FM newswire for 6 February, articles for your morning reading

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis.  If you find this useful, pass it to a friend or colleague. 

  1. Today’s must-read article:  “The Founders’ wisdom“, Paul L. Yingling (Lieutenant Colonel, US Army, Professor at the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany), Armed Forces Journal, February 2010 — “The U.S. should therefore abandon the all-volunteer military and return to our historic reliance on citizen soldiers and conscription to wage protracted war.”
  2. Good news!  “Initial National Ignition Facility (NIF) experiments meet requirements for fusion ignition“, Press Release, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 28 January 2010
  3. Abstract of the actual article:  “Symmetric Inertial Confinement Fusion Implosions at Ultra-High Laser Energies“, Siegfried H. Glenzer et al, ScienceExpress, 28 January 2010
  4. “”Gays in the military – Fisking Bill Kristol“, blog of The Economist, 3 February 2010
  5. About the new Quadrennial Defense Review:  “The Pentagon Goes Intellectually AWOL“, Franklin “Chuck” Spinney, Counterpunch, 3 February 2010
  6. Too-typical behavior by our security services:  “Struck Down: Feds refuse to explain how agent injured Daily Caller writer“, Daily Caller, 4 February 2010
  7. Slowly the lies about ClimateGate unravel:  “Climate emails: were they really hacked or just sitting in cyberspace?“, The Guardian, 4 February 2010 — “Slack security or subversion at the university may have led to ‘unintentional sharing’, making the police investigation pointless.”  Note that the Guardian slams the sceptics who laid the groundwork for the Guardian’s exposees.  Years of work while the Guardian sneered; now they use the sceptics’ work and still sneer.
  8. Dispelling myths about Britain’s ‘broken society’: “Through a glass darkly“, The Economist, 4 February 2010 — “Crime, family break-up, drunks and drugs: the Conservatives—and apparently plenty of voters—think that Britain has a “broken society”. Does the claim stand up?”
  9. Goldman: If Greece Is Handled Wrong, All Of Southern Europe Will Fall Like Dominos And 30% Of Euro GDP Would Be At Risk“, Business Insider, 5 February 2010

Quote of the Day

More peer-reviewed science:  “Latest IPCC Exaggeration“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 3 February 2010:

IPCC AR4 reported:

“The Netherlands is an example of a country highly susceptible to both sea-level rise and river flooding because 55% of its territory is below sea level where 60% of its population lives and 65% of its Gross National Product (GNP) is produced.”

Not that 20% is something to be ignored if that’s what they think. But the percentage below sea level is the sort of thing that primary school geography classes should be able to get right.

 But the IPCC must not employ any grade-school fact checkers:  “Sea level blunder enrages Dutch minister“, Radio Netherlands, 4 February 2010 – Excerpt:

A United Nations report wrongly claimed that more than half of the Netherlands is currently below sea level. In fact, just 20 percent of the country consists of polders that are pumped dry, and which are at risk of flooding if global warming causes rising sea levels. Dutch Environment Minister Jacqueline Cramer has ordered a thorough investigation into the quality of the climate reports which she uses to base her policies on.

Climate-sceptic MPs were quick to react. Conservative MP Helma Neppérus and Richard de Mos from the right-wing Freedom Party want the minister to explain to parliament how these figures were used to decide on national climate policy. “This may invalidate all claims that the last decades were the hottest ever,” Mr De Mos said.

The incorrect figures which date back to 2007 were revealed on Wednesday by the weekly Vrij Nederland. The Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency told reporters that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) added together two figures supplied by the agency: the area of the Netherlands which is below sea-level and the area which is susceptible to flooding. In fact, these areas overlap, so the figures should not have been combined to produce the 55 percent quoted by the IPCC.

4 thoughts on “FM newswire for 6 February, articles for your morning reading”

  1. Great quote from first reading: “Winston Churchill famously observed that “America will always do the right thing, but only after exhausting all other options.”” Kind of reminds me of my take of FM’s view.
    FM reply: Note that this is a great quote, but only an anecdote. No source.

  2. I understand the point Lt. Colonel Yingling is making in the “Founder’s Wisdom” article but I don’t believe a conscript force could effectively operate all the high-tech equipment our military uses today.

    When I was in the Army I was just a lowly intelligence analyst for battalion sized units but my training still took 16 weeks for the analyst position plus another 2 6-week long courses to learn how to use the ASAS computer system. Add in 9 weeks of basic training and that’s 37 weeks of training just starting my career as an enlisted soldier. It would take too long to properly train up an effective force for an emergency situation.

  3. From the Economist article, “Through a Glass Darkly”, an attempted explanation of why public perceptions of the social status quo seem darker, though this is not supported by actual data:

    … their newspapers, which seldom look on the sunny side of life, are much to blame. “NAME THE DEVIL BOYS—WE MUST NOT LET THEM HIDE”, roared the Mail on Sunday on January 24th, quoting the parents of the Edlington victims. Newspapers were no less lurid a century ago. But there is one big change: a shift in readership from local papers to national ones. Mr Cameron’s comfortable Witney constituents are dropping the Oxford Mail in favour of national titles or the television, which report the most gruesome stories from across the country, not just the county. In this way local crises, such as an outbreak of teenage stabbings in London in 2007 and 2008, become national panics, causing fear even in regions where the problem does not exist. And bad news travels best: the fact that London’s teenage-murder rate quietly halved last year was not widely reported outside the capital.

    This fits my take on how perceptions of diffuse things, such as the social status quo of an entire nation, are created. It also seems to me that there is little if any correlation between objective measures and an entire peoples’ perception. The more powerful factors seem to be mass media and especially video media, which almost always seem to depress opinions rather than make them more positive.

    In his book, “Ways of Seeing“, art critic John Berger said, “Seeing comes before words. … It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it.” I tend to believe that images and especially video images are more powerful than is understood by most people, especially given that most of us watch them constantly.

    Anyhow thanks for the article.

  4. With reference to global warming, which unfortunately so long as governments are considering Cap and Trade and CO2 taxes, is still with us. There might be global warming or cooling but the important issue is whether we, as a human race, can do anything about it. There are a host of porkies and not very much truth barraging us everyday so its difficult to know what to believe.

    I think I have simplified the issue in an entertaining way on my blog which includes some issues connected with climategate and “embarrassing” evidence. In the pipeline is an analysis of the economic effects of the proposed emission reductions. Watch this space or should I say Blog: Roger from New Zealand. Please feel welcome to visit and leave a comment.

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