Archive for the ‘idiocracy’ Category

It seems the US is getting onto private aviation bashing. No trailerable aircraft to airports or automobile gasoline for the engines. The former could be seen to be motivated by trying to prevent building bombs into aircraft, the latter is a bit more obscure, probably having to do with ethanol additives that some aircraft engines (or fuel pipes and seals) can’t handle. But it’s peculiar to outright ban auto fuel. The people can deal with this themselves. Probably you could easily produce ethanol kits for most auto fuel engine systems.

I’m reminded of Finnish automobile laws which are probably the strictest in the world. You can’t do this or that and even if you do something out of the ordinary within the very narrow limits, your new vehicle will probably be taxed to death. Even ordinary new or used imported cars have high taxes in Finland and gasoline costs over 1.3 euros per liter. The roads take a lot of effort to build and maintain because the harsh winters cause the ground to freeze, causing bumps in anything but very deeply and thoroughly based roads, the snow has to be plowed and salt is dispensed to melt it, lots of streetlights are used since the winters are dark, frequent repaving is needed because of winter tires grinding the asphalt etc. This money has to be taken from somewhere. That I understand.

But try to bring a used car from say Germany to Finland. It’s a disaster. A friend of mine spent the summer in central Europe and bought a decent smallish German car for 1500 euros. He drove around Europe a few thousand kilometers with it with the temporary registration and everything worked fine. I was on a trip too and joined him in Poland and we drove the car to Finland. It was a well working machine with no problems whatsoever, I’ve driven worse perfectly legal vehicles in Finland. It even had air conditioning which made the trip nice. But when he arrived in Finland, the problems started piling. First lots of customs payments, then he had to bring the car for checkup so it could be registered in Finland. Just that exact model had not been imported to Finland. The inspector demanded some changes to be made at a repair shop (changes that would not affect the car’s function in any way, may I add!), to make the car resemble more its ordinary sibling model. Yet when some were made at a great cost, it was discovered by another inspector the changes were actually wrong. It was made clear that the car could not be registered. My friend contemplated a lawsuit, but here they take so many years and so much money. In the end the perfectly good drivable and safe car ended up to be crushed. All because of stupid overstrict laws and an incompetent inspection system. This is not protecting road safety, it’s protecting local car dealers.

Vehicle changes and registrations are really a complex world here. There’s a group of people working on an “open source hardware” electric conversion of Toyota Corolla, sähköautot.fi. Even the prime minister has promised tax exemptions for electric vehicles but I think at the moment they’re taxed as harshly as diesel vehicles (which is much more than gasoline, but the fuel is cheaper – but for electrics the fuel is cheaper anyway!). Same with a guy who has a home made biogas facility at his cow farm in central Finland. The overregulation is strangling innovation and experimentation. Meanwhile in Sweden they are experimenting with all kinds of alternative fuels and give perks like free parking to less polluting vehicles. The Finnish car factory in Uusikaupunki that used to do Porsche Boxters is now changing over to electric vehicles to be on the leading edge. And none of them will be on sale locally, all for export, because of the tax system and regulations. Someone should wake up!

Read Full Post »

Richard Rood has a thoughtful piece written up on contrarianism, irrationality and disruption. It seems a bit naive for me but then again I don’t have much of the same experiences…

Read Full Post »

Tim Lambert examines one of the specific fraud claims in the CRU code.

Read Full Post »

Winter War

Seventy years ago today, 26 of november 1939, Soviet Union claimed Finland had fired cannon shots across the border to the village of Mainila. In reality these shells were shot by Soviet cannons. Wikipedia has more.

And that’s how it is. The plight of the Finns started with gross lies and accusations… Only after the Soviet Union broke up, could there be admission of this theater, and yet many Russians to this day keep the schoolbook snippet how the Shelling of Mainila was done by Finns. Who controls the information, controls the people.

Read Full Post »

And what it means in relation to tree ring proxies, by Hrynyshyn, reviewing a book.

That excerpt appears immediately above a graph that shows how temperatures inferred from tree-ring records since about 1850 (the “proxies”) are a pretty good match for actual temperature records derived from thermometers right up until the 1980s. After that, the tree-ring data begin to show lower temperatures than were actually recorded.

Just why tree rings no longer provide useful proxy data for temperatures is not known. There are several theories, many of which suggest that climate change itself is the problem. Trees no longer grow as they once did before the climate started changing so rapidly. But the point is, there is no question that tree-ring growth rates of the past — before we had thermometers — can serve as useful proxies for historical temperature data. They are much less useful now, but that doesn’t matter so much because we have actual temperature records. All of this was sorted out back in 1998. It’s not new, nor even particularly interesting, to anyone familiar with the science.

It makes sense but at the same time I’m a bit baffled by this – how do you calibrate then? If you assume the trees are behaving nowadays than before…

Read Full Post »

Energy and Calories

The latter is an obsolete unit for energy anyway. The SI unit is Joules. 1 J = 1 N * 1 m = 1 kg * 1 m²/s² = etc etc – see that’s the whole idea of the SI system – you don’t have any coefficients.

Yet using Calories further makes it easier to construct misconceptions like the advertisement for Hydrive energy drinks: they give you lots of energy and are healthy because they have low Calories.


Read Full Post »

Man, East Germany was a horrible horrible place. I recommend this movie. Das Leben den Anderen, 2006. The repressivity and hopelesness of a totalitarian state is shown.

Read Full Post »

Lies, lies, lies

See a dissection…

It seems even the BBC has jumped into the stupidity…

Read Full Post »

Assume a glacier that provides summer water for a billion people. What is its value, if it is destroyed by global warming? Since it currently provides services for free, it could be calculated as zero, according to some. Hence, a hypothetical economic activity by those people that gave them one dollar in total while destroying the glacier completely, would be worth doing? That’s suicide economics.

The word VALUE, it is to be observed, has two different meanings, and sometimes expresses the utility of some particular object, and sometimes the power of purchasing other goods which the possession of that object conveys. The one may be called “value in use”; the other, “value in exchange.” The things which have the greatest value in use have frequently little or no value in exchange; and on the contrary, those which have the greatest value in exchange have frequently little or no value in use. Nothing is more useful than water: but it will purchase scarce any thing; scarce any thing can be had in exchange for it. A diamond, on the contrary, has scarce any value in use; but a very great quantity of other goods may frequently be had in exchange for it.

Who’s the radical greenie who wrote the above? Mark Sagoff wrote an essay on stupid valuation of nature’s services back somewhen, where he made the above quote. Find out there, who said it…

Read Full Post »

The chief disciplines of bullshit, i.e., law, politics and advertising, have developed a culture that is very good at misdirection, to the point where the best information not only doesn’t win out, arguably truth is at a disadvantage.

Michael Tobis on In It For The Gold (on the blogroll to the right). Some day there will be a Quotes book, I’m sure.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »