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Authoritarianism and the Leftist mental bubble

Nothing could be more obvious than the fact that Leftism is authoritarian.  Wanting to "change society" in some way is definitional of Leftism. That wish, in various forms, is what makes you a Leftist.  Conservatives want change too but generally in the direction of unwinding Leftist changes.  But, as Margaret Thatcher memorably said, there is no such thing as society.  There are only people.  So the Leftist wants to change what people do.   And that is the essence and goal of the authoritarian.  And once they gain untrammelled power, socialists such as Robespierre, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot etc show how very authoritarian they in fact are.

But no Leftist seems to be able to see that.  They are in fact so heavily defended against reality that they believe it is conservatives who are the authoritarians.  I have on my bookshelf a book by Robert Altemeyer which is titled: "Enemies of freedom".  Any conservative would immediately identify the Left as the enemies of freedom but to Altemeyer the enemy is a type of conservative.  Like most Leftist psychologists, Altemeyer has obviously read nothing of what conservatives actually advocate.  Leftists need their cloak of self-righteousness so badly that they have to stay within a mental bubble formed by fellow Leftists -- a bubble into which uncomfortable thoughts must not intrude.

And that malarkey has been going on for a long time.  The ball really got rolling with the publication of "The authoritarian personality" under the lead authorship of Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno (born Theodor Wiesengrund) in 1950.  And Altemeyer's writings are just an update on that.  Adorno identified conservatives as the authoritarians.

In my days doing psychological research, I had over 100 papers published pointing to the holes in the Adorno theory but the  papers had nil effect.  My findings could not be allowed to penetrate the little mental bubble that enabled Leftists to tar conservatives with what were in fact the traits of Leftists.

Occasionally, however, some courageous person pokes his head above the parapet and endeavours to question the demonization of conservatives.  I have commented previously on the work of Yancey, who points out that the flood of hate directed at Christians by Leftists makes claims of "hate" among conservatives look ludicrous.  Just to disagree with Leftists allegedly makes you a "hater".  To see what real hate looks like you have to see what Leftists say.

And I have just become aware of the work of Jarret T. Crawford, who is at least even-handed in finding fault on both the Left and the Right.  It is rather a wonder that he gets away with it, but, like Yancey, he appears to have some African ancestry.  So he is at that rate a member of a protected class and can say what he likes.  For anybody with social science interests a list of some of his writings is here.

Another reason for the acceptance of his work is that he operates within conventional Leftist parameters -- accepting Leftist measuring instruments such as the RWA and SDO scales at face value.  That is rather a pity as both instruments are abortions.  Although allegedly a measure of "Right-wing authoritarianism", the RWA scale offers no useful prediction of vote at election time!  Not very right-wing, is it?  In psychometric terms the scale lacks predictive validity.  And the SDO scale is an even bigger joke -- as I pointed out some years ago.

I look forward to Crawford discovering psychometrics.  With better measuring instruments there is no telling what he might find.  My paper on  SDO does offer some alternatives.

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University rankings out again

There are now rather a lot of these rankings, all using slightly different methodology, but the latest out is the well established Shanghai Jiao Tong ranking.

No great surprises in the top ten, though Oxford would be sniffy about being ranked lower than Cambridge.

As usual, Australian universities had a good showing, with Melbourne in the top 50 and ANU at 74,  Queensland at 85 and UWA at 88.  Queensland is my Alma Mater so nobody can cast nasturtiums on my background.  My son is back there too.

And one of Brisbane's newer universities (Griffith) put out a press release expressing pleasure at being ranked 400th!  That is not as silly as it sounds when you realize that is 400th out of 10,000 -- and rankings lower than 500 are not released.
  
And Israelis will be pleased that their small community produced two in the top 100 -- Hebrew and Technion. And that is despite the "brain drain" of Ashkenazim to American universities.  No Palestinian universities made it into the top 500, however.  I believe there is one. Maybe the Palis could send some suicide bombers over to Shanghai to show those Chinamen at Jiao Tong University a thing or two!

The first non-American university on the list was -- at 19 -- The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, which I know nothing about.  I have certainly never seen a paper from them.  Did Einstein go there or something?

The ranking of Leiden university in the Netherlands may indicate that there is such a thing as Dutch modesty.  They ranked at 77 when in the ranking system that they themselves run they come in only at 100!

Brits will be peeved that LSE made it only into the 100-150 bracket.  I gather that they have a lot of Muslims there.  And I was slightly peeved to see Sydney also in that bracket  I have a large document issued to me by that university. At least it did better than Macquarie, which was at 201-300.  I also have a large document issued to me  by Macquarie.

Three New Zealand universities made it into the top 500, which isn't bad for a country of only 4 million souls, though the ranking of Victoria University Wellington (401-500)  will disappoint many. I very nearly took a job there once.

The methodology used by the Shanghai rankings is entirely academic and research oriented. The project is supported by the Chinese government so it is a pretty good look "from outside".  The huge preponderance of American universities in the rankings would have to be taken with a large grain of salt if it were Americans who were doing the rankings but since the work was in fact done by Chinese academics, it is not subject to that suspicion.

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Two very different Warmists meet  -- and we see which is rational

Kevin Trenberth is allegedly a scientist but is certainly a global warming evangelist.  His second most famous quote is:  "The planet is warming", but "the warmth just isn’t being manifested at the surface".   Pielke Jr. says he believes in global warming but doesn't think anyone can do anything about it.  Pielke enrages other Warmists.  He reports via Twitter:

Roger Pielke Jr. @RogerPielkeJr

I debated Trenberth last week. From Kevin there was yelling, spittle & an apology. I stuck to IPCC AR5 which he called totally wrong. Weird.

IPCC AR5 is the latest U.N. climate report

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Gladwell

Steve Sailer demolishes in short order the ideas of Malcolm Gladwell here.  Gladwell is a real intellectual lightweight.  His grades were not good enough for graduate school. There is nothing creditable about propounding striking ideas if those ideas are wrong or unproven. I think it is mainly the bush of African hair on his head that gets Gladwell uncritical acceptance. He runs fast, though.  I have mentioned previously the demolition of Gladwell's most recent book by Christopher Chabris, a psychology professor and psychometrician.

It is generally conceded, however, that Gladwell is a good entertainer.  It is perhaps in that light that we can understand the success that his academically unsatisfactory writings have brought him.

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The latest survey cookery (Verheggen, Cook, et al.) by Warmists is worthless

A new survey of climate scientists has been published. The author team is headed by Bart Verheggen and includes John Cook. Here's the abstract:

    "Results are presented from a survey held among 1868 scientists studying various aspects of climate change, including physical climate, climate impacts, and mitigation. The survey was unique in its size, broadness and level of detail. Consistent with other research, we found that, as the level of expertise in climate science grew, so too did the level of agreement on anthropogenic causation. 90% of respondents with more than 10 climate-related peer-reviewed publications (about half of all respondents), explicitly agreed with anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) being the dominant driver of recent global warming. The respondents’ quantitative estimate of the GHG contribution appeared to strongly depend on their judgment or knowledge of the cooling effect of aerosols. The phrasing of the IPCC attribution statement in its fourth assessment report (AR4) providing a lower limit for the isolated GHG contribution may have led to an underestimation of the GHG influence on recent warming. The phrasing was improved in AR5. We also report on the respondents’ views on other factors contributing to global warming; of these Land Use and Land Cover Change (LULCC) was considered the most important. Respondents who characterized human influence on climate as insignificant, reported having had the most frequent media coverage regarding their views on climate change."

Having Cook on the author team is obviously going to lead many people to write the paper off without even taking a look at it. When you are proven to have set out to write a paper to meet a predetermined conclusion, that is the way people will treat your work.

SOURCE

Further comments by JR:

Note the following statement from the full paper:

"Participation in our survey was sought from scientists having authored or coauthored peer-reviewed articles or assessment reports related to climate change"

Also note:

"1868 questionaires were returned, although not all of these were fully completed. This amounts to a response rate of 29%"

So these were NOT atmospheric scientists.  They were anybody who had mentioned global warming in some paper or other.  It is hence NOT an expert sample.

Furthermore, the response rate was so low that it is not a representative sample either.  It is entirely possible that people  who wanted to keep their heads down in a very controversial area were the core of the non-respondents -- and a major reason for wanting to keep  heads down would be the risks of acknowledging skepticism.  The way Warmists have attacked and penalized skepticism has made it impossible to get open responses in the matter and hence vitiates any survey of the field.  The conclusions of the study are therefore worthless.


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When obscenity trumps the facts

Obscenity is a strange way to make a scientific point.  I have never seen it before.  But I think I know why the guy below used it.  He is desperate.  He must be aware of the latest findings in his own field and the latest finding is that current changes in the Arctic, particularly in thermokarsts, have a net COOLING effect. See "A shift of thermokarst lakes from carbon sources to sinks during the Holocene epoch".  That study concerns CO2 but the Warmist below makes no attempt to offset that finding against the methane observations that are giving him orgasms.  That the methane emissions ARE being offset in some way would seem to follow from the fact that there has been no global warming for 18 years.  And note that in the original methane study,  most of the "vast plumes" did not reach the surface so could not therefore affect the atmosphere

The planet is 'f**cked' after scientists found huge plumes of deadly methane escaping from the seafloor.  This is according to Dr Jason Box who claims that methane will be the main driver of climate change if it escapes into the atmosphere.

He said: 'If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we're f'd'

The scientist, based at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, tweeted the provocative statement after a Swedish study found methane leaking beneath the Arctic.

Some of this methane – which is over 20 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat - is now making it to the ocean's surface.

The leaking gas from the seafloor may have its origins in collapsing clusters of methane trapped in frozen water due to high pressure and low temperature.

Scientists at Stockholm University called the discovery 'somewhat of a surprise,' which, according to Dr Box, is an understatement.

Methane is the second-largest greenhouse gas contributor to climate change.  The gas is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat and is currently being targeted by government in an attempt to mitigate global warming.

Methane pollution has declined by 11 per cent since 1990 even as the governments has pushed for greater use of natural gas.

But the longer view on methane pollution show that it will rise. The Obama administration points to studies that show that methane pollution is projected to increase to a level equivalent to over 620 million tonnes of carbon dioxide pollution in 2030, if no action is taken.

The conventional thought is that the bubbles would be dissolved before they reached the surface and that microorganisms would consume that methane.

But Dr Box said if the plumes are making it to the surface, there's a new source of heat-trapping gases that the planet needs to worry about.

This, he claims, is particularly disturbing because the Arctic is warming faster than nearly anywhere else on Earth.

His comments follow research in May which found that freshwater sources may be an unrealised source of methane.

Unlike carbon dioxide, which is highly soluble in water, methane exists in two forms in these freshwater sources: as a dissolved gas and encapsulated in bubbles that rise from sediments.

And this methane can lead to ozone production and levels of the gas in the atmosphere are 150 per cent higher than they were before the industrial revolution in U.S.

It is already known that in the melting regions of the Arctic where lakes, known as thermokarsts, which are lakes that break down plant material into methane.

This methane can then escape out of the lake, and once lit, could set ice on fire.

'I may escape a lot of this,' Dr Box told Motherboard, 'but my daughter might not. She's three years old.'

SOURCE


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Fun!  With kidney stones!

AS soon as I had put up yesterday my demolition of the idiotic Warmist use of the latest kidney stone study, I tweeted a short  summary of it, with link.  Marc Morano retweeted my tweet,  as he often does.  And that generated further tweets.

One tweeter (Dennis Krupski @Dkrupski) tweeted that, instead of saying I had demolished the kidney stone claims, I should have said that  I *pulverized* the claims. That was rather witty.  Lithotripsy is the first line of defence against kidney stones and pulverizing the stones is what lithotripsy hopefully does.

But a much more amusing tweet was by a Solon going by the name of "Thetracker" (@IdiotTracker).  He is evidently a Warmist so wanted to disrespect my kidney stone comments. And he did it in a classic Warmist way:  By abusing me and appealing to authority.  He made absolutely no mention of the scientific points I had made.  And even his abuse was not clever.  He accused me of writing from "Mom's basement".  Since I am a 71 year old academic with a couple of hundred published academic journal articles behind me, that little speculation was way off.

It is rather saddening how often Warmists talk about "The science" as supporting their ideas but rarely mention one single scientific fact.  Actual science clearly freaks them. Skeptics, by contrast, post scientific facts about the alleged warming all the time.

And the appeals to authority which Warmists substitute for scientific debate are logically problematic anyway.  The "argumentum ad verecundiam" (appeal to authority) is well known to logicians as one of the classic informal fallacies in logic.  It is quite simply illogical. That Warmists rely on it is therefore pathetic.  They are poor souls indeed. Their pernicious cult is founded on speculation only -- JR


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Kidney stone nonsense demolished

Warmists are chortling over a recent report that associated increased kidney stones with higher temperatures.  A close reading of the  press release that announced the findings is interesting, however.  First note the following excerpt:

"A painful condition that brings half a million patients a year to U.S. emergency rooms, kidney stones have increased markedly over the world in the past three decades. While stones remain more common in adults, the numbers of children developing kidney stones have climbed at a dramatically high rate over the last 25 years. The factors causing the increase in kidney stones are currently unknown, but may be influenced by changes in diet and fluid intake. When stones do not pass on their own, surgery may be necessary."

The study team also found that very low outdoor temperatures increased the risk of kidney stones in three cities: Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia. The authors suggest that as frigid weather keeps people indoors more, higher indoor temperatures, changes in diet and decreased physical activity may raise their risk of kidney stones.

Then look at the international prevalence of stones  -- in Table 1.  We find that the USA in 1988-1994 had a kidney stone prevalence of 5.2% whereas Italy has a prevalence of 1.72% in 1993-1994.  We also find that Spain had an incidence of 2.0% in 1987 and a prevalence of 10.0% in 1991.

So what is going on?  It's hard to know where to start.  But let me draw attention to the statements highlighted in red.  They first admit that they DON'T know what causes stones.  Climate  change is simply a speculation.  Then they admit that LOW temperatures go with more stones in some cities.  Global warming does not affect Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia??  It's not very global in that case is it?

And, going to the statistics, why should the USA have a prevalence that is 3 times higher than Italy?  Is the USA 3 times warmer than Italy?  Obviously not.  And, finally, the Spanish statistics suggest that the whole thing is basically a mystery.  So the careful scientific conclusion by the authors that "The factors causing the increase in kidney stones are currently unknown" is well justified.  The Warmists have however ignored that scientific conclusion and hopped on to the speculations attached to it. -- JR

SOURCE
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Record high global temperature in June a lie

Drawing on NOAA data, it is asserted below that we did have a record high global temperature in June.  But the "record" temperature exceeded the previous high by only one twentieth of one degree, a figure that would be non-trivial only if it were repeated frequently.   More importantly, it is well outside the accuracy inherent in the data.  Temperature measurement is very spotty worldwide with large areas such as China, Russia and Africa having very few data sources. So a great deal of the "data" used to calculate world temperature is in fact "interpolations", in plain language guesses.  So one immidiately suspects that the guesses were simply more expansive in June.

And the U.S. temperature data strongly supports that suspicion.  The USA by far has the best temperature record.  The measurements are not perfect.  They are affected by siting problems in many cases but there are so many meassuring stations that interpolations are rarely needed.  So what does out best source of uninterpolated data show?  You can see it on the map below.  The USA was mostly one big COOL spot!  QED, as they used to say.  The global data is fudged

A minor source of amusement is that the NOAA report that formed the basis for the article below tabulates national temperatures for a number of nations, including such places as Latvia,  but does NOT give U.S. average temperatures!  I wonder why?

Last month was a scorcher for global temperatures with warmth over land and sea breaking records for June while sea-surface temperatures posted their largest departure from long-term averages for any month.

Combined average temperatures over land and sea were 0.72 degrees above the 20th century average of 15.5 degrees, making it the hottest June and adding to the record May and equal record April, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).



More striking for climatologists, though, were the sea-surface temperatures. These came in 0.64 degrees above the 20th century average of 16.4 degrees – the first time any month had exceeded the long-run norm by more than 0.6 degrees.

Parts of all major ocean basins notched their warmest June, with almost all the Indian Ocean and regions off south-eastern Australia the hottest on record.

An El Nino event remains about a 70 per cent chance of forming during the northern summer, which could see more records tumble. The weather pattern sees the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean becoming relatively warm compared with western regions, and typically brings hotter, drier than usual conditions to south-east Asia and Australia.

Climate scientists say man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are trapping more solar heat and leading to the global warming that increasing the likelihood that hot rather than cold records will be broken.

The first half of the year tied 2002 as the third-warmest on record for land and sea-surface temperatures, NOAA said.

SOURCE
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Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 reflect trends of a warming planet; Increases in temperature, sea level and CO2 observed

The Warmists at NOAA are clutching at straws here.

1). They say that just three countries in the Southern hemisphere had record high temperatures. But if it's GLOBAL warming, shouldn't the high temperatures have happened in more countries than that? Nothing in the Northern hemisphere? If a phenomenon is not global it is local and of no use in upholding Warmist dogma.  There are plenty of local weather influences.

2). And it's a wonder that they mention the rise in CO2 at all, now at a level that was once predicted to be catastrophic.  Where is the catastrophe?

3). And they say that the global temperature  ranked "between second and sixth depending upon the dataset used". So which is it?  The ranking is obviously far from solid.

4). And they say: "sea surface temperature for 2013 was among the 10 warmest on record".  That means that there were 9 years when it was warmer.  So it actually COOLED in 2003.

I will comment no further on such hilarious garbage

In 2013, the vast majority of worldwide climate indicators—greenhouse gases, sea levels, global temperatures, etc.—continued to reflect trends of a warmer planet, according to the indicators assessed in the State of the Climate in 2013 report, released online today by the American Meteorological Society.

Scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., served as the lead editors of the report, which was compiled by 425 scientists from 57 countries around the world (highlights, visuals, full report). It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on air, land, sea, and ice.

“These findings reinforce what scientists for decades have observed: that our planet is becoming a warmer place,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D. “This report provides the foundational information we need to develop tools and services for communities, business, and nations to prepare for, and build resilience to, the impacts of climate change.”

The report uses dozens of climate indicators to track patterns, changes, and trends of the global climate system, including greenhouse gases; temperatures throughout the atmosphere, ocean, and land; cloud cover; sea level; ocean salinity; sea ice extent; and snow cover. These indicators often reflect many thousands of measurements from multiple independent datasets. The report also details cases of unusual and extreme regional events, such as Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated portions of Southeast Asia in November 2013.

Highlights:

    Greenhouse gases continued to climb: Major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide, continued to rise during 2013, once again reaching historic high values. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased by 2.8 ppm in 2013, reaching a global average of 395.3 ppm for the year. At the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the daily concentration of CO2 exceeded 400 ppm on May 9 for the first time since measurements began at the site in 1958. This milestone follows observational sites in the Arctic that observed this CO2 threshold of 400 ppm in spring 2012.

    Warm temperature trends continued near the Earth’s surface: Four major independent datasets show 2013 was among the warmest years on record, ranking between second and sixth depending upon the dataset used. In the Southern Hemisphere, Australia observed its warmest year on record, while Argentina had its second warmest and New Zealand its third warmest.

    Sea surface temperatures increased: Four independent datasets indicate that the globally averaged sea surface temperature for 2013 was among the 10 warmest on record. El NiƱo Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral conditions in the eastern central Pacific Ocean and a negative Pacific decadal oscillation pattern in the North Pacific had the largest impacts on the global sea surface temperature during the year. The North Pacific was record warm for 2013.

    Sea level continued to rise: Global mean sea level continued to rise during 2013, on pace with a trend of 3.2 ± 0.4 mm per year over the past two decades.

    The Arctic continued to warm; sea ice extent remained low: The Arctic observed its seventh warmest year since records began in the early 20th century. Record high temperatures were measured at 20-meter depth at permafrost stations in Alaska. Arctic sea ice extent was the sixth lowest since satellite observations began in 1979. All seven lowest sea ice extents on record have occurred in the past seven years.

    Antarctic sea ice extent reached record high for second year in a row; South Pole station set record high temperature: The Antarctic maximum sea ice extent reached a record high of 7.56 million square miles on October 1. This is 0.7 percent higher than the previous record high extent of 7.51 million square miles that occurred in 2012 and 8.6 percent higher than the record low maximum sea ice extent of 6.96 million square miles that occurred in 1986. Near the end of the year, the South Pole had its highest annual temperature since records began in 1957.

    Tropical cyclones near average overall / Historic Super Typhoon: The number of tropical cyclones during 2013 was slightly above average, with a total of 94 storms, in comparison to the 1981-2010 average of 89. The North Atlantic Basin had its quietest season since 1994. However, in the Western North Pacific Basin, Super Typhoon Haiyan – the deadliest cyclone of 2013 – had the highest wind speed ever assigned to a tropical cyclone, with one-minute sustained winds estimated to be 196 miles per hour.

State of the Climate in 2013 is the 24th edition in a peer-reviewed series published annually as a special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The journal makes the full report openly available online.

"State of the Climate is vital to documenting the world's climate," said Dr. Keith Seitter, AMS Executive Director. "AMS members in all parts of the world contribute to this NOAA-led effort to give the public a detailed scientific snapshot of what's happening in our world and builds on prior reports we've published."

SOURCE

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Can America disengage?

I do not at all agree with the screed below but it represents a view that needs an answer.  And one point it makes is undoubtedly true:  It is sheer madness, not to mention cruel, to be arming and financing both sides of the Arab/Israel conflict.  Even the bleeding hearts must notice that it has led to over 100 dead Palestinians currently.  Is that what the supporters of the Arabs want?  It probably is -- the Left love death -- but they should be confronted with that consequence.  In my view, aid to all hostiles should be cut off while at the same time Israel continues to receive what she needs to defend herself.

So there is in principle no problem with aid to Egypt as long as it continues to honor its peace treaty with Israel -- something that Mubarak did and which the present military government has continued.

But the Palestinian authority is undoubtedly hostile to Israel so aid should be cut off until it too concludes an enforceable peace treaty with Israel.  I cannot see that there is any other moral course.

The second point below is that Israel is a no-account place that is not worth defending.  Many writers have pointed out ways in which Israel is materially useful to America but that is not the big factor of course.  The big factor comes down to morality, religion, values and feelings.  And in that sphere Israel is a giant among nations.  They wrote both parts of our holy book and even those who do not hold the Bible holy cannot avoid the fact that the Bible has been the principal foundation of our civilization. To give back to those who have given us so much seems again to me to be the only moral course.  As our own Bible tells us, they are a holy nation

“[The United States has] a fateful tie to the Israelis from which we have, in contradistinction to the Israelis, everything to lose, and nothing to gain.” George F. Kennan, Diaries, 25 April 1978.

“Our form of government, inestimable as it is, exposes us, more than any other, to the insidious intrigues and pestilent influence of foreign nations. Nothing but our inflexible neutrality can preserve us.” John Adams, c. 1809.

As the renewed Israeli-Palestinian war rages in Gaza, America is presented with an ideal moment to run — not walk — away from its suicidal commitment to both sides. Surely, no sane American — except the Neocons, whom it would be absurd to consider either sane or loyal Americans — could have missed the fact that what is going on in the current war has had absolutely no immediate impact on the United States.

The war is occurring in a far away place that is no longer of any strategic interest to the United States because the combination of Washington’s relentless, war-causing and Islamist-motivating interventionism and Obama’s cowardly surrenderism have already given the entire region to the Islamists and ensured — thanks to Jewish-American Neocons — Israel’s ultimate doom. Therefore it matters not a lick to any but disloyal Americans whether the Israelis kill all the Palestinians, the Palestinians kill all the Israelis, or, in the best case scenari0, they mutually destroy each other. At the end of the war they all simply will be dead foreigners of whom we had no need and for whom we need not bid any teary farewells. Peoples who want to fight religious wars deserve whatever they get, and these two peoples are determined to fight their religious war until one side or the other is destroyed. Well, so be it, let us get out of it now.

There is a rub for the United States, however, and that reality makes complete U.S. disengagement more urgent than ever before. That rub lies in the fact that each bomb or missile the Israeli air force uses in Gaza will eventually yield a dead American soldier or Marine and/or a dead civilian. This is not a fact that President Obama or Secretary of State Kerry will use to inform the American people about what is at stake for the United States in the long run, because they — along with most of their party and the Republican Party — really could not care less about our nation’s security as long as campaign contributions and media support keep flowing  from disloyal Israel First, U.S. citizens and their fundamentally anti-American organizations. As long as that graft keeps flowing their way from the Israel Firsters, they are all more than willing to motivate our Islamist enemies by backing Israel to the hilt.

All of these officials will seek to hide their corrupt relationship with U.S. citizen, Israel First leaders by blathering on about the need for a cease-fire, a two-state solution, and restraint from both sides. What is it, do suppose, that makes senior elected and appointed American officials live in the fantasy world that sees an amicable solution to this problem as a possibility.  The answer is bribery, as these people are all listed as members in good standing on Israel First’s bountiful payroll list. Because of the dire need to uphold what is left of the Constitution, we must permit these enemies of America to prattle on, but recognizing their flagrant disregard for genuine U.S. national interests we ought to just ignore them.

It is exquisitely clear, that Israelis and Arabs are going to fight each other until one or the other is annihilated, so let them fight.

SOURCE

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Carbon price helped curb emissions, ANU study finds

As something of a coincidence with Australia's repeal of the carbon tax, a study has come out claiming that the tax did have the effect intended.  A report of the study plus the journal abstract is given below.  There is no intrinsic problem with that conclusion.  Taxing something does generally reduce demand for it.  I nonetheless think that the report is pure guesswork.  I cannot see how they can separate out the effect of the tax from other  factors bearing down on electricity generation.

For most of the period surveyed the Labor government was in power, energetically pressing a variety of policies designed to have the same effect as the tax.  The winding back of brown coal powered generation in Victoria is the most obvious example of that.  Shutting down the cheapest power generators in the country took some time but it did eventually happen to some extent in the latter phase of ALP rule.

And if you read the abstract, it is clear that estimates (guesses) were involved.  Their admission:  "There are fundamental difficulties in attributing observed changes in demand and supply to specific causes" is very much to the point

Australia cut carbon dioxide emissions from its electricity sector by as much as 17 million tonnes because of the carbon price and would have curbed more had industry expected the price to be permanent, according to an Australian National University study.

The report, due to be submitted for peer-reviewed publication, found the two years of the carbon price had a discernible impact on emissions even assuming conservative responses by consumers and businesses.

“We see the carbon price doing what it was meant to do, and what it was expected to do, namely dampen demand and shift the supply from dirtier to cleaner sources of electricity,” said Associate Professor Frank Jotzo, director of the Centre for Climate Economics and Policy, and a co-author of the report with the centre’s Marianna O’Gorman.

The paper comes as the Senate voted on Thursday to bring almost five years of Coalition campaigning against a price on carbon to an end by repealing the tax. Labor and the Greens say they will continue to push for a price on emissions.

The ANU report, which used official market data to the end of June, found the drop in power demand attributed to the carbon price was between 2.5 and 4.2 terawatt-hours per year, or about 1.3 to 2.3 per cent of the National Electricity Market serving about 80 per cent of Australia’s population.

Emissions-intensive brown and black coal-fired power generators cut output, with about 4 gigawatts of capacity taken offline. The emissions intensity of NEM supply dropped between 16 and 28 kilograms of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of supply, underscoring the role of carbon pricing rather than slumping demand in curbing pollution, the paper said.

However, investors’ doubts that the carbon tax would last – fostered in part by then opposition leader Tony Abbott’s “blood oath” to repeal it if the Coalition took office - meant high-emissions generators were mothballed rather than permanently closed.

“We’d expect the impact of the carbon price would have been larger, perhaps far larger, if there had been an expectation that the carbon price would have continued,” Professor Jotzo said.

Falling demand

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has said repeatedly that the carbon tax was ineffective, stating Australia’s total emissions fell 0.1 per cent in the first year.

More recent figures, though, show the emissions drop accelerated, with 2013’s 0.8 per cent economy-wide fall the largest annual reduction in the 24 years of monitoring. In the power sector, the industry most directly covered by the carbon price, emissions fell 5 per cent.

“As confirmed by Origin Energy managing director Grant King, there are other factors resulting in lower emissions in the electricity sector – including lower demand, the impact of the [Renewable Energy Target], flooding at the Yallourn power station and increased hydro output,” a spokesman for Mr Hunt said.

However, the ANU paper takes those factors into account in estimating the carbon price impact, Professor Jotzo said.

Rather, the impact of the carbon price is probably understated. The highly politicised debate preceded its implementation by about a year, prompting energy consumers to focus more on electricity costs – and presumably to begin making savings – well before the tax began.

“We would expect politically motivated talk ... may well have had a large impact on people’s power usage patterns,” Professor Jotzo said....

“The only thing that went wrong in Australia was the politics of climate change policy,” Professor Jotzo said. “There was nothing inherently wrong with scheme.”

SOURCE

Impact of the carbon price on Australia’s electricity demand, supply and emissions

Marianna O'Gorman, Frank Jotzo

Abstract:

Australia’s carbon price has been in operation for two years. The electricity sector accounts for the majority of emissions covered under the scheme. This paper examines the impact of the carbon price on the electricity sector between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2014, focusing on the National Electricity Market (NEM). Over this period, electricity demand in the NEM declined by 3.8 per cent, the emissions intensity of electricity supply by 4.6 per cent, and overall emissions by 8.2 per cent, compared to the two-year period before the carbon price. We detail observable changes in power demand and supply mix, and estimate the quantitative effect of the effect of the carbon price. We estimate that the carbon price led to an average 10 per cent increase in nominal retail household electricity prices, an average 15 per cent increase in industrial electricity prices and a 59 per cent increase in wholesale (spot) electricity prices. It is likely that in response, households, businesses and the industrial sector reduced their electricity use. We estimate the demand reduction attributable to the carbon price at 2.5 to 4.2 TWh per year, about 1.3 to 2.3 per cent of total electricity demand in the NEM. The carbon price markedly changed relative costs between different types of power plants. Emissions-intensive brown coal and black coal generators reduced output and 4GW of emissions-intensive generation capacity was taken offline. We estimate that these shifts in the supply mix resulted in a 16 to 28kg CO2/MWh reduction in the emissions intensity of power supply in the NEM, a reduction between 1.8 and 3.3 per cent. The combined impact attributable to the carbon price is estimated as a reduction of between 5 and 8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions (3.2 to 5 per cent) in 2012/13 and between 6 and 9 million tonnes (3.5 to 5.6 per cent) in 2013/14, and between 11 and 17 million tonnes cumulatively. There are fundamental difficulties in attributing observed changes in demand and supply to specific causes, especially over the short term, and in this light we use conservative parameters in the estimation of the effect of the carbon price. We conclude that the carbon price has worked as expected in terms of its short-term impacts. However, its effect on investment in power generation assets has probably been limited, because of policy uncertainty about the continuation of the carbon pricing mechanism. For emissions pricing to have its full effect, a stable, long-term policy framework is needed.

SOURCE


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Research on basic differences between liberals and conservatives

Science popularizer Chris Mooney is back on his old platform with claims that conservatives are born bad.  Leftist psychologists have been endeavouring to prove the evilness of conservatives at at least since 1950 and, despite their failures to convince anyone but themselves, they don't give up lightly.  So Mooney has seized on the latest scraps from their table.  See below.

Mooney has seized in particular on the work of Hibbing, whom I have noted on a few previous occasions (e.g. here), and I don't think much more needs to be added to what I have said before.  Basically, Hibbing labels conservatism as "negativity", despite the fact that there is a long history of conservatism being more informatively labelled as "caution".  And exactly the same behaviour can reasonably be labelled either way.  "Negativity" is the snarl-word for the more neutral "caution".  So Hibbing's main contribution is  a twisted  or at least tendentious use of language.

Read through the article below and you will see that everything Hibbing condemns can reasonably be attributed to caution.  And I don't think anyone is proposing that we give caution up.

Mooney's other point -- that political attitudes have a large inherited component -- is well borne out by the twin studies, however.  The only issue is WHAT is the inherited personality factor behind the political attitudes.  I would argue that Leftists are born miserable and that makes them destruction-prone.  They are so unhappy with the world around them that they want to destroy as much of it as they can.

Statistician Matt Briggs also has some amusing comments on Hibbing.

Mooney does however have below a short flash of insight that largely neutralizes his animus.  I have highlighted it in red

You could be forgiven for not having browsed yet through the latest issue of the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences. If you care about politics, though, you'll find a punchline therein that is pretty extraordinary.

Behavioral and Brain Sciences employs a rather unique practice called "Open Peer Commentary": An article of major significance is published, a large number of fellow scholars comment on it, and then the original author responds to all of them. The approach has many virtues, one of which being that it lets you see where a community of scholars and thinkers stand with respect to a controversial or provocative scientific idea. And in the latest issue of the journal, this process reveals the following conclusion: A large body of political scientists and political psychologists now concur that liberals and conservatives disagree about politics in part because they are different people at the level of personality, psychology, and even traits like physiology and genetics.

That's a big deal. It challenges everything that we thought we knew about politics—upending the idea that we get our beliefs solely from our upbringing, from our friends and families, from our personal economic interests, and calling into question the notion that in politics, we can really change (most of us, anyway).

It is a "virtually inescapable conclusion" that the "cognitive-motivational styles of leftists and rightists are quite different."

The occasion of this revelation is a paper by John Hibbing of the University of Nebraska and his colleagues, arguing that political conservatives have a "negativity bias," meaning that they are physiologically more attuned to negative (threatening, disgusting) stimuli in their environments. (The paper can be read for free here.) In the process, Hibbing et al. marshal a large body of evidence, including their own experiments using eye trackers and other devices to measure the involuntary responses of political partisans to different types of images. One finding? That conservatives respond much more rapidly to threatening and aversive stimuli (for instance, images of "a very large spider on the face of a frightened person, a dazed individual with a bloody face, and an open wound with maggots in it," as one of their papers put it).

In other words, the conservative ideology, and especially one of its major facets—centered on a strong military, tough law enforcement, resistance to immigration, widespread availability of guns—would seem well tailored for an underlying, threat-oriented biology.

The authors go on to speculate that this ultimately reflects an evolutionary imperative. "One possibility," they write, "is that a strong negativity bias was extremely useful in the Pleistocene," when it would have been super-helpful in preventing you from getting killed. (The Pleistocene epoch lasted from roughly 2.5 million years ago until 12,000 years ago.) We had John Hibbing on the Inquiring Minds podcast earlier this year, and he discussed these ideas in depth; you can listen here:

Hibbing and his colleagues make an intriguing argument in their latest paper, but what's truly fascinating is what happened next. Twenty-six different scholars or groups of scholars then got an opportunity to tee off on the paper, firing off a variety of responses. But as Hibbing and colleagues note in their final reply, out of those responses, "22 or 23 accept the general idea" of a conservative negativity bias, and simply add commentary to aid in the process of "modifying it, expanding on it, specifying where it does and does not work," and so on. Only about three scholars or groups of scholars seem to reject the idea entirely.

That's pretty extraordinary, when you think about it. After all, one of the teams of commenters includes New York University social psychologist John Jost, who drew considerable political ire in 2003 when he and his colleagues published a synthesis of existing psychological studies on ideology, suggesting that conservatives are characterized by traits such as a need for certainty and an intolerance of ambiguity. Now, writing in Behavioral and Brain Sciences in response to Hibbing roughly a decade later, Jost and fellow scholars note that

There is by now evidence from a variety of laboratories around the world using a variety of methodological techniques leading to the virtually inescapable conclusion that the cognitive-motivational styles of leftists and rightists are quite different. This research consistently finds that conservatism is positively associated with heightened epistemic concerns for order, structure, closure, certainty, consistency, simplicity, and familiarity, as well as existential concerns such as perceptions of danger, sensitivity to threat, and death anxiety. [Italics added]

Back in 2003, Jost and his team were blasted by Ann Coulter, George Will, and National Review for saying this; congressional Republicans began probing into their research grants; and they got lots of hate mail. But what's clear is that today, they've more or less triumphed. They won a field of converts to their view and sparked a wave of new research, including the work of Hibbing and his team.

"One possibility," note the authors, "is that a strong negativity bias was extremely useful in the Pleistocene," when it would have been super-helpful in preventing you from getting killed.
Granted, there are still many issues yet to be worked out in the science of ideology. Most of the commentaries on the new Hibbing paper are focused on important but not-paradigm-shifting side issues, such as the question of how conservatives can have a higher negativity bias, and yet not have neurotic personalities. (Actually, if anything, the research suggests that liberals may be the more neurotic bunch.) Indeed, conservatives tend to have a high degree of happiness and life satisfaction. But Hibbing and colleagues find no contradiction here. Instead, they paraphrase two other scholarly commentators (Matt Motyl of the University of Virginia and Ravi Iyer of the University of Southern California), who note that "successfully monitoring and attending negative features of the environment, as conservatives tend to do, may be just the sort of tractable task…that is more likely to lead to a fulfilling and happy life than is a constant search for new experience after new experience."

All of this matters, of course, because we still operate in politics and in media as if minds can be changed by the best honed arguments, the most compelling facts. And yet if our political opponents are simply perceiving the world differently, that idea starts to crumble. Out of the rubble just might arise a better way of acting in politics that leads to less dysfunction and less gridlock…thanks to science.

SOURCE

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This is what happens when you express global temperature in simple degrees Fahrenheit instead of as an "anomaly"

Calibrated in whole degrees



And here it is in Celsius:



Odd that Warmists always use "anomalies", isn't it?
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The Forgotten Flag of the American Revolution and What It Means


It's a continual amazement to me what people claim to find in the Declaration of Independence.  I have read it many times now and most of its alleged contents are simply not there.  Daniel Hannan below for instance nominates "Magna Carta, jury trials, free contract, property rights, habeas corpus, parliamentary representation, liberty of conscience, and the common law" as things that are demanded there. But of that list I can find jury trials only.  Most of the Declaration comprises complaints about the King stopping the American grandees from making more and more laws to regulate their countrymen.  It was the King who was the libertarian, not the revolutionaries.

The proponents of revolutions are as far as I can tell  always Leftists -- Leftists who have fine talk about the justice of their cause but who basically are just grabbing power for their own clique.  And I cannot see that the American revolutionaries were any different.  They even headline their Declaration with that classic but absurd Leftist slogan:  "all men are created equal".

The Leftism that the Declaration embodied is of course much more limited than the Leftism we know today but it was a definite  Leftist episode in history nonetheless

We all know the story of American independence, don’t we? A rugged frontier people became increasingly tired of being ruled by a distant elite. A group calling themselves Patriots were especially unhappy about being taxed by a parliament in which they were unrepresented. When, in 1775, British Redcoats tried to repress them, a famous Patriot called Paul Revere rode through the night across eastern Massachusetts, crying “The British are coming!” The shots that were fired the next day began a war for independence which culminated the following year in the statehouse in Philadelphia, when George Washington and others, meeting under Betsy Ross’s gorgeous flag, signed the Declaration of Independence.

It’s a stirring story, but it’s false in every aspect. Neither Paul Revere nor anyone else could have shouted “The British are coming!” in 1775: The entire population of Massachusetts was British. (What the plucky Boston silversmith actually yelled was “The regulars are out!”) The overall level of taxation in the colonies in 1775 was barely a fiftieth of what it was in Great Britain, and the levies to which Americans had objected had been repealed before the fighting began. The Boston Tea Party, which sparked the violence, was brought about by a *lowering* of the duty on tea. George Washington wasn’t there when the Declaration of Independence was signed. The flag that the Patriots marched under was not, except on very rare occasions, the stars-and-stripes (which probably wasn’t sewn by Betsy Ross) but the Grand Union flag.

Known also as the Congress Flag and the Continental Colors, the Grand Union Flag had the 13 red and white stripes as they are today, but in the top left-hand quarter, instead of stars, it showed Britain’s flag, made up of the St. George’s Cross for England and the St. Andrew’s Cross for Scotland. It was the banner that the Continental Congress met under, the banner that flew over their chamber when they approved the Declaration of Independence. It was the banner that George Washington fought beneath, that John Paul Jones hoisted on the first ship of the United States Navy. That it has been almost excised from America’s collective memory tells us a great deal about how the story of the Revolution was afterward edited.

The men who raised that standard believed that they were fighting for their freedoms as Britons — freedoms that had been trampled by a Hanoverian king and his hirelings. When they called themselves Patriots — a word that had been common currency among Whigs on both sides of the Atlantic long before anyone dreamed of a separation — they meant that they were British patriots, cherishing the peculiar liberties that had come down to them since Magna Carta: jury trials, free contract, property rights, habeas corpus, parliamentary representation, liberty of conscience, and the common law.



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The Declaration of Independence

It is reasonable for any nation to commemorate the date most associated with its attainment of political independence.  So July 4 celebrations in the USA are readily understood.  I write from a non-American perspective however so although I see much to celebrate about  America I see little to celebrate about the Declaration of Independence.  Australia got its independence just by some old men signing papers so starting a war in which thousands died seems to require heavy justification to me.

And when I look at the Declaration I find that the body of it is a desire for more power for the local American legislatures.  And the war got them that.   But what good did that do the average American in return for his blood?  All they got was some flowery words from their existing grandees, roughly the same people who were in power both before and after the war.

Both in the preamble and the subsequent Constitution some magnificent ideals from Europe's liberal enlightenment were enshrined.  The Declarers may even have believed in them.  Be that as it may, the ideals served well to sanctify a thoroughly selfish power grab by the existing American elite.  Many Americans still believe in those ideals, as well they might, but, functionally, they are just the propaganda of yesteryear.

And ideals and words are a poor defence against government. The constant denials to this day  of rights granted under  the first and second amendments are evidence of that. The "rights" that Americans have are only what the elite of the day are prepared to allow.  "The original intent of the founding fathers is being violated on a daily basis".  See an example below.

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If you like your GPS … tough, you can’t use it

"Remember the frustrating old days of trying to drive while reading, or having a co-passenger read, a map that may or may not have helped you find your destination? Well if some in Congress have their way, those days may be coming back. You see language in the draft Transportation bill that will soon be considered in Congress would give the National Transposition Safety Administration new power to regulate apps like GPS, Google Maps, and Waze. Potential federal regulations including limiting driver’s ability to input information while the car is in motion, or requiring people to certify they are a passenger before being able to use the device making people click a button saying that they are a passenger."

SOURCE

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Dads Who Do Dishes Raise Ambitious Daughters(?)

I have read the academic journal article behind the popular report below and must advise caution about the assertions below. 

For a start, the sampling underlying the article was a mess.  Respondents were recruited from visitors to a Canadian science center so would have been solidly middle class -- and the authors (Croft et al) even then had data for both parents for only 27% of their sample.  

More importantly, however, I think the results can be fully explained by saying that parental attitudes towards sex roles tend to be transmitted to their children  -- which is not much of a surprise.  Fathers with less traditional attitudes tended to raise children with less traditional attitudes.  Nothing new there, with the results explicable on both genetic and learning grounds.  As has been known since the '80s, social attitudes are highly transmissable genetically

Dads who equally divided the drudgery of household chores with their wives tended to have daughters whose “when I grow up” aspirations were less gender-stereotypical, suggests an upcoming paper in Psychological Science. 

Moms’ work-equality beliefs did also color their daughters’ attitudes toward gender roles, but this study found that a stronger predictor of girls’ career goals was the way their dads handled domestic duties. The daughters of parents who shared housework were more likely to tell the researchers they wanted to be a police officer, a doctor, an accountant, or a "scientist (who studies germs to help doctors find what medicine each patient needs)," lead author Alyssa Croft wrote via email, quoting one little girl in the study. 

Here’s more from the Association for Psychological Science:

    "The study results suggest that parents’ domestic actions may speak louder than words. Even when fathers publicly endorsed gender equality, if they retained a traditional division of labor at home, their daughters were more likely to envision themselves in traditionally female-dominant jobs, such as nurse, teacher, librarian or stay-at-home-mom.

Even feminist fathers who fail to lift a finger around the house might be unconsciously telling their daughters that housework equals women's work, this study suggests. So, dads: Do the damn dishes already."



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Some jargon and a triumph of capitalism

Jargon can be obscurantist at times but can also be useful.  Most trades and occupations have their own jargon as a quick means of communication.  I have been involved with quite a few trades and occupations in my life so am pretty jargon-loaded.  I try to keep it within its own context, however.

An example of jargon occurred recently when I saw a carpenter about to throw out something that had some bolts and nuts in it.  I checked that he really was throwing the nut out and he said he was.  I then unscrewed the nut, took one second's look at it and said: "That's a three eight whitworth".  In reply he agreed that the nut was worth keeping.

So what had I said?  What had my bit of jargon conveyed?  To answer that fully you need to know about Joe Whitworth.  Whitworth was an engineer in mid-19th century Britain.  One of the things he did was make bolts and nuts (he made a good sniper rifle too).  And his bolts and nuts were very good. People found them to be stronger and more accurate. So after a while people wanted to buy Whitworth bolts and nuts only.  So all makers of bolts and nuts had to convert to "Whitworth standard" if they wanted to stay in the business.  And they did.  No government devised the Whitworth standard and no government made people use it but the standard became fixed and a fixed standard was found very useful.  And until other nations caught on it gave British machine-makers an advantage. The French were amazed at how quickly Britain could build gunboats for the Crimean war, for instance.

And America caught on too.  The American "National Coarse" standard is only a slightly modified version of the Whitworth specifications.  You can usually use NC and Whitworth bolts and nuts interchangeably (Yes.  I know about the pesky half-inch size).

But then it gets even more interesting.  Because a Whitworth thread is coarse it is very strong but it is also a bit wobbly for some precision purposes.  So a fine thread was also needed.  Alas!  Mr Whitworth did not bother with that.  So it fell to others to devise fine threads.  And by that time the clammy hand of government was felt.  Governments took it upon themselves to set the standards.  And in true government form they messed it up.  The British fine standard (BSF) and the American fine standard (SAE) are quite different.  No interchangeability any more.  A big part of the advantage of standardizion was lost.

So, to get back to my original story, I was telling the tradesman that the thread in the nut was coarse (Whitworth standard) and that the diameter of the bolt taken by the nut was three eighths of an inch.  I could tell that measurement by eye, as most people in the engineering trades could.

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More on sperm-donated children

I put up yesterday a report that chilren conceived from donor sperm had a high rate of dysfunction.  The article concerned was from a leftist source so gave the impression that just being such a child was upsetting.  The impression was that environmental causes were behind the poor adjustment.  I thought at the time that genetic issues in the matter had been slighted but was in too much of a rush to note that.  Some women turning to donors would be doing so because of husband infertility but many others would be women who were too poorly adjusted to form a relationship with a normal man.  And that probably indicated  serious inadequacies in the mother and such inadequacies could well be passed on to the children.

A senior medical reader with experience in the matter has confirmed my reservations -- and in fact tells me that it is even worse than I thought.  I quote:

"Yes, agreed that children’s search for real parents can be unnerving, but a well adjusted teenager would not become unglued by such or commit crimes or suicide; the maladjustment comes, more likely, from their parents (natural and adopted). I can tell you this from personal experience.

From 1982 – 1987 I worked at [name given]. One of the early pioneers in IVF worked there; we had a string of patients that, in my not so humble opinion, were among the world’s worst adjusted misfits; unlikely they would be fit parents.

Most were well educated, had some money (cash only), and many traveled great distances to come to [that hospital]. Many had tried multiple times elsewhere. Most were amazingly self absorbed (“it’s all about me”) - they radiated self loathing about not conceiving naturally.

I would favor the parents more than “search for origins” for creating abnormal children.

A personal relative was mentally ill; she harassed her adopted daughter by telling her “you are adopted” every day, reinforcing the girl’s feelings of inadequacy; needless to say, no one was surprised when this young lady became screwed up.

I would not at all be surprised if some of the same results (in  IVF offspring) occurred in children adopted or surrogated from gay couples; these professionally victimized gays are among the most self indulgent (“it’s all about me”)  people alive; this MUST be transferred to the children."

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A very sad centenary

The immediate trigger for WWI was the 28 June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo.  That was exactly 100 years ago.

So what caused that dreadful war?  The conventional answer -- some remnant of wartime propaganda  -- is GERMANY.  Yet the actual first declaration of war was by Austria

The murderous Princip was a Serbian terrorist who shot both the heir to the Austrian throne and his wife as they travelled in an open car through the streets of Sarajevo in Bosnia.  As a result, Austria declared war on Serbia.

When the German Kaiser heard of the shootings he expressed the opinion that there was no need for Austria to go to war.  But Austria declared war before he could make his views known.  So it was not the German Kaiser who was a "warmonger".

The Austro/Serbian war would have remained a local Yugoslav conflict except for the NEXT thing that happened.  The Russian Tsar had fatherly feelings towards Serbia so HE declared war on Austria.  So it was Russia that started the ball rolling.  Once Russia had declared war, the German Kaiser had to declare war pursuant to his treaty with Austria.  Then the French declared war with Germany pursuant to their treaty with Russia and it was all on.

So it seems to me that the Russian Tsar was the guilty party in starting that war.

As regards the nature of that war, however, it was the Japanese who were to blame.  At the beginning of the 20th century, Japan was already a respected military power and their destruction of the Russian navy in 2005 cemented that reputation throughout Europe.

And the Japanese strategy in land warfare was to soften up the enemy positions with artillery fire and then send troops charging against the enemy positions in "suicidal" attacks.  But the Japanese were generally up against inferior and less motivated troops so their charges generally succeeded.   This was perceived by Westerners as an example of what bravery, martial spirit and heroism could achieve.  They admired it greatly.   So they adopted the same strategy for themselves in WWI.  But in WWI they were up against tougher opposition so the "heroic" tactics were just slaughter that achieved very little other than exhausting both sides.

It was only when fresh troops arrived from America that the end of the war came.

We can only mourn that terrible conflict and the stupidity that made it so terrible

I always  think of Gavrilo Princip's deed as a prime example of why one should not do evil deeds in a good cause.  Leftists routinely excuse evil or oppressive deeds on the grounds that they are in a good cause.  "You've got to break eggs to make omelettes", they say.  Stalin thought that killing all the rich peasants would fix all Russia's problems.  In fact it just produced big food shortages.  Gavrilo Princip thought that shooting the Archduke would get a better deal for Serbs.  In fact it brought on the death of the 50 million or so people who died in WWI. -- JR

UPDATE:  I have had some expressions of skepticism about the role I ascribed to Japan.  More on that here.