Tuesday, December 25, 2012

American and Worldwide Blizzards


By Alan Caruba

Reports of recent blizzards in the Midwest and Northwest filled the television news and print media, but blizzards have always been part of the history of the nation and are occurring worldwide, taking a human toll.

We tend to dig out and forget them, but they are testimony to the power of Nature and have nothing to do with “climate change.” The four seasons are “climate change.” Blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods are “climate change.” It is wise to keep this in mind.

In the northeast, the great blizzard of 1888, March 11-14, wrote a chapter in the history books as one of the most severe. Snowfalls of 40-50 inches fell in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. It had sustained winds of more than 45 miles per hour and produced snowdrifts as high as 50 feet.

In a new book, “Disaster! A History of Earthquakes, Floods, Plagues, and Other Catastrophes” by John Withington ($14.95, Skyhorse Publishing, softcover) provides a look at some of the greatest blizzards to strike the nation. Writing about the Blizzard of 88, the author notes that “It paralyzed the east coast of the United States from Chesapeake Bay to Maine, as well as affecting parts of Canada.” The great plains of the nation had been hit by a comparable blizzard just three months earlier in January 1888. It killed an estimated 236 people.

The Blizzard of 88 literally shut down life for those impacted by it. “On land, an estimated 400 people died, including 100 in New York City. At least 100 seamen died.” It led to the creation of a subway system that was authorized in 1894.

There was no blather about “climate change” because people understood it was a natural event. Just like Hurricane Sandy or, earlier, Hurricane Katrina, that struck New Orleans and the Gulf States.

While there have been any number of big storms that have struck the nation, a blizzard in March 1993 was called “the storm of the century.” As with Hurricane Sandy, it was forecast due to advances in meteorology such as weather satellites. “On 12 March, though, snow began to fall as far south as Georgia and Alabama, with Birmingham recording twelve inches.” It closed airports from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Atlanta, Georgia. Altogether, 500 people died, many from heart attacks as they shoveled snow.”

IceAgeNow.info, a website maintained by Robert W. Felix, the author of “Not by Fire, But by Ice”, arguably the leading authority on past ice ages and based on the best science available, notes that the planet is on the cusp of a new ice age. His website tracks news of frigid weather events.

Since December 21, IceAgeNow has reported that dozens died in a Ukrainian “cold snap” that recorded at least 83 deaths, gripping that nation. In Poland, more than 60 have died since October. At the same time, heavy snowfalls occurred in Bulgaria. Russia has been particularly hard hit.
In the U.S. up to 18 inches of snow fell on West Virginia and we have noted the recent blizzard that hit the Midwest. California’s mountains have experienced heavy snowfall with 13 feet recorded on Mt. Shasta.
There is a strong possibility of more monster storms in America and worldwide. It could portend a new ice age because the average length of interglacial periods between ice ages is 11.500 and that is the length of time since the last ice age.
In addition, solar scientists are worrying about a natural cycle of the sun which is producing less radiation (warmth) in recent years.
When people like Sen. John Kerry, nominated to be the next Secretary of State, cites global warming as “the greatest long term threat to our national security” you need to pay attention because it demonstrates not just ignorance of the facts, but a dangerous stupidity.
As Dr. E. Kirsten Peters says in her new book, “The Whole Story of Climate: What Science Reveals About the Nature of Constant Change”, “Thus, if the Earth continues to behave as she has for the past two million years, we must expect a return to bitter cold at some point, with ice sheets that reach as far south as Nebraska once again. And, as scientists have recently learned, the change to that bitterly cold climate regime is likely to be fast, happening over a generation or two.”
“If we think of climate change as our enemy, we will always be defeated.” The last ice age was one in which “glaciers had once buried much of Europe and a good measure of North America.”
This is the reason to ignore the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that has been falsely predicting global warming since it conjured up the Kyoto Protocols in 1997 to require participating nations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that it claims cause global warming; a warming that is not happening and a baseless claim.
It is a reason to ignore and excoriate Al Gore who has greatly profited from the global warming scare campaign. It is a reason to be deeply suspicious of President Obama who continues to speak of “climate change” and the members and agencies of his administration such as the Environmental Protection Agency that justify a flood of regulations based on this false claim.
The politicians and pseudo-scientists have misled Americans and others worldwide who are beginning to experience a very different reality.
© Alan Caruba, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Living in a Forest


By Alan Caruba

Driving around my hometown and surrounding communities in New Jersey, a familiar sight has been tree stumps, the wreckage left behind by Hurricane Sandy. Having lived here with few breaks my entire life, it never occurred to me how many trees there are. From a lookout point in the Essex County South Mountain Reservation area one sees in the distance the city of New York.

As far as the eye can see, it is entirely forested.

In an interesting new book, “Nature Wars”, by Jim Sterba, a veteran journalist, takes the reader on a journey to America’s long ago past and brings him to the present. In the process, he removes a lot of mythology and replaces it with some extraordinary facts that are the background for the way our modern lifestyles put us in conflict with many species that are not only thriving, but some which faced virtual extinction from over-hunting, especially during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

“In the eastern United States over two and a half centuries,” Sterba notes, “European settlers cleared away more than 250 million acres of forest. By the 1950s, depending on the region, nearly half to more than two-thirds of the landscape was reforested, and in the last half-century, states in the Northeast and Midwest have added more than 11 million acres of forest. These new forests grew back right under the noses of several generations of Americans.”

The storm surge of Hurricane Sandy, the waters that flooded the coastal areas of New Jersey, Manhattan and Staten Island did a lot of damage, but the loss of electricity was largely the result of countless fallen trees disrupting the huge network of electrical wires that our way of life depends upon. We live in a forest. Indeed, much of the U.S. population lives in a forest.

What I found interesting about “Nature Wars” was the way Sterba revealed that, despite what the growing population of the Northeast did to alter the landscape, particularly as regards the clearing of land for the agriculture they depended upon, in addition to hunting its wildlife for meat and fish, Nature quite simply reclaimed the land as the farmers abandoned the rock-filled lands of Massachusetts and other early colonies. In the wake of Independence are more people arrived, Americans pushed westward.

The “wilderness” of earliest settlers was often nothing more than ten miles inland. By the time of Independence in 1776, “The colonial population stood at three million and people were already trickling across the Appalachians.” Wood, however, was the primary fuel and was used for construction. “By 1850, the U.S. population had grown to 23.3 million, and wood supplied 90 percent of the nation’s energy needs.”

What saved the forests was the discovery of oil, natural gas, and the use of coal as new sources of energy. For farming, the use of draft animals became obsolete. By 1990 new technologies enabled farmers to grow five times more food per acre than farmers in 1930 had grown and they farmed fewer acres.

What saved the forested areas was a growing conservation movement. “By 1909, at the end of the Theodore Roosevelt presidency, some 172 million acres of public land in the West had been designated as national forests.” In the 1930s, an estimated one million acres of trees were replanted during the 1930s.

As Sterba notes, “Most of the eastern forest that grew back in the nineteenth of twentieth centuries remained forest in the twenty-first century, including 79 percent of the landscape of New England.”

By 2000, “For the first time an absolute majority of American people lived not in cities, not on farms, but in an ever-expanding suburban and exurban sprawl in between. Never in history have so many people lived this way.”

One of the great ironies of the renewal of forests everywhere, but especially in the areas where so many Americans live, has been the way many animal species have adapted to their human neighbors and have caused endless disputes as they have thrived and grown in numbers. As Sterba says, “Sprawl has become their home.”

If more Americans understood these relationships instead of taking their understanding from films like “Bambi” or the many documentaries we can watch in the comfort of our homes, there would be a greater understanding of the vast forces of Nature with which we can only seek to accommodate our lifestyle choices and a greater respect for forces like Hurricane Sandy that are well beyond our ability to do anything other than to clean up and rebuild.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shouting From the Rooftops


By Alan Caruba

For years, decades actually, I and others have been shouting from the rooftops that global warming was a hoax. We were called “deniers” and “skeptics.” A lot of time has passed since the late 1980s when Dr. James Hansen, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, kicked off the global warming hoax with testimony before Congress.

Global warming gained momentum because the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seized on it as a means to redistribute the wealth from developed nations to those that have lagged behind and because the media love stories of imminent danger. The media remains largely committed to global warming despite ample evidence it is (a) not happening and (b) a complete lie.

While many regard former Vice President Al Gore as the poster boy of global warming, it has been the IPCC that has been the main culprit in advancing the hoax, issuing reports of dire consequences if nations do not reduce their “greenhouse gas” emissions (mainly carbon dioxide abbreviated as CO2) to avoid a dramatically increased warming in ten, twenty, or fifty years. As time went along, global warming was coming any day now, but it never seemed to arrive.

The problem the lead scientists providing the bogus data to support the IPCC reports encountered was the perfectly natural cooling cycle the Earth entered about sixteen years ago. In 2009, a leak of emails between them was dubbed “Climategate” as it revealed how these conspirators were panicked by the cooling that began to occur around 1998. It also revealed their efforts to smear scientists who dissented from their claims as “deniers” and “skeptics” and plotted to deny them access to leading science publications.

The primary claim made by the IPCC and other “warmists” was that there was a “consensus” among the world’s scientists, but anyone familiar with science knows that it does not operate on consensus. Instead, each new hypothesis or theory is always challenged, often for decades, until it is proven to be reproducible and resistant to alternative interpretation.

John O’Sullivan of Principia Scientific International, an organization of scientists and others battling the global warming hoax, recently reported to its members, interested parties, and science writers like myself of the leak of data by one of the IPCC researchers, Alec Rawls, who no longer wanted to be a party to its reports.

O’Sullivan reported that “Up till now the role of the Sun, referred to as enhanced solar forcing, received only scant mention in prior IPCC reports (AR3 and AR4) being glibly dismissed. But this is the first time IPCC authors have acknowledged the evidence that a solar mechanism seems to be at work.”

“The source of the leak, Alec Rawls, said, “I participated in ‘expert review’ of the Second Order Draft of AR5 (the next IPCC report), Working Group 1 (“The Scientific Basis”) and am now making the full draft available to the public. His reason for taking this action, a break in the confidentially agreement, was the “systematic dishonesty of the report” which he said was corrupted by “bad faith” and “fraud.”

It might seem obvious to most people that the Sun is the most powerful factor in climate change, given the records of the gains and reductions of solar radiation, the Earth’s many ice ages, and the simple fact that it gets colder at night than during the day!

The solar mechanism is, of course, the Sun.

The global warming—now called climate change—hoax depends on convincing people that greenhouse gases, the exhalation of carbon dioxide by humans and mammals, and emissions based on the use of coal, oil, and natural gas pose a threat to the planet’s temperatures. In a very real way, hard core environmentalists favor reducing the world’s population by any means possible and the reduction in all the modern technologies that use energy, coal, natural gas and oil, to enhance life around the globe.

“The (IPCC) admission of strong evidence for enhanced solar forcing changes everything,” said Rawls. “The climate alarmists can’t continue to claim that warming was entirely due to human activity over a period when solar warming effects…were acknowledged to be important.”

In other words, humans play a very small role in the Earth’s climate, especially when compared to the power of the Sun.

This is what some very brave climate scientists and meteorologists have been saying for decades! They have been ignored or derided by the mainstream media who are wedded to the global warming hoax. It had the power of the federal government behind it (and still does) because it remains the justification for costly programs. From the Environmental Protection Agency to the Defense Department and all federal agencies in between, they continue to pump out propaganda and regulations based on this Big Lie.

The United Nations program exists to redistribute billions from developed nations to those who have lagged behind. The recently concluded IPCC conference made the transition from global warming to climate change to “sustainability” with the demand that less developed nations receive funding if they are affected by natural weather events such as hurricanes, heat waves, floods, droughts, and tornadoes.

As Ralph B. Alexander, a physicist and the author of “Global Warming False Alarm”, recently noted, “The link between extreme weather and global warming has as much scientific basis as the pagan rite of human sacrifice to ensure a good harvest.”

Alexander noted that weather events “show no long-term trend whatever over more than a century of reliable data. Weather extremes have occurred from time immemorial, long before industrialization boosted the CO2 level in the atmosphere.”

Indeed, the increase of CO2 has not induced or deterred the current climate cycle; cooling. Since the length of interglacial periods between ice ages is about 11,500 years, the Earth is on the cusp of a new ice age. Ironically, the CO2 increase may be delaying it.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Doing Their Best to Kill Christmas Cheer


By Alan Caruba

The one thing you can count on during the Christmas season is an avalanche of media-driven scare campaigns by environmental and self-appointed consumer protection groups that are intended to ruin it with claims that everything you eat or do has the potential of killing you and your loved ones.

Here’s an example; in December 2011 GreenLivingIdeas.com posted an article by Sanya Kanelstran to let everyone know that, during the Christmas season, “A heart attack can strike at any time in a person with coronary artery disease, but heart attacks are more likely during the festive season and especially between the Christmas and New Year period because of the change in diet and lifestyle around the holidays.” So, happy holidays and try not to die.

The folks at Naturalnews.com posted an item on December 17, 2010 that warned that “Those Christmas-colored snack chips and store-bought cookies, but watch out. Eating them may cause side effects such as hyperactivity, especially in children. That’s because nearly all Christmas-colored foods achieve their colors through the use of artificial coloring chemicals, including Red #40.”

ItsMyHealth.com issued a warning in November by Julie Robotham. “Traditionalists love their roast turkey with all the trimmings on Christmas day, but with food poisoning from poultry more prevalent than ever, it pays to take care with the preparation of raw meat.” Properly cooking turkey or any other meat is sufficient to kill most, if not all, bacteria.

The Internet is filled with these posts and, during the holiday season, you can count on the media to repeat them because scaring people is the stock-in-trade of most reporting. A welcome change from this is Fox News channel’s John Stossel who has devoted his career to debunking food and other claims that do not stand up to the scrutiny of fact-checking.

On a November 29, 2012 program, aired on Fox Business and Fox News, Stossel revisited the lies about finely textured, 95% lean beef. As I wrote in a commentary debunking the lies about “pink slime”, a term applied to this, “This lean beef is routinely added to lower quality hamburger to increase its protein content and its production has long been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It actually improves the nutritional quality of a lot of cheaper hamburger.”

Stossel reported that “What some media outlets call ‘pink slime’ is perfectly safe because it’s just meat. It’s made from the meat that clings to the bones—the parts that the meat cutters missed. An added safety factor to kill any bacteria is its treatment with a tiny ammonium hydroxide gas.” There have been no reports of illness from the consumption of finely textured lean beef. Moreover, the process is also used to protect processed cheese, chocolate, and soda. And it exists naturally in beef!

In May, the Washington Times published a commentary by J. Justin Wilson, a senior research analyst at the Center for Consumer Freedom, a group devoted to debunking food and other product scares. In “Funny Food Hypocrisy” Wilson examined the ‘pink slime” campaign waged against finely textured lean meet. Along with a “bug juice” scare campaign, he identified them as “clever hooks adopted by activist food snobs who raised ill-conceived firestorms about lean beef trimmings and cochineal red food dye.”

Wilson wrote, “Contrary to the overhyped reports, lean beef trimmings make meals healthier, safer, cost-efficient and less animal-intensive. Cochineal food dyes, while derived from bugs, are actually all-natural replacements for artificial colors.”

At this time of the year and all year long consumers have to be skeptical of “fashionable prejudices against ‘processed food’”, said Wilson. “These people hoped to turn the ‘yuck factor’ into an irrational boycott.” As for finely textured lean meat, Wilson noted that, “As any butcher will tell you, people have used and eating trimmings in sausages and hamburger for centuries.”

If finely textured lean meat was removed from use and “one estimate says we’ll need to slaughter an additional 1.5 million cows a year.” That’s a lot of cows!

Every year at this time I receive dozens of catalogs from food vending companies offering all manner of delicious items from steaks to nuts. These companies, food producers, as well as your local supermarket are not in the business of killing consumers, nor is there any evidence of widespread food poisoning. The government has an army of inspectors at work to ensure that any reports are swiftly acted upon and, yes, they do track down and close facilities where any conditions warrant it.

Those Christmas cookies are not death traps for the kids and the Christmas turkey is not a mine field of bacteria. That hamburger you eat is as safe as modern technology and processing can make it and that’s very safe. Proper handling and cooking is the key to enjoying Christmas dinner.

My late Mother taught the art of gourmet cooking for over three decades, in addition to writing two cookbooks. She taught me and thousands of her students of the importance of keeping all kitchen surfaces on which food is prepared clean at all times. It’s very good advice and, along with the vast amount of food, meat, chicken, turkeys, and baked goods, you can expect to enjoy a very merry Christmas.

Don’t let the Christmas food killjoys kill your holiday with false food claims.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Connecting the Global Cooling Dots


By Alan Caruba

Winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21, but winter has a mind of its own as does all of nature. While the United Nations charlatans gathered in Doha, Qatar to try to save its global warming hoax by first calling it “climate change” and then by fashioning a funding mechanism to transfer the wealth of developed countries to those who are not, winter has arrived “early” around the world.

That might just have something to do with the cooling cycle that has been active for the past sixteen years, “inconveniently” blowing a big hole in the global warming lies we’ve been hearing and reading since the late 1980s.

From IceAgeNow.info, a site by Robert W. Felix, the author of a book about ice ages (the Earth has been through quite a few in its 4.5 billion years), here are some recent news stories:

On December 1, “Heavy snowfall severs Russia” told of “Hundreds of drivers (who) were caught by surprise in a 40km traffic jam after an unexpected snowfall and heavy winds.”

On November 30, “Finland snowstorm causes blackouts” reported that “Tens of thousands of households were without electricity on Friday as the result of a storm that dumped heavy snow across southern Finland and sent winds gusting up to 27 meters per second, felling trees and downing power lines.” That same day, across the former land bridge between Russia and North America, “Fairbanks – Coldest back-to-back November on record” was a news item what reported “The mercury hit 30 below for the first time this winter at Fairbanks International Airport…”

On November 29, the news was about a “Severe snow storm hits northern Japan” during which it was “blasted by an intense snow storm causing widespread havoc to residents of Hokkaido and Northern Honshu.”

On November 28, “Snowfall paralyzes life in China” was the headline of a report that “China has experienced the biggest snowfall in 52 years. Snow caused power outages in 57 villages, brought down thousands of trees and killed numerous domestic animals. Temperatures fell by as much as 14 degrees below zero in some areas.”

You don’t have to be a meteorologist to connect the dots. It is getting colder in the northern hemisphere of the world. To those who would dismiss this, saying that Russia has always been famous for its winters, that is the equivalent of whistling past the graveyard.

In England, a November 29 report in The Telegraph, reported that “Councils are gearing up for what could be Britain’s coldest winter in 100 years, as sub-zero temperatures and snow follow days of downpours that have devastated large parts of the country.” The Met Office, England’s equivalent of the U.S. Weather Bureau, warned that “The forthcoming cold snap, caused by clear skies and northerly winds, could herald the start of a freezing winter.”

This was not unforeseen, however. In late January 2012, the British daily, The Mail, reported that “The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planning has not warmed for the past 15 years. The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th century.” England and much of the northern Europe and North America was gripped by a mini ice age that lasted from 1300 to 1850.

It is no secret to climate scientists that the sun is in what they call a “grand minimum” by way of describing relatively few magnetic storms, also known as sun spots. Few storms means less solar radiation and, since the sun is the primary source of heat for the Earth that means things get colder here. This is worth keeping in mind when the Secretary General of the United Nations or any other lying politician or alleged scientist tells you otherwise.

In a new book worth reading, “The Whole Story of Climate” by E. Kirsten Peters, the author brings a wealth of knowledge to the subject from the standpoint of a geologist. As to the claim that carbon dioxide emissions are the “cause” of a warming that is not happening, she points out that “The fact is, if human beings had remained hunter-gatherers throughout our entire history, never producing a single molecule of greenhouse gases through agriculture or industry, climate today would still be changing. It would be lurching toward higher temperatures, crashing toward vastly colder temperatures, or at least swinging toward something different from what has been. That’s just the nature of Earth’s climate.”

Preceding the introduction and rise of humans was an age known as the Pleistocene Epoch about 1.8 million years ago. It “was not a time of only monotonous cold. In fact, it alternated between long periods of cold—lasting roughly 100,000 years—and short periods of considerably warming times—lasting about 10,000 years.”

We humans are the result of the Holocene Epoch, a much more temperate, warmer period that followed the Pleistocene and, writes Peters, “From the Earth’s point of view, the Holocene is no different at all from other brief, warm intervals in the Pleistocene…” We are now about 11,500 years into this warmer cycle and, if the current cooling cycle continues and gets colder, we are knocking on the door of the next ice age.

Nor is this a problem only for the northern hemisphere. Southern hemisphere polar sea ice expanded in September 2012 to its greatest extent since satellites began measuring the Antarctic ice cap in 1979.
That’s what Robert W. Felix has been warning about in his book, “Not by Fire, But by Ice”, published initially in 2005. He’s not alone. Habibullo Abdusamatov of the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences predicts that there will be a sharp drop in the temperature of the Earth starting in 2014. He’s predicting it will last about 200 years.

We are well past when the next ice age—mini or not—should have begun and, if all the global warming charlatans are right, we can actually THANK heightened levels of carbon dioxide for delaying it! However, the truth is that higher or lower levels of carbon dioxide show up centuries after any shift in the Earth’s temperature.

Just as the recent weather reports indicate, lower temperatures, greater snowfall, and other miseries of a colder Earth are in the future of the billions who live in the northern hemisphere. Bundle up.

© Alan Caruba, 2012