Barrel Strength

Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Barrel Strength - Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Peer review for epicycles

This is how it is done, people. How you fight the propaganda war for anthropogenic global warming: publish before peer review is in, obtain slavish peer reviews, and line up your acolytes in the media.

You may recall the big fact that has to be “explained” is why Antarctic sea ice is expanding rather than contracting.

James Hansen is the noted climate doomist, formerly of NASA. His latest paper was released before peer review was completed, says Peter Sinclair of Climate Denial Crock of the Week.. The reason, says Mr. Sinclair, is as he describes:

The study, as yet unpublished in a peer reviewed journal, was deliberately released early, so as to become part of the public discussion prior to the important climate talks scheduled in Paris for the end of the year.

In short, in time for maximum propaganda effect.

Now this is one of the peer reviews, also published before the main article was completely reviewed:

This is another Hansen masterwork of scholarly synthesis, modeling virtuosity, and insight, with profound implications. The main thrust of the paper, the part getting all the press, arises from the confluence of several recent developments in glaciology. First is the identification of a runaway condition in outflow glaciers of the West Antarctic ice sheet that makes the IPCC prediction for year-2100 sea level rise clearly obsolete.

Naturally the global warming catastrophist press was ready with its own blow-job in the Washington Post by fan-boy Chris Mooney on the same as yet ‘unpublished’ published Hansen article:

According to Hansen’s thinking, expanding Antarctic sea ice is precisely what you would expect to see if the Antarctic continent itself is losing a lot of ice mass from its vast ice sheet, adding to sea level rise.

The thinking goes like this: As ice shelves melt, and more inland ice slides towards the sea, a gigantic volume of cold, fresh water enters the ocean. This freshwater pulse, the researchers continue, promotes ocean “stratification,” in which a cold surface layer lies atop a subsurface warmer layer. The cold surface layer promotes more sea ice growth atop open water, while the warm lower layer sneaks beneath that ice and continues to melt submerged ice shelves, which plunge deep into the water at the fringes of the continent.

The fundamental physical reason for the expansion of sea ice in this scenario is that cold, fresh water is less dense than warmer, salty water. Or as the National Snow and Ice Data Center explains:

As deep ocean temperatures around Antarctic rise, they increase ice shelf melt, according to a study led by Richard Bintanja. This meltwater is creating a cool layer near the surface of the ocean that promotes sea ice production. In addition, the meltwater is fresh, or much less salty and dense than surrounding saline ocean layers. So fresher meltwater floats upward, mixing with the cold surface layer, lowering its density. As this fresh layer expands, it forms a stable puddle on top of the ocean that makes it easier to produce and retain sea ice.

In this sense, expanding Antarctic sea ice might be anything but good news.

So, nothing refutes man-caused global warming, and everything confirms it. This is not science, this is religion.

It is quite possible that Hansen is correct, and that fresh water is having the effects he describes. The reason I doubt it has to do with the enormous politicization of science that Matt Ridley has written about here.

Ridley cites Ian Plimer:

Today’s climate science, as Ian Plimer points out in his chapter in The Facts, is based on a “pre-ordained conclusion, huge bodies of evidence are ignored and analytical procedures are treated as evidence”. Funds are not available to investigate alternative theories. Those who express even the mildest doubts about dangerous climate change are ostracised, accused of being in the pay of fossil-fuel interests or starved of funds; those who take money from green pressure groups and make wildly exaggerated statements are showered with rewards and treated by the media as neutral.

“Analytical procedures are treated as evidence” – I hope you caught that.


These explanations of Hansen are like the epicycles that had to be invented to explain the anomalous movements  of planets in the geo-centric model of the world. Planets rotating about the earth did not keep an even pace with the stars, as anyone can observe who watches the night sky over months. Epi-cycles (smaller loop-backs) were used to explain why Jupiter would appear to slow against the cosmic background stars, as it did a loop-back before looping forward to resume its normal course around the earth. The system of epicycles made quite accurate predictions, so in that sense was scientific, but collapsed when astronomers began to use telescopes and were able to see the moons of Jupiter rotating about the gas giant. Goodbye Ptolemaic system; goodbye supremacy of Aristotle.


Aristotle’s simple universe collapses into complication when the movements of the planets are observed, and looks more like this. [Aristotle and the Greeks in general were not into actual observation very much, relative to the superiority of theorizing].





Epicycles, phlogiston, cholesterol: bad science never stops.


And may I say a word for Aristotle. He did so much in so many fields of human thought: biology, ethics, physics, metaphysics, logic, theories of art, politics, and epistemology, that his one large error (cosmology) has overshadowed his stunning achievements. But he too suffered from the same thing that will doom Hansen, Trenberth, Michael Mann and the other catastrophists: he came to represent an orthodoxy – albeit 2000 years after his death. We all remember Galileo and  his fight with the Papacy. The Roman church made the mistake of making Aristotle their official scientist. The modern liberal commentariat has made the doomists their official scientists. The same collapse of moral authority awaits them as awaited the scientific reputation of the Catholic church after Galileo.

Not black enough

You have to read the article carefully to discover that the claim of “discrimination” is essentially one of a Canadian-born black woman serving in the Washington DC police department, who is suing an American black woman supervisor for discrimination. The reason behind the friction? The Canadian-born  woman was not black enough. Not like us black folks down here, so she must be some sort of whitey bitch, I guess. Anyway the complainant has a PhD in criminology and spoke “white”, a double disqualification for the black-run Washington DC police department.

According to the statement of claim, Samuel, who was born in Canada, completed graduate work in the United States and joined the MPD in 2006 shortly after finishing a PhD in criminology.

The bulk of her allegations are levelled against Diane Hains Walton, who was her direct supervisor for most of her time with the department.

Hains Walton grew resentful in 2008 when Samuel was assigned greater responsibility within the force’s human resources management division, the statement says.

This allegedly triggered a number of “snide remarks” against Samuel’s heritage and country of birth.

The statement says Hains Walton once told Samuel that she “talked white,” adding it was not typical for an “African-American.”

So much for the theory that only white people can engage in racism.

Signs of hope

Who says Muslims cannot integrate?

It has been legal since the mid-1990s for women to go topless in Ontario — a fact of which Tameera, Nadia and Alysha Mohamed were keenly aware when they decided to shed their shirts and sports bras after three hours of biking in the region of Kitchener-Waterloo in Friday’s 26 C heat, with a humidex of 31. Before long, they were stopped by a police officer who, they say, told them to put their shirts back on, that it was the law. The girls refused.

God bless you, girls. The Prophet must be turning in his grave.


And in case there is any confusion, I do not object to the state determining how one is dressed. Usually the law says cover up from above the nipples to below the pubis. Usually the rule is right. Unless we all become totally desensitized to young girls breasts, it would be appropriate to cover them most of the time, in public, except at the beach. Nakedness or bare skin in the right social context is appropriate, just as black tie is in some others. It is a question of context. I do not have a problem with the right of governments to make these rules. I just hope those rules are sensible.


Channeling male behaviour

Study shows: bullies are normal. They want and get higher status, more respect, better sex, from dominating people. They have higher self esteem and less depression than others.

The issue of bullying has been in the news lately and, as we do with everything these days, the issue has been pathologized – turned into a sickness that calls for re-education, the talking cure.

Instead, the study suggests, we should give bullies jobs, and hold them accountable.

It seems strange that jobs, like being a hall monitor, should constrain bullies, yet this is only the outward, superficial way in which we now conceive the problem. What is needed is codes of honour that constrain the behaviour of the would-be dominants to strict channels.

We used to raise young men with a code of honour. My education from the age of six to sixteen was in a light security British prisoner of war camp, called a private school. The whole place was imbued with the spirit of containing and expressing male behaviour in useful channels: sports, cadets, prefects, academic awards. Status hierarchies of all kinds abounded -clubs, “houses” – the artificial division of the class into pseudo-tribes: everything conduced to take the human male and turn him into a useful citizen. Even the teaching was good.

How did the whole system work to confine “bullying”? Bullying was dishonourable aggression against the younger and the weaker. Aggression against anyone in that environment was tolerated up to a very precise point. Beyond that point, you broke the code of being a gentleman. We did not understand exactly what being a gentleman was, but the understanding grew with time into a set of assumptions that you do not oppress the weak; you compete with the strong for honours.

The alphas were confined to a code of honourable behaviour. Picking on the little ones was held beneath contempt, and elicited -if necessary – the violence of the alphas against unauthorized aggression by other alphas,  and likewise of violence by betas against deltas and gammas. The life of a flamingly effeminate boy was no paradise, but he was not beaten up. In short, life was no worse than it had to be, even for the omegas.

I am not saying the place was without its tensions. You cannot confine young males to desks and expect them to always behave. Male aggression was in a real sense systemic, but controlled by status hierarchies. The headmaster controlled the place by remote control, and good example. Teachers were masters; they never had to use physical means to control students, who had already been enculturated to obedience. The last grade in which I saw anyone caned was grade 7, at the age of 12. The threat of violence for rule-breaking , once it enters your mind, never leaves.

There was, nevertheless, no bullying in the sense in which we use the term for today’s unpleasant behaviour of the strong towards weaklings. Anyone employing violence against a weakling would be trounced by the other alphas. Competition for status was encouraged. Prizes for this and prizes for that. The top athletes and top brains were made prefects in their final year, and had significant disciplinary power. We did not have a problem with bullies; the whole system was a kind of bully, but a law-abiding one, and at the end we received our prizes, scholarships, and admissions to university. The school did what it could to civilize us, and by and large it succeeded.

In short, I would like to suggest that bullying is the outcome of not sufficiently allowing for, and channeling male aggression into socially useful forms. Our failure to educate the souls of men – their chests, not their heads – is having disastrous consequences for their attachment to work and to society.

Our misunderstanding of bullying is a symptom of a far larger ideological blindness, which is a topic for another day.






By whom will you be governed?

The question is not: by whom would you wish to be governed? No, at this level of politics, it is NOT a question of popular votes. It is a question of grinding institutional combat, conducted over decades, between centres of power and influence. In this case, the combat lies between the Supreme Court of Canada and the entirety of the elected political institutions of the country. It is not even acknowledged as being a legitimate struggle, which causes it to be surrounded by hypocrisy and cant.

On the one side, we have a group of legal writers, who get to decide how laws shall be construed, whether they are consistent with their vision of the constitution, and who can declare their views to be matters of constitutional interpretation, which is to say, they can lock the door behind their judgments and make changes of their interpretation practically impossible, according to Canada’s laws for changing the constitution.

On the other side, we have electoral institutions, called parliaments, which pass laws after a process of lobbying, debate, and governmental initiative in writing laws int he first place. The process is public, it is well-recorded, and governments stand or fall on the passage of legislation.

So who is it going to be? On the one side we have governors drawn from a particular profession, the law, which is subject to a three year university specialization, followed by practising at the bar for a number of years. Equally well qualified professionals, such as architects, doctors, and engineers are NOT allowed to interpret laws.

I began to think they were just making it up when I read the Nadon decision. Mr. Justice Nadon of the Federal Court of Appeal was rejected for the Supreme Court because his membership in the Bar of Quebec had lapsed. I defy anyone to read sections 5 and 6 of the Supreme Court Act and arrive at similar conclusions. At least one member of the Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Wildavsky, took the same view I did.

Now I acknowledge that the judiciary is always faced with problems of interpretation that defy “originalism”, the view that their job is to interpret original intent, because what the founders had to say in 1982, or 1867, about net neutrality or global warming was… nothing. An excellent book by Noah Feldman, Scorpions, about FDR’s Supreme Court, makes this point. But there is a line which the Supreme Court crossed early, and wandered off into a world of their own devising, until it quickly became apparent that they were just making stuff up almost entirely without binding influence of the written word of the Canadian constitution. Gay rights, for example, were not enumerated in the1982 Constitution. Maybe they ought to have been, but they were not.

The results has been that the Canadian Supreme Court has been finding rights where none had been before. The public has generally supported them in this quest. On aboriginal rights, the effects of the Supreme Court’s decisions have been to vest the tribes which constitute North American Indian life with enormous and unsupervized powers to block industrial progress in large parts of Canada, which affects the prosperity of all of us.

In short, sometimes they get it right, and sometimes they get it wrong. My objection is that their bad opinions – bad political decisions in short – cannot be reviewed, cannot be criticized, cannot be subject to the normally somewhat brutal criticism that we reserve for cabinet decisions.

Thus the offended tones of the Bar Associations of Canada when a conservative politician criticizes the decisions of the Supreme Court. The tone is “how dare they criticize our glorious bulwark of human freedom, the Supreme Court, against the rapacity of the Harper Government!”.

The shock and appalled-ness of the Bar Associations is only natural; it is their gang after all, which is being attacked. It is the Bar’s path to power. Every member of the Bar can imagine, for a time, being appointed to the Bench and, if very lucky, to the Supreme Court. It is their exclusive guild privilege which is under attack, when the Conservatives dare to attack the Supreme Court’s re-writing of Canadian life under the influence of the latest judicial fashion. Like the Confederate soldier who never stood a chance to own a slave, yet volunteers his life for the Cause, the Bar Association member will defend the order that holds out the promise that he can lord it over other men, if only in the genteel and mild manner of Supreme Court Justices who get to re-write the Constitution in the light of their own understandings and beliefs.

Thus Sean Fine’s article on the Conservative appointments process in this weekend’s Globe plays to the strongly held belief that the Conservative government is actually <gasp!> selecting the judiciary according to conservative ideas of judicial restraint. It is told in the tone of: Behind closed doors, <gasp!> Canadians are indulging in intra-marital fellatio!

My friend Oban once said that Prime Minister Harper is engaging in deliberate undermining of the Supreme Court by passing ridiculous laws that he knows will be rejected by them.

I would like to reframe this discussion. The law schools of Canada have been teaching, since 1982, an ideology of unlimited power to generations of law students. Law schools are as full of leftists as the anthropology and sociology departments. Generations  of young Canadian lawyers have learned that they – their guild – is authorized by the constitution to refashion Canada in accordance with the dictates of the legal profession.

I do not think the legal profession is any more endowed with political wisdom that the engineers, the doctors, or for that matter, the veterinarians. They are instructed in a certain form of narrow reasoning which, at its apogee, in its worst professional deformation, prevents the practitioner from deducing a well-ordered set of bricks evenly separated and held by mortar, from being a wall. Many are not too clever. Many lack all political judgment. Many others are taught to believe that they can refashion Canada by the infinite expansion of rights, as if rights did not immediately comport an infinite expansion of obligations on the part of others to acknowledge those rights.

These are political questions. They are not well-discussed by the forms of reasoning and debate that a court room allows. If Beverley McLachlin were in parliament, day after day, as the Minister of Justice, we would be simultaneously impressed with her competence, and informed of her generally lefty political views. It is not wrong that she has them, it is wrong that they cannot be contested for the political views that they are.

Many leftists are launched into the professional world with the sense of entitlement, mission and zeal to reform society from the bench. The Conservatives have every right and duty to keep these people from power.








Women in Combat

Read this article about the RCMP’s arrest of a known trouble-maker, Preston Terepocki. Follow the details closely. A female cop drives the drunk Terepocki home. He immediately gets into a fight with his common-law wife. The police woman orders him to leave his home. He refuses. He flourishes a fake pistol, and the female RCMP officer calls for back-up. This is when it gets interesting.

The female officer called for support. A male Mountie soon arrived and a physical altercation ensued, court heard. Terepocki allegedly kicked the second officer in the chest, sending him into a wall and putting a hole in it.

Terepocki picked up a 36-pound dumbbell and threw it at the male officer, court heard. The dumbbell just missed the officer’s head. Terepocki then went for an 80-pound barbell, but lost his balance. The officers jumped on him.

At some point in their struggle, the male officer’s hand was broken.

Terepocki reached for the male Mountie’s sidearm, court heard. The other Mountie fired her Taser weapon at him; an electric-charged probe hit Terepocki’s lower back but didn’t disable him. Court heard that Terepocki managed to grab the Taser and deploy it himself.

Meaning that Terepocki grabbed it out of her hands.

A third officer arrived at the house, and Terepocki was finally handcuffed. According to an account in the Chilliwack Times, “he continued to resist arrest all the way to cells.”

The article fails to mention that the third officer was male.


In short, it took two men to subdue this burly man with a long criminal record.  There is nothing unnatural about that fact. What is unnatural is that we are not allowed to mention the implications of this fact for policing, and worse, combat. What are women doing in this job? Yes, I know that female cops are sometimes better at calming a situation than men would be, but sometimes their weakness provokes the violence, rather than suppresses it.

Guys like Preston Terepocki will grab the taser or the gun from her weaker hands and kill people. In this case, he nearly succeeded. No one in the mainstream media will draw attention to this fact, you can be sure.


On letting it go

Donal  Trump caught some well-deserved blame for attacking John McCain, the American senator and fighter pilot who spent seven years in captivity in North Vietnam. And my point is neither about McCain, nor Trump, both of whom I like for different reasons. It is about the endless nonsense that Americans make about Vietnam. It seems the same people who deeply opposed the war, also cannot let it go.

One such article resurrected against McCain was by Sidney Schanberg, which documented – supposedly – McCain’s attempts to deny that US prisoners remained in Vietnamese prisons after the peace accords had been signed. The article had been written in 2008 in the left-wing magazine, “The Nation”, but had been resurrected now that Trump had been caught in a temporary foofaraw with Senator McCain.

Whatever is asserted by Schanberg about prisoners held back by VietNam, and held for ransom which never came, is probably true. And here I dare to say that, amidst all the tragedies of that war, it is not really important. Like the millions of Vietnamese, French and American war dead. Tragic but not really important.

I realize this is provocative, but I have finally come around to the view that there is a lot of truth asserted in political disputes, to which the answer is best given as “so what?”.
I have little doubt that the Viet Communists kept some prisoners, and treated them all abominably, as a policy.  I have little doubt that the Americans would be keen to suppress news of this fact. Let us assume the truth of what was written there. And yet I dare to ask: “so what?”

John McCain and others spent years being tortured by the Vietnamese communists. Most broke under torture. Who would not? So what? He has an anger problem, it is said. Who doesn’t, except the depressives, and I am not so sure about them, either.

What exactly does anyone propose to do to repatriate aged men from prisons, when even the author of the article, Sidney Schanberg,  doubts that any are still alive in captivity?

What is anyone going to do, exactly, about lost POWs? Bomb Hanoi?

Vietnam is now our ally against the Chinese.

Cam Ranh Bay is a US naval station, again. No amount of finger-pointing or chest beating or self-flagellation will return one live ancient POW slave prisoner.

Trump is largely right in attacking the immigrant crime question. You can tell he is striking a nerve by attacking Mexican/illegal immigrant crime rates. Good on him. But Trump has a large fast loose mouth on him, and he is wide of the mark in attacking McCain, for all his faults.

I think Trump serves a useful purpose, just as Nigel Farage, Geert Wilders and Ezra Levant do. My point is not about the usefulness of disturbers of the peace of the complacent, and the dissenters from the twaddle that passes for thought in political life.

At some point, you just have to let it go. Your bad marriage and worse divorce. Your difficult teenagerhood. Your wretched mother, or father. For the Americans, it is the Viet Nam war.

On the subject of McCain and lost prisoners, the usual US hysteria is at work.They cannot admit to themselves that they were defeated and that the pain of defeat sucks. Losing is way worse than winning is good. The same hysteria of denial is at work on other issues as well. For example, there are still people who think President Franklin Roosevelt kept back information from the US naval and air commanders  in Oahu in 1941, when in fact the commanders would not have acted intelligently even if they had had correct information in time. Armed with prior information about unknown Japanese threats, the commander of the Oahu airbases grouped his planes closer together on the ground and doubled the watch – against domestic Hawaiian Japanese saboteurs!  – thus making Japanese bombing more effective

No one imagined the Japanese would do anything so bold and effective as bomb Pearl Harbour. And no one in charge of US policy realized that the Viets would lead their own people to the slaughter and accept any casualties short of nuclear war to win, but they did accept those losses, and they won, because we did not kill them in numbers large enough to stop them, and no US politician could have bombed them into submission, except Nixon – and look what the left did to him.

Sometimes the US loses, and it always invents conspiracies and coverups when the plain fact is, they lost, and defeat sucks. The measure of how bad defeat sucks is the fact that articles like the one  Sidney Schanberg wrote are still being written forty five years after the last American got out, except for the possibility of some poor captives held for ransom. Would a good Jewish liberal like Sidney Schanberg have supported the cruel and bloody measures needed to extract American PoWs after the Paris Peace Accords had been signed? Would he or his political ilk have supported re-flattening Hanoi? The US Democratic-controlled House and Senate would not even supply their South Vietnamese allies the money to fight the Communists, after Nixon had resigned. It was the greatest betrayal of an ally in US history. Do you think they were in a mood to bomb the Vietnamese again for a thousand missing prisoners of war when they would not help thirty million South Vietnamese?

And Americans can’t stand the fact that Viet Nam was a defeat, not a mistake, so they write articles like the one Schanberg wrote. Someone must be blamed, and after forty-three years, anyone is fair game. It was McCain’s turn this week to have ancient calumnies resurrected against him.

It is just noise –  that article. Just political noise.


Chattanooga Murders


chattanooga murders

I draw attention to the obvious fact: that when a Muslim becomes deranged, his religion authorizes him to kill infidels as a legitimate expression of Islamic religious faith. Christianity says “Thou shalt not kill”, and while it may surround that admonition with qualifications, it nowhere orders its adherents to go out and kill persons of different religions. Jesus has not commanded us to kill enemies, He has commanded us to love them – impossible though that may command may be to obey.

Because we are at the top of the food chain, we are predators, and since predators kill, we kill. That is not the point. What is the point is that, when people go crazy and kill people, Christianity calls it murder, and Islam calls it martyrdom in the name of jihad.

There is a difference, and it matters.

A civilization and culture without bacon or alcohol is hardly worth preserving. That is an aesthetic and moral consideration, and not a supreme value, just a reflection of my tastes. But a civilization and culture, one of whose sacraments is the duty to kill other people, is an abomination.

A do not think, Muslims and your bien-pensant liberal defenders, we do not know the difference.




Pluto 2

Its mountains are said to be made of water ice.



NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) says that:


The close-up of the icy world’s rugged equatorial terrain was captured when the New Horizons spacecraft was about 47,800 miles (77,000 kilometers) from the surface, 1.5 hours before its closest approach. Rising to an estimated 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) the mountains are likely composed of water ice. Suggesting surprising geological activity, they are also likely young with an estimated age of 100 million years or so based on the apparent absence of craters. The region pictured is near the base of Pluto’s broad, bright, heart-shaped feature.

Do yourself a favour and save the Astronomy Picture of the Day to your browser favourites.