Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sometimes I like to read blogs. (Well... many times.) The topic of global warming (aka. 'climate change') is also one of my interests here on this blog -- especially the politics of global warming. Recently, Senator Kerry presented testimony in front of the Senate Environment Committee and Public Works.

Well, apparently the Washington Post excoriated Senator Inhofe (R-OK), and the people over at Climate Progress did a commentary of the blow-by-blow.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chopping wood


Today I chopped up some firewood. The temperature is supposed to dip below freezing tonight, so I think it would be good to make sure that I have some wood chopped and ready to be burned.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama wins Peace Prize

Well, since I don't listen to talk radio, I will have to wait for the analysis of the talk radio analysis of the Nobel committee's decision to award Barack Obama the Nobel prize for peace. As some people have already pointed out:

In 2007, Al Gore shared the peace prize with climate scientists who brought forward the understanding of global climate change to the world. If I recall correctly, the right-wingers had a field day with it: having used Al Gore as a point of ad hominem attacks in the past, they now were able to use the "international conspiracy" angle to attack global warming as some giant left-wing conspiracy. (Of course, many people just continued to attack Al Gore directly.)

Now, in 2009, the Nobel committee has awarded Barack Obama with the peace prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." I wonder how quickly the right wing talk shows will have a conniption fit, and whether they will play the "he-hasn't-done-anything-yet" card or the "he-doesn't-cooperate-with-Republicans" card. (Or use another card, perhaps attacking the Nobel Peace Price recipients as being "too liberal" or questioning why the Nobel committee has the "right" to make these massive awards.) I admit that it is probably a little too early to say whether Obama's actions now merit the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize, since there is still time in his presidency to either do worse or better than the ideals of the prize imply. (Remember that Kissinger won the Peace Prize, too, even though he was influential in supporting Latin American dictators...)

Among the blogs to which I have subscriptions (mostly scientists' blogs and eco-conscious blogs), the awarding of Obama has been met mostly with non-committal interest, pointing out that he hasn't actually done anything concrete to merit the award. PZ Myers states that not being Bush and not blowing up anything for a year is likely to have made any American president look like Gandhi. Chad Orzel mirrors Myers' tone, also indicating that it likely a mea culpa for Kissinger.

An interesting slant on this is from the people at Climate Progress blog, who hypothesize that the Nobel Peace Prize - the most political of the prizes awarded by the Nobel committee - might have been additional political pressure on the Obama administration to live up to the ideals of multilateralism and international cooperation. Kind of like trying to create a self-fulfilling prophesy. Of course, the people at Climate Progress see it in the lens of "looks like he'll be going to [the climate conference in] Copenhagen after all."

Right now, I'm leaning toward the position that the people at Climate Progress are making:
While some may argue that this award is premature, I disagree. This is a clear statement by the Nobel Committee not merely of the importance of US multilateralism to genuine progress toward global peace, but also of their understanding that climate change has become a critical international issue.
The prize is worth lots of kudos in the international arena, and if the United States is to play a major leadership role in the world, then bolstering the president is a good thing, even if the move was thinly veiled politics.

Looking at the list of Nobel Peace Laureates, only two presidents have received the award while in office: Teddy Roosevelt (ending the Russo-Japanese War) and Woodrow Wilson (setting up the League of Nations). Jimmy Carter won the prize in 2002, 22 years after the end of his presidency.

At the end of the day, though, at least Steven Chu will now not feel so alone as the only Nobel Laureate in the administration. :D

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Pulling the sheet over the hoophouse

The other day, I helped SJ Brines put on the plastic sheeting for his third hoophouse. Quite an experience. The video is of the first of two sheets to go onto the hoophouse.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

1 October = -1 C

Fireplace heatingIt's the morning of the first day of October, and it's literally freezing. What a great way to start the month. Yesterday, I was happy to have the people from Plant Operations come out to the Forest to turn on the pilot light for the furnace -- can't figure out why it didn't turn on when I did it... It was good to come back to a warm[er than outside] house. I also made a fire in the humongous hearth and went to sleep downstairs.

This morning, I hung the temperature-sensor fan above the furnace so as to have some heat circulation in the main room. We'll see how it goes this autumn and winter.