Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Jack Densmore

We lost a man who dedicated his career to making our farming and forestry more sustainable when Uncle Jack Densmore died October 19.  In addition to being a devoted husband, father and grandfather, he was our link to the Roosevelt days of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and also to an earlier era of homesteading pioneers.  He would have been 100 years old next May. 

Grandpa dropped out of college to homestead 160 acres near International Falls, Minnesota.  His partners in this enterprise sold their quarter sections after acquiring clear title, but Grandpa got attached to his land, and returned several years later with his wife and first two children.  Jack was the oldest.  Three more were born on the homestead.  They built another cabin large enough for the family, and lived by logging, farming and occasionally hunting.  Their cash income came mainly from felling timber on their land and hauling it by horse and wagon to the railroad siding a mile away.  When the deer got into the garden, well, there were fewer carrots for the winter, but more meat.  One winter, the mill closed down and wasn't buying any timber.  They didn't have enough cash to buy bullets, and had to set snares for the snowshoe hares that were abundant that year.  Jack said they seldom did any fishing, but one of the tangible benefits of their church membership was that the preacher fished for all of them, using gill nets which nowadays can be used only by Native Americans.  It was a life which many in my generation aspired to, but few could actually carry out.  My Mom, his middle sister, said that the Laura Ingalls Wilder books seemed to be about their family. 

The family moved back to Iowa in 1927.  Grandma wanted her children to have a good education, and the nearest high school, in International Falls, would probably have required boarding in those days.  They eventually settled on a 60 acre farm that was a little more fertile, with a growing season long enough for corn.  The family was blessed because Grandpa's attractive sister had married a successful banker, but was childless.  During the depression, she took care of the education of many of her nephews and nieces.  Jack had an abiding love of the land instilled during the homesteading days, and graduated from the Yale school of Forestry in 1935, He earned his masters degree from Yale in 1938. 

His first job, as forester for the CCC, was restoring the watershed of Coon Creek, in southwestern Wisconsin.  He worked with Aldo Leopold, Yale class of 1905.  Although farmers were initially very reluctant to sign up for a government program, most of them came around.  Countour strip plowing became the norm on farmlands, with the more sloping ground being dedicated pasture, and the steepest left in forest.  This watershed is still regarded as one of the best examples of watershed restoration.   Brook trout eventually returned to the stream.   Like many more modern foresters, he credited his success to the fact that he got along well with the tree fallers and tractor operators who were the actual boots on the ground.  Eventually, Jack became Regional Forester for the midwest states, with the Soil Conservation Service.  In retirement, he was active in the Wisconsin Woodland Owners' Association.  As family historian and geneologist, he left us a treasure trove of stories of the old days.

A few years back, several of us got together in Minnesota to try to recreate a canoe trip Grandpa took in 1905 to deliver a new stove to their neighbor.  At 92, Jack was a little too old to canoe with us but he came up to show us the area.  We saw where the schoolhouse had been, four miles away, and visited the ruins of the old homestead.  They had 80 acres cleared then, but now it has all come back to forest.  He pointed out the biggest tree, a large white pine with a broken top, and said, "I remember that one as a young sapling." 

He is survived by Betty Densmore, his wife of 71 years, children Ann Densmore, David Densmore (Susan), and Jean John (Ivor), as well as granddaughter Jasmine John and brother Frank Densmore.. 
Here on Earth
A Natural History of the Planet
by Tim Flannery

Flannery's book is a summary of evolutionary science and the various threads of environmental science, starting with Darwin, with an emphasis on the Gaia hypothesis of James Lovelock, whom he regards as the heir to Darwin's colleague Alfred Russel Wallace.  The book is overdue at the library, so this will be brief. 
I have always considered the Gaia hypothesis to be anthropormorphic nonsense.  But as explained by Flannery, it makes sense, as long as you think of the earth as analogous to a living organism, but don't actually classify it as alive or in any way conscious. 
Where I really take issue is his Pollyannaish idea that overpopulation can be dealt with by making the third world more prosperous, while at the same time cutting back on the use of the fossil fuels that have been the basis of our prosperity.  Sadly, the use of extremely dispersed sources of energy such as solar is not going to be economically competitive with very dense sources of energy such as oil until oil becomes a lot more scarce and expensive. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

What we Really Know about Geoengineering

What do we really know about chemtrails (geoengineering by spraying aerosols in the stratosphere)?  A response to the allegations of Francis Mangels. 

Text from Mangels' "What Do We Know, 2/12/2012" is in regular font.  Responses are in bold.  None of the visuals in the original word version of this post will copy.  If anyone wants to send me an email, I will send the original, about 3.5 megabytes. 


§                A lined pond (guzzler) near Redding has about 375,000 ug/l of aluminum. We are concerned that deer and wildlife drink this water. The USFS ignored this.  

This test sample was sludge, a mix of soil and water.  The instructions on the geoengineering watch site say to take the sample from the bottom, and Wigington took this literally, scooping up some mud with the sample.  The soil in this area would be expected to have 7 to 10 percent naturally occurring aluminum, according to USGS professional paper 1270.  Aluminum is the third most abundant element in the earth's crust.  Therefore, a sample with 1% soil and 99% water would have 700,000 to 1,000,000 micrograms per liter of aluminum, assuming that the water originally had a negligible amount of aluminum as stated by Wigington.  Another sample from this pond, taken from the surface water three weeks later, had 99% less aluminum, but they don't mention that sample in the film. 

·       Sugar Pine Canyon Cr. near Redding, CA has over 4,600,000 ug/l of aluminum in two tests, upper and lower areas of the watershed. Fish losing scales, sick looking.

This test is also sludge, apparently taken from Shasta Lake.  (It would be a creek if the lake were down 100 feet).  The second test is described as water, but the similar results indicate that it is very muddy water.  You can't judge these results unless you know how much of the sample is soil and how much is water.  Wigington could easily have done that by also ordering a suspended sediment test, but he chose not to.

Is this one fish or more than one?  There are no Google reports of fish kills or diseases in 2007 in Shasta Lake.  There are many potential causes of morbidity and mortality in individual fish. 

  • Sisson meadow pond water in Mt Shasta has 12,000 mg/kg of aluminum, and the pond is fed by spring water, but exposed to the sky (sample taken at outlet).

This pond was also tested independently in 2009.  Results were just 85 ug/liter aluminum, i.e., less by a factor of 140,000. That result from Basic Lab was reported in the Herald by Paul Boerger.  The pond volume is roughly 10,000 cubic feet, or 283,000 liters.   It is approximately 1/8 acre.  In order to get 12 grams per liter, as Mangels claims, you would have to add 7,470 lb of aluminum, or 13,830 lb of Al2O3.  At that rate of spraying, A KC 135 tanker would empty its entire 83,000 lb payload over less than an acre.  Does that make any sense?

Mangels expressed his test results in Mg/Kg.  This is usually used for solids, not liquids, and indicates that he tested soil, not water.  1.2% aluminum (12,000 mg/kg) is a low value for soils, which average 7.4% aluminum. 

·       Shastice park (in Mt. Shasta City) stream water has 1540 ug/l of aluminum. This is probably debilitating to trout, certainly bad for aquatic insects if permanent.

There are no streams in Shastice Park.  If you can't describe accurately where you actually took the sample, how many other mistakes are you making?

§       National Weather Service plastic rain gage on a 7’ pole in Mt. Shasta shows 500-1010 ug/l aluminum, with highest amounts after a heavy contrail week.

Studies in Ontario, Canada, reported by the Canadian Journal of Earth Science, showed similar values, with an average of 800 ug/l aluminum, a high of 1,200 ug/l and a low of 500 ug/l.   However, the year was 1967, 28 years before before the earliest date chemtrails are alleged to have begun.

§       Snowdrift near McCloud on Mt Shasta at 8000’ has 61,100 ug/l aluminum, 83 of barium, and 383 of strontium. This is much higher than expected. No skiing here.


This sample was taken July 9, 2008, a very dry year, during the worst fire season in memory. The left photo, taken July 8, 2008, shows that the area was about 95% bare ground.  The right photo, taken a little earlier and higher up, illustrates the snow getting pretty dirty.  Mount Shasta is one of the windiest areas in the state.  Obviously, there is a significant amount of dust and grit in the snow, as well as well as particulate matter from the smokiest summer in memory.  Guy Chatelet of the water quality board was quoted as saying that ash from fires could have contributed to the aluminum levels.  Mangels and Rose Taylor could easily have tested what percentage of the sample was soil and ash by ordering a suspended sediment test, but they chose not to, so we need to speculate.   The average of Mangels’ rainfall samples is less than 500 ug/liter, so we could estimate that much was in the sample when it fell as snow, seven miles away.   If the sample were 99.9% water, 0.1% soil, the water had about 500 ug/liter of aluminum when it fell as snow, and the soil was about average at 7.4% aluminum, the entire sample would have 74,500 ug/l of aluminum.  Thus, the presence of a little less than 0.1% soil in the sample could account for nearly all of the aluminum. 

Compare this sample with the water sample from Castle Lake reported in the Herald, which had just 22 ug/l aluminum. 

§       Lab reports during local storms range 0 to 30 ug/l with no spraying to 4000 ug/l of aluminum (series of rains), always correlated positively to jet spraying (national).

§       Samples show a direct relationship to contrail density: More contrails, higher Al, Ba, and Sr, etc. in water.

§       When we get zero readings, it proves our samples are not self-contaminated by dirt, dust, dirty fingers, or whatever. We should never get zero if they were.

Actually, it just proves that there is no dust, dirt etc in the samples with no detectable.  Dust in the air is a reasonable explanation for higher readings, since the higher readings occur in the first heavy rain of the season and in thunderstorms.  Preexisting dust in the rain gauge or other container is also a contributing factor, unless you conscientiously wash the container just before it rains. 

Rainfall samples taken on the north shore of Maui by Dr. Lorrin Pang, Maui District Health Officer, never exceeded 75 ug/liter aluminum, with an average of 21.  The most likely explanation for the lower results is that it rains almost every day there, so that dust in the air is not a significant factor.  Dr. Pang found no correlation with the so-called heavy spray days. 

§       The Mt. Shasta city public water report in 2010 indicates that aluminum, barium, lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, and strontium are not found in city water yet.

§       Outside soils in Mt. Shasta area now have over 1.6 % or 16,000 mg/kg of aluminum. Soil is 13000 mg/kg in aluminum under my house, likely natural.

These values for soil aluminum are anomalously low.  The average soil in the western United States contains 7.4% aluminum, according to USGS Professional Paper 1270, "Element Concentrations in Soils and Other Surficial Materials of the Conterminous United States." Thirteen of the samples taken for this paper were in northeastern California, of which 12 were above average, with close to 10% aluminum.  It is not impossible that 1.3 to 1.6% is representative for Deetz soil, but I would want to see more samples, and it would still not be representative of other soils in the Mount Shasta area. 

How much aluminum would it take to increase the soil percentage from 1.3 to 1.6%?  If evenly distributed in the top six inches of an 8,000 square foot lot, it would be about 1080 lb elemental aluminum, or 2,000 lb aluminum oxide.  To spray at this rate over the entire United States would require 13.2 billion tons.  This would require 325 million flights by tankers with a 40 ton capacity. 

§       Strontium, barium, chrome, and lead are found in Mt. Shasta rocks in a few ppb. “Dust” does not explain high amounts in the rain in wet weather, snow, wet soils.

Actually, Mt. Shasta rocks contain 1,400 parts per million strontium, according to a 1969 paper in the bulletin of the Geological Society of America.  Another study from the Journal of Petrology in 2010 indicates 383 ppm strontium, and 191 ppm barium. 


ü The natural pH of rain or snow by the text and county records is 5.5 pH. When contrails are inactive, under 6 pH is measured. With active, the pH is6.8 to 7.5.

ü The pH can be anywhere in between with moderate contrails. These numbers were simultaneously confirmed between Mt. Shasta, Redding and other cities.

ü The pH is directly and widespread related to contrail pre-storm front spraying. Over 400 tests have been made, and continuing.

However, data from the National Atmospheric Deposition Program, Montague Station, CA76, for the 2010-2011 season do not show any spikes higher than 6.0 ph.  Average is 5.54.  (This table is too large to insert, can be googled or available on request.)

ü Normal acidity for Mt. Shasta area Deetz 125, 126 soils, a habitat of acidic black oak and mixed conifer forest, is 4.5-6.0. Now it is 6.5-7.0 pH in over 400 samples.

ü About ten samples were taken by meter in McCloud, CA of yards, forest, and gardens. They ranged from 7.0 to 8.5, or un-naturally alkaline. pH papers agreed.

ü The Mangels organic garden in Mt. Shasta was 5.5 pH in 2003, tested by a store kit. It is now 6.5 to 7.0, using Hydrion narrow range pH papers, meters, and kits.

ü Garden compost is black oak leaves, acorns, and ponderosa pine needles (acid) mixed with grass. Soil is 10-20 times more alkaline. Sulfur did not lower pH.

ü Coniferous Douglas fir forest north of Redding, CA was tested by USDA Soils specialist Jim Collins at 7.4 pH. He said it should be 5.5 for the soil.

ü The pH increase in compost/soil is likely due to Al(OH)3, Al2O3, Sr(OH)2, SrO, SrCO3, and BaO, Ba(OH)2, BaCO3, etc. More S, B, As, Fe, and Mg are found.

The current edition of the USDA soils handbook says 6.0ph is the normal for Deetz.  The Mount Shasta Community Garden soil was tested by a professional lab in an area that had not been worked, and was 6.01.  This is the only known local ph test done by a professional lab.  Instructions for using the hydrion strips say to use them in solution.  In film clips, Mangels is seen pinching the strips against damp soil.  This would not yield accurate results.    

ü Contrails appeared during Bush years 2000-2008 and continued to increase remarkably during those anti-environment years.

Data?? Evidence??  There are numerous records in scientific literature, newspapers, still photos and cinema for persistent contrails going back to WWII.  Here is one:

ü Garden production declined for acid-soil-loving vegetables; potatoes, tomatoes. Most root crops declined in Deetz soils, but remain OK in Diyou soils.

My plots in the community garden and at home (Deetz soil)  had their best ever tomato and carrot production in 2011.  In the entire state of California, canned tomato production per acre increased 20% between 1997 and 2009, according to USDA statistics. Fresh tomato production increased 2%

ü Breathing and neural problems increase after spraying, esp. elderly and children. In Shasta, Alzheimer’s is now 1 of 8, autism now 1 in 112, asthma is now common.

ü Sufficient evidence indicates correlation with neurological, lung, and bone problems, particularly in children as autism and in adults as Alzheimer’s.

ü Autism greatly increased in children after spraying, from 1/10,000 in the 1990s to 1/100. Alzheimer’s in Redding is now 1 of 8 for men and 1 of 4 for women.

There is a logical fallacy called "argument from ignorance."  i.e. We don't know the explanation for this phenomenon.  Therefore, the explanation must be  _______(fill in the blank)."  I think we can detect some of that in this case:  We don't know why Alzheimer's is increasing.  Therefore, it must be the chemtrails.  We don't know why autism is increasing.  It must be chemtrails. 

You will never win an argument with a chemtrail true believer.  They will always come up with some new argument you haven't heard of before.  Most of these arguments can be easily debunked after a little research.    Even if a particular phenomenon cannot be easily explained, an unexplained phenomenon does not provide affirmative evidence for a secret geoengineering program.  It is simply an unexplained phenomenon. 

ü Five pet dogs refuse to drink rain/snow water, but insist on tap water. Dogs don’t lie, so something must be in the rain they can taste.

This sounds like some highly conditioned lap dogs.  My dog preferred the toilet, but drank whatever was available when he was thirsty.    


ü In 1950s to 1980s, jet contrails were 30 jets long if any. Today 90% of jets leave contrails that last 10-20 hours and disperse, not disappear as then.

This is totally false.  persistent contrails have been observed since world war II, and noted in meteorological literature since at least 1971.  Persistent contrails are formed when the temperature is -40º and relative humidity approaches or exceeds saturation.  This can be confirmed in any meteorology book that discusses contrails, and in the Encyclopedia Brittanica. 

ü Some contrails are multi-colored; often the middle streak shiny blue, brown, dark gray, but the outside two are white.

Contrails are ice crystals which can form rainbows just like other forms of water when the light is right.  

ü Counting all flights north over N. CA, the FAA indicates 4 flights per day. We count over 30 contrails one way, over 100 just before weather fronts, very strange schedule.

Four flights per day?????  There are about 100 commercial flights per day passing within 50 miles of Mount Shasta, according to FlightAware, which is based on FAA data.  Contrails can be seen for 50 miles. 

             Commercial jets do not ten-tuple flight schedules before a weather front. Heavy spraying days are often just before weather fronts, therefore military.

The number of commercial flights does not change.  You just don't see them as well on days with low humidity in the upper atmosphere and no contrails.  By the way, do you think the military is so stupid that they would deliberately spray this material just before a storm, when it would be washed prematurely down to earth?

ü Contrail jets sometimes fly at night, but most active dawn to dusk. Commercial jets do not usually leave persistent contrails, but military jets always do.

Persistent contrails are caused by high humidity in the upper atmosphere.  On some days, all jets have persistent contrails.  Other days none of them have any contrails.  You can check the flight number of any plane in real time through Flightaware. 

ü Some contrails appear to have particulate matter streaming down out of them, much like fireworks displays, leaving trails of smoke as the particles descend.

Like this?  This is from “An Illustrated Guide to Clouds, published 1972.

From the Peterson/Audubon A Field Guide to the Atmosphere, published 1981: "other times they [contrails] develop a series of pendules from which streamers of precipitation are observed to fall." Additional photos on pp 132 and 150.

ü Many photographs show jet trails crossing at right angles, curves, grids or circles. I saw tic-tac-toe inside circles. No east/west commercial flights over N. CA exist.   ü Some contrails converge to a point, often over Mt. Shasta, then re-align, cross, curve, or radiate (asterisk-like) out from the mountain. This is no commercial flight pattern.

How does this prove geoengineering?  If I were running such a program I would want to distribute the material evenly, in rows or grids.  I would fire the pilots if they were wasting material and air time in this way.

ü Before 2000, skies were typically a deep blue. Now skies have typically whitish haze or gray-brown blue, and the old true blue is unusual due to jet pollutants.

Evidence??   Most of us have Kodachrome memories.  Kodachrome itself showed deeper blues than the real world. 

 . . .  Many jets have two engines, but three trails!  . . . Two-engine 737 and four-engine jets leave 3 or 5 line contrails, with a nozzle in the jet’s mid-belly. Military cargo jets leave persistent contrails, most odd numbers.

When atmospheric conditions are right, the turbulence from wings and stabilizers can form contrails, as shown by this F22 aircraft.  This accounts for odd numbers of contrails.

ü Solar collection panel efficiency remarkably decreases with contrail spraying, robbing investors of their just share of solar electric power up to 50%.

Todd Cory, a local solar electric contractor, states that he has seen nothing other than the normal .5 to 1% / year standard, solar module degradation on the many systems he works with.

ü A weather lady remarked on TV 12 on 11/24/10 that “Contrails are really spraying so we know a change in the weather is coming.” People noticed and she was censured.

Channel 12 (KHSL Chico) does not have any weather ladies.  The head weatherman is named Kris Kuyper.  He assured me in an email that he had not said that.  Actually, persistent contrails are a good predictor of a storm coming, so if a weather lady on some other station did say that, it would make sense, except that "spraying" is a poor choice of words that could be taken out of context.  From the Peterson/Audubon "Field Guide to the Atmosphere, ". . . contrail information is a valuable adjunct to forecasting the weather."

ü Weathermen report consistent upper atmosphere conditions, but one day has 50 trails and the next day none, can one believe all jets were cancelled? 100 jets north per day?

Upper atmosphere forecasts are based on weather balloons launched about 200 miles apart at 12 hour intervals, which can drift up to 100 miles in the wind.  The forecasts will have a few errors.

ü We watched two jets fly at a 10x15x3 miles high thunderhead near Mt. Shasta, melt a 1-mile blue hole in it, and fly on through it to the AFB in Klamath Falls. No rain.

This is an uncommon, but well-known phenomenon called a distrail, caused when ice crystals remove water from the cloud droplets instead of from water vapor.  It sometimes, but not always produces precipitation.  Google "Swiss Cheese Clouds Produced by Aircraft over Texas."  That will lead to actual research on the subject. 


This paper doesn't address every single point raised by Mangels, but it should address enough that readers can start to notice a pattern.  Some of Mangels' assertions are repetitive, and some are harder to research.  The points referring to consequences of geoengineering are irrelevant if it isn't really happening.  Here are a few other things to consider: 

·          There is not one known scientist with an advanced degree in atmospheric science, atmospheric chemistry, atmospheric physics or climatology, who takes the chemtrails conspiracy theory seriously.  Mangels, a wildlife biologist, is their leading authority. 

·          There is no evidence that geoengineering trails would look like a contrail if they existed.  Chaff particles, the glass fibers coated with aluminum that the military does use to avoid radar, are about 1,000 times larger than the theoretical proposed geoengineering particles.  But chaff is not visible to the naked eye.  (Chaff could not be used to affect climate because the particles are too heavy, and always fall to the earth in 10 hours or less.) 

·          The research on geoengineering says that the particles would have to be deposited in the stratosphere, from 60,000 to 80,000 feet.  At that elevation, there is not enough water vapor to form contrails. 

·          A plane does not yet exist to spread geoengineering particles at 60,000 to 80,000 feet.  Most cargo planes have a ceiling of 40,000.  The F15 fighter plane can operate at higher altitudes, but it can not carry a heavy payload.  A geoengineering cost analysis done in 2011 by McClellan and others indicates that designing and building a new plane would be the first and largest single expense.  (The 1990 patent indicates geoengineering could be done at 33,000 feet, but all of the more recent studies say it would have to be much higher, in the stratosphere.)

·          What about that 1990 patent?  About 500,000 patents are filed each year in the US.  One doesn't have to prove that the invention would really work.  Many, possibly most of the ideas patented are never produced.  But it benefits the patentee, regardless.  Registering a patent is much easier than getting an article published in a peer-reviewed journal.  In industry, a patent is a good argument for getting a raise.  In academe, it helps make the case for tenure.  And it is potentially a way to hit the lottery.  Remember the Blackberry case?  A company called NPT existed solely to hold and license the patents of a couple of elderly inventors who had never made any money.  The company never produced anything.  Its staff was all lawyers.  They sent a letter to the company manufacturing the Blackberry smart phone, alleging patent infringement, and offering to license the patent.  Blackberry replied that the patents were actually ideas that had been in the public domain, and they weren't going to give them any money.  That was a mistake.  Blackberry lost.  Each time they appealed, the judgment went up, until finally it cost them $615 million!  Unfortunately, the inventor died before the case was settled.  I hope he had kids. 

·          So, does this patent explain how to manufacture a wafer 5 microns in diameter and 25 nanometers in thickness?  (That is about 1/20th the diameter of a human hair.)  No, not really.  Does the patent provide a method of spreading this material in the stratosphere?  No, again.  Does the patent provide a way to neutralize the Van Der Waals forces which cause nanoparticles to agglomerate, lose their reflectivity and fall prematurely to earth?  Not exactly.  They still haven't solved that.  The patent does repeat the physics and math of how much material would be needed for a given climate impact.  I doubt that it is really a valid patent, but if I were running a geoengineering program, I would make the current holders an offer to avoid litigation.

·       The government is very poor at keeping secrets.  Only a few people had access to the Pentagon Papers.  One of them, Daniel Ellsberg, blew the whistle.  Wikileeks hacked the government computers, but found nothing on chemtrails.  Do you suppose there was nothing to find?  We couldn't even keep the secret of the atomic bomb during the patriotic fervor of WWII.  A few individuals thought it was their moral duty to check the capitalist system by giving it to the soviets.  Decades later, Sakharov underwent imprisonment and torture after communicating with western scientists about nuclear risks.   There would have to be thousands of people involved in a secret chemtrails/geoengineering program, including scientists, technicians, assembly workers, drivers, loaders and pilots.  They all have to breathe the same air we do and live on the same planet.  Whistle blowing would be inevitable.  Governments can be evil, but people are usually good in these situations. 

          Why am I getting involved in this?  I see too many people locally who are wrapped up in this far-fetched conspiracy to the extent that it distracts them from getting involved in real environmental issues. 

·       Honeybees are dying. 

·       The Klamath River is in bad shape. 

·       The country is drifting toward a disastrous war with Iran. 

·       Mercury is a real pollutant.  (We have to be careful eating fish now.) 

·       World oil production has been on a plateau since late in 2004, but we are barely taking baby steps to reduce our oil dependence. 

·       Climate change is real.  Although geoengineering by aerial spraying is just the figment of overactive imaginations at this time, it could be seen as the lesser evil in 20 to 50 years if we don't do something to slow down climate change. 

So I am no longer going to just nod and raise my eyebrows when people talk about chemtrails.  It is time to argue for science and reason.

Good sites to go for further information:  Contrail Science, especially the "How to Debunk Chemtrails" thread; Metabunk; New Mexicans for Science and Reason. 

Steve Funk

April 12, 2012

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Climate, Capitalism and Human Greed

In "The Nation," Naomi Klein's article, "Capitalism versus the Climate," portrays corporations and white males as the villains in climate change, and outlines a utopian socialist vision of the future.  It's not hard to agree with part of her assessment.  Climate change mitigation will require a lot less consumption and a lot less human reproduction.   But human greed, human desire for comfort, stimulation and stuff, is innate, and not a product of corporations.

For Klein's socialist vision, here are a few inconvenient truths:

1. Nearly all greenhouse emissions are caused directly or indirectly by consumers. Those emitted by corporations are caused by the production of stuff consumers want. You can't change people's behavior by going after corporations.

2. A carbon tax, the one most essential element of a climate policy, would be regressive, not redistributional. It will be hugely unpopular, even if you put the Koch brothers and their ilk before a firing squad. But the most effective way to get people to consume less of a substance is to make it more expensive.

3. You can't put Humpty Dumpty back together in the Horn of Africa. The population is over carrying capacity, and people will continue dying. Do you really want to import millions of radical muslim refugees and potential terrorists who practice clitoral mutilation?

4. Immigration restriction would reduce both the consumption and the reproduction of the potential immigrants, as well as reducing the social costs of assimilation. Allowing the US population to increase to 500 million through immigration would effectively negate any carbon savings we could otherwise accomplish in this country.

5. NIMBYism is a sacred cow of the green left, and a serious barrier to green investment. Whether the project is solar, wind, nuclear, high speed rail, smart grid transmission corridors or smart meters that the lunatic fringe is sure will give them cancer, we can't afford to delay with years of litigation. We must accept that a few low income neighborhoods will be displaced, a few tortoises killed, and some scenic vistas altered.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Speculation or Shortage?

The Redding Record-Searchlight carried a column by Bob Williams titled "Who will stop the oil speculators?"  He claims that some analysts say up to 60% of the price of gasoline is due to speculation.  Unfortunately, this figure is way off.  It costs close to $80 per barrel to produce oil in the new fields being developed now.  Sure, there are a lot of older fields that can produce oil for $20 to $40 per barrel.  But production from these fields is declining by 8% per year, according to the International Energy Association.  If the price of oil went down to $40 per barrel for an extended time, no new fields would be developed and we would soon have a real oil shortage, driving the price right back up. 
As I write, the price of oil on the WTI index is $105.70, and $122.86 on the Brent index.  The price has gone down about $7 per barrel since the weekend.  The difference between that and a reasonable $80 price can be attributed about 30% to actual supply reductions due to the Libyan war, and 70% to fears (or speculation) that the situation in the middle east will get worse, not better. A speculator is someone making a bet on the future price of oil.  He can bet that the price will go up, or bet that it will go down.  When he bets that the price will go up, there is usually a good reason.   However, speculators do not control the price of delivered oil.  Williams mentions the peak futures price of $146 in 2008.  However, the actual delivered price never got much over $110 per barrel.  The speculators who bet on $146 per barrel lost a lot of money. 

That said, the SEC or CFTA could reduce the volatility of the oil market by substantially increasing the margin, or down payment, that speculators have to put up to buy futures, according to energy analyst  Robert Rapier

My big concern is that the media, by featuring columns like that of Williams, is ignoring the reality of peak oil.  Oil discoveries have lagged behind consumption for the past 20 years.  Production from mature oil fields such as Saudi Arabia's Ghawar, Mexico's Cantarrel, and Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, is declining by 8 percent per year.  The ANWR field, if developed, contains only enough oil to supply the world for 4 months.  Production from Canadian tar sands may eventually increase from the current level of 1.5 million barrels per day to 3-4 million barrels per day over the next 10 years.  But this would only offset one year's decline in production from current oil fields.  The Bakken shale field in North Dakota is a very limited resource consisting of small pockets, although it currently produces about 2.5% of US consumption.  The green river shale, which technically is not oil but kerogen, will never be produced commercially because the energy requirements to produce it exceed the energy  gained once it is transformed into useful liquids.  There was an experimental program called "Market Basket" to conduct small underground nuclear explosions to produce shale oil.  Unfortunately, the resulting products were far too radioactive. 

I need to edit this post with more links, but gardening season is beginning, and it will have to wait.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Maine Prosecutor is a Female Mike Nifong

From The Spearhead:

There are often times that we shake our heads at injustices in the world. Sometimes it seems to be all we can do. And with so many problems in modern life, and their often systemic, intractable nature, it can be difficult to choose what battles to fight and when. Because of this we have increasingly become a nation of head shakers, concerned about an array of injustices but often not knowing where to turn or what to do to solve them.

With that in mind we have an opportunity, right here and now, to face down and fight against a terrible injustice, an absolute evil, going on in the state of Maine.

Vladek Filler is about to face trial for a second time on the charge of raping his wife, Ligia. He was brought to trial the first time by Bar Harbor prosecutor Mary N. Kellett, who has sought to imprison Mr. Filler despite the fact that she knows that there is no physical evidence that he ever committed a crime, and despite the fact that his accuser Ligia Filler, has proven to be a violent criminal, a liar who has been caught in false allegations against her husband, and a physical and emotional abuser of her husband and children with a history of severe psychiatric problems.

Ligia Filler has been referred to as “certifiable” by sheriff’s department personnel who she repeatedly threatened to kill.
Mary Kellett’s professional conduct in this case breeches virtually all canons of legal ethics where it concerns prosecutors, from intentionally misleading jurors to avoiding pretrial discovery to actually asking a law enforcement officer to refuse to comply with a valid subpoena in order to help her conceal exculpatory evidence.

All of this, and many other similar cases, have been conducted under the supervision of Bar Harbor, Maine, District Attorney Carletta Bassano, leading to the almost unavoidable conclusion that the problem is not just one rogue prosecutor, but one in which District Attorney Bassano is an enabling accomplice.
Additionally, all of these events have transpired without so much as raising an eyebrow in local news media.

Given the complicity of her supervisor and the lack of attention by local media, Kellet appears emboldened to continue this reign of terror on the life of Vladek Filler, his children, and other innocents who reside in the community Kellett is supposed to protect.

After having Filler’s first conviction overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct by the Maine Supreme Court, she is coming after him again, putting him through another trial on the same slipshod evidence.

Kellett is not pursuing justice; she is making a mockery of it in ways that border on criminality. She is out of control and no one with authority over her is doing anything about it.
And given the hubris demonstrated by her actions, it is clear she feels free to proceed with impunity.

We cannot, must not, allow this to happen.

This is a battle worth choosing to fight, and A Voice for Men is not the only place that is happening. Glenn Sacks at Father’s and Families, the nation’s leader in father’s rights advocacy is speaking out about this story. You can also read about it at The False Rape Society. This article will also be running at, with thanks to our good friend Mr. W.F. Price.

The organization Stop Abusive and Violent Environments(S.A.V.E.) has taken the even more significant action, sending a Complaint for the Disbarment of Prosecutor Mary Kellett to the Maine Board of Overseers for the Bar.

They have also authored a letter to Paul LePage, the Governor of Maine, referencing the disbarment complaint and making an appeal for an intervention on Mary Kellett on behalf of Vladek Filler and the people of Maine.

And you can do your part.

Write Governor LePage here and respectfully insist on an investigation to the practices of Mary N. Kellett. The message can be as simple as. “For the sake of justice, please assure that Mary Kellett is relieved of her prosecutorial duties and disbarred from the practice of law.”

Write the Board of overseers for the Bar here, and insist that they respond to the allegations against Kellett with an investigation.
Lastly, try to get the media involved. Bill Trotter does crime reporting for the Bangor Daily News. You can write email him at or phone him at 207-460-6318 and ask him to consider investigating this story.

What is happening in Maine is only a microcosm of what is happening across the western world. So regardless of where you live, your insistent message to one or all of these people can help force them to consider looking in to Kellett’s activities. And make no mistake about it, Kellett’s actions, if unchecked, are a forecast of own future. We know this is a witch hunt, but because most are ignoring it, it will spread. If we take this silently, we have lost in the most tragic and disgraceful of ways.

This is a fight worth fighting, people. If you are reading this, you could be another Vladek Filler, or someone who cares about him. Your children could be hurt the same way his children have And your freedom, even if seemingly secure today, cannot be assured for tomorrow. As long as the likes of Mary Kellett are allowed to practice predatory prosecutions against innocent human beings no one is safe.
And If she is allowed to build a career on doing this, there will be nothing to stop the same from happening where you live.

It is your future, and your move.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Light bulbs again

I got the carriage post light with the electric eye and motion sensor installed today.  I looked finally at the adjustment of the garage sensor light (a long ladder climb) and discovered that it was set at maximum sensitivity.  Maybe dialing it down will reduce the time it comes on during snow.