Monday, July 30, 2007

More weak science on global warming

There is a perfect example of the very sloppy thinking that passes for "science" these day when the subject is global warming and climate change in an article in USA TODAY by Dan Vergano entitled "Study links more hurricanes, climate change." In fact, nothing in the article actually links (in a causal sense) the alleged change in hurricane frequency to either global warming or climate change. Granted, science is not the goal of USA TODAY, but still I would expect something better for a national media publication. They should at least have a science editorial advisor to alert them to new results that are simply not ready for prime time.

I am curious how back in 1905 through 1930 they measured hurricane wind force at sea well enough to judge whether a storm was merely a "storm" and not a "hurricane." Today, we have aircraft which have sophisticated radar and satellite data that they can use to accurately detect whether even a portion of a storm has reached hurricance force. It is not unheard of for a storm to grow into a hurricane and then fall back to only tropical storm intensity. Back in the old days when ships changed heading to avoid the core of big storms, and accurate readings were only available at landfall, it would be no surprise if the number of storms classified as hurricanes was somewhat lower (Katrina was a Cat 5 out in the middle of the Gulf but only a Cat 3 at landfall.) I would really like to know how the researchers somehow magically finessed this issue.

Actually, the article does quote a couple of the critics of this research:

"Looking for trends in noisy count data is fraught with problems," says researcher James Elsner of Florida State University in Tallahassee. "I agree with the message, but cannot recommend the science."


"They're saying there's a long, upward trend of the last 100 years in tropical storms. All the data I have looked at show that's not the case," says scientist William Gray, head of the Tropical Meteorological Project at Colorado State University.

Gray, a critic of the view that human-induced greenhouse gases drive climate and hurricanes, says 19th-century data "is just not that good."

I would point out that the study started with 1905, so none of the 19th-century data was needed.

Meanwhile, despite the study, last year was a rather slow year for hurricanes and this year is very quiet two months into the hurricane season.

Let us all demand better science.

-- Jack Krupansky

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Yikes!!! My mouse pointer is stuck!

This has actually never happened to me before, but on the off chance that it happens to someone else, here's what happened and what to do when your mouse pointer (sometimes called "the cursor") locks up on you. I'm using a Toshiba notebook computer, and the specific techniques will vary with other models and brands, but at least you know the general problem and can try similar solutions.

So, everything was fine and then I hit a control key sequence and things went crazy.

First, I meant to hit Alt+Space+X to maximize a window and accidentally hit Fn+Space, which magnifies the screen. I had never done that before, so it really freaked me out visually. It took me a while to figure out which key I had actually hit since I had thought that I hit the Alt key. It turns out that simply hitting Fn+Space two more times restored the magnification to its normal view.

But before I figured out how to resolve that minor problem, I had noticed that my mouse pointer (sometimes called "the cursor") was stuck. No matter how I moved my finger on the touchpad, the pointer simply wouldn't budge. The combination of this problem and the preceding problem (I'm not sure which I encountered first since they occurred right after each other), I tried the trusty technique of shutting down (using the keyboard since the touchpad was a no-op) and rebooting. It didn't help. The mouse pointer was still stuck.

I was fairly confident that the mouse pointer stuck when I was trying to type some Ctrl key sequence and must have hit Fn rather that Ctrl. So, I tried all the Fn keys, which are labeled in gray on the keyboard, but I didn't see any affect on the mouse pointer. Thinking that maybe there could have been a coincidence and maybe some hardware glitch occurred at the same time as the other problem, I power-cycled again. No help.

I even tried accessing the control panel applet for the Mouse using the keyboard only and even went through the troubleshooter, but still nothing.

Then I examined the system tray in the Start bar since I know there is some touchpad control feature there. I found the box-like system tray icon that controls the touchpad and noticed that it had a red X through it, strongly suggesting that the touchpad was indeed turned off. But without a working mouse, I could see no obvious way to get to that control and turn the pointer back on.

Convinced that it was an Fn key sequence that got me into trouble, I went back to examing the gray Fn key labels looking for something that looked like that touchpad icon. None of the box-like key labels seemed to control the touchpad. Then, I noticed that the gray key label on the F9 key actually looked like an upside-down two-button mouse. Actually the icon is even more confusing to figure out since it consisted of two of those inverted mice with a slash between them a slash in a circle over them. Looking back, I can see the "logic" of that key symbol, but without careful thought, visually it didn't look apparent at first glance. I took a deep breath and tried it... it worked! Toggling Fn+F9 toggled the red X over the touchpad icon in the system tray. I think I missed it before because I basically hit each Fn key twice to see what it toggled and then to return the toggled value to what it was before it was toggled and I hadn't looked at the touchpad icon in the system tray to notice its state when I hit the key.

I was getting rather freaked-out there for about five minutes, but everything is fine now.

So, even if you are "a Mac guy", you could really become someone's "hero" if you're on a plane or in a meeting or coffee shop and somebody accidentally hits Fn+Space or Fn+F9 and is now dead in the water and only you know the magic secret key sequence to restore their sanity.

And you Mac guys... no need to comment about how you never have these kinds of problems... this kind of thing rarely happens to me and now that I made it through those five minutes of hell, life is wonderful again, for now.

-- Jack Krupansky

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Has Global Warming/Climate Change hype peaked?

It is beginning to seem as though the shrill hype over so-called Global Warming and Climate Change has peaked and is beginning to wane, with the Live Earth concerts maybe even being the absolute peak. The fever pitch of press coverage has already declined noticeably. Bloggers still chatter about it a lot, but it just doesn't seem to make "the news cycle" as much anymore.

One reason that the hype may be waning is simply because GWCC is now actually mainstream political dogma. Even a lot of Repubicans at least grudgingly acknowledge that it is now "good politics" to say that you "believe" that we have to "do something" about GWCC. Most politicians are now treating GWCC as almost a background issue or a mere check box that "everybody" automatically supports.

The upside is that GWCC will get all of the attention that it may deserve.

The downside for the true, hard-core GWCC fanatics is that the mainstream media, politicians, and the general public simply treats GWCC as one of many "important" issues to be dealt with in an orderly manner and competing for priority and resources and not as a desperately urgent "crisis" requiring the kind of immediate attention in the very short term that Al Gore, et al have been demanding.

In short, the GWCC "crisis" has been co-opted.

There is still the final IPCC report to be delivered in November, but I suspect that most people will completely ignore it as yet another "Global Warming... blah blah blah" story like they've heard before ad nauseam. I'll read the report carefully myself, but that will make me a member of a very distinct minority.

My biggest, ongoing complaint about the IPCC is that their work is done in secrecy and that none of the actual scientific data used in their deliberations is available to the general public (such as me.) They do provide terse summary reports, but all of the associated scientific detail is kept on "closed web sites." So, the big question remains: what exactly are they hiding and why do they have such an arrogant disdain for the general public's intelligence?

I'm sure there will be an occasional Kyoto-style conference and some new international "agreements" (especially once Hillary gets back in the White House) over the coming years, but most of this will be more bureaucratic in nature and definitely  not have a true, hard-core "crisis" mentality.

I think it is fair to say that the whole GWCC social and political "movement" has seen its better days and will quickly fade away to a mere shell of its former self.

-- Jack Krupansky

Spoliers for The Simpsons Movie


I saw The Simpsons Movie today and thought it was hysterically great, but I'm not going to spoil any of it for you.

It was chock full of great lines. There was even a dig at Harry Potter and even Al Gore's movie.

If you love parodies, you'll love this movie. If you don't favor parody, stay away.

-- Jack Krupansky

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Enough thinking already!?

An amusing article in The New York Times by Elaine Sciolino entitled "New Leaders Say Pensive French Think Too Much" quotes new French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde as saying "Enough thinking, already. Roll up your sleeves."
... in the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy, thinking has lost its cachet.

In proposing a tax-cut law last week, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde bluntly advised the French people to abandon their "old national habit."

"France is a country that thinks," she told the National Assembly. "There is hardly an ideology that we haven't turned into a theory. We have in our libraries enough to talk about for centuries to come. This is why I would like to tell you: Enough thinking, already. Roll up your sleeves."

Something to think about... Is modern society really suffering from an excess of thinking? Or, is there simply a surplus of "bad" thinking and a deficit of "good" thinking? Should we as a society put a greater focus on putting past philosophical works into "practice" before we needlessly expend effort on "thinking" that may not be going in useful directions relative to current social issues?

I would simply make the point that the really important thing is not to teach people specific philosophies, but to teach them how to think in a philosophical manner so that they have the necessary philosophical skills to evaluate new ideologies and political beliefs as they come along.

Philosophy has gotten a got rap over the years (decades, centuries, and millennia), some of it well-deserved, but a lot of it way off base. Yes, action is greatly valued by society, and deservedly so, but lack of clear thinking is usually the root cause of actions which resulted in very poor outcomes.

Give philosophers break... they are really our only hope for getting society on track to a sane future.

The good philosophers, that is. The bad philosophers should have their thinking caps confiscated and be ordered to roll up their sleeves and do some real work for a change.

-- Jack Krupansky

Sunday, July 15, 2007

SiCKO not so bad but not very enlightening

As promised, I did in fact pay the bribe required to see Michael Moore's new health care "documentary", SiCKO. It wasn't too bad considering that it was more a matter of political posturing than documentary. It was in fact about as I expected: one-third reasonably factual documentary, one-third political spin, posturing, emotion baiting, and misleading presentation, and one-third classic Michael Moore comedy. As extertainment it was not so bad, although I still object to having to pay a bribe (modest though it was) to gain access to the factual aspects of the documentary.

As far as its value as a documentary, to me it was of low value since, as expected, he mostly repeated characterizations of our health care system that are widely known. Sure, there were some interesting factoids (e.g., the roles of Nixon and Reagan), but most of the facts were merely anecdotal or already well known.

The sound track was great and added significantly to the entertainment value of the film, even if it did nothing but distract from its documentary value.

As to the central question posed by the film: Why can't we have a system like the one in Canada, Britain, or France? To me the very obvious answer is that despite the anecdotal evidence of "health care horror stories", our system does in fact appear to work well enough for most people, so why should we risk giving up a system that works "good enough"? Sure, the bad might get better, but are we guaranteed that the good won't get worse? Obviously there are at least two distinct camps on that issue, but the chasm between them is what stymies any significant change.

The simple fact is that our health care system will only be radically changed when "the people" as opposed to the politicians and Big Pharma and Big Health actually feel strongly enough to vote in the polls to change things. Sure, politicans respond to money and lobbying, but ultimately the people do get to vote in elections and can give the boot to uncooperative politicians.

-- Jack Krupansky

Off to see SiCKO

I was seriously considering boycotting Michael Moore's new film SiCKO as a matter of principle (it claims to be a documentary but is actually political in nature and billed in a misleading manner), but I finally decided to go.

First off, to me, the first and only real role of a movie is for entertainment. A true documentary belongs on TV or free on the Internet. The idea of a documentary in theaters simply doesn't make sense except as a commercial political venture.

The idea of paying to see a documentary is rather offensive. Facts relevant to public policy should not be held hostage to paying of a bribe.

Given that I will have to pay to see SiCKO, I was reluctant to do so since I'm fairly confident that this "film" is simply a rehash of many facts that are already widely known by those of us who pay attention to public policy.

So, I'll see the film (and be out the $7.25 ticket price) because:

  1. Maybe there is some relevant information that I don't already know.
  2. I actually do find Moore to be entertaining. His style is frequently so blatantly silly that I can't help but laugh.
  3. As a student of public discourse, I would like to know what arguments various parties are using, regardless of whether I buy into those arguments.

-- Jack Krupansky

Does Microsoft really no longer matter as a technology company?

It wasn't that many years ago when Microsoft was considered one of the top technology companies. Now, not only has Microsoft been eclipsed by Google as far as media attention, but it has gotten to the point where Microsoft tends to not even get mentioned in passing other than to disparage their "attempts" to compete with Google. I write this after reading an article in The New York Times by Conrad De Aenlle entitled "A Peek at Tech's Strength" which focuses on "two pairs of high-profile tech companies announce second-quarter earnings." Yes, Intel, AMD, Google, and Yahoo are indeed important technology companies that are reporting earnings this coming week, but it seems rather mind-boggling that one could consider Intel "high-profile" and not even give a passing reference to Microsoft reporting earnings this coming week as well (Thursday afternoon.) How did we get to this sorry state of affairs?

Granted, Microsoft's performance over the past few years has been somewhat "uneven", but the company is still quite a powerhouse in terms of raw revenue and earnings and delivery of new products and services, and Windows-based personal computers continue to deliver vast legions of "eyeballs" that drive all of those "hot" Web 2.0 sites, including blogs, social networking, and search engines.

Personally, I do think that there is a certain amount of anti-Microsoft bias in the media. I'm not prepared to speculate at length why that is, but simply note that it is there and is a real problem when trying to get a clear picture of the technology sector from the media.

For the media to act as if Microsoft hardly even existed anymore is rather bizarre. I can't imagine any better explanation other than that the media has some deep bias. The media has an obligation to its readers and viewers to at least make an attempt to be "fair", "unbiased", and "objective", and to paint a complete, full, and honest picture of the technology sector, but for whatever reasons, those criteria don't seem to apply anymore to media coverage of Microsoft.

The referenced story is not the first time I have seen evidence of such a bias, only the latest.

I am only speaking "in general"; certainly I have seen any number of stories mentioning Microsoft that were reasonably fair, unbiased, and objective, but the problem is that in the past couple of years the apparent ratio of biased to unbiased coverage has grown alarmingly high.

One excuse I've heard anecdotally is that a lot of journalists prefer "the Mac" and supposedly that is a big source of their disinterest if not bias in anything to do with Microsoft. That could be one factor and it could be a significant factor, but I personally do not know it for a fact. I only know the effect that I see in the media.

On the off chance that I am completely wrong and mistaken, does anybody have any evidence or rationale or even speculation for what reasons the media might have for considering Microsoft to be effectively no longer relevant to media coverage of the technology sector?

Disclosure: I am in fact an employee of The Evil Empire. I joined Microsoft in May 2006 in a software development test role, but my views aren't significantly different than before I joined when I was independent for about 20 years.

-- Jack Krupansky

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Latest Harry Potter movie is a gloomy disappointment

I saw the new Harry Potter movie today but was rather disappointed. I had seen the earlier movies and found them interesting and entertaining and had high hopes that this one would offer similar escapist entertainment. Alas, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was a real letdown. I left the theater feeling that I hadn't gotten two hours of entertainment.

The tricks and special effects would be  interesting if you hadn't seen the earlier movies, but there simply wasn't enough of the earlier movies' "magic" in the story itself to carry the movie.

Apparently, the movie is supposed to be rather dark and gloomy and with older characters, but it just don't work as either entertainment or serious drama.

Maybe they were simply trying too hard to make the movie a little more "real." Whatever, they did a real mash of it.

Overall, it simply felt as if something was missing. Maybe the moviemakers have gotten tired of the franchise and simply didn't care enough to give the movie a real sense of enchantment. Maybe they actually wanted to kill off the Potter franchise and give people a reason not to want to see yet another Harry Potter movie. Alas, there were at least a couple of hints of the need for a sequel to achieve closure of some of the many fractured story lines in this movie.

I just realized that I hadn't seen a trailer for the movie in recent months. That's odd, but maybe it was a deliberate defensive move seeing how little of the movie could be stitched into an appealing come-on.

-- Jack Krupansky

Are you a global warming skeptic?

You read about polls which strongly suggest that a lot of people want something done about global warming, but shouldn't we judge people by their actions rather than their words? How many people do you know who are driving a lot less? How empty are the parking lots at popular malls and stadiums and entertainment districts? How often do you notice that there are very few cars on the road during rush hour?

Yeah, I thought so.

Regardless of what people say, I can see very little evidence that people are voting with their feet and keeping their cars and trucks off the streets and highways.

Judging by their actions, people are voting a very emphatic No to the concept of actually doing very much in their daily lives to show that they give a hoot about global warming.

Sure, there are some people who do care and have mended their ways, but they are a very distinct minority that is not even coming close to swelling.

In essence, by continuing to drive so much, most people might as well have bumper stickers on their cars and trucks that say "I am a Global Warming Skeptic."

Oh, and how many of those drivers are "committed" enough to fighting global warming and climate change that they refrain from using their vehicle air conditioning in the Summer? I thought so.

BTW, I don't drive, don't own a vehicle, and don't even have a drivers license anymore (my own choice.) That suggests that even though I verbally reject the dogma on global warming, my actions suggest that I must be a true believer! As they say, "Go figure."

-- Jack Krupansky

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Global hypocrisy crisis

This weekend was the big Live Earth concert series. I have no doubt that there was a lot of great music and a lot of good feelings about environmental goodness and stuff that is allegedly "green" and that it was a milestone for Al Gore and the whole global warming/climate change social movement, but does any of it help "The Environment" in the long term? I suspect that the promoters of the movement would say "Yes, absolutely!", but I kind of doubt it. The bottom line is that the whole global warming/climate change "crisis" movement is nothing more than a vast global hypocrisy. Countless millions will be duped into engaging in countless activities of dubious environmental value and conned and arm-twisted into spending hundreds of billions of dollars on all manner of "reform" that in the end won't "move the needle" on the global climate any further than natural climate volatility.

Don't get me wrong, I'm in favor of plenty of environmentally beneficial changes (conservation, energy efficiency improvement, alternative energy sources, less use of fossil fuels, higher fuel economy, cutting deforestation, replanting forests, etc.), but none of them requires a "movement" or conning people into believing that a "crisis" is upon us. Personally, I'm motivated by common sense and offended by anything other than common sense.

The only crisis being faced here is that Al Gore and the whole global climate change "movement" might quickly fade into irrelevance. Actually, the bigger "crisis" for the movement is that cynical politicians and profit-motivated big business will completely co-opt the movement and leave true environmental stewardship completely behind. But that's what you get when you try to make a pact with the devil.

If Michael Moore thinks that Big Pharma and the AMA are making us sick, wait until he sees how the same kind of people can shift into "Big Green" and simultaneously take all our money *and* make a mash of the environment far worse than the current situation.

-- Jack Krupansky

Stop trying to fight Mother Nature - let the ocean move beaches naturally

Everybody likes a nice beach and wants to live or at least play "on the shore", but I think we've gone way too far trying to "fight the sea" and artificially preserve coastal areas which the ocean seeks to "take back." It goes by the bureaucratic sounding term "beach replenishment", which sounds like a good thing, but in fact is a very bad idea. Anybody who has even an ounce of concern for the environment should readily concede that only the ocean itself should be the final moderator of the location and character of beaches. Not the city council, not landowners, not neighborhood groups, and not so-called environmental "conservation" groups.

I am writing this post in response to reading an article in The New York Times by Cornelia Dean entitled "Wealthy Stake $25 Million in a War With the Sea" which describes the extreme efforts to "save" shore properties on Nantucket island off Massachusetts.

Beaches normally only exist where the ocean has seen fit to deposit them. The ocean moves beaches as it sees fit. And, sometimes, the ocean removes beachs entirely and that is not an entirely "bad" thing. There are plenty of scenic shore areas in Maine, New Hampshire, and even Massachusetts where not even a single grain of sand can be seen. Sometimes entire enlands appear and then disappear.

If tourists want beaches, which is a perfectly fine thing, they can easily go to where the ocean has placed them. No problem there. The problem comes when coastal property owners and various "civic" groups think they they have some special right to force beaches to exist where and in a way that is not natural. Shame on them for thinking that they can own beaches or even the shoreline itself.

If it was up to me, I would absolutely ban "ownership" of coastal regions (the mile or two strip of land along the coastal waters), but clearly that is not an option in today's social and political environment. Instead, we should have conditional ownership that exists only to the extent that the "owner" does not interfere with the natural evolution of the shoreline and beaches and related environs (dunes, marshes, etc.)

Please, please, please, let the ocean do its thing and stop trying to interfere in one of the most natural processes in existence.

Stop trying to fight Mother Nature.

-- Jack Krupansky

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Working on the 4th of July

Who in their right mind wants to work on the 4th of July? Well, today I was one of those crazy people.


For two reasons: Being on a Wednesday means that the 4th holiday doesn't stretch cleanly into a three or four-day weekend, it's not clear which weekend to stretch it to anyway, and stretching to both weekends is out of the question for most of us unless you really planned this to be a week of vacation. Second, I had a fair amount of work that I really wanted to finish by Friday, so a quiet day at work was ideal.

The good news is that now I'm a day ahead of where I would have been in my work and I have another "floating holiday" day I can take later in the summer or to make Labor Day weekend a day longer.

It will be nice that Thursday and Friday will be less stressful since I'm so far ahead. In fact, I figure that I'm more than a day ahead since I get so much more work done when the office is so quiet and free from distractions.

There were a few other people in my general office area, but not very many.

The biggest downside of working on a holiday is that the cafeteria is not open, but that was also an excuse to go out for a long walk to the nearest supermarket.

-- Jack Krupansky

Sunday, July 01, 2007


I wandered by the Apple store here in downtown Bellevue, WA yesterday and today to check out the "scene" around the new iPhone. There was definitely a fair number of people hovering over the eight demo units they had near the door, but not so big a crowd that I couldn't sneak in to take a peak and even try it out. It is an interesting packaging of technology into a gadget, but I'm not enough of a gadget-geek technosexual to be tempted to lay out $499 plus $60 a month for this latest "cool" toy.

I tried out a number of the apps and the various touch screen "gestures", including the two-finger zooming and unzooming. It seemed to work as advertised.

The on-screen keyboard was fine for low-volume text like URLs or names.

Loading of Web pages seemed a bit sluggish, probably due to the limited bandwidth of AT&T EDGE service. In theory, you should get speedy page loading if you have Wi-Fi connectivity and maybe EGDE should be considered more of a backup rather than the primary Web browsing method.

Various reviews note both great features and shortcomings, but ultimately the value of the gadget comes down to the collection of features that are highest value to you personally. Or, maybe you simply need a hot new status symbol.

Personally, I did notice the fingerprint smears on the display. Not where the graphics was bright, but there are plenty of times and places where portions of the screen are dimly-lit enough to make the smears obvious. After I finished playing with the phone for a few minutes, the first thing I wanted to do was go wash my hands. Of course, if you buy your own phone you can keep the screen clean yourself.

I wouldn't say that the iPhone was flying off the shelves, but it was clearly "the" hot, cool, hip, new toy. I continue to expect that it will be a very successful product.

This probably ends my interest in the iPhone. I gave it the requisite 15 minutes (of my time) of fame.

-- Jack Krupansky

Constant repitition of the Global Warming/Climate Change "story"

Former vice president Al Gore simply doesn't get it. He doesn't get science and its power to persuade people about the "real" world. To wit, he resorts to political, social, and even "moral" arguments for what at its heart and soul should be simply a question of science and hard data about so-called Global Warming and Climate Change. But, hey, this is very understandable since he is at his heart and soul a politician and not either a scientist or even a competent policymaker. So, of course, he resorts to political and social and "moral" rhetorical arm-twisting instead. And, most importantly, this is why the former vice president is a particularly poor spokesperson for addressing whatever scientific underlying issues may be at stake with regard to so-called Global Warming and Climate Change.

Rather than enlighten us with any new and relevant scientific results and data, the former vice president continues to blindly repeat his same old story, this time on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times in a piece entitled "Moving Beyond Kyoto."

Lacking a solid scientific case, he resorts to imploring us that:

This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue, one that affects the survival of human civilization. It is not a question of left versus right; it is a question of right versus wrong. Put simply, it is wrong to destroy the habitability of our planet and ruin the prospects of every generation that follows ours.

Who knows, maybe the former vice president actually does have a solid scientific case hidden away that he hasn't yet presented, but the simple fact is that he destroys his own credibility by trying to cheat and turn the debate into a so-called "moral" issue. He denies that this is "a political issue," but by putting that disclaimer right up front, he's telling us that he fully recognizes that the current state of the debate is in fact deeply political and social in nature. It is extremely unfortunate that he is trying to shift the debate even further from raw, hard-core science and even deeper into the realm of mindless, irrational human passions.

He closes by telling us that:

The climate crisis offers us the chance to experience what few generations in history have had the privilege of experiencing: a generational mission; a compelling moral purpose; a shared cause; and the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict of politics and to embrace a genuine moral and spiritual challenge.

There is plenty of uncertainty over Global Warming and Climate Change, but there is something that I am 100% certain of: whatever we may need to do concerning Global Warming and Climate Change is most certainly not a "moral and spiritual challenge."

The "challenge" is quite simple: it is a scientific, technical, and economic challenge. If we could get the facts straight, then we could act in a rational manner and proceed towards a "solution", but under the former vice president's "leadership" there appears to be virtually no interest in committing ourselves to do the necessary scientific research (which may take many decades and several generations) before we embark on a "moral" crusade.

I am not so hopeful that reason will prevail in the short run as political considerations continue to reign supreme. Actually, I think practical considerations (e.g., the reality of the extent to which our society depends on existing transportation and energy systems) will prevail over even political considerations, but that balance will shift over the next ten years.

I do concur with one statement by the former vice president:

Certainly, there will be new jobs and new profits as corporations move aggressively to capture the enormous economic opportunities offered by a clean energy future.

Ka-ching, ka-ching! With that single "pragmatic" statement, the former vice president completely destroys the "moral" authority he was seeking. Oh well.

I would prefer that hard-core efficiency would be the driving economic factor, but if the former vice president wishes to accelerate the process by shifting money from the poor and lower-income groups into the coffers of big business, the effect won't be completely malignant even though moderately unfair in its treatment of those who lack political clout.

-- Jack Krupansky