Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Catholicgauze's Religion

You scored as Neo-Conservative Catholic. You see that the government of the United States was originally founded on recognizably Catholic natural law principles and reason in the tradition of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and the freedom of religion acknowledged in the Constitution has allowed Catholicism to flourish in this largely Protestant country. You recognize that the American system of government, even with its faults, is the most moral social order developed in history. You are committed to being a Catholic active in society.

Like the Liberal Catholic, your views might be too determined by American culture, and you may uncritically accept many theories that may be harmful to yourself and society; instead you may need rediscover traditional Catholic teaching. You should emphasize the love of your neighbor, especially love for the poor, in your everyday business dealings.

http://saint-louis.blogspot.com - Rome of the West

Neo-Conservative Catholic

78%

Traditional Catholic

74%

New Catholic

74%

Evangelical Catholic

52%

Radical Catholic

43%

Lukewarm Catholic

17%

Liberal Catholic

14%

What is your style of American Catholicism?
created with QuizFarm.com


I think this is pretty accurate. I align with blogs like The Cafeteria is Closed and American Papist. (Hat tip: All2Common)

Geology Maps on Google Earth

San Diego State University's Department of Geology has a neat webpage dedicated to local and national geology. One can view maps and information either in PDF form or via Google Earth. The geology of Baja California Norte can be viewed on Virtual Earth.

It is great to see even more academic departments using common neogeography tools to educate the public. The role of academia is to create an educated, civic society and every good dose of a well-rounded liberal education helps.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Geography and Wine

Wine is one of a few things that can make people ponder about the interrelationships of the world. Think about any fancy bottle of wine you have ever drank. For the bottle to reach you there needed to be a complex network of trade from vineyard to your home. But more importantly as anyone who knows anything about wine would tell you, the wine needed to come from grapes grown in just the right conditions.

The geography of wine has long been a topic of many. The subfield even has its own specialty group in the Association of American Geographers. It has been a college course in many universities. Vineyards even champion their local geography.

Fortunately I have found some resources one may be interested in. Kobrand offers an interactive flash map of wine producing regions world wide. Geology@About.com has a selection of links dealing with soils and geology of wine. The French Wine Guide gives a geographical overview of French wine. There are even webpages dedicated to surveying wine geography.

For the record Catholicgauze hates the taste of wine and all other alcoholic drinks. The pop companies got me hooked at an early age...

Monday, February 26, 2007

James Cameron and Raiders of Jesus' Tomb

James Cameron, the man behind such blockbuster films like Alien, Titanic, and Terminator, has announced his involvement in a documentary which claims the discovery of the tomb of Jesus, Mary, Mary Magdalene, and the children of Jesus.

Now this find, if true, is ground shaking. Saint Paul said if the resurrection did not happen then Christianity is pointless. Islam believes in Jesus assent into heaven. So finding Jesus' tomb would damage or destroy about half the world's faith. But let us ignore that aspect and focus on the more scientific parts of the evidence.

The Jerusalem Post points out a few major flaws in the theory. The tomb is in Talpiot right outside of Jerusalem. Jesus was a Galilean, the Appalachia of its day (the city folk and rural Jews by Galilee tried to be as separate as possible), and had no ties to Jerusalem. There is no reason for him to have a tomb in city with no family ties to it. Secondly Jesus was not a rich man. Affording a tomb for himself, his family and extended family is not something the average carpenter could afford. Finally, while the tomb is for a "Jesus" and a few "Marys" one must remember that these names are as common as Maria and Jesús are today in Hispano countries. Think about how many Simons and Judases are in the Bible and you begin get the picture.

A weird claim by Cameron is that he is using DNA evidence to prove it is the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. How? Is there the "God" Y Chromosome? All he can determine is if the people are related and that proves nothing. Hot Air has more on this.

So what is going on? It is simple. During the time of Lent religion is on the mind of many including the religious and non-religious. So now is the perfect time to cash in on causing religious controversy. National Geographic did this last year (same story too: an old find is given new life by hype). How things change how things stay the same.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Insurgency in Iran

All the news dealing with the War on Terrorism currently is focused on Iraq. One of the major issues in Iraq is how Iran is funding and equipping anti-Iraqi and anti-American militias. However, Iran is currently engaged against anti-regime forces.

News on this insurgency started earlier this month when Iranian military police engaged in a fire fight against several tribes in central Iran. The tribes and the religious government have long been in a "back burner" war for years. Then in Zahedan, in western Iran, a series of raids were conducted against police. These were quickly followed by a series of bomb blast which killed police and state-allied terrorists. There have even been possible attempts on President Ahmadinejad's life.

Things have really begun to pick up. The latest news is an Iranian helicopter was shot down in Northeast Iran. The Iranian military in turn has killed 17 anti-regime fighters.

The recent problems can be tied to the Iranian nuclear program, Iran's involvement in Iraq, and the Iran-United States Cold War. The United States has realized a direct land war in Iran would be a long, bloddy affair. Instead, the best way to institute regime change is via indirect methods. These methods include encouraging student discontent and reaching understandings with anti-Mullah forces in Iran.

Iran is unique compared to other countries in the Muslim world. Iran is like Turkey in the sense that it has managed to resist complete Arabization of its culture. Many youths, but certainly not all, enjoy Western-lifestyles and pirating MTV and going to raves is the cool thing to do. They are nationalistic enough to support Iran over America in case of war but many do not wish to see that happen.

A direct attack would lose many anti-Mullah Iranians. So instead the United States is conducting a indirect conflict against Iran to return relations back to a level similar to the era of the Shahs. The key is to unite non-Persians and youth into common cause.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007

About to lose Dad


The word has reached me. Dad will be taken off his support. I wish these clothes, laid out by him for the next day will be worn; but I know they won't. I love you, Dad.

The Five Most Dangerous Roads

Top 5 most dangerous roads in the world is a photo essay of, you guessed it, five roads which make your average death trap look like a walk in the park. A short paragraph accompanies rich photographs of just some of the places where death is likely along these roads.

Number 1 is of course "The Road of Death" in Bolivia. Besides the name this road earns number one with plunges to 2 miles below and claims around 150 victims a year. Special mentioning goes to Russian Siberian Road to Yakutsk which is not some much deadly as just a mud trap which reminds Catholicgauze of the parking situation outside his apartment.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

East Germany Lives On

Catholicgauze just got back from DC late so today's blog post will be short.

East Germany lives, kind of, sort of according to this post from Strange Maps. Apparently Castro gifted a small island to East Germany in the 1970s. However, when East Germany and West Germany merged the island was left out of the treaty in a loophole. Years later, when brought to his attention Castro said it was only a symbolic transfer of the island. However, Sealand fans will forever recognize East Germany's continued existence on Cayo Ernesto Thaelmann.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Catholicgauze Wants His Own, Too

The University of Minnesota - Minneapolis, long known for having Marxist geography and other departments, is considering giving Al Gore an honary Ph.D. in climatology. Catholicgauze is currently wondering what he has to do for one.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Latest on Female Infanticide in India

Up to 10 million girls have been slaughtered by"female infanticide" or the selective abortion of girls. In India it has been estimated 500,000 girls a year are aborted solely because they were female. The reason of this sexocide is because having a girl means a traditional family must give a dowry to marry the "burden" off.

India passed a law in 1994 banning the abortion of girls solely because of the gender and the practice of determining gender before birth. However, a black market of abortion and gender determination continues on. In an effort to stem the tide the Indian government is initiating a "Baby Moses"-style system where babies can be deposited at cradles and given to other families.

Demographic shifts to one gender are dangerous. With no one to marry a large section of the male population will become frustrated and restless. Some may join the army while others may seek more radical ways to vent anger.

For more information check out the Crusade Against Female Infanticide

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Twingly

Twingly is the latest cool thing in the world of geography toys. It is an application which doubles as a screen saver. Twingly constantly scans for blog updates around the world and maps them real time on an interactive globe.

The trends Twingly shows are fascinating. The two primary locations of blogging are the United States and Europe. Asia's pacific rim forms a third core while much of Asia and Africa are blog free.

Download today and enjoy this RSS reader of the Geographer. (Hat tip: Very Spatial)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Catholicgauze to Visit DC

As if I needed more stress I will be in DC for an interview with the government. It will be a time to dazzle them with my works and hope they think I am smart. I fly out Monday and return Wednesday.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Every Advance Must be Paid For

My brother has news on our father. There seems to be noticeable improvement. He is still a coma but this good news is relieving after two days of no progress. Some things just tug at my heart however. In the mail today I received a letter from day sent out two days before the heart attack. I will open it with him when I see him again.

But God or Satan (or just random chance) demanded Catholicgauze pay for this sudden jump in dad's health. For the rest of the paragraph play Kansas' Dust in the Wind in your head to "hear" what I heard as I recall my day. I am driving past a winter wonderland on my route back to grad school. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed black things fly past the passenger-side. Before I can figure out what is going on I loose control going 55 miles per hour and spin madly into a snow-banked ditch. I needed to be pulled out and taken to a Wal Mart where two tires were purchased (one for the one that nearly killed me and one for the other which was about to go).

So that was Catholicgauze's day. No geography post for Saturday. I need rest.

Battle of Avarayr


Map of the Battle of Avarayr (From Maps of Armenia)

Over 1,500 years ago a ragtag team of Armenian soldiers and peasants gathered at Avarayr to fight not for political freedom but for freedom to worship, a freedom of conscience. They accepted Persian political dominance but refused to be forced to worship a foreign god.

The army of 60,000 men faced off against up to 220,000 Persians with war elephants and the feared Immortals. The Armenians were crushed after the defection of some solders and generals. The leaders of the Armenian army were executed later. One of the leaders, Vartan Mamikonian was canonized.

The battle was a failure for Armenians but the war lasted another 30 years. Eventually a treaty was signed which granted Armenians freedom of religion but kept Persian political control. The Sassanid(Persian)-Armenian War was one fought not for politics but the right to a choice. It stands unique in history with the modern day exception of the War on Terrorism.

The war cut off Armenia from the rest of Christendom. Armenian Orthodox Church were unable to attend the Council of Chalcedon and thus did not accept the findings. This caused considerable mistrust between Armenian and the Orthodox Church and an on-again, off-again, on-again relationship with Catholic Church.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Catholic Demographics and the Changing Face of the Church

The latest yearbook of the Catholic Church is out and it reveals interesting facts.

The Church is growing rapidly in the third-world while barely increasing in Europe. The trend in Europe; however, can be thought more positively as the overall population of Europe dwindles. Perhaps a growing Catholic body in Europe will be able one day to reverse the trend of negative population growth. Perhaps not.

The continent with the largest growth of Catholic population was in Africa where there was a Catholic growth of 3.1% compared to the overall growth in Africa of 2.5%.

The trend has been noticed well before. Read The Next Christendom to find out more about the future of Christianity.

(Hat Tip: The Cafeteria Is Closed)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Virtual Geographer's Guide to Viewing Genocide

There is alot of news about genocide and mass killings these days. It appears that certain groups in humanity seem the only way to progress and achieve betterment is by becoming barbarous monsters and killing whole groups of people.

Google Maps Blog features a download which one can view the destruction of villages in Darfur by Arab Islamic extremists. Another Google Earth layer allows one to view 600 destroyed villages. One Free Korea is highlighting an unknown feature in North Korea which may mass graves of either prisoners or famine sufferers. The Google Earth download for it is here.

Radical Geography links to a game which allows one to "experience" the struggle of Darfur refugees. Unfortunately, real refugees "play" this everyday.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dad Update


Dad is in a comma. The neurologist gives a reasonable optimistic forecast but if there is a recovery it will be Tim Johnson-style, very slow. On the plus side he is beginning to breathe on his own.

Dad is in the comatose body though. He shows signs of relief when I rub his feet. He shows clear signs of discomfort as his body "jumps" when it coughs. He will tear up sometimes when he hears mom or me. Removing the tears from his face has to be the hardest thing I ever done.

Keep praying. Thank you for all your support.

Wal Mart to Spread into Russia

Wal Mart is outflanking Carrefour by planning expansion into Russia. With this maybe the battle between the two super giants will morph into an effort to globalize countries. There was once the McDonald's effect where no country ever waged war against another country as long as they both had a McDonald's (the NATO-Serbian conflict of 1999 ended that), maybe there will be a big box store effect.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Maps and Interactive Maps

No real news to report about my father. I am home now and deeply touched by your support for dad. To impose a sense of normalcy I will continue to blog about geography.

Map.Primorye.Ru
is a map collection site with tons maps. Interactive maps which can be zommed in and out of the world and more (recommend Internet Explorer), thematic maps like military and ethnic groups, tons of maps of Russia and the other former Soviet states, and then over 4,000 maps of the world and countries.

The feature I like to most are the interactive maps. Not only can they be zoomed in but they also have layering options found usually only in GIS-based programs. Not to meantion the ability to measure distance and more! (Hat Tip: Great Maps)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Keep Praying


News is coming in very slowly. The news that does reach me is not good.

On Friday I got a letter from him. All it was a note which said "Try to enjoy the weekend," and it had $20 enclosed. I was actually looking forward to next weekend when dad and the rest of the family were coming to visit me. Hotel reservations were made and I was planning on doing a quick pickup before they arrived. Friday night Dad and Mom called. It ended with dad saying "we'll check up on you tomorrow." No call ever came.

This evening I was complaining to my brother about the bad week I had (I really gave people more crap then I received though) when the words appeared on the screen which turned my life upside down, "Dad had a heart attack."

Don't go Dad. I love you. Your my friend. I screwed up too many times but you were always there. I saved your letters to me. Letters to me here and when I was in DC. Most of them said "Have a good weekend" and were enclosed with money I spent too frivolously. Please don't leave me. We have to go back on the Oregon Trail together. We have to go to the minor league baseball games together, opening day is coming soon! You have to help me move the lamps which you bought me that I barely use. You are suppose to use the coffee machine you bought so next time you can get your morning fix when you visit me.

I'm sorry readers. But geography is going on the back burner for a short while.

God, please let him live.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Prayers Needed


My best friend, my father, just had a heart attack. He needs prayers. I don't know his condition yet. The physical distance between us, once only thought as a few hours drive away, now seems like an endless gap. I'm real scared. Please pray for my dad.

The Overlooked: Kalash

Part two in The Overlooked series. Dedicated to those peoples who struggle for survival in identity in retaliative obscurity. The series will now go on a short hiatus as the Oregon Trail and Online Mapping Sites reviews are finished.


Kalash Girls. Photo courtesy from Shara

The Kalash are an extremely small and isolated group. Odds are you never heard of them. They are an anachronism, a people out of time and place. They are struggling to survive in a region which has become noticed for all the wrong reasons.

Location
There are between 3,000 and 6,000 Kalash left in the world. They live in a valley region in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan. The land of the Kalash is known as Kafiristan (literally "land of the infidel"). The valleys which they inhabit are known for their beauty.

Culture
The culture of the Kalash is unique. The Kalash are polytheists who share similarities to the Olympian gods of Greece. Sexes intermix and the only hint at sexism is that women are isolated during their periods and are then required to purify. While there are cases of arranged marriages, men and women are free to purpose their own intentions.

Kalash live as subsistence farmers. There way of life has been practically unchanged for hundreds of years. They practice ancient traditions which are just now being documented.

Some Kalash have modernized and converted to Islam. While these people wish to stay near their relations (family being a major aspect of Kalash life) they are considered persona non grata.

History
The origins of the Kalash is highly controversial. They are a white race with many of their members having blond hair. Legends claim they are descendants from Greek and Macedonian soldiers who fought for Alexander. Some DNA testing backs up this claim. Other testing disputes this but still shows evidence of locals intermixing with Greeks.

For most of their history the Kalash have lived on good terms with their neighbors. In the 1700s they came under the rule of the Mehtars, rulers of northern now day Pakistan, who were tolerant of the Kalash as long as they paid taxes. Time seemed a foreign concept as rulers came and went. The Kalash stayed out of the affairs of others and others stayed out of the affairs of the Kalash.

Things started to change towards the end of the nineteenth century. The Nuristani, possible relations to the Kalash, were forced to convert to Islam in 1895. The Nuristanti quickly became radicalized (so radical in fact that they were the first to wage Jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan).

As the twentieth century continued increase pressure was mounted against the Kalash. Higher taxes were imposed and services like loans and support were denied. Many converted to Islam for economic betterment. When the Afghan-Soviet war broke out the lands nearby became home to Jihadis on their way to Afghanistan. Seeing an oppurtunity, many Muslims organizations funded mosques and madrasah built on seized Kalash lands. When the Islamists' desired result of total conversion was not achieved tactics of ethnic cleansing were used.

Today
The Afghanistan problem is repeating itself in the opening years of the twenty-first century. Sporadic violence breaks out against the Kalash even today. It does not help that the province they live in is known as the most radical Islamic one in Pakistan. Taliban, al Qaeda, and others know to harbor hate and their political allies keep the flames of bigotry alive.

There is some hope however. Their numbers are slightly rebounding with a high fertility rate among those who defend their culture the most. The national Pakistani government has begun a more tolerant relation with the Kalash and international aid and attention helps with some cultural preservation.

Tourism is now a major issue to the Kalash. Some see it as a savior, a source of massive funding the likes of which have never been seen before in the valleys. With money they can afford security and betterment. Some see negative affects however. After resisting outside forces for over 2,000 years will they succumb to globalized tourism? Will their cultural meanings, their every essences, be lost to hotels and Disneyland-style presentations of themselves? Time will tell.

The gorgeous valleys have protected the Kalash for thousands of years. Outside forces, ranging from hostile to good intentioned, seek to modify the Kalash way of life. Unlike the Roma there seems to be no middle ground to stand upon and thrive. Time will tell if the small population of Kalash can continue or fade away into the fog of history.

Additional Resources

Kalash article from Picturesque Pakistan - Everything you ever wanted to know about the Kalash

KalashaPeople.org
- A multilingual blog by the Kalash

Kalash Valleys - Beautiful pictures of the Kalash and their valleys

Kalash of Cultures - Transcript of a Foriegn Correspondent episode about the Kalash

Friday, February 09, 2007

Archaeology in Google Earth

Among the many wonders of Google Earth is its ability to aid archaeologists and spatial archaeologists (geographers who do archaeology). People have been using Google Earth for a while and finding places like lost Roman villas. These efforts have been noted before by others like Archaeology@About.com and Google Earth Blog but Catholicgauze has been slow on the up take.

So there are a couple ways for you to start your spatial archaeology adventure on Google Earth. One can search the Google Earth community for "archaeology" to find news and information or "ruins" to see specific sites. Also, archaeologist James Q. Jacobs has a webpage dedicated completely to archaeological sites on Google Earth.

Here are some favorites of Catholicgauze.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Overlooked: Roma

This is the first part in a running series of stateless nations which have been frequently overlooked and have been struggling for identity. Feel free to comment on other groups you wish to be covered.

Montage of Roma people. Photos from [1][2]

When one hears the word "gypsy" there are several things which can come to mind. Some may be untrustworthy, nomads, people in touch with magic and nature. These stereotypes are based on centuries old stories concerning the Rom people. One needs only to do a Google search to see that these stereotypes are still alive.

Location
There up to ten million Roma in the world. The majority of them are found in a belt from Poland, down the old Eastern Europe, and into Turkey (map).

History

Up to a thousand years ago what would become the Roma (the preferred term over "gypsy") lived in Inida. No one knows why the Roma were forced to leave but quickly a massive migration began to Europe. Within 500 years they had spread all over Europe and Turkey while settling mostly in the Balkans.

Europe proved no safe haven however. Romania enslaved the Roma until the nineteenth-century and else where they were not allowed to settle. The Roma were forced into a nomadic life of going town to town doing odd jobs, bartering, and when necessary resorting to begging and theft.

The twentieth-century was especially rough. The Nazis engaged in a holocaust against them known as the Porajmos. Nazi death squads searched out and slaughtered Roma on site. For those brought to camps, the Germans used eastern European guards who were particularly cruel to the Roma. During the era of Communism Soviet-backed governments sought cultural annihilation with tactics like taking children away from their parents and even demanding people make their names less Roma.

Today
Roma are making great progress in acceptance. It is a generalization but it is safe to say that a balance has been struck into accepting and work with the dominate culture while still retaining identity. The European Union authorized International Roma Day and recognized the current struggle of Roma people. Roma are too small a minority and too dispersed to have their own state but are gaining acceptance in their countries of residence.

There are problems however. Along with other emigrants, those moving from Eastern to Western Europe are discovering success is not guaranteed. There has been an increase in vagrants who engage in prostitution and crime. Tourists in Western Europe are especially warned not to engage with Roma.

The long night of the twentieth-century is over and with increased economic and political opportunities in Eastern Europe the future appears bright for the Roma.

Additional Resources

Roma in the Czech Republic - a website with plenty of information on Roma and the Roma's impact on the Czech Republic

Amalipen - a sort of Roma Myspace with a free web radio station which broadcasts Roma music

Rroma - a website devoted to Roma culture, organizations, and history

Dzeno Association
- news and issues relating to the Roma

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Orthodox Chants

Catholicgauze is currently busy slaving away but I wish to share with you a new find. Ancient Faith Radio is an online radio station featuring Orthodox chants and sometimes the short sermon. If you loved Eastern Rite and Latin Chants you will enjoy this also.

The Great Escape of 2006

In northeastern North Korea sits one of many gulags. In mid-December, approximately 120 prisoners clubbed a guard, cut wire, and met up with at least one getaway car. One Free Korea has tons more info and a bit of analysis.

North Korea's camps have long had a horrible reputation. On average about one-fourth of all prisoners die each year. Some of the escapees have been caught and surely face death. Catholicgauze wonders where the international outcry of human rights abuse is.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Garmin Super Bowl Ad



The cartographic blogosphere is abuzz with discussion of the Garmin Super Bowl advertisement. The ad shows a road map turning into a Japanese-style movie monster who is defeated by the protagonist/Garmin hero.

This ad is the byproduct of the rise of GPS tools and the downfall of maps. Once everyone (Catholicgauze at least) had and enjoyed road maps. They were something one could browse at any time and all it took was map reading skills. Now the "in" thing are GPS auto-navagation tools which tell you where to go. There is no longer the need to understand maps which in turn is leading to even greater geographically illiteracy. No wonder why 20% of Americans think map readings skills are redundant and unnecessary.

Thoughts about the ad are available from Ed Parsons, All Points Blog, GPS Review, Gadling, and the Map Room.

Just remember, your geotechnology gadgets wants you dead.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Electoral Geography

Electoral Geography is a website database of almost every modern election for every country. Results for Belize's legislative election of 2003, Switzerland's referendum on arming peace keepers, and Madagascar's presidential election of 2006 with a map are just a sampling of the available votes one can browse. Check it out today! (Hat tip: The Map Room via Very Spatial)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Catholicgauze Spoofed

Catholicgauze has been spoofed and cannot stop laughing. Douglas Salguod wrote a story in September entitled "Bloggers Uncover Lebanon War Fraud" which is a pokes fun at geotechnology, bloggers, and geographers.

In the story "[h]undreds of bloggers, posters and blog readers from Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the Palestinian territories, all equipped with GPS-enabled smartphones, handhelds and other information appliances walked to the points on their maps indicating the international border." What we discovered was horrible. While at some points there were obsticals like walls and ditches there were no lines on the ground which are shown on maps. Maps are dirty liars. Maps, the thing geographers love most, are dirty lying monsters!

Catholicgauze was angry saying that there has been a deception played on the whole world. Some took the news much harder. "It's irrefutable; completely, entirely, undeniably irrefutable," said Brent R. Skeeter, Chair and Professor of the Salisbury State University's Department of Geography and Geosciences. "Nothing I've taught for 40 years has been anything but a fraud, a hoax, a sham, a deck of duplicious dupery. It's too late for me to do anything, but maybe the next generation of geographers will take their students on field trips and not just rely on pull-down maps."

With maps now debunked I have nothing to live for. Goodbye cruel world!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Ignorance, the Ultimate Enemy

Catholicgauze has a cardinal rule. The rule is "Believe whatever you want to believe, just don't be a jerk about it." The rule has worked spectacularly. Many people who I work with have very different political and other ideas than me but we all get along well because we are not jerks to one another. So Catholicgauze tries to be a teddy bear when it comes to other views. However, sometimes I go Ayn Rand-style on those who wish to be jerks (Actually, usually I just sit there and take it but in the blogosphere I can dish it right back out).

Catholicgauze received a comment about my IPCC post. Here is the comment in full:

I dont even know where to begin. Global warming is taking place people. Get it into your dense heads. The vast majority of the scientific community recognize this. The only ones who dont are the likes of Bjorn Lomborg, Bush and oil companies. Science cannot be 100% sure in many issues, however it can offer a far better answer than anything else. So when scientists say that Global Warming is human caused with 90% surity, I would like for someone to provide scientific data to dispute that rather than say no for god knows what reason. Statisticians (not true environmental scientists) like Lomborg might dispute this, but the vast majority of scientists (and we're not talking 51% here) have for the most part discredited him. How can we fix a problem when we have people who do not even recognize it exists. To me personally, not recognizing that global warming is happening due to human activity is just as ludicrous as sounding like the Iranian president who denies the Jewish holocaust ever happened. In both cases the nay sayers are a minority, but the sheer ignorance still exists. It is of no surprise that the nay sayers use scientific data that in most cases is produced by SCIENTISTS who are hired by oil companies because of a vested interest. What vested interests would environmental researchers have other than to speak the truth. If global warming was not happening, then they would find another research topic to work on. But for oil companies, they have to protect their source of income until it runs out. Probably then will they recognize that, 'oh shit, global warming does really exist.' In conclusion, I recognize that the scientists might be wrong, however, the chances of that wrong are slim to none. If they happen to be wrong in the future, what is the worse thing that would have happened, other than us protecting mother earth for a bit longer. If they are right and we dont take action, the worse thing that can happen is that we really get screwed. Finally, I have to agree that China and India have to sign deals to reduce emissions. So far, they have been reluctant to sign the Kyoto Protocol just like the U.S. However, for the U.S. to use that as an excuse for not signing the protocol is simply childish. I will not do it because you will not do it. The U.S. is the single biggest contributor to CO2 emissions (25-30%). India and China dont even come close although they support 8 times the population the U.S. does. If the U.S. wants to be a true global leader (not just military), I suggest we start acting more responsibly. So if the nay sayers still want to deny what is most likely happening to the environment, no amount of logic can make sense to them.

Anonymous, here is my rebuttal:
  • Catholicgauze recognizes climate change and the current warming trend. Please read the post next time before you comment.
  • If you read the Skeptical Environmentalist you would know that Lomborg believes in partially human caused global warming.
  • President Bush has laid out his plan for global warming in the State of the Union Address
  • Are the Oil Companies this generation's Jews? So is Catholicgauze in the oil company pay? If so where is my check. Are university professors I linked to working for oil companies? Is Harm de Blij in their pocket too?
  • As for recognizing scientists may be wrong, did you not just equate that too denying the Holocaust? You just Goodwin your comment!
  • The People Republic of China and India have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol. They are exempt from making any changes and therefore nothing has changed.
  • The total greenhouse gas emissions from China were about 54% of the USA emissions. They are on course pass the US in less than three years!
  • By the way, China has slightly 4 times the population. (Petty I know, but it just adds to the list of being wrong.

So how can I diagnose this? The anonymous is a drone made by a machine which hypes global warming. There is nothing wrong with believing global warming and trying to come up with potential solutions and adaptations. However, too many like Robert Christopherson and Heidi Cullen and this anonymous attack anyone with slightly different views in the same style religious fundamentalists do.

Catholicgauze may believe this temperature swing is mostly natural but also believes not coming up with plans for adaptation would be one of the stupidest things humanity has ever done. I read articles and works written by all sides and make decision from there. Anonymous; however, does not read opposing literature and seeks to mock and destroy anything which does not fit into their dogmatic beliefs.

So Anonymous, I encourage you to reply again. If you want more information I will be glad to offer my services. Just remember to keep an open mind.

"Hobbits" of Indonesia their own Species?

18,000 years ago small, Hobbit like people lived in what is now Indonesia.

They would of had contact with Homo Sapiens (Nearby and hard to reach Australia had been inhabited since 42,000 years ago) but it appears they lived apart from one another.

A new study says these people were their own species which died out. While some dispute this it appears another branch has been added to man's family tree. These "Hobbits" are more cousin than parent, like the Neanderthals who died out 24,000 years ago.

IPCC Report

As an aside on scientific predictions here is a brief snippet from The Skeptical Environmentalist:

In 1970, as the first Earth Day approached, Paul Ehrlich wrote an article in The Progressive as a fictitious report to the US President, looking back from the year 2000. The ostensible report underlines how environmentalist scientists in the 1960s and 1970s had "repeatedly pointed out" that overcrowding, hunger and environmental deterioration would lead to "environmental and public health disasters." Unfortunately, people had not heeded the warnings, and Ehrlich tells us of a US that is almost unrecognizable, with a severely decimated population at 22.6 million (8 percent of current population) with a diet of 2,400 daily calories per person (less than the current African average). As an almost ironic glimmer of hope, Ehrlich does not expect that the US is faced with any immediate limits-to-growth threat of running out of resources, because of the "small population size and continued availability of salvageable materials in Los Angeles and other cities which have not been reoccupied."

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released a report (PDF) on climate change with much media fan fare. The press hyped it as proving human-caused global warming and saying there are only ten years left to avoid disaster. A National Geographic News story started off with "Global warming is here, it's human-caused..." National Geographic News followed up with a story which hinted at the IPCC report may not be predicting Doomsday enough. Other events coincided with the summary release like Paris voluntarily going lights out for five minutes (after the five minutes they resumed normal polluting practices). Prince Charles celebrated his green-ness by accepting an environmentalist award (which he used a private jet that spews out 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide an hour!)

But before you built your new house on the tallest mountain or construct Arc 2.0 you may want to learn some things.

First the report does not sit well with the global warming litany, it only is being spun like so. It disagrees with the likes of Al Gore and others by not firmly coming down on human-caused global warming. Gore and crew would like you to think there is no doubt what so ever on human-caused dramatic global warming. Robert Christopherson would go so far to yell at you and make you talk to polar bears while Heidi Cullen would strip you of all scientific rights if you did not believe in 100% human-caused dramatic global warming. To be fair the report says human-caused global warming is "very likely" man made but the fact that these scientists could not pin it down and used weasel words says something. Secondly it says global warming would continue for centuries with or without human behavioral changes. Sure this is bad but did not Al Gore say at the end of his Oscar-nominated movie which qualified him for the Nobel Peace Prize that simple and moderate changes would greatly stop global warming? Division exists in the debate, always remember that.

Catholicgauze read the report and was disappointed. No where does the report address why global warming started in the 1850s at a similar rate it advances today while human-activity was much lower than. Nowhere does it try to determine why there were several cold-snaps in the warming trend. A decrease in global mean temperature from 1900 to 1910 negated all gains from 1850 to 1900. A sudden rise in the 1930s which disasters like the dust bowl can partially be blamed on was canceled out from 1940 to the 1970s (remember global cooling?). Also not considered are previous dramatic climate changes like the Little Ice Age and the fact global warming is occurring on other planets.

Climate Change has the potential to be a serious problem, as described by Harm de Blij. However, when "leading" scientists still cannot find blame enough to convict debate is open to causes. Instead of wasting time trying to find blame and using it as a political tool to enforce treaties which impose no regulations on serious offenders like China and India, let us spend resources on efforts to prepare any needed adaption. If one believes the IPCC report, this is the only reasonable option. Wineries once existed in England and Scotland but natural climate change put an end to that during the Little Ice Age. I am not saying we should not worry about climate change. One warming trend ended the last Ice Age and raised sea levels over 300 feet so there are hazards. All I am saying is we need to be realistic and not join a Robert Christopherson-style cult of global warming.

I will leave with some news which may ease a little bit of fear. As pointed out in "Planning for sea level rise and shore protection under climate uncertainty" by Gary Yohe and James Neuman in Climatic Change in Volume 37 on page 250 estimate for sea level rise have been steadily decreasing. They were once estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency to rise 2 meters (six and a half feet!). No one today comes anywhere close to that, the IPCC only estimates 7 inches to slightly under 2 feet (talk about a margin-of-error).

If the weather man has problems getting tomorrow's weather correct imagine the problems with predicting 100 years into the future.

One geologist said this of Al Gore, "What he's doing is no less than the scare tactics used by people like Karl Rove." Dang! Finally, Delaware's chief climatologist is taking a stand against the Global Warming mania. Here is a skeptical wrap-up of other global warming going ons.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Earth in Space

The above photo shows the McNaught Comet and the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) above the skies of New Zealand. (Hat tip: SpaceWeather.com)

Many scientists will describe Earth as an island to state the Earth is a closed system ("What happens on Earth stays on Earth" in lay man terms). This is grossly simplistic and fails to account for waves which periodically wash up on the shores of Earth. Geomagnetic energy creates the Northern and Southern Lights. Storms on the Sun can cause interference with needed communication technology. Scientists have even pointed out the relationship between the Sun and climate change. Finally, instant catastrophic events like the mass extinction which paved the way for the rise of mammals is blamed on space debris.

Yet I make an error. I have given the impression of an island named Earth amidst a sea of waves. There are billions of stars and probably millions or even billion of planets. This does not even consider other celestial bodies. So some night go outside and look at the stars. Ponder for a while how small Earth is in the universe. Then realize Earth is not in a sea of "space" but in an archipelago in the heavens. You will be able to appreciate what you see.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Winds Used to Blown East to West in North America

Today the prevailing winds blow west to east in the continental United States. This has not always been the case however. During the last ice age (36,000 to 14,000 years ago) winds blew from east to west.

Today's Pacific Northwest known for raining every three days was once much drier due to the previous wind direction for example. The glaciers would have created a wind and moisture barrier which would cause the boundary of the glaciers to have weather like Mount Washington.

Scientists speculate that the winds change course with significant climate change. Just goes to show how the idea of a "natural equilibrium" is flawed and how volatile our world is. (Hat tip: Very Spatial)