Monday, April 28, 2014


Watching the Shows You're Not

I remember the disastrous Showtime series The Untold History of the United States by washed-up director Oliver Stone, at least the parts I managed to stay awake during. Worse than the unwarranted, indeed, nonsensical historical revisionism that reduced the documentary's credibility to zero, was the show's ultimate TV sin--it was boring. It was so boring, hardly anyone actually watched it. I believe only a few dozen Americans actually managed to see all of all of the episodes.

So, hard on the heels of that fiasco comes Years of Living Dangerously, which is supposed to be about global warming Climate Change, but which, so far, has been largely about deforestation in Borneo and a drought in Texas. The Texas drought is clearly part of the natural pattern of southwestern American droughts caused by Pacific ocean heating and cooling events which we call La Nina and El Nino. The show's celebrity spokesmen say, without any evidentiary support offered, that the Texas drought is worse because of Climate Change. Probably not, but at least there is the hypothetical connection of the drought to the greenhouse gas. In Borneo, however, there is not a single connection between land use development there, cutting down the jungle to grow giant plantations of giant oil palm trees, and the theory that CO2 controls Earth's weather. Not one connection.

But last episode, with Arnold Schwarzenegger kibitzing with a pod of forest fire fighters, went over the line, as delineated here. Below is a chart of forest fires by number. It's only for 60 some sites in the southwest, but it certainly doesn't show any growth in the number of fires. I'll talk about severity below.

The main reason big, crown forest fires have been on the rise in the late 20th Century is because we had what turned out to be a bad policy of putting out every forest fire as soon as we could. This caused a huge build up in the low vegetation which, when the natural, good for the ecology, grass and wild fires come, that low fuel allows the little fires to climb up into the crown of the trees and destroy them. We've modified that policy, thank God.

There's no increase in the number of huge fires, despite the propaganda of Showtime's latest unwatched series. The Peshtigo/Great Michigan Fires in 1871, for example, were huge, 3.7 million combined acres burned, and killed at least 1500 people and possibly close to twice that. The Great Fire of 1910 burned 3 million acres as did the Miramichi fire in 1845. Some very large fires have had no recent coverage (that is, they are not in Wikipedia) but existed just the same. An example would be the 1898 fire in Northwestern Colorado where forest fires covered perhaps 1/4 of the state and fires raged along the Gore range for a hundred miles.

So, on top of being nearly a fact free polemic, Years of Living Dangerously is deadly dull, stultifyingly dull, duller than dishwater. No wonder reruns of the poorly animated cartoon Bob's Burgers is beating it in the ratings. I like Don Cheadle a lot, but he's dull too. Thomas Friedman, columnist for the NYT, is possibly the dullest man ever to reach television screens. He might have the power actually to bore you to death. Schwarzenegger is an engaging personality at least but he's spouting propaganda. "Dese are de vurst fires since 2007." Wow. That long, huh?

I can see why the climate change alarmists have had to go to the extreme weather theme; Gaia has failed and refused to get hotter, thus making all the climate models merely wrong guesses and knocking out the alarmists' only so called evidence. But it is a huge mistake for them to switch the alarmism to the theme of ever increasing extreme weather events. We do tend to forget past extreme weather events, even those in our own lifetimes. Because of the ever decreasing purchasing power of the dollar, each normal storm can cause ever higher damage measured in dollars. So the new emphasis on extreme weather could have worked. Except for actual history. The simple truth is that over the past 100 years, probably, and over the past 50, certainly, not a single category of extreme weather events has been ever increasing (exponential growth) and very few have even increased over the shorter time period. It's something anyone can look up. It's a flat lie that the weather is getting ever more extreme.

And they wonder why Climate Change has dropped to 14th of 15 things we worry about (race relations, encouragingly, was dead last). The alarmists also can't understand why no one is watching their high production value, $20 million, star studded documentary.

I know why.

UPDATE: Last night was not as boring as bathetic. Why do the alarmist think that talking to a grieving widow enhances their scientific data, theories and arguments? Also, history dealt the alarmist a bad hand. They spent nearly the whole show cultivated a slight change of opinion in Republican Rep. Michael Grimm from Staten Island. He went from minor skeptic to minor believer. But the news this morning is that he was arrested for some sort of corruption. Oh well. At least his heart is pure regarding global warming. Apart from the perfectly natural, not that powerful late season hurricane Sandy, came this nonsense from a pretty grating Chris Hayes (a Warmie true believer if ever there was one). He said that anthropogenic global warming had caused the sea level around Staten Island to rise a foot. What? Here is the tidal gauge for the Battery, just a few sea miles from Staten Island. It goes back to before the Civil War.

In a hundred years, the sea level at NYC rises .91 of a foot. Not even a full foot. There is no evidence of acceleration of that rate. Would the producers of the increasingly faux documentary have us believe that all of the rise in sea level there since 1890 has been because of anthropogenic global warming. All of it? Nobody says that. Correction: No reputable scientist says that. Here is a look at a longer period of sea level rise.

This graph is in meters not millimeters, and it shows a huge rise (400 feet) in the oceans' surface level by the beginning of the current interglacial and then a continual rise (at a much reduced rate) ever since then. So the slow rate rise for the past 10,000 years is natural; none of it appears to be man-made. So it's a lie to say the rise of a foot over the past 120 years in New York Harbor was caused by our burning fossil fuels. Why do the climate change alarmists have to lie to us?

Then, on Christmas Island in the Pacific on the equator, the cute, coral scientist said that her analysis of fossil coral going back some 6 to 7 thousand years indicated that the normal yin/yang of El Nino/La Nina Pacific ocean warming and cooling was significantly worse in the later 20th Century, worse than it had been at anytime in the thousands of years before. OK, that's interesting; that's something which could be evidence that the little bit of warming our CO2 causes might have amplified effect (because the Pacific warming cooling phases--called ENSO--does control the weather in just the opposite way that CO2 does not). But here is what about 3 minutes of googling found:

The massive [Christmas Island] study started in 2005 and analyzed over 15,000 samples to add 650 years of monthly-resolved information about ENSO variations across nearly 7,000 years.
The researchers have detected a modest, but statistically-significant increase in twentieth-century ENSO strength that could potentially be due to man-made climate change. The coral reconstruction, however, revealed an even higher level of ENSO strength 400 years ago, though it was of a shorter duration than its twentieth-century counterpart. (Emphasis added).

Oh, so it's not just the 20th C. which shows a "modest" increase in ENSO strength, there was an even stronger ENSO period (albeit of shorter duration) in the early 1600s when there was no anthropogenic global warming and no fossil fuel burning. Hmm. Funny that they left that out of the show. Someone might get the wrong impression.


I saw that. Is there a bad Ramirez political cartoon?
No. He nails it, every time. I've never seen a "bad" cartoon from him.

The man is the H.L. Mencken of political cartooning.

I imagine that lefties would probably have a really hard time understanding what we find so humorous in his work....

Their loss.

PS: You watch 'way too much TV. Waste of valuable time.
My TV habits are actually wasting less time than say even 3 years ago. Progress?
Dump the TV.

Now, THAT would be progress.


Hey, this just went up on PowerLine:
I'm a huge Stephen Hunter fan and I had pre-ordered that book from Amazon months ago. Still haven't read it yet although I snuk it to the top of the pile.
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