Saturday, July 30, 2011

"It's Only a Model" NASA Data Says

New Data Challenges 'Global Warming' Theory

Beverly Street
February 2010 saw this record snow in Staunton on Beverley Street.

Data from NASA's Terra satellite challenges previous models that 'prove' global warming. Hypothesis based on the satellite's findings show that planet Earth actually releases heat into space, more than it retains it. The higher efficiency of releasing energy outside of Earth contradicts former forecasts of climate change.

Read more here:
Earth Releasing Heat into Space [click to read] in International Business Times.
Global Warming Theories Wrong [click to read] in International Business Times.
Investigation Leads to Global Warming Doubt [click to read].

'The Day after Yesterday'
Global Warming Isn't About Observation Anyway

In 2007 we visited Alaska. Just outside Juneau we saw a glacier that was shrinking "due to global warming." Later we sailed past the mighty Hubbard Glacier, which is "growing due to global warming." How can both be true?

Easy! In the world of climate 'science' the observed phenomena simply are added to the narritive for the desired result. The 'coming ice age' was recast as 'global warming,' remember.

Back in the early sixties, my brothers and I went to see the movie Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. It's been a while but here's the plot synopsis:

A new research submarine takes to the seas [conveniently fitted with Polaris missles, more on that later] and embarks on her maiden voyage. It was a cool submarine too. There was a shark tank somewhere in her midsection. The sub's most interesting feature was a gigantic bay window in the prow for observing giant squid and other Jules Verne inspired monsters that will attack it during the course of the film.

Life in the research sub is humming along when suddenly the Van Allen belt, a radiation field around the Earth, catches fire. My father, a NASA engineer, chuckled at this one. It is impossible for a radiation field in space to catch fire. Still it made for a pretty good Earth-threatening disaster film.

The plucky scientists on the Seaview devise a means to put out the fire in the Van Allen belt but they have to argue their case before the United Nations. The fire is really heating up now and all the scenes in New York are shot through a red lens. To a ten year old it was pretty ominous. Their plan involves shooting a Polaris into the belt and exploding it.

True to form the United Nations debate ends in a denial of permission for the mission and the sub is now stuck in New York Harbor with blue helmets guarding every inch of her. Now the brave captain makes the decision to do it anyway. He submerges the sub and leaves the blue helmets swimming as he makes his escape.

Now he must evade the navies of the world. He must submerge to depths unimagined and face the perils of giant squid and other such creatures. Finally he is able to fire the missle and the Van Allen Belt fire is blown out! Hooray for American ingenuity and spirit!

They knew how to make good movies back then!

Fast forward to a few years ago. The kids brought home a movie called "The Day After Tomorrow." It too is a junk science disaster film but this time global warming causes super-sized hurricanes that somehow create a major chill down of whatever part of the Earth they cover... global warming causing freezing!

The movie is an odd juxtaposition of climate penance and self actualization as scientist Dad rescues his kid and his kid's girlfriend who are on a field trip to New York when this happens. Plucky son saves everybody from freezing by burning books in the New York Public Library. Young love blossoms as the world goes to hell. Inwardly I'm shouting "where's your Polaris missle?" There is no heroic effort to blow out the monster storms that I can see. The movie ends with a scene guaranteed to warm any leftist's heart. The United States is covered with Ice and the survivors are all refugees to Mexico "if they'll let us in." Of course, that is the real point of the movie anyway.

In my mind I rewrite the ending. In my version the scientist must choose between saving his son and saving the people of the United States. He makes the heroic choice.

Scientist goes against the United Nations and launches storm busting missles out of our Midwest silos. Storm is knocked out but scientist sacrifices rescuing son and stupid girlfriend who freeze in the New York Public Library because the librarian will not allow the defacing of books.

My ending would have been better.

Sailing Hubbard Glacier
Hubbard Glacier.

Mendenhal Glacier
Mendenhal Glacier near Juneau.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mural at Staunton Alliance Church

A Journey Through the Americas and Europe

With the mural complete, we've begun to create a photographic image of the whole project. Since the hallway is only four feet wide, a series of images must be stitched to create the entire picture.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XXX

Stem Cells, Beyond the Hope and Hype

That's what the 'other' weekly news magazine is featuring this week. Not surprisingly, they conclude that although the major advances toward the treatment of disease are happening with ADULT stem cells, 'real' scientists 'agree' that we need to continue the embryonic research in order to find more malliable strains of stem cells. So what if the embryonic research is a pretty futile rabbit trail. The potential for breakthrough treatments, they insist, is there.

What is true today is that a solid body of work exists showing real results from adult cells and umbilical cord cells. What needs to be discussed is the danger in reducing ANY human being, no matter how small, into a commodity.

I am a firm believer in IMAGO DEI, the belief that EVERY human being is a creation of G-d, and is fashioned in the Divine's Image. Therefore the notion that human embryos must be manufactured to alleviate human suffering is contradictory.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XXIX

The 'other' weekly news magazine is featuring "Chore Wars" on their cover. Meanwhile, another battle of a much larger stature rages in the United States Congress.

At the heart of the battle is the fact that increasing your credit limit will not ultimately end your financial woes. "If your expenses exceed your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall."

It is time for the hard choices. Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge cut expenses before, leading to future prosperity. Raising taxes will only surpress the growth we need to create a real basis for our economy.

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XXVIII

The 'other' weekly news magazine felt compelled to examine the problems of Rupert Murdoch last week while I was on vacation. When I think of our media today another Murdoch, "Mad Murdoch," the crazy pilot of the "A Team" series comes to mind.

I humbly suggest it is time for the MSM to send in their "A Team." With record deficits and threats to the American experiment like we've never experienced before, there are much meatier issues than tabloid troubles.

The Heavens are the Lord's

Thoughts on Creation and the Creator...

Paintbrush Dasies
Paintbrush Dasies.

The Heavens are the Lord's [click to read] by Rabbi Avi Shafran in Jewish World Review

I was in high school when men landed on the Moon in July of 1969. I remember the wonder of seeing a world that had previously been visualized only in the minds of artists. I was amazed by the human accomplishment, to be sure, but Rabbi Shafran captures well the awe that I felt on another level.

"Others in 1969, though, while they were duly impressed by what human minds and hands had built and accomplished, felt an awe of a deeper sort. It was essentially the same astonishment born of looking — truly looking — at any part of what the world calls nature, of seeing — truly seeing — the night sky even from here on earth, or the sun, or clouds shifting shape. It was the awe of watching a baby explore his own new world, or begin to talk or walk; of leaves turning in the fall; of a spider spinning a web; of a wound, miraculously, healing. To be sure, the awe that summer day in 1969 was newly writ large, in images of an alien landscape, of bootprints in ancient dust, of a brilliant blue earthrise. But the shiver it inspired was, to sensitive people, the same yir'as harome'mus — awe before creation's Creator — accessible everywhere. To those observers, the space program's subsequent deceleration was but a reminder of the limits placed upon us mortal creations." -- Rabbi Avi Shafran

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bears at the Beach!

Ursus Americanus Comeback in Coastal NC

A sign along NC Highway 168 warns of ursine activity.

A black bear in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge goes out foraging...

...and takes a look at us looking at him.

I hadn't seen any bear yet this Summer, so when my daughter and her husband read something about them being spotted in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, a trip there was in order. Rising before dawn, my wife, my daughter and her husband and myself headed over the bridge to Manteo. There were supposed to be alligator in there too, so we were excited to see wildlife!

We turned off US 64 onto a gravel road at the entrance to the preserve. There were no foot trails, it turned out and the only growls (initially) were from my fellow wildlife enthusiasts, who I'd asked not to wear deodorant. We'd be spotting from the car.

We spotted two bears from a great distance. as we crept closer in the car, they disappeared into thick vegetation. The third bear we saw was wandering in an open grassy area, just looking around. We watched him wander along the edge of a slough and browse. He took a look our car and nonchelantly wandered off.

We ended the morning with a walk on the short boardwalk trail through some swampy areas.

No, it's a log. Seen on the boardwalk trail in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

Wright Brothers' Kitty Hawk Camp

The Simple Quarters of the Pioneers of Flight

This is the reconstructed camp of the brothers as it might have looked in December of 1903.

Wright Brothers' Memorial

High Above Kitty Hawk, North Carolina





One of my favorite places to visit in the Outer Banks is the memorial to the pioneers of flight.

Radiant Morning Walk at the Beach

Clouds in the Sky Over Nag's Head

The form of a dove is seen in the morning clouds. I did not really see it until I looked at the picture after I snapped it. Funny thing, I'd been musing on a conversation I'd had a week ago with a friend about being led by the Spirit.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Radiant Action..."

A World Full of Small Miracles is all Around Us

A spider web in Oxon Hill Maryland catches the morning light.

A young friend of mine asks why it is so difficult to believe in the magical. You get older and you learn "how" things really work and it follows that the wonder is somehow lost. I wish more people had had a Mom like mine. Her background was in Mathamatics and Physics and she would add to our childhood treasury of rhymes things such as this one by Pietro Calogero:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, now I know just what you are:
Fusing sphere of plasma mass, wrapped in iridescent gas;
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, super-hot that's what you are.

Mom's wonder was not diminished by understanding. Her kitchen doubled as a laboratory for our happy exploration. She had met Dad when they both worked in the Engineering Depatment at the Martin Aircraft Plant in Middle River, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore.

Mom went to work there in the 'forties, during the great war. She told the men in the department that she would do their calculations for them but she would NOT get them coffee!

Mom was ahead of the curve. My aeronautical engineer Father won the heart of this brilliant and beautiful woman. The story goes that Mom gave birth to me and took the call from her old boss begging her to come back. Mom had a new project now, and held me in her lap as she declined the offer. She raised five of us.

Mom had taught school before doing graduate work, what she sometimes referred to as the "Third Battle of Manassas." She was a born teacher though. Numbers always fascinated her.

Now she shared her fascination with us. She was fascinated by facts like these: The eggs of the potato bug hatch in seven days, the eggs of a canary in 14. A chicken's eggs hatch in 21. Waterfowl such as ducks and geese hatch in 28 days while the mallard takes 35. The ostrich and the parrot hatch in 42 days!

Did you notice that all are divisible by seven? Clearly new knowledge can lead you to new wonders.

A mossy world on the forest floor in Shenandoah National Park.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XXVIII

The "other" weekly news magazine this week writes about "the Future of Fish" as an era ends. The last American manned space flight lifted off Friday. As of the time it lands there will be, for the first time in decades, no American manned space capablility.

For the first time since the early 'sixties,' Russia will have manned flight capability and we will not. Some feel that private enterprise will rise to fill the vacuum. I hope it does. Steven Andrew writes:

"Earlier this year, President Obama announced that NASA will continue its core mission of manned and unmanned space exploration, but that private companies will manufacture a growing share of its spacecraft. The NASA authorization bill, S. 3729, officially clears NASA to support the development of commercial spacecraft. Obama's space plan tasks NASA to draw on commercial space vehicles to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

The decision is expected to spawn a new industry, much like the early days of aviation, which now adds billions of dollars to the U.S. economy every year. This marriage between NASA and private enterprise -- which insiders refer to as "NewSpace" -- will put more people and payloads into orbit in the next ten years than in the last half century. Synthesizing the latest literature on space exploration and drawing on interviews with the new industry's key players, NewSpace offers a complete portrait of this partnership between private enterprise and visionary government policy."

My impression, however was that the President was cutting the next generation of space vehicle development entirely. NASA seem poised in all actuallity to become mostly a 'global warming' advocacy group and an 'outreach to Muslims.'

NASA's mission began in the wake of a string of Soviet space successes, Sputnik and the launch of Yuri Gagarin among them. President Kennedy's call to put a man on the Moon and return him safely to earth was a clear message that America would not be left behind.

The brilliance of NASA, in my thinking, is that it took space exploration away from a strictly military program and made it a civilian agency. The lofty ideal of peaceful exploration was in the forefront, while the military necessity was never forgotten.

Ironically, when the current shuttle mission lands, we will have no manned launch capability and will have to buy space on Soviet spacecraft.

The high costs of space missions and the relatively modest prospects of financial return have pretty much discouraged the large scale privatization of space. Commerce, you may remember, is what drove much of the exploration of the new world. Still, plans to harvest solar energy from orbital platforms and other projects might yet drive private initiative. There are a few extremely wealthy individuals who are willing to pay for a ride into orbit. The gold of the New World just doesn't seem to be within reach to drive regular and economical access to space yet.

In the distant future, colonization of Mars might be a possibility, but it seems the environmental manipulation necessary for such a move might prove prohibitive. Converting our own planet from a carbon fuel driven economy to a hydrogen driven one might be more economical in the long run.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day in Arlington Virginia

Overlooking Our Nation's Capital's Celebration

Fireworks across the Potomac River.

We were in Arlington for the Fourth of July weekend working on the pipe organ in Old Post Chapel. The schedule for the chapel required us to work on Monday the fourth, so we found ourselves hard at work while families gathered on the hillside nearby to watch the fireworks aceoss the Potomac in Washington. It had been a long day. A huge storm on Sunday and the ensuing power outage had put us hours behind schedule so we determined to work late. Our mission was to tune the portion of the great organ that we had just restored.

We decided to take a break and watch the fireworks. Walking briskly, we followed families converging on the meadow. Little girls in red, white and blue dresses walked with Moms pushing strollers. Families spread out their blankets and waited for the big show.

We passed through a security checkpoint into the meadow, a sober reminder that there are those in this world who would want to spoil this party.

The fireworks were a wonder to behold. The show was bright and relatively brief. We made our way back to the chapel and completed the tuning while the crowds dispersed. We drove back to where we were staying well after the traffic had ceased.

The Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer...

IMG_3332 used for military funerals all week long as well as religious services.

Red and white begonias outside the chapel.

Arlington National Cemetary, across the wall from the chapel, offers a reminder of the cost of freedom.



Monument to the astronauts of Space Shuttle Challenger.

Monument to the astronauts of Space Shuttle Columbia.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Remembering Our Beginnings...

Independence Day is a Good Time to Remember

Stained glass design of the Betsy Ross Flag in the sunrise by Xaver Wilhelmy. Rendering by Laney Riley.

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XXVI

In his famous poem, Robert Frost muses about what he's walling in and walling out with his neighbor. Both are New Englanders and similarly disposed to the same philosophy of ownership and agriculture.

For them, indeed, the line between farms may be simply defined.

Mexico, with its drug wars and human smuggling offers a bit of contrast to an America that within some of our lifetimes lived with her doors unlocked at night. The 'other' weekly news magazine opines that the Mexican Drug wars are our wars now.

While it is certainly true that the pain of my neighbor is one that I share, it does not follow that American society need be ravaged by the disorder of our neigbor's house. If my neighbor were a violent man, I would certainly want to love and help him, but I would not leave him alone with my children! Sherrif Joe Arpio, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and those who would secure our borders are right in this case. "Good fences make good neighbors."

As to what we're "fencing in and fencing out:" may I suggest anothewr quote from David Barton: "Good Christians make good citizens." Indeed, what was it that allowed our country to live through the Great Depression with our doors unlocked? Some would contend, and I would agree, that a sense of some higher order to life led to a practical self-governance that was more effective than any external walls in controlling human behavior.