Critical Thinking about Climate Change

 

Sadly, misinformation has become ubiquitous in modern society. Whether its politics, climate change, vaccination, 911, or even the complex arguments concerning evolution or religious belief, we are bombarded with a dizzying flood of conflicting messages. How do we make sense of this information overload?

Well, after the aliens abducted me the truth became very clear. That’s another blog for another time.

Back to reality… the problem with the age of information is that when we consider research finding accurate scientific information, this information can be cancelled out by misinformation (see Dr. Fauci).

When people are confronted with two conflicting messages the tendency is to align the discussion with what fits that person’s internal narrative. This “internal narrative” usually is based upon hear-say, their environment, a lack of education, or comfortable compliance.

However, for critical-thinking people, we must weigh the origination of the idea related to that source’s agenda, political affiliation, and money paid for that opinion. The risk with most people is that, if there are two conflicting messages, and no way to  resolve the conflict, many people disengage.

This means that the best efforts to teach science can be potentially undone by misinformation. There is a solution to help critical thinkers determine whether the hypothesis is based on myth, fact, or complete fiction. That solution involves equipping people with the skills to resolve the conflict.

Inoculation theory is a branch of psychological research that offers a way to achieve intelligent resolution. Just as exposing people to a weakened form of a virus builds up their immunity to the real virus, similarly, exposing people to a weakened form of misinformation builds up their “cognitive antibodies” so that when they encounter real misinformation, they’re less likely to be misled.

We deliver misinformation in a weakened form by explaining rhetorical techniques used to mislead, like explaining the sleight of hand in a magician’s trick. Consequently, as well as how we teach the science of how climate works, it’s also important that we teach how science can be distorted.

Fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations, cherry picking, and false evidence to promote an agenda (see Al Gore). Most critical thinkers have a low worry about climate change as they look to nature rather than human causes.

In James Delingpole’s book, “Watermelons, The Green Movement’s True Colors” Delingpole promises to show that the man-made global warming is a fraud, one that has already cost billions of dollars and is a clear and present danger to our liberty and democratic traditions… and ironically, to the environment itself.

Delingpole was among the leading journalists who reported the “Climategate” scandal, in which he analyzed e-mails among the leading climate scientists that had been hacked and posted on the web. He discovered a pattern of purposeful and coordinated efforts to:

    • Manipulate the data supporting the claims of a sudden and dangerous increase in the earth’s temperature.
    • Not disclose private doubts about whether the world was actually heating up.
    • Suppress evidence that contradicted the hypotheses of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW),
    • Disguise facts around the Medieval Warm Period, when the earth was warmer than it is today.
    • Suppress opposition by squeezing dissenting scientists out of the peer review process.

Normally, disclosure of fraudulent behavior on this scale would throw the proponents of any position into disrepute and spell the end of their scientific or political power. Not so with the advocates of global warming.

The reason: Global warming is not about science, but about politics expanding the power of elites using the coercive instruments of government to control the lives of people everywhere.

Just as the governing class embraces ineffective Keynesian stimulus spending to justify expansion of government, they now extol AGW as the basis for increasing their power to rule over the rest of us.

I remember in the ’70s, “scientists” had used computer models to “prove” that the increase in industrial activity was about to trigger another ice age. The villains and solutions were the same as with global warming: Economic growth, rising living standards, capitalism and increased economic activity were going to destroy the planet.

Then, as now, reduction in the use of fossil fuels, de facto restrictions on the use of automobiles, higher taxes and forced reductions in living standards were the recommend policy responses.

What makes AGW different is that this time, the alleged pollutant is carbon dioxide – an odorless, colorless gas that is the basis of all life and human activity. Regulation of CO2 is the gateway for those who control government to regulate all economic and most human activity.

With the stakes this high, it should not be surprising that those who seek power have simply ignored the fraud and continue to press forward with their agenda to regulate “carbon” emissions. The emissions they seek to regulate are not dirty, sooty carbon, but carbon dioxide, that harmless gas that we exhale with every breadth.

It’s obvious that with each alert the government sends to protect us from ourselves we are losing our constitutional freedoms. Unfortunately the majority of our fellow Americans are only focused on the latest music, sports team, and drug that will distract us as we slip farther away from our inalienable rights as Americans.

Trees, Stars, and Water

 

Perhaps I’ll start you off with a little Haiku. “Trees are like tall withered snowmen, standing silently.” According to experts, there are more trees in our world, than there are stars. Nasa estimates there are about 100 to 400 billion stars in our galaxy. In 2015, scientists estimated there are three trillion trees on earth.

Five fun facts about trees: 1. Trees can help reduce stress. 2. Trees help to improve water quality. 3. Tree rings can predict climate change. 4. Trees never die of old age. 5. Trees are the longest living organism on Earth.

The Apollo 14 mission in 1971 took seeds to the moon to see  it they would grow differently there. To everyone’s surprise, the trees grew the same way as they do on Earth.

I look out our windows and see the trees providing cover for the flora and fauna. I stand in amazement as I see the eagles perched upon our cedar or pine trees. They sit in a majestic aura that captivates our senses. The wonder of nature is the formula for determining seasons, migratory trends, and the interaction between all that lives in this ecosystem.

The fundamental prize of our senses is to take in this beauty with sight, listening, and the smells of the flowers and trees that dot the landscape. Each sensory experience reduces our stress and brings us closer to being apart of all that we witness.

At night we view the stars in all their magnificence. Each bright pin prick of light helped those that came before us navigate and wax poetic about the vast universe we are but a small part of. Every star you see is bigger and brighter than the sun.

All stars begin from clouds of cold molecular hydrogen that gravitationally collapse. As the cloud collapses, it fragments into many pieces that will go on to form individual stars. The material collects into a ball that continues to collapse under its own gravity until it can ignite nuclear fusion at its core. This initial gas was formed during the Big Bang, and is always about 74% hydrogen and 25% helium. Over time, stars convert some of their hydrogen into helium.

Stars are in perfect balance even though they are in constant conflict with themselves. The collective gravity of all mass of a star is pulling it inward. If there was nothing to stop it, the star would just continue collapsing for millions of years until it became its smallest possible size; maybe as a neutron star. But there is a pressure pushing back against the gravitational collapse of the star: light.

The nuclear fusion at the core of a star generates a tremendous amount of energy. However, putting all of this scientific knowledge aside, the unbridled beauty of a star offers a poetic sense of guidance, hope, and destiny. They can also represent the infinite and unattainable, or alternatively they can represent inspiration.

The connection between the human spirit and the vast, enigmatic cosmos distills a complex emotion and existential questions. This distillation melts into a simple equation that provides a hopeful introspective look into our soul.

This brings us to our last and perhaps most important part of this piece. Water as the life blood of our existence. Interesting that 97% of the water on our planet is salt water. Water is the only substance on earth that is found naturally in three forms: solid, liquid, and gas. More than 90% of the world’s supply of fresh water is located in Antarctica.

A trillion tons of water is evaporated every day by the sun! Another interesting fact is that the earth is a closed system that rarely loses or gains extra matter. Essentially, this means that the same water that existed on earth millions of years ago is still present today.

In relation to our own anatomy, our bodies are 60-70% water. Our brains are 75% water, our lungs are 90% water, and our blood is about 82% water.

As I look out upon our landscape towards the back of our home, I see the spectacle of water. This version is a manmade lake formed from the existence of a dam. It doesn’t make it any less spectacular as its soothing ebbing and flowing represents the viewing and then disappearance of shore land.

Each season promotes this sensory evolution of water. It feeds this ecosystem, enabling the clouds to breech the picture while the creatures enjoy the sustenance that promotes their existence.

As far as our existence, this water feature advances the peaceful nature of our park-like setting into a soothing picture painted by God.

 

Forest TV

a place that lives in your heart

Sometimes late at night I wander onto our porch. The sky is dotted with stars so bright it feels as though you could lassoe each one and bring them down to earth.

Other nights the stars explode into whispy balls of energy that disappear in the blink of an eye. Majestic theatre caught in the thread of a moment so brief and yet so powerful that its memory is etched in the recesses of my mind.

Beyond the grassy slope that lies at an angle to the horizontal points of reference, is the forest canopy. Deer dart in and out of this blanket of darkness shrouded by pine and cedar. The elemental dance of these gently creatures is poetic. The dance differs with age as the youthful spotted babies jump high in the air with an exuberant flair.

Older and wiser deer gaze upon their children with a watchful eye as gaurdians of this unique space in time. If an animal could smile it would be the mama and papa deer sensing the short lived dance of the fawn.

Many nights the darkness is alive with the chirping of the crickets. Usually, the males are the “singers.” The male cricket rubs a scraper against a series of wrinkles, or “flies”, on the other wing. The tone of the chirping depends upon the distance between the wrinkles. This “singing” is the sound of the Forest TV with a chorus that includes the warning squeal from the deer or the barking of the coyote.

Certain times of the year each animal provides the Forest TV with different sounds and volumes. In March it is the ribbit from the frogs, so loud that you’d think the amphibians were huge in stature. However, when cornered most of the frogs are less than two inches in lenght. Proportionately there are few animals, reptiles, birds, or amphibians that can equal this melodic bass volume.

In mid September through mid-October it is the trumpet from the Elk during mating season.  The majestic bugle sound from the male Elk beckons the female to mate. This dance can be captured live on Forest TV for your viewing pleasure. Each choreographed sequence of moves is a ritual that is passed down from generation to generation. The beauty of these movements between these large, attractive beasts, can not be overstated.

As the Forest TV changes from Fall to Winter to Spring and finally Summer, the topography of the landscape dramatically moves across barron scenery to lush vegetation. Each change brings new animals into the screen.

I silently view this display of movement and sound as the mystery of life beyond view comes to light. And in that light are the animals that are just rising to the occasion. Others are bedding down in their lair after a predetory search for the unsuspecting dinner.

The beauty of predator and prey is nature’s dance of balance. Within the screen as viewed from the Forest TV we see that life beyond our existence is a table set with the cat and mouse game between species. The herbevoire and the carnevoire see the world in two different perspectives.

One is the gentle deer while the other is the agressive cougar. Each views the world within a sphere of a couple hundred miles. Both live together in harmony until they don’t. Then the aggressor either misses the prey and doesn’t eat or feasts on the body of an unsuspecting victim.

The Forest TV captures all that passes within the frame of our vission. Any one of us can behold nature within the confines of the world we view. Either as a spectator or a hunter for sport or sustenance.

We are the only species that sometimes hunts just for a trophy. Our agressive nature puts us at the head of the food chain while all others either hide or proceed cautiously in our presence. To whom much is given… much is required.

Things that Cross Cultures, Touch us, Move us, or Stuff that Just Makes Us Smile! PAZAZ™ Style

Over the course of life there are many things that we love or fall in love with. So lets take each category and delve into the nuances of loving those things that bring a smile to our collective faces:

Flowers across the board mark significant events that highlight everything from birth to death, promotion/acknowledgment, the initiating of a thoughful gesture, or even the beginning of a relationship. To follow are a few of the different varieties of flowers and what they represent:

1. Symbolically roses repesent romance. The red rose is a universal symbol of love across many cultures but beyond that, the rose can symbolise a variety of feelings depending on their variety, colour and number.

2. Daisies symbolize innocence and purity. This stems from an old Celtic legend. According to the legend, whenever an infant died, God sprinkled daisies over the earth to cheer the parents up. In Norse mythology, the daisy is Frey’s sacred flower.

3. The Lily is a symbol of purity and fertility. The sweet and innocent beauty of the lily flower has given it the association of fresh life and rebirth.

4. Orchids are highly coveted as they appear exotic and graceful. They represent love, luxury, beauty, and strenght. The spiritual meaning associated with its elegant style and grace highlights virility and sexuality.

5. The most known meaning for Tulips is perfect and deep love. As Tulips are a classic flower that has been loved by many for centuries they have been attached with the meaning of love. They are ideal to give to someone who you have a deep, unconditional love for, whether it’s your partner, children, parents or siblings.

The next subject that always, subjectivly, brings a smile to the collective faces of many, is music. Whether it’s a song heard for the first time or a song you’ve heard a thousand times, the memories, the artist, the beat, the meaning, all coincide with that inner smile. The appropriate genre explains the perfect seduction for the release of pheromones that translates to a connection rarely accomplished with any other sensory experience.

Groups such as the Beatles, The Doors, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, The Who, Earth Wind and Fire, The Doobie Brothers, or Steely Dan, always connect a very special time, memory, event, or people I’ve loved, or currently love. Then there are the artists such as Michael Franks, Peter Frampton, Michael Jackson, Sinatra, and of course Paul McCartney that weave a web of musical phrasing, lyrics, and tonality that captivates the mind and releases the heart to sore.

Along these lines of human connectivity and sensory immersion, we have food. How many times did a meal represent to you more than just sustenance? Were there times that the meer mention of a particular dish brought back a memory of a place, person, or time that ultimately brought a smile to your face? Are there meals based upon the artistic expression, service, and atmosphere that launched you into an experience by which all others would be judged?

We might all not be florists or musicians, but I’m pretty sure that most have prepared a meal. This task reveals a lot about a person’s commitment to themselves and others. The quality of the product is usually more important than the skillset. Why? Because to produce something for others, taking your eyes off of yourself and focusing on the composing of a meal is a repersentation of a selfless declaration to those you love and care about. No restaurant can duplicate the added ingredient of love even though they perhaps have the skill to far outdistance the presentation.

“Dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening; live like it’s heaven on earth.” Mark Twain

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DESTINATION… IDAHO, PAZAZ™ Style!

Let me just walk you through the process for choosing Idaho as a part time retirement refuge… far from the maddening crowd. The first set of criteria for choosing a part time retirement refuge was that the land was secluded but close to a hospital, fire station, and near a medium size town that had a quality supermarket and gas station.

The second criteria was the land itself had to have a plethora of water (in this case a well), with the lots large enough that I would not have neighbors too close, a view of water (creek, river, ocean, lake, etc.), mountains/hills, and a natural source of water like a creek or a river on the property.

The third criteria was the property must have electricity to it and a good road easy to access year round, preferably in a gated community.

The final criteria and perhaps the most important was the neighbors. The neighbors had to be quality people that care for each other and most importantly don’t care what you have but only care who you are. Giving, honorable people that believe in honor, integrity, and the value of keeping your word.

Nancy and I began our search at the top of the “panhandle” in Northern Idaho. Oregon and Washington were too expensive and suffered extensive droughts. Oregon had a drought in 2011 that lasted 270 weeks and Washington had a drought in 2014 that lasted 116 weeks. Idaho has suffered some drought but that was in the southern part of the state and not in the area we were interested in possibly looking at.

I had never been to Idaho before our search. I didn’t (at that time) remember anyone that was from Idaho and had never spoken with anyone about Idaho. This was a completely blind search. I did know that my beliefs were more in line with those of Northern Idaho with my perception of those people being kind and generous. I also remembered that Sand Point Idaho had received in 2015 by SmartAsset.com the moniker of “the best place to retire”. With that limited knowledge I proceeded with “the search”.

Before I arrived in Idaho I contacted a realtor that I’d been in email communication with and asked her to recommend realtors in Sand Point and Lewiston Idaho. Geographically she was located in the North/Central part of Idaho near a small town called “Potlatch”.

The Potlatch Lumber Company, as it turns out, was at one time the largest white pine mill in the world. I stayed in the small town named after the lumber company in a B&B which was located between Sand Point and Lewiston. And so it began…

I realized quite quickly that the area around Potlatch revolved around even smaller towns and didn’t meet the criteria I had assigned to this task. So, I drove up to Sand Point located 52 miles north of Coeur d’Alene. The entry to Sand Point is spectacular as it involves a two mile bridge across Lake Pend Oreille which is Idaho’s largest lake with 111 miles of shoreline. Cascading down into Sand Point’s main street you’ll notice the wonderful planned, quaint, expansion proposed for this beautiful town.

I was shown a myriad of properties that met some of the criteria I mentioned above but missed the mark on some very important requests. This town was impressive so I asked the realtor in Sand Point to target other properties in surrounding areas that might fit the bill. And so it was back to Potlatch to spend the night and get started on looking a little farther south in the Lewiston area.

The next day I drove to Lewiston to meet a new realtor named Russ whom was introduced as a local. He was supposed to know the in’s and out’s of the area and could possibly help me in my search based upon the criteria I’ve already mentioned. Russ had great stories about local history and drove me all the way to Kamiah passed Orofino and beyond looking at many different types of properties.

Well, I found nothing that really hit all the marks and so I went back to Henderson with the belief that there was something out there in the state of Idaho that would be just perfect. I came back twice more, actually making an offer on a property that was already in escrow, but missed out on that one above the Priest River near Sand Point. The final time before actually purchasing a property was with Nancy looking for that perfect home or land that would check all the boxes.

So in late September of 2019 (after I saw an advertisement for a development above the Dworshak Dam) Russ drove us up to Tie Creek. Tie Creek is a development built by the Potlatch Lumber Company that includes electricity, phone, a very good road right to the property and a gate to dissuade potential thieves. This property is 30 minutes from the medium size town of Orofino, 20 minutes from the hospital, and 10 minutes from the fire station. The final two selling points are that the parcels are 20 acre lots. We now own lots 13&14 looking out to the Dworshak Dam. We found our landing spot, our future part time retirement community, and by next spring the home will be completely finished.

Of course under the ever expanding category of, “its never easy”… there was a scamdemic, two of the three lenders backed out at the last minute, a well that was supposed to be 250 feet was actually 605 feet, and finally the difficulty in accessing all materials (in a timely fashion) to finish this build. Oh yes, and a heart attack thrown in for good measure. However now we can see a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a train coming our way.

The greatest part of finding these lots are the people we’ve met (before committing to this transaction) that live near us. These people are the kind of quality people that provide the most wonderful insight into what the most important part of life is, family and friends.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ The Magic of Cooking, Kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to www.pazazshop.com to purchase these AMAZING kitchen tools.