Friday, March 27, 2009

Return to Illumination Hour

I am re-posting this rant from last March. It was one of my first few posts (March 26, 2008). We are planning a similar party this year for Saturday, March 28. We will have help from 4 more people because my brother Adam and his family will be visiting. Illumination Hour will take place between 8:30 and 9:30 pm. Join us from your house if you get the chance.

As a side note, Rush Limbaugh jumped on this Thursday afternoon during his show. I am wondering if he was an early adopter of MPU as a daily read. Also, the "on the hour" radio news this morning has noted that there several businesses around the country doing Illumination Hour rather than Earth Hour.


"Who Doesn't Want to Wear the Ribbon"
Originally posted March 26, 2008

Over the years I have been amazed at the absolutely meaningless gestures that people will go through to prove that they care about something. Many of you will recognize the post title from Kramer's run-in with some "street toughs" over his refusal to wear an AIDS awareness ribbon.

I guess everyone on the planet except me knows that having more ribbons on your lapel than Patton means that you care more about the rain forest, AIDS research, breast cancer, etc. than someone who doesn't wear them. Somehow this makes sense. Which brings me to what has many jazzed today, Earth Hour.

In case you don't know (I didn't until this morning), Earth Hour is a ritual that the inventors of Earth Day have brought us this year. Next Saturday (March 29) between 8 and 9 pm, we are supposed to power down "non-essential" electrical appliance and turn off all of our lights to show that we care about energy conservation and reducing our carbon footprint. Basically, the idea is to produce a voluntary blackout for an hour to reflect on the evilness of our comfortable but very energy intensive lifestyle. Jay Currie has a very different idea.

I have never read his blog before today, but from this post I get the idea that he is just about as tired of empty gestures as I am. He has decided to "Just Say No!" by keeping his lights on (ALL of them) during Earth Hour. I get confused on the inspiration for the idea but Tim Blair has planned an Illumination Hour on March 29 between 8 and 9 pm. As my buddy Chip would say, "What are the odds?" A couple of Tim's dedicated readers have decided to take it a step further and have a Carbon Party.

That is my kind of activism. During their HOUR OF POWER, it sounds like they plan on some sort of steel cage death match between the AC unit and the furnace with the winner getting to dominate the household environment for an hour. They also plan to run their vehicles, all electronic equipment, oven, and the washer and dryer. The hope is that they will consume enough electricity during the hour to more than offset any conservation accomplished during the Earth Hour.

If you're interested in becoming part of Illumination Hour to make a mockery of according to Samantha Burns, "Earth Hour stupidity, and all it represents," then visit her web page and sign the official online petition. If you don't have the activist, petition-signing bent, just forget what your Dad always told you for an hour and leave the light on when you leave a room this Saturday night.

Or better yet, you could call Motel 6 and ask them to keep several lights on for you.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Where Does My AGW Skepticism Originate?

For those of who have discussed this with me, you know that I have discounted MAN-CAUSED global warming for a long time. In fact, based on things like the Surface Station Project, I wonder if we have any way of providing a long term climate record sufficient enough to say anything about climate trends. If you don't know, Anthony Watts (whose blog is a daily read for me) started a project to physically survey each of the climate stations in the United States Historical Climatological Network. He has completed 854 of the 1221 stations. He has found the following using the NOAA criteria for assessing the error in the data:

  • 11% of the sites have errors less than 1 degree C
  • 20% of the sites have errors between 1 and 2 degrees C
  • 58% of the sites have errors between 2 and 5 degrees C
  • 11% of the sites haves errors greater than 5 degrees C
Now, we have been told that an increase in the global temperature by 2 degrees C will lead to all kinds of disasters. I don't think that I have been sufficiently convinced that a global temperature has any meaning. However, for the sake of argument, I will go with that assumption for the moment. In the U.S. (where the best climatological data is found because we have $$ for it), 69% of the sites in our historic record set have errors greater than 2 degrees C. So, we can't measure temperature in the U.S. to a point where we can distinguish between measurement error and the catastrophic temperature signal. Combine that this presentation on the debunking of the famous "hockey stick" by Steve McIntyre, and it leaves me very skeptical that man is changing the global temperature by taking an SUV to soccer practice.
  • Do I think that the earth warmed in the 20th century? Yes.
  • Do I think that the warming was the result of man's emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases? No.
  • Will the earth be cooler or warmer 50 years from now? Yes.
Here is the point. Climate changes all the time, and there is very little if anything we can do about it (unless we figure out a way to control that big ball of fire in the sky). Today's climate is not perfect and tomorrow's won't be either. The best way (i.e, the cheapest and most proven way) to deal with a changing climate is to adapt. Here is what I mean:
  • If it's brutally hot in the summer where you live, move or live in a house with AC.
  • If it's brutally cold in the winter, move or live in a house with a good heating system.
These things are what humans have done throughout history. Why should we be any different?

Friday, March 20, 2009

TOTUS Has A Brand New Blog

Ok. I can't help but laugh (Hey! it is either that or cry) about the fact that our current President is completely at a loss for words without the aid of a teleprompter. Apparently, POTUS doesn't even register the words he is saying. It's either that or he was hammered from the St. Patrick's Day party. I am hoping it is the former.

As the White House St. Patrick's Day party was winding down, President Obama, in a speech to those in attendance,


He can't even talk to those handpicked people at the White House without the teleprompter....



thanked President Obama for inviting everyone over.

Here is a link to the story. That's funny! I don't care who you are (Sorry, Larry). So, yesterday I found out that the Teleprompter of the United States (TOTUS) has his own blog. Here is the link for this piece of brilliance. That was a million dollar (or more) idea right there. I truly wish I had thought of it. Enjoy and let me know if you think this is as funny and sad as I do.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

2-10 Home Warranty Post #1

A few days ago I got an offer in the mail that gave us the opportunity to renew or restart my home warranty from 2-10 Home Warranty. Basically, after our previous experience with them, they were asking if I want to set $460 on fire in my outdoor pottery fireplace. This company was so bad, that to avoid the wrath of Kristy, the Better Business, Bureau, and a fraud lawsuit, they sent us a reimbursement check for their technicians' visits to our house. They KNEW they would lose BIG TIME!

Here is the list of prices on the postcard that reminded me how much I dislike this company:
  • Basic Coverage -- $460
  • Enhance HVAC -- $75
  • Additional Pool/Spa -- $150
  • Swimming Pool/Spa -- $150
  • $60 Trade Fee -- $20 (I don't know what this is)
  • Water Softener -- $40
  • $45 Trade Fee -- $40 (I don't know what this is either)
Along with the prices for their warranty, they gave this list of expensive items that they would not actually pay to repair if they broke at your home that was supposedly covered by their warranty (again, based on my experience with them):
  • "Replacing your home heating system could cost $3,100."
  • "A major plumbing repair could cost $1,900."
  • "Replacing a water heater could cost $700."
So, let me be clear about what I am trying to say about this company: 2-10 Home Warranty Company sucks! If you are going to waste your money on a home warranty, DON'T BUY your coverage from 2-10 Home Warranty. Find some other company to waste your money. I don't have any recommendations on who is trustworthy is this regard. If you are getting a home warranty (paid for by a seller) for a new house, DON'T BUY your coverage from 2-10 Home Warranty.


I apologize for this rant after the fact. When we finally got rid of the coverage from 2-10 Home Warranty about 6 months ago (it was purchased by the seller of our home), I promised myself I would write a "2-10 Home Warranty Sucks" post every time I got an email, mass mailing, or "personal" note from the company. Hopefully, there will not be a "2-10 Home Warranty Post #2," but I am pretty sure that 2-10 Home Warranty will send me some more direct marketing materials. I can only hope that someone will stumble on this post about 2-10 Home Warranty from Google and back out of buying a new or renewal policy from 2-10 Home Warranty because 2-10 Home Warranty sucks.

For those that don't know, I am trying to increase the number of times I write 2-10 Home Warranty in this post so that it will increase the odds that this post will be found when someone searches for 2-10 Home Warranty.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Anyone Else Embarrassed?

As a nation, we should be saying, "I'm REALLY, REALLY sorry about this!" to the United Kingdom (our staunchest ally and truly great partner in the world). I am sure that you are asking what has put this burr into Russ's saddle, so I will tell you.

Last week, as PM Gordon Brown made his trip over here to meet the President, he brought a gift with him: Ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet - once called HMS President.

By the way, these sorts of gifts are traditionally exchanged when new US/UK leaders meet for the first time. Bear in mind that these gifts belong to the American and British people, and the President and Prime Minister are just stewards while in office. What did Mr. Obama give the British people? I am sure you are thinking that it has some real historical significance and meaning, and you would be WRONG.

Here is the gift that we gave them. Can I have a drumroll, please? ... ... ... We gave them 25 classic American films on DVD.

I will admit that, when I heard this on the Rush Limbaugh Show, I thought that Rush was having a little fun as he often does. I. Then, I realized that this is the sort of thing that Rush CANNOT spoof or parody, AND I felt really sick to my stomach. SOOO, I did a search and found this article in the UK Mail Online.

It appears that PM Brown tried to hide the gift from the British people and their press, and I don't blame him. I wish we hadn't given this gift either. What an embarassment!

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