Watts Up With That?

I cringe every time I see stories like the one being pushed in the Associated Press today by AP science writer Seth Borenstein.

My Way News – This US summer is ‘what global warming looks like’http://apnews.myway.com/article/20120703/D9VP9J681.html

Even Drudge picked it up.

The amount of unsupported speculation trying to be passed off as science is nothing more than the classic appeal to authority. In this case, the “authority” is NCAR’s Dr. Kevin Trenberth, a man with so much hatred for alternate viewpoints that he refused to remove the holocaust word “denier” from his keynote address to the American Meteorological Society.

This reminds me of the Russian heat wave of 2010.

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Some Additional Information Relevant to Project Connect North Corridor

The website set up by the City of Pflugerville for input from the public for Project Connect is still accessible here.

Austin’s Light Rail Plan: The Bottom Line” by Jim Skaggs in the Coalition on Sustainable Transportation website was updated on July 1, 2012.

Expensive Learning” is a recent entry in Peter Gordon’s Blog and provides a comparison of bus rapid transit and rail transit with respect to cost effectiveness.

Delayed vote could be break for urban rail plan” by Ben Wear, Austin American-Statesman provides a discussion of some factors that may affect the outcome of a rail vote in the Austin area.


Watts Up With That?

Note: This will be the top post for a day or two, new posts will appear below this one.

Readers may recall my original post, Nature’s ugly decision: ‘Deniers’ enters the scientific literature. followed by  Dr. Paul Bain Responds to Critics of Use of “Denier” Term (with thanks to Jo Nova, be sure to bookmark and visit her site) Dr. Robert G. Brown of Duke University,  commenting as rgbatduke, made a response that was commented on by several here in that thread. As commenter REP put it in the update: It is eloquent, insightful and worthy of consideration. I would say, it is likely the best response I’ve ever seen on the use of the “denier” term, not to mention the CAGW issue in general. Thus, I’ve elevated it a full post. Please share the link to this post widely.  – Anthony

Dr. Robert G. Brown writes:

The tragic…

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The Case Developing against Wind Farms

In the June 13, 2012, edition of the Austin American-Statesman, there was a letter to the editor, “Eyesore Turbines,” that just by its title suggests that wind farms are causing problems.

In “Wind turbines as yet unsuitable as electricity providers,” an article by C. le Pair, F. Udo and K de Groot in Europhysics News, it is questioned whether wind turbines have been shown to be effective for their intended use.

Some References about Problems with Wind Turbines

In Ontario, Canada:

North Gower Wind Action Group Blog

In the UK:

Wind farms: the monuments to lunacy that will be left to blot the landscape” by Christopher Booker, The Telegraph, September 10, 2011.

In Australia:

Against the Wind: The pursuit of clean energy has relegated ordinary people to the status of ‘collateral damage’” by Maurice Newman, The Spectator Australia, posted in National Wind Watch.


Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Report on a Natural Experiment by Nina Pierpont, 2009.

The Wind Farm Scam: An Ecologist’s Evaluation by John Etherington, 2009.

Added June 19, 2012:

A letter about an application for erecting wind turbines in Devon

The letter appeared in JoNova on June 20 (Australian time).

Added June 23, 2012:

In Vermont:

Vermonters Realize They’ve Erred…Citizens Ramp Up Protests Against Big WindNoTricksZone, June 23, 2012.

Added June 26, 2012:

Aussies drive another stake intop the heart of the wind-farm vampire” by James Delingpole, The Telegraph, June 25, 2012.

Added July 6, 2012:

The ugly side of wind power (National Post op-ed)” CCSage, July 6, 2012.

Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

According to the head of the United Nations, only one vision of the future is acceptable.

Five days from now the United Nations’ Rio+20 conference will officially commence in glamorous Rio de Janiero. Most of the world’s citizens will pay little attention. With bills to pay and mouths to feed, we have other things on our mind.

But there’s a serious problem. Many of the individuals attending Rio+20 think they’re authorized to speak for the rest of us. They also think it’s their job to choose our future.

Two days ago an opinion piece authored by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, was published in Der Spiegel, a prominent German news magazine (backup link here). So far no translation – or even record – of it is available on the section of Ban Ki-moon’s website specifically devoted to such matters. So a Google translation will have to do.

The title…

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Precincts for the Bohls Neighborhood

The Bohls neighborhood does not lie within a single precinct. Part of the neighborhood is in Precinct 123 and another part is in Precinct 136.

Links to maps for Precinct 123 and Precinct 136:

Precinct 123: http://www.traviscountytax.org/gis/maps/p123.htm

Bohls Crossing is shown in the southwest corner of Precinct 123.

Precinct 136: http://www.traviscountytax.org/gis/maps/p136.htm

Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

The next IPCC report will include a chapter that discusses gender inequality, marginalized populations, and traditional knowledge. So much for providing “rigorous…scientific information.”

The upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report will contain a chapter titled Human Security. According to an official outline, this will examine the following topics:

  • Social and economic activities, including employment
  • Education
  • Inequalities, gender, and marginalized populations
  • Culture, values, and society
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Local communities
  • Local and traditional knowledge
  • Migration and population displacement
  • Conflict
  • Community resilience
  • [see page 4 here]

We’re told that the IPCC is a scientific organization and that its job is to “provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision makers.” But what can science possibly tell us about Culture, values and society? Or about Local communities? Why is the IPCC going anywhere near subjects such as these?

The Human Security chapter is being led by

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About Project Connect North Corridor

In Pflugerville’s Key to the City for May 26-31, 2012, city residents are invited to an open house on June 19, 2012, at the Pflugerville Justice Center to provide input about alternate routes for providing rail service into some of the cities north of Austin.

An alternative not mentioned is not to expand rail service north.

For a number of years the Coalition on Sustainable Transportation (COST) has made the case that expanding rail service in the Austin area is generally not cost effective.

Appearing very recently is “Austin Transit Working Group Meetings: Critique and Comment.”

It is possible that more familiarity with studies performed by COST could lead residents to provide higher quality input with respect to transportation issues.

Watts Up With That?

Many thanks for the invitation and for giving me the opportunity to address this distinguished audience. I am not for the first time in Chicago. It is also not for the first time that I am attending a conference organized by the Heartland Institute. But it is for the first time I am with Heartland here in Chicago.

Some of you know that I came to Chicago for the NATO summit. Yesterday and today I was supposed to speak about what to do in Afghanistan, how to keep NATO going in an era of overall indebtedness and budgetary cuts, and about NATO-Russia relations. I am glad to tell you that we did not discuss the global warming. It seems that NATO does not consider global warming to be a security threat. But my main preoccupation in the last days was NATO and I am afraid I am not sufficiently…

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About the Unified Development Code Diagnosis Project

Item 2A on the agenda for the Pflugerville City Council worksession on April 24, 2012, was “Discussion with the Planning and Zoning Commission regarding preliminary findings and recommendations as a result of the Unified Development Code Diagnosis project.”

In the worksession, it was reported that the project was funded by the Capital Reserve Fund. It was also reported that the discovery phase had been completed and that the next step was the preparation of a draft diagnostic report.

Mention was made of a reference source that essentially provided local strategies for suburban communities. Among development features allowed were

  • Mixing of uses
  • Diversity of housing types
  • Moderately high density
  • Street connectivity

The local strategies would be intended to lead to the creation of compact and walkable neighborhoods.

This seems consistent with a prescription for smart growth development for which many features are controversial.

Public input for determining the kinds of development best suited for Pflugerville was obtained by a variety of means during the recent comprehensive plan revision including the establishment of a Pflugerville Community Almanac website. Unfortunately this website is no longer maintained by the city and thus opportunities for continued public input into decisions regarding future city growth and development have become more limited.