Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Climate Tell Hidden in Rush Limbaugh Politicizing Water on Mars

Lots of folks are LOLing today at Rush Limbaugh politicizing water on Mars, accusing NASA and the Obama administration of plotting to use it to "advance the leftist agenda," as first reported by Media Matters. But within Rush's rant is a tip-off about how and why extreme conservatives reject science on other issues such as climate change:
OK so there's flowing water on Mars. Yip yip yip yahoo. You know me, I'm science 101, big time guy, tech advance it, you know it, I'm all in. But, NASA has been corrupted by the current regime. I want to find out what they're going to tell us.

OK, flowing water on Mars. If we're even to believe that, what are they going to tell us that means? That's what I'm going to wait for. Because I guarantee, let's just wait and see, this is September 28, let's just wait and see. Don't know how long it's going to take, but this news that there is flowing water on Mars is somehow going to find its way into a technique to advance the leftist agenda. I don't know what it is, I would assume it would be something to do with global warming and you can -- maybe there was once an advanced civilization. If they say they found flowing water, next they're going to find a graveyard.
Rush is explicitly telling us his acceptance or rejection of this science will be entirely based around what it means for his political world view. Do the implications of that science threaten Rush's pre-existing political beliefs? If not, then fine, it's legitimate science. But if that science undermines Rush's ideology, whether that happens tomorrow or a year from now, it will then retroactively become leftist junk science.

Climate science deniers like Sen. Jim Inhofe admit this all the time: They only reject the climate science because the carbon-cutting government policy it prescribes is incompatible with their political ideology.

But as David Roberts writes at Vox, the Associated Press and other news organizations continue to bend over backwards to frame the climate debate around science rather than around identity protection and motivated reasoning - which is what Limbaugh himself is saying here it's really all about.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Internet is a Puppy Mill

On the job My wife and I recently tried to answer a question: Is it possible to find a reputable dog breeder via the internet? In short, no.

Adopting a dog is usually preferable to a breeder and the Internet helps put you in touch with far more dogs and shelters than just your local one. Petfinder.com is a particularly useful site. But if you have a young child (as we do) or if you're picky on what type of dog would be the best fit for your home, a local puppy may be hard to find or rescues may not be willing to place with you. In that case, you may find yourself searching for a breeder.

At best, the Internet can help you identify breeder in your area. Then you can do the work to verify and get to know the breeder just as you would've in the pre-Internet era.

But at its worst, the Internet provides a new, gleaming facade and marked-up prices for the same old puppy mills. Websites often charge broker fees of 100% or more, then offer to wash off that puppy mill smell and ship the dog right to your doorstep so you never have to see where it came from.

Here's where the Internet can add value: If you're at all suspicious, google the breeder or site name and "puppy mill." If you see anything negative, run the other way. If you don't, that's not an endorsement, but you can then do your usual due diligence.

Make sure the dogs are raised in the house (not in the basement, garage, etc.) with constant interaction with a wide range of adults, children and typical household activity and noise. Ask about mom & dad, history of genetic diseases, and have your vet give the puppy a clean bill of health.

More on what to avoid: And what to do instead:

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Exxon Has Known It's Warming Our Climate Since Before I Was Born

And I'm not that young anymore! As InsideClimateNews.org reports, Exxon was aware of the looming climate crisis and its own role in fomenting it as far back as July 1977.

But in 2015, it's a real mystery why climate change is happening! Wait, I mean, WHETHER it's happening!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Local Medical Center Has Infrastructure For Smoking, But Not Biking

The other day I rode my bike to my local medical facility, Southcoast Health in Fairhaven, to get blood drawn for my annual physical. While it has a massive parking lot for somewhere around 500 vehicles, Southcoast Health in Fairhaven doesn't have even one bicycle rack.

 But it does have a picnic table outside of its back door for smoke breaks.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Otis Voters Give Wind Its Latest Win

Tiny bit of turbine
Why do local reporters keep calling wind turbines "controversial" when voters approve them time after time by huge numbers when they get a chance to weigh in? The latest win for wind comes in the western Massachusetts town of Otis, just south of the Mass Pike, as Mary Serreze reports for the Springfield Republican:
Voters in this Berkshire County town have approved borrowing $6.4 million to build a 1.7 megawatt municipally-owned wind turbine.

Tuesday's 189-96 vote came as the project, four years in the making, faced a last-minute opposition campaign from an anonymous OtisWind website, flyers posted around town, and letters to the editor of the Berkshire Eagle, including one from from the president of Massachusetts Wind Wise, a group dedicated to opposing wind projects.

The turbine will provide electricity for local government buildings and facilities. The rest will be sold to Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative, which represents dozens of Western Massachusetts school districts, said town administrator Chris Morris.

The project is also expected to generate revenue for the town in the amount of $250,000 to $300,000 in the first year of operation, Morris added.
It's funny that the article also mentions "so-called 'wind turbine syndrome,' reportedly caused by a strobe-light effect produced by the turning blades." Wait, I thought wind turbine syndrome was supposed to be caused by "infrasound"? The causes and symptoms may change, but the only thing that remains consistent is that wind turbine opponents are willing to sacrifice our health, our climate & our economy so they don't have to look at windmills. Which are actually pretty. No wonder they keep losing.