Humanity Saved

…by shellfish? The lead is interesting:

A couple hundred thousand years ago, the planet became a much colder and drier place. In Africa, deserts expanded, species were wiped out and the human race was in deep trouble.

Climate change! But it wasn’t warming. And it wasn’t caused by humanity. Or at least, there’s no case made that it was. I continue to think that a cooling planet is much more to be feared than a warming one, and I’m thinking more and more that it’s not necessarily unlikely.

The Only Thing That Saves Us From These Tranzis

…is their sheer incompetence:

One has to admire the heartless indifference of the climate-change jet-set in the VIP enclosure to a lifelong toady like Borenstein. The rest of us, though, might draw the conclusion that, even if you think it a good idea to transfer trillions of dollars from the functioning part of the world to a transnational bureaucracy in an attempt to recalibrate the very heavens, these chaps might not be the ones you’d want running it.

But somehow, that thought never seems to occur to them.

“This Is Their Hajj”

Nancy goes to perform her hypocritical religious duties, at our expense:

While the final manifest remained in flux late yesterday, it was said to include more than two dozen members of Congress, several spouses and committee staffers.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) was among those planning to go because of his duties as chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, a staffer told The Post.

“We all know that Charlie Rangel is a big fan of subsidizing his vacation with taxpayer money, but the truly offensive aspect of this is Nancy Pelosi’s decision to bring the corrupt Harlem Democrat along for the ride,” said Republican spokesman Ken Spain.

You’d think that an event like Kyopenhagen would be an excellent place to set an example of doing a conference via teleconferencing. As Glenn says, I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who keep telling us it’s a crisis start to act like it is.

In Which I Agree With Nancy Pelosi

Sort of:

“If you are asking me personally, I have not been a big fan of manned expeditions to outer space in terms of safety and cost. But people could make the case – technology is always changing … and that could change depending on the technology,” she said today in a press conference with regional reporters.

I don’t think that safety is that big an issue, though apparently the body politic insists that it is (which is why we make so little progress in opening the frontier). But she’s dead on. The current plan makes no fiscal sense whatsoever, but with a change in technology (e.g., orbital infrastructure), it could be improved dramatically. Of course, it would also involve not just a change in technology, but more importantly, a change in philosophy, from a government command-and-control space program to one much more attuned to market incentives and private initiative. Somehow, I suspect that Nancy will be much less interested in that…

Anyway, it’s a shame that the Augustine panel couldn’t put a stake through the heart of the money-sucking heavy-lift myth. But I’d be happy to attempt to persuade Madam Speaker (assuming that she’s sincere…OK…OK……..OK…………OK, you can stop laughing now) that there are better ways to go.

Science, Epistomology…

…and science reporting. An interesting post by Derb:

…science has more epistemic depth than most of us can cope with. That water quenches thirst and puts out fires, I can confirm by experience. That it is composed of hydrogen molecules bonded to oxygen molecules by electromagnetic forces, I take on trust. “What the deuce is it to me?” I take it on trust because water’s real useful (see above). I’d likely be skeptical about the hydrogen/oxygen business if it were detached from the thirst-quenching and fire-extinguishing. It sounds improbable on the face of it, and one can easily think up folkish objections, of the kind that creationists make against evolution. (Hydrogen’s highly flammable. If there’s hydrogen in water, why isn’t water flammable? Etc., etc.)

When unmoored from utility, abstract ideas have to appeal to the human mind on their merits; and the human mind is so structured that the only abstract ideas it regards as having merit are those that concord with the “naïve duality” that is our default metaphysic — “medium-sized dry goods” being acted on by human wills, or by invisible spirits possessed of human-like wills. That’s as much epistemic depth as most of us can handle. Abstract ideas at odds with that schema just irritate us. And of course, an abstract idea widely held among people we dislike for personal, social, or tribal reasons, is doubly unappealing.

When the science has as powerful real-world implications as climate “science” (sorry, it’s hard to say it without scare quotes at this point) does, it must be trusted much more than it currently deserves to be, based on the behavior of its ostensible practioners.

Thoughts On Judicial Supremacy

Ramesh discusses something that doesn’t get enough discussion:

The argument that has not been made (or at least not made often) is that the whole legislation — not just the individual mandate — exceeds the constitutional powers of the federal government. This classic conservative position has gone unvoiced. I suspect that it has done so because, again, of the influence of judicial supremacy. We have been trained to think that saying that an overhaul of American health care exceeds the legitimate powers of Congress is equivalent to calling for the judicial invalidation of health-care legislation (along with much of modern government, by implication). Since that would be absurd to call for, we don’t say it.

At the risk of being thought quixotic, let me suggest that we need to revive a dormant tradition of legislative reasoning and argument about the Constitution. In this kind of constitutional reasoning considerations that it would be improper for judges to invoke have their place.

What a concept. This is annoying, too:

…too many commentators have dwelt on the question of how the courts are likely to treat the legislation — or, at best, what they should do consistent with their precedents — rather than on the distinct question of whether the Constitution, properly interpreted, grants Congress the power to enact this legislation.

It’s partly because many of the commentariat don’t even understand the Constitution, nor care about it much, at least when it comes to the government running the economy. But it’s also a symptom of the simple-mindedness of the media. It’s like a political campaign where they report on the horse race — who’s ahead or behind — rather than what the candidates actually say about the issues, with an analysis of it. Yes, it’s not unimportant to speculate about how a court will rule, but it’s not as important as analyzing the actual legal and constitutional issues, but they’re either incapable of that, or uninterested.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!