Tuesday, September 30, 2008








Reference: Worrisome cracks in ice, Bangkok Post, October 1, 2008

A scientist in Ohio looking through satellite pictures found a crack in the Petermann glacier in Greenland. He said that it could speed up sea level rise because huge chunks of ice the size of Manhattan were haemorrhaging off. He raised a global warming alarm based on these observations (Worrisome cracks in ice, Bangkok Post, October 1, 2008). The concerned, worrisome, and alarming nature of the article is completely undone, however, by the last paragraph. It quotes a scientist who has been travelling to Greenland for years to study glaciers. He said that the crack in the glacier is not different from other cracks he had seen in the 1990s, that such cracks are normal, and that the new crack observed is not alarming. As a footnote, earlier this summer it was predicted that the Arctic basin would become ice free this summer from a record summer melt due to the effects of global warming. This prediction has proven to be false. The data show that the annual sea ice melt in the Arctic Basin has bottomed out. Arctic ice is now increasing in area. At its lowest point there was more sea ice this year than last and the Arctic Basin did not become ice free. 

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand










Reference: How green can you get, Bangkok Post, September 30, 2008

It is proposed that we should reduce our carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels as a way of mitigating climate change (How green can you get, Bangkok Post, September 30, 2008). It should be recognized in this context that promoting the carbon footprint as the overarching environmental issue does more harm than good because it trivializes more important pollution issues and also because some measures taken to reduce the carbon footprint create more environmental problems than they solve (Beyond carbon, Bangkok Post, September 30, 2008). For example, the use of fertilizer to grow renewable energy crops is causing an extreme form of water pollution by nitrogen compounds called eutrophication. The carbon people have run afoul of the nitrogen people. Environmentalism has gone awry.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand








Reference: And then there were none, Bangkok Post, September 28, 2008

Contrary to what is reported in the Bangkok Post (And then there were none, Bangkok Post, September 28, 2008) there was no radical overhaul of the city of London in 1986 called the Big Bang. That event refers to new rules implemented by the government of the UK to deregulate and modernize the London Stock Exchange. On October 27, 1986, the Exchange opened for trading with a new set of regulations, a new market microstructure, and full conversion to electronic screen based trading. The event was named in anticipation of a dramatic increase in trading activity. 

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Monday, September 29, 2008









Reference: Hit me, Brunch Magazine, Bangkok Post, September 28, 2008

I read the article on CMS collision avoidance technology for cars in Brunch Magazine (Hit me, Brunch Magazine, Bangkok Post, September 28, 2008) and I found the language more suitable for junior high school kids than for adult consumers of automotive technology. Overall, I think the idea of having something like a Brunch Magazine is good but I would urge you to find adult wrtiers. I gather from the content of the articles that you are targeting an adult readership.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Saturday, September 27, 2008











Reference: The emissions issue, Bangkok Post, September 26, 2008

An article in the Bangkok Post says. with respect to motoring, that "The ever increasing amount of CO2 being released is significantly increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. As a consequence the earth is getting hotter due to the greenhouse effect." (The emissions issue, Bangkok Post, September 26, 2008). These sentences summarize what has become the global warming religion preached by Al Gore and followed like sheep by the media. While it is true that the annual mean atmospheric CO2 measured at Mauna Loa has risen from 315 ppm in 1960 to 383 ppm in 2007, no theory or experiment has shown that a change in CO2 levels in this range can have a measurable effect on temperature. In actual greenhouses where they grow vegetables during winter, they inject carbon dioxide to maintain CO2 levels at 1000 to 1500 ppm during daylight to feed carbon to the plants, and that is why we call CO2 a greenhouse gas, but there is no evidence of a temperature effect of CO2 even at these high levels. The correlation between temperature and CO2 presented by Al Gore is derived from historical data and it implies neither causality nor the direction thereof. Further, the idea that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is caused by our use of fossil fuels is pure speculation and without a scientific basis.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Thursday, September 25, 2008








Reference: A lighter skin color, Bangkok Post, September 25, 2008

As journalist Nikki Assavathorn has articulated so well, the marketing of skin whitening products to Asians promotes what she calls "skin racism" because their sales depend on developing low self esteem for women with darker skin (A lighter skin color, Bangkok Post, September 25, 2008). The same may be said of the thriving cosmtic surgery business in Asia that promises to make Asian eyes and noses more Aryan looking. However, this nature of the cosmetic business is not restricted to Asia and is possibly more intrusive in the West than it is here. All of their marketing and sales, whether there or here, depend on low self esteem or what Ms Nikki calls self-loathing. Decades ago the "does she or doesn't she" ad campaign caused millions of American women to dye their hair blonde to be more beautiful. More recently the push has been for breast enlargment worldwide and for skin whitening in the Asian market. These people make a living by selling low self esteem to women. I congratulate Ms Nikki for speaking out for women and I wish that all women both in Asia and in the West would heed her call and say no to extreme cosmetics. 

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Wednesday, September 24, 2008








Reference: Corruption is humanitarian disaster, Bangkok Post, September 24, 2008

Singapore, a country that has been taken over through state capture by an elite few is considered less corrupt than open, democratic, and transparent societies in Europe by the TI corruption perception index (Corruption is humanitarian disaster, Bangkok Post, September 24, 2008). This upside down ranking tells us more about the instrument than about corruption. I am guessing that the TI instrument is good at measuring corruption in the small, not very good at measuring corruption in the large, and completely unable to detect state capture.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand







Reference: Weather history at house offers insight into global warming, Bangkok Post, September 24, 2008

It is reported that temperature data taken very diligently at Mohonk, NY since 1896 show a temperature increase of 16 Centigrade degrees over 112 years, equivalent to 0.14285 Centigrade degrees per year (Weather history at house offers insight into global warming, Bangkok Post, September 24, 2008). It is likely that this report contains a typographical error. Temperature data from all weather stations in the United States are available from the USHCN (United States Historical Climatology Network) and they show that over the same period the temperature at the Mohonk weather station increased by 0.0133 Centigrade degrees per year, not 0.1428 Centigrade degrees per year as reported in the Bangkok Post. Over the same period, on average, the temperature at Rochester, NY increased 0.0056 degrees/year, at Albany, NY it decreased 0.00167 degrees/year,and at Maryland, NY it decreased 0.0074 degrees/year. Clearly it is not possible to use data from a single weather station to draw conclusions about temperature trends even in just the state of New York, much less the entire world, no matter how diligently the data were taken.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Tuesday, September 23, 2008







Reference: Foreign invasions unacceptable, Bangkok Post, September 21, 2008

In his address to parliament, Pakistan's newly elected president said that he would not tolerate intrusions into Pakistani territory by US forces and that the independence of the judiciary and all the judges fired by Musharraf should be restored (Foreign invasions unacceptable, Bangkok Post, September 21, 2008). Both of these statements are hollow. There is not much that Pakistan can do against cross border attacks by the Americans because they have allowed themselves to become financially dependent of American military aid. As for the judiciary, there is a danger that independent minded judges may find that the deal between Musharraf and Ms Bhutto that gives the new president amnesty from corruption charges, is illegal and unconstitutional. It is therefore unlikely that the new president will take any action to establish an independent judiciary.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand







Reference: US criticizes Asian governments on religious freedom, Bangkok Post, September 21, 2008

It is certainly a good thing that the US promotes genuine religious freedom in Asia (US criticizes Asian governments on religious freedom, Bangkok Post, September 21, 2008). In the US itself the first amendment to the constitution requires that "congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" and thereby guarantees genuine religious freedoms to all its citizens. A problem arises however, when you try to define religion. For a religion to be a religion it has to meet certain requirements and if it fails to meet those requirements it may be deemed a cult and denied religious freedoms in the same way or in more severe ways than we do out here in Asia.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Monday, September 22, 2008








Reference: Rabies still deadly, Bangkok Post, September 23, 2008

Apparently 300,000 people seek rabies vaccinations in Thailand annually (Rabies still deadly, Bangkok Post, September 23, 2008). Each vaccination episode requires a series of five shots over a thirty-day period and costs over 1,500 baht. The cost for 300,000 such vaccinations is at least 450 million baht not counting indirect costs. Dogs are the most common hosts of rabies and dog bites are the usual reason for these vaccinations. The country is populated by a large number of feral dogs with no apparent owner or organized management. They run free on the roadways and byways as well as in forested areas. At night and in the early morning, they run in packs and often attack pedestrians and bicyclists. This state of affairs has been relegated to the mai-pen-rai department and is apparently not considered to be a social or public health issue by the authorities.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Sunday, September 21, 2008








Reference: PM moves into office at Don Mueang, Bangkok Post, September 20, 2008

The government of Thailand has been evicted from their offices at Government House by protestors and has chosen to set up shop in the old mostly abandoned airport at Don Mueang (PM moves into office at Don Mueang, Bangkok Post, September 20, 2008). They may have chosen the wrong airport. Suvarnabhumi Airport offers better connections to London and it is apparently from there that Thailand's government officials take their marching orders (Thaksin gives nod for key positions, Bangkok Post, September 20, 2008).

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand










Reference: Accountability key to gender gap, Bangkok Post, September 20, 2008

It is said that the best way to defend yourself is to go on the offensive and so the United Nations Development Fund for Women has chosen to describe their failure to stay on track with respect to their development goals as an "accountability crisis" because sovereign nations have not done what they had promised the Fund they would do. The blame is thus neatly and righteously deflected. Nobody plays the blame game better than the bureaucrats at the United Nations.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand








Reference: Why Wall Street is melting down, Bangkok Post, September 20, 2008

The simple answer is that Wall Street is not melting down (Why Wall Street is melting down, Bangkok Post, September 20, 2008). A "financial meltdown" is a unique reference and cannot be described as something "melting down". The English language is often as slippery as the finance of derivatives.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Saturday, September 20, 2008









Reference: Storm surge, Brunch Magazine, Bangkok Post, September 21, 2008

There has been much speculation in the Thai media recently as to the surge effects on the low-lying coastal mudflats of Samut Prakarn should a storm like Cyclone Nargis form in the Gulf of Thailand. The attempt by the Bangkok Post to inject global warming and rising sea levels into the debate confounds an already complicated and contentious scenario (Storm surge, Brunch Magazine, Bangkok Post, September 21, 2008). Yet, those with a global warming agenda tend to see the storm surge forecast as being somehow related to carbon emissions. Their argument is baseless and false. It is said that if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like nails.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand








Reference: Is Google making us stupid, Sunday Brunch, Bangkok Post, September 21, 2008

It has been proposed that the Internet is a little too efficient for its own good because it is now preferred to books as a source of information. As a consequence, we are not reading books as much as we used to and that implies that we are becoming stupid.. (Is Google making us stupid, Sunday Brunch, Bangkok Post, September 21, 2008). Ironically, the printing press itself was also similarly derided because it made calligraphy redundant. Throughout history we have stupidly misrepresented the tools of knowledge as knowledge itself and tried to cling to them even after they had worn out their usefulness. Printed books are tools. just like calculators. Just as mathematics did not go down the drain with the death of the abacus and the slide rule so we are not becoming stupid by using a new tool more than we do the product of the printing press. It's been a while since Gutenberg changed the world; and we are in for a few more changes before we are done. You ain't seen nothin' yet.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand













Reference: Extreme machines, Brunch Magazine, Bangkok Post, September 21, 2008

The Rhino Runner is an armored bus built to survive roadside bombs. It looks like a very ugly motor home and bears no resemblance to the other-planetary land vehicle shown in the photo in the Bangkok Post (Extreme machines, Brunch Magazine, Bangkok Post, September 21, 2008). While the price of the Sunday Bangkok Post has gone from 25 Baht to 40 Baht, its quality appears to have gone in the other direction.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand







Reference: Chavez moves to strengthen Russian ties, Bangkok Post, September 20, 2008

In the old days, before the Chunnel, there used to be a joke in England that once, when the English Channel was too foggy for shipping, English newspaper headlines said "Channel fogged in, Europe isolated". Jokes often mimic reality, for now we find that the U.S. government's official response to Russia's growing influence in Latin America is that it serves only to further isolate Russia (Chavez moves to strengthen Russian ties, Bangkok Post, September 20, 2008). Monroe Doctrine fogged in, Russia isolated.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Tuesday, September 16, 2008









Reference: Tapping into the sun, Bangkok Post, September 17, 2008

It is claimed that there is a surging interest in solar energy among retailers in the USA because they normally have large roofs that can be covered with solar panels (Tapping into the sun, Bangkok Post, September 17, 2008). Wal-Mart is cited as an example noting that 17 Wal-Mart stores have already been solarized and that in these stores solar energy provides 10% to 40% of the store's electricity needs. The simple average of this range is 25%. There are about 2,500 Wal-Mart stores in America and so we find that 25% of the electricity needs of 17 of these stores represents 0.17% of Wal-Mart's electricity consumption. Even this paltry percentage could not have been achieved without taxpayer funded subsidies to overcome the economic disadvantage of solar energy. Solar power costs five times as much as electricity generated from coal. The article appears at first blush to imply that solar power is making significant inroads into the retail industry in America but if you read it carefully it unwittingly delivers the entirely different message that solar power is not economically feasible and that its adoption by the retail industry in America is insignificant.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand










Reference: Pretty Palin is not ready to be vice president, Bangkok Post, September 16, 2008

When Obama was surging in the polls, desperate Republicans compared his popularity with that of Paris Hilton implying that he was pretty but clueless. Now that McCain and Palin are surging in the polls, desperate Democrats are comparing Sarah Palin's popularity with that of the American Idol competition on television saying that she is pretty but clueless (Pretty Palin is not ready to be vice president, Bangkok Post, September 16, 2008). It is partisanship at its worst. The author of the column writes that the real issues facing America are that "The economy is in a tailspin. The financial sector is lurching about on rubbery legs. We're mired in self defeating energy policies. We're at war. And we're still vulnerable to the very real threat of international terrorism.". Yet, it tells us nothing about Palin's views on these topics being itself mired in a weird definition game with respect to whether or not Sarah Palin knows the meaning of a an arbitrary phrase invented by the authors of the book "The Bush Doctrine" and concludes that Palin is a clueless bimbo. If Palin is clueless, so are the American voters. Since she joined McCain, his stock on intrade,com has jumped from under $4 to over $5 while that of Obama has dropped from over $6 to under $5. Clueless liberal columnists are crying in their soup.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Monday, September 15, 2008









Reference: The new gulf war, Bangkok Post Spectrum, September 14, 2008

Nations get rich not by exporting energy but by consuming it. As well, economies that depend on exporting a single exhaustible resource face higher risk, higher cost of capital, and an uncertain future. It is therefore imperative for resource based economies to use their export earnings to develop and diversity their economy instead of holding financial assets of developed countries, a strategy that serves only to provide even more capital and more economic development for the already rich to get even richer. The recent movement in the UAE to move along these lines by investing in infrastructure to develop tourism, real estate, sports, financial services, seaports, airports, airlines, and transportation and communication hubs by using their unique geographical advantage should be seen in this light and applauded. The sneering and deprecating article in the Bangkok Post that pokes fun at these countries for investing their oil revenues at home instead of holding American financial securities (The new gulf war, Bangkok Post Spectrum, September 14, 2008) is self serving and racist and likely derives from a colonialism mentality.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand






Reference: US air strike a result of misleading intelligence, Bangkok Post, September 15, 2008

A US missile attack in Afghanistan that killed 90 unarmed civilians in Azizabad in August of 2008 is now being defended by pleading guilty to the greater sin that the American forces had allowed themselves to be used as pawns in clan warfare among the locals (US air strike a result of misleading intelligence, Bangkok Post, September 15, 2008). The naivete of forces armed to the teeth of billions of dollars of killing machines, thus revealed, poses a greater danger to the region than just plain incompetence in target selection.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand







Reference: US in push for foreign arms deals, Bangkok Post, September 15, 2008

The American installed government of Iraq summarily signed contracts to purchase $10 billion of armaments from the USA without transparent or competitive bids (US in push for foreign arms deals, Bangkok Post, September 15, 2008). The Americans defended the irregular nature of the deal as follows: "Such deals serve the interests of Iraq as they cut the risk of corruption and help Iraq in getting around bottlenecks in the acquisition process". I would like to note that all corrupt deals are justified in this manner.

It is also reported in the same story that by beating the drums of Shi'ite Iranian militancy, the Americans have scared rich Sunni Arab nations in the region into ordering more than $20 billion in arms and missile defense systems from the USA. American foreign policy appears to be shaped by the fight against evil and terrorism but a more sinister side reveals itself if you follow the money trail. The care and feeding of the military-industrial-complex requires a bogeyman. The Soviet Union served that purpose well during the cold war. Since then it's been an uphill battle to find a country, an individual, or an institution as scary as nuclear holocaust used to be.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Wednesday, September 10, 2008








Reference: Global cooling, September, 2008

The temperature data for August has just been released by NASA. The data show that the mean monthly surface temperature on earth in August, 2008 was 14.38 C compared with 14.77 C in August of 2007 - a cooling of 0.39 Centigrade degrees. To make sure that the August temperature was not a freak occurrence we may compare one year moving averages. This average for September of 2007 to August of 2008 was 14.53 C and the corresponding average one year earlier was 14.76 C - a cooling of 0.23 Centigrade degrees. Had differences of this magnitude been in the other direction there would have been alarming press releases from the IPCC that global warming is at the tipping point and spinning out of control because we are emitting carbon dioxide by using fossil fuels. But, sadly for the global warmists, no matter how you look at the temperature data from 1998 to 2008, they do not present any evidence of global warming. In fact they show a clear cooling trend in recent years in spite of the fact that greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels are at their highest levels in history.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand








Reference: Women trafficked to Singapore lured into prostitution, Bangkok Post, Sep 4, 2008

Most foreign prostitutes in Singapore come from China, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. I have lived in three of these countries and I found that they have a well developed sex industry with a large supply of prostitutes at prices well below the going rate in Singapore. It has been reported that Thai ladies can return home with more than a million Baht in savings after just one year in Singapore, These ladies would welcome the chance to enter the lucrative market for sex services in Singapore and they often pay agents a high price for their assistance in this regard. I am not sure why these women would have to be tricked, cajoled, forced, trafficked, and told that they would be working as waitresses to do what it is that they want most to do - to sell sex at more upscale markets. And yet, the flow of prostitutes from poorer countries into Singapore is always presented in this light by concerned NGOs and in the media (Women trafficked to Singapore lured into prostitution, Bangkok Post, Sep 4, 2008).

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand






Reference: Norway's whalers defend castigated hunt, Bangkok Post, September 4, 2008

An opponent of whaling describes her encounter with a whaler as follows: "Once a whaler harpooned a whale right in front of us. My passengers were horrified. I almost had a heart attack." (Norway's whalers defend castigated hunt, Bangkok Post, September 4, 2008). It is easy to see in such remarks that the anti-whaling movement is all passion and no reason. Even though a well understood and well defined sustainable quotas system for whaling has been developed, a passionate but well funded movement for a total worldwide ban on whaling continues unabated and unfettered by data. The movement has successfully sabotaged the market for whaling by pushing through a ban on international trade in its products. Their claim that whaling is a thing of the past and that there is no market for it anyway, is said with a wink and a nod knowing full well that it is they and not history that has distorted the market for whaling motivated only by a warm and fuzzy feeling for the cuteness of whales.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Tuesday, September 09, 2008









Reference: Climate change melts glacier revealing ancient relics, Bangkok Post, September 9, 2008

A receding glacier in the Alps has revealed human artifacts indicating that the region was warmer 5000 years ago than it is today and that such patterns of temperature fluctuation are therefore normal (Climate change melts glacier revealing ancient relics, Bangkok Post, September 9, 2008). However, the further claim in the same article that "swathes of mountain ranges worldwide risk losing their glaciers if global warming continues as projected"is inconsistent with the data. The data show that worldwide overall, glaciers are advancing and not receding and the total mass of ice in glaciers is increasing and not decreasing, and lastly that the world is cooling, not warming.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Monday, September 08, 2008

















Reference: Fannie Freddie blind to the bubble, Bangkok Post, September 8, 2008

An article in the Bangkok Post says that mortgage dealers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the USA are in the pickle they are in today because they failed to heed warnings by economists that home prices in America had formed a bubble that was about to burst (Fannie Freddie blind to the bubble, Bangkok Post, September 8, 2008). This analysis is misleading. Bubble theory in economics is an illusion because the so called bubbles in prices are invisible until they burst. In other words bubble analysis makes sense only after the fact. Economic forecasters who make a living by forecasting bursting bubbles are no different from fortune tellers because when you take all of their forecasts into account including the ones that were wrong, you will find that they are mostly wrong. Mortgage lenders who specialize in home loans do not hold a diversified loan portfolio and therefore face unique risk when home prices fall. These two large mortgage institutions were created by government fiat and are very tightly regulated in a way that denies them the benefits of diversification. This is the core of the problem and the government is to blame. The more urgent issue in the US government's takeover of these firms is that America runs a large trade deficit and the accumulated deficit is held by other countries as claims against American financial assets including mortgage securities. Without a full reassurance from the US government there could be a run on these assets that could cause a financial meltdown in the US housing and banking industries. These circumstances taken together imply that the problem is the government's own making and it is only fitting that they should step forward and take full responsibility for its resolution.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Sunday, September 07, 2008









Reference: The real scandal: Palin's policies, Bangkok Post, Sunday September 7, 2008

The op-ed piece from the far left about American politics published in the Bangkok Post on Sunday (The real scandal: Palin's policies, Bangkok Post, September 7, 2008) labels U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's environmental policies as "toxic" because she is in favor of oil exploration in Alaska as a way of enhancing America's energy independence and against listing the polar bear as an endangered species. The article goes on to accuse her of heresy because she had the temerity to question the authors' opinions on global warming. In so doing the authors have exposed themselves as environmental extremists who are pathologically opposed to human activity in general and obsessed with micromanaging evolution to maintain a certain specie mix in nature to which they subscribe a priori. Radical and militant environmentalism derives from the book "Silent Spring". The endangered species act was pushed through in that spirit. That book has since been exposed as mostly hysteria that has done more harm than good. Ironically, the savage attack against Palin's doubts with respect to the IPCC's version of global warming comes at a time of global cooling. There is more toxicity in environmental extremism than in Sarah Palin's policies.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Friday, September 05, 2008








Reference: Caribbean battered by storms, Bangkok Post, September 5, 2008

The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was unusually intense and it included Hurricane Katrina's tragic effects on an aging system of levees and the consequent flooding of New Orleans. During the media hype that followed, global warming scientists announced that these events had been caused by greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and that Katrina was the Americans' just reward for driving SUVs and emitting carbon dioxide. The IPCC claimed that it had the scientific evidence to prove this causal linkage and even to forecast with a great deal of certainty that there was more to come in the 2006 hurricane season. This prediction did not come true. The 2006 hurricane season turned out to be milder than normal. The IPCC was quiet on this issue except to blame the dissipation of El Nino for the mild hurricane season in 2006. In other words, strong hurricane seasons are caused by man and not El Nino but weak hurricane seasons are the result of El Nino not human activity.

There was no further word from these scientists on the linkage between carbon dioxide emissions and hurricanes until April of 2007 when they issued a new warning that 2007 will be the hottest year on record and will bring a killer hurricane season, even worse than the 2005 season (Busy storm season likely, Bangkok Post, April 5, 2007). The 2007 hurricane season has come and gone and once again the IPCC,, armed with scientific evidence and a computer model of the effect of greenhouse gases on the world’s climate, appear to have missed the mark.

The IPCC’s dream hurricane season has finally arrived in 2008. Strong hurricanes Gustav and Hanna are expected to be followed by Ike and a dozen others before the season is through (Caribbean battered by storms, Bangkok Post, September 5, 2008). This hurricane season is what the IPCC had prayed for in 2006 when temperatures were rising so that they could blame it on greenhouse gas emissions; but alas, it has come in 2008 when the world is actually cooling and not warming making it impossible for the IPCC to blame these hurricanes on greenhouse gases. The IPCC has referred to the cooling trend as an anomaly caused by El Nina. Apparently warming is caused by man and not by nature and cooling is caused by nature and not by man.

The IPCC is in an awkward position. It is not likely that we will hear more from them about hurricanes very soon. There will be no further analysis of the relationship between hurricanes and greenhouse gas emissions until the right kind of data comes along. The IPCC is not in the business of providing analyses for all climate data. They are in the business of providing analyses of only those data that support their hypothesis.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Tuesday, September 02, 2008










Reference: MP defends killing, Bangkok Post, August 31, 2008

Five young women - three of them teenagers - in northwest Pakistan, were rounded up and shot because they had expressed a desire to choose their own husbands. The bodies, while still alive and breathing, were thrown into a ditch and covered with mud. The action was defended by the tribesmen and by a member of Pakistan's parliament as "centuries old tradition". It is a cautionary tale for those who believe in the sanctity of tradition. Human sacrifices, slavery, racism, and witch burning were all deep rooted traditions once. No social practice or value can be defended on the strength of tradition alone. Some traditions are bad and they need to be abolished.

(The photo of Pakistani high school girls shown above was randomly selected from the internet and is not directly related to the story.)

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand

Monday, September 01, 2008








Reference: Note from the editor, September 1, 2008

Citing rising newsprint costs, the Bangkok Post has announced that it will raise the price of the paper from 25 Baht to 30 Baht (Note from the editor, September 1, 2008). I trust that the Post had explored ways to control newsprint costs before resorting to this action. One obvious way to do that is to shrink the dimensions of the newspaper. I have noticed that American newspapers have been shrinking for decades. The New York Times is significantly smaller than it was in 1960 but still very readable and also it is easier to to read the paper on the train. Yet another way is to eliminate sections that are not widely read. One section that immediately comes to mind is the expanded business section on Mondays that includes two to four pages devoted to the technical analysis of financial markets. There are a lot of things that we are not sure of when it comes to financial markets but the random walk nature of prices is not one of them. It implies that there are no patterns in historical price data that foretell future price behavior. Your weekly section on technical analysis assumes that there are, and at once wastes newsprint and weakens the credibility of the paper.

Cha-am Jamal
Thailand