GeologicalScienceBlog - subjects include Geology, Climatology, Environmental Science, NASCAR, Beer, Property Rights, Random Thoughts, & Politics from a Christian Conservative/Libertarian/pragmatist viewpoint. As a Dad & Grandad, I am concerned about the overgrowth of government at the expense of freedom. Background - two degrees in Geology (BS '77, MS '90), started studying Geology beginning Senior Year of high school (1971 - 1972) <68>

Friday, March 31, 2006

Ye Shall Know Her by the Company She Keeps

[I think by now, all of the nation knows what a nutcase Cynthia McKinney is. But I have to vent anyway.]

This isn't the first incident that Cynthia has had with police officers, security guards, etc., in and around Washington, DC. She seems to think that all the world should recognize her. To my understanding, she wasn't wearing the ID pin that members of Congress wear. To most normal people, such a pin would be a mark of achievement and honor, but Cynthia knows or cares nothing of such things as protocol, tradition, seniority, decorum, grace, or even simple manners. If someone of class, such as Dr. Condoleeza Rice had a run-in with the same officer, then something would be clearly wrong.

A few days ago, the phrase "the nut doesn't fall far from the tree" was used in relation to Charlie Sheen and Martin Sheen. It is just as apt a statement when applied to Cynthia. A few years back, her father, Billy McKinney, while serving in the Ga. Legislature, got into an argument with another politician in the Georgia Capitol and afterwards, he threatened to "cut someone". And When Cynthia lost in the 2002 primary, he blamed it on "the Jews". It couldn't be that people were fed up with Cynthia, it had to be "the Jews".

When she was new to Congress, one day she found herself sharing an elevator with Congressman Henry Hyde. At that point, he may not have yet recognized her. By her words, she "sized him up" and decided that she could take him, because "she was a street fighter".

Why would a Capitol Hill police officer risk his career by assaulting a member of Congress? If she had seriously been abused, why was she smiling so at her news conference? That she chose Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover for moral support speaks volumes as to her attitudes.

And to think we almost got rid of her. In 2002, Denise Majette defeated her in the primary. Denise was much more of a lady and she seemed to be more professional in her demeanor. But after only one term in the U.S. House, Denise seemed to think she was up for running for U.S. Senate. OK, how many one-term House members are up to the task of ginning up name recognition throughout the state, while running for Senate? And because Denise just had to run for Senate, Cynthia recaptured her House Seat. It was deja vu all over again. And that is why I will despise Denise Majette for a long time, because her greed for higher office allowed Cynthia McKinney back into the Capitol.

The same officer that Cynthia is attempting to skewer is part of the first line of defense, in case of an armed attack against Congress. That that particular officer might someday step in front of a bullet to protect her probably never crossed her mind.
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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Just 4 Fun - Some Misc. Lists

Awright. Pam got me started on this diversion with the anagram.

Some of these may have gone around before in a previous incarnation. I will tag victims later.

List 1: The car/truck you have owned the longest and the car/truck you have owned the shortest time.

Longest: 1976 Jeep 4 x 4 pickup - 10 and 1/2 years. Had many adventures, including the Terlingua adventure blogged about a few weeks ago.
Shortest: 1971 Datsun 510 - about 8 months. Was a fun little car, but first owner didn't take care of it, had to have the engine rebuilt and then the electrical system started to crap out.

List 2: Five concerts that you enjoyed (in no particular order).

Kansas - 1978
Jethro Tull - 1979
Stevie Wonder - 1986
Gordon Lightfoot - early 1980s
Arlo Guthrie & Shenandoah - early 1980s

List 3: Four concerts that you regretted attending.

ZZ Top - early - mid-1970s - too loud
Blue Oyster Cult - about 1980 - too loud, too violent
Eric Clapton - 1979 - lackluster performance
Moody Blues - mid 1970s - too dependent on fancy studio tricks at that time.

List 4: First driving trip (say more than 500 miles) without your parents.

1974, went cross-country (18 states) with my friend Dave, after our Sophomore year at Georgia Southern. Traveled in a 1968 Pontiac Catalina wagon (a real leadsled - 2 tons of fun), covered about 8800 miles in 4 weeks (or was it 6 weeks?). Saw Yellowstone, Snake River Gorge, had a close encounter with a bear in Yosemite (or was it Sequoyah?), saw Great Salt Lake, Grand Canyon (for the second time), Carlsbad Caverns (second time). Had too much Coors Beer in Sacramento while visiting Dave's female cousins. Might have gotten lucky if not for the overindulgence. Oh well, such is life. Sometimes moderation is a lesson that takes a while to learn. Kept thinking about "Easy Rider" while traveling and camping in Texas. If someone had told me that 2 and 1/2 years later I would be living in El Paso, I would have thought they were crazy.

Maybe in 2014 we will do a 40th anniversary trip, if we are both still alive and not senile. Heh.
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For a Change-of-Pace, I Has Been Tagged...

by Pam at BlogmeisterUSA for an anagram.

So here are a few of the choice selections from mine (I substituted "six" for "6"). Having an "x" in the name limits some of the anagrams, yielding a number of Roman Numerical suffixes.

PICKAX JOSE - Will this lead to the ongoing adventures of an aging field geologist?
CPA JOKES XI - Anybody up for CPA jokes? Maybe after the taxes are done.
JAKE SIC POX - Is this a new way to put a hex on someone?
JAPE SICK OX - This sounds like an outcast from an American Indian tribe.
EPA JOCK SIX - Is this someone's CB handle?
JAI PECKS OX - The ox was not pleased.
JAI PC SEX OK - I dunno, how much fun is PC sex?
AXIS PC JOKE - Is this a polite WWII joke about Nazis?
PA JOCK SEX I - What is this, a college course about the sex lives of Pennsylvania athletes?
AX PC JOE SKI - OK, so you used too much Viagra and now you say you are going to use what for a ski?
JACKS PIE OX - Jack's traveling pie service was very popular around the remote mining camps.

I decided to do Rush Limbaugh's anagram. Here are a few of them...

A IBM HUGS HURL - Rush does prefer Apple computers.
BAG HI LUSH RUM - I don't know if Rush likes rum or not.
BAH SMUG HURL I - A typical reaction when Rush listens too long to Ted Kennedy.

OK, I think that is enough. I best stop before I say too much (but it may already be too late).

For those that I tag, here is the link. I will tattle on the recipients later.
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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Another Good Column on Intelligent Design

The above-linked article, by Wellesley grad and former stockbroker Lynn Barton, was posted on WND on Saturday. It seems that the mere mention of Intelligent Design drives some folks to distraction.

From the column:

"...While they all lose their collective minds about it, warning darkly that the fundamentalists are coming, support for I.D. theory will continue to grow because it is good science. I want to explain why, so that when you hear the intelligentsia loudly denouncing it, you, too, can have a good laugh. Even better, you will understand why intelligent design theory is going to become a major force for good in the battle to rescue our collapsing culture – because the way we think about origins affects the way we think about nearly everything."

As a quick reminder, because Lib/Leftists, MSM types, and some Republicans get it wrong, here are some considerations, as I think the founders of the ID philosophy intended, as presented by Ms. Barton:

"...But I.D. theory is a science-driven enterprise. It is not a deduction from Scripture, but an inference from observation."

Opponents and those that do no understand will claim that as opposed to the Darwinian Theory of Evolution, Intelligent Design is not testable. But then neither is Macro-evolution, which is the change of an organism from one species to another, i.e., when mutations are significant enough to manifest themselves as observable changes in morphology.

Intelligent Design is not "Creationism" (with a big "C"). Unlike the Young Earth/Scientific Creation philosophy, ID does not address the time issue, i.e., it does not infer a 10,000 year Earth. It does not preclude the process of evolution nor the fossil record, but it does raise some questions as to "How it began." and how changes take place. To ask these questions does not mean we are ready to discard Darwin's theory, but we need to be honest about those aspects of life that cannot be sufficiently answered by the theory alone.

As reminded by Ms. Barton, even Charles Darwin accepted that there were weaknesses in his theory:

"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."

And to accept Darwinian evolution as the only plausible reason for the fossil record is also a manner of faith. That is why evolution supporters get in such a tizzy when someone raises some doubts.
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Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Pleistocene Epoch "Ice Ages"

Currently, as defined by geologists, we live in the Cenozoic Era, Quaternary Period, and Holocene Epoch (since the last 10,000 years or so).

The previous epoch was the Pleistocene, which lasted from approximately 2 million years ago to 10,000 years ago. Before the Pleistocene Epoch was the Pliocene Epoch, which lasted from approximately 5 million to 2 million years ago.

Most people have a vision of the Pleistocene climate as being a single large Ice Age, when in reality there were several periods of glacial advance, separated by shorter interglacial periods, some of which were as warm or warmer than today's climate. The primary, attributed reasons for the fluctuations were variations in Earth orbit, Earth axial tilt, and variations in solar output. Some of these fluctuations exaggerate each other, while others moderate each other. Random events such as large volcanic eruptions may play a role, also. Evidence suggests that the global cooling began in the latter part of the Pliocene.

Some authors suggest that the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama (above Sea Level) during the Late Pliocene played a role in the cooling of the climate. Prior to the emergence of the isthmus, there was a narrow seaway that allowed the movement of warm waters from the Caribbean into the east Pacific. The closure of this seaway altered oceanic currents, while opening a land bridge that allowed the migrations of mammals between North and South America.

This series of slides is from a lecture on glaciers. Proceed forward to cover the Pleistocene. There have been previous periods of global glaciation, but those were before humans. Oxygen-18 isotopic data is one type of proxy data used to reconstruct paleoclimate history, including the Pleistocene data listed here in Wikipedia.

From youngest to oldest, as identified in North America, the Pleistocene glacial stages were:

Wisconsinan Glacial Stage
Sangamonian Interglacial
Illinoian Glacial Stage
Yarmouthian Interglacial
Kansan Glacial Stage
Aftonian Interglacial
Nebraskan Glacial Stage
Pre-Nebraskan

Slide 37 shows reconstructed temperature curves for the last billion years and the last 2 million in more detail. Slide 38 shows the maximum extent of the Pleistocene continental ice sheets. Slide 39 shows estimated sea level for the last 20,000 years. These particular slides are from the University of Portland.

After each glacial stage, the interglacial represented a period of natural global warming, a period of rebound. Since the end of the Wisconsinan Glacial Stage approximately 10,000 years ago, there have been several alternating shorter periods of warming and cooling.

Previous ice ages include:

A poorly-documented, possible ice age from 2.7 to 2.3 billion years ago, during the early Proterozoic Era.
The earliest, well-documented ice age was during the late Proterozoic Era, from approximately 800 million to 600 million years ago.
Late Ordovician Period 460 million to 430 million years ago.
Late Carboniferous Period to Early Permian Period 350 million years to 260 million years ago.

From this above-linked Wikipedia article:

..."The present ice age began 40 million years ago with the growth of an ice sheet in Antarctica, but intensified during the Pleistocene (starting around 3 million years ago) with the spread of ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere. Since then, the world has seen cycles of glaciation with ice sheets advancing and retreating on 40,000 and 100,000 year time scales. The last glacial period ended about 10,000 years ago."

This Wikipedia link shows temperature trends during the last 5 million years.

The Pleistocene Epoch is the recent geologic past. If there were repeated periods of natural global cooling and global warming then, why are people so convinced that any and all unusual changes and variations are triggered by humans?

[This is an ongoing post, it will be updated as time permits in the next few days.]
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Friday, March 24, 2006

When a Tree Falls in the Forest

The setting is a humid, temperate forest. During a thunderstorm, a burst of wind overcomes the rotted roots of a dead tree and the tree falls to the ground. It is a normal process, repeated countless times each year.

The decay that began with the dying of the standing tree proceeds in earnest once the tree is on the ground. With good rainfall, within a few months, the rotting log becomes its own micro-ecosystem, inhabited by bacteria, termites, millipedes, centipedes, roaches, ants, beetles,... the warmer the climate, the more diversity there is. And the more activity there is. Each of these organisms produces carbon dioxide by its respiration and the longer the warm season, the more respiration there is.

The term for this is "nutrient cycling", the process by which the rotting tree becomes part of the humus layer of the forest soil, thereby nourishing other plants and the invertebrates and vertebrates dependent on this continual cycle. In tropical rain forests, the almost daily rainfalls and the warm temperature lead to rapid nutrient cycling, which again produces carbon dioxide (wood rotting is an organic process).

The "Greenies" say we Americans need to control our carbon dioxide emissions. How do we stop the carbon dioxide emissions from every rotting log? How do we control the carbon dioxide emissions from hot springs in the Mammoth Lakes area of eastern California or at Yellowstone? How do we stop the carbon dioxide emissions from Mount St. Helens and the other active Cascade Mt. volcanoes? How do we stop the carbon dioxide emissions from the 64 active volcanoes in Alaska? How do we control emissions from Mt. Etna? Or any of the other world-wide volcanoes?

If the oceans are warming, likely due to increased solar activity, they will release more of their dissolved carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, per the "Coca Cola Principle"? [As a liquid warms, it loses some of its ability to dissolve (or store) carbon dioxide.] Given that the oceans cover 71% of the Earth, how will we control carbon dioxide emissions from the oceans?

Aside from local or regional climate influences due to deforestation and the Urban Heat Island, the ongoing weather events and climatic variations are probably natural events. Whatever happens now has probably happened before.
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Thursday, March 23, 2006

More Damned Climate Lies

Today Rush Limbaugh talked about a new ad campaign by the Ad Council and the Environmental Defense Fund and their offspring - FightGlobalWarming.com. The ad opens with children saying "tick, tick" with a background of dramatic music. It is a new scare campaign by the socialist "Greenies". This Kansas City Star link has the story.

When you visit the various Global Warming websites, they never tell you that the vast majority of the Greenhouse Effect is due to Water Vapor (humidity) and Water Droplets/Ice Crystals (clouds). There is no political gain in that revelation.

I have been using the figure of 390 ppm for atmospheric carbon dioxide. One of the websites says it is 377 ppm. The difference ain't worth arguing about. What they don't tell you how small that content is. I have repeatedly stated that this is the equivalent of 4 parts out of 10,000. In other words, if all atmospheric contents were converted to 10,000 pennies, carbon dioxide would account for 4 pennies. That is enough to produce a small influence, but not enough to control the climate.

We have been rebounding (warming) from the Little Ice Age climatic event since the middle 1800s or so. We have rebounded from other climatic cold periods before, especially the multiple Ice Ages that occurred during the Pleistocene Epoch (2 million years to 12,000 years ago).

When the climate warms naturally, there are plausible scientific reasons for atmospheric carbon dioxide to increase. When the climate warms, bacteria and animals have longer active cycles, thus there is more respiration. When the climate warms, the oceans release more of their stored carbon dioxide and in turn, the plants respond by becoming more vibrant and healthy, the providing more food for animals, which reproduce more rapidly, yielding more carbon dioxide. Natural sources of carbon dioxide vastly outweigh human contributions. But there is no political gain in telling you that.

When they talk about the recent Hurricane Seasons being the worst since 1970, they are lying by omission, as the last active hurricane cycle was from about 1940 to 1970 (which coincided with a short period of global cooling). The quiet period began about 1970 and ended in the mid 1990s or so. And we may be in an active cycle for the next 20 years or so, judging by past cycles.

If we humans are contributing to global warming in any meaningful manner, it is probably due to deforestation and the growth of Urban Heat Islands. There just ain't enough carbon dioxide to produce any dramatic changes.

It was born a political animal and it remains such.

I just noticed that ABC is planning a two night special on Global Warming entitled "Hot Zone" or something like that. I think it is next Sunday & Monday Night. Geez Louise! They must be trying to one-up each other.
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Sunday, March 19, 2006

New Information on Climate Variations

The Greenhouse Effect (largely controlled by Water Vapor and Water Droplets) does not produce heat, but traps heat rising from the Earth's surface and the oceans.

Solar energy is stored in natural and man-made materials and is re-radiated at night. The Greenhouse Effect provides an insulating blanket that traps some of the radiated heat.

From this WND.com article:

"University of Ottawa science professor Jan Veizer says high-energy cosmic rays, originating from stars across the expanse of space, are hitting Earth's atmosphere in ways that cause the planet to cycle through warm and cold periods."

The article continues:

"In 2004, the British science journal "Proceedings of the Royal Society" published a new theory claiming cosmic rays "unambiguously" affect Earth's climate, in particular, by forming clouds. Current research at Florida Tech and the University of Florida is aimed at determining whether cosmic rays trigger the release of lightning from charged thunderclouds. In 2003, NASA and University of Kansas researchers claimed to have traced the effect of cosmic radiation on climate and organisms across millions of years of fossil history.

In explaining the mechanism for a "celestial climate driver," the professor says cosmic rays hit gas molecules in the atmosphere, forming the nucleus of what becomes water vapor. The resulting clouds reflect more of the sun's energy back into space and leave Earth the cooler for it.

During times when more cosmic rays are striking the atmosphere, Earth is cooler. A dearth of rays results in climatic warming."
[Fewer cosmic rays during a period of increased solar activity will result in an exaggerated warming effect.]

The article continues:

"Veizer argues that Earth has cycled between warm and cold periods many times as our solar system has traveled through different parts of the galaxy. Younger stars give off most of the rays striking Earth's atmosphere.

Likewise, the Earth's own magnetic field blocks some cosmic rays. Veizer claims the 200,000-year-old reconstructed record for changes in that field is closely correlated with periods of cool climate and more cosmic rays slipping through. [Some recent research has suggested that the magnetic field is weakening, couple this with a natural cooling period predicted by a Russian astronomer and our children may be praying for a little global warming.]

"Empirical observations on all time scales point to celestial phenomena as the principal driver of climate," Veizer wrote in his paper, "with greenhouse gases acting only as potential amplifiers.""

On other related issues in the same article:

"Other scientists are taking issue with the doomsday scenarios being proclaimed by many global-warming alarmists. As WorldNetDaily reported, two Philippine scientists criticized Al Gore for claiming global warming was going to cause flooding of Manila's harbor. They pointed out climate change would only cause sea levels to rise by millimeters while Manila's problems were being caused by rapid subsidence of the land , a local problem created by extraction of groundwater, not greenhouse gases." (Emphasis added.)
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The "Falling Man" and Three Years of War

Before going further, you need to pop over to the above-linked March 16 post at Blogmeister USA for the sake of context.

If you haven't, the photo was taken by Richard Drew of the AP. If you saw the photo, you know the context, if not, the subject was one of the law-abiding citizens that jumped or fell from one of the Twin Towers on 9/11. Who was he? What was his name? In Pam's post, there is a speculation of one possibility. In the link to Michelle Malkin's post, there are other possible identities.

We may never know who he was, but we know who he was, in another context. He was one of almost 3,000 people that were minding their own business, earning their daily bread on 9/11. His death was one of the ones celebrated by "Palestinians", Iraqis, etc. on that day. He was one of Ward Churchill's "Little Eichmanns". His death was one that is considered boring by Woody Allen.

It is why we have been in Iraq for three years, to demonstrate a willingness to go after terror sponsors. If Europe had been more supportive, we would have had more success. If our nation's "loud voices" (those heard overseas) had been more unified, we would have had more success.

Fewer Americans and Iraqis would have died if there had been more unity of purpose. Not blind faith in President Bush, but enough wisdom to think it through, to keep the context in mind.

We will never reach a trustworthy peace agreement with the Wahhabist/Islamist mindset of Islam, all we can do is make it clear to them that their terror methods cannot and will not prevail. What we can do is make it clear to the bulk of the Muslim world that terror is not sustainable. Many of those people simply want to be "on the winning side", i.e., if they think we will quit, they know there will be "hell-to-pay" after we leave.

Many of those Muslims on the sidelines, covering their backsides by appearing to cheer for the terrorists, have been innoculated with decades of hate America/hate Israel, "it's all their fault" bile. If we and Iraqis and Afghanis can establish a lasting system whereby people can engage in free elections year after year, others in surrounding Muslim nations will take notice. They will take notice of the rising standards of living. As more and more of them have positive interactions with average Americans, they will change their attitudes.

The Left is too shallow to see this, but often you have to have war in order to have a lasting peace later. We had to crush Adolf Hitler and face down Joseph Stalin to have (relative) lasting peace in Europe. We had to crush Imperial Japan in order for it to rebuild to become an economic power. We had to face down Mao Tse Tung, et al, to keep relative peace in Asia. We don't know what the future holds as far was China goes, but they will be watching our actions in Iraq and elsewhere for signs of weakness.

This fight isn't just for us, it is for the Western Ideals of freedom and all that goes with it.
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Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It is not too much of a big deal to me, as I don't claim much Irish heritage. I don't care much for Irish food or whisky, but I am partial to ales, porters, and stouts.

So this evening, I may enjoy a glass or two of stout. But if so, it will as likely to be relaxing at the end of a "mixed bag" week (as most weeks are).

The Irish probably wouldn't want to claim me anyway. One of my distant Irish Protestant ancestors had to leave Ireland sometime in the 1800s after he had a dispute with a local priest, which led to the priest being skewered with a pitchfork. This story was told to me at a family reunion (of my dad's paternal grandmother's family) in the late 1960s.

My Mom's family was largely descended from Scotland and England, my Dad's side was descended from German immigrants that arrived in the Colonies in 1748, so I guess I am just an American mutt (a point that few will contest!).

So we will just celebrate St. Patrick's bringing of Christianity to Ireland and leave it at that.
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On Aging Ungracefully

We have grown used to seeing aging Lib/Leftists metamorphose into Moonbattery. In some cases it is a short trip from their former persona to their present persona. For instance some, like Lyndon LaRouche, have always been there.

But it is distressing when people, once seen as sources of rational Conservative/Libertarian thought, make that one-way trip, i.e., as the cheese slowly slips off their cracker. Some examples, in my opinion, include Pat Buchanan, Lew Rockwell, Gordon Prather, and Paul Craig Roberts. Sometimes I think Michael Savage goes a little too far in his assessments of administration intentions. Yes, there are some conspiracies, but not everything is a conspiracy.

This morning's Ben Johnson article in FrontPageMag relates the downhill slide of Paul Craig Roberts, whose pedigree, according to the article includes being: "...a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury” under Ronald Reagan."

As referenced in the Ben Johnson article, in a column posted on LewRockwell.com, Paul Craig Roberts wrote of a conspiracy of the Bush Administration to detonate a small nuclear device, perhaps at the periphery of an American port, as a pretext to invade Iran or perhaps nuke Tehran. It is not unusual for Leftist Moonbats to suggest that the President wants to engage in such activities, but for the most part, they don't go as far as to suggest that he would set off a nuke on U.S. soil (or just offshore) in order to justify the attack on Iran. But then some Leftists did suggest that 9/11 was an inside job, perhaps not at first, but after they had had time to "think" about it.

I am not naive, but I think that President Bush understands that any war or any pre-emptive first-strike carries the risk of getting out of control. I don't think that President Bush wanted to invade Iraq, but it was necessary as part of the prosecution of the broader War on Terror. I don't think he wanted to invade Afghanistan, but we had to.

If oil is a secondary or tertiary reason, it is not "oil for us", but rather to maintain the flow to other industrialized countries and to world markets, in order to maintain the greater economic order. Worldwide economic stability benefits the entire world, not just the United States.

That President Clinton may have engaged in some "Wag the Dog" activities overseas to distract from domestic politics, is not a great stretch of credibility. But I am not willing to consider that he might have had the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City blown up as a pretext for cracking down on Right Wing groups, militias, etc. (I did hear that speculation - see below P.C. Roberts statement). He may have thought about it after-the-fact, but I don't think even he would have gone that far.

I know some may invoke the memory of the Gulf of Tonkin incident questions and the results of the Congressional action (gee, that was with a Democrat President and Congress), but that was "on the other side of the world".

Again, I am not being naive (in my opinion), but I believe that beyond some Bush (and other Presidents) "Wag the Dog" incidents, there are just some things that an American President won't do. I don't believe we have fallen that far, yet. To swerve towards conspiracy theory, I suppose it is possible that there might be elements in the government that might do something like that without the President's knowledge, I just pray that is not the case. If that is the case, it is not just a Republican issue, but a cancer that cuts across party lines. From the Ben Johnson article: Paul Craig Roberts offered the claim that the OKC bombing "may have been the consequence of an FBI “sting operation that went awry.”"

A problem with determining the veracity of some of these claims is that it can take decades before people so associated come forward to tell the story. Sometimes it is out of fear, sometimes it is because they were in denial of any wrongdoing, but when faced with their own mortality, they decide to "come clean". Or sometimes it might be, after seeing other cohorts in the media limelight, someone else may decide "I better get in on this while the public is still buying books about this incident".

In the meantime, as long as Paul Craig Roberts, et al, choose to shout the same lines as the Leftist Moonbats, how are we supposed to take them as anything other than Moonbats?
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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hay Chewed - Climate Posts June 14 to September 20, 2005

The first compilation of climate-related posts is linked here.

It Is Our Responsibility - September 20, 2005
Warming Up From the Last Ice Age - September 15, 2005
Human-Induced Global Warming - September 14, 2005
Where is Hurricane Ophelia Going? - September 10, 2005
Are The Storms Getting Worse? - September 7, 2005
The Commons Blog... - September 7, 2005
Lindsey Graham is Taking RINO Lessons - August 27, 2005
What Causes Natural Climate Variations - August 26, 2005
Summertime Heat Does Not Equal Global Warming - July 27, 2005
Reversing the Flawed Climate Change Paradigm - July 17, 2005
Who's Afraid of Greenhouse Gases? - July 4, 2005
The Debate's Over...Globe is Warming - June 24, 2005
They Are Still At It... - June 22, 2005
More on Global Warming Science vs. Politics - June 15, 2005

As long as this blog exists and the MSM & Libs keep misrepresenting climate issues for political gain, I will keep writing about it from a scientist's viewpoint.
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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet...

are have been the subject of a couple of recent MSNBC & NBC weekend news reports (I haven't been able to find the link, will keep trying). It is not unusual for ice sheets to fluctuate. Greenland got its name from Viking explorers that discovered and colonized it during the Medieval Warm Period. With the onset of the Little Ice Age climate event, around 1350 AD, some (or most) of the Viking settlements were abandoned.

Anyway, the gist of the reports were that NASA research shows that the edges of the Greenland Ice Sheet are thinning and retreating inland, while the center of the ice sheet are getting thicker. The same seems to be true of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, thinning around the edges, getting thicker inland.

The trend of continental ice sheets thinning at the edges suggests warming oceanic waters. The primary causes of oceanic warming would be increased solar activity. Undersea volcanic activity might be a secondary cause, but that would probably be difficult to measure and assess. The MSM reports always mentions rising carbon dioxide and methane levels in the atmosphere. Both of these are Greenhouse Gases, but they constitute very small components of the Greenhouse Effect. As blogged/ranted about here often, Water Vapor (humidity) and Water Droplets (clouds) constitute an estimated 90 to 95% of the Greenhouse Effect. The Greenhouse Effect fluctuates with variations in humidity and cloud cover. Carbon dioxide and methane both have an effect, but both are minor contributors.

Whatever is happening now has probably happened before.

Hay Chewed: Climate-related posts from before June 14, 2005 are listed here.
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Looking Eastward, I Found Another Blogiversary...

at Palmetto Pundit, from the great state of South Carolina. Last Thursday was the big day for blogger Barry Ready.

In the blogiversary post, Barry listed 12 things that he learned in his first year of blogging.

Of note are the following:

"8. If you write with passion and no one reads it, it doesn’t matter. Someday when you look back on what you wrote, you’ll still be proud of it and will appreciate the effort you put into it. It is a snapshot of your thoughts from that particular day; so make sure you get it right. It will matter to you regardless of whether it mattered to anyone else.

9. Don’t post just for the sake of posting. If you don’t have anything to say, don’t say it. You had a life before blogging, and you should still have one now."

and...

"11. Your blog is about what you think. Decide your position on each issue before you read someone else’s take on it. Don’t follow the herd to get recognition, follow the herd because you belong to the herd. I doesn't make you wrong to be outside the majority, it makes you honest. Be true to yourself first."

So drop over and read the rest of what he learned during his first year. 'Tis a very worthy blog.
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Monday, March 13, 2006

The Okie Dokie Diamond

Many people may not be aware of it, but Murfreesboro, Arkansas is the only place in the entire world where common people can pay a small fee and search for diamonds and keep everything that they find. All other diamond producing areas are owned/controlled by large corporations or governments.

From MSNBC News, an Oklahoma State Trooper, visiting the Crater of Diamonds State Park with his family for the first time, found a 4.21 carat, canary yellow diamond that is said to be flawless. Talk about beginner's luck!

The park is approximately 37 acres of ground that is periodically plowed. Visitors are allowed to crawl about on their hands and knees, that is how I found my small white diamond (.37 carats) on my first visit in 1973. There are other areas where people can dig and sieve sand and gravel in water to look for diamonds.

When I was there in the spring of 1978, a couple from Dallas was looking in the same area as I was looking. I left in the mid-afternoon to do some other things in the area. At dusk, I was parked along the road into town, looking for old beer cans in the woods when the Dallas couple recognized my truck and pulled over. They asked me to take a look at what they found and to tell them if it was a diamond. It was a 4 carat, brown diamond, not of gem quality, but with the classic octahedral diamond shape. I got to hold it and I was the first one to confirm that it was a diamond (the park office had closed for the day). I later saw a short newspaper article in a Dallas paper, wherein that diamond was valued at $4,000 because of its size, classic crystal shape, and it being an American diamond. And that was 1978.

The article mentioned that 84 diamonds have been found so far this year. When I was first there in 1973, they said about 250 diamonds per year were found by visitors. Most of them are not gem quality, but once in a while, someone finds a "blockbuster" of a diamond, worthy of faceting and mounting in jewelry. The three main colors at the Crater of Diamonds State Park are white (60%), brown (21%), and yellow (17%) - according to the linked site below. 383 diamonds were found in 2004 and 536 in 2005. The higher numbers than the 1970s may be partially a function of higher numbers of visitors and perhaps more serious methods of searching, perhaps more digging and less crawling.

As mentioned above, it is an Arkansas State Park, open to the public. The state of Arkansas has toyed with the idea of selling the property to mining company, but public pressure has so far preserved the status quo. I know that Libertarian/Conservative purists disapprove of government ownership of land, but this place is so unique, I think it should stay as a state park.

The first diamonds were found 100 years ago, when the area was a farm. The farmer, when dressing out chickens to eat, found shiny stones in their craws (not having teeth, some birds swallow small stones to aid in the digestion process and the shiny nature of the diamonds caught the eye of the chickens). The stones were identified as diamonds, but there were never enough to support a mining operation, so it became a tourist attraction. In 1972, it became a state park.

If you click on the Park link above, the middle-aged black man in the center "works" at the park. Every day the park is open, he is there to pay his fee and that is what he does all day, dig for diamonds. He was there the last time I visited the park in 1983 or 1984 and I talked to him briefly. He doesn't find a diamond every day, but he finds enough to scratch out a living. Some of his diamonds may be among the Arkansas diamonds for sale on this website.

If you ever go there, don't expect to find a diamond, but there is always a chance. There are other minerals of interest to kids, quartz crystals, amethyst, calcite, peridot, agate, conglomerate (a type of sandstone composed of rounded river pebbles) and other minerals. Just keep everything that might even look like a diamond, and the rangers at the park are more than glad to look over what you have found and tell you "what's what".

Only in America!
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A Drunkard's Dream If I Ever Did See One

(With apologies to The Band).

From MSNBC News, a woman in Oslo, Norway turned on her kitchen faucet and out came beer! Unfortunately it was odd tasting and flat, so it wasn't the bonus that she first thought. According to the article: "Beer in Norway is among the most expensive in the world with a 0.7 pint costing about $7.48 in a bar."

It seems that a worker in a bar a couple of floors down accidentally swapped lines between the beer tap and the water line, resulting in water coming out the tap in the bar and beer coming out of the faucet a couple of floors up.
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Twenty Years Ago, His Last Full NASCAR Season Was a "Barn-Burner"

Those new to NASCAR are probably not familiar with the name Tim Richmond, a race driver whose life was cut short, not by a racing accident, but by AIDS, in 1989. Yes, NASCAR and AIDS are not words that you expect to encounter in the same paragraph, much less in the same sentence. But it happened and his last full season was 1986.

Tim Richmond was a bona fide character, handsome, from a wealthy family, had an engaging sense of humor and was a playboy, but he was also a great race car driver. And a fan favorite. He began in Indy cars, but after a couple of accidents, he felt the roll-cage enclosures of stock cars offered a little more protection. I seem to remember that when Tim was a rookie at Indy, after the race was over, he climbed aboard the winning car and hitched a ride to the Winner's Circle (Tim may have earned the Rookie of the Race award) on the side of the winning car.

It is said that he provided some of the background for the character Cole Trickle that Tom Cruise portrayed in Days of Thunder. [I know, looking back, it wasn't that great of a movie, but NASCAR racing doesn't seem to lend itself well to movies.]

His transition to stock cars didn't go that smoothly at first, he didn't really gain his greatest (though short) success until he teamed up with veteran team manager/mechanic Harry Hyde and it took a while for Tim and Harry to get on the same page as far as what adjustments the car needed during a race. For instance, when a driver radios in that the car "is tight" in the turns, that means it doesn't want to turn left as it should. When a car "is loose", that means it wants to spin out because it wants to turn left too easily. 'Cept Tim had some different terms for handling and it took Harry a while to figure out what Tim was trying to say.

His first NASCAR race was at Pocono, in July 1980, where he finished 12th driving for D. K. Ulrich. He ran four more races during the 1980 season.

In 1981, he ran 29 of the 31 races, scored 6 Top-10 finishes and finished 16th in the point standings, driving for several independent teams.

In 1982, driving for the mercurial owner J.D. Stacy, he ran 26 of the 30 races, won both races at Riverside, CA, with 7 Top-5 and 12 Top-10 finishes, yielding a 26th place finish in the point standings.

In 1983, driving for drag racer Raymond Beadle, Tim ran all 30 races, winning 1 at Pocono and finished 10th in the point standings in the Old Milwaukee Pontiac.

In 1984, still driving for Beadle, Tim won at North Wilkesboro and finished 12th in the point standings.

In 1985, still driving for Raymond Beadle, Tim didn't win any races, but he finished 11th in the point standings. I think this was the year when he broke his leg in a Daytona 500 crash, but he didn't miss any races.

In 1986, Tim signed with Hendrick Motorsports, driving the #25 Folger's Chevy and being teamed up with Harry Hyde. Because of the early communication problems with the crusty veteran team manager, the first 10 races were somewhat mediocre, with 5th place finishes at Atlanta and Darlington the bright spots. The season turnaround began on the Memorial Day weekend and continued thusly:

Charlotte - 2nd
Riverside - 2nd
Pocono - 1st
Michigan - 15th
Daytona - 1st
Pocono - 1st
Talladega - 2nd
Watkins Glen - 1st
Michigan - 2nd
Bristol - 6th
Darlington - 1st
Richmond, VA - 1st
Races 23 - 28 Dover, DE through Atlanta - 26th, 10th, 11th, 27th, 20th, and 4th.

When Tim won the last race of the season in November at Riverside, CA, he was the winningest driver for 1986 with 7 wins and his streak during races 11 -22 and the finale pulled him to 3rd place in the point standings. He talked about wanting to do some TV acting during the off season and some people commented on his "looking tired", but they passed it off as being the result of the intensity of the points chase and winning 7 races. He was known to be a "party animal" and had hung out with some of the "Hollywood crowd". When he posed on his Harley, wearing shoulder-length hair, dark glasses and a cowboy hat, he looked like Hank Williams, Jr..

In early December, he fell ill with what appeared to be the flu and on January 8, 1987, it was announced that he had almost died from pneumonia, which struck people as strange for someone so young and strong. [Remember, AIDS wasn't really a household word in early 1987, at least not in sports circles.] The announcement continued stating that because of the illness, he would be missing the entire 1987 season.

The fans were aghast, to say the least. After Bill Elliott's standout season of 1985, 1986 had been dominated largely by Dale Earnhardt, who was in the midst of his "rough period" and Darrell Waltrip had not yet fallen back into favor with the fans (that happened after Rusty Wallace spun him out in the 1989 Winston all-star race). It seemed that Tim was the only one that would go door-handle to door-handle with Earnhardt and not back off (or wreck). And Tim seemed to be able to do his driving without wrecking as many other people as Dale did.

Later in the Spring of 1987, it was announced that Tim had improved and he would enter the Winston at Charlotte on a trial basis. He won the race and the fans went nuts. He skipped the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte, but came back and won consecutive races at Pocono and Riverside.

By then, he had been diagnosed with AIDS, but it was kept quiet, I don't believe that even NASCAR knew at that point. After the euphoria of those two wins, things started to go downhill. He uncharacteristically spun out early in the Firecracker 400 at Daytona, his erratic driving was noticed at Watkins Glen, he almost slept through his qualifying run at Michigan, and after the Labor Day Weekend Southern 500, he announced that "he had come back too soon". At this point, there was pressure from NASCAR for him to quit (they probably knew by then).

In February 1988, he attempted to secure a ride in the Daytona 500, but he failed a drug test (over-the-counter & prescription drugs, nothing illegal). He threatened to sue NASCAR, but NASCAR stood firm and essentially said "Tim, we think you may want to keep this quiet" and the suit was dropped. From then on, he lived an isolated existence with his family in Ashland, OH, voluntarily cutting himself off from the public and from his friends in the racing community. He died on August 13, 1989 in a West Palm Beach, FL hospital.

The original source of the HIV virus was reputed to have been a hooker, Tim was a very public "ladies' man" and party animal. In the following years, his fiancee and a couple of other women he had been associated with also died of AIDS.

Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay died five years before Tim Richmond was born, yet it seemed that she knew him when she wrote "First Fig".

"My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light."
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Happy Blogiversary to Blogmeister USA

Here is a slightly belated "Congratulations and Best Wishes" to one of my blogging buddies, Pam Meister and her husband-dude John Sweat (The Anthropogene). John has been kind enough to invite me to do an article from time-to-time and there is an upcoming article in the works - related to the legend of Atlantis, or so some people believe.

Pam and John have been kind enough to offer suggestions and encouragement, so here's wishes for a another good year of blogging.
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Thriving on Neglect...

is the best way to describe my wildflower/fern garden. But is it not good for a blog.

I apologize for not posting much lately. It is a strange combination of spring fever, allergies, my second job, the blues and the blahs, and the aforementioned local beer can collector's newsletter, of which I am now co-editor. We just had our spring show in Augusta, Ga. this last Saturday, so I had to help get the newsletter posted on the internet before the show. The next one is due by the end of May, so work has already begun on it.

Anyway, when the weather and my schedule permits, to releave stress, I retreat to my backyard wildflower/fern garden, which is heralding the approach of spring. Preparing the garden is largely a matter of cleaning off the layer of fallen leaves and replacing the whole leaves with ground-up leaves for mulch and pulling a few "weeds", e.g., wild onion, privet, English ivy, etc., that have attempted to take root. I have a habit of killing potted indoor and outdoor plants, so this is why I like the hardier wildflowers and ferns, as they are adapted to the natural settings and only require water during the heat of summer and then only during extended dry spells.

The plants that are blooming include Bloodroot, Wild Violets, Lance-leafed Violets (yellow blooms) and soon to be blooming are Toothwort and Toadbrake Trillium. The Southern Grapefern is the first fern to be putting out new growth (aside from the evergreen Christmas fern and the Resurrection fern), others should be following soon. Without photos, I know these odd names mean little, when time permits I may post some photos, probably over at my georgia-science.com blog.

The unavoidable sale and development of the old family "homeplace" a few years ago was the genesis of my wildflower garden. Before the arrival of the bulldozers, I managed to dig up and transplant most of what used to be my mom's wildflower garden, before she came down with Alzheimers in the mid-1990s and then passed away in 2000.

Everything that I dug up from the homeplace and transplanted successfully rooted, except the Lance-leafed Violets, which immediately wilted, leaving me to believe that I had killed them. Strangely enough, after wilting in the summer of 2003, they bloomed in 2005 and are doing so again this year. There are a few other plants that I tried to move later from other places that didn't "take", most likely because those particular plants prefer well-sunlit areas. But all-in-all, most of my efforts have worked and at its peak, I usually have about 8 or 9 different ferns, May Apple, Rattlesnake Plantain, Spotted Wintergreen, Catesby's Trillium, Spiderwort, Wild Ginger, Bloodroot, Dwarf Crested Iris, Bellwort, Birdfoot Violet, Cranefly Orchid, and a few that I haven't learned the names of yet...I think Mom would be pleased.

And on some afternoons, when I am not teaching nor doing the pool cover job, I can sit on the rock wall I built and relax with a glass of ale and sometimes with a cigar. Now of course I would give this up for a third part-time job or full-time employment, but in the meantime,...

If we have to sell this place and move to a smaller one, I hope I get the chance to move at least some of the plants to a new location.
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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Proper Spelling is "Torbernite"

Yesterday, there was a Drudge Report article teasing Barbra Streisand for 11 misspellings in a recent anti-Bush rant on her website.

To be honest, we need to tease NewsMax for a misspelling of their own. If you visit NewsMax from time to time, it seems that they reply with emails that sometimes tout different types of investments. Yesterday, it was a pitch for investments for "Tobernite", that is supposed to be an answer to some of China's future energy needs. It is about a mineral, "Torbernite", that is usually a minor ore of uranium. It is a hydrated, copper-uranium phosphate that is characterized by emerald-green, flat, square-shaped crystals that are quite attractive as mineral specimens, which can be found in South Dakota, Connecticut and North Carolina.

Apparently, Australia has quite a bit of torbernite and the sales pitch was towards investing in the Australian mining company. Torbernite is not the kind of word recognized by SpellCheck, so one has to do a little detective work to verify its spelling. Tsk, tsk.

As for China seeking large amounts of uranium, that is a subject for later discussions, as it could have a number of angles and outcomes.
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"Going Tribal" in NC

We are all familiar with the term "going Postal" and what it means. The common thread through these types of violent events is that the perpetrator blames others for his/her problems and proceeds to take it out "on them". It is their fault and they must pay.

The recent "incident"/act-of-terrorism in Chapel Hill, NC, wherein an Iranian student attempted to kill UNC students, using an SUV, is a variation on this mindset, but instead it is on a "tribal" basis, rather than a workplace-as-a-battlefield (or other site of a public dispute) basis.

Robert Spencer always provides good insights and analyses of Middle Eastern-related issues and his FrontPageMag article covers this particular issue and what it might mean on a broader basis. The student in question, Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, stated that he wanted to “avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world.” That the students he attempted to kill had nothing personally to do with the deaths of Muslims around the world made no difference to him. They had to die because they belonged to "another tribe". This is the essence of collectivist thought, "us vs. them".

According to Spencer's article, Taheri-azar recently gave up heavy marijuana and alcohol use and became more religiously observent. This illustrates the basic mindset divide between the West and Islamists. Have we seen any anti-Muslim riots in NC or elsewhere in the United States in the wake of this attack? Were any mosques burned after the DC snipers were captured? Despite the squawling of Ibrahim Hooper and CAIR, there has been very little anti-Muslim activity in this country despite the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the WTC as well as the other "battles" that have been conducted against the West in the 30 years or so of the War on Terror (before we really became involved).

Can you imagine the overseas Muslim reaction is a recently-fervent, born-again Christian mowed down nine people outside a NYC mosque? Just consider what happened to Christians in Nigeria in the "cartoon riots". Multiple Christian churches burned. Christians were murdered. What did they have to do with the Danish cartoons? Nothing, but they belonged to the wrong tribe.

Today's Americans generally do not harbor the cultural prejudices of their parents' or grandparents' generations. We generally have a "live and let live" attitude. But we are human and we have human emotions. When individual Muslims, that had previously interacted "normally" with Americans in routine school and business settings, suddenly "go tribal", our reactions of distrust of other Muslims is not an issue of our "racism", rather it is prejudice, based on the behavior of these suddenly-violent Muslims, attacking those around them. It is just human nature. We are patient and slow to anger. Don't blame us when someone else uses our "last good nerve", because we are a decent people.

Perhaps we give people more of the "benefit of the doubt" than we should, because we are a decent people - and while on this subject - Damn Michael Moore, Jimmy Carter, et al, for saying otherwise to foreign audiences. Damn Al Gore and Billy Zane and Gary Busey and George Clooney for throwing gasoline on the fire of Arab prejudices against Jews and Americans. Damn Newswreck for their "flushed Qu'ran" story. All of these "useful idiots" (a too-kind term) are responsible for the continued deaths of Americans, Israelis, and innocent Iraqis and Afghanis that see what we are trying to do and that cooperate with our efforts. That these "useful idiots" present a "divided front" gives Aid and Comfort to the terrorists and gives them hope that we might quit.

We are at a crossroads in human history. In the liberal (classical sense) West, as represented by the United States, open the "yellow pages" in any large city and tell me how many different churches do you see? There are no Christian churches nor Jewish Synagogues in Saudi Arabia. That is the mindset that will prevail if the West falls under the rule of sharia.

Devout Jews and Christians in the United States are not entirely happy with the nature of our secularized, hedonistic society, but we see other ways to try to counteract the bad, while recognizing that in order for there to be freedom, we have to put up with a certain amount of ugliness.

The above-linked article on CAIR, by Daniel Pipes (another good source) and Sharon Chadha, lists several organizations of American Muslims that "get it", i.e., they understand that they have a pretty good deal here in the United States. Let's hope that they continue to have the courage to speak out against acts of terrorism, large and "small", so we don't devolve into a world of tribal conflict. In WWII, the Japanese found out about our awakened "terrible resolve". Though it is hard to see, I suspect it is still there, given the right (or wrong) impetus.
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Monday, March 06, 2006

Busy, busy, busy

Sorry I haven't posted lately. I have been working on a beer can collector's newsletter and other stuff.

I will be in east Tennessee for the next two days doing pool covers. Will try to get back on track after I get back.

Ya'll take care.
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Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Second Fair Tax Blogburst...

is underway over at Ogre's View blog. It began yesterday (Wednesday) and will continue for the next week.

The Fair Tax issue needs to be kept active, for if the Democrats regain control of the Congress and/or Presidency, it is unlikely they would push for it, unless they think they can get all of the credit.

Hay Chewed: Previous Fair Tax and other tax-related posts/rants were on October 29, 2005, October 18, 2005, October 14, 2005, October 3, 2005, September 21, 2005, September 14, 2005, May 22, 2005, May 4, 2005 (Death Tax), and April 20, 2005.
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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Some More Intelligent Design Resources

As Intelligent Design is an oft-visited subject here, I found some more resources that might be of interest. In other words, it is better for you to become informed by people "on the inside" of the issue, that those outside, as those outside frequently get it wrong (for a variety of reasons). Or else they are intent on mis-representing the views.

Here are a few ID blogs:

Uncommon Descent
Access Research Network and ID-Related Links
ID the Future
Discovery Institute/Center for Science and Culture
Evolution News & Views
[Update: Add ResearchID.org]

For the sake of accurate discussions on the issue, please spend some time on these links and posts therein.

Hay Chewed: Previous posts/rants on this subject (with links) include: Feb. 26, '06; Feb. 23, '06; Feb. 21, '06 - I ; Feb. 21 - II - this last one has links to still-older posts.
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