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Archive for the ‘Good News to Ignore’ Category

Arctic Ice Loss being offset by Antarctic?

I stumbled across this today.

 Taking all the world’s sea ice together, then – as opposed to focusing exclusively on the Arctic – the picture is far less gloomy than most media outlets would have you believe. [Gee, who knew? S1] Generally the world has between 15 and 23 million square km of the stuff: at the moment it has a bit more than 18m, which is approximately 1.5m below average for this time of year. Earlier this year, though, it was nearly 1m up on the seasonal average.

There are some other things to bear in mind, too: melting sea ice, of course, doesn’t mean rising sea levels the way melting glaciers or ice sheets on land might. Then there’s the fact that the satellite record is so short and the polar regions so little known: longer term variations like the one we’re seeing may be entirely normal.

Keep calm and carry on. The world isn’t ending, and spending billions trying to stop the climate changing is taking money away from areas where it could so some real good.

(Also, this story is way cool)


Apparently this is news to some people: environmentalists exaggerate

Another for the “good news to ignore” file.

London, England (CNN) — Animals that were thought to be extinct for hundreds of years may in fact still be alive, according to a new study by Australian scientists.

Biologists at the University of Queensland examined more than 180 different extinct species, only to discover that a third of them were still alive.

The study which appeared in the journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B” claims that conservationists have been overplaying the number of species driven to extinction.

Unions not really NZ’s thing

Found this while looking for new blogs.

In short, there has been a modest increase in union membership – of .5% in the two years from December 2006 to December 2008.

Overall, however, the total union density (number of union members as a total of wage and salary earners) is only 21.2% – being the lowest level in 20 years, and lower than any level of union density through the Employment Contracts Act.

In plain English, what this means is that – despite encouragement to the contrary in the Employment Relations Act – union membership is on the decline, and arguably a thing of the past in many industries.

Union membership is still high, for example, in the public service – and in certain industrial pursuits (such as mining).  But, overall, and particularly in the private sector – one might be justified in concluding that the age of unions is past.

Aw, that’s such a shame.

Tea Party Not Stupid

Michelle Malkin.

Here’s another from Gateway Pundit.

Another one again – how stupid are these people?

Gateway pundit also reports:

Yesterday, tens of thousands of Tea Party Protesters held attended rallies across this great nation… Not one was arrested.

Also yesterday… Leftist SEIU thugs held one rally in Ohio… 25 were arrested.

Speaks volumes really.

Cheney on how Iraq is not Obama’s success

In case you hadn’t heard, Biden’s now trying to say that Iraq is a success of the Obama administration. Seems he’s backed by the White House and liberal media.

Which is of course, absurd. Bush stuck to his guns through thick and thin to get to the point where we are today, weathering massive criticism along the way, and all Obama’s done is reap the rewards of that.

Now, they want the credit.

Cheney was on ABC yesterday and he had this to say.

How Come this didn’t get media attention?

When some christian idiot says something stupid, the media are all over it.

But when the leader of a South American country does, the silence is defending. Which is funny, because in many quarters, Hugo Chavez is quite the media darling.

Oh, wait I just worked it out.

Speaking of things unreported from Venezuela

Your Sherlock Holmes Moment of the Day

From the Herald, on Palin’s inaugural stint on Fox.

She was smooth and more or less self-confident, not at all like the Palin we saw in the CBS Evening News interview with Katie Couric last year or as parodied by Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live.

So didn’t look like a parody of an interview that was edited to make sure she looked stupid? The CBS interview wasn’t her best moment, but likewise, that station also went out of it’s way to trip her up.

Merry Christmas

My thinking on Christmas is evolving over time, and this year I’ve been pondering on the parallel celebrations.

On the one hand you have the secular holiday which is the focus of the year. It’s central figure is Santa Clause, the focus on family and presents.

On the other, the christian celebration, which focuses on the gift of Jesus to the world. Not quite as central* to the christian calendar.

I was reading a sermon from a certain church (which has had more than enough publicity and won’t be mentioned further) and there was a comment that lowly shepherds were invited, and foreign kings – the local religious leaders weren’t. The point being made that this was an indication of Jesus’ future as the “rebel”.

Unfortunately, while this fairy tale might fit the progressive christianity story, it’s not biblical.

Jesus may have disagreed with the religious experts, but he most certainly did not come to change the law his father handed to Moses.

17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Rather he came to fulfill it. The reason he clashed with the religious leaders of the day was not to be some sort of religious rebel, but to explain what the law actually meant.

23“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

A reading throughout the old testament law (which does contain some strange things to our modern eyes) shows God (yes, in the Old Testament) showing very much that he cares deeply about justice and mercy and caring for the poor. For example, land owners were not to harvest their entire crop. Rather, they were to leave the edges for the poor to gather – something that is very important in the story of Ruth.

(The effect being quite a good balance of course. There was charity, but you had to go out and get it.)

But I digress. Back to “who was invited to the manger”.

1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east[b] and have come to worship him.”  3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ[c] was to be born. 5“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

There you have it. The Magi, who were not even Jews, were keeping a keen eye out for signs of the coming messiah. As soon as they saw the sign, they immediacy came – without invitation.

The local religious leaders on the other hand were completely blind. They even explained it all to Herod without clicking to what was going on. The news of the coming of the messiah was handed on a plate to them and they went “hm, nice plate” and moved on.

The question for you this Christmas is, are you going to do the same, or will you miss opening a gift that puts anything and everything under your tree to shame.

*It’s no. 53 in my estimation after Good Friday, Easter Sunday and all other Sundays. My father never, ever bailed hay on the Lord’s Day even if rain was threatening but he never hesitated to so on non-Sunday Christmases. He told us once of a certain prominent minister who would always make sure to be seen to be working in his garden on Christmas to remind his congregation of the status of the holiday.

The point is, Christimas is a worthy celebration, but the resurrection is the real story of Christ’s life, and we celebrate that every Sunday.

Helping Your Self

Nice to see a community solving it’s own problems rather than demanding a handout.

The Clinton community, unhappy at losing its sole service station earlier this year, has rallied together to pump more than $150,000 of their own money into reviving the business.Petrol and diesel will be back on sale at the former BP station within two months, while the shop is expected to reopen early next year.

The turnaround from deserted petrol station in the middle of town, to a new community-owned venture has taken just a few weeks.

But locals were even quicker to come up with the cash, digging deep and coming up with the money in one 24-hour period earlier this month.

Hopefully owning the only station within a half hour drive will pay off hansomly for those who stumped up with the money.

Such resourcefulness is rare these days, but it’s encouraging to see it when it happens.

Sea Ice Back

Well, well. Seems that Sea ice that was rapidly disappearing

Arctic sea ice has shrunk to the second smallest extent since satellite records began, US scientists have revealed. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) says that the ice-covered area has fallen below its 2005 level, which was the second lowest on record.

Melting has occurred earlier in the year than usual, meaning that the iced area could become even smaller than last September, the lowest recorded.

They’re talking about a tipping point, and the Arctic being ice-free in summer within five years. This is seriously scary stuff.

…has rapidly come back.

Each year, millions of square kilometers of sea ice melt and refreeze. However, the mean ice anomaly — defined as the seasonally-adjusted difference between the current value and the average from 1979-2000, varies much more slowly. That anomaly now stands at just under zero, a value identical to one recorded at the end of 1979, the year satellite record-keeping began.

Sea ice is floating and, unlike the massive ice sheets anchored to bedrock in Greenland and Antarctica, doesn’t affect ocean levels. However, due to its transient nature, sea ice responds much faster to changes in temperature or precipitation and is therefore a useful barometer of changing conditions.

Earlier this year, predictions were rife that the North Pole could melt entirely in 2008. Instead, the Arctic ice saw a substantial recovery. Bill Chapman, a researcher with the UIUC’s Arctic Center, tells DailyTech this was due in part to colder temperatures in the region. Chapman says wind patterns have also been weaker this year. Strong winds can slow ice formation as well as forcing ice into warmer waters where it will melt.

Why were predictions so wrong? Researchers had expected the newer sea ice, which is thinner, to be less resilient and melt easier. Instead, the thinner ice had less snow cover to insulate it from the bitterly cold air, and therefore grew much faster than expected, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Well, I guess we can put that panic to one side.

Peak Oil, Sea Ice… what next?

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