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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

K 0 J Q Z: Building a simple Receive Loop Antenna for SWLing

K 0 J Q Z: Building a simple Receive Loop Antenna for SWLing: Many months ago I built a few differnet Hula Hoop based receive antennas and was pleased with the results.  I decided to build another one f...

Monday, October 15, 2018

Congress Members Urge Trump

Congress Members Urge Trump

Expedition Portal Classifieds: The Turtle III by Chris Cordes

Gary and Monika Wescott of The Turtle Expedition are some of overlanding’s greatest pioneers. They have been traveling the world since the mid-1970s, visiting every remote and beautiful destination they can find from Afghanistan to the Amazon and back again. Their stories have been published in over 15 countries and 10 languages, and their vehicles have become some of the most well-known adventure trucks around. That’s probably why we’re so shocked to see one of them popping up for sale on our forums, and for a mere, no, a shocking price of $22,500. They’re even open to offers!
The Turtle III was based on a 1987 Ford F-350 with a 6.9L diesel motor, but it was completely overhauled in 1994 to include a more modern 7.3L turbodiesel. Not just any 7.3L though. This was a hand-assembled Navistar 7.3 which was dyno tested at the factory and fitted with an Arctic fuel injection pump allowing it to run on anything from #1 Diesel to kerosene or jet fuel. It was then re-tested and sent to the Navistar Marine Engine division for special paint and clear coating before being “expertly installed by Ken Imler Diesel in Sacramento. During installation, all mounts and hoses were replaced if any sign of wear could be seen.”
This engine then took them on a winter crossing of Siberia, and continued exploring the globe until the truck’s sale in 1997. A journey that would eventually land it right here on Expedition Portal’s classifieds.
According to the seller, the Ford is in amazing shape for its age. The paint and decals look great, the engine purrs, and the entire truck drives like a dream. The seats look fantastic, the four-wheel camper doesn’t appear to be ragged or moldy, and there is a pile of paperwork to document the vehicle’s history and modifications.
To be honest, just looking at the photos makes it exceptionally clear that the truck is in good shape. It has been cared for like the piece of overland history it is, and we’re all too sad to say we can’t buy it ourselves. It is certainly worth it. The previous owner refreshed the tires, brakes, shocks, springs, bushings, seals, and added rear/side cameras in 2016, but the bulk of modifications are all from the Wescotts.
As you’d expect, the list reads like a who’s who of off-road parts manufacturers. There are front and rear ARB locking differentials, a Ready-Air belt driven air compressor with storage tank, and a Line-Arc 190 alternator that supplies 110AC power to the vehicle and can pump out enough power to weld in the field. A Gear-Vendors under-over drive was also added to the factory four-speed to make the vehicle more enjoyable to drive.
Armoring the front and back of the truck are custom Rickard bumpers with some seriously cool built-in compartments. The front houses a 12,000- pound Megawinch, as well as two locking storage boxes, two trailer hitch sockets, mounts for the PIAA auxiliary lighting, plus an R&M hot water shower system. The rear is equally well built, with a WARN 8,000-pound winch, class 3 load leveling hitch, swing-away rack, and mounts for a Hi-Lift, shovel, two jerry cans, and a spare tire and wheel. Of course, it also includes full electrical hookups for towing a trailer.
Because the Ford seats aren’t ideal, Scheel-Mann 400s were shipped over from Germany and installed into the truck. The passenger side uses air lumbar support, while the driver’s is paired with a Schukra System lumbar. Both are fully adjustable and designed for long-term comfort thanks to an orthopedically correct design.
In the bed of the truck, you’ll find a Four-Wheel Camper equipped to deliver all the comforts of home in any corner of the globe. It includes two 90-amp hour GNB deep cycle sealed batteries, a 600-watt inverter, fantastic fan, two Jensen auxiliary fans, Hayden inside/outside Hi/Low Temperature gauge, an Everpure two-stage water filter with two outlets, and a heavy-duty Shureflo water pump.
To keep you warm in cold conditions, a 3,500-BTU propane heater was added, along with the optional winter insulation kit. A full Yakima sports roof rack with two Packasport storage boxes sit atop the camper for all of your gear needs, while an A&E trans-awn 2000 awning provides shade after a long day.
The truck also includes loads of spare parts, including some that traveled with the famous duo around the world. Which brings us to the few items that do need to be repaired. The owner states that the power supply to the rear winch needs a new cable, but he has it and will include it. The fridge isn’t working either, but he hasn’t looked into that yet. The overdrive needs a new seal, but he has that as well, so it just needs to be installed. Finally, the CB radio turns on but has no sound. Overall, a very short list for a vehicle of this age and complexity.
Amazingly, the entire list of parts above only covers a fraction of the accessories installed on this truck. There’s an engine block heater, Dynamat soundproofing, mile marker locking hubs, battery warmers, and so much more which you can read about at the links below. You can also read about this duo’s adventures, including some published right here on our site and in Overland Journal.
I am completely shocked that this valuable truck has not ended up mothballed and protected in some car collection by now. It is a moving and driving piece of off-road history, that packs plenty of late 1980s/early 1990s flare, plus more character than a truck should be allowed to possess. This is one of those rare opportunities to buy an iconic one of a kind vehicle, and we will all kick ourselves in 20 years for passing it up. Hell, we might kick ourselves for not buying it tomorrow, because at this price, it is sure to not last long.
To read about Gary and Monika’s adventures in our interview series, check out the article here.
To learn all about this truck, visit the Turtle Expedition website here.
To view the advertisement and contact the seller, check out the advertisement here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Wisdom of Barry Goldwater “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!” by Lawrence W. Reed

Arizona native Barry Goldwater once visited a golf club on the East Coast that would not allow Jewish people on its links. When he was informed that he couldn’t play the 18 holes he came for, he famously responded, “Well, my father was Jewish but my mother was Episcopalian, so can I play nine holes?”
He despised stereotypes, collectivism, and groupthink in all forms and never shrank from saying so, no matter who it offended.

That was classic Goldwater in many ways. A successful businessman, author, and five-term US senator, he was well known for enlisting humor in the service of a powerful point. He believed all his life that each and every individual should be judged, as Martin Luther King put it so well, by “the content of his character.” He despised stereotypes, collectivism, and groupthink in all forms and never shrank from saying so, no matter who it offended.
The 1964 Goldwater campaign for president still resonates in my mind, though I was just eleven at the time. My father loved the guy. When I came home from government school one day and told him that all my teachers said Lyndon Johnson was the man to vote for, my dad instilled in me a healthy skepticism of classroom authority that’s only grown in the decades since.
The official slogan of the Goldwater campaign was: “In your heart, you know he’s right.” Democrats sneered in response, “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.” That was funny, but the policies they dumped on us when they beat Goldwater in the election were anything but. They said if the Arizonan were elected, we’d get a huge escalation in the Vietnam War; Johnson won and we got a huge escalation in the Vietnam War. They said if Goldwater won, the federal government wouldn’t care for people anymore; Johnson was elected and we ended up with a welfare state that broke families apart, trapped millions in lives of dead-end poverty, and foisted mountains of debt on generations yet unborn.
Barry Goldwater died 20 years ago, in 1998, at the age of 89. He lost a presidential election, but he fired up millions to the importance of things like limited government, rugged individualism, fealty to the Constitution, and sticking to principles. He thought of himself as a “conservative” (his best-known book, still a great read, The Conscience of a Conservative), but that was before the term “libertarian” came into wide use. I think today he might be more comfortable with the libertarian label, or perhaps “libertarian constitutionalist.”
Two decades after his passing, I can think of no better way to remember Barry Goldwater than to offer readers a selection of his own words:
It is a fact that Lyndon Johnson and his curious crew seem to believe that progress in this country is best served simply and directly through the ever-expanding gift power of the everlastingly growing Federal Government. One thing we all know, and I assure you I do: that’s a much easier way to get votes than my way. It always has been. It’s political Daddyism, and it’s as old as demagogues and despotism.
I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.
The legitimate functions of government are actually conducive to freedom. Maintaining internal order, keeping foreign foes at bay, administering justice, removing obstacles to the free interchange of goods—the exercise of these powers makes it possible for men to follow their chosen pursuits with maximum freedom. But note that the very instrument by which these desirable ends are achieved can be the instrument for achieving undesirable ends—that government can, instead of extending freedom, restrict freedom.”
Surely the first obligation of a political thinker is to understand the nature of man. The Conservative does not claim special powers of perception on this point, but he does claim a familiarity with the accumulated wisdom and experience of history, and he is not too proud to learn from the great minds of the past. The first thing he has learned about man is that each member of the species is a unique creature. Man’s most sacred possession is his individual soul—which has an immortal side, but also a mortal one. The mortal side establishes his absolute differentness from every other human being. Only a philosophy that takes into account the essential differences between men, and, accordingly, makes provision for developing the different potentialities of each man can claim to be in accord with Nature. We have heard much in our time about ‘the common man.’ It is a concept that pays little attention to the history of a nation that grew great through the initiative and ambition of uncommon men. The Conservative knows that to regard man as part of an undifferentiated mass is to consign him to ultimate slavery.”
Throughout history, government has proved to be the chief instrument for thwarting man’s liberty. Government represents power in the hands of some men to control and regulate the lives of other men. And power, as Lord Acton said, corrupts men. ‘Absolute power,’ he added, ‘corrupts absolutely.’”
Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed. Their mistaken course stems from false notions of equality, ladies and gentlemen. Equality, rightly understood, as our Founding Fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.”
The graduated tax is a confiscatory tax. Its effect, and to a large extent its aim, is to bring down all men to a common level. Many of the leading proponents of the graduated tax frankly admit that their purpose is to redistribute the nation's wealth. Their aim is an egalitarian society—an objective that does violence both to the charter of the Republic and the laws of Nature. We are all equal in the eyes of God but we are equal in no other respect. Artificial devices for enforcing equality among unequal men must be rejected if we would restore that charter and honor those laws.
I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!

SOTA summit W7M/RC-017, Sweeney Peak - 2792m, 8 Points

Sweeney Peak, Bitterroots

Date: September 26, 2018
Trip leader: Vick Applegate
Participants: Edna Blanchfield, Eileen McGurty and Samson, Tom Shreve,  Vick Applegate

This hike was a spectacular Fall day despite a cool blustery summit-wind.   Fall colors highlighted the alpine landscape dominated by yellow/gold alpine larch.   A portion of the route is within the 2017 Lolo Peak burn area.  There seemingly out-of-season  in full bloom were infrequent groups of pink fireweed, white yarrow, yellow arnica and blue asters.  Bluebirds, Clark’s nutcrackers, northern three-toed woodpecker, ravens and Townsend’s solitaire were active along the route.

Much of the east ridge route has been burned over by the Lolo Peak fire of 2017 so hikers will find fallen logs to go over or around and ash soils to tromp through.  Heads up for occasional burned-out stump holes and falling snags.

Samson, Eileen’s Italian Alps Sheepdog provided motivation to crawl over downed trees, boulders and provide water breaks.  Thanks Samson!

Vick, a ham radio operator, set up a portable radio and antenna on the summit while the other TRMs enjoyed lunch and the view of surrounding landscape.  He contacted 31 other radio operators spanning from New Hampshire, Quebec, Michigan, Arkansas, Arizona to Idaho.  Three contacts were with radio operators also on summits in Idaho, Oregon and Texas.  

Note: This hike is well described in Hoyt’s Bitterroot Mountain Summits guidebook.  Just go beyond the apex in the trail #393 going down the trail a couple hundred feet and then cross the live water stream to access the non-system trail.  I left at the apex and missed the much easier trail route up to the ridge.   

Tweet it International Space Station

“Hello, America. This is the International Space Station. Who’s out there?”
And with that “CQ” of sorts on 145.800 MHz, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, KG5TMT, MD, spent some time at the helm of NA1SS on October 6 making casual, random contacts — something that’s fairly rare these days. The ISS was on a pass that took the spacecraft up along the east coast of the US at the time. In response to a question, Auñón-Chancellor, who has been on station since June, told one caller that she’s been floating the entire time she’s been in space.
“We float every day. Float to work, float back to sleep. It is awesome,” she said.
Scott Chapman, K4KDR, of Montpelier, Virginia, edited a clip ofdownlink chatterby the 42-year-old flight surgeon and flight engineer.
“During most passes of the ISS where I’m working with the packet digipeater on 145.825, I also monitor 145.800 just in case there is any activity on that frequency,” Chapman said in a post to AMSAT-BB. “For the first time in my personal experience, today one of the astronauts was randomly calling to see if anybody was listening. Of course I tried to reply on 145.800 simplex, but there are a number of possible uplinks, and none of them were programmed into my radio. They are now! It was a real thrill and, like so much of this hobby, a learning opportunity.”
Auñón-Chancellor is aboard the ISS as part of the Expedition 56/57 crew. She’ll return to Earth in December. 
The Amateur Radio FM voice frequencies for stations in ITU Regions 2 and 3 are 145.800 MHz down and 144.490 MHz up. For stations in Region 1, the uplink frequency is 145.200 MHz.    

What If Your Data Was Valued Like Currency? At This Cafe, It Is By Thomas Hornigold

At the Shiru Café close to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, students can get a cup of coffee without spending a dime. The currency here is information.
Students can get free coffee if they fill in an online form. They list personal details such as their names, phone numbers, and email addresses alongside less generic information about their program of study and their career ambitions.
The café’s business model is to pass this data on to recruiters at companies that sponsor the café, such as JP Morgan, who hold events where they discuss career choices with students. Screens that surround the tables—the coffee is only free if you stay inside—project advertisements for internship programs.
Shiru’s website describes its mission: “Through a free drink we try to give students some information which sponsor companies would like to give exclusively to university students to diversify the choices of their future career.”
Shiru staff hover around amidst the free wifi and phone charging ports, ready to dispense career information. Naturally, the free drinks are really being paid for by the corporations, who are buying access to lobby potential job applicants—one coffee bean at a time.
At first blush, there might seem to be something depressingly transactional, or even predatory, about selling your personal information in exchange for caffeine and juice.
After all, none of us like to think of ourselves as a target market. We don’t like to reflect on the many competing forces that seek to shape our choices, especially about something as personal and important as our career decisions.
Yet, in another light, Shiru Café is refreshingly open and honest about its use of personal data. Facebook’s business model, which we’ve all had ample cause to contemplate recently as the company’s data policies came into question, has always been the same: it gathers information about you and sells it to advertisers who want to influence the decisions you make.
In exchange, they provide a service: access to the website, a tailored stream of endless content designed to keep you clicking, free of charge. Those colossal data centers don’t come for free: you pay for them with your information and your attention in the attention economy.
The old maxim rings true: if you’re getting something for free, you’re the product.
For some, the information economy is already far too deeply ingrained to start worrying about it now. Nina Wolff Landau, a student, told NPR that the data collected is easily accessible on LinkedIn or other websites with a quick Google search.
“Maybe I should have been more apprehensive, but everyone has your information at this point anyway,” she said. “To give out my name and email and what I study does not seem so risky to me.”
In some respects, Shiru Café actually represents a step forward for how we view our data. After all, many people currently allow all kinds of third-party apps to access their personal information through Facebook Login, giving Facebook’s advertising platform data about how you use that app, and providing the app with the data that you gave to Facebook.
All that personal information about you, and your friends, and people you’ve never met made less secure, and for what? The convenience of not having to fill in another form, or remember another password. If your privacy already has such a low price attached, why not take the free coffee?
And at least there is a modicum of transparency, if not corporate responsibility, in Shiru’s business model. When the students at Brown take issue with JP Morgan sponsoring the café due to their role in the 2008 financial crisis, there is a target for their ire and an organization to boycott.
When a social media giant’s algorithm targets teenagers that it judges to be depressed, or people who it judges might fall victim to a predatory loan, it can just blame the black-box nature of that algorithm.
Yet this argument—that we should all just accept the insidious commodification of our personalities and lives as a fait accompli and try to profit out of the bargain—is hardly reassuring. It can seem like dystopian science fictionstruggles to keep up with reality. The new Netflix show Maniac features “Ad Buddys,” a system of payment whereby you can pay for goods or services by letting an actor recite ads at you.
The brave new world of dataism, where everything from your shopping habits to your biometric signatures is fodder for machine learning algorithms that want to understand everything about you, holds promise.
All that data could be used to make more convenient and more effective services; it could be used to aid in everything from healthcare to disaster response. Or it could be sold to the highest bidder and expose you to a stream of ads.
Technological developments like the Internet of Things and the smart home might be the next step in convenience and time-saving in the same way that electrical appliances like the vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, and washing machine were decades before.
Or they could be easing us deeper into a world of “participatory surveillance,” where we exchange comfort and convenience for an external presence that’s always monitoring us in the background.
Whatever you think of Shiru’s experiment—and reviews are certainly mixed so far both from corporations and students—the way our data and information are handled is a crucial topic for contemplation.
If your information and your attention are so valuable to so many corporations, shouldn’t they have value to you?
Viewing data exchange as a transaction makes us reflect on what else we might be giving away for less than the price of a cup of coffee—and, perhaps sooner than we think, an era when this kind of transaction may no longer be optional.

CQ Newsroom: Hurricane Watch Net on 7268/14325 kHz - Please Kee...

CQ Newsroom: Hurricane Watch Net on 7268/14325 kHz - Please Kee...: The Hurricane Watch Net is active around the clock on 7268 and/or 14325 kHz as Hurricane Michael approaches the US Gulf Coast. Landfa...

The 2018 Annual GWPF Lecture Global Warming for the Two Cultures by Richard Lindzen

About the lecturer 
Richard S. Lindzen was Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology until his retirement in 2013. He is the author of over 200 papers on meteorology and climatology and is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and of the Academic Advisory Council of GWPF.

Over half a century ago, C.P. Snow (a novelist and English physical chemist who also served in several important positions in the British Civil Service and briefly in the UK government) famously examined the implications of ‘two cultures’:

A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s? I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question – such as, What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, Can you read? – not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their Neolithic ancestors would have had.

I fear that little has changed since Snow’s assessment 60 years ago. While some might maintain that ignorance of physics does not impact political ability, it most certainly impacts the ability of non-scientific politicians to deal with nominally science-based issues. The gap in understanding is also an invitation to malicious exploitation. Given the democratic necessity for non-scientists to take positions on scientific problems, belief and faith inevitably replace understanding, though trivially oversimplified false narratives serve to reassure the non-scientists that they are not totally without scientific ‘understanding.’ The issue of global warming offers numerous examples of all of this.

I would like to begin this lecture with an attempt to force the scientists in the audience to come to grips with the actual nature of the climate system, and to help the motivated non-scientists in this audience who may be in Snow’s ‘one in ten’ to move beyond the trivial oversimplifications.

The climate system

The following description of the climate system contains nothing that is in the least controversial, and I expect that anyone with a scientific background will readily follow the description. I will also try, despite Snow’s observations, to make the description intelligible to the non-scientist.

The system we are looking at consists in two turbulent fluids(the atmosphere and oceans) interacting with each other. By ‘turbulent,’ I simply mean that it is characterized by irregular circulations like those found in a gurgling brook or boiling water, but on the planetary scale of the oceans and the atmosphere. The opposite of turbulent is called laminar, but any fluid forced to move fast enough becomes turbulent and turbulence obviously limits predictability. By interaction, I simply mean that they exert stress on each other and exchange heat with each other.

These fluids are on a rotating planet that is unevenly heated by the sun. The motions in the atmosphere (and to a lesser extent in the oceans) are generated by the uneven influence of the sun. The sun, itself, can be steady, but it shines directly on the tropics while barely skimming the Earth at the poles. The drivers of the oceans are more complex and include forcing by wind as well as the sinking of cold and salty water. The rotation of the Earth has many consequences too, but for the present, we may simply note that it leads to radiation being distributed around a latitude circle.

The oceans have circulations and currents operating on time scales ranging from years to millennia, and these systems carry heat to and from the surface. Because of the scale and density of the oceans, the flow speeds are generally much smaller than in the atmosphere and are associated with much longer timescales. The fact that these circulations carry heat to and from the surface means that the surface, itself, is never in equilibrium with space. That is to say, there is never an exact balance between incoming heat from the sun and outgoing radiation generated by the Earth because heat is always being stored in and released from the oceans and surface temperature is always, therefore, varying somewhat.

 In addition to the oceans, the atmosphere is interacting with a hugely irregular land surface. As air passes over mountain ranges, the flow is greatly distorted. Topography therefore plays a major role in modifying regional climate. These distorted air-flows even generate fluid waves that can alter climate at distant locations. Computer simulations of the climate generally fail to adequately describe these effects.

A vital constituent of the atmospheric component is water in the liquid, solid and vapor phases, and the changes in phase have vast impacts on energy flows. Each component also has important radiative impacts. You all know that it takes heat to melt ice, and it takes further heat for the resulting water to become vapor or, as it is sometimes referred to, steam. The term humidity refers to the amount of vapor in the atmosphere. The flow of heat is reversed when the phase changes are reversed; that is, when vapor condenses into water, and when water freezes. The release of heat when water vapor condenses drives thunder clouds (known as cumulonimbus), and the energy in a thundercloud is comparable to that released in an H-bomb. I say this simply to illustrate that these energy transformations are very substantial. Clouds consist of water in the form of fine droplets and ice in the form of fine crystals. Normally, these fine droplets and crystals are suspended by rising air currents, but when these grow large enough they fall through the rising air as rain and snow. Not only are the energies involved in phase transformations important, so is the fact that both water vapor and clouds (both ice- and water-based) strongly affect radiation. Although I haven’t discussed the greenhouse effect yet, I’m sure all of you have heard that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that this explains its warming effect. You should, therefore, understand that the two most important greenhouse substances by far are water vapor and clouds. Clouds are also important reflectors of sunlight.

The unit for describing energy flows is watts per square meter. The energy budget of this system involves the absorption and reemission of about 200 watts per square meter. Doubling CO2 involves a 2% perturbation to this budget. So do minor changes in clouds and other features, and such changes are common. The Earth receives about 340 watts per square meter from the sun, but about 140 watts per square meter is simply reflected back to space, by both the Earth’s surface and, more importantly, by clouds. This leaves about 200 watts per square meter that the Earth would have to emit in order to establish balance. The sun radiates in the visible portion of the radiation spectrum because its temperature is about 6000K. ‘K’ refers to Kelvins, which are simply degrees Centigrade plus 273. Zero K is the lowest possible temperature (−273◦C). Temperature determines the spectrum of the emitted radiation. If the Earth had no atmosphere at all (but for purposes of argument still was reflecting 140 watts per square meter), it would have to radiate at a temperature of about 255K, and, at this temperature, the radiation is mostly in the infrared.

Of course, the Earth does have an atmosphere and oceans, and this introduces a host of complications. So be warned, what follows will require a certain amount of concentration. Evaporation from the oceans gives rise to water vapor in the atmosphere, and water vapor very strongly absorbs and emits radiation in the infrared. This is what we mean when we call water vapor a greenhouse gas. The water vapor essentially blocks infrared radiation from leaving the surface, causing the surface and (via conduction) the air adjacent to the surface to heat, and, as in a heated pot of water, convection sets on. Because the density of air decreases with height, the buoyant elements expand as they rise. This causes the buoyant elements to cool as they rise, and the mixing results in decreasing temperature with height rather than a constant temperature. To make matters more complicated, the amount of water vapor that the air can hold decreases rapidly as the temperature decreases. At some height there is so little water vapor above this height that radiation from this level can now escape to space. It is at this elevated level (around 5 km) that the temperature must be about 255K in order to balance incoming radiation. However, because convection causes temperature to decrease with height, the surface now has to actually be warmer than 255K. It turns out that it has to be about 288K (which is the average temperature of the Earth’s surface). This is what is known as the greenhouse effect. It is an interesting curiosity that had convection produced a uniform temperature, there wouldn’t be a greenhouse effect. In reality, the situation is still more complicated. Among other things, the existence of upper-level cirrus clouds, which are very strong absorbers and emitters of infrared radiation, effectively block infrared radiation from below. Thus, when such clouds are present above about 5 km, their tops rather than the height of 5 km determine the level from which infrared reaches space. Now the addition of other greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide) elevates the emission level, and because of the convective mixing, the new level will be colder. This reduces the outgoing infrared flux, and, in order to restore balance, the atmosphere would have to warm. Doubling carbon dioxide concentration is estimated to be equivalent to a forcing of about 3.7 watts per square meter, which is little less than 2% of the net incoming 200 watts per square meter. Many factors, including cloud area and height, snow cover, and ocean circulations, commonly cause changes of comparable magnitude.

It is important to note that such a system will fluctuate with time scales ranging from seconds to millennia, even in the absence of an explicit forcing other than a steady sun. Much of the popular literature (on both sides of the climate debate) assumes that all changes must be driven by some external factor. Of course, the climate system is driven by the sun, but even if the solar forcing were constant, the climate would still vary. This is actually something that all of you have long known – even if you don’t realize it. After all, you have no difficulty recognizing that the steady stroking of a violin string by a bow causes the string to vibrate and generate sound waves. In a similar way, the atmosphere–ocean system responds to steady forcing with its own modes of variation (which, admittedly, are often more complex than the modes of a violin string). Moreover, given the massive nature of the oceans, such variations can involve timescales of millennia rather than milliseconds. El Niño is a relatively short example, involving years, but most of these internal time variations are too long to even be identified in our relatively short instrumental record. Nature has numerous examples of autonomous variability, including the approximately 11-year sunspot cycle and the reversals of the Earth’s magnetic field every couple of hundred thousand years or so. In this respect, the climate system is no different from other natural systems.

Of course, such systems also do respond to externalforcing, but suchforcing is not needed for them to exhibit variability. While the above is totally uncontroversial, please think about it for a moment. Consider the massive heterogeneity and complexity of the system, and the variety of mechanisms of variability as we consider the current narrative that is commonly presented as ‘settled science.

The popular narrative and its political origins

Now here is the currently popular narrative concerning this system. The climate, a complex multifactor system, can be summarized in just one variable, the globally averaged temperature change, and is primarily controlled by the 1-2% perturbation in the energy budget due to a single variable – carbon dioxide - among many variables of comparable importance.

This is an extraordinary pair of claims based on reasoning that borders on magical thinking. It is, however, the narrative that has been widely accepted, even among many sceptics. This acceptance is a strong indicator of the problem Snow identified.

Many politicians and learned societies go even further: They endorse carbon dioxide as the controlling variable, and although mankind’s CO2 contributions are small compared to the much larger but uncertain natural exchanges with both the oceans and the biosphere, they are confident that they know precisely what policies to implement in order to control carbon dioxide levels.

While several scientists have put forward this view over the past 200 years, it was, until the 1980s, generally dismissed. When, in 1988, the NASA scientist James Hansen told the US Senate that the summer’s warmth reflected increased carbon dioxide levels, even Science magazine reported that the climatologists were sceptical. The establishment of this extreme position as dogma during the present period is due to political actors and others seeking to exploit the opportunities that abound in the multi-trillion dollar energy sector. One example was Maurice Strong, a global bureaucrat and wheeler-dealer (who spent his final years in China apparently trying to avoid prosecution for his role in the UN’s Oil for Food program scandals). Strong is frequently credited with initiating the global warming movement in the early 1980s, and he subsequently helped to engineer the Rio Conference that produced the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Others like Olaf Palme and his friend, Bert Bolin, who was the first chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, were also involved as early as the 1970s.

Political enthusiasm has only increased since then as political ideology has come to play a major role. A few years ago, Christiana Figueres, then executive secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that mankind was, for the first time in history, setting itself the task of intentionally changing the economic system.(1)

Ms. Figueres is not alone in believing this. Pope Francis’ closest adviser castigated conservative climate change skeptics in the United States, blaming capitalism for their views.

Speaking with journalists, Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga criticized certain ‘movements’ in the United States that had preemptively come out in opposition to Francis’s planned encyclical on climate change. ‘The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits’, he said.

This past August, a paper appeared in the Proceedings of theNational Academy of Sciences. Littered with ‘could bes’ and ‘might bes’, it conclude that ‘Collective human action’ is required to ‘steer the Earth System awayfrom a potential threshold’ and keep it habitable. The authors said that this would involve ‘stewardship of the entire Earth System – biosphere, climate, and societies’, and that it might involve ‘decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformed social values’.

Remember, in a world that buys into the incoherent ‘precautionary principle,’ even the mere claim of remote possibility justifies extreme action.

Presumably, the power these people desperately seek includes the power to roll back the status and welfare that the ordinary person has acquired and continues to acquire through the fossil fuel generated industrial revolution and return them to their presumably more appropriate status as serfs. Many more among the world’s poorest will be forbidden the opportunity to improve their condition.

Nevertheless, when these claims are presented to the leaders of our societies, along with the bogus claim that 97% of scientists agree, our leaders are afraid to differ, and proceed, lemming-like, to plan for the suicide of industrial society. Again, nothing better illustrates the problem that Snow identified.

Interestingly, however, ‘ordinary’ people (as opposed to our ‘educated’ elites) tend to see through the nonsense being presented. What is it about our elites that makes them so vulnerable, and what is it about many of our scientists that leads them to promote such foolishness? The answers cannot be very flattering to either. Let us consider the ‘vulnerable’ elites first.

1. They have been educated in a system where success has been predicated on their ability to please their professors. In other words, they have been conditioned to rationalize anything.

2. While they are vulnerable to false narratives, they are far less economically vulnerable than are ordinary people. They believe themselves wealthy enough to withstand the economic pain of the proposed policies, and they are clever enough to often benefit from them.

3. The narrative is trivial enough for the elite to finally think that they ‘understand’ science.

4. For many (especially on the right), the need to be regarded as intelligent causes them to fear that opposing anything claimed to be ‘scientific’ might lead to their being regarded as ignorant, and this fear overwhelms any ideological commitment to liberty that they might have.

None of these factors apply to ‘ordinary’ people. This may well be the strongest argument for popular democracy and against the leadership of those ‘who know best.

What about the scientists?

1. Scientists are specialists. Few are expert in climate. This includes many supposed ‘climate scientists’ who became involved in the area in response to the huge increases in funding that have accompanied global warming hysteria.

2. Scientists are people with their own political positions, and many have been enthusiastic about using their status as scientists to promote their political positions (not unlike celebrities whose status some scientists often aspire to). As examples, consider the movements against nuclear weapons, against the Strategic Defense Initiative, against the Vietnam War, and so on.

 Scientists are also acutely and cynically aware of the ignorance of non-scientists and the fear that this engenders. This fear leaves the ‘vulnerable’ elites particularly relieved by assurances that the theory underlying the alarm is trivially simple and that ‘all’ scientists agree. Former senator and Secretary of State John F. Kerry is typical when he stated, with reference to greenhouse warming, ‘I know sometimes I can remember from when I was in high school and college, some aspects of chemistry or physics can be tough. But this is not tough. This is simple. Kids at the earliest age can understand this’. As you have seen, the greenhouse effect is not all that simple. Only remarkably brilliant kids would understand it. Given Kerry’s subsequent description of climate and its underlying physics, it was clear that he was not up to the task.

The evidence

At this point, some of you might be wondering about all the so-called evidence for dangerous climate change. What about the disappearing Arctic ice, the rising sea level, the weather extremes, starving polar bears, the Syrian Civil War, and all the rest of it? The vast variety of the claims makes it impossible to point to any particular fault that applies to all of them. Of course, citing the existence of changes – even if these observations are correct (although surprisingly often they are not) – would not implicate greenhouse warming per se. Nor would it point to danger. Note that most of the so-called evidence refers to matters of which you have no personal experience. Some of the claims, such as those relating to weather extremes, contradict what both physical theory and empirical data show. The purpose of these claims is obviously to frighten and befuddle the public, and to make it seem like there is evidence where, in fact, there is none. If there is evidence of anything, it is of the correctness of C.P. Snow’s observation. Some examples will show what I mean.

First, for something to be evidence, it must have been unambiguously predicted. (This is a necessary, but far from sufficient condition.) Figure 1 shows the IPCC model forecasts for the summer minimum in Arctic sea ice in the year 2100 relative to the period 1980–2000. As you can see, there is a model for any outcome. It is a little like the formula for being an expert marksman: shoot first and declare whatever you hit to be the target.

Turning to the issue of temperature extremes, is there any data to even support concern? As to these extremes, the data shows no trend and the IPCC agrees. Even Gavin Schmidt, Jim Hansen’s successor at NASA’s New York shop, GISS, has remarked that ‘general statements about extremes are almost nowhere to be found in the literature but seem to abound in the popular media’. He went on to say that it takes only a few seconds’ thought to realise that the popular perceptions that ‘global warming means all extremes have to increase all the time‘ is ‘nonsense’

Image result for Climate model projections of rate of Arctic sea ice loss. Source: Eisenman et al., J. Clim., 2011.

Figure 1: Climate model projections of rate of Arctic sea ice loss. Source: Eisenman et al., J. Clim., 2011.

At the heart of this nonsense is the failure to distinguish weather from climate. Thus, global warming refers to the welcome increase in temperature of about 1◦C since the end of the Little Ice Age about 200 years ago. On the other hand, weather extremes involve temperature changes of the order of 20◦C. Such large changes have a profoundly different origin from global warming. Crudely speaking, they result from winds carrying warm and cold air from distant regions that are very warm or very cold. These winds are in the form of waves. The strength of these waves depends on the temperature difference between the tropics and the Arctic (with larger differences leading to stronger waves). Now, the models used to project global warming all predict that this temperature difference will decrease rather than increase. Thus, the increase in temperature extremes would best support the idea of global cooling rather than global warming. However, scientifically illiterate people seem incapable of distinguishing global warming of climate from temperature extremes due to weather. In fact, as has already been noted, there doesn’t really seem to be any discernible trend in weather extremes. There is only the greater attention paid by the media to weather, and the exploitation of this ‘news’ coverage by people who realize that projections of catastrophe in the distant future are hardly compelling, and that they therefore need a way to convince the public that the danger is immediate, even if it isn’t.

This has also been the case with sea-level rise. Sea level has been increasing by about 8 inches per century for hundreds of years, and we have clearly been able to deal with it. In order to promote fear, however, those models that predict much larger increases are invoked. As a practical matter, it has long been known that at most coastal locations, changes in sea level, as measured by tide gauges, are primarily due to changes in land level associated with both tectonics and land use.

Moreover, the small change in global mean temperature (actually the change in temperature increase) is much smaller than what the computer models used by the IPCC have predicted. Even if all this change were due to man, it would be most consistent with low sensitivity to added carbon dioxide, and the IPCC only claims that most (not all) of the warming over the past 60 years is due to man’s activities. Thus, the issue of man-made climate change does not appear to be a serious problem. However, this hardly stops ignorant politicians from declaring that the IPCC’s claim of attribution is tantamount to unambiguous proof of coming disaster.

Cherry picking is always an issue. Thus, there has been a recent claim that Greenland ice discharge has increased, and that warming will make it worse.2 Omitted from the report is the finding by both NOAA and the Danish Meteorological Institute that the ice mass of Greenland has actually been increasing.3 In fact both these observations can be true, and, indeed, ice build-up pushes peripheral ice into the sea.

Misrepresentation, exaggeration, cherry picking, or outright lying pretty much covers all the so-called evidence.


So there you have it. An implausible conjecture backed by false evidence and repeated incessantly has become politically correct ‘knowledge,’ and is used to promote the overturn of industrial civilization. What we will be leaving our grandchildren is not a planet damaged by industrial progress, but a record of unfathomable silliness as well as a landscape degraded by rusting wind farms and decaying solar panel arrays. False claims about 97% agreement will not spare us, but the willingness of scientists to keep mum is likely to much reduce trust in and support for science. Perhaps this won’t be such a bad thing after all – certainly as concerns ‘official’ science.

There is at least one positive aspect to the present situation. None of the proposed policies will have much impact on greenhouse gases. Thus we will continue to benefit from the one thing that can be clearly attributed to elevated carbon dioxide: namely, its effective role as a plant fertilizer, and reducer of the drought vulnerability of plants. Meanwhile, the IPCC is claiming that we need to prevent another 0.5◦C of warming, although the 1◦C that has occurred so far has been accompanied by the greatest increase in human welfare in history. As we used to say in my childhood home of the Bronx: ‘Go figure’.