Sunday evening Rubio: Q&A at the Reagan Library

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**Posted by Phineas

A few days ago I posted video of Senator Marco Rubio’s speech at the Ronald Reagan library. The junior senator from Florida hung around afterwards for a brief question and answer session. Like the speech itself, it’s worth watching. He’s completely at ease and, unlike another (supposed) great speaker, there are no “ums,” “ahs,” or awkward pauses.

At the risk of sounding like a Rubio groupie, this guy is good:

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Another bad day for the Church of Global Warming

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**Posted by Phineas

Don’t you just hate it when empirical results get in the way of a cherished article of faith theory? Not only have none of the predictions of doom made by global warming alarmists come to pass, but now experimental results are lending strength to an alternate theory of global warming and cooling:

It sounds like a conspiracy theory: ‘cosmic rays’ from deep space might be creating clouds in Earth’s atmosphere and changing the climate. Yet an experiment at CERN, Europe’s high-energy physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, is finding tentative evidence for just that.

The findings, published today in Nature, are preliminary, but they are stoking a long-running argument over the role of radiation from distant stars in altering the climate.

(…)

To find out, Kirkby and his team are bringing the atmosphere down to Earth in an experiment called Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets (CLOUD). The team fills a custom-built chamber with ultrapure air and chemicals believed to seed clouds: water vapour, sulphur dioxide, ozone and ammonia. They then bombard the chamber with protons from the same accelerator that feeds the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle smasher. As the synthetic cosmic rays stream in, the group carefully samples the artificial atmosphere to see what effect the rays are having.

Early results seem to indicate that cosmic rays do cause a change. The high-energy protons seemed to enhance the production of nanometre-sized particles from the gaseous atmosphere by more than a factor of ten.

To be fair, physicist Kirkby then points out that the generated particles are too small for clouds to form around, though he concedes that this experiment is an “important first step” in understanding how cosmic rays might be involved in the creation of clouds.

The significance of this experiment is that it seems to bear directly on the debate over whether CO2 or solar activity is most responsible for global warming and cooling, and thus climate change.

In short, it’s been known for over a century that radiation from outer space, “cosmic rays,” bombard the Earth, and that these rays are affected by the “wind” put out by the sun when it is active, the visible sign of which is an increase in sunspots. When the solar wind is strong, fewer cosmic rays reach the Earth. When it is weak, the number of rays hitting us increases.

Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark theorized that cosmic rays play a role in the formation of clouds, which in turn act as regulators of the Earth’s heat: more clouds means a cooler world, fewer lead to warming. Thus, the theory goes, periods of weak solar activity lead to more cosmic rays, which creates more clouds and a cooling planet. And, of course, the reverse would be true of periods of strong solar activity. Svensmark and others claimed that this would explain the apparent correlation between a warming and cooling Earth and the sunspot cycle. (See, for example, the Little Ice Age and the Maunder Minimum).

While writers such as Warren Meyer at Forbes (and Climate Skeptic) rightfully caution us:

But let’s be careful.  We are basically now in the exact same place with Svensmark that we are with CO2 greenhouse warming.  We know the relevant effects exist in a lab, and are fairly certain they exist in nature, but we are uncertain how sensitive the actual climate is to these effects.  We skeptics criticize alarmists for exaggerating feedbacks and real-world sensitivities to CO2.  We should avoid the same mistake.

…I find Svensmark’s thesis much more plausible, as it does something alarmist theories have not: account for the past. Advocates of man-caused global warming either deny (or hide) or hand-wave away the various warming and cooling periods in the past, unable to plausibly explain how those occurred without the presence of CO2 dumped into the atmosphere by Man.

The cosmic-ray theory, on the other hand, seems to correlate nicely not only with the past, but with the observed present in which there has been both a decline in solar activity and no statistically significant warming since 1995.

At the very least, this suggests that the science, no matter what Al Gore says, is far from settled and that we should avoid implementing sweeping policies until we know much, much more.

By which time, I suspect, we’ll recognize them for the poisonous cures to a problem that does not exist that they are and can toss them onto the intellectual trash heap with the “flat earth” theories and Piltdown Man.

via Watt’s Up With That

LINKS: Calder’s Updates has more details. So does The Global Warming Policy Foundation. Follow-up reactions from WUWT. The Telegraph’s James Delingpole goes to town on this development, reminding us that the scientific establishment never wanted this experiment to take place. There’s good scientific practice for you. Meanwhile, this and other recent developments casting doubt on anthropogenic global warming has been hard on the church’s High Priest, Al Gore. From an obscenity-filled tirade to suggesting we need to eat less meat to save the planet to equating skeptics with racists, he’s publicly losing it.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Al-Qaeda #2 sent to meet his virgins, courtesy of the USA? Update: Not dead yet?

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**Posted by Phineas

BOOM:

Atiyah Abd al Rahman, a top al Qaeda leader who long served Osama bin Laden, was reportedly killed on Aug. 22 in Waziristan, Pakistan, according to multiple press reports. Both the Associated Press and Reuters cite US officials as saying that Rahman has been killed. Matt Apuzzo of the AP reports that a US official would not confirm how Atiyah had been killed, but the AP story notes that on same day, the CIA launched a drone strike in Waziristan.

US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal would neither confirm nor deny Atiyah’s reported death. One senior US intelligence official observed that verifying the deaths of top terrorists is difficult and the US has gotten it wrong in the past. Atiyah himself, the official pointed out, was reportedly killed in 2010. Still, this official said, it is certainly possible that the new reports of Atiyah’s demise are accurate.

(…)

Atiyah has been described as al Qaeda’s “operations chief” in some press reports, and his role in plotting terrorist attacks has been repeatedly noted. But according to one senior US intelligence official contacted by The Long War Journal, Atiyah was al Qaeda’s “general manager” and also served as Osama bin Laden’s “chief of staff.”

While Atiyah was involved in plotting attacks, the official said, he was not really the “operational commander.” In the nascent plot to attack the US on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, for example, Atiyah would pass messages back and forth between Osama bin Laden and operatives elsewhere, but the tactical details of the plot were left to other al Qaeda commanders.

Atiyah was also given a senior role in managing al Qaeda’s finances, the official said. Only the most loyal and trustworthy terrorists would be given such a role.

You can read more about this thankfully dead medieval lunatic glorious martyr to Allah’s cause at The Long War Journal.

As TLWJ points out, this surely hurts Al Qaeda by killing another senior leader, disrupting operations and spreading fear and mistrust — did a traitor give Atiyah’s location away? Are there spies in their midst?

But we should keep in mind that Al Qaeda is a deliberately decentralized organization, with branches (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) and franchises (Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb) that are fully capable of planning and carrying out operations on their own. Indeed, the attempted Christmas bombing over Detroit and the jihad attack at Ft. Hood were both planned or supported by AQAP, while AQIM has been linked to plots to launch a Mumbai-style attack in Europe. Striking a blow at Al Qaeda-central, while important, shouldn’t be and I’m sure isn’t our sole focus. (See also and also.)

Coming back to the probably-late Mr. Atiyah, if he is dead, it’s almost certain that this is one fruit of the intelligence haul we made when we looted bin Laden’s compound after killing him last May. You can bet there have been and will be others, as we exploit that trove of information for all it’s worth. And one has to wonder about the reaction of the next guy to be promoted to second-in-command: give thanks to Allah or run shrieking in terror? It doesn’t seem to be a job with much future in it…

UPDATE: From TLWJ’s blog, Threat Matrix, doubts are being cast on reports that Atiyah is really dead. This is a reminder that many such reports of prominent AQ and Taliban casualties have turned out to be premature. Perhaps Al Qaeda’s number two isn’t quite ready to go on the cart, yet.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Hurricane Irene “just wind and rain”? I don’t think so.

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I think the pictures tell the story.  More here.

Been reading Tweets all morning from people up North who are whining about the inconvenience of having to prepare/change their daily routine/evacuate.  Makes my blood boil.  After Katrina, didn’t people learn “better safe than sorry”? Astonishing to me that there are people who are actually upset because they couldn’t get a latte this morning because there wasn’t a Starbucks nearby where they evacuated to, or because where they normally go has been closed off by their respective local governments.  I also find it majorly annoying to read people who have been through Cat 2+ hurricanes say that Irene was “just wind and rain.”   The whole “my hurricane was bigger than yours” thing kinda reminds me of the age-old tendency by guys to compare “packages”, if you catch my drift.  It’s childish – is it really worth it when you consider the loss of life, the billions in property damage, the months it will take to refurb/rebuild homes and businesses in areas devastated by the “little Cat. 1” Irene, whose wind gusts and storm surges at time were more like a Cat. 2?

There is a valid concern that because New York City, where the mainstream media seemed to focus most of their attention (because no where else seemed to matter, I guess), wasn’t destroyed that people will not listen to the warnings next time around.  Sorry to sound harsh, but that is THEIR problem.  If people want to ignore the warnings and sit out a tornado, hurricane, etc – that’s their issue.  Just because you don’t get burned the first time around makes it ok to chance it the second time around? And if it ends up being catastrophic and these same people end up being hurt or killed, leaving behind distraught family members – well, they were warned.  God only knows how many countless family members weep when they think about loved ones who were lost during a natural disasters past because they thought nothing would happen to them.

Also, on the flip side, think about the reverse situation: If local governments believed forecasters had overhyped a storm, and as a result didn’t urge precautions and evacuations, and the storm ended up being epic in terms of loss of life, etc?  There would be a nationwide outrage and rightly so.

People laugh at us here in NC sometimes because the bread and milk and batters fly off the shelves at the first sign of a snowflake.  But I personally would rather be prepared and not need things than to need things and not be prepared.    Predicting the seriousness of natural disasters is not an exact science (as we all know), but if my local weather guy/gal tells me to prepare and/or evacuate, you bet your a** I’m gonna do it.  My mama didn’t raise a fool.

North Carolina’s coast line/Outer Banks area was hardest hit.  Click here for damage assessments so far.  If you’re a resident of North Carolina affected/impacted by Irene, go here for information on how to get help, find out about road closures, etc.