I found two news stories today to be interesting. Let’s compare the headline and first paragraph from each. The first one comes from The New York Times:

G.D.P. Grows at Tepid 1.9% Pace Despite Stimulus

The American economy expanded at a weaker-than-expected 1.9 percent annual rate between April and June, the Commerce Department announced Thursday, while numbers for the last three months of 2007 were revised downward to show a contraction the first dip since the recession of 2001.

The second story reporting the same news comes from MSNBC:

Economic growth picked up in second quarter
Tax rebates energized consumers; contraction recorded at end of 07

WASHINGTON – Economic growth picked up in the second quarter as tax rebates energized consumers. The rebound followed a treacherous patch where the economy jolted into reverse at the end of 2007.

Did you notice the difference? The New York Times article is gloom and despair, with a shiv to President Bush’s stimulus package right in the article’s title. And as an added bonus, reports that the fourth quarter of 2007 showed negative growth for the first time since *ominous noise* 2001. The MSNBC article also identifies the negative growth in Q4 2007, but is upbeat about the second quarter report of 2008.

If you continue to read, you’ll find out in the second paragraph of the MSNBC article that the Q2 growth was double the Q1 growth. That’s a good thing, right? The New York Times article doesn’t bring up the Q1 growth of 0.9% until the seventh paragraph. Oh, and The New York Times article says it was published August 1st, 2008 — proof positive that they have a time machine.

But there’s no bias in the news.

None.

Here is a lovely gem of a press release from the Democrat Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi:

“The President knows, as his own Administration has stated, that the impact of any new drilling will be insignificant – promising savings of only pennies per gallon many years down the road. Americans know that thanks to the two oilmen in the White House, consumers are now paying $4 a gallon for gas. But what Americans should realize is that what the President is calling for is drilling as close as three miles off of America’s pristine beaches and in other protected areas.

“The President has failed in his economic policy, and now he wants to say, ‘but for drilling in protected areas offshore, our economy would be thriving and the price of gas would be lower.’ That hoax is unworthy of the serious debate we must have to relieve the pain of consumers at the pump and to promote energy independence.

“Today, the New Direction Congress will vote on legislation to bring down gas prices by taking crucial steps to curb excessive speculation in the energy futures market. The President himself could lower prices by drawing down a small portion of our government oil stockpile, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The New Direction Congress will continue to bring forth responsible proposals to increase supply, reduce prices, protect consumers, and transition America to a clean, renewable energy independent future.”

Let’s take a look at Her Speakership’s wisdom.

“[T]he impact of any new drilling will be insignificant – promising savings of only pennies per gallon many years down the road.” The impact of new drilling will be more oil. That can’t be insignificant, based on her later comments. Besides, I thought long-term planning was a good thing.

“[T]hanks to the two oilmen in the White House, consumers are now paying $4 a gallon for gas.” Nice dig there. “Bush and Cheney are oilmen! Evil! EVIL!” *cue the ominous roll of thunder* If they really had such a huge influence over the oil industry, don’t you think President Bush and Vice President Cheney would have pulled every string they had to get Evil Big Oil to reduce the consumer price of oil and gas?

“[W]hat the President is calling for is drilling as close as three miles off of America’s pristine beaches and in other protected areas.” I’ve been to some of those “pristine” beaches, and they ain’t all that pristine. Besides, would you rather pump oil from areas close to the U.S., or ship it via monstrously huge supertankers like the Exxon Valdez? A broken pipeline can be shut down much faster than a supertanker run aground can be fixed. But Speaker Pelosi really doesn’t care about protected areas like the Arctic National Mosquito Refuge in Alaska as much as she cares about catering to her “Drill Nothing Never” constituents.

“The President has failed in his economic policy, and now he wants to say, ‘but for drilling in protected areas offshore, our economy would be thriving and the price of gas would be lower.’” Democrats often complain that drilling will take 10 years or more before producing any oil. The unspoken ending to that phrase is, “so why bother drilling?” Well, if we had started drilling in ANWR back in 1998, we’d have ANWR oil bringing down gas prices right now. If everyone had the same short-sighted mindset, why would people bother to work on a college degree, which takes years before producing any work benefits? Why have children, when it will take decades before they become self-sufficient? But here’s what’s interesting: liberals are more than happy to hold off doing anything with proven oil technology that will take a known quantity of time to obtain–the “decade” they keep chanting about–but they are willing to wait indefinitely for some new, unproven energy alternative to sweep us off our feet and carry us into a glorious future. I like to daydream about swan-diving into Scrooge McDuck’s bank vault, too, but then I wake up and go to work. My daydream won’t pay today’s bills or put food on the table.

“the New Direction Congress” Oops, looks like the website got that wrong. She really meant to say “the No Drilling Congress.” There, that’s fixed.

“Today, the No Drilling Congress will vote on legislation to bring down gas prices by taking crucial steps to curb excessive speculation in the energy futures market.” Oil futures are already heavily regulated. There is no need to regulate the market further, but as always with liberals, capitalism makes a good scapegoat to beat while chanting the “Drill Nothing Never” mantra.

“The President himself could lower prices by drawing down a small portion of our government oil stockpile, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.” Here’s a clue for Madam Speaker: the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is for emergencies like making sure there is sufficient oil for the military and critical operations if a war or natural disaster were to disrupt supplies. By the way, did you notice the logical inconsistency here? Speaker Pelosi claims that a small draw-down of oil from the SPR would result in a drop in consumer oil prices, while at the same time maintaining that drilling for oil won’t do so. She can’t have it both ways. But she, and the rest of the Democrats in Congress, are doing whatever they can to keep the price of oil high, primarily by blocking any attempt to increase domestic oil supply, in the hopes that the people will begin to clamor for the magic pixie dust of unknown and unproven energy technology. A one-time pump of a few million barrels of oil from the SPR might temporarily lower the price of gas, but that doesn’t compare to having oil fields consistently pumping out millions of barrels of oil each and every day.

“The No Drilling Congress will continue to bring forth responsible proposals to increase supply…” Really? How about letting America drill for its own oil? Oh, right, the key word is “responsible” proposals, and that means only what she considers responsible. In other words, no oil men need apply, only those with daydream technology.

“… reduce prices …” You can reduce prices by increasing supplies, reducing demand, or doing both. Apparently the strategy of increasing supplies is off the table to Madam “Ain’t Drilling Here” Speaker.

“… protect consumers …” Protect consumers from what? Higher oil and gas prices? *snort* Liberals love being the Nanny State, telling the childish voters what they can and can’t do.

“… transition America to a clean, renewable energy independent future.” These are inspiring-sounding words and they probably felt great rolling off Speaker Pelosi’s tongue, but until that magic “renewable” energy moment happens, how about we drill like crazy to get all the energy we need from our current resources? We could be successful in reaching a “clean, energy independent future” if we had enough energy to power the technology that will presumably make renewable energy possible.

Speaker Pelosi wants the high price of oil to cut both ways. She denies that drilling for a consistent source of oil would bring down prices, but she calls for a one-time release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to, um, bring down prices. Of course, the real reason why Democrats are so adamant about not allowing Americans to use their own energy reserves is that they believe Americans will only act to find cleaner, more environmentally friendly energy when the high price of gas has them so mired down that they can’t function any more. When that happens, of course, they’ll look to the Democrats to save them from themselves–and the Democrats, as always, will act in their best interests. OK, my tongue’s out of my cheek now. I have to assume Speaker Pelosi doesn’t expect to see a major change in the oil futures market with a one-time pull of oil from the SPR, but she can point to the temporarily lowered price of gas and say to the voters, “Look, the Democrats made that happen.” Then she can use that leverage to push her own plan of championing “clean” and “responsible” energy ideas, as the price of oil is pushed steadily upward again.

I’d like to have Speaker Pelosi come water my front yard, and then see what she would do when I deliberately put a kink in the hose. I imagine she’d demand that I stop deliberately shutting off the water so she could finish the job. Then I’d lecture at her that water is a precious, limited resource, and even if I unkinked the hose it would take a good long while for the water to reach her. Instead we should work together to find some better, cleaner, more responsible way to get the job done. Think she’d buy it?

Occasionally my niece, who is 11, will ask me how she can get money to buy presents for people. I usually reply there are three basic ways to accumulate money: earn, sell, and save. Since she is a pre-teen, her resources in this area are pretty much limited to earning babysitting money, selling her old toys at a garage sale, and saving her allowance.

For our thought experiment, let’s focus on a 20-something with a goal of putting $2,000 into the bank as fast as she can. She also has the same three options: earn, sell, and save. Since she is in her 20s, she may have a degree that may help her find a well-paying job. To increase her earned income, she could take on a second job or do piecework on the side. Based on her age and ability, earning money will probably be the fastest way to reach her goal. On the other hand, if she doesn’t have marketable skills, a degree, or experience, she may be limited to taking lower-paying part-time jobs.

She also has the option to sell items she owns. Anything with value (or perceived value) can be put up for sale on an auction site such as eBay. There is no guarantee that her items will sell, but it’s probably easier to sell items than to work. And assuming that she’s selling good stuff and needing to sell it quickly, she may not get full value for her items, and she may choose to spend more money later to recover them. Other than auction sites, there are other venues–consignment stores, pawn shops and yard sales–where she could sell used clothes, books, DVDs, and CDs, but usually at a significantly lower price than what she paid for them.

The last of the three option is to save. This works best when there is a significant amount being spent, but every dollar saved is an extra dollar closer to the goal. Since our imaginary person has a definable and short-term goal, she can opt to cut her spending to the bone. It is cheaper to cook food at home than it is to dine out. Packing brown-bag leftovers is cheaper than buying lunch at work. Reading a book or checking out a movie from the library costs less than going to see that new movie in the theater. She could even go as far as adjusting her air conditioner or heater to a more energy-saving setting, but savings from utility bills could take a while to appear, so this strategy might be better suited to a long-term savings goal. But it’s still an option.

The options of earn, sell, and save pretty much cover the ways our hypothetical woman could reach her goal of putting $2,000 in the bank. Since she has a definite goal in mind, it would be both silly and inefficient if she decided to eliminate one or two of these options. If she were serious about reaching her goal as quickly as possible, why would she purposely postpone her goal by limiting her savings options? If she really wanted to reach the goal as fast as she could, she would take advantage of all the opportunities open to her to earn, sell, and save money.

Have you noticed that I always wrote it as “earn, sell, and save” rather than listing them as “earn, sell, or save”? I did that on purpose because I am including all the options that work toward this goal, rather than excluding options. That is what I mean by thinking inclusively rather than exclusively. When there are multiple ways to reach a goal, it behooves us to include them all rather than arbitrarily excluding some.

So how does this apply to the current energy crunch?

We need energy–indeed, we need massive amounts to sustain our current way of life. We could easily reduce the energy we consume if we were willing to revert to a 1908 lifestyle instead of a 2008 one. The Model T was first sold in 1908, but since cars are evil polluting beasts from hell–or so environmentalists tell us–we’d have to do without cars. We’d also have to do without bras and zippers, since both were invented in 1913. Oh, the horror! But frankly, I’d rather not live an Amish lifestyle. I like the convenience of central heating and air, and modern dentistry is a blessing. The mass production and modern farming techniques that clothe and feed the world’s billions require an unbelievable amount of energy to maintain, and to fuel our energy demand, we should think inclusively rather than exclusively.

I’ve been listening to the people who are screaming for a change in our energy usage, and I have noticed that they almost always think exclusively. They don’t want us to drill for oil or natural gas. They don’t want us to dig for coal. They don’t want us to build nuclear power plants. They don’t want us to build dams for hydroelectric power. They don’t even want us to build wind farms. The only thing left is solar energy, but the same BANANA[1] attitude that stops us from drilling in the desolate arctic wasteland known as ANWR will stop us from dedicating the many square miles of desolate southwest desert that we’d need to really get solar energy going.

I recently saw a commercial by T. Boone Pickens who said that our current energy state is “one emergency we can’t drill our way out of.” His plan calls for using wind energy, natural gas, and biofuels to make the U.S. energy independent. But there is no mention on his page about the other options–solar, nuclear, and hydroelectric power. Why is Pickens being exclusive rather than inclusive when it comes to seeking out and utilizing energy sources? I hear people talk about solar and wind power as being avenues worth pursuing, but they nearly always exclude oil, and they shudder at the very thought of nuclear power. Why exclude some of these possible energy sources when we need all the energy we can get?

When I hear or read “We can’t drill our way out of this problem,” I have a strong reason to believe that person has identified certain energy sources as “good” or “bad”. I don’t see it that way; to me, they are all just energy sources. As I see it, every drop of oil we drill here in the U.S. is one drop we don’t have to import. Likewise, every drop of oil we don’t need to use because of natural gas, solar, hydroelectric, nuclear, coal, or wind power is also one drop we don’t have to import. It’s a win-win situation, so why not get all the energy we can from all the sources we can?

Let’s think inclusively about energy, rather than being exclusive. Let’s drill for oil and natural gas AND dig for coal AND build nuclear power plants AND build hydroelectric dams AND build wind farms AND build solar arrays AND conserve where it makes sense AND develop new energy sources AND invent more efficient uses of our energy. Now that’s a worthwhile goal I could get behind.

[1] BANANA — Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything

Recently I found two fun quizzes that are well worth taking. The first, which is only 12 questions long, tests how well you keep up with current news. You can find the Pew Research Center’s news IQ quiz here. I got all 12 questions right, but I try to follow the news. And I’m fairly atypical because I don’t watch the news on TV. I sometimes get my news on the radio, but the vast majority of the time I get my news from online sources, both national and international sites. Because I read and hear my news more than I watch it, I have noticed that I don’t often recognize political pundits when they appear on TV. But I can live with that.

The second quiz also comes from the Pew Research Center. This quiz, which dates from 2005, has 25 questions to determine your political stance. It separates differing test results into nine different political personality types. Based on this quiz, I come up as part of the Enterprisers group. According to the profile of types, “Enterprisers follow news about government and politics more closely than any other group, and exhibit the most knowledge about world affairs.” That would explain why I aced the first quiz.

So, how did you do with the quizzes?

If you haven’t panicked yet about global warming, here comes another study to give us yet another reason to re-enact Edvard Munch’s painting, “The Scream”:

More Americans are likely to suffer from kidney stones in the coming years as a result of global warming, according to researchers at the University of Texas.

Kidney stones, which are formed from dissolved minerals in the urine and can be extremely painful, are often caused by caused by dehydration, either by not drinking enough liquid or losing too much due to high heat conditions.

If global warming trends continue as projected by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, the United States can expect as much as a 30 percent growth in kidney stone disease in some of its driest areas, said the findings published in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

And how do these brainiacs know that global warming will cause increased kidney stones?

The lead author of the research, Tom Brikowski, compared kidney stone rates with UN forecasts of temperature increases and created two mathematical models to predict the impact on future populations.

One formula showed an increase in the southern half of the country, including the already existing “kidney stone belt” of the southeastern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The other showed that the increase would be concentrated in the upper Midwest. [emphasis mine -CM]

Brikowski created two mathematical models to make this claim, and a computer model of future events is just a high-tech guess. As I have pointed out before, just as anything you multiply by zero becomes zero, so anything you multiply by a guess becomes a guess. So Brikowski’s research about future kidney stones is more guesswork than science. Did you notice that his two models return different predictions? The one says the increase will be in the southern half of the U.S., while the other forecasts the increase will be in the upper Midwest. Do you think I would get as much media attention if I were to announce that I had developed two mathematical models for the effect of global warming on the stock market? After much study and analysis, I could announce, my first model predicts that global warming will cause stocks to go down, and the second predicts that global warming will cause stocks to go up. I’d have the utmost confidence that one or both of these models would be right.

My advice is to ignore scientific studies that predict the future based solely on computer models. If you really want to play with computer models, then I suggest you pick up a copy of SimEarth. That game should be about as meaningful as most scientists’ computer models. In the meantime, it’s good to know that kidney stones are part of the list of things caused by global warming.

Here is some good news from the White House as reported by Bloomberg.com:

President George W. Bush said today he’s lifting a presidential ban on drilling for oil and natural gas on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, setting up a showdown with Congress over a separate ban it put in place in the 1980s.

“Today I’ve taken every step within my power to allow offshore exploration of the OCS,” Bush said in a statement at the White House. “This means the only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is action by the U.S. Congress.”

Of course, for every action is an equal and opposite political reaction. In this case, Democrat leaders peeing in the good-news punch the President is serving:

Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress rejected the president’s call, saying the move to end the moratorium would have no effect on prices and better options are available.

“If offshore drilling would provide short-term relief at the pump or a long-term strategy for energy independence, it would be worthy of our consideration, regardless of the risks. But most experts, even within the Bush administration, concede it would do neither,” Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement today.

Lifting of the executive ban on offshore drilling won’t have any short-term effect on gas prices as long as liberals continue to stand between America and America’s oil. And as far as thinking long-term is concerned, eventually the sun will burn out, too, but we shouldn’t let that paralyze us from making plans for the future.

I can tell you what would have an effect on oil prices: a two-pronged approach that targets both supply and demand. We need to increase supply by drilling for all the oil and natural gas we can find in the U.S. Every state or federal official who resists drilling for America’s oil is telling you, the American public, that high prices due to politically reduced supply is a good thing. We also need to decrease demand by inventing the technology to free us from the use of oil for fuel. An organized effort on the scale of the Manhattan Project or Apollo Program is what I’d like to see. Every state or federal official who resists promoting technology is telling you, the American public, that high prices due to increased demand is a good thing.

I find it interesting, the awkward position liberal Democrats have placed themselves in today. As the U.S. continues to suffer from the effects of high oil and gas prices, they stand to benefit politically this November. But if they work to help America by reducing the high price of oil and gas by freeing supply and innovating to decrease demand, the praise will go to the sitting President–a Republican. In effect, as America suffers, Democrats benefit. It’s no wonder that they are unwilling to drill for oil anywhere. They know that doing so would improve America’s economic situation, and that would not currently be a benefit to their party.

Rather than pulling together to help America, liberals are more anxious to benefit politically from our pain. So why should we elect people who are more interested in furthering their own political careers than in meeting America’s needs?

UPDATE (7/16/2008 7:53:28 PM): Oil prices have fallen for two days after President Bush’s announcement that he was lifting the executive order banning drilling on the U.S. continental shelf, but all of the articles I have read, like this one in The New York Times, have identified other reasons for the drop.

Concerns about a slowing economy and rising inflation pushed oil prices down sharply for a second day on Wednesday, an unusual dip in the oil price rally that began more than six years ago.

The two-day decline totaled more than $10.50 a barrel, but analysts cautioned that it was still unclear how far prices would fall and that the respite may be temporary.

There have been concerns for a while now, so why the drop yesterday and today? The only specific thing I could point to is President Bush’s executive order. But once the investors realize that the liberals in Congress and the leaders in the states will continue their own drilling ban, the futures price of oil will head back up. Once they realize that the U.S. won’t drill to increase supply, then you will see oil prices head back up, regardless of the state of the U.S. economy and inflation.

We went to the local farmer’s market on Saturday, and bought some yummy cherries at $3.33 a pound. That’s a steal for Rainier cherries–yum! While we were there we noticed an older gentleman with a satchel over his shoulder. A placard attached to the satchel read: “PENTAGON IS EVIL.” My wife said, in a voice deliberately loud enough to be heard, “Jeez, some people don’t have anything better to do.” I was more discreet as I whispered to my wife, “He doesn’t like five-sided shapes!” I don’t think he would have gotten it if I had stood there with placards reading “SQUARE IS GOOD” or “TRIANGLE IS AMBIVALENT.”

I find it strange to use the locale of a farmer’s market to peddle one’s political point. Perhaps he was prepared to pass out pamphlets pulled from his pouch. OK, enough alliteration, but why would someone think that a public gathering like a market is the proper venue to vent one’s spleen on divisive issues? I love a good debate; however, people who stand around with large placards are not generally willing to discuss the issue in a rational manner. Their vehicle of expression is usually to shout, rant and automatically disagree with anything that is said. And as Monty Python pointed out:

Argument Clinic

M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
A: It can be.
M: No it can’t. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
A: No it isn’t.
M: Yes it is! It’s not just contradiction.
A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
M: Yes, but that’s not just saying ‘No it isn’t.’
A: Yes it is!
M: No it isn’t!

Unfortunately, the level of political debate these days is too often more along the lines of simple contradiction, veering dangerously close to getting-hit-on-the-head lessons. Did that man at the market really want a serious discussion of the issue? Is there anything I could have explained or pointed out that would have changed his mind about the Pentagon being evil? I don’t think so. I suspect he had already made up his mind and nothing could shift him. Now I don’t have trouble with people who have a firm conviction of their beliefs, but I do have trouble with people who, once they’ve made up their minds on a political subject, refuse to acknowledge any evidence that they could be wrong.

Incidentally, whenever there is a public gathering, why is it that the most common placards and opinions to be seen express leftist sentiment? Other than people at ball games with “Go Team” and “John 3:16″ quotes, when you see people holding up signs or plastering bumper stickers to their cars, they’re almost always leftist slogans. Maybe it’s just that I live in a very blue state, but I don’t think so. Back when I lived in a very red state, the right-wing political bumper stickers I saw were almost always limited to two per car: one for a specific political candidate, one for a pro-life sentiment. And they were discreet. Even in this red state, when I came across a car sporting leftist political bumper stickers, they were usually in-your-face and all-over-the-place–cars held together with multiple slogans like “Somewhere in Texas there’s a village missing an idiot,” “Where are the WMDs?”, “Frodo has failed! Bush has the ring!”, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam. In any case, what I sense from the plethora of bumper stickers is not a willingness for rational debate, but a shouting match. You don’t get rational thought or reasoned argument from a bumper sticker; it’s the printed equivalent of a shouted slogan. I don’t see there being much opportunity for discussion; all you get is the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

I find very little debate on issues and ideas coming from the American left. If you watch the talking-head shows on TV where there are two pundits discussing a liberal vs. conservative theme, notice how often the liberal interrupts, talks over or shouts down the conservative whenever he or she is speaking. It’s an easy tactic to deny one’s opponent the ability to express a thought by shouting that person down. I’ve suggested elsewhere that the political left doesn’t really believe in freedom of speech for everyone. Based on their actions, I believe that they want freedom of speech for themselves and the force of law to shut up everyone else who takes a contrary position. How much longer will it be before leftist “discourse” becomes outright getting-hit-on-the-head lessons for conservatives?

Argument Clinic

Here is the panic piece from the The Independent in the UK:

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic and worrying examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer. [emphasis mine - CM]

So, according to this article, the North Pole will be ice-free for the first time in human history. Here’s my question: how far back does human history go in this article? Do we start human history 10,000 years ago with the shift from hunter-gatherers to agrarians? Do we peg human history back 6,000 years with the growth of the first major states in Egypt, India, and the fertile crescent? How about starting human history with the year that President Taft became the 27th President of the U.S.? I mention the last because 1909 was also the year that Admiral Peary claimed to be the the first person to reach the North Pole. But I think that this article suggests “human history” began thirty years ago, with the advent of satellite coverage of the North Pole. I believe this because we have only had consistent information about the North Pole for the past thirty years, thanks to satellite data.

Here’s another section from the article that supports this point:

The polar regions are experiencing the most dramatic increase in average temperatures due to global warming and scientists fear that as more sea ice is lost, the darker, open ocean will absorb more heat and raise local temperatures even further. Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, who was one of the first civilian scientists to sail underneath the Arctic sea ice in a Royal Navy submarine, said that the conditions are ripe for an unprecedented melting of the ice at the North Pole.

“Last year we saw huge areas of the ocean open up, which has never been experienced before. People are expecting this to continue this year and it is likely to extend over the North Pole. It is quite likely that the North Pole will be exposed this summer… it’s not happened before,” Professor Wadhams said.

It’s all global warming’s fault! But here’s the kicker — since the hot year of 1998, the global temperature has pretty much flatlined. So where is the horrific warming that is causing this trouble? And why does Professor Wadhams think the North Pole has never melted before? After all, the Medieval Warm Period, Roman Climate Optimum, and the Holocene Climate Optimum were all warmer than now, so how can the good professor state with any certainty that the North Pole has never melted before when we have no consistent records from more than thirty years ago? The obvious answer is that the good professor cannot state this with any certainty, unless he does so in a firm and pompous voice.

Global warming fanatics say that the North Pole has never melted before. But I would like to see the empirical data that proves their claim. Without that proof, all we have is their hot air.

UPDATE (7/14/2008 5:27:26 PM): Yep. It’s hot air. I found an article written by John Daly in 2004 to refute the “Ah! The North Pole is melting for the first time in human history!” meme. And he used a picture that is worth much more than a thousand words to refute the claim.

During an Arctic summer, the sun is in the sky 24 hours per day, giving the Arctic ocean more total sunlight than anywhere else on the planet, excepting the Antarctic during its summer season. The result is that large areas of the Arctic Ocean are ice free in summer at any one time, with large leads of open water and even larger ‘polynyas’, stretches of open water tens of miles long and miles wide. This photo of three submarines visiting the North Pole in May 1987 shows the whole area criss-crossed with open water leads before the summer had even arrived.

Water at the North Pole
HMS Superb, USS Billfish, and USS Sea Devil in a North Pole rendezvous in 1987
(U.S. Navy Photo)

John Daly link found via The Clue Batting Cage.