Friday, May 29, 2009

Sotomayor: physiology is destiny

Pretty bad on its face. Hopefully she doesn't really think being born female and Hispanic produces a superior person/Supreme Ct. justice:
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life....”
Of course, it's possible to take her comments as dumping on her own people. That is, it takes a "wise" Latina to perform better than an average white male, but I think that interpretation can be dismissed given that the context of her quote is comparing wise white males with wise Latinas. Nor is it conceivable that she could have put down her own people -- especially as it appears she embraces her identity.

One thing is certain, any white male uttering such drivel would be forced to withdraw, and rightly so.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

This can't be good: potential for warming rate underestimated

From MIT comes this sobering assessment:
The most comprehensive modeling yet carried out on the likelihood of how much hotter the Earth's climate will get in this century shows that without rapid and massive action, the problem will be about twice as severe as previously estimated six years ago - and could be even worse than that.

The study uses the MIT Integrated Global Systems Model, a detailed computer simulation of global economic activity and climate processes that has been developed and refined by the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change since the early 1990s. The new research involved 400 runs of the model with each run using slight variations in input parameters, selected so that each run has about an equal probability of being correct based on present observations and knowledge. Other research groups have estimated the probabilities of various outcomes, based on variations in the physical response of the climate system itself. But the MIT model is the only one that interactively includes detailed treatment of possible changes in human activities as well - such as the degree of economic growth, with its associated energy use, in different countries.
Time to invest in companies positioned to provide geo-engineering services, because if these predictions are correct, only geo-engineering can have an effect on global temperatures. Certainly China, which is committed to raising its peoples' standard of living, won't slow its rush to build coal fired plants. Nor will the rest of the developing world put aside their dreams of better lives.

Followed the link from The Cost of Energy

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Obama nearly had me w/his national security speech

Overall, I was enjoying Obama's national security speech. Yes, he got in several gratuitous political digs, but on the whole he sounded pretty good. Good, that is, until I heard this, which made wonder if he really understands the nature of Islamic terror (emphasis supplied):
And I do know with certainty that we can defeat al Qaeda. Because the terrorists can only succeed if they swell their ranks and alienate America from our allies, and they will never be able to do that if we stay true to who we are; if we forge tough and durable approaches to fighting terrorism that are anchored in our timeless ideals.
Actually, what swells the terrorists' ranks is the fact that America is America. They can't abide our tolerance, our values, our culture. In short they hate us, and join terrorist plots precisely because we stay true to who we are, not because of anything we've done since 9/11. Closing Gitmo, and ceasing all EITs will make us feel better about ourselves, but it won't stop terrorists from seeking our destruction or subjugation. Only a naif would claim this.

Soaring rhetoric, to be sure. But it masks a blind spot big enough to fly a jumbo jet through.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Study: Muslims misunderstood, blame natives for not being nicer to them

So quoth the AP:
Joblessness and poverty are a more potent source of tension between Muslims and wider European and U.S. society than religious differences, one of the first major studies of Muslim integration since the Sept. 11 terror attacks claimed on Thursday.
I see it as a chicken or egg question. Many Muslims spent years refusing to integrate (at the same time, little was asked of them by their host countries). Consequently, jobs and education were hard to come by, leading to reduced opportunities and expectations.

The survey also offers this, which is contradicted by nearly all previous studies, and by Muslim protesters around Europe:
Another key finding of the study was that that Muslims don't prioritize their faith over patriotism
If we listen to many of the more firebrand (and thus quoted) imans, to be a Muslim requires a certain separation between Muslim and non-Muslim, making integration a tricky thing, indeed.

I suspect many of the responses to this latest survey were self-serving. Perhaps a survey of how Muslims sought to integrate and were rebuffed could be performed.

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