Friday, November 11, 2011

We remember them

They gave all of their tomorrows so we could have our today. Do take time to pause, remember and give thanks to Almighty God for the sacrifices made for our freedom. And if you know a Veteran, shake his or her hand today, show your appreciation and offer sincere thanks.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"The Occupiers are right when they say our system of wealth redistribution is broken"

"But they’re wrong about what broke it."

Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail) hits the ball out of the park and over the parking lot into freeway traffic.
The richest 1 per cent are not exactly starving out the working poor.... The problem is, our system redistributes the wealth from young to old, and from middle-class workers in the private sector to inefficient and expensive unions in the public sector.

Among the biggest beneficiaries of this redistribution is the higher-education industry. In Canada, we subsidize it directly. In the U.S., it’s subsidized by a vast system of student loans, which have allowed colleges to jack up tuition to sky-high levels. U.S. student debt has hit the trillion-dollar mark. Both systems crank out too many sociologists and too few mechanical engineers. These days, even law-school graduates are having trouble finding work. That’s because the supply has increased far faster than the demand.

The voices of Occupy Wall Street, argues Mr. Anderson and others, are the voices of the downwardly mobile who are acutely aware of their threatened social status and need someone to blame. These are people who weren’t interested in just any white-collar work. They wanted to do transformational, world-saving work – which would presumably be underwritten by taxing the rich. They now face the worst job market in a generation. But their predicament is at least in part of their own making. And none of the solutions they propose will address their problem.
Do send Wente's article to all the high school and university students you know, for economic lessons are much too painful to be learned through hindsight alone.

The coming generation(s) of potential workers must be taught the fundamental economic concept of labour value. Not all labour is of equal value, and the value of labour is variable, affected mainly by supply and demand.

The number one priority after high school is not to party and have a good time or to pip off to college or uni to get out from your parents' home. No, the number one priority is to obtain training in skills that are valuable to individuals and businesses -- aka The Market -- thus increasing the odds of finding gainful employment with an income level sufficient for sustaining oneself and (potentially) a family.

Get that single priority mixed up and you will likely wind up highly indebted and working low pay jobs, or worse, not working at all and living in a tent in downtown Toronto or Vancouver illogically complaining about how "the man" has robbed you of your future.

What does this mean in reality? It means you need to consider studying fields like mathematics, business, engineering, medicine and computer science, or pursuing specialization is particular trades, such as plumbing, construction, electrical, welding, etc. so that you have a footing of knowledge and skill that lines up with demand today and is more likely to line up with demand for the foreseeable future. It means putting educational dollars to work today to increase the odds generating income so that, should you choose to do so, you can finance a feel-good period of study that does not generate income later in life... AFTER you are earning income.

The lie at the heart of higher education is that you will be paid for effort alone, that you will earn big money because you did the work of completing a degree. The world just doesn't work that way. The world pays those whose knowledge and expertise bring value to the consumer and enable them to make money more efficiently.


Update 15:30: "And if you have any intention of building up a political case for bailing out your bad decisions, you might start with taking even one percent responsibility for them." Burn.

Friday, November 4, 2011

How's that Arab Spring working for you?

Egypt is experiencing the new found "freedom" of sharia.
Arab Spring, Egyptian edition: a 17 year old Christian in a high school in Mallawi was ordered by his teacher to cover up a tattoo of a cross on his wrist. True to his faith, he refused to do so and instead exposed a crucifix that he wore around his neck. He was then beaten to death by his teacher and two Muslim students....

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Scientific heresy"

To whet your appetite:
The [IPCC's] glacier claim was not peer reviewed; nor was the alteration to the sensitivity function Lewis spotted. The journalist Donna Laframboise got volunteers all over the world to help her count the times the IPCC used non-peer reviewed literature. Her conclusion is that*: “Of the 18,531 references in the 2007 Climate Bible we found 5,587 - a full 30% - to be non peer-reviewed.”

Yet even to say things like this is to commit heresy. To stand up and say, within a university or within the BBC, that you do not think global warming is dangerous gets you the sort of reaction that standing up in the Vatican and saying you don’t think God is good would get. Believe me, I have tried it.

Does it matter? Suppose I am right that much of what passes for mainstream climate science is now infested with pseudoscience, buttressed by a bad case of confirmation bias, reliant on wishful thinking, given a free pass by biased reporting and dogmatically intolerant of dissent. So what?

After all there’s pseudoscience and confirmation bias among the climate heretics too.

Well here’s why it matters. The alarmists have been handed power over our lives; the heretics have not. Remember Britain’s unilateral climate act is officially expected to cost the hard-pressed UK economy £18.3 billion a year for the next 39 years and achieve an unmeasurably small change in carbon dioxide levels.

At least* sceptics do not cover the hills of Scotland with useless, expensive, duke-subsidising wind turbines whose manufacture causes pollution in Inner Mongolia and which kill rare raptors such as this griffon vulture.

At least crop circle believers cannot almost double your electricity bills and increase fuel poverty while driving jobs to Asia, to support their fetish.

At least creationists have not persuaded the BBC that balanced reporting is no longer necessary.

At least homeopaths have not made expensive condensing boilers, which shut down in cold weather, compulsory, as John Prescott did in 2005.

At least astrologers have not driven millions of people into real hunger, perhaps killing 192,000 last year according to one conservative estimate, by diverting 5% of the world’s grain crop into motor fuel*.

That’s why it matters. We’ve been asked to take some very painful cures. So we need to be sure the patient has a brain tumour rather than a nosebleed.

Handing the reins of power to pseudoscience has an unhappy history. Remember eugenics. Around 1910 the vast majority of scientists and other intellectuals agreed that nationalizing reproductive decisions so as to stop poor, disabled and stupid people from having babies was not just a practical but a moral imperative of great urgency.

“There is now no reasonable excuse for refusing to face the fact,” said George Bernard Shaw*, “that nothing but a eugenics religion can save our civilization from the fate that has overtaken all previous civilizations.’’ By the skin of its teeth, mainly because of a brave Liberal MP called Josiah Wedgwood, Britain never handed legal power to the eugenics movement. Germany did.

Or remember Trofim Lysenko*, a pseudoscientific crank with a strange idea that crops could be trained to do what you wanted and that Mendelian genetics was bunk. His ideas became the official scientific religion of the Soviet Union and killed millions; his critics, such as the geneticist Nikolai Vavilov, ended up dead in prison.

Am I going too far in making these comparisons? I don’t think so. James Hansen of NASA says oil firm executives should be tried for crimes against humanity. (Remember this is the man who is in charge of one of the supposedly impartial data sets about global temperatures.) John Beddington, Britain's chief scientific adviser, said this year that just as we are "grossly intolerant of racism", so we should also be "grossly intolerant of pseudoscience", in which he included all forms of climate-change scepticism.

Do send it to your friends and family.