On ANWR

31 07 2008

With soaring oil prices, it seems like the topic du jour is drilling in Alaska. Every time anyone mentions oil, they conjure up screaming masses of right-wingers — and a few left-wingers as well — yelling about Alaskan drilling and the necessity thereof. Apparently, doing so would reduce the price of gas, it would reduce out dependence on foreign nations, and all around be a fabulous thing. This way, we wouldn’t have to deal with messy and confusing things that might upset the oil companies, like alternative energy sources! However, in reality, the issue isn’t quite as clear. Let’s look at some statistics, shall we?

  • The United States consumes approximately 20,588,000 barrels of petroleum daily.
  • The ANWR oil fields are expected to produce, at maximum, approximately 1.45 million barrels of petroleum a day, in 2028, when production is expected to peak, under this production. The minimum is projected at approximately 510,000 barrels of petroleum per day at peak.
  • Under the best circumstances, ANWR drilling is projected to produce a $1.44/barrel price reduction worldwide at peak.

The highest projected peak production from ANWR would barely constitute 7% of United States oil consumption today. The debate comes down to whether we want to destroy a pristine wilderness to extract an fairly small amount of hydrocarbonaceous black carcinogenic gunk from under the ground, where it’s safely isolated, to burn it and place tons of poisonous/greenhouse gases into the world at large. In my opinion, the money could be better spent on, for example, researching sources of energy that don’t pour toxins into the atmosphere. But, that’s my view. What do you people think?





I return!

28 07 2008

I intend to soon produce new content. In fact, I already have, and published it, but I have retracted it due to inadequate fact-checking. It’s unfortunate, really.





Sadly…

20 07 2008

…I’ll be out of town for the week, and therefore unable to post. 😦 Look for more exciting content on the 28th-29th! 🙂

I overuse emoticons, I know.





The Ron Paul Dilemma

19 07 2008

I think that most of us are glad that Ron Paul failed to secure any Presidential nomination whatsoever. His “R[EVOL]UTION” (an ironic name, if you think about it) failed spectacularly, complete with crashing blimps. Unfortunately, he still has ardent supporters, a disappointing state of affairs, especially since most of them do not seem to be raging racists. You would think that after years of sending out material like “blacks poured into the streets of Chicago in celebration. How to celebrate? How else? They broke the windows of stores to loot“, people would have caught on, but eh. Most of them are apparently credulous enough to take his pronunciations that Martin Luther King is one of his heroes, and his claim that, because racism is somehow fundamentally opposed to libertarian ideology, he cannot possibly be a racist, apparently because he’s libertarianism incarnate, as unequivocal proof that he is, indeed, not a racist. Ron Paul also claims that he was not responsible for, and had no knowledge of, the horrifyingly casual racism being consistently spewed in his newsletter for twenty years. This brings us to the eponymous dilemma: if Ron Paul is telling the truth, and had no knowledge of the content of his own newsletter for twenty years, then he is stunningly inept. If he is not, then he is a racist. Therefore, the dilemma:

If Ron Paul had no knowledge of the content of his newsletter, then he is inept; and if he did, then he is a racist.

Ron Paul either had or did not have knowledge of the content of his newsletter.

Therefore, he is either inept or a racist.

In neither of which cases he should have any shot at the Presidency, or any other public office, in my opinion.





Specified Complexity and SETI

18 07 2008

Note: I am not writing this because I’m an EVOL EVOLUTIONIST ATHEIST. I’m not an atheist, although I am an evolutionist. See my About page for more details.

I’m still in caffeine withdrawal, so, again, please forgive any grammatical errors.

Young-earth creationists have a distinct animosity towards SETI, for obvious reasons. The project is contrary to their whole understanding of biology, and it receives what probably looks to them like an obscene amount if money for an endeavor doomed to failure. This is understandable. However, when coupled with a fundamental misunderstanding of natural selection, it leads to intense hilarity. For some reason, Jonathon Safarti, author of the popular Answers in Genesis book Refuting Evolution, seems to be under the impression that there is an implicit conflict between the two ideas espoused by SETI that, on one hand, life can increase in complexity via evolution, and on the other, that complex signals are likely to have originated from an intelligence. Here’s the quote:

People detect intelligent design all the time. For example, if we find arrowheads on a desert island, we can assume they were made by someone, even if we cannot see the designer. There is an obvious difference between writing by an intelligent person, e.g. Shakespeare’s plays, and a random letter sequence like WDLMNLTDTJBKWIRZREZLMQCOP. There is also an obvious difference between Shakespeare and a repetitive sequence like ABCDABCDABCD. The latter is an example of order, which must be distinguished from Shakespeare, which is an example of specified complexity. We can also tell the difference between messages written in sand and the results of wave and wind action. The carved heads of the U.S. presidents on Mt. Rushmore are clearly different from erosional features. Again, this is specified complexity. Erosion produces either irregular shapes or highly ordered shapes like sand dunes, but not presidents’ heads or writing. Another example is the SETI program (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). This would be pointless if there were no way of determining whether a certain type of signal from outer space would be proof of an intelligent sender. The criterion is, again, a signal with a high level of specified complexity—this would prove that there was an intelligent sender, even if we had no other idea of the sender’s nature. But neither a random nor a repetitive sequence would be proof. Natural processes produce radio noise from outer space, while pulsars produce regular signals. Actually, pulsars were first mistaken for signals by people eager to believe in extraterrestrials, but this is because they mistook order for complexity. So evolutionists (as are nearly all SETI proponents) are prepared to use high specified complexity as proof of intelligence, when it suits their ideology. This shows once more how one’s biases and assumptions affect one’s interpretations of any data.

I don’t see how one can write two books concerning the scientific validity of evolution and not understand natural selection. Perhaps it was simply a moment of confusion. But regardless of why it’s been set forth, it has. The error is here: there is no natural selection process that drives signals towards complexity. They don’t reproduce in the same way that organisms do, there’s no incentive for them to develop greater complexity in order to better survive. Therefore, the overwhelming probability is that a complex signal was created by an intelligence. The same applies for sand dunes. If sand dunes in forms that resembled presidential heads could better survive the ravages of time, then they would most likely be in these forms. Sadly, they don’t, and therefore, none are known to have formed via natural processes. This is also applicable to arrowheads and cars. Seriously, guys, if you’re going to write about evolution, please understand its basic premise.





WORD CUBE STUPID MATH

17 07 2008

I’m currently attempting to break myself of caffeine addiction, and seem to be suffering from caffeine withdrawal, so please forgive any grammatical errors or the like.

But to the subject matter posthaste: I’m, again, writing about Time Cube. I have a perverse fascination with it, largely because it’s like reading the thought processes of a lunatic. I mean, that’s pretty much what it is.

Gene Ray, Doctor of Cubicism, has followed in the footprints of James Randi, and offered the sum of $1000 to the first individual to show his theory to be incorrect. Sadly, the majority of it appears to be non-falsifiable, and therefore, no one has, thus far, claimed this prize. However, he makes one claim that is easily demonstrated to be true or false, which is that (-1)2=+1. This, being a simply formulated mathematical statement, can be concisely and conclusively proven wrong. This is what I shall proceed to do, with the enhancement of lovely graphs. I don’t know if this will qualify me for the prize, or whether or not he’ll actually pay me if it does, but in the event that I do, and he follows through, I will donate 70% of the money to charity.

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WORD CUBE STUPID

16 07 2008

If you’re one of those individuals, like myself, who pretty much lives on the Internet, you may have come across an interesting website known as Time Cube. This involving work is the brainchild of Gene Ray, retired electrician, and self-proclaimed Wisest Man on Earth. It sets forth a radical new theory of everything, which essentially states that… erm… well, it’s rather difficult to determine exactly what it states. However, it appears to be predicated upon the fact that the Sun appears in a different location depending on where you are on Earth. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the Earth is divided into time zones! One might suggest that this is the consequence of the spherical nature of the Earth, but that would appear to be because we’re all STUPID and EDUCATED. No, geometry has nothing to do with it, it’s because each quadrant of the Earth rotates by itself. You see, Gene Ray has noticed that the day can essentially be divided into four portions, sunrise, noon, sundown, and night. These, by the way, are not at all arbitrary, because our perception of the sun obviously transcends silly things like “relativity”, “mathematics”, and “position”. Now, seeing as it’s always one of these somewhere on Earth, and each quadrant is, for some reason, immutably and objectively placed on the Earth, and a fundamental and transcendent unit of measurement the Earth goes through four days every day. This, as described above, is not the result of geometry, but apparently the result of some sort of hyperspatial rotation caused byu the biunding of the earth into squandtants qsoiefhjqasdopgjopi’a AUUUUUUUUGHJHGHHHGHGHHFGHHGHHGHGH0oidahfkalsdfgkhasjl;g.

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