Thursday, August 28, 2008








Reference: Arctic sea ice drops drastically, Bangkok Post, August 28, 2008

The two most extreme summer ice melts in the Arctic in the satellite data era have occurred during a period of global cooling well after warming had peaked (Arctic sea ice drops drastically, Bangkok Post, August 28, 2008). Therefore they could not have been caused by global warming. Yet, a tendency to blame ice melts on global warming persists. Some time ago, when there was a greater focus on Antarctica than on the Arctic, we were told that global warming was melting the West Antarctic Ice Shelf even though the melting was localized to the Shelf. That idea has since been shelved because there happens to be an active volcano underneath the melting ice (The fire below, Bangkok Post, April 28, 2008). We should also note that the period of the satellite observations being used to infer climate trends is rather short when compared with the periods of known long term cyclical weather phenomena. A brief interval of a longer cycle can therefore be mistaken for a trend, but the data are presented to us as trends anyway and even extrapolated into scary forecasts. These forecasts should be not be accepted at face value without critical evaluation.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Wednesday, August 27, 2008









Reference: Fear of a storm surge in Samut Prakarn, Bangkok Post, August 27, 2008

Unlike tsunamis, storm surges do not strike suddenly out of the blue. They are caused by tropical cyclones. These storms take many days to form and to move to locations where they might cause a storm surge. Modern technology allows us to observe these cyclones from inception and to track their intensity and movement. If and when a cyclone does form on the Gulf of Thailand, meteorologists around the world will know that it has formed, they will give it a name, they will track it, they will determine whether it is strong enough to cause a storm surge, and they will issue a warning to the location where the sea is expected to surge over land. The people there will have a day or two to prepare. A storm surge alarm issued before a cyclone has even formed, is premature.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Tuesday, August 26, 2008









Reference: Surging American deaths show Taliban is winning, Bangkok Post, August 26, 2008

If yet another country needs to be invaded in America's war against terror, then that country is Pakistan, not Iran. Afghanistan is the only theater where the Americans are fighting an enemy that may have had something to do with 911 and they are losing that war because a mountainous no man's land between Afghanistan and Pakistan makes it impossible for the Americans to hunt down the enemy (Surging American deaths show Taliban is winning, Bangkok Post, August 26, 2008). If the Americans are right, that given a choice, the Afghans would choose the Karzai regime over the Taliban, and that the Taliban is the real enemy, and that it needs to be defeated, then they have no option but to seize control of the border by invading Pakistan.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Monday, August 25, 2008










Reference: Biden as VP a very personal decision for Obama, Bangkok Post, August 26, 2008

The odds makers have Obama ahead of McCain, but the Republicans are quietly holding a trump card. There is some question as to whether Obama was born in Kenya or Hawaii and he has responded by posting a birth certificate from Hawaii on his website; but he has yet to come out and make a clear statement with regard to his actual place of birth. If the alleged irregularities in Obama's birth records have any shred of truth to them, once again, as in 2000, the election may be decided in the courts and the Republicans may go to the White House, win or lose.


Cha-am Jamal
Thailand









Reference: Attitude toward whales undergoes sea change, Bangkok Post, August 25, 2008

Rich liberals in the West are in the grip of a Bambi complex - an irrational desire to save cute wildlife at all cost. Recently, a baby whale nicknamed Colin became lost and began following a boat as if it were his mother. Colin was eventually killed to end his misery but not before an extravagant international effort to save him was exhausted. In this instance, it is easy to see Bambiism as irrational (Attitude toward whales undergoes sea change, Bangkok Post, August 25, 2008) but that is not always the case. Bambi activists tend to wrap themselves with an aura of goodness. To speak against them one risks being bad. The effort by Greenpeace to singlehandedly enforce a permanent ban on commercial whaling is an example. To the activists, whaling is sinful because whales are cute. No rate of whale culling, no matter how small or sustainable, is acceptable to them. Yet it is hard to speak out against them because they are doing good by definition. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) started out with the idea that farm animals should be treated humanely but has morphed into an extreme vegan movement that wants to eliminate meat consumption altogether because these animals are too cute to eat, just as they oppose the seal hunt because baby seals are too cute to kill; but they are protected from rational criticism because the force of goodness is with them. Environmental extremists preaching global warming follow the same pattern saying that they stand for goodness and that the fossil fuel industry stands for badness. To question them is to risk being evil so much so that even though their data have run out of steam, the movement continues forward on nothing more than bureaucratic inertia and an unassailable aura of goodness.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Sunday, August 24, 2008










Science in the Sunday Comics, Bangkok Post, August 24, 2008

In the Sunday Comics (Bangkok Post, August 24, 2008) the Andy Capp character, a barfly, expresses his cultural curiosity of far away places by wondering what Peruvian beer tastes like and what Bolivian pool tables look like. The humor in research questions is harder to see in science but they too suffer from the same kind of context constraint. The questions we ask and the data we take depend on our own prior bias. Truth may lie somewhere else altogether but we will never know those answers because we don't know what questions to ask or what data to take - and so, as in Andy's case - our understanding of a country may end up looking a lot like a pool table. In other words, "now we know that we shall never know".

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand







Reference: Don't play golf, Bangkok Post, August 24, 2008

According to a Reuters news item (Don't play golf, Bangkok Post, August 24, 2008), "Golf is hugely popular in South Korea but the high cost sees many players fly off to cheaper parts of Asia for a game". That cheaper part of Asia is Thailand and they come here not for just one game but for weeks and even months at a time. Their active participation in our golf economy makes it work for all of us and their excellent form sets high standards for local golfers.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand







Reference: Deforestation talks stall over cash schemes, Bangkok Post, August 24, 2008

The rich nations got rich and stay rich by consuming a disproportionate amount of energy per capita, and so rich are they that they can apparently afford to pay developing countries to stop developing so that they may continue to hog the world's energy (Deforestation talks stall over cash schemes, Bangkok Post, August 24, 2008).

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand







Reference: Exit the president, Bangkok Post, August 24, 2008

The way the assets of the British Indian Army were allocated during partition in 1947 at once created in Pakistan, a new nation in which the single largest and most sophisticated institution by far was the military. Subsequently, the Kashmir wars, the secession of Bangladesh, American military aid first to fight the Russians in Afghanistan and then to fund the war on terror, and the development of a nuclear capability further strengthened the lopsided role of the military in Pakistan. It is a garrison state. The theatrical exit of Musharraf will not change that reality. The military will have its say. It may even tighten its grip.


Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

















Reference: Global warming data from NASA Goddard Institute, August, 2008

The NASA GISS publishes monthly mean global surface temperatures on its website. The most recent data available as of this writing is that for July, 2008. These data form the basis for the hypothesis put forward by climate activists that carbon dioxide emission from fossil fuels is causing the earth to become warmer. The mean monthly temperature for each month from January to July over an eleven year time span from 1998 to 2008 are shown in the graph included with this note. A cursory examination of this graph shows that there is no trend in these data that would indicate that the globe has been warming over these eleven years during which time more fossil fuel was consumed and more greenhouse gases emitted than in any other eleven year period in history. These data do not appear to support the Kyoto Protocol hypothesis that fossil fuel consumption increases global temperature.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Tuesday, August 19, 2008








Reference: Perfect hostesses outclass sexy cheerleaders, Bangkok Post, August 20, 2008

Chairman Mao, who spent his life preaching gender equality, is surely rolling over in his grave while his successors are busy selecting their Olympic hosts according to criteria that relegate women to a role that is nothing more than human sex toys. The specifications described in the Post (Perfect hostesses outclass sexy cheerleaders, Bangkok Post, August 20, 2008); that the hosts have to be women, that their eyes must be 3/10 the length of their faces, that they must be pretty and precise, that they must smile continuously, that they must have specified appearance, body shape, age, and height, that they must have a plump but not fat body, that the ratio between the width of the nose and the length of the face and that between width of the mouth and the distance between the pupils must be within specifications - would be more suited to ordering a sex toy from realdoll.com than describing human beings. Mao surely made his share of mistakes during his time at the helm but his message of class and gender equality are timeless treasures for the Chinese people, more precious than a thousand Olympics.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand









Reference: Fuel subsidies can cost far more than you think, Bangkok Post, August 18, 2008

Fossil fuel consumption in 2007 shrank by about 1% in Europe and North America but overall consumption worldwide was up by more than 2% helped largely by rising consumption in developing countries such as China, India, and the ASEAN countries. The difference between the developed world and the developing world in this regard is due largely to the difference in the rate of economic growth and not due to fuel subsidies. In response to the most recent spike in the price of oil, developing countries have used various forms of subsidies as a short term measure to soften the blow and not as long term economic policy. Their overall economic impact is almost unmeasurable when compared with the enormous and structural agricultural subsidies in the West. It is a trite and overused economic truism that subsides benefit producers and not consumers, and it is wrong in this instance for the rich countries to use this lame argument to blame the poor countries for the high price of oil (Fuel subsidies can cost far more than you think, Bangkok Post, August 18, 2008).

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand







Reference: A hot summer expected to arrive early this year, Bangkok Post, February 3, 2008

Some months ago it was predicted by scientists that man-made climate change would cause the hot season in Thailand to arrive earlier than usual and to be so much hotter that parts of the country would experience heavy rains and floods while other parts will be hit by a severe drought (A hot summer expected to arrive early this year, Bangkok Post, February 3, 2008). The hot season has come and gone. It did not arrive earlier than usual and it was not hotter than usual. There were no catastrophic floods or droughts. No doubt there will be more scary predictions to follow that will continue to make us fear greenhouse gases because we have forgotten that their prior predictions were wrong.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand









Reference: Slow economy saps climate action, Bangkok Post, August 18, 2008

An article on climate change in the Bangkok Post serves to illustrate the grotesque divergence in perspective between climate change activists and the rest of humanity. While rapidly rising prices of oil and food staples and the worldwide slump in economic growth are bad for the rest of us, they are apparently good for the climate activists who point out with glee that slowing economies generate less greenhouse gases and higher oil prices make renewable energy more competitive with fossil fuels (Slow economy saps climate action, Bangkok Post, August 18, 2008). If we extrapolate this line of thinking, we might conclude that if a global pandemic were to wipe out the human race it would be a good thing because it would completely eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. It would eliminate climate activists too, of course, but the planet would not need them as it would no longer be at risk from human activity.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Saturday, August 02, 2008









Reference: Climate change been there done that, Bangkok Post, August 2, 2008

The book "The Great Warming" by Brian Fagan describes how humanity had adapted to climate change in previous centuries (Climate change been there done that, Bangkok Post, August 2, 2008). The examples cited show that climate is not at the mercy of man but that man is at the mercy of climate. It is natural for climate to change. We don't cause climate change nor are we able to prevent these changes. All we can hope to do is to adapt to the changes when they occur.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand









Reference: Wage war on health menace, Bangkok Post, August 2, 2004

The malaria outbreak in Ranong, Thailand (Wage war on health menace, Bangkok Post, August 2, 2004) is a timely reminder that environmental extremism is not benign but rather poses a serious risk to us all that in the long run is more dangerous than terrorism. Malaria, dengue, and other mosquito borne diseases, that had been all but eradicated by DDT, have been able to make a come-back because of a ban on DDT in the hysterical aftermath of the book "Silent Spring". The lifting of the ban by the WHO in 2006 is a tacit admission that the worldwide ban on DDT was a mistake that had cost humanity millions of lives.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand