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December 09, 2008

Climate Change Chic

Earth2 Stubborn thing, truth. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, you can resent it, ignore it, deride or distort it—but there it is. Truth, as Al Gore eagerly lectures, is an inconvenience to people content with their cherished beliefs. Interesting how some of the most inconvenient truths are those that keep cropping up about global warming. Read on...

December 08, 2008

Daily roundup

December 03, 2008

Daily roundup

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The_day_the_earth_stood_still I still remember being scared out of my wits as a kid when I first saw The Day the Earth Stood Still on television, so I'm looking forward to seeing the remake when it comes out December 12.

What about you? Is this a film you are planning to see?

(Image © 20th Century Fox)

December 02, 2008

Daily roundup

December 01, 2008

Daily roundup

November 26, 2008

One for the ’DUH’ Files

"A Japanese zoo puzzled by its lack of success in getting two polar bears to mate has discovered the reason -- both are female."

November 25, 2008

When Care Bears Attack!

Artpandas I'm a bad person. No, make that a terrible person. Really. I insist.

Why? I find the following story hilarious:

BEIJING (AP) -- A college student in southern China was bitten by a panda after he broke into the bear's enclosure hoping to get a hug, state media and a park employee said Saturday . . .

"Yang Yang was so cute and I just wanted to cuddle him. I didn't expect he would attack," the 20-year-old student, surnamed Liu, said in a local hospital, according to the official Xinhua News Agency . . .

Last year, a panda at the Beijing Zoo attacked a teenager, ripping chunks out of his legs, when he jumped a barrier while the bear was being fed.

The same panda was in the news in 2006 when he bit a drunk tourist who broke into his enclosure and tried to hug him while he was asleep. The tourist retaliated by biting the bear in the back.

What part of "bear" don't these people understand? Pandas may be stupid unfit creatures well-deserving of extinction, but they are still bears (albeit really inept bears) with teeth and claws to match. They bite and they don't give hugs.

Hugs? What kind of dipstick expects hugs from a wild animal? If you insist on getting emotional validation from wild animals, here are some suggestions:

  • Go up to a tiger, say, in the Sundarbans, and ask it to bounce on its tail for you. Tell it that watching its cousin Tigger made you feel all sorts of warm inside. You will likely feel all sorts of warm on the outside shortly thereafter. Then things will go cold.
  • The next time you need engineering advice, ask a coyote. They're really smart and they seem to have a substantial line of credit with ACME.
  • On your next visit to a national park, pack a picnic basket for a bear. Make sure the bear can smell it. Then pick up its cub and call it "Boo Boo." Make sure momma bear sees you.

(Image © AFP/Getty Images via CNN)

November 24, 2008

Daily roundup

My grandchildren versus field mice

Field_mouse Peter Singer writes in Newsweek that as we move towards a "nonspeciesist" world, we will go from requiring factory farmers to keep chickens and pigs in crates large enough to allow them to "stand up, lie down, turn around and fully extend their limbs," to relying on scientists to "grow meat in vats," to turning over large swatches of land to animals. In order to accomplish this last goal, human would have to have fewer children.

So--my children will have to sacrifice some of my grandchildren to ensure there's plenty of room for field mice?

Singer also suggest that we may be "ethically bound to prevent animals from killing other animals." But "to contemplate interfering with the workings of ecosystems would be presumptuous, at least for now," Singer notes.

I'm trying to imagine a world where animals don't kill and eat one another. Will we rope off lions from chimpanzees? After we do that, how will we feed them? Because if we take away their food sources, we will be ethically bound to provide food for them. Moreover, It doesn't seem to occur to Singer that demanding that humans bear fewer children is also "interfering with the working of eco-systems."

I can accept the idea that factory farms ought to treat animals more humanely. But why, in all the passionate arguments about equal rights for animals, are human fetuses always left out in the cold?

(Image © ScienceDaily)

November 04, 2008

Why Liberal Evangelicals Should Love McCain

When social conservatives, particularly evangelicals, click on John McCain’s website and read what it says under “Americans of Faith,” they see a lot of things to like: a decades-long pro-life voting record, a commitment to protecting traditional marriage, and a promise to pick judges who won’t make up the law as they go along.

But what about liberal evangelicals? Check out their websites—such as Sojourners—and you’ll find their top priorities are not abortion, or fighting same-sex “marriage,” but poverty-fighting and social justice.

Liberal evangelicals who think McCain is against social justice need to look at his website more thoroughly and consider that certain topics they might have ignored are actually very relevant to social justice. For instance, he's in favor of funding scholarships, charter schools, and tutoring for poor students stuck in bad public schools.

Social justice, anyone?

McCain also expresses concern about the 1.2 million businesses owned and operated by African Americans, and the two million Latino-owed businesses. Small businesses have, McCain notes, helped millions of Americans out of poverty, and “the first consideration we should have when debating tax policy is how we can help those companies grow and increase the prosperity of the millions of American families whose economic security depends on their success.”

Economic justice, in other words.

Continue reading "Why Liberal Evangelicals Should Love McCain" »

October 22, 2008

. . . And the sun is going to fry us all

SunIf the tigers don't get us first.

Note to LeeQuod: It's not personal, I swear. Roberto and CLH just keep finding these things and sending them out.

The good news is, I'm working on some Fun Friday ideas, so at least we can all go out cheerfully.

October 17, 2008

Daily roundup

The Coming Change

According to the Wall Street Journal, this is what we have to look forward to if the liberals take the Presidency and increase their numbers in Congress. 

What should we be asking our presidential candidates?

Debate_80x60 In Newsweek, George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center poses twenty "moral questions" on matters of both foreign and domestic policy. Take a look and see if you agree that these are the right questions to ask -- or if there are any that you would add or subtract.

(Image © Newsweek)

October 14, 2008

More niche marketing of the Bible

Green_site_book_04 First we had the Poverty & Justice Bible, now The Green Bible -- with verses about the creation in green, of course.

Thanks to reader Leah Greene (no pun intended).

(Image © HarperOne)

October 06, 2008

My pet penguin

Penguin When I was around age 8, my parents talked of moving to Alaska, to which I agreed on one condition: that I could have a pet penguin. Luckily for them, we didn't make that move or I would have been one unhappy second grader, learning that penguins are at the South Pole, not the North.

Now, it seems my childhood dreams of cuddling up with Chilly Willy could come true. An unusual number of young penguins floated north to Brazil this year. The fact that any young penguins ever wind up on the shores of South America was news to me. Maybe their ice caps are melting, or if Roberto's right, maybe they're the advance scouts, sent to spy out the land they're poised to take over soon.

(Image © International Penguin Conservation Work Group)

October 03, 2008

A Day without a Mexican?

According to a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center, "fewer people are trying to enter the United States illegally and that the number living here illegally has declined" and "for the first time in nearly a decade, the number of people entering the country illegally was lower than the number arriving through legal channels."

The New York Times story offers up some speculation as to why this may have happened: "Border Patrol officials and groups advocating tougher immigration controls attributed the trend to crackdowns that include record numbers of workplace raids and deportations across the United States."

Other possible reasons are not as comforting, even if you're not a Mexican: "a weakening economy and rising rates of unemployment in the construction and service industries" make the risks inherent to an illegal crossing less acceptable and/or attractive. That kind of suggests that illegal aliens may be the proverbial canaries in the American economic coal mine, no? Something to think about.

What neither Pew nor the experts interviewed by the Times suggested is my favorite possible explanation: the prospect of another Maunder Minimum. As Dave the Swede (not his real name) and Point commenter extraordinaire "labrialumn" can tell you, in the common Little Ice Age, the traffic will be flowing south, baby! As labrialumn put it

We could even be looking at Volkswanderung. I wonder if the Mexican government will have an open border policy *the other way*?

Only if you say por favor. Is it possible that the Mexican government is warning its citizens that it's about to get a lot colder in El Norte? This story says quizás.

In the meantime, there's this possible crisis to worry about.

September 29, 2008

It’s a bird -- it’s a plane -- no, it’s Fusion Man!

Fusion_man Maybe you've had one of those dreams where you are flying, gliding high above the earth, looking down at the world below as if it were an anthill. For forty-nine-year-old Swiss Aviator Yves Rossy, it's no dream. Rossy used a simple jetpack strapped to his back to fly across the English Channel. Jumping from a plane more than 8,000 feet off the ground, Rossy ignited his own kerosene-powered jet pack to make the 22-mile journey.

Who knows? Maybe soon we won't be arguing over SUVs vs.hybrids. Maybe we'll be debating the fuel-efficiency benefits of one jet pack vs. another.

It reminds me of something I read recently in Environmental Stewardship, a new book put out by the Acton Institute, which has been an incredibly insightful read. In the section called "A Comprehensive Torah-Based Approach to the Environment," the author writes about two extremes in approaching the population panic. One extreme is

to regard no sacrifice today as too much to impose upon ourselves to protect all future generations until the end of time. Had earlier generations followed this perverted logic, they might well have restricted the use of whale oil. One can imagine the decrees emanating from zealous eighteenth-century environmental activists, banning the use of oil lamps past nine o'clock at night to ensure that sufficient whale oil would remain to light the homes of the twenty-first century. In so doing, what they may well have effected is limiting the educational possibilities of the early scientists who studied and experimented late into the night to discover petroleum and its many uses. The paradox revealed by the Torah is that far from solving any problem, following either extreme actually aggravates the underlying situation.

Of course, the other extreme is to ignore the problem and say there is no problem.

Continue reading "It’s a bird -- it’s a plane -- no, it’s Fusion Man!" »

September 25, 2008

Out, Damn’d Spot, Out I Say!

250pxantarcticadomecsnow As Dave the Swede (not his real name) has told you, I'm fascinated by sun spots -- or more precisely, the lack of them.

Apparently, I'm not the only person so fascinated.The sun's recent quiescence prompted NASA to hold a press conference on the state of the sun and the lack of sunspots in what is called Solar Cycle 24.

At the conference, Dr. Nancy Crooker of Boston University cited the emergence of what is designated sunspot 1002 as evidence that a "Maunder Minimum is not likely.”

Only two small problems: one, number 1002 is apparently kaput. Like its Cycle 24 brethren, it was small and very short-lived.

Two, Maunder Minimum! Did she say "Maunder Minimum?" Did she say that that feeble little sunspot was the only assurance we have that we're not entering another Maunder Minimum? If that's true, we are so hosed! I mean the kind of hosed that will make us look back on the Wall Street financial crisis as the "good old days."

Continue reading "Out, Damn’d Spot, Out I Say!" »

September 18, 2008

Word of the Day: ’Locavore’

Lifestyle6 Wikipedia definition: "Someone who eats food grown or produced locally or within a certain radius such as 50, 100, or 150 miles."

Should you join their ranks?

September 16, 2008

Daily roundup

September 15, 2008

Daily roundup

Left Hatred for Palin ... Not Earth’s Temperature ... Rising

Although the sheer numbers of Palin attacks transmitted via both the MSM and the Nutroots are something to behold, every once in a while, one of a special quality comes along that simply must be ridiculed.

And thus we come to Professor Wendy Doniger's gripefest at the WaPo.  If her complaint about Governor Palin's "pretense that she is a woman" doesn't induce a condescending "PFFFFFTTT!!!", then this should:

I'd love to know precisely how the Good Lord conveyed to her so clearly his intention to destroy the environment (global warming, she thinks, is not the work of human hands, so it must be the work of You Know Who), the lives of untold thousands of soldiers and innocent bystanders (He is apparently rooting for this, too, she says), and, incidentally, a lot of polar bears and wolves...


Continue reading "Left Hatred for Palin ... Not Earth’s Temperature ... Rising" »

September 12, 2008

Civic Education

Award_votesign I just attended my daughter's middle-school back-to-school night, and one thing in particular stood out to me: Many of the teachers would be working the presidential election into their classes.

Her civics class, of course, would be talking about the electoral process. They plan to hold a mock election as well, if possible. Her science class will take a look at both major parties' platforms on the environment, and after the election "make predictions" on what those policies could do to the planet in the long run. And even her language arts class includes the theme of "change" as it relates to the nation -- we know how loaded a term that is in this election (another grade will look at change on the personal level, while a higher grade will focus on the notion on a global level).

All that to say, more than any other year of late, fellow parents, this is a critical one to get involved in your children's education and talk pointedly to them about what's going on in our country this fall -- to talk about the issues being debated, the process of electing a president and other elected officials, and the importance of exercising our right to vote.

They will hear a lot of different viewpoints bouncing around in their classrooms -- particularly, if they're in a public school -- and rather than tell them to "tune out," I'd encourage you to help them decipher the views and the motivations behind them. Teach them why Christians believe what they believe about things like the sanctity of human life and the importance of caring for the poor. What a great year for worldview education. And definitely plan to bring them with you to the voting booth if you can. It's an empowering image that will stick in their memories.

(Image © Johnson County, Kansas, Election Office)

September 08, 2008

The upside of high gas prices

Pedicab Well, at least for businesses in cities.

New York City’s bike messengers remain a fixture on the streets, having weathered the advent of the fax machine and, of course, e-mail. Now, with the cost of gas pummeling courier companies that rely on motorized vehicles, a few enterprising cyclists are using the opportunity to generate more business.

A small but growing number of pedal-powered messengers are outfitting their bicycles and, in some cases, tricycles, with boxes and flatbeds on which they can load hundreds of pounds of cargo.

“Eighty percent of the jobs done in a van I can do,” said Hodari Depalm, the owner of Checker Courier, a cargo messenger company in Manhattan that says it can move up to 200 pounds of documents by bike. Mr. Depalm said his two-man messenger business had increased by 20 percent within the last year.

Gregg Zukowski has had similar success. A couple of years ago, Mr. Zukowski, the owner of Revolution Rickshaws, a fleet of pedicabs in Manhattan, replaced the passenger seats on a few of his tricycles with flatbeds and lockable cargo boxes capable of carrying up to 550 pounds of goods. He started using the tricycles to make deliveries for bakeries and catering companies and was even hired last month to help a man move into a one-bedroom apartment.

“We’ve joked about doing funerals,” Mr. Zukowski said. Mr. Zukowski’s business is catching on swiftly enough that he hopes to have as many as 30 of his tricycles on the road in the next 18 months.

Read more. (HT Reveries)

(Image © Time Out New York)

September 05, 2008

Daily roundup

August 27, 2008

Daily roundup

August 19, 2008

Daily roundup

August 15, 2008

Daily roundup

August 14, 2008

16 Days of Atrocity

The other day Anne suggested a great idea I wish she had suggested last week, and I wish I had thought of! But we’re going to go ahead and follow through on the suggestion, and include installments for the past week.

To keep the excitement over Phelps and company on the U.S. Olympic team (much deserved admiration, definitely) from drowning out those in China and elsewhere who cannot share the joy because of the communist regime’s evil acts, we’re going to post an “Atrocity of the Day” throughout the remainder of the Olympic season. And if you want some ideas of what to do, see BreakPoint’s information and resource page on the Beijing Olympics.

So, to catch up, here are five atrocities committed by China over which we should pray and protest—to catch us up to today.

  1. For August 8-10: Giving money and weapons to the Sudanese government, thus being complicit in the Darfur genocide.
  2. For August 11: Persecuting Christians and cracking down on house churches.
  3. For August 12: Committing extreme acts of polluting the environment and trying to cover it up.
  4. For August 13: Putting on a deceptive show of excellence and normalcy, among its performers and athletes. (Becky, here’s the answer to your question about what happens to China’s athletes.)
  5. For August 14: Attacking protesters and prohibiting free speech.

Until tomorrow, other ways China has fallen short of Olympic goals.

August 13, 2008

Global Warming Made Me Do It

200pxfrench_horn_front Even bad French horn playing is caused by global warming . . .

August 11, 2008

Daily roundup

A Planet Devoid of Life

The “save the planet” mantra is seeping into  British Medical Journal editorials. In the name of greenhouse emissions, two physicians are suggesting that British parents shouldn’t have more than two children. 

I can see the writing on the wall: Soon, those dear doctors will being writing in influential journals admonishing couples to have only one child, and like China, they’ll soon be brandishing their “green” sword and ordering people to stop having children altogether.

August 08, 2008

’A Robot Teaches Us How to Be Human’

Walle Alex Wainer has a piece up at the BreakPoint site about Wall-E and the various reactions to it:

Now, then, what’s the fuss about? If you’ve seen the trailers for the film, you can see there’s an environmental element in the plot and, for some viewers, that’s all they can see. One writer posting at National Review’s blog The Corner disparaged the film, calling it “Godforsaken dreck.” Conservative movie critic John Nolte, writing as his Web-persona “Dirty Harry,” posted repeatedly about a line in which Earth’s president/CEO exhorts society to “stay the course,” perceiving it as a slap at President Bush.

These and other complaints about the film’s alleged eco-sermonizing have their counterparts in liberal writers who praise the film for educating the young about the coming worldwide catastrophe wrought by lazy and pampered consumers. The uber-liberal Frank Rich wrote in his New York Times column that Wall-E’s triumph was how it beckons to children in the audience. “At the end,” he wrote,” they clapped their small hands. What they applauded was not some banal cartoonish triumph of good over evil but a gentle, if unmistakable, summons to remake the world before time runs out.”

Angry right-wing reactionism and left-wing hysteria both missed the picture that kids probably got just fine by themselves—Wall-E is about turning around and loving the person next to you.

Continue reading "’A Robot Teaches Us How to Be Human’" »

August 07, 2008

A Different ’Top Ten’ List

033saveearth2menstshirt No, this one's not from Letterman. Want to know practical ideas on how to conserve and help the environment without losing your mind? Read this.

(Image © The Pixel Garden Blog)

August 06, 2008

My dirty secret

I have a shameful, shocking confession to make: I thought this was funny.

You may fire when ready.

August 01, 2008

Daily roundup

July 30, 2008

Daily roundup

July 23, 2008

Daily roundup

July 17, 2008

Daily roundup

July 15, 2008

Talk about Your Gas Tax!

From the U.K. Telegraph:

The price of meat, milk and other British farm products will have to rise to reflect the environmental cost of producing them, a government study has concluded.  

A Cabinet Office review of food policy suggests that farmers and consumers should pay extra for farm goods that generate large amounts of greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide.  

The proposal, the latest in a string of "green" plans that threaten to increase the cost of living, drew accusations that ministers were imposing taxes and regulations in the name of environmental policy.  

The paper also attacks supermarkets' "buy-one-get-one-free" discounts, saying they contribute to households wasting more than four million tons of food a year.

Continue reading "Talk about Your Gas Tax!" »

Enjoying God’s Handiwork

Diane My husband, daughter, and I just returned from a week's vacation in Florida where we spent most of our time scuba diving in the ocean. Since we just took up diving a couple of years ago, we have been delighted with our newfound ability to enjoy firsthand a part of God's creation that we had previously known only through books and films. There's nothing quite like swimming through schools of fish that number in the thousands, watching them turn in unison, the sunlight shifting and shimmering off their bodies as they move. Somehow, even the 3-D IMAX movies can't capture the beauty of such a sight. 

My family is now hooked on the ocean. Where do you go to enjoy God's handiwork?

(Image © Diane Singer)

July 10, 2008

Climate Change Delusion

Water Are you so frightened by global warming that you can barely drink a glass of water? That's what happened to one poor Australian boy, who was convinced that the mere act of slaking his thirst would lead to the deaths of millions. This mental disorder has been labeled "Climate Change Delusion" by Australian psychiatrists.

Maybe the lad should check in frequently with Watts Up. He'd see that global warming may indeed be a delusion -- that the trend is a cooler planet, not a warmer one. But global cooling brings its own set of problems, doesn't it?

July 09, 2008

Daily roundup

July 08, 2008

Daily roundup

Taking the Steam out of Global Warming

Earth2 What to do about the impending global meltdown?

Under the Creation Mandate, efforts to conserve natural resources, optimize energy use and efficiency, recycle, and reduce consumption and consumerism are examples of faithful stewardship. Problem is, say global warming alarmists, such voluntary measures are not sufficient to avert our cataclysmic inferno. Maybe that’s why An Inconvenient Truth pitchman, Al Gore, has not seen fit to reduce the energy consumption of his own residence, which is using 10 percent more energy than a year ago, enough to supply the energy needs of nearly 20 average homes.

What is needed, according to the climate change party line, are governmentally enforced controls like the Kyoto Treaty. But whether or not forced restrictions such as Kyoto are demanded by principles of Christian stewardship really depends on the answers to six questions:

Is the earth warming?
Is warming an overall bad thing?
Is human activity the primary cause?
Would forced standards sufficiently reduce global temperatures?
Would they be cost-effective?
Would forced standards not create more—or more severe—problems than they solve?

Click here for the "answers."

July 07, 2008

Daily roundup

July 02, 2008

Christian Worldview and Economics

I know. I know. The word economics lacks sizzle. Oprah Winfrey, global warming, Expelled! and Richard Dawkins are far more sizzling topics. However, economic issues are having a huge impact on our country and figure prominently in this upcoming election. 

Enter the Acton Institute. Acton recently sponsored a conference with approximately 30 scholars from around the world who sought to integrate economics, market philosophy and politics with a Christian worldview.

I did not attend the conference, but Acton is generously making available 34 free audio lectures. Centurions will recognize some of the names like Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse and Dr. Jay Richards. Here are just a few of the lectures that caught my eye and are bound for my iPod.

    * Wealth and Poverty in Scripture - Dr. Jonathan Witt
    * The Limits of Markets: Law and Moral Culture - Fr. Peter Laird
    * Christianity and the Idea of Limited Government - Michael Miller
    * Myths About the Market - Dr. Jay Richards
    * Why Keynesianism Failed - Dr. Victor Claar
    * A Theology of Stewardship - Dr. Stephen Grabill
    * Market Economics and the Family - Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse
    * A Biblical Approach to the Environment - Dr. Jay Richards
    * A Theology of Market Capitalism - Lord Brian Griffiths
    * Liberation Theology - Rev. Robert A. Sirico
    * Business as a Moral Enterprise - John Beckett

(HT: Stand To Reason )

June 26, 2008

Cool Idea

Skyscrapers Here's something in the works for people who like changing views. Architect David Fisher is planning the first rotating skyscrapers. He's using wind technology to help with energy cost. 

(Image © Times Online)