would be in that group but I'm thinking in terms of South America and Eastern Europe. Products from these countries should have a small tariff--perhaps 20-30%. The final tier would include countries such as China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and others in that economic category. Products coming from these countries should have a 100% tariff placed on them as they enter the US. They are not operating on the same playing field as we are and their countries are wracked with poverty and pollution which no more advanced nation would tolerate. They can still sell their products to us but they will have an incentive to improve conditions for their populations as a whole in order to reach the next level. It would also benefit the US to the extent that it would help pay off the deficit and create a more favorable economic environment for domestic job creation--which would also help the US economy by producing tax revenue. And it really would not be a tremendous burden on third world manufacturers either. As an example, I'll cite the cost of imported bicycles since that's an area with which I have some familiarity. China can build a good quality mountain bike for approximately $90. Shipping charges add another $20-30 and import duties add a bit more. The domestic shipping charges will add another $20 or so to get it to the wholesaler which makes a substantial markup--on the order of 100% or a bit less--when selling it to the retailer. Most retail bike shops try to get a 35+% margin on bikes (for the record I operate on closer to 25%--which is why I am not too popular among some of my competitors). The net result is that the $90 bike in China retails for around $500 in the US. A tariff of 100% on that bike would add $90 to the cost, but with tort reform the wholesaler would be able to operate on a much lower markup.

This obviously is a very basic outline of what I think should be done. But I do believe that the US needs to move in this direction and do so very soon. It has to be a complete package though. Tariffs will not be effective without tort reform. And though I am strongly opposed to many, if not most, of the policies of the Bush administration, I would glad support any solid efforts to move the country in this direction.

Marc's Response:

There is also a cultural dimension to the problem of job loss: we owe much to our accumulated knowledge of manufacturing. The Industrial Revolution in America was based principally on small manufacturing in New England. Interdependent communities of manufacturers gave New England strength that came in very useful in ultimately defeating the Confederacy: the hasty efforts of the Southerners to come up to speed came to naught. Historians have remarked that had the rebellion occurred in 1850, it would have likely been successful, but by 1860, the accumulated population growth and agricultural and industrial strength of the North could not be overcome.

Even today, when you visit Salt Lake City, a direct descendant of the culture of northern New York, you find block after block of thriving small industry producing all manner of manufactures: quite a contrast to Albuquerque, where everybody stocks shelves.

If manufacturing departs from the U.S., scientific progress will depart with it: there are indissoluble bonds between the health of industry and the health of science. Security will depart too: the bonds between manufacturing and arms production are
indissoluble too. Basically the U.S. will become a second-rate power. We will lose what control we have over our destiny.

Freneau's 1792 Essay

Paperwight's marvellous find describes our political moment well!
Liberal Silence Regarding Bush's Inauguration

What do you say when Darth Vader won't leave your home, despite your protests? Not much to say, really...
Bhutan Banned Smoking?

Good for them! That would never work in the U.S.A., though, home of the tobacco plant! Why, the stuff grows here like weeds!

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Way Intelligence Should be Done

Same as with science: bureaucracies that are organized vertically, not horizontally, do better. Witness the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) track record.
Annie vs. Kylie

"Come in Kylie, your time is up." Hmmm.... Ill-mannered bravado. The most striking thing about Kylie - well, among 20 or so of the most striking things about Kylie - is her attention to the musical past of pop - her historical sense. Kylie doesn't diss anyone, at least publicly. Annie may be gunning to be Queen of Pop, but her goal will elude her if she doesn't pay attention to the ouevre. Indeed, Annie sounds remarkably Kylie-esque, and as Kylie would certainly understand, that is no accident.
Petty Paris

Petty theft? Paris Hilton? And yet, who can blame her?
"Hook 'em Horns"

Norwegians confuse Bush salute with hailing Satan. No, the Norwegians interpreted that gesture correctly!

Also, in American Sign Language, the gesture means: "bull shit."

Either interpretation works for me.
Black Metal Review

Amusingly dark Review of the "Top 10 Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pics of All Time."
That Idiot Andrew Sullivan Again

Feeble defense:
I never believed and still do not believe that Hans Blix or the U.N. would ever have been able to confirm beyond doubt that Saddam had gotten rid of all his WMD stockpiles or research ambitions.

You can't prove negatives Andrew. We can't prove the Burmese aren't preparing a WMD attack on America. Or Palauans. Or Antarctic penguins.

Frickin' idiot.
Good Cop, Bad Cop

Good ol' Dick Cheney:
"Well, one of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked," Mr. Cheney said. "If, in fact, the Israelis became convinced the Iranians had a significant nuclear capability, given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards."

"We don't want a war in the Middle East, if we can avoid it," he said. "In the case of the Iranian situation, I think everybody would be best suited or best treated and dealt with if we could deal with it diplomatically."

Huygens News Conference


Titan's soil appears to consist at least in part of precipitated deposits of the organic haze that shrouds the planet. This dark material settles out of the atmosphere. When washed off high elevations by methane rain, it concentrates at the bottom of the drainage channels and riverbeds contributing to the dark areas seen in DISR images.

New, stunning evidence based on finding atmospheric argon 40 indicates that Titan has experienced volcanic activity generating not lava, as on Earth, but water ice and ammonia.

Thus, while many of Earth's familiar geophysical processes occur on Titan, the chemistry involved is quite different. Instead of liquid water, Titan has liquid methane. Instead of silicate rocks, Titan has frozen water ice. Instead of dirt, Titan has hydrocarbon particles settling out of the atmosphere, and instead of lava, Titanian volcanoes spew very cold ice.

Titan is an extraordinary world having Earth-like geophysical processes operating on exotic materials in very alien conditions.

Recall Alumni At Work

Leonard Padilla and Chuck Pineda, Jr., both 2003 California Recall gubernatorial candidate alumni, have announced their candidacies for late Robert Matsui's Sacramento congressional seat.

Chuck Pineda's passion is turning juveniles away from gangs and gang violence. It seems to me his interests are perfectly suited for the environment these days in the U.S. House of Representatives.

(Matsui's death caught us all a bit flat-footed: otherwise, more of us might have run for the seat. The 500-signature deadline is Monday, January 24th).

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Professionalizing Amateurs

From The Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2005:
To overcome opposition to his program, Mr. Bush will turn to the same hard-charging machine that helped him win re-election. Republicans plan to stage what amounts to a permanent grassroots campaign....

It will be a broad and hi-tech effort aimed at lawmakers from both parties. The centerpiece will be Bush himself....

Republicans are trying to organize activists who were mobilized for the 2004 presidential campaign into a standing political army. Its ranks potentially include 1.4 million volunteers and 7.5 million "e-activists" linked to the Bush team by campaign e-mail lists. They will be urged to call radio talk shows, write to newspapers and contact their elected representatives. In return, activists can earn points, in a system akin to a frequent flier program, which can be used to buy gear from the Republican National Committee.

From Wikipedia:

Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolsheviks during the First Russian Revolution and first ruler of the Soviet Union, created the concept of the "vanguard of the proletariat." He believed that a successful Communist revolution could be achieved by professional revolutionaries who would presumably represent the proletariat. Lenin's expansion upon Marx's original theory of communism came to be known as Marxism-Leninism, an ideology that held significant worldwide influence following the successful Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Under Joseph Stalin the phrase, in practice, also essentially came to be understood as a dictatorship in the name of the proletariat.

Humboldt Squid Attack Orange County

These babies are recent intruders, probably because so many of the big fin fish have been wiped out (LA Times article last year). Strange that they are so far north!
That Ass, Andrew Sullivan

So, Mickey Kaus is picking a fight? Andrew Sullivan lost me when he had nothing at all critical to say regarding U.S. forces standing aside while priceless gems like the Iraqi National Archives were getting torched. What an ass! So much for being some kind of uber-political figure! Like Hitchens, he degenerated into an embarrassing political hack. Unlike George W. Bush, he can still have his moment of accountability, to the blogosphere. Live by the blogosphere, die by the blogosphere!

Taking inspiration from Atrios:
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) predicted yesterday that partisan warfare over Social Security will quickly render President Bush's plan "a dead horse" and called on Congress to undertake a broader review of the problems of an aging nation.

(This was where the horse head scene from "The Godfather" was supposed to go, but I changed my mind.)
Getting to the Root of the Democrats' Problem

(Why we need people like George Soros - to help provide the resources to help fill in the role once played by the Brookings Institution in the 1960's.) Amy Sullivan in the Washington Monthly:
This Peters Principle effect of Democratic operatives rising—or muscling their way—up to the level of their incompetence, happens for a simple reason: The consultants are filling a vacuum. After all, someone has to formulate the message that a candidate can use to win the voters' support. Conservatives have spent 30 years and billions of dollars on think tanks and other organizations to develop a set of interlinked policies and language that individual Republican candidates and campaigns can adopt in plug-and-play fashion. Liberals are far behind in this message development game. Indeed, most Democratic elected officials have been running recently on warmed-up leftovers from the Clinton brain trust, ideas which were once innovative but are now far from fresh....

Rosenberg hints at a second Democratic deficit: The party has no truly brilliant strategists in positions of power. Such talent is always rare in both parties and tends to come out of the political hinterlands, often as part of a winning presidential campaign team.

More Tales of Sacramento at Night

When we head out into the foggy gloom of a Sacramento night, Sparky runs with boundless enthusiasm (I rarely have him on a leash), but as soon as he senses we are returning, his walking slows and he begins a dilatory meandering. Thus, while walking back on 21st Street in this morning's wee hours, the man in fatigues, trudging determinedly north with the aid of a cane, was able to catch up to us.

H. was miles from his downtown apartment. His car had broken down near City College. His muttering was a little hard to understand. He bemoaned the accident last year, when he broke his back and slashed his hand. Apparently he tried to scale the sound wall bordering the South Sacramento railroad and light rail line, got tangled at the top of the wall, slashed his hand, fell backwards, and broke his back (all the while, I guess, still caught on the wall?) The only saving grace was that rescue came quickly.

His wife was bound to be worried. She hailed, surprisingly enough, from Rwanda (I'm sure there were stories about that too, but after seeing 'Hotel Rwanda' the other night, I didn't want to press him). Like me, H. kept late hours, which he blamed on the addictive powers of 'mah jongg' games on his PC.

I asked him why he decided to scale the sound wall rather than walk around it. I don't remember the exact answer, but it went something like:
  1. it was a long way to walk around the sound wall;
  2. the store he wanted to visit was closing soon;
  3. he apparently is no longer as young as he would like to think.
I decided to give this fellow a ride to his home. As I dropped Sparky off at my home, and went to get my driver's license, H. cackled at my car's bumper stickers and checked his blood sugar. On the ride to his apartment, he wondered whether his grand niece was working the late shift at 'Pizza by the Slice.' He got out of the car with a bit of a struggle, and disappeared into the foggy Sacramento mist. I hope he gets that car fixed soon!

I like "Plan B" more and more. I will pray for "Plan B" tonight!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Hotel Rwanda

Saw Hotel Rwanda just now (along with Gabe). First impression: a really excellent movie that does its best to convey the horror, without actually showing the horror. It's a hard road to walk in these days of the graphic reality film, but in general, the suggestion of horror is more effective than the numbing reality. We must remember that we are all capable of genocide, and it's very instructive to show how even the tremor of people caring elsewhere in the world can save thousands, and how lack of care can also result in the loss of thousands. We are all our brother's keepers.
Graniteville Update

Here is Walt's update (dated January 17, 2005) on events following the big chlorine spill site in Graniteville, SC (Walt lives in nearby Aiken):

This is a follow-up about the January 6 train accident at Graniteville, South Carolina, which occurred six miles from my house. The death toll remains at 9, and only one person is still in critical condition. He has two collapsed lungs, and may not live. Chlorine has been removed from the tank cars, although it is still in the ground, and there also is much sodium hydroxide strewn about. Hazmat people are determining how much contaminated soil will have to be removed. People are returning to their
homes, and taking stock.

All 5400 people living within a mile of ground zero were evacuated from their homes the day of the crash, including the county sheriff's family. Surrounding the 1-mile radius circle was a buffer zone with a dusk-to-dawn curfew. It had the dual purpose of protecting residents in case one of the other two chlorine tankers ruptured, and also made it difficult for looters to enter the circle. I live two miles outside the curfew zone.

Part of US Highway 1, the main thoroughfare between Aiken and Augusta, was closed for 9 days. My wife works in Augusta, and had to take a detour every day. You can imagine the traffic when cars from a 4-lane highway are diverted to local roads. Several 18-wheeler trailer cities have sprung up in parking lots along Route 1 since the accident. They belong to emergency services vendors and agencies. Even the Coast Guard has a trailer here, although we're 120 miles from the coast.

On January 13 and 14, a week after the accident, 3500 people returned to their homes and pets. Today (June 17), maybe 1000 people are still not home. Several returnees were quoted saying they don't feel safe in Graniteville anymore, and plan to move. I don't know how widespread that feeling is. The animal control department has custody of a bunch of pets which they evacuated out of people's yards and empty houses; with all the confusion after the accident, many of them are not documented as to which property they were taken from. Six dogs and cats died after being reunited with their families. I guess they didn't have enough water after their families left, and suffered kidney failure.

It is now confirmed that the cause of the collision was failure of the parked train's crew to reset the switch back to the main track from the siding. Starting about 4 days after the accident, big advertisements from attorneys began appearing in all local newspapers offering legal advice to anyone affected by railroad accidents. At least three class-action lawsuits have been filed, by out-of-state law firms. Some attorneys were escorted by police out of Graniteville; South Carolina has an ambulance-chasing law. After the news media gave wide circulation to the liability releases which the Norfolk & Southern Railroad printed on the relief checks which they distributed to evacuees, the railroad reconsidered and now says that those waivers don't mean anything. Sixty people have gone to the motor vehicle bureau to have the addresses on their driver's licenses changed to Graniteville addresses. The sheriff, who lives in Graniteville, had many of them arrested. The family of a woman killed in an unrelated accident in Graniteville last November, while trying to beat a train to the crossing, has filed a negligence lawsuit against the railroad.

Graniteville's middle school is directly across the street from the collision site. If it had occurred during the day instead of at night, with 500 kids present, it would have been an American Bhopal. South Carolina allows Hazmat trains to go through urban areas during the day. What about your state? Tests indicate that there was little physical damage to the school, and it will reopen January 18. The sheriff plans to personally take his son to school, to demonstrate confidence in its safety. In contrast to a certain southern stereotype, our sheriff is not fat, and is very popular. He had an excellent opportunity to mug for the cameras and get on national news, but did not do that.

The big question in everybody's mind now is: what will happen to Avondale Mills? The textile company employs 2,500 people, and is the second largest employer in Aiken County (my employer, Savannah River Site, is the largest). Most Avondale employees have been idle since January 6, although Norfolk Southern is paying their wages. Avondale did receive significant physical damage, in addition to 6 employee deaths. The administrative building was directly in front of the crash, and chlorine gas destroyed the computers, along with company payroll, tax, sales, and inventory data.

Avondale owns about 6 separate mills in the Graniteville area; employees died at two of them, and a couple more are next to those. The mills have an assessed value of about $250 million(!) The public hasn't heard much yet about corrosion to equipment. However, there is much vulnerability, at least for the 2 or 4 buildings nearest ground zero. Copper wiring in circuits and motors are susceptible to corrosion, and power looms use a lot of wire for mechanically manipulating yarn.

The bigger problem is that the textile industry in general, Avondale included, is losing business to Asia. Four textile companies have gone out of business in Aiken County since 1980; Avondale is the only one left. They've run losses of $5 million per year for the past 3 years, out of total annual sales of about $550 million. They can't keep that up forever, but things are getting worse for them; a key tariff on Chinese textile imports expired at the end of 2004, so Avondale would have found it more difficult to turn a profit in 2005, even had the accident not occurred.

Avondale must now be under great temptation to cash in their railroad, insurance, and federal disaster area checks, and shut down some or all Aiken County operations for good. If I owned the mills, I'd sure be thinking hard about that. So far, everybody is putting on a brave front, and the owner, who lives in Georgia, is talking about how much Graniteville is important to him, and how the employees are like a big family, etc. But I don't see how Avondale can avoid closing, unless the state and maybe even the feds waive their taxes. Everybody knows it, but won't say it.

Some Things To Do Before The Inaugural

Making its way through the Internet. For some reason, points 9,15, 20, and 27 are missing (probably mentioned the Patriot Act, Cheney's Energy Task Force, or U.S. plans for Iran):

1. Get that abortion you've always wanted.
2. Drink a nice clean glass of water.
3. Cash your social security check.
4. See a doctor of your own choosing.
5. Spend quality time with your draft age child/grandchild.
6. Visit any foreign country.
7. Get that gas mask you've been putting off buying.
8. Hoard gasoline.
10. Borrow books from library before they're banned - Constitutional law books, Catcher in the Rye, Harry Potter, Tropic of Cancer, etc.
11. If you have an idea for an art piece involving a crucifix - do it now.
12. Come out - then go back in - HURRY!
13. Jam in all the Alzheimer's stem cell research you can.
14. Stay out late before the curfews start.
16. Go see Bruce Springsteen before he has his "accident".
17. Go see Mount Rushmore before the Reagan addition.
18. Use the phrase - "you can't do that - this is America".
19. If you're white - marry a black person, if you're black - marry a white person.
21. Take a walk in Yosemite, without being hit by a snowmobile or a base-jumper.
22. Enroll your kid in an accelerated art or music class.
23. Start your school day without a prayer.
24. Pass on the secrets of evolution to future generations.
26. Learn French.
28. Attend a commitment ceremony with your gay friends.
29. Take a factory tour anywhere in the US.
30. Try to take photographs of animals on the endangered species list.
31. Visit Florida before the polar ice caps melt.
32. Visit Nevada before it becomes radioactive.
33. Visit Alaska before "The Big Spill".
34. Visit Massachusetts while it is still a State.

Bitch Slapping

Senator Barbara Boxer questioned Condi Rice's integrity today at Rice's confirmation hearing for Secretary of State! Imagine! About time someone judged Rice for her lies, cluelessness, and general smarminess.

"I will not allow you to impugn my integrity." Huh? What integrity? Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Bankruptcy "Reform" Machine Rumbles Again To Life

Bad ideas never die: they just wait for a new Congress to get seated.
State of Fear

I just received this from a good friend who teaches university-level meteorology and climatology:

I just purchased "State of Fear", the latest opus from schlockmeister Michael Crichton. I bought it because I'd heard that it has something to do with climate change. After reading the first hundred pages or so, however, I was completely baffled. Then, I read the epilogue and looked at the bibliography (yes!) and visited some web sites and I now realize that I have basically wasted my money. Apparently, the plot concerns killer environmentalists who wreak havoc around the globe to further their lies about global warming. Their purpose: to preserve their sources of funding! As is typical with Crichton, there is just enough science to convince non-scientists that he knows what he's talking about. Most of the references in his bibliography could have been selected by the Cato Institute. I'd be worried that his book might influence public opinion, but I doubt that many people will be able to plow through this turgid volume. (I mean, he's actually got graphs in the book, for crying out loud!) Of course, it's being praised by the usual suspects (e.g., George Will) and predictably denounced by others (e.g., any scientist who actually knows anything about climate change.) He suffers from the usual syndrome of the scientific ideologue: he assumes that results that support his thesis are true and that those that contradict it are false. One example: in his bibliography, he cites a paper in which the authors conclude that the contribution of land-use changes to the rise in global mean surface temperature is considerably larger than indicated in previous calculations. Naturally, the more recent calculations must be correct. I mean, they wouldn't have gotten it published otherwise, right?

Still, there's one good thing about the book: it's gotten me fired up about the coming semester!

By the way, here's a good discussion of Crichton's faulty science (a lot of people have written much more thoughtful comments than mine!)


What I like is that you've actually read the thing (better than a lot of reviewers do!) I've already heard the Crichton book is a piece of crap. I'm amazed how easy it is to stampede people on these issues: people love to hear what they want, I guess. Even a close acquaintance is always saying that climate scientists in the mid-70's thought an Ice Age was nigh (despite my predictable objection - it was always a minority opinion at that time).

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Radiant Sunburst

Who is today's mystery guest on Marc Valdez Weblog?

Why, it's that radiant Argentine sunburst herself, Andrea Eve Thorpe! 'Andee' plays a marvellous, nuanced "Evita" at DMTC this month! What an actress! I photographed her just after Saturday January 15th's performance (which explains the little microphone still attached to her head). Two more weeks of performances - don't miss Andee's tour-de-force!