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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lorne Gunter Gets the Postal Strike Right!

[Editor: The article below is quoted as an educational service to inform Canadian readers that it may be time for a change in Canada as well. Who deserves $24/ hour or even $18 / hour to deliver mail which requires no training beyond high school? Then 4 days before the strike, I sent an XpressPost which is supposed to be delivered the next day and cost me about $10. It has not arrived yet! The Post Office says their investigation" will be completed by June 28! I mailed it almost a month ago!]

Why I have NO sympathy for the Postal Strike nor CUPW. Lorne Gunter sums it up quite rightly in the National Post.

  • DHL owned by German Post Office
  • Largest logistics company in the world
  • Makes a big profit
  • Privatized former state-owned post office
  • Germany gets their mail 6 days per week as does the U.S.
  • Most of what I get in my mailbox is junk mail that companies paid the post office to include in mail
  • However they did not pay me to read or sort it at $18 or $24 per hour, so I am on strike
  • I refuse to take home any junk mail from my mailbox
  • I will "mail" it back by putting it in the letter drop from now on
The article below has it right.
One quote:

"Deutsche Post DHL now even delivers residential mail in Britain and the Dutch postal service is an aggressive competitor for first-class mail in a number of other countries. The result is better, faster service at rates surprisingly similar to those charged by former state monopolies, even in sparcely populated rural areas."

"Lorne Gunter: Canada Post-CUPW fighting over a sinking ship

Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers walk the picket line in Fredericton, N.B. on Monday as part of the union's rotating strikes.
  Jun 14, 2011 – 12:53 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 14, 2011 1:16 PM ET
Have you ever used the courier DHL? You might know it by its distinctive yellow trucks with big red lettering. It’s owned by the German post office, Deutsche Post. Since privatization in 1995, Deutsche Post DHL has grown to become the world’s largest logistics company with 2010 revenues of nearly $100 billion. It’s bigger than UPS or Fedex — almost twice the size of UPS and three times that of Fedex. And, to repeat myself, it is a privatized, former state-owned post office.
So when during the current post strike here in Canada you hear representatives of Canada Post or the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) claim that Canada needs a public-monopoly postal service, feel free to cry “Poppycock!” (Rural MPs and some business owners often make the same claim. You can call “B.S.” on them, too.)
Deutsche Post delivers mail six days a week in Germany with a far better on-time delivery rate than Canada Post.
We need a Crown corporation delivering our mail the same way we need government-owned telephone services or public buggy whip makers.
Since the beginning of the month, CUPW has been conducting one- or two-day rotating strikes around the country to try to force a new collective bargaining agreement on Canada Post. The union wants a stall on major upgrades in mail-sorting technology and the reversal of a Canada Post proposal to cut pay for new hires by one-third from $24 an hour to $18. In other words, the union wants a contract that freezes Canada Post’s operating practices in the glory days when most Canadians cared about the post office — an era long gone in the age of email, online banking and bill-paying, Internet shopping and private couriers.
I lived through one of the work stoppages here in Edmonton on June 7. Or at least I think I did. Who can tell? Postal service was already so uneven it’s hard to know what’s been delayed and what hasn’t. Moreover, most of what our letter carrier brings is junk mail anyway. Last year for five weeks I kept a log of all the “mail” delivered to our home. Out of 167 pieces of mail we received, just six pieces were letters, seven bills, four cheques, one invitation and one investment statement. That’s just 19 pieces of first-class mail in a month, or 11%; less than one piece per delivery day. Canada Post has become a glorified ad-mail service.
So why, I wondered, is CUPW conducting work stoppages no one is noticing? (Businessess might be noticing slightly erratic delivery of their invoices and payments to and from customers, but nothing earth-shattering.) Why hasn’t the union shut down the postal service all at once, nationwide? Indeed, it is accusing Canada Post of trying to provoke a national strike so the corporation can ask the federal government for back-to-work legislation.
Then it occurred to me, CUPW probably opposes a nationwide strike because such an action would a) prove the general uselessness of maintaining a public postal monopoly in this day and age, and b) prompt calls for privatization, neither of which the union wants. So it is left with meaningless, invisible local walkouts that it hopes will pressure Canada Post to grant its members a better deal while at the same time not provoking the public into demands for a private postal service.
For its part, Canada Post is happy to go along with this charade, because it, too, wants to avoid privatization. Essentially, to borrow an old phrase, Canada Post and its 50,000 union employees are fighting over who gets to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.
There is no longer any justification for public postal monopolies. In most European countries, service has been privatized and monopolies over first-class mail have been eliminated. Deutsche Post DHL now even delivers residential mail in Britain and the Dutch postal service is an aggressive competitor for first-class mail in a number of other countries. The result is better, faster service at rates surprisingly similar to those charged by former state monopolies, even in sparcely populated rural areas.
Canada Post claims it’s revenues are off $65 million since the walkouts began. That seems high, but what it and the union must understand is that every dollar lost due to the strike is unlikely to come back once a new contract is in place. The postal service still exists only because some of its customers (mostly technophobic seniors and small businesses) refuse to learn how to use online billing and payment. If the strike forces those customers to figure out a more modern method of conducting business, those these postal-reliant Canadians will soon find they, like the rest of us,
no longer need Canada Post or its workers.
Canadians — even those in far-flung communities — should not fear privatization nor listen to the spin being spewed by both the union and Canada Post about the continued need to preserve their cozy horse-and-buggy industry.
National Post
Follow Lorne on Twitter @lornegunter"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Junk Science Week: No climate death in Venice

[Editor: This is published for educational purposes only under the fair use clause that science classes and the general public can be exposed to the truth about the junk in science.] 
  Jun 15, 2011 – 9:16 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 15, 2011 9:32 PM ET
St. Mark’s Square in Venice has been ­subject to periodic flooding for years.
By Terence Corcoran
We interrupt our scheduled Junk Science Week material to bring you news from the front line of the global climate scare.
First, we take you to Venice, Italy. The news is that Venice will not disappear, contrary to scaremongering from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Back in 2007, on the release of an IPCC report, United Nations climatologist Osvaldo Canziani warned that rising sea levels caused by global warming would create an environmental catastrophe at one of the world’s greatest artistic and architectural treasures.
“The water of the lagoon will continue to rise. If things carry on like this, Venice is destined to disappear,” said Mr. Canziani, then deputy head of the IPCC, an organization expert in generating headlines.
But now, following a pattern of science backtracking over IPCC alarmist claims about the threat of global warming, a new science report says Venice is safe. In fact, it will be more secure against water surges than it is today.
In a paper published in the journal Climate Change, Alberto Troccoli, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia, and scientists in the U.K. and Italy say that their global climate simulations suggest “a decrease in extreme tides” as sea levels rise. Storm surges will also be fewer in the Northern Adriatic where Venice is situated. The conclusion is that by the end of the 21st century “tidal flooding events might not be exacerbated … with potentially beneficial consequences for the conservation of the city.”
Coral islands may grow as sea rises, new study finds
In another development, fears that small islands in the Pacific Ocean might also ­disappear may be unfounded.
In the Small Islands section of its 2007 report on climate-change impacts, the IPCC had warned that rising temperatures and sea levels would pose “great challenges and high risk, especially to low-lying islands that might not be able to adapt.” Island coasts would be at “great risk,” and “anticipated land loss” would “threaten the sustainability of island agriculture and food security.”
But a new study by scientists in New Zealand and Fiji published in the Global and Planetary Change journal found that Pacific islands have been growing, rather than disappearing. Paul Kench, of the University of Auckland, said his study found that because low-lying Pacific islands are made of coral debris, “you have continual growth.” In an interview with New Scientist magazine, Mr. Kench said: “It has been thought that as the sea level goes up, islands will sit there and drown. But they won’t. The sea level will go up and the island will start responding.”
New Scientist also quotes Barry Brook, a climate scientists at the University of Adelaide in Australia who is a supporter of Campaign 350, which aims to reduce the volume of carbon in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, down from about 400 currently. The objective is to impose tough carbon controls around the world in part to save low-lying islands, including the Maldives, from being swamped.
Mr. Brooks told New Scientist that while he was initially surprised by the new study’s findings, he agrees with the analysis. “It does suggest that islands have been able to adapt to sea-level rises.”
Campaign 350 was founded by American environmentalist and author Bill McKibben. But there are no signs that Campaign 350 is backing down on its extreme targets, despite this and other evidence that many of the most alarmist IPCC warnings have proven to be unfounded.
In summary, add disappearing Venice and drowning Pacific islands to scores of other IPCC myths about the impact of climate change.
Financial Post
For more reports and the latest news on climate science, politics and economics, visit the website of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Junk Science Week: The Rubber Duckies

[Editor: The following are presented only for educational purposes such as informing those who have fallen for the new cult of Junk Science which has forgotten or deliberately ignored what science is all about. As you educate yourself, "May the Force be with you! (:-)]] 

  Jun 17, 2011 – 10:59 PM ET

Junk Science Week grand finale: The third annual Rubber Duck Awards, in which we do our small bit to recognize the scientists, NGOs, activists, politicians, journalists, media outlets, cranks and quacks who each year advance the principles of junk science. Junk science occurs when scientific facts are distorted, when risk is exaggerated or discounted, when science is adapted and warped by politics and ideology to serve another agenda.
The Rubber Duckies are named in honour of Rick Smith, president of Environmental Defence Canada and co-author of a remarkable piece of junk ­science literature, the 2009 Slow Death by Rubber Duck. In the book, Mr. Smith perpetrated a science scam over bisphenol-A and established himself as Canada’s pre-eminent scaremonger and distorter of science. Let the awards begin!

Lorne Gunter: Global warming? Try global cooling.

  Jun 16, 2011 – 9:52 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 16, 2011 11:15 AM ET
I once asked readers to take a quick quiz. “Which,” I wondered, ’is usually warmer, day or night? And what is typically the warmest part of the day? The warmest time of year? And the warmest kind of weather, cloudy or cloudless? If you answered day, afternoon, summer and cloudless,” I concluded, “you may be beginning to understand why the sun, and not manmade greenhouse gas, is the cause of global climate change.”
Most of the historic periods of major solar activity correspond very well with past eras of extra-warm climate on Earth. Meanwhile, a period known as the Maunder Minimum (from roughly 1650 to 1720) corresponds to the coldest period of the Little Ice Age that occurred between the early 14th Century and about 1850. In other words, the sun is the biggest driver of climate change on Earth, not idling SUVs or oilsands mining.
So we should be concerned that good old Sol appears to be turning itself down for a while. As a result, far from dangerous warming, the Earth may be heading into a prolonged period (two to three decades) of very cold weather.
I’m not talking about -30C in July. But we could be headed for but cooler summers with fewer frost-free days and shorter growing seasons, as well as longer, colder winters.
Delegates to the American Astronomical Society meeting this week in New Mexico heard from three separate groups of researchers that the current period of solar activity (Cycle 24) is already one of the weakest on record. Meanwhile, the next one (Cycle 25) — they come in waves of roughly 11-years duration each — could well be the most inactive since the Maunder Minimum.
Here is how one respected climate-change blogger described it:
A missing jet stream (in the sun’s interior), fading spots, and slower activity near (it’s) poles say that our Sun is heading for a rest period even as it is acting up for the first time in years, according to scientists at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
As the current sunspot cycle, Cycle 24, begins to ramp up toward maximum, independent studies of the solar interior, visible surface, and the corona indicate that the next 11-year solar sunspot cycle, Cycle 25, will be greatly reduced or may not happen at all.
The results were announced at the annual meeting of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society, which is being held this week at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
Here’s another story that explains well what is going on.
Frank Hill of the National Solar Observatory told reporters “If we are right, this could be the last solar maximum we’ll see for a few decades. That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth’s climate.” Prof. Hill later told Reuters that he was not predicting an end to the threat of global warming. But frankly, that is the kind of don’t-rock-the-boat butt-covering that many scientists are engaged in these days. The climate-change orthodoxy in academia is so entrenched (and so able to control grants, tenures and reputations) that many scientists with contrary views are reluctant to voice them. Dr. Hill may well believe that a deep reduction in solar activity will have little impact on projected global warming. Or he may believe the warming is natural and will be little effected by sun-spot hibernation. Or he may sincerely believe the sun-climate connection is too weak to overcome the CO2-climate connection that many environmentalists and climate scientists see.
The main point to take away from the AAS meetings is that there are powerful forces that have great influence over our climate that warming-alarmist scientists and activists have barely taken into account — if at all — when forecasting doom and gloom for our planet if we don’t all change our lifestyles dramatically and put the UN in charge of industrial planning.
The science of climate change is far from settled, despite all the hysterical reporting to the contrary.
National Post
Follow Lorne on Twitter @lornegunter

Lorne Gunter: The IPCC loses its last credibility

[Editor: The following is presented here for educational use only and is presented under the fair use provision Title 17 U.S.C. 107. It is also presented as a public service to inform those who have fallen for the junk science cult.]

Lorne Gunter: The IPCC loses its last credibility

  Jun 17, 2011 – 7:30 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 16, 2011 6:39 PM ET
The period from November 2009 to March 2010 was a bad time for climate-change alarmists. That four-month period included the posting of thousands of emails and computer files from leading climate scientists showing that they had been cooking their global-warming data, working together to keep independent researchers from examining their raw figures and pressuring academic journals against publishing studies that contradicted the man-made climate-change orthodoxy.
Also during that time, it was shown that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had included questionable data on Himalayan glacier melt in its major 2007 climate assessment report and that it had done so deliberately to provoke government leaders to speed up environmental legislation. Indian climate scientist Murari Lal, the scientist in charge of the IPCC’s glacier chapter, admitted he was aware at the time that the melt prediction had not been peer-reviewed, but included it anyway because “we thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.”
By the end of March 2010 it had been shown that at least 16 claims of impending climate doom in the IPCC’s vaunted 2007 report had been based on work done by environmental activists, most of which had not received independent reviews before being swallowed whole by the UN climate body. For instance, the IPCC’s insistence that up to 40% of the Amazon rain forest was under imminent threat came from a World Wildlife Fund-International Union for the Conservation of Nature joint report written by a scientist-consultant and a freelance environmental journalist.
Of course, since that dark period, the environmental Sanhedrin has worked hard to re-establish its control over the climate-change debate. Four whitewash investigations — one conducted by one of the leading investors in wind power in Europe — have sought to exonerate the scientists most deeply enmeshed in the Climategate email scandal.
Pressure to conform to the alarmist orthodoxy is once again so great, that even scientists who discover data that contradicts alarmist scaremongering feel obliged to defer to the mongers anyway. Just in the last few months there have been major studies showing that the sea level is not rising dangerously and that solar activity is about to enter a phase so quiet that we could experience two or three decades of global cooling. Yet the authors of both studies have felt obliged to caution reporters that their findings in no way upset the IPCC’s forecast of dangerous warming ahead.
Still, who could have imagined that the IPCC would have emerged from these setbacks so cocksure that it would return to its old ways of conflating environmentalist propaganda with scientific investigation? But it has.
Canadian researcher Steve McIntyre discovered earlier this week that the IPCC’s recent report on alternative energy — which asserted that it was possible to convert the world to 80% green energy by 2050 if politicians would simply tax conventional sources and spend billions on alternative sources — was lifted largely from Greenpeace reports.
The lead author of the IPCC report turns out to be Sven Teske, a Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, who the IPCC does not identify as such in either the report or its media releases. Mr. Teske is also the author of much of the Greenpeace material on which the IPCC report is based, in effect making him a peer reviewer of the validity of his own material.
Imagine the reaction, for instance, if a government had produced a fossil-fuel friendly report based on work by an oil sands engineer, without revealing the source, and had paid the same engineer to write its own summary of his initial work.
That is what the IPCC has stooped to in this case and it eliminates any credibility the organization had left on the climate file.
National Post

Exhibit One: How junk science has become a religion

Editor: The following is presented for educational purposes only and is subject to the provisions of the fair use law found elsewhere on this site. It would not need to be written or presented here if the evangelists of science who have made a religion out of their beliefs repented and starting doing real science again. Read below and once again, see why ....................

Rex Murphy: Climate scientists make a mockery of the peer-review process

  Jun 18, 2011 – 8:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 17, 2011 4:42 PM ET
One of the disturbing practices revealed by the great cache of emails out of the University of East Anglia — the so-called Climategate emails — was the attempted shortcutting or corruption of the oh-so precious peer-review process. The emails contained clear declarations of how the grand viziers of climate science would lean on journals and reporters to make sure certain critics did not get the validation, the laying on of peer-reviewed hands, so critical to full participation in the great climate debate. This was most succinctly expressed by the beautiful quote from Dr. Phil Jones of East Anglia that, “We will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what peer-review literature is.”
Much of what the world bizarrely allows to be called climate “science” is a closet-game, an in-group referring to and reinforcing its own members. The insiders keep out those seen as interlopers and critics, vilify dissenters and labour to maintain a proprietary hold on the entire vast subject. It has been described very precisely as a “climate-assessment oligarchy.” Less examined, or certainly less known to the general public, is how this in-group loops around itself. How the outside advocates buttress the inside scientists, and even — this is particularly noxious — how the outside advocates, the non-scientists, themselves become inside authorities.
It’s the perfect propaganda circle. Advocates find themselves in government offices, or on panels appointed by politicians disposed towards the hyper-alarmism of global warming. On the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) boards and panels, like seeks out like. And when the IPCC issues one of its state-of-the-global-warming-world reports, legions of environmentalists, and their maddeningly sympathetic and uninquisitive friends in most of the press, shout out the latest dire warnings as if they were coming from the very mouth of Disinterested Science itself.
An early and particularly graphic illustration of this vicious circle came when the IPCC 2007 report warned that most the great Himalayan glaciers would melt by the year 2035. Not only was the claim of a massive melt the very height of ignorant nonsense — the sun would have to drop on the Earth to provoke a melt of this proportion — it was also plucked from a seven-year-old publication of the ever busy World Wildlife Federation (WWF). As the Times of London put it, the claim itself was “inherently ludicrous” culled from a “campaigning report” rather than “an academic paper,” was not “subject of any scientific review” and despite all these shortcomings became “a key source for the IPCC … [for] the section on the Himalayas.”
A scare report, seven years old, from the an environmental advocacy group, became the key document for a major report released under the authority of the IPCC, the world’s best and brightest global warming minds. Sir Isaac Newton would be so proud.
Now we have an even more telling illustration of this same sad, vicious circle. It was first reported on by Steven McIntyre on his blog, Climate Audit (and was run on the FP Comment page of Friday’s National Post). McIntyre revealed that the IPCC used a Greenpeace campaigner to write a key part of its report on renewable energy and to make the astonishing claim that “close to 80% of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies.” He further revealed that the claim arose from a “joint publication of Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC).” And it turns out that while working for the IPCC, the Greenpeace campaigner approvingly cited a Greenpeace report that he himself was the lead author of. He peer-reviewed himself. 
[Editor: A true priest of the new religion of "science", no doubt. Take what he says on faith or question it if you know science not junk-science.] 
A report on renewables, by the Renewable Energy Council of Europe, and Greenpeace, peer-reviewd by the man who wrote it. All they need add is a citation from the Suzuki Foundation and an endorsement from Elizabeth May and “the science will be settled” forever.
This is not just letting the fox into the hen house. This is giving him the keys, passing him the barbeque sauce and pointing his way to the broiler. Or, as McIntyre put it in plainer terms: “A lead author of the IPCC report, and of the hyped 80% scenario, is Sven Teske of Greenpeace International, whose official contribution is essentially based on a Greenpeace report cooked up with Europe’s renewable energy industry.”
Kind people may put this down to pure sloppiness on the part of the IPCC. Coming after its disastrous handling of the Himalayan glacier melt, however, it looks to me more like deliberate mischief. The IPCC cannot be that stupid by chance. Why these stories, and others of comparable magnitude, have not worked their way into the consciousness of the world’s politicians despite such clear demonstrations of the IPCC’s ramshackle processes is a mystery. But thanks to Steve McIntyre and others of near-equal courage, standing firm against the rage and mockery of the alarmist warming establishment, at least some of the IPCC’s dubious and chillingly erroneous practices are revealed.
National Post