Friday, December 25, 2009

"Avatar": Awesome special effects, but Commie crap

It's Christmastime and you are done shopping, done with presents, done with the relative invasion, or perhaps that hasn't hit yet, and / or you are done with church. Since you have time to kill, Hollywierd has learned to give you the Christmas blockbuster flick. This years one is James Cameron's "Avatar", with Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" a not too distant second?

Gabriel Malor reviews Avatar at AOSHQ, and kind of likes it for its awesome special effects, in spite of the Commie political message.

John Podhoretz at The Weekly Standard can't get past the Commie message and hates it.

I just saw it. My take: utterly lame-ass and laughable Commiecrat and romanticize the primitive politics in the film, and a story that heavily takes from other movies such as "Dances With Wolves" (in fact, wags are calling it Dances With Smurfs because the alien creatures are blue) , Disney's "Pocahontas" and "Quigley Down Under", done in a Sci-Fi context with lots of CGI animation. Except for some creative imagining of animal and plant life on another world with a different atmosphere, and of course those undeniably awesome special effects, nothing is original in this movie.

John Podhoretz states that:

[T]he movie is nearly three hours long, and it doesn't have a single joke in it.

But honestly, there were a few unintentional funny moments in the film. The mineral the corporation and its mercenary army are seeking is called "unobtanium". As opposed to Upsadaisyium? I half expected Rocky and Bullwinkle avatars after that. The subsequent "floating mountains" in the movie didn't help either. (Mount Flatten!)

On the upside, Gabriel Malor is right: it's visually gorgeous, loud, and stuff blows up in really cool ways. And the 3-D version I saw didn't overkill on the gimmicky pop-right-out-at-the-audience shots. After the first 20 minutes, I stopped noticing the 3D glasses and just saw the movie. On the level of an action flick with cool explosions, you could like it.

You just have to overlook gaping holes in the plot. For no good reason other than to get the movie into its second act, the shallow corporate head honcho and the (obviously) evil and sadistic military commander decide to stage a military attack on the massive Tree City where the funky giant blue critters live, thus blowing the zillions of dollars they sank into the project of making blue critter avatar ambassadors in the hope of negotiating with the blue critters.

They attack the massive Tree City where the blue critters live simply because "It's the largest deposit of Unobtanium in two hundred clicks!" gushes the shallow corporate, played by Giovanni Ribisi. As if 200km is that major a distance in travel, even today, to say nothing of an interstellar traveling future. And as if the corporation wouldn't have picked easier deposits to mine first where the pesky blue critter tribes weren't. Path of least resistance and all that.

Suspension called and it said the disbelief load is way too heavy to carry, even if you fancy the idea of plugging your fiber optic cable tail into Mother Gaia and having sex with her.

If the special effects were not there, if Avatar were drawn like a regular cartoon, or had been made on sound stages with sets and the like, would anyone really like this movie? Nope. Even the most hard core eco-greenie won't claim there was a really deep message here. Unlike the protagonists in Cameron's Titanic, who you could cheer on even as you knew at least one of them was doomed, none of the characters in the movie comes across as anything more than a cartoon.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Carbon Dioxide Fallacy

And the Man-Made Global Warming, I mean Climate Change, hoax continues to unravel:

We are told, based on computer models, that human beings burning fossil fuels -- and exhaling -- is increasing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. This, in turn, is trapping heat, which is responsible for the modest temperature increase between 1976 and 1998. The conclusion is that we must alter our entire lifestyles to avoid a planetary catastrophe.
For computer models to be accurate, inputs must include all of the factors that can impact climate. Knowing this, as well as believing it likely that the majority of factors that do impact climate are yet unknown, how can we trust the models?
Especially when we find out the inputs were "fudged" if not outright fabricated.

And yet, we who doubt the agenda driven alarmism, are said to be "anti-science." Ha! The real "anti-scientists", also sinister liars, are those pushing the man-made global warming hoax. The hoax is put forth by those out for more research grant money at best, crypto totalitarians looking to take away our mobility and therefore freedom at worst, and those looking for another excuse to tax us in between.

Gee, it sure is "science" when the "scientists" have been caught red-handed adjusting / fabricating data to fit the "computer models". If the data doesn't fit the models, make it fit! Science!

Wow, what happened to empirical proof and causal links?

Solar orbital cycles, sunspots, natural non-industrial increases in carbon dioxide output, and volcanic eruptions could not be reached for comment.

It is also important to understand what the measure of "global warming" in degrees Fahrenheit or degrees Celsius/Centigrade *really* means. Remember, zero degrees Fahrenheit and zero degrees Celsius/Centigrade are man-made conventions. To state a percent temperature change relative to either is meaningless.

Temperature is simply a measure of heat. At absolute zero (-460 degrees F or -273 degrees C) there is no energy. So, any thermodynamically relevant measure would consider a percentage energy change relative to absolute zero (that is, in degrees Kelvin) rather than an arbitrary Fahrenheit or Celsius/Centigrade measure.

Why is this distinction important? Because variations in the sun's radiation on the earth are defined against a true zero (usually as watts/sq. meter). When stated as a percentage relative to absolute zero, changes in the earth's average temperature can easily be explained through the typical variations in the sun's radiant energy. That no "climate expert" mentions this only further solidifies my dislike for the lot of them.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

What "Climategate" reveals

It is revealing to see the Global Warming, I mean Climate Change, hoax imploding at the University of East Anglia. "Climategate" as some wags call it, refers to a series of emails "hacked"—as in leaked— from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University in the United Kingdom.

What they reveal is indisputable: the "science" of global warming has, at the very least, been compromised by the political ideology that drives it. Data has been manipulated or hidden from public view. Skeptical scientists have been marginalized along with academic journals that have printed their doubts, and the peer review process has been tainted by those who should know better.

The lessons of this scandal are instructive:

1. The manufacturing of "Overwhelming Consensus":
....the e-mails suggest that CRU scientists have been suppressing and misstating data and working to prevent the publication of conflicting views in peer-reviewed science periodicals. Some of the more pungent e-mails:

"I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"

"Can you delete any e-mails you may have had with Keith re AR4?"

"I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline."

"The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty we can't."

"I'm getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU temperature station data. Don't any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act!"
2. The corruption of the "peer-reviewed" process:
The trouble with outsourcing your marbles to the peer-reviewed set is that, if you take away one single thing from the leaked documents, it's that the global warm-mongers have wholly corrupted the "peer-review" process. When it comes to promoting the impending ecopalypse, the Climate Research Unit is the nerve-center of the operation. The "science" of the CRU dominates the "science" behind the United Nations IPCC, which dominates the "science" behind the Congressional cap-and-trade boondoggle, the upcoming Copenhagen shakindownen of the developed world, and the now-routine phenomenon of leaders of advanced, prosperous societies talking like gibbering madmen escaped from the padded cell, whether it's President Barack Obama promising to end the rise of the oceans or the Prince of Wales saying we only have 96 months left to save the planet.

But don't worry, it's all "peer-reviewed."

Here's what Phil Jones of the CRU and his colleague Michael Mann of Penn State mean by "peer review". When Climate Research published a paper dissenting from the Jones-Mann "consensus," Jones demanded that the journal "rid itself of this troublesome editor," and Mann advised that "we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers."

So much for Climate Research. When Geophysical Research Letters also showed signs of wandering off the "consensus" reservation, Dr. Tom Wigley ("one of the world's foremost experts on climate change") suggested they get the goods on its editor, Jim Saiers, and go to his bosses at the American Geophysical Union to "get him ousted." When another pair of troublesome dissenters emerge, Dr. Jones assured Dr. Mann, "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"

Which, in essence, is what they did. The more frantically they talked up "peer review" as the only legitimate basis for criticism, the more assiduously they turned the process into what James Lewis calls the Chicago machine politics of international science. The headline in the Wall Street Journal Europe is unimproveable: "How To Forge A Consensus." Pressuring publishers, firing editors, blacklisting scientists: That's "peer review," climate-style. The more their echo chamber shriveled, the more Mann and Jones insisted that they and only they represent the "peer-reviewed" "consensus." 

The e-mails of "Andy" (as his CRU chums fondly know him) are especially pitiful. Confronted by serious questions from Stephen McIntyre, the dogged Ontario retiree whose "Climate Audit" Web site exposed the fraud of Dr. Mann's global-warming "hockey stick" graph, "Andy" writes to Dr. Mann to say not to worry, he's going to "cover" the story from a more oblique angle:

"I'm going to blog on this as it relates to the value of the peer review process and not on the merits of the mcintyre et al attacks.

"peer review, for all its imperfections, is where the herky-jerky process of knowledge building happens, would you agree?"

And, amazingly, Dr. Mann does!

"Re, your point at the end – you've taken the words out of my mouth."

And that's what Andrew Revkin did, week in, week out: He took the words out of Michael Mann's mouth and served them up to impressionable readers of the New York Times and opportunist politicians around the world champing at the bit to inaugurate a vast global regulatory body to confiscate trillions of dollars of your hard-earned wealth in the cause of "saving the planet" from an imaginary crisis concocted by a few dozen thuggish ideologues.
Which brings us to:
3. The agenda behind all this: can't make informed decisions when those decisions have already been made for you by an educational establishment which has been in the liberal tank for decades. With respect to this particular subject, how many school age children have been forced to watch Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" and given the impression that a blowhard politician with no scientific credentials whatsoever, a man whose own lifestyle contradicts everything he ostensibly believes in, is the last word on the subject? How many kids have been told global warming is "settled science" without offering them a scintilla of contrasting information? How many have been brainwashed into believing that "living green" is tantamount to the religious mandate to "go and sin no more?"

Every effort mankind has ever undertaken to obliterate individual freedom and increase the power of the state has always included the inculcation of children too young to think independently. This one is no different. If America is going to right itself, the war for our children's hearts and minds must be won.

But in order to win it, more people have to realize it exists. More importantly, they have to do something about it. This is a difficult undertaking for parents who are the front-liners in this fight. At the end of a busy day, very few people want to know—exactly—what their children are learning in school. Unfortunately, such apathy is the mother's milk of progressives for whom raising a generation of school children who disdain American exceptionalism is a prime directive. People with no particular pride in their country are a much more malleable bunch than those with a real understanding of self-reliance, Constitutionalism, and historical perspective.
A "burning planet"—only thirty-three years removed from a "freezing" one—reveals the true nature of "progressivism". It is about the accumulation of power by any means necessary. And, as evidenced by the purloined emails, even the ostensible epitome of rational thinking, aka the scientific method, is as exploitable as anything else. But such people could never get as far as they've gotten without getting the children on board. 

Ironically, they have told us so. How many times has a liberal touted this or that government agenda with the idea that they're doing it "for the children." When more Americans begin to understand that the more accurate phrase it "to the children," it will be the beginning of the end for these power-hungry thugs.
4. The double standard of the liberal lamestream media:
The reaction to these revelations? Perhaps as revealing, if not more so, than the revelations themselves. Much like the ACORN scandal, the mainstream media—once again with the exception of Fox News—has either avoided the story completely, or sought to focus on the manner in which the emails were procured. This last bit is pivotal, because it is the basis by which the intrepid folks at the New York Times and other media sources have determined that they will withhold the damning evidence from the public: stolen material is unfit for print or broadcast.

Apparently this is a spanking new standard for the Times, whose appetite for disseminating purloined or secret stuff goes back at least as far as the top secret, "not intended for publication" Pentagon Papers in 1971, all the way through to revealing top-secret info about how the Bush administration conducted various aspects of the war on terror.

While "errors" of omission and large dollops of hypocrisy are nothing new in the annals of MSM behavior, what is new is that they can no longer get away with them. This story has legs for two reasons: 1. it is a genuine scandal and 2. the blogosphere, unlike far too much of the MSM, will not let it go unreported simply because it doesn't jibe with the liberal agenda.

Thus on the plus side, those of you who have heard of this story realize that the old media can no longer be trusted. As a result, your understanding of what is actually happening in the world goes far deeper than the average American. That is the minus side: too many of our fellow citizens still believe watching TV news makes them informed Americans. Too be kind, they don't know what they don't know. Too be less than kind, it's long past time they learned.
Copenhagen, despite Barack Obama's presence, seems sure to be a bust — there will be no agreement on mandatory limits on carbon emissions. Even if there were, it would probably turn out to be no more effective than the limits others agreed to in Kyoto in 1997. In any case, China and India are not going to choke off their dazzling economic growth to please Western global warming alarmists.

But that's just it---the elites pushing this *don't mind* if the Red Chinese won't choke off their economic growth. They just want to choke off *ours*.

Either out of some multicultural brainwash guilt, or a peevish resentment that the Soviets didn't beat us, so they hope the Red Chinese do so, or they genuinely believe the world is better off with another superpower to keep what they see as "Amerikkka" in line. They are old fellow travelers.

Some, like Tom Friedman at the New York Times, do nothing but praise Red China's new spin on statism. In his coverage of China, Tom Friedman reminds me of people like Charles Lindbergh who were impressed with and gushed about what they saw coming out of the Third Reich prior to 1939.