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Bill for teaching climate change passes Senate

Original post made on Jan 31, 2008

A bill authored by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, to teach climate change in California schools passed the Senate Wednesday on a 26-13 vote.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 31, 2008, 11:34 AM

Comments (171)

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2008 at 12:04 pm

So much to teach, so little time.

I think our kids are already learning plenty about climate change. The point is that they don't understand what they are being taught. Some are scared by it and others are totally confused. They think there will be no more snow to play in and that it may happen next year. Be careful what you teach, sometimes it just backfires.


Posted by No-More-Government-Propagada, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Climate change has always been taught, more-or-less, when science classes dealt with glaciation. The details about the actual temperature ranges and fluctuations might have been not taught until specialty classes for undergraduates began to look at these phenomena in detail.

Nanny-Government proponent Joe Simitian's bill is going to promote man-made climate change without adequate scientific background. Moreover, it is clear that most public school teachers are not good at science and math, so all they will end up doing is reading scripts from some state agency--or worse--Al Gore or the Sierra Club.

Pushing this topic into the public schools is no different than pushing religion into the public schools.

This bill should be killed by the Legislature.


Posted by R Wray, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 31, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Another instance of government indoctrination in public schools. Get rid of them. Let's have separation of school and state. (For the same reasons we have separation of church and state.)
There's no end to father Simitian's care for us, his children.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 31, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Could they just teach solid readin', writin' and arithmetic plus the sollid basics like history and government and literature and art? I've been a teacher and there is no enough time in the day to teach all these add-on's that these big-brother legistlators come up with. Please, Sacramento, get out of the classroom and mind your own business.


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Jan 31, 2008 at 3:59 pm

I think this will end up backfiring on those, like Simitian, who are proposing it, becasue it will become abundantly clear that nuclear power is the only way to suppress greenhouse gases on a massive scale. This means that the teacher will be challenged by kids in his/her own classrooms about nuclear energy. That one is an easy argument.


Posted by Mary, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 31, 2008 at 4:05 pm

When are we teachers going to find the time to teach this?! Programs like this are great, but they take away from teaching kids the basics (Yikes!) or money gets budgeted for these programs and are not taught because their is no time, which then becomes a huge waste of money. Politicians should talk to teachers before they try to pass things like this!


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2008 at 2:59 am

Religiousinstruction mandated in public schools? Lord love a duck!


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2008 at 8:13 am

Mary, just quit teaching your students to add and subtract - teach them about climate change.

Adding this to the curriculum in Europe or Japan would be appropriate where children go to school for more hours of the day, and more days of the year. Unfortunately this will not happen here because the Union get in the way.


Posted by disgusted, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2008 at 10:40 am

Hmmm..just like Hugo Chavez who mandated what and how the schools in Venezuela would teach regarding just about everything.

GET THE PROPOGANDA THE HELL OUT OF OUR CLASSROOMS!! Climate change has always been taught to those who study anything regarding geological history. What this is REALLY about is trying to shove "it is all manmade and we need to have government take your money to fix it" BS down the throats of our kids, without any real science as basis. It will become yet another social propoganda tool. We have GOT to vote these guys out. I can guarantee they would be voted out REALLY REALLY quickly if they mandated that "climate change" be taught with NO reference to possible human contribution!

Government, like churches, needs to stay out of scientific enquiry.


Posted by David, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 1, 2008 at 3:25 pm

VOTE SIMITIAN OUT OF OFFICE ASAP!


Posted by Flip My Burger, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 1, 2008 at 4:55 pm

GET THE PROPOGANDA THE HELL OUT OF OUR CLASSROOM

Ahmen Brother!
now,

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!







Posted by Scientist, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 1, 2008 at 9:22 pm

The sad part about this is that there is really solid evidence linking human activities to climate change. However, there are so many ignorant journalists, politicians and other loonies and wackos piling on the global warming bandwagon that the intelligence is being drowned out by the nonsense. The science can stand on its own, and we don't need to force-feed it to people. If we teach our students to think and analyze then they will be able to see through nonsense and hype and understand the truth for themselves.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2008 at 9:49 pm

Hey, scientist, how do you determine the average temperature of the earth? [careful, you will be graded on your answer.] Not that being wrong ever harmed a Stanford scientist's career.


Posted by Scientist, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 1, 2008 at 10:05 pm

Walter, the average temperature of the earth is not what counts. If I average the temperature over the entire volume, including the molten center, I get a rather high number that has no relevance to the discussion of climate.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 2, 2008 at 12:08 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 2, 2008 at 4:51 am

If the average temperature doesn't count why mention it? Why bother with "urban heat island correction factors"? Why play the silly hockey stick game?
Tell you what, scientist, take your monolithic uncalibrated amospheric program, plug in the improvement in conditions with the most draonian application of cutbacks applied and show us the down tick. What do we get for what we give up? What profiteth it a man... and so on.


Posted by perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 2, 2008 at 6:57 am

Scientist is NOT a climate scientist, if a scientist at all.

Hmmm..let's see..I think government should also mandate how economics is taught. If we let that happen, then in California we would end up teaching "capitalism- bad....socialism/communism/big brother - good" with any of those inconvenient facts that get in the way of that belief brushed under the rug... Same thing.....


Actually, better not mention this, somebody in Sacramento will like the idea...


Posted by Resident, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 2, 2008 at 9:50 am

Is there any objective textbook on this subject?


Posted by Scientist, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 2, 2008 at 10:30 am

You are right, I am not a climate scientist. I am a physicist and gave a physicist's anwer to the temperature question. Walter was the one who asked about average temperature, not me. He asked a vague and poorly-specified question, then got upset when I gave an answer for which he was unprepared. He tried to question my abilties as a scientist and it backfired. Ad hominem arguments are dangerous, the refuge of the unprepared.


Posted by NoMoreJunkScience, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 2, 2008 at 10:37 am

If only a bill were passed requiring schools to teach REAL science, including the skills in mathematics and logic, that are needed to evaluate scientific data.
Of course, then, students would have the ability to see through the hoax of "man made" global warming. Simitian and his buddies can't afford that. After all, this hoax is too useful a ploy to get votes from the ignorant and amass more government control over our lives.


Posted by Neal, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 3, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Another educational mandate is the last thing we need. Unfortunately, REAL science will take a back seat to junk science and political science.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 3, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Why wouldn't climate change be a relevant addition to the environmental studies curriculum? Honestly, how would you not include it these days?

I find it interesting that many assume that any discussion of climate change will be taught badly and unscientifically.

Also of interest was the notion that literature and history aren't affected by politics. The teaching of history is innately political--read Frances Fitzgerald's America Revisited for an old, but interesting discussion on this. Furthermore, I think history should be taught for political reasons--not nearly enough people understand the political and philosophical ideas behind our country's system of governance. Understanding the system makes for better citizens.

And Walter, you set yourself up for that one. Do yourself a favor and learn from it. (You won't, of course, but it would be good for you if you did.)


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 3, 2008 at 1:52 pm

OhlonePar,

I agree with you. Climate change should be part of the curriculum. Of course, it should cut in all directions, and shound not be abandoned if the climate begins to show signs of cooling. However, there is the danger that such teachings will tip over into solutions for global warming. If such solutions do not include a scientific consideration of nucular power, that would be a blatant abandonment of scientific inquiry. If a teacher is found 'guilty' of such misfeasance/malfeasance, do you think he/she should be fired?


Posted by perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2008 at 3:07 pm

The bottom line is that I simply don't trust the k-12 system to teach anything accurately anymore. There is far too much leniency for political bias, meaning all teachers have the ability to NOT teach whatever goes against their own political/religious leanings.

So, I prefer that as much FACT is taught, of all types, than solutions..and there is not one iota of doubt in my mind that the bill to teach "Climate Change" means "Climate Change as caused by man and the right solutions for this as determined by my government in CA".

NO THANKS!

To Physicist: The problem is that the entire "global warming" mush has stated for many years that the earth IS warming, which means that there HAS to be an increase in average earth temperature. I maintain that Walter's question did not reflect ignorance at all, but simply was pointing out the problem with the entire politicization of climate change.

As you stated, there is little to no evidence that the entire earth is warming. Some areas are sometimes dryer and warmer, some are cooler and wetter, at various times in earth's history. Overall temperature change of the entire earth DOES occur...but there has been a complete failure to document reliably and consistently that this has been happening since the warmest years on record back in..was it 1934?

Most people don't understand that there are cycles within cycles of our earth's temperature, hundreds of year cycles within thousands of years cycles, and that the changes are due,historically, mainly from proximity to the sun in our travels throughout the galaxy, our earth's tilt, the sun's cycles, and various natural disasters such as massive meteor catastrophes or volcanic eruptions.

So, the constant harping and hand wringing about the miniscule amount that humans MAY be contributing ( again...no evidence of this) seems horribly suspicious to those of us with a cynical bent..suspicious of power hungry people trying to make a power grab.

When the "scientific" community can regain some of its respect and credibility, by not being political prostitutes to anyone who will pay their bills, then maybe this discussion can return to some degree of a meaningful nature.

In the meantime we have kids coming home crying because the earth is going to go up in flames and it is all their moms and dads' fault, ..from k-12 teachers teaching absurdities.

And you want our state government to mandate that more crap be taught?

We are tired.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 3, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Greg,

Good teaching is good teaching. Your solution of firing a teacher who doesn't fall in line with what is your *subjective* opinion of what objective should be, however, is problematic.

Perspective,

You sound dissatisfied with the schools in a way that goes far beyond what reads like a pretty narrow law change--it's basically, if you're teaching environmental studies, include climate change. I assume it's to make sure the districts get texts and material that apply. It doesn't say anything about man-made global warming, just climate change.

There's no such thing as objective in teaching, I want science teachers, however, to be free to actually teach science. The Simitian law seems narrow enough in scope to allow for that. I can guarantee you that the outcome will probably be pretty bland simply because schools don't like controversy. I suspect the whole controversy will blanded into "Some people think the climate is changing because of things such as pollution. Other people disagree and say the changes are part of a natural cycle." Then you look at things such as the theory of global warming--that would be the 19th century, at which point, everyone conveniently leaves Earth and looks at Venus.

I was in school during the nuclear power debates, it's amazing just what schools can omit and still teach something about nuclear fission.

Also, you can learn a great deal from someone with whom you disagree. I had a history professor like that--we'd argue and I didn't change my political views, nor did he change his, but I became much clearer about why I had the views I did.

Don't think your kid's being taught right, tell him or her the other side. It will teach critical thinking--nothing wrong with that.


Posted by Neal, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 3, 2008 at 5:18 pm

The concept of global warming is common knowledge and doesn't have to be mandated by a politically correct law. I'm afraid our kids will be taught anemic solutions to this problem like recycling, conservation and solarization, while ignoring real solutions like population reduction and nuclear energy.


Posted by There ought to be a law AGAINST THIS!, a resident of Professorville
on Feb 3, 2008 at 6:37 pm

O.P., our children aren't learning enough actual science as it is. They have substandard reading and mathematical skills. Taxpayers throw more and more money at the problem every year and students are still losing ground. Could it be that a return to teaching the basics is what is needed here, instead of adding more politically driven propaganda to the curriculum? We parents do not want to send our children to public schools (that we pay for) only to re-educate them at home. Some teachers already spend too much school time pushing their personal politics on our children as it is. NO MORE! We have had enough. Mr. Simitian - "there ought to be a law".....


Posted by Scientist, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 3, 2008 at 8:24 pm

My apologies to Walter for having a little fun at his expense. As I said above, I agree with those who think that we should teach basic science and logic and let our kids draw the conclusions.

Now let me answer the question that I think Walter meant to ask: how do you measure the "Global Mean SURFACE Temperature", a number that is important to climate studies? My answer would be that I would measure it 5 different ways and compare the answers. Had I presented any particular means of measurement, Walter (and others) could quibble about its accuracy, possible sytematic errors, etc. This is fine and is part of science. If you measure land, air, water temperature by various methods and they all tell you the same thing, then you can build a consensus that the results are meaningful. We have at least 3 ways to measure our body temperature: oral thermometer, rectal thermometer and ear lobe IR thermometer. Each of these has known problems and sources of error (i.e. oral temperature can be off if you have been drinking hot or cold liquids). Any particular anomolous measurement could be questioned. However, if all three readings go up 3 degrees in an hour you are in big trouble and should get help quick!

There are many indicators of global temperature and climate change, and most are saying we are in big trouble. You can quibble with any particular one, but taken all together they have led to widespread consensus within the scientific community. That is how science works in the real, messy, imprecise world, and students should learn this.


Posted by Thre ought to be a law AGAINST THIS !!, a resident of Professorville
on Feb 3, 2008 at 11:21 pm

Global warming and cooling cycles are natural and have been occurring throughout the history of our planet. Currently, just as the Earth is experiencing a very slight warming, so is Mars and the rest of the solar system. This strongly indicates that changes in the sun's activity - and not man's activities, are responsible.
The shameless peddling of this propaganda for political gain must stop. Otherwise our economy, our way of life and our freedom will suffer for it.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 4, 2008 at 1:26 am

There ought,

I'm afraid you don't impress me on this one. I see no reason that climate change cannot be taught in an environmental science class. You acknowledge that the planet is warming and clearly don't accept certain hypotheses about this. However, I don't understand why you think that the science behind the theories cannot be introduced.

Again, it's a question of teaching critical thinking.

Private schools are an option for those who fear the exposure of their children to ideas with which they disagree. I don't. I wish *more* ideas were discussed in schools. Kids don't need 12 years of the "basics"--there's a lot more to learn. Though the Socratic method, which includes discussion and disagreement, is pretty old--is that basic enough?

Scientist,

It's civil of you to apologize to Walter, but besides having a little fun, I think you also demonstrated a scientist mind in action--you parsed Walter's question and then answered it precisely. In your last post, you answered the question you thought Walter meant to ask. And unlike a lot of people here you explained what data you would use and how you would assess it to reach the answer.

If my kid took away that way of thinking from a discussion of climate change, I wouldn't care what the teacher's opinion was because my kid would be learning something basic about how to think scientifically.

So, thanks for playing in the Forum.


Posted by There ought to be a law AGAINST THIS !!, a resident of Professorville
on Feb 4, 2008 at 10:25 am

O.P., I have several friends who teach at colleges and universities. They constantly deal with students who cannot read or write, and are lacking in basic scientific knowledge and reasoning skills as well. The problem has been progressively getting worse over the years. These educators are frustrated that they must spend all their time teaching the basics to students who are supposed to be prepared for higher level course work. If the students in our schools cannot master the basics, then the Socratic method is wasted on them.
I am not really surprised at your thoughtless statement to parents who don't want global warming and other political agendas taught in our public schools. Not everyone has the means to send their children to private schools. This discriminates against poor families. Perhaps you would support vouchers then?
I'm sure you would be singing a different tune, if a bill were passed requiring the teaching of Intelligent Design. It is a much more scientifically sound theory than the global warming one. Then you could teach your own children critical thinking at home, or send them to some private school.


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 4, 2008 at 11:06 am

"Good teaching is good teaching. Your solution of firing a teacher who doesn't fall in line with what is your *subjective* opinion of what objective should be, however, is problematic. "

OhlonePar,

Yes, good teaching is good teaching...and bad teaching is bad teaching. If an environmental science teacher, when discussing possible solutions for man-made global warming, does not include a thorough discussion of nuclear power, how can that be anything other than bad teaching?

You already mentioned that nuclear plants are a cancer risk. I asked you for a scientifically validated study that proves your point. If you provided one, I missed it (please provide again, with my apologies).

If you cannot provide a scientific rationale against nuclear power, then you should not be making statements about what a good science teacher is (or isn't).


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 4, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Greg,

What does nuclear power have to do with the dynamics of climate change? Seriously, it's your preferred solution for energy alternatives, but it's neither here nor there in a discussion of how climate change occurs or even what's causing it now.

You're talking politics, not science at that point.




Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 4, 2008 at 2:37 pm

There OUght,

More unsupported assertions, but hey, I'll play.

How is intelligent design a more scientifically sound theory than global warning? Be specific.

At what colleges and universities do your friends teach at where the students cannot read and write? Be specific.

Thanks,


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 4, 2008 at 3:13 pm

"If you cannot provide a scientific rationale against nuclear power, then you should not be making statements about what a good science teacher is (or isn't)."

The scientific rationales against nuke power have already been made, more times than you can count; they vie with the data that you have produced. Thus, the word is still out. Thus, all you have is opinion, and some disputed scientific data; that doesn't make your idea worth teaching. It could be brought up for what it is - a point of dispute. It could also be brought up in a classroom that nuke power is something most Californians are strongly against.

It's ben pointed out to you that the investment community has laid off nuke power as if it were a hot potato. It's also been pointed out to you that many European countries are wanting to close nuclear power facilities. It has been further pointed out to you that those countries that are going full speed ahead with nuclear in a big way are those countries with the worst environmental records.

If I were talking about his is a classroom, which I might be, very soon - I would bring all these facts up for my students to consider.



Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 4, 2008 at 3:27 pm

"What does nuclear power have to do with the dynamics of climate change? "

OhlonePar,

Answer: Nothing. However, if the environmental science teacher starts to talk about ways to mitigate presumed anthropogenic global warming, then nuclear plays a big role in that discussion. Why else would Simitian be bringing up climate studies, than to push his own solutions on how to fix it?


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 4, 2008 at 3:35 pm

"The scientific rationales against nuke power have already been made"

No, Mike, they have not. Jane Fonda is not a scientist, nor does she represent a scientific viewpoint. Helen Caldicott has been shot down so many times...she is jsut a scare monger. Where is the beef, Mike?

"the investment community has laid off nuke power as if it were a hot potato"

Really? They are busy applying for permits in this country, as we speak. They have been blocked by ludditism until now, but the tide has changed.

You are feeling nervous, Mike. I can't blame you.


Posted by There ought o be a law AGAINST THIS!!, a resident of Professorville
on Feb 4, 2008 at 4:01 pm

O.P., if you are in doubt about how poorly our public school students are faring academically, take a look at their performance scores on state and national standardized tests. Everyone can see that they are a disgrace.
If you are really interested in the theory of Intelligent Design, you can read up on it on your own. Then you can apply your critical thinking skills in evaluating the information.
You are purposely ignoring the point of my previous post. You resort to quibbling, while not answering direct and legitimate questions, thus side stepping the real issues.
I will be direct. Answer these questions; 1) Would you oppose the teaching of Intelligent Design in public schools? - (It is a valid theory, after all.) 2) Do you support vouchers, in the interest of being fair to the poor, when it comes to their choice about what is taught in schools? 3) Explain if you will, how it is appropriate or fair to push some political agendas in public schools (like global warming) and not represent others at all?


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 4, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Greg, nuclear power? It is a very expensive, sophisticated, and dangerous way to boil water.

Licenses? I said *investments*. WHERE is the private equity investment trend in nuke power? Show me.

more

Nuclear plants are highly capital intensive, soaking up scarce dollars and creating few permanent jobs.

Their radioactive by-products can be used to manufacture atomic weapons - as India has already demonstrated.

Highly dangerous radioactive wastes can never be disposed, only stored and guarded for hundreds of thousands of years.

Finally, atomic power is completely unsuitable for meeting the energy needs of Third World nations. It both increases their dependency and undercuts self-reliance and equity.

The Western nuclear industry, stymied at home by widespread public outcry, a slackening of energy consumption and inflated construction costs is placing more emphasis on Third World sales. ****The U.S., France, West Germany and Canada are stumbling over each other in haste to bail out their domestic nuclear industries****.

Heavily subsidized exports to developing nations are now the norm with taxpayers in the West picking up the tab.

Greg, you're backing a loser. Move on.


Posted by Dodo Bird's Ghost, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2008 at 4:21 pm

"Would you oppose the teaching of Intelligent Design in public schools? - (It is a valid theory, after all."

god, it's like shooting ducks in a barrel today - first, there's Greg with his dead-nuke obsession, and now another 'quacker' who thinks ID is science. Darwin awards, anyone? Follow me...


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Everyone

I am not in anyone advocating Intelligent Design as a sound theory to be taught in schools. I am also not even saying that I agree with the whole kit and kaboodle. But, have any one of you actually thought about the fact that the idea of evolving life had something that was intelligent behind it. I mean, the absolute pure chance of all this happening by luck seems quite amazing really. Evolution seems to be extremely intelligent in its development, the idea that the stronger the genes or the species the better chance they have to survive.

If I was going to bet on anything, I would say that there had to be some intelligence of some kind. Not necessarily talking god like or even alien like, but just intelligent like.


Posted by What's good for the goose...., a resident of Atherton
on Feb 4, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Yes, Intelligent Design is a meticulously documented and scientifically credible theory. Man made global warming is not. The point of this discussion is not whether you think it is or isn't credible, however. The point is this; should public grade schools be teaching the politically driven, man made global warming hoax. And if you think they should teach it. Then why not teach Intelligent Design? After all, children can develop their critical thinking skills in grappling with such theories. Just ask Ohlone Par.


Posted by Dodo Bird's Ghost, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2008 at 5:00 pm

WGFTG, Let's teach kids that Trimurti of Brahma has one possible answer to the origin. Would you agree that should be in there? If not, why should ID be in there? Also, which one of these theories is open to refutation, officially? I wonder if you have an answer to that.


Posted by Dodo Bird's Ghost's Cousin, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Right, let's put this up against Chuck Darwin. these ID people are priests in disguise
Web Link


Posted by There ought to be a law AGAINST THIS !!, a resident of Professorville
on Feb 4, 2008 at 5:24 pm

Dodo, try to follow the conversation here. Let me spell the issue out for you. The ONLY thing the public grade schools should be teaching are the basics. Our students cannot read, write or understand the fundamentals of science or logical reasoning. They should not have their heads filled with propaganda that they have no reasonable way of evaluating. This bill is an atrocity. Simitian and his buddies are pushing their politics on our school children. Our schools are not political indoctrination camps!


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 4, 2008 at 6:15 pm

There Ought,

You bailed on my question. I *have* read up on intelligent design. I've also studied evolutionary theory.

No specific colleges or universities, either.

In other words, you're unable or unwilling to support either of your assertions with either evidence or reasoning.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 4, 2008 at 6:19 pm

Greg,

Okay, let's talk about your solution.

I'm going to start with a question:

Do you think radiation is a carcinogen?

Do you think nuclear reactions create radiation?

We'll go from there.


Posted by There ought to be a law AGAINST THIS !!, a resident of Professorville
on Feb 4, 2008 at 7:16 pm

O.P., Don't pretend that you need personal anecdotal evidence as an answer to your question, it wouldn't constitute proof of anything, being simply my word. However, when I supplied you with documented evidence that anyone, including you yourself can verify, that does constitute proof. So your contention that I did not answer your question is as vacuous as your thinking processes.
You however, continue to avoid answering my questions. In other words you cannot or will not engage in a legitimate dialogue about your position. Can you not support your argument through logic or reasoning? Perhaps you can see that no matter which way you answer my questions, the absurdity of your position becomes self evident. You simply don't want to admit to defeat.


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 4, 2008 at 7:26 pm

"Greg, nuclear power? It is a very expensive, sophisticated, and dangerous way to boil water."

Mike,

It is sophisticated, but the problems have already been solved. If you recall, the Manhatten Project is behind us, not in front of us. The expense is upfront (capital costs to build the plant and provide for safe storage/reuse of radioactive matials. The major costs are due to luddite interference (Jane Fonda and yourself, among others). The fuel costs are trivial, and nearly infinite. If nuclear is left to the open market, nuclear will clean house on most other energy sources, with very little CO2 burden. You say "dangerous", yet MANY more people are killed from coal, each year, than have been killed by nuclear plants over the entire time line of modern nukes. Propaganda, Mike, will not suffice anymore. High utility bills, and concern about CO2 will win the day for nukes.

New applications for nuclear reactors are coming in like flies on poop. Why? Becasue it is a new day in nuclear power. High natural gas prices, and concerns about CO2 emissions are driving a new interest in nukes. Uranium prices have gone up, as the demand, current and future, is understood. Exelon (Obama's favorite company) is investing big time in nuclear. There is a huge amount of cash on the sidelines, waiting for the U.S. government to give the green light. No problem (once the luddites get out of the way).

"Highly dangerous radioactive wastes can never be disposed, only stored and guarded for hundreds of thousands of years."

Wrong, Mike. Firstly, these so-called "waste" products are an enormous resource for bredeer reactors. Put simply, the U-238 can be bred up to Pu-239, then used as a fission source for enormously more energy. Secondly, if all all you want to do is to bury the stuff, then it can safely be drilled into subductions zones, with no guards necessary. Imagine that, Mike, a solution that you have never even considered. Much better, though, to just recycle the stuff. Yucca Mountain should be seen as the next Fort Knox.

Third World nations? South Africa is on the forefront of driving nuclear power (pebble bed).

You need to do your homework, Mike. Even if you don't, nukes cannot be stopped. It is full speed ahead. Finally.








Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 4, 2008 at 7:54 pm

"Greg,
Okay, let's talk about your solution.
I'm going to start with a question:
Do you think radiation is a carcinogen?
Do you think nuclear reactions create radiation?
We'll go from there.

OhlonePar,

Radiation, of all sorts, depending on dose, can be a carcinogen. X-rays, for example. Radon, from natural background sources. Sunlight. Cosmic rays. Nuclear energy.

The good news is that radiation from nuclear power is contained. Your last dental X-ray was shot right through you. Even behind a lead shield, you are still getting cosmic radiation. Do you ever go out in the daytime? Have you ever been exposed to coal or granite? Heaven forbid that you live in a high granite state (like Colorado).

The real issue is the benefit vs. the risk. Nuclear power, to generate electricity, is an enormous good, with very little risk.

OhlonePar, you are clearly a victim of the Jane Fonda syndrome. Best to stick with what you are good at: Local school issues.




Posted by Engineer, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 4, 2008 at 8:40 pm

Greg's views of the technical aspects of nuclear power are, essentially, correct. It is safe, in terms of the benefits vs. risks. It has enormous potential.

However, and I say this having been around the block on this issue, nuclear energy is a political nightmare. Nothing is stable. It reminds me of the arguments about evolution (Scope's trial). Yes, evolution is (mostly) accepted, today, but there are still those who reject it. The nuclear rejectionists are like those who oppose evolution, or the teachings thereof. However, they are currently very strong.

Private investment is, largely, on the sidelines, waiting for stable governmental policies. It is has been this way for a couple of decades. There is more interest, currently, but that could evaporate without sustained government support.

The rejectionists (Mike, OhlonePar, etc.) are probably still in the driver's seat. Greg is a believer. So am I, but I have given up waiting for rationality to re-establish itself. I would not, at this point, invest money in nuclear power. It will take a major energy crisis to push nuclear power.



Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 4, 2008 at 10:40 pm

Greg,

So you do acknowledge that radiation is carcinogenic--yes, and that includes sunlight--thus skin cancer.

So, I think we can agree that there should be limited exposure, yes?

Okay, you say energy from nuclear power plants is contained. Right, until you get a Chernobyl. I realize that that's the exception not the rule. Problem is you don't need too many exceptions.

Engineer, you're simplifying my views to create an us v. them scenario. Please don't.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 4, 2008 at 10:58 pm

Couple more notes for Greg--my concern with radiation has nothing to do with Jane Fonda. It does have a great deal to do with the research I did after realizing that several cases of cancer in my family were probably due to radiation exposure in the 40s--something that wasn't even revealed until 45 years later.

Ever looked at the rate of cancer increase after the advent of the nuclear age? Not simply the ones associated with Nagasaki in Japan, but cancers which have a much longer latency period. Breast cancer, for example, was once fairly rare. You'll find the rates skyrocket about 20 years after the advent of nuclear testing--which fits with the latency period of breast cancers where there was known to be heavy chest X-ray exposure.

Just saying there's natural radiation doesn't make it okay to create more of it. We already have cell-repair mechanisms in place to deal with background radiation that don't always work. "Natural" radiation already causes skin cancers, while radon is linked to lung cancer. Even "natural" radiation isn't particularly safe for us.
And medical X-rays have, in fact, been linked to cancer, which is why you don't see routine chest X-rays anymore.

My guess is that you're not really familiar with the cancer/radiation risk research. You don't sound like it. You seem to assume that there's a safe threshhold of exposure. It's not clear that there is.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 5, 2008 at 1:02 am

TOTBAL, "Can you not support your argument through logic or reasoning? "

About ID? Both ID and non-ID positions can be supported with logic and reasoning. That's true of almost anything. However, the proponents of ID do not accept that ID is refutable, as theory. That's what keeps ID from being science.


Greg, Engineer is right about the politics. Listen to him; it will save you typing. On the safety of nuclear, there is no long-term tested control group. We're talking at least 100 years. I don't want to be part of that experiment. Perhaps you should move to South Africa, or China, where your point of view would receive a more friendly hearing.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 5, 2008 at 10:41 am

Wrong Mike, Intelligent Design (ID), is a theory - like any other. those that support ID, obviously think it's a better theory than others, but it is still a theory. If a better theory comes along, ID supporters are willing to consider it. Perhaps you are confusng ID with Creationism. Creationism is a matter of faith and not a theory. Intelligent Design is not Creationism, although Creationists can use ID to support their beliefs.


Posted by R Wray, a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 5, 2008 at 12:34 pm

ID is the same as Creationism. It's been decided in court.
Web Link


Posted by Scientist, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 5, 2008 at 12:48 pm

R Wray,
Yes, one would have thought that the court decision would have settled the matter. I particularly liked the part where they compared drafts of the ID textbook. Early drafts had the words Creation and Creationists throughout, but they tried to replace all isntances with "intelligent design" and "design proponents" in later drafts. In one location they bungled it and "Cdesign proponentsists" appeared! This "missing link" demonstrated clearly that ID is simply creationism renamed. The court also ruled that ID is not science, which follows from the previous statement.


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 5, 2008 at 12:59 pm

OhlonePar,

Yes, radiation can be a carcinogen. However, that does not mean that we should always limit our exposure. People who alway avoid the sun, for instance, are at risk of developing weak bones, not to mention missing out on much of social life. We all take the risk of sun exposure, becasue we understand the benefits outweighs the risks.

Your notions about cancer clusters is an unproven thing. The following link, from a very reputable source, can explain it to you.

Web Link

Basically, there are over 1000 excess death clusters alleged each year in this country. The vast majority are found to be without merit. Inevitably, one of these clusters will be reported near a nuclear power station. The press goes crazy with it, and people like yourself use it as a scare tactic. As explained in the article,

" However, the communities affected by clustering may not perceive their experience as part of a larger random pattern, but as the direct consequence of some local underlying cause. This interpretation is analogous to the Texas "sharpshooter" who first fires his shots randomly at a wall and then draws a bull's-eye around a cluster of bullet holes.21 The fact that the boundaries of a suspected cluster are defined based on when and where the cases actually occurred increases the likelihood that random variation will appear to give rise to clusters."

OK, OhlonePar, you say, "Ever looked at the rate of cancer increase after the advent of the nuclear age?"

Let's see the evidence on that one. Make sure you control for age, gender, race, other environmental elements (e.g. chemicals), etc. If you are going to spew forth such stuff, you need to prove your case. Thus far, you have proven nothing. All you have done is use the standard scare tactics, as any mediocre propagandist would do.

OhlonePar, you HAVE bought into the Jane Fonda propaganda.


Posted by No More Junk Science, a resident of another community
on Feb 5, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Too bad a ruling about the religion of man made global warming isn't going to happen, even though this "theory" has less credibility than ID. I guess hoaxes are considered legal. They are certainly very useful in politics, and MUCH more harmful to our country.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 5, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Observer:" Intelligent Design (ID), is a theory - like any other. those that support ID, obviously think it's a better theory than others, but it is still a theory. If a better theory comes along, ID supporters are willing to consider it. Perhaps you are confusng ID with Creationism. Creationism is a matter of faith and not a theory. Intelligent Design is not Creationism, although Creationists can use ID to support their beliefs."

ID is not refutable, or falsifiable. It's a cleverly constructed theory that makes prima facae assumptions that place its core thrust within the realm of existential statement. There has been much written about this. ID is theory, yes; ID is NOT scientific theory. The latter is how the Creationists have used ID as a back door into the debate.

Web Link

Global warming IS a scientific theory, where the clear WEIGHT of evidence shows a trend that has largely changed the paradigm that we base many of our actions on. This IS open to change if we see a recurrent WEIGHT of evidence that contradicts, or somehow alters the global warming theory.

What's fun to consider re: the minority who want to poke holes in the warming theories is that they may very well need to be corrected in a direction that is more *extreme* (re: warming) that they are now. That's science.


Posted by There ought to be a law AGAINST THIS !!, a resident of Professorville
on Feb 5, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Yes Mike, the *sheer weight* of junk science is on your side.
O.P., I see you still don't have what it takes to answer my questions to you, although you are quibbling now with Greg.
Mr. Simitian should be thrown out of office for filling our children's minds with pure garbage.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 5, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Greg,

I said nothing about cancer clusters. What you don't seem to realize is that epidemiological studies of this sort don't tend to be funded, so we have gap of research. (Another huge problem is the latency period of many radiation-induced cancers. So what studies there are tend to be focused on "dirty" cancers, such as thyroid, which are pretty much always caused by radiation.) So, disproven--no, I wish that were the case.

But Jane Fonda? I couldn't even tell you what her stand on nuclear power is. I am, however, interested in the work of the late Dr. John Gofman. Some of his books are online and his credentials were excellent. He was both an expert on cell biology and nuclear physics
As well as being a professor emeritus at Berkeley, he was also head of biomedical research at Lawrence Livermore Lab.

And, believe me, HE was worried about the carcinogenic effects of low-level radiation.

Here's one of his books:
Web Link

Now, maybe you'll disagree with him, but from the sounds of it, you didn't even know that this was out there and I don't get the feeling you're both a leading researcher in medicine and nuclear chemistry.

And, yes, we may need sunshine, but skin cancer is still caused by it. The question becomes, then, is nuclear power a necessary evil? And opinions vary on this one.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 5, 2008 at 2:34 pm

There Ought,

Feeling neglected?

You made claims and then failed to support them. Yes, your "anecdotal" evidence would simply be your word, but I would then cross-check them. See if there had been independent complaints about literacy at the college in question--a high percentage of students, for example, in remedial English classes.

You made a claim about Intelligent Design, but failed to support that claim. Nor, for that matter, have you effectively disputed the science behind global warming. For example, which part of it do you dispute and why? There are some honest differences in interpretation of data and what it means within the scientific community--but you're not even going there.

So what hypotheses can be drawn from Intelligent Design and how can they be tested? What does it predict? How do you use it as a scientific theory in the field? I mean, say you picked up a jaw speciman, how would the theory of ID be applied?

The science behind global warming, on the other hand, has hypotheses. Predictive models are created. Maybe the hypotheses are wrong, but they, unlike Intelligent Design, fall within parameters of scientific inquiry--hypotheses that can be tested and have predictive value. Empiricism.

Now this discussion is a fine example of why science should be taught in school--you shouldn't have made that kind of mistake.


Posted by R Wray, a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 5, 2008 at 4:56 pm

In an "environmental science" class, suppose we show the school kids Bob Carter's 4-part talk on global warming:
Web Link
I predict they wouldn't get much from it. They don't have a sufficient foundation in science. A proper teaching procedure is NOT to just throw out a bunch of stuff and see if any sticks to the wall. A proper approach is to teach material in a well thought out hierarchical order with the basic foundation first and then proceeding in a step-by-step manner with each step learned before building to the next. This leads to the child's conceptual development. Environmental science has way too many prerequisites for K-12 schools.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 5, 2008 at 5:36 pm

Depends on what is meant by environmental science, doesn't it? Certainly you can introduce kids to the idea of an ecosystem and stuff like the life cycle of frogs and the interactions and interdependencies of the different parts of the environment.


Posted by RC, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 5, 2008 at 5:49 pm

R Wray,
er, that's why California periodically goes through a textbook adoption process - last year was the science textbook adoption, this year is for math. K-12 education and what can be taught in the classroom is not as arbitrary as some are making it out to be.

That said, and although in my opinion global warming is a scientific fact that should be taught, the government has no business legislating a school district's curriculum.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 5, 2008 at 6:25 pm

RC,

I think that private schools should not have their curriculum dictated by the government, but public schools are a public trust, so I don't really think it should be a free-for-all. It's only fair to the kids to have some across-the-board standards.

The bill does say "climate change", not "global warming"--so I think the subject could be taught in a variety of ways. I mean just going into the science of the "greenhouse effect", first discovered in 1824, could keep everyone busy for a while.

Basically, descriptive, not prescriptive--how things happen, not what we should or should not do about it.


Posted by RC, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 5, 2008 at 6:36 pm

"I think that private schools should not have their curriculum dictated by the government, but public schools are a public trust, so I don't really think it should be a free-for-all. It's only fair to the kids to have some across-the-board standards."
Absolutely! That's why we have Secretaries of Education at the national and state levels, among others. But much as I generally like Joe Simitian, (I'd like him even more if he tightened the charter school legislation) he's off the mark on this one. Let the science educators at the top of their reporting chain decide what to include in the curriculum. It's not a state senator issue. I trust that the science educators will make the right decision without being forced. But hey, maybe Joe knows something I don't?


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 5, 2008 at 6:49 pm

RC,

Okay, I see your point. It would be nice to know what was behind this.


Posted by RealityCheck, a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 5, 2008 at 11:32 pm

RC:
"Let the science educators at the top of their reporting chain decide what to include in the curriculum."

If you really believe that will be allowed to happen, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you real cheap!

And OP, although what you say makes perfect sense - teach the science & not the solutions, that'll never happen either - knowledge is power - kept 'em in the dark and deny, deny, deny.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 6, 2008 at 12:05 am

Well, geez, RealityCheck, where did you learn about the scientific method? I could have sworn I learned it in school (though my school always managed to skip the chapter on evolution--at that time, apparently, a creationist paragraph or so was required in the textbooks . . . fortunately, I had a chance to study an aspect of it later and know a whole lot about teeth as a result)


Posted by perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 6, 2008 at 7:14 am

OP, even "greenhouse effect" does not consistently cause a temperature increase or decrease. The effect depends on many complex factors.

That is the problem of this proposed bill by Simitian..it pre-supposes that certain concepts are straightforward, and requires teaching in our schools.

NOT.

What schools need to teach in science is the difference between scientifically drawn conclusions that are KNOWN FACT, and what are competing THEORIES and the facts/reasons behind the theories.

For example..fact: Atmospheric particles may affect temperatures in certain conditions... Fact: Core sampling has shown that at certain periods in our earth's history an increase in particulate matter happened at the same time as an ice age and at others yadda yadda.

What you want is to teach conclusions which support your theory. And what the rest of us are saying is that this happens already enough without legislating it in.

The most important thing to teach, which I have NOT seen at all in our curriculum so far until a particularly strong science teacher in 9th grade, is to teach critical and logical analysis, how to discern fact from opinion, and how to recognize what is "advertising" or propoganda.

There is a great curriculum for teaching this, called Critical Thinking Skills, which is for K-8th grade..and I would completely support THAT being "legislated" in..it draws no conclusions, it simply helps how to think.

No, I have no interest financially and I don't know anyone who does in this curriculum.
We really need that in our society.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 6, 2008 at 1:28 pm

Perspective,

I'm not for teaching my conclusions. I use the term "greenhouse effect" to describe a theory created in the 19th century--that it is not consistent is worth teaching. It seems to me that what you teach in a science course is the scientific process. Hypothesis; prediction drawn from hypothesis; test of hypothesis. The theories regarding climate change fall into the category of hypotheses.

So, yes, it's critical thinking and analysis as applied to *science*--specifically, the empirical process. I think it's less effective to teach critical thinking when its detached from a subject. (It's a lot easier for a lot of people to learn and *remember* something concrete than something abstract.

Science, taught well, has both a show-and-tell aspect to it. I mean I can tell a great deal about human evolution, not because I read the term "bipedal locomotion" but because I also picked up some femur casts and saw how they differed from one another.) Science can be a wonderfully hands-on process for kids. Let's look at tree rings. Let's look at substrates Let's look at what's found where when.

I mean, let's look at glaciation; l think it's fascinating that alligators once thrived in the Arctic. Let's look at the various effects that rising water temperatures appear to cause, good and bad.

And gradually our kids gaint the tools they need to evaluate the political debate over global warming.


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 6, 2008 at 3:36 pm

OhlonePar,

"I said nothing about cancer clusters"

Actually, I think you did:

"that several cases of cancer in my family were probably due to radiation exposure in the 40s--something that wasn't even revealed until 45 years later."

If that is not a cancer cluster, then what is it? It certainly clusters around radiation as a cause and, if your story is typical, it will also cluster around a certain radiation source, in a given geographical spot.

I am well aware of Gofman. His single-pass theory, as an irreducible dose is pretty much a "so what?" issue. If you take him at his word, we would never go outside in the sun, never fly in a commericial airplane, never get a mamogram, never get an x-ray, never live in Colorado, etc. He is famous for making over-the top statements like,

" In 1970, he testified in favor of a legislative bill to ban commercial nuclear reactors in New York City and told the City Council that a reactor in urban environs would be "equal in the opposite direction to all the medical advances put together in the last 25 years." " (New York Times obit.)

Nevertheless, Gofman supported nuclear missles, as a deterrent. I'm not sure how anyone can resolve that notion with his general opposition, consistently expressed, to nuclear power to generate electricity. Can you, OhlonePar?

As with many excellent minds, he got a bee in his bonnet, and came to believe his own cause, becasue, well, it was his cause. Such an approach, unfortunately, describes the current anti-nuclear crowd. Cost-benefit is never considered in a realistic way. For example, what is the cost of increased poverty in this, and other countries, if nuclear power could alleviate it?


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 6, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Greg,

It wasn't a cancer cluster because by the time the cancers were identified the women involved were nowhere near their area of exposure and lived in different states. (The average latency period between radiation exposure and breast cancer is *25* years. The only reason the causal link between the two was discovered was because there was a high rate of breast cancer in women who'd been exposed to multiple chest X-rays as teenagers.)

Cancer clusters refer to cancers that appear in the same geographic area over a particular period of time. In the case of cancers where there are long latency periods and have more than one cause, it is very difficult to establish links. Doesn't mean that they don't exist. The women were exposed, they did come down with cancer decades later, and two of them died before the government bothered to reveal it had been shooting radioactive iodine into the air. So, they're not in any studies. No one asked where they'd been in their teens. We don't really track environmental exposure well.

By the way, the article you sent did *not* debunk cancer clusters. It pointed out that they are much less common than people assume. I was already aware of it.

One of the genuine clusters the article identified was the childhood leukemia cluster that appeared between 1997-2001 in Fallon, Nevada. Another appeared in southwestern Utah. In both cases, radiation from nuclear testing is a possible cause, though no one's certain (rocket fuel, a virus were among some other theories). Nevada had more than 400 nuclear tests. Do you think that has zero to do with its high cancer rate?

Do you even read your own links?

Gofman's views evolved over time. My point, as far as this discussion goes, is that it's not at all clear that nuclear power plants are safe and that there are safe levels of radiation.

Maybe you think nuclear power is worth the risk--fine. But you're prone to dismissing views which are not yours with a contempt that is unwarranted.

Fact is, as you're acknowledging, is that nuclear power isn't risk-free. Furthermore, research in this area is *far* from complete. There's no consensus as to the long-term effects of Chernobyl. Hell, we haven't seen all the effects of Chernobyl yet.

So, yes, I'm more cautious than you are about it. Not because I'm a follower of the cause of the week, but because the studies I've read--and I've been gathering data from peer-reviewed journals for a while--make it clear that there's a lot we don't know.

I wish nuclear power were risk-free--it would solve a lot of problems. We could avoid a few sacrifices quit worrying about the Middle East. But the more I've read, the less convinced I am that we know that nuclear power is safe.

Sure, maybe Gofman had his bee in his bonnet. BUT, maybe, so do you--and maybe that's blinding you to the shades of grey on this issue--that people concerned about the risks of nuclear power aren't mindless lefties who don't know any better. There are very real issues here that aren't simply resolved.



Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 7, 2008 at 6:12 am

"Fact is, as you're acknowledging, is that nuclear power isn't risk-free"

OhlonePar, I have never said that nuclar power has zero risk, just that the risk is so low, and the benefits so high, that it is foolish (and dangerous)to avoid using nuclear power to solve our current energy problems. The radiation release form coal is enormously higher than nuclear power plants, yet we get the majority of our electricity from coal.

"I wish nuclear power were risk-free--it would solve a lot of problems"

If that is the criteria by which you make your everyday decisions, then you would probably not solve many problems. For example, is it risk-free to walk to school every day, or ride your bicycle or drive your car? Of course not, yet you probably do all three on a regular basis. Do you support public transportation? It is not risk free. Compact flourescent light bulbs? Eating vegetables? Eating meat? Allowing kids to play outside? The list is enormous. Breathing oxygen is not risk free, in fact it is probably carcinogenic (free radicals), yet you still do it, because the benefit (life) exceeds the risk (cancer and other diseases).

I am glad to see you agree that nuclear would solve many problems. Most anti-nuclear folk won't go that far.

BTW, you seem to be misunderstanding cancer clusters. They absolutely exist, and show up quite often. The point of the article I provided was that this is to be expected on a purely statistical basis, and that when it seems be statistically significant, there has, to this point, not been a confirmed cause determined (other than the high exposure cases, like watch dial painters or chemical workers). These clusters show up in areas with and without known radiation exposure. To suggest that radiation is the cause of the Fallon cluster is pure speculation on your part.


Posted by Brian, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 7, 2008 at 9:47 am

There are NO energy options that are 100% risk free. How many people will suffer and die because we will not build enough power plants, or drill in Anwar, or develop nuclear energy, or do any number of things to develop the resources we need for our ever growing population?
Energy costs will escalate and be out of reach for the poor. The infirm and the elderly who cannot do wthout things like air conditioning and heating (and who many times are on fixed incomes) will not be able to keep absorbing the increasing costs. There are very real consequences for doing nothing.
Some people are so cautious about nuclear power. They want to wait until science has ivestigated everything fully. Yet, when it comes to global warming, many of these same people have no problem rushing ahead with economically damaging legislation to curtail CO2 emissions, long before the science on the matter has been settled.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2008 at 12:02 am

No, Greg. Unfortunately, I do know what a cancer cluster is. As for the group of three women in my family who came down with cancer--well, a couple of things--the incidents don't fit a hereditary pattern for several reasons--not the least being is that occurrence was at the same time instead of the same age. The occurrences are well above random occurrence.

Basically, it fits the profile of environmental exposure of some kind. I hadn't even thought of radiation when I began trying to figure out what was going on. I started with heriditary patterns and with a shock realized that it didn't fit heriditary cancers.

Unlike the various plastics and chemicals you hear people worry about, radiation is a proven carcinogen. Frankly, I felt sick to my stomach when I realized that A)these women would have been exposed multiple times and B) the government didn't tell anyone until 40 years later.

You mention watch dial painters--a particularly egregious example, but there are subtler more delayed patterns of cancer from radiation as well. The women who had multiple chest X-rays as teenagers who developed breast cancer later weren't seen at the time as having an unsafe exposure to radiation. I mean, it was just chest X-rays.

When I look at the pattern of how we view radiation, what I see is a tendency to *underestimate* not overestimate its danger. And this is one area where there has been an extended history of government cover-ups. (And given that history, do you *really* think the government's eager to fund the kind of epimediological research that would establish whose cancers were radiation-induced? I mean, honestly, what's in it for them? Who needs a cover-up if there's no money to look for the answer in the first place? You'll find a lot of the research being done overseas--in Europe.)

You compare the risks of nuclear power to *riding a bicycle*? Give me a break. When a bicycle breaks down, it doesn't release poisonous isotypes over thousands of miles.

Brian,

Yes, energy is a concern--but spare me the elderly/infirm violins on this one. Part of the reason we're so dependent on artificial climate control is that we haven't been building in ways that adapt to the climate.

Economic upheaval v. possibly uninhabitable planet. Gee . . . but, seriously, you're being melodramatic. Our current energy structure is less than 200 years old. We survived without it before, I expect we'll survive without it again. My guess is that we'll end up with a hybrid of solutions--more efficient buildings, vehicles, transportation, a wide array of small energy sources. Much of what makes those things is economic, not technological. As oil prices rise, those alternatives become more economically feasible.

And, yes, the economy will change. We will lose some things and gain others. But it's changed before.


Posted by Bob, a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2008 at 2:32 am

OhlonePar, a "possibly uninhabitable planet"? Gee, who's being melodramatic?
Although you see a very dark future due to global warming, you are ever the optimist when it comes to dismissing the legitimate concerns of others. Sure, the elerly and the infirm can just buy better housing. And of course, you expect we will all be fine without an energy structure.
- Maybe we can go back to the horse and buggy, or move into caves.(but burning fires now, that won't be legal because of global warming.)
Your capacity for self delusion and/or self absorption seems limitless.
Lets go back to the global warming issue. The Earth has experienced cycles of warming and cooling throughout its history, long before the industrial revolution. When temperatures rise, CO2 and other greenhouse gasses are released. CO2 production is an effect of warming, not its cause.
The vast majority of these gasses come from natural sources like plants, animals, volcanic activity, evaporation from bodies of water, etc. The amount of CO2 created by human activity is negligible in comparison.
Legislation to curtail CO2 emissions will, therefore, have NO effect on global warming. However, such legislation will damage our economy. (This was the main reason Bill Clinton did not sign the Kyoto Treaty. Even he was not willing to commit that folly.)
The public has been fed on a diet of twisted and one sided "science" on global warming for years. Now Joe Simitian and others want to mandate that it is fed to school children as well. Let's not pretend that the purpose is to teach critical thinking. NO this is about politics and social engineering.


Posted by perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 8, 2008 at 7:11 am

Heard yesterday an excerpt from Michael Chricton's book "Politics of Fear" ( or something like that)

The amount of CO2 in the air is the equivalent, in amount, of 1 INCH on a 100 YARD football field..and the contribution of non-natural, man-made CO2 is 6% of that 1 inch, or 1 little bitty notch on the ruler.

Imagine looking at the Football field, and a pencil line is drawn at one end..that is how much people contribute to the CO2 in the air.


Posted by Advisor, a resident of Monroe Park
on Feb 8, 2008 at 10:50 am

OhlonePar:

If you're into wasting time with folks like Greg "Mr. Nuke" and the conservative spinmasters who argue that despite it looking like a duck and sounding like a duck, it's actually not a duck, go right ahead, but I'd save my breathe if I were you - it's like arguing with people who still insist Saddam was behind 9/11, Iraq is part of the war on terror, and W will go down as one of the best Presidents ever!


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2008 at 11:14 am

Bob,

My reference to "uninhabitable" isn't a reference to global warming. Look again at the context instead of simply spieling out a rant that isn't actually a response.

Advisor,

Nah, I'm not even going to get into the rest of this--it's easy to find the pro and con stuff on this online. Or, for that matter, see whose talking points are being used.

Though I will say given Michael Chrichton's weakness for the occult, I don't see him as a hard-science guy. The guy went totally new-age at one point--as in talking to a cactus. And wrote about it. No one ever talks about *that* book, but it's a pretty entertaining period piece.

I mean, the guy think's he's some sort of intellectual cuz he went to medical school so he can throw in a little science into his books. But he's a hack. He's rich enough that he could write anything and he chooses to write cheesy sci-fi schlock with cross-over appeal. (And I *like* good SF.)

(Now how's that for going wayyy off-topic?)




Posted by Ben, a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2008 at 11:45 am

For someone who excells in non responses, Ohlone, your post is most ironic. In looking them over as a whole, I'm reminded of the kind of kid in school who dosen't do their home work, yet gets away with it because they produce great volumes of clever BS on essay tests.
It appears you can't or won't address the substance of the global warming debate here. Either you are unfamiliar with the science that shows that human activity does not create warming, or you can't figue out how to spin it. So you drone on about irrelevant things.


Posted by another topic, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 8, 2008 at 2:03 pm

The clusters discussion stimulated this question.

What are the odds of both Stanford basketball teams playing in games against the same school on the same night and ending up with the same final pair of scores?

Since this did happen, does it mean there was shenanigans? Is it more likely than it seems? A day to remember because of its odd-beating outcome? Something about the day or schools that tends to lead to these scores?


Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 8, 2008 at 2:25 pm

The Stanford BB scores...hmmm...it MUST be that we are in the nuclear age (in fact it is probably due to Chernobyl). It only takes one single pass of a radioative atom through a nucleus to casue genetic damage, after all. Maybe BOTH scorekeepers were feeling the effects! It's not their fault. Blame it on nukes. Of course, it COULD be a statistical cluster, with no causal linkage to radioactivity, but that would not sound very interesting, would it?


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 8, 2008 at 2:54 pm

"You compare the risks of nuclear power to *riding a bicycle*? Give me a break. When a bicycle breaks down, it doesn't release poisonous isotypes over thousands of miles. "

OhlonePar, no I compare relative risks of bicylcle riding vs. nuclear power plants. Every year, many people are killed riding bicycles. Yet, there are very few deaths caused by nukes. Bicycles have only been around for about 150 years, so we should be able to ban them, and get along just fine. We could save many lives that way. Of course, there might be an outcry from those who refuse to adjust their lifestyles to conform to the law, but we could just toss them in jail (refusing to obey the public safety laws).

On a serious note, we could just refuse to listen to your scare tactics, build nukes, and live prosperously. In the end, the winners of this argument will be those masses of people that refuse to sacrifice their livlihoods, lifestyles and longevity to ludddite scenarios. That means that nukes are around the corner, big time.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 8, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Nuclear is so overrated that it isn't even funny, especially when one realizes that the nuclear industry is gearing up for a major lobbying effort in Washington. The problem with this is that nuclear's negatives are extraordinarily high, deservedly well-known, and will be kept that way by sane voices, everywhere.

here's more grist for the mill; there's a lot more where this comes from
Web Link


Posted by Liz, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2008 at 5:44 pm

It is NOT the business of our legislators to mandate the teaching of global warming (really a political topic) in our grade schools. Children need to master more fundamental skills before they can grapple with a complex issue such as this.
Since most children do not have fully developed reasoning abilities, the teaching of global warming amounts to little more than propagandizing them.


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 8, 2008 at 6:25 pm

Mike, your little luddite article is absurd, as usual. Its authors want to force the idea that nuclear will replace coal, completely, overnight. Just substitute the word "efficency" in place of "nuclear", into their argument, and it becomes obvious that even near-friction-free mechanical parts cannot overcome, overnight, our use of coal.

Efficiency is a good thing, as always. Who doesn't like it? But to throw the entire burden on nuclear to substitute for coal is truly absurd.

Your problem, Mike, is that you are afraid that nuclear power is just too competitive with solar (in its various forms: PV, thermal concentration, wind, passive design). I, on the other hand, am not at all afraid of solar, in fact, I am all for it. I want both, but you luddites do not.

My mixed approach will work. Your luddite approach will not...and the people will storm your castle gates when the electrons stop flowing.



Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 8, 2008 at 7:58 pm

Greg,

I like your green argument; the problem with it is that it GLOWS green! :))))

Yuor argument for nuclear power is a mutation of common sense that will not survive.


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 8, 2008 at 8:24 pm

"I like your green argument; the problem with it is that it GLOWS green! :))))"

Mike, your sense of humor is, well, a bit puerile, but I will acknowledge that you are trying to be funny.

Gotta do better than that, though, Mike, if you want to make a convincing argument against nuclear power. I would not want to be defending the castle gates when the masses come after you!

The efficiency argument, while always relevant, will not suffice. Then the argument for solar needs to be proven as a base load source of electricity, not only peak load, because the load at night will become enormous, as plug-in autos come on board. The promise of solar thermal storage is a completely unproven concept in real terms, which means large scale electricity production for the long term. On the other hand, nuclear is already a proven producer.

Mike, let me know when solar and efficiency gains (as good as they are), can compete with nuclear (fission). In a feq decades we will probably have fusion power under control. That will probably be a real burn for you (pun intended), since it will provide unlimited electricity...something that scares you to death.


Posted by perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2008 at 6:05 am

OP: Do the math..the few millimeters wide line out of 100 yard football field to illustrate the amount of manmade contributions to CO2 holds true.

Somene can be a nutcase in beliefs, and still be good at math...


Posted by WakeUpPeople, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2008 at 10:32 am

Liz:
"It is NOT the business of our legislators to mandate the teaching of global warming (really a political topic)"

Liz, you fall right into the GW Deniers trap - they seek to make it a "debate" and "political" when it is neither - as a result, you instinctively just say "no".

Then, on the other hand, you have the Christian fundamentalists pushing Intelligent Design as part of a supposedly needed "debate" about evolution.

Make no mistake, science as a whole is under attack as an "Inconvenient Truth", replaced by "Political Science," dispensed by psuedo-scientists from conservative and libertarian think tanks like AEI and Heritage.


Posted by CO2-Is-A-Natural-Gas, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2008 at 12:06 pm

------
> Make no mistake, science as a whole is under attack

When science becomes political, and can not prove its claims--then people have a right to resist it. For instance, a leading Canadian Scientist has recently claimed that politicians who deny "global warming" should be jailed. So--when "science" transcends into extremism--people have a right to defend themselves -- and no doubt the extremist scientists will see this as an "attack".


Posted by perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2008 at 12:06 pm

WUP:

Do the math. Figure out how much CO2 ( which is the big push for the warming crowd since this is related to big bad oil) is manmade versus all the "greenhouse gases" in the atmosphere.

Do the math. Figure out how many dollars around the world it would take to stop all man-made CO2 emissions, ( trillions and trillions), but for no result in climate control at all because such an infinitely small amount of reduction in overal CO2 would change nothing.

Now, do the math. What could the money be better spent on to REALLY save lives?


Posted by Bob, a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2008 at 12:55 pm

WakeUp yourself. You instictively believe in The Convenient Lie because it fits your silly world view. I'm sure you never studied science and you wouldn't be able to tell real science from the junk variety if your life depended on it.
Take a look at the US Senate report that debunks the consensus lie. It is entitled: "Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007". The report documents how scientists who legitimately disagree with the man-made theory of warming are being intimidated, threatened and silenced. They are not being allowed to publish their own findings in the scientific or public media, due to political agenas. They and their coleagues are the silent majoriy in the scientific community.
They are starting to speak out now. Hopefully their voices will be able to turn the tide of the man-made global warming insanity, before our legislators wreck our economy by regulating CO2 gases.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 9, 2008 at 1:48 pm

Greg,

Bicycles aren't mutagenic. The risk is voluntary. The people affected by Chernobyl didn't sign a waiver.

Web Link\

Chernobyl's not a scare tactic. It's what happened. There are less hazardous ways to heat water.

You claim its safe or an acceptable risk, but you haven't begun to make a case for it--well, except that we're exposed to natural radiation. Which is like telling someone to swallow cyanide because
small amounts are found in peach pits.

I'd say the scare tactics are *yours*. Your argument is essentially that without nuclear power, civilization as we know it will fall apart. You have no proof of this--it's speculation on your part.

Perspective,

Again, I haven't said anything about manmade CO2 emissions, so what are you trying to say here?

Ben,

The topic of the thread is teaching climate change. I addressed it.

Another topic,

Your analogy doesn't work. No one has ever claimed the whereabouts of the Stanford basketball team is a random occurrence.

CO2-is-a-natural-gas,

So what? So is chlorine. Something being natural doesn't make it automatically "good".

Oops, gotta go.


Posted by CO2-Is-A-Natural-Gas, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2008 at 2:08 pm

> Something being natural doesn't
> make it automatically "good".

Just like it doesn't make it "bad".


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 9, 2008 at 2:35 pm

OhlonePar,

"Bicycles aren't mutagenic. The risk is voluntary".

My uncle was walking down the sidewalk about twenty years ago, and got hit by a bicycle. His leg was broken. He developed an infection...and died. That makes bicycles one fatality (at least) worse than nuclear power in this country. You might want to consider all the pedestrian (and bicyclists) killed by automobiles. Not mutagenic, but very deadly. Should autos also be outlawed, according to your theories of risk?

"Your argument is essentially that without nuclear power, civilization as we know it will fall apart. You have no proof of this--it's speculation on your part."

Low cost power is central to modern civilization. If power becomes very expensive, then modern civilization will, indeed, suffer immensely. Your luddite ideals will entail a massive suffering for the world populations. Many luddites think that is a good thing. Do you?



Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 9, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Greg,

So your unclue was hit by a bicycle. Again--bicycles aren't mutagenic. Radiation is. One bicycle accident didn't affect thousands of people. One nuclear power plant accident did.

Your argument is flawed--just because one type of risk exists, doesn't mean that we should introduce other types of risk. Again, just because peach pits contain cyanide, doesn't mean we should drink cyanide. Cars cause fatal accidents, so we should all pilot planes?

That's just flawed reasoning.

There are relatively few nuclear power plants compared to what we would need to compensate for petroleum. And we've already had a Chernobyl. The Ukrainians are the same species as we are. Expect the same kind of results with the same kind of accident. (And this is aside from other issues with nuclear power--such as waste disposal.)

You write:

"Low cost power is central to modern civilization. If power becomes very expensive, then modern civilization will, indeed, suffer immensely."

That is your hypothesis. There also seems to be an underlying hypothesis on your parts that the *only* forseeable low-cost energy alternative to petroleum is nuclear.

You're the one who seems to believe that there will be not be enough clean-energy alternatives, that there will not be improved and efficient technologies that will reduce our per-capita energy needs.

You sound more like a Luddite than I am, with your Luddite dependency on older, outmoded technologies.

As for global suffering--you act as if most of the world has our kind of energy demands. Not so, billions of people use very little energy. It's unclear to me what petroleum shortages will do for people who use almost none in the first place.

Our modern civilization is basically a blip on the human timeline. For better, for worse, our type of consumption is unsustainable for many, many reasons. I'd rather we adapted on our own steam instead of having nature force it. As the rich, high-consuming country, we're in the position to develop the alternatives. And at this point, we have a bit of time to do so.



Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 9, 2008 at 5:27 pm

OhlonePar,

I couldn't think of a better statement of the luddite philosophy than what you just wrote.

Modern societies ae based on just exactly the opposite of what you think.

I will leave it at that.


Posted by Scientist, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 9, 2008 at 9:58 pm

I am getting tired of the Greg and OP show, so I want to address some of the comments from "perspective". I first want to warn you about learning science from fiction writers! It is true that CO2 makes up a small percentage of our atmosphere, much less than 1%. It is 4th on the list, behind N2, O2 and Ar. However, none of these three major constituents absorb in the infrared, while CO2 is a very strong absorber. This IR absorption is what holds in the heat and causes the warming. Imagine your football field is a tank of extremely pure and absolutely transparent water. Now add a very small bit of highly-concentrated red dye. Even a little bit would make a big difference to your ability to see through the water. CO2 is basically a dye in the infrared spectrum, absorbing certain wavelengths that would otherwise pass out of the atmosphere and back into space. Man-made sources of CO2 are presently contributing less about 5% of the total CO2 into the atmosphere, but that is enough to tip the balance substantially. Natural sources of CO2 have been in balance with natural sinks of CO2 for thousands of years, producing an equilibrium level. The man-made sources have no compensating sinks, and are raising the overall level inexorably. Imagine a bucket with a hose pouring water in the top and a hole letting water out the bottom. At first the rate of water going in and the water going out are balanced with a particular level of water in the bucket (the natural sources and sinks). Now increase the flow into the bucket by 5% without changing the amount of water going out. The water level in the bucket will rise steadily, although perhaps slowly, until the bucket is full. To stop the bucket from overflowing you don't need to stop all the water going in, or even restore the original flow immediately. You do need to decrease the input enough to slow and eventually reverse the rise before the bucket fills. The sooner you start the less drastic your actions need to be to have the desired effect.


Posted by Simitian ought to be replaced!, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 9, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Simitian has it wrong with this bill - dead wrong. It's political pandering at it's worst, and my perception of this local leader has just changed from mildly positive to severely negative. Get rid of the bum. He's as bad as the other fools that we have been busy electing locally.


Posted by perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2008 at 8:14 am

Scientist: Please explain how historically our earth has had much higher concentrations of CO2, ..in the middle of an ice age..


Posted by R Wray, a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 10, 2008 at 9:21 am

Scientist: Please explain why you left out water vapor--which accounts for up to 70% of the greenhouse effect. Water vapor "dyes" the atmosphere a dark "red"; adding a little more man made "dye" is hardly going to change the "color".


Posted by Tired of Baloney, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2008 at 10:19 am

And please explain, Mr. "scientist", why Mars and the rest of the solar system is experiencing warming. Are Martians driving too many SUVs?


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 10, 2008 at 11:29 am

Scientist, please understand that Greg and Wray are asking you to prove zero, a logical impossibility. They don't like the FACT that the weight of evidence is on the side of warming, and human activity being implicit in (contributing to) warming; they also don't like it that they might be inconvenienced by something they don't believe in. Largely, their arguments derive from a rather obtuse combination of libertarian political theory, mixed with some Calvinism and and a pinch of Professor Backwards for spice.

Science, as you know, evolves from tacit inputs (Polanyi), and a scientific theory is not that (science), unless it makes itself available to revision - i.e. if any one particular theory is buffeted by a substantial *weight* of evidence, the theory is subject to revision, or refutation.

There are some questions about warming, and how it is being brought about, but the VAST majority of the evidence appears to counter non-believers in warming. This is a FACT.

One of the things that always amuses me about non-believers re: the weight of the current warming evidence, is how they never consider that warming in caused by man might very well be *worse* than current projections indicate. I wonder why.

The sheer lack of concern, and seeming unwillingness of non-believers in the latter possibility says it all, in terms of the non-believer's motivation. They want to prove something *wrong*, and approach the warming question (as well as other questions they write about in these forums) with a rather closed mind, almost always asking those that hold a position based on the weight of evidence, to accept that a small sample of non-essential contradicted factoids are enough to wipe out the sheer weight of evidence to the contrary of their held beliefs. Their approach is decidedly at odds with the necessary tenets of scientific inquiry.

The on-believer's demeanor on these warming threads represents the essence of Eric Hoffer's ideas about what he labels as the "true believer". There is no arguing with the "true believer", although it is occasionally fun to engage in the pastime of shooting their weakly supported arguments down, like ducks in a barrel. Happy hunting.


Posted by Scientist, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 10, 2008 at 12:37 pm

I was trying to point out that "perspective" was way off the mark when claiming that CO2 could not be important because it is a small fraction of the atmosphere. Water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas, but its build-up is limited because it condenses into rain, which CO2 does not. I have no appetite for trying to explain everything that anyone here asks me to explain. Instead, if you want a nice summary of the history of atmoshperic CO2 studies since 1820, go to this page on the American Institute of Physics site:

Web Link

AIP is the most well-respected physics institution in the country, whose credentials can be easily verified.

Mike also points out that the warming might be worse than current projections indicate. There is evidence (there was a good NOVA TV show on the subject) that "global dimming" from air pollution and high-altitude condensation caused by airplane exhaust is reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the earth's surface and partially counteracting the warming from the greenhouse effect. If we ever clean up the air pollution, which would be good thing, we will find that temperatures begin to rise faster.


Posted by Scientist, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 10, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Oops. I meant to say that water vapor condenses into clouds, which reflect sunlight back into space, then eventually into rain. This limits the amount of greenhouse effect that can be caused by water.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 10, 2008 at 12:54 pm

Thanks Scientist, I appreciate your clarity.

Greg,

Yes, I am also tired of this "debate".


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 10, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Uh Mike,

I haven't asked "Scientist" to prove anything.

I have asked several people on these boards to prove that nuclear power is too dangerous to build. Thus far, they have failed completely to do so, although they like to scare people a lot.

I am not a true believer in global warming, and I think it is largely a political issue (started by Margaret Thatcher, btw), but it is very useful as a construct to support nuclear power (reduced CO2 emissions). However, IF global warming is a real concern, then it only makes sense to consider ALL possible solutions, definitely including nuclear. One would think that the worst alarmists of the pro-GW group would be the most likely to support real answers, but it isn't true. That old luddite agenda just gets in the way.

Your arguments, Mike, as always, are blinded by your true beliefs.

" One of the things that always amuses me about non-believers re: the weight of the current warming evidence, is how they never consider that warming in caused by man might very well be *worse* than current projections indicate. I wonder why.

The sheer lack of concern, and seeming unwillingness of non-believers in the latter possibility says it all, in terms of the non-believer's motivation. They want to prove something *wrong*, and approach the warming question (as well as other questions they write about in these forums) with a rather closed mind, almost always asking those that hold a position based on the weight of evidence, to accept that a small sample of non-essential contradicted factoids are enough to wipe out the sheer weight of evidence to the contrary of their held beliefs. Their approach is decidedly at odds with the necessary tenets of scientific inquiry."

Just substitute "nuclear power" for "global warming", and the shoe fits you almost perfectly, Mike.

I will continue to debate nuclear power, becasue I think it is a rational and reasonable approach to our energy problems, including possible global warming, national security, prosperity. I am willing to consider all reasonable criticisms, and I believe I have done so on this subject, on this blog. However, I see a true-believing refusal to consider nuclear power by the scare mongers, like yourself and OhlonePar (and others). Eric Hoffer was at least partially right, and he had you guys in mind.

For a luddite like yourself, Mike, to use the term "Calvinism" is quite amusing. OhlonePar is worse than you, in the luddite category, but the term fits both of your pretty snugly.

I intend to keep at it, despite the despair of people like "Engineer". It seems that he has been battered enough by the luddite true believers.

Go nukes!


Posted by R Wray, a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 10, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Scientist: Here is the last paragraph of your web link;
----The basic physics and chemistry of the problems raised by Tyndall were now well in hand. There were reliable calculations of the direct effects of CO2 on radiation, of how the gas was dissolved in sea water, and other physical phenomena. Further progress would center on understanding the complex interactions of the entire planetary system, and especially living creatures... most of all, humans.---
I don't think anyone is disputing the basic physics and chemistry. As stated, these are well in hand. What is disputed is the significance of human interaction. And as stated, we need further progress on understanding. It's not settled science as you suggest, and it's way over-sold by the viros.


Posted by perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Scientist: I didn't say CO2 couldn't be important because it is such a small part of the atmosphere..I implied ( and support mathematically) that less than 5% of less than 1% is a miniscule amount and nobody, ...nobody..has yet to show me why trillions and trillions of dollars (which could be used for incontrovertible good) should be taken from ..basically..America and spent on a POSSIBLE 5% reduction ( that is the most the Kyoto protocol theorized could happen) of the less than 5% of human induced CO2 of the total 1% of the atmosphere that is CO2.

This is a political battle, not a scientific one, and why I do not, under any circumstances, want it enshrined in public school dogma through Simitian's bill. We have enough dogma passing for science teaching already in our schools.

Now, if everyone would stop trying to take over the world with the Global Warming fear tactics, and focus instead on continuing to improve our environment AS WE IN THE USA HAVE ALREADY DONE BETTER THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY, and make us more energy independent AS NUCLEAR ENERGY has done in France, maybe we can actually accomplish something.

Oh, and while we are at it, can we please stop buying oil from ANY dictatorship or dictator wannabe like Chavez by drilling for our own oil in our own country? That would go a long way toward toppling dicators, bringing more freedom to the world, lessening the antipathy so many in the Middle East feel toward us for propping their dictators up ( through the money they make off us buying their oil), and, for those of you who believe that was the primary reason we went to war in Iraq ( not), it would help you sleep better at night.


Posted by Bob, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Mike is the *perfect* example of the true believer. Anything and everthing the left has to sell he buys and swallows whole. Mike's postings, brimming with liberal drivel, can be seen all over the Palo Alto Town Square. He is so prolific, that one begins to wonder if pushing leftist nonsense online is his full time "job". Mike pretends that his opponents claim that gobal warming dosen't exist. What they have actually claimed is that global warming is NOT man made. That is big difference Mike. They also point out that MOST scientists do not support the man made theory of global warming, but their views are not being presented in the media.


Posted by Scientist, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 10, 2008 at 5:29 pm

R Wray says that nobody doubts the basic science, only the role of humans. A few paragraphs before the one she cites is one that says:

'It was less reassuring to notice what the climate had looked like in certain ancient times when CO2 had stood at a high level... a level that humanity would eventually reach if we went on burning all available oil and coal. The Earth had been virtually a different planet, with tropical forests near the poles and sea levels a hundred meters higher. Worse, as one group pointed out, unchecked emissions seemed bound to bring not only "a warming unprecedented in the past million years," but changes "much faster than previously experienced by natural ecosystems..."'

If you agree on the basic physics and chemistry, then it is clear that increasing greenhouse gas emissions without bound will lead to a hot planet. Somehow, sometime, we need to control our atmospheric emissions and bring things into balance. We can wait until draconian measures are all that will work, or we can start now with reasonable and prudent measures. I do not believe that economic devastation will result. I am not engaging in global warming fear tactics; quite the opposite: "perspective" (and Walter and others) are engaging in economic fear tactics.


Posted by C02-Is-A-Natural-Gas, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2008 at 5:47 pm

> Natural sources of CO2 have been in balance with natural sinks
> of CO2 for thousands of years, producing an equilibrium level.

Thousands of years is a short time on the geologic time-line. What happened before "thousands of years ago" .. like millions of years ago?

> The man-made sources have no compensating sinks,
> and are raising the overall level inexorably.

So it is your claim that man-made CO2 is not subject to the "carbon-fixing" processes, such as photosynthesis, carbonate formation (such as the creation of sea shells or limestones) or the absorption of the gas by the ocean?

And then there are the little issues of "Mass Extinctions". Was man-made CO2 involved in any of the well-documented extinction events?


Posted by Bob, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2008 at 6:31 pm

So called scientist, here is a nice quote from a former UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) expert reviewer, Dr. Tom V. Segalstad, about man made global warming.
"It is a search for a mythical CO2 sink to explain an immeasurable CO2 lifetime to fit a hypothetical CO2 computer model that purports to show that an impossible amount of fossil fuel burning is heating the atmosphere. It is all fiction".
Dr. Segalstad is a professor of Geology/Geochemistry, and head of the Geological Museum at the University of Oslo.


Posted by Scientist, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 10, 2008 at 7:06 pm

When I said thousands of years I meant about 400,000 years. We have ice core data going back that far that allows us to measure historical CO2 levels. That includes four complete glaciation cycles, but does not go back the millions and tens of millions of years needed to cover the mass extinction events. Of course CO2 levels went up and down during this time but stayed in the range of 180 ppm in the cold periods to 280 ppm in the warm periods. We are now at 350 ppm and climbing... Atmosphere and climate are complex systems with many interacting parts that can have feedback cycles both positive and negative, so the results may be nonlinear. A small perturbation in one parameter may start a chain of events that leads to massive changes that are out of proportion to the initiating event. "perspective" doesn't seem to understand this. The good news is that these feedbacks can work in both directions, so if you get things started moving back in the right direction you may get a large payoff for a small effort.


Posted by The Doubter, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 10, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Of course CO2 levels went up and down during this time but stayed in the range of 180 ppm in the cold periods to 280 ppm in the warm periods. We are now at 350 ppm and climbing.

Ok, where is your data from?

And how would nuclear power suppress greenhouse gases on a massive scale. As compared to coal?




Posted by Bob, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2008 at 8:08 pm

Here are some more statements from experts in their fields on the man-made gloal warming hype.
First: Paleoclimate expert Augusto Mangini of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, criticized the UN IPCC report.
"I consider the part of the IPCC report, which I can really judge as an expert, i.e. the reconstruction of the paleoclimate, wrong."
Second: Physicist Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, chairman of the Central Laboratory for the United Nations Scientific Committee on the effects of Radiological Protection in Warsaw.
"We thus find ourselves in the situation that the entire theory of man-made global warming - with its repercussions in science, and it important consequences for politics and the global economy - is based on ice core studies that provide a false picture of the atmospheric CO2 levels."


Posted by Kerry, a resident of Professorville
on Feb 10, 2008 at 8:42 pm

Scientist,

That article you linked to was not a typical review article. Having been an author on review articles, myself, I can only desribe it as a "story" article. Let me agree, ahead of time, that most review articles have a built-in bias, but that zinger you provided was over the top. However, it was an interesting history in the context of an scientific argument. What was left out is the issue.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 10, 2008 at 8:58 pm

Tsk, tsk, Greg,

I was going to let you politely withdraw with your facesaving Parthian shot, but your continuing snipes don't cut it.

You backed off because you can't make an argument that nuclear power plants and bicycles pose equal threats.

We already *know* that nuclear power plants are not *always* safe--Chernobyl, as I said, exists.

Your job, then, as a promoter of nuclear power is to either A) show that nuclear power really is safe or B) that it's worth the risk.

You haven't managed either. In fact, your arguments and assumptions have been essentially flawed. On the former, you've offered the weird bicycle analogy (what bicycle has caused even one case of cancer? Or one deformed baby missing an arm?) and the well-there's-already-radiation, so-let's-add-more argument. I've pointed out the flaw with that one with the cyanide analogy--just because something can be tolerated in small doses, doesn't mean it's not toxic in a higher dose. It's not as if the radiation from nuclear power would *replace* background radiation, it would be additive. (And we haven't even touched nuclear waste).

On the other point, you've done nothing but made some assertions you've failed to support about how the world works and done some name-calling. Here, frankly, you sound like the true believer because you do, in fact, dismiss the possibilities of alternatives out of hand.

Or let me put it this way, why are you so certain that alternative sources of power are an impossibility? Because when I look at it, I see economic and political barriers more than I see physical barriers. (And, heck, if we'd spent the money we've spent in Iraq on "clean" energy, we'd have a solar panel on every house and a turbine in every backyard. Would that take care of all our energy needs? Nope. Would it take care of a reasonable chunk? Yes. Of course, the oil companies would suffer and we have administration whose policy has been, er, extremely supportive of big oil.)

I might add that Silicon Valley VCs are among those heavily investing in "green" alternative technologies. Do you consider them Luddites?







Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 10, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Greg: "I have asked several people on these boards to prove that nuclear power is too dangerous to build"

Thus, you are asking to "prove zero". Your query asks " prove to me that nuclear power is not not dangerous" Sorry, old boy - you're asking for infinite regress, and fighting against something that's even more powerful than science - determined public opinion, and votes. Better to invest in wind, solar, nanotech, etc.


Posted by CO2-Is-A-Natural-Gas, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Let's let another couple of "scientists" weigh in on this discussion:

---
Web Link

Scientists respond to Gore's warnings of climate catastrophe
"The Inconvenient Truth" is indeed inconvenient to alarmists

By Tom Harris

Monday, June 12, 2006

"Scientists have an independent obligation to respect and present the truth as they see it," Al Gore sensibly asserts in his film "An Inconvenient Truth", showing at Cumberland 4 Cinemas in Toronto since Jun 2. With that outlook in mind, what do world climate experts actually think about the science of his movie?

Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: "Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention."
---
Web Link

Climate change

Patterson appeared before the Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development in 2005 and testified:

"There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth's temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years... On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century's modest warming?[1]

---

There is an awful lot of data about climate change that does not support the man-made theory at all.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 10, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Bob: Zbigniew Jaworowski???? You have to be kidding me!! He's affiliated with people who think nuclear accidents are trivial. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if he's getting paid off by the Russians, who are also interested in putting forward lies about warming, to protect the latent capital in their oil reserves.


Posted by Good For A Laugh !, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 10, 2008 at 9:20 pm

In other words Mike, you are saying that we shouldn't try to fight the lemming mentality of the ignorant masses who fear what they don't understand (nuclear power) and believe in junk science (man- made global warming). Dream on!


Posted by The-Truth-Is-The-Way, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2008 at 10:00 pm


>> Zbigniew Jaworowski--You've got to be kidding me!

Here's a Bio on Jaworowski:
---
Web Link

Zbigniew Jaworowski is chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw and former chair of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. He was a principal investigator of three research projects of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and of four research projects of the International Atomic Energy Agency. He has held posts with the Centre d'Etude Nucleaires near Paris; the Biophysical Group of the Institute of Physics, University of Oslo; the Norwegian Polar Research Institute and the National Institute for Polar Research in Tokyo.
---

So .. where did you come up with this claim that he had been involved in bribes and extortion?


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 10, 2008 at 10:03 pm

OhlonePar,

You're back at the debate, eh? Good for you. I think luddites are, ultimatley, persuadable, although normal folk will get it, intuitively, much sooner. After all, they can understand impending economic disaster much better than modern-day, upper class luddites, like yourself.

Nuclear power is not a panacea, but it is an essential major element of the power crisis. Without it, there will be misery. With it, misery can be avoided. That is a good thing. Do you agree...or do you like misery, in order to make a purist (true believing) point?

Bicycles are a much greater hazard to public health in this country than are nukes. Autos are an extreme hazard. Coal is off the scale, if you think that disseminated radiation (single pass through the nuclus) is a big issue (think cinder blocks from coal ash). You luddites just like to bury your head in the sand and dream bucolic. Lack of low cost power will bring on famines and revolutions, yet you just march to your own drummer. After all, you will probably be able to protect yourself...for a while.

BTW, I have no clue what you mean when you talk about adding an enormously beneficial thing (nuclear power) on top of an already exisitng natural occurence (radiation). This is like asking pre-industrial people to keep on accepting their miseries, becasue steam power, driven by coal, is a terrible thing, because it adds to cloudy days. As a luddite, you certainly must understand that the industrial revolution, thus the modern technological revolution, was NOT stopped by the luddites. Yes?


Nukes are the future! Luddites are not!


Posted by Tim, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2008 at 10:18 pm

> Nukes are the future! Luddites are not!

Unfortunately, the Luddites keep coming back, decade after decade.


Posted by Muir, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Web Link

Zbigniew Jaworowski is an apologist for Chebonyl. Just look at how this guy diminished human suffering.


Posted by Good For A Laugh !, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 10, 2008 at 11:53 pm

Muir, your link only proves what liars the Greenpeace-nicks are. When it comes to diminishing human suffering you lefties take the cake - you never met a brutal, butchering dictator you didn't like.
Mike, what can I say? Your posts are pure comic relief.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 11, 2008 at 12:40 am

Greg,

Do you even know what a Luddite is? I don't have an aversion to technology--very much the opposite. I think technology advances will be the solutions.

Again, you're making an assertion, but failing to back it up.

Again, your claim about bicycles is a non-issue. We have millions of bicycles, we don't have millions of power plants. Ebola is also less of a health hazard in this country. Doesn't make Ebola less deadly than bicycles.

You claim nuclear power is necessary and safe, but fail to back either claim up. Chernobyl was a stupid accident, not some out-of-the-blue random occurrence--i.e. it was hit by a meteor. Nothing you've said would indicate you even have a clue as to how to avoid that kind of accident.

Or that you know what to do with nuclear waste.

You're dismissive of cleaner technologies--but, again, with nothing more but name-calling. Again, if we spent the money we'd spent in Iraq on solar and wind power, we'd have sources of affordable energy. Moore's law indicates that solar power, in particular, will only become more affordable.

Nuclear power, on the other hand, relies on expensive plants and expensive waste storage. (I mean, you think it's cheap to shoot stuff into the Sun?)

Just because you think it's beneficial doesn't keep it from being radioactive. And radiation is bad for us on the cellular level--it damages the p53 gene, responsible for tumor suppression (and found to be malfunctioning in 50 percent of all cancers). Radiation is one carinogen that's undisputed.

But maybe you simply don't believe in medical research.

So *do* you consider Silicon Valley VCs Luddites, given their funding of green technologies?

Get back to me and also go visit Wikipedia for me and look up old Ned. It wasn't fear of technology that drove the guy, but job displacement. And, in that sense, his fear was well-founded.


Posted by Good For A Laugh !, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 11, 2008 at 10:03 am

OhlonePar, if you are so afraid of radiation, then you can choose not to get chest or dental x-rays. I never get them unless it is absolutely necessary. A person can limit their exposure to many sources of radiation. You could get rid of all kinds of low level sources, such as cell phones and other electronic devices - even your computer.
However, you will get the best results in ensuring your safety by giving up driving and avoiding the roadways, since your chances of dying in a traffic accident are far greater than your chances of dying from raidition exposure. (In fact you get a double benefit here in also lowering your CO2 output.)


Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 11, 2008 at 1:04 pm

OhlonePar,

People who try to make a Frankenstein creature out of nuclear power plants are luddites. Why? Because it so irrational. Chernobyl has been the worst case accident thus far. It did not have a containment building (unlike all U.S. plants, like Three Mile Island). The deaths at Chernobyl, while tragic, were limited mostly to the immediate responders. The absurd long-term predictions of future cancers, by the luddite crowd, are nothing more than scare tactics (based on the Gofman single pass theory). Oh yes, OP, you are a luddite, even though you probably now accept automated knitting frames, perhaps even the cotton gin.

It is hard to figure out your risk analysis, if it can be called that. Many more people are killed each year by bicycle riding, compared to nuclear power plants. A simple question can be posed: If bicycle riding were to be banned, people would still go on with their lives, pretty much without effect; if electrcity supplies are cut back by 20%, for example, many peoples' lives would be harmed. It is called risk-beneift analysis, and nukes have it way over bicycles on this score.

I am not dismissive of alternative technologies. I am all for them. However, promises do not usually yield results. The latest craze is solar thermal, with storage. I hope it works. The question is, if it does not work, and demand continues to climb, and you luddites curtail nuclear, then what? Nukes and alternatives are NOT mutually exclusive.

Shootng stuff to the sun? Why do that when it can be bred into more fuel, then disposed of in subduction zones? That is not expensive, once the profit from doing so is calculated.

You, correctly, state that nuclear power is capital intensive, upfront. However, you fail to mention that the cost of the fuels is relatively small, unlike coal, oil, gas. Why not let nuclear compete in the open market with the fossil fuels and alternatives? If it can't make it, it will die off. India and China cleary think that it is a good bet, not to mention France. Don't forget that nuclear should get a carbon credit, just like the alternatives that do not produce CO2...perhaps Al Gore can offset his excess carbon production with investments in nukes.

Radiation CAN be bad, if it is at a high enough level. However, we use radiation all the time, to great benefit, in medicine and medical research. If you are truly concerned about low level radiation, you should be outraged with the burning of coal, which produces enormously more low level radiation in the environment, compared with nucler power plants.

VCs invest in new technologies all the time. That is why they exist. I am very happy to see them taking the risk on alternative energies. Investment in nuclear plants is very strong in foreign countries (e.g. GE), and it will become very strong in this country, once the luddites are driven to the sidelines. Apologies to "Engineer", but I think he is just burned out on this one, even though he appears to support the underlying arguments.

Nukes are the future (at least a good portion of it)!

Luddites can just wistfully read Byron. King Lutt is dead.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 12, 2008 at 12:25 am

Greg,

You have a rather strange notion that everything will be done right regarding nuclear power. There's no history of that. The deaths from Chernobyl are *heavily* disputed. You are, of course, taking the numbers that favor your position. Sorry, given the history of concealment in the Soviet Union, I'm not buying that all reporting's been above-board. And, again, many radiation-induced cancers have long latency periods. We haven't seen all the Chernobyl-caused cancers yet.

One thing we haven't brought up is, of course, that nuclear power plants would be natural terrorist targets. Malfunctions and human factors caused Chernobyl and Three-Mile Island. Just think what sabotage could do.

Yes, we use radiation in medical research--that's how we know that EVEN X-rays can be carcinogenic. The reason we know so damn much about how radiation causes cancer and the extended latency periods is because medical researchers were able to carefully track what happened to people who had had multiple X-rays. Again, that's why you no longer have an annual chest X-ray. The risk ain't worth it unless you fall into high-risk categories--i.e. smokers over 50.

Again, I wonder why you're so convinced of the wisdom of this when you truly seem to know very little about the human response to radiation. X-rays are low-dose. And, yes, they cause cancer.

Breeding into more fuel means handling highly radioactive material and that is high-risk in and of itself. It also adds to the expense. And it doesn't answer the question of how to store stuff with a half life of tens of thousands of years. That's expensive.

Good for a laugh,

I *do* limit my X-ray exposure. I also drive defensively. One's driving risk can be minimized, though not eradicated by being a skilled (and careful) driver. And, as someone who once had a job that involved checking out traffic accidents, I'm a huge believer in seat belts.

I think it's idiotic not to minimize one's risk. With my family's history, it's possible there's a defective p53 gene--there's some interesting research in that area. I well may be more sensitive to radiation damage than you.

Greg, back to nuclear power.

Now, let's look at expense. There was an interesting story in the journal this morning about how there is a move to get electricity to the 1.4 billion people on the planet without it. One company (Stanford MBA) has developed an LED powerful enough to light a room using solar cells. The light costs $40 and lasts for years. No grid required, no construction, no power plant maintenance, minimal waste disposal.

Now *that's* cheap. And safe. And renewable. It does, however, decentralize power generation--so there's a very large industry that's going to fight those kind of alternatives in first-world countries.

Unlike nuclear power, which because of its risk factors must be centralized and must have certain fixed high costs (those containment structurs you so proudly mention; the monitoring), the price of solar technology should keep dropping. With the price of oil continuing to climb, we're getting to a point where it will become a reasonable economic alternative for those of living in sunny areas.

Nuclear power isn't dirt cheap, it's simply on par with other traditioinal energy sources--as long as nothing goes wrong. Understand they have to build another container for Chernobyl. The thing's still as radioactive as all get-out.

I'm not sure why you're so unable to think outside the nuclear box, but it goes with a certain inflexibility of thinking you've shown elsewhere. You get wedded to what you think is the "right" answer and can't get past it or even to the notion that there may not be a single right answer to some questions. So you overreact and resort to name-calling when someone brings up objections to what you consider the "right" solution.

Instead of having a real conversation about nuclear power, its risks and benefits, you act as if the Nuclear Power Plants were your favorite football team. You take its imperfections and limitations *personally*.

But, hey, Ned Ludd also had strong emotional reactions to technology.













Posted by Simitian_Rocks, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 12, 2008 at 9:56 am

Meanwhile, back on the subject of the article....

I am all for Simitian's proposed bill. I have a school age child, and teaching them about the environment has several positive effects that I see every day, no matter what side of the fence you're on.

1. It teaches them to be conscientious about how they use our resources. (This is something that kids need to learn and parents around here, with all the affluence, aren't often good teachers in this regard.) Likewise, it teaches them respect for the environment and the place we call home.

2. It gives them an awareness of our dependence on oil. (What are we going to do when we run out? Most experts agree we're heading in that direction.)

3. This last point is really important for our kids -- it gives them a sense of empowerment in all this talk about climate change. It makes them feel that, if there's anything we can do about it, they're on it. And that's the best way for kids and parents to address their uncertainties about climate change and what it means for them.


Posted by Simitian_Rocks, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 12, 2008 at 10:08 am

You know, I just re-read the article, and Simitian's proposal is pretty innocuous. "Climate change" is not a political topic, nor is it up for debate -- it's a pretty hard and fast reality. You can, for instance, find reference to "new opportunities created by global warming" in US military documents, referring to the new and rapidly changing landscape around the Arctic waters.

It's a changing reality that's going to affect all of our lives, whether or not we believe global warming is man-made. So what's the big deal with teaching it in school? Shouldn't our children be prepared for the future?


Posted by DISGUSTED !, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 12, 2008 at 10:29 am

OhlonePar, as someone mentioned before, you are more concerned about radiation because you think you are personally affected.
However you show no concern for the poor who will not be ale to afford the much higher energy costs that will result from the legislation of CO2 emissions. Legislation that is based on Al Gore's lies, public hysteria and garbage science.
You don't care about the economic effects of such ill conceived legislation. Once again it is the poor who will suffer the most, since they have the least resources, in an economic downturn.
Take a look at the huge household energy bills that Palo Altans are now paying thanks to "green power". And things promise to get worse. No doubt you are a model citizen whose home is run only on solar or wind energy. But many people don't own their own homes and have no options.
Arrogant "do gooders" like you, who know what's best for the world, can justify the real harm done to others as the price that must be paid for your wrongheaded solutions to nonexistent emergencies.
Let the poor EAT CAKE!
You are a true liberal.


Posted by Mr. Query, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 12, 2008 at 11:39 am

Craig Venter, human genome decoder, J. Craig Venter Institute:

"Like many or perhaps most I wanted to believe that our oceans and atmosphere were basically unlimited sinks with an endless capacity to absorb the waste products of human existence. I wanted to believe that solving the carbon fuel problem was for future generations and that the big concern was the limited supply of oil not the rate of adding carbon to the atmosphere. The data is irrefutable. We are conducting a dangerous experiment with our planet. One we need to stop. Now."


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 12, 2008 at 11:43 am

uh, disgusted, - - you should get a clue about what will happen to the displaced poor if warming gets up a head of steam. Already we're seeing crop and animal migrations that impact the well-being of millions. Where have you been?


Posted by CO2-Is-A-Natural-Gas, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2008 at 11:47 am

> So what's the big deal with teaching it in school?

Lenin said in 1917: "Give me a child until the age of 7 and I will give you back a communist for life." So, give a child to Joe Simitian and his "global warming" agenda, and what will you get back by the time these children graduate? Will there be any "fair and balanced" discussion about the issue?

Climate change has been going on since the atmosphere out-gassed from the interior of the planet. There is nothing wrong with teaching planetary science as a part of the public school science curriculum. However, it's very difficult to believe that Simitian is not dancing to the radical environmentalists' tune here.


Posted by Time to Wake Up, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 12, 2008 at 11:51 am

Get a grip - this is well documented and nearly every scientist agrees. Our students need to know all about climate change. To give some perspective, maybe we should mandate that the curriculum should go back to 1975 to see how seriously scientists were taking climiate change even then.


"There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. . . The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. . . The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth's climate seems to be cooling down."

Newsweek April 28, 1975

Web Link


Posted by CO2-Is-A-Natural-Gas, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2008 at 12:01 pm

> maybe we should mandate that the curriculum should
> go back to 1975 to see how seriously scientists were
> taking climiate change even then.

Interesting, since there was a global cooling between 1940 and 1970--which "scientists" at the time were warning us about a pending "global cooling".

Cherry picking time ranges much?


Posted by GMC, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 12, 2008 at 12:31 pm

What's the difference between a law requiring abstinence-only sex ed, and a bill requiring global-warming education? If Palo Alto wants to have a discussion about our public school curriculum - fine! Why does this have to be dictated by the state?


Posted by Good For A Laugh !, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Answer; at least abstinence-only sex ed teaches something that works - if it's tried.


Posted by CO2-Is-A-Natural-Gas, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Good For A Laugh:

> Answer; at least abstinence-only sex ed teaches
> something that works - if it's tried.

Short and sweet .. thanks.


Posted by Simitian_Rocks, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 12, 2008 at 1:02 pm

To "DISGUSTED," lest you influence anyone else with your misinformation:

You said, "Take a look at the huge household energy bills that Palo Altans are now paying thanks to 'green power.'"

I assume you are referring to Palo Alto Green, an option that Palo Altans have to purchase green energy for a small additional fee.

Green energy has NOTHING to do with the high energy bills Palo Altans or any other Americans are paying. Gas costs are high. What rock have you been under that you don't know this?

If you are going to rant about something in a public forum, try to get the facts right.


Posted by Hold-On-There-Podna', a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2008 at 1:49 pm

** Green energy has NOTHING to do with the high energy bills
** Palo Altans or any other Americans are paying.

What about the California law that requires up to 20% of the mix of electricity sold in the state be derived from "renewable" sources? For those components of the electricity "mix" which cost more than fossil-fuels, "Green"-mandated policy will have driven up electricity prices.


Posted by Simitian_Sucks, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 12, 2008 at 1:51 pm

SR, read "High Utility Bills Give Palo Altans a Shock", posted on Town Square Jan. 23/08. In the comments that follow the article, you will see a dicussion about the cost of "green power" to residents. The wind power deal the city of Palo Alto made is especilly interesting. Perhaps you need to be aquainted with some facts.


Posted by GasCostsaLottaGreen, a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 12, 2008 at 2:47 pm

Energy bills jumped sky high all over the country because of the cost of gas. Nothing green about that contributing factor.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 12, 2008 at 3:15 pm

California isn't buried under snow like so many other states are, so our bills shouldn't be as high.
The issue we are supposed to be discussing here is the legislation mandating the teaching of "climate change". We all know it is about getting children to believe in man-made global warming and nothing else.
If good old Joe Simitian wants to improve education, why dosen't he mandate the strict teaching of reading, writing, mathematics and real science, instead of all the social engineering that is going on? Now that I could support!


Posted by CO2-Is-A-Natural-Gas, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2008 at 3:54 pm

> Energy bills jumped sky high all over the country because of the
> cost of gas. Nothing green about that contributing factor

Coal-fired electricity generation stations have been forced off-line by "Green"-mandated policy/legislation. Gas was the next choice. Gas transfer is difficult, and there has been a real demand for gas over the past ten years which have driven up the price. If coal were still in favor, there would be less demand for gas and its price would be lower.


Posted by Engineer, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 12, 2008 at 5:01 pm

There have been comments to the effect that an enormous investment by the federal government in alternative sources of electricity generation would turn the tide. I have heard such comments for several decades. Solar, biofuels, ethanol, CO2 seqestration, hydrogen economy, etc. are PROMISES, but not realities.

Here is a short paragraph by Craig Venter, the guy who beat the government funded labs to the human genome sequence (it was declared a tie, but it wasn't).

"...Venter believes, the government needs to make a steady commitment to alternative energy. But not with props like the 51-cents-a-gallon ethanol subsidy. The government should be funding research rather than actual products, he argues, so as not to create "a false industry that collapses once the subsidies collapse." And not with the sort of large-scale, Manhattan Project–style effort that many pundits have called for. If you put everyone into a laboratory in New Mexico or Nevada and tell them to come up with a solution, Venter says, it will just be the Human Genome Project all over again: a slow-motion process waiting for the kind of private-sector kick in the pants that he provided. Instead, Venter wants to see the government fund a variety of competing companies and research projects. "I'd rather see a thousand points of light than one dull bureaucracy," he says. "We don't have to have a single industrial-complex solution to this problem." "

Web Link

Venter's model makes sense to this old engineer. He is adept at mixing non-profit/for-profit/government in a way that produces results fast. The amount of government funding does not need to be large, compared to the $1T, or so, suggested by one poster on this web (OhlonePar, I believe), in fact it could be in the tens of $B range, if properly managed with Venter model. However, no matter how efficient the research program is, that does NOT mean it will be successful. The War on Cancer, for example, has produced only marginal results, despite very large expenditures.

I will agree with "Greg" on the merits of nuclear power, and especially that I am burnt out on the politics. I wish him well, becasue I think he is mostly right, but I will not join him in tilting at political windmills. The word "radiation" is a scare tactic that cannot be overcome in our lifetime, in this country, no matter how much rational thought is put forth. Sorry, Greg.


Posted by The silver lining, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 12, 2008 at 5:18 pm

When all the old lefty, pot smoking, baby boomer, Castro loving idiots die out and are forgotten, then we can reconsider nuclear power. It may be soon if Hillary gets elected. Her "healthcare" plan will surely wipe them out.


Posted by Fed Up, a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 12, 2008 at 5:54 pm

Get propaganda out of our schools.
Get Joe Simitian out of office.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 12, 2008 at 6:20 pm

I'm going work my way up the list.

Engineer,

I never suggested a size of an investment--merely pointed out that if we had spent what we spent on Iraq on altnernative energy we could pretty much put a solar panel on every roof and a turbine in every backyard. A comment, as much as anything, on the economic inefficiency of fighting for oil.

Is it necessary for the government to do this? No. Solar is becoming increasingly more affordable--Moore's law at work. So far more than a promise--a reality. The technology exists.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 12, 2008 at 6:30 pm

DISGUSTED,

Oh boy, ad hominem attacks. Actually, the poor tend to be disproportionately affected by any kind of industrial pollution/toxic waste issues. They're the ones who can't afford to move out. Check out who lives in the Chernobyl exclusion zone--it ain't the rich.

I brought up the LED lights that cost $40 and provides years of light via solar power. Who do you think is benefitting from this? Those who have been too poor to live in areas that even have a grid (and wouldn't be able to pay power bills if they could.)

But, in other words, you don't actually *have* a counter argument or, heck, something to say of substance, so you're heckling.


Posted by DISGUSTED !, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 12, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Stop with the Chernobyl nonsense. It is irrelevant. all you care about is your own fear of radiation. You clearly don't care about the poor. They are the ones who can't afford the useless attempts by global warming hysterics to lower CO2 emissions. CO2 - a NON POLLUTANT!


Posted by Richard, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 12, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Regarding Lenin's comment about children up to age 7, that is not relevant in this case. Environmental Studies is a high school class, which already has a state-mandated curriculum. Simitian's bill says that the next time the curriculum is updated, include climate change. Since climate change is obviously a "hot" topic these days, it makes sense for our teens to learn about the subject. The details of what is included in this curriculum are not spelled out in the bill or determined by Simitian, as far as I know. If you care about what is taught in these classes, go to the State's Secretary of Education and direct your energies there.


Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 12, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Walter--are you still there? You seem to have dropped out since Scientist embarrased you. You and others claim that we should not do anything about global warming because it will devastate our economy. What is the proof of that? American auto makers claim they can't increase mileage and decrease emissions without going out of business, but Japanese automakers are already meeting much stricter standards in other countries and are kicking GM's **s in this country. Walmart said in 2005 that they were going to buy only renewable energy and that they would aim for zero waste and sustainable policies in all aspects of their business. They have also worked to reduce the carbon footprint of all their suppliers. Has their stock tanked? Has it wiped them out? Not at all, they are doing just fine. The fact is, going green is actually good business and will reduce costs. Some of our corporate leaders realize that, but not enough.


Posted by Stop Propaganda, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Corporations also donate to both political parties at the same time, just to cover their bases. What corporations are doing in catering to PC BS, dosen't prove that these inane policies are going to improve global warming. In fact they won't, since CO2 dosen't cause warming in the first place. I would be more impressed if true pollutants were being reduced.


Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 12, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Walmart has reduced their gasoline usage, which has reduced real pollution and saved them money. They are reducing the amount of plastic in their packaging, and selling laundry detergent only in the most concentrated liquid form. Reducing packaging means less plastic waste, lower transportation costs and the associated air pollution, and they have more shelf space for their products. This is an overall win for everybody, and a good example of how going green is good for business. It DOES reduce pollution of all types, reduces waste and saves them money. What is wrong with that?


Posted by Engineer, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 12, 2008 at 9:24 pm

"I never suggested a size of an investment--merely pointed out that if we had spent what we spent on Iraq on altnernative energy we could pretty much put a solar panel on every roof and a turbine in every backyard. A comment, as much as anything, on the economic inefficiency of fighting for oil.

Is it necessary for the government to do this? No. Solar is becoming increasingly more affordable--Moore's law at work. So far more than a promise--a reality. The technology exists. "

OhlonePar,

I believe that you sincerely believe what you believe. So let me just take you at your word on your statement, above:

1. The apporoximate cost of the Iraq war is $1T, although the net cost is probably lower, becasue we would have military presence over there anyway. How about we just cut it in half and say $500B?

2. $500B can be spent on energy solutions in a variety of ways. Since it is government money, you seem to be implying that the government subsidize solar panels on roofs, turbines in back yards, etc. The soalr approach has only been viable, thus far, with government subsidies. This sounds, suspiciously, like Mao's backyard steel furnaces to me. I think Venter would agree. The government should be supporting research, not application. The technology is not yet at a stage to support application, Moore's Law notwithstanding. The vast majority of U.S. citizens will not accept your solar panel/turbine approach without subsidies.

3. If you are correct, and I am wrong, all those rooftop solar panels would not deliver us from the evil of oil. Here is the problem. Electricity is not, in any significant way, produced by oil in this country. Automobiles use oil. If autos switch to electricity, then they will produce a huge new demand on electrons. Most of these new cars will charge at night, when the sun doesn't shine, and the winds calm down. There would be a shift to peak load at night, and there is no alternative, proven, answer to that problem, although the solar thermal guys like to dream about it. If autos remain on carbon based fuels, there is no free lunch...it will either come from oil or land tillage (corn, cellulose, etc.).

3. The essential problem, really, is scale. Oil offers the energy density and scale to drive our transportation system. It comes at a cost, both in environmental degredation and national security. The security aspect can be solved by drilling off our continental shelves and in Alaska. The are enormous oil resurces to be had ... enough to make the U.S. completely independent of foreign oil for decades. That does not solve the environmental issue, however.

4. If global warming is the big issue, with 20 ft. sea level rise, and flooded coastal cities, alternatives cannot possibly solve the issue. Only a combination of nuclear and alternatives and efficiency can begin to address the issue. Nuclear carries the biggest punch, by far. On this point, I completely agree with "Greg". However, I do not think that nuclear will be allowed, at least until there is a major economic disaster, thus I think one needs to think solely in terms of alternatives vs. oil production nationally. If oil is off the table, becasue of environmental concerns, I fail to find the scale with alternatives. Promises, as always, but where is the beef?

5. That $500 B could best be used to fund research in new approaches to energy, certainly including fusion. If fusion come on board, that would be a huge plus. Improved solar system efficiencies would be a plus. CO2 sequestration and ethanol production, from starch, will probably be losers, thus not worth much investment, although ethanol from cellulose has at least some merit. Efficient hydrogen production would be a plus.

6. If oil and nuclear are off the table, I fail to see anything solid, just promises. The economic impact of any new approach needs to be considered in a serious way. Unfortunately, the so-called "green" approach is more promise than fact.

Very long-winded on my part, I know, OhlonePar, but I fail to see real numbers from you. Just promises.


Posted by Mike, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 12, 2008 at 9:25 pm

""Give me a child until he is 7, and I will give you the man"

This did not originate with Stalin; it came from the Jesuits.

Just straightening out history, for those who are disposed to distorting it.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 12, 2008 at 10:15 pm

DISGUSTED,

I think Scientist did a nice job of explaining the role of CO2. Read it and see if you can understand it.

Mike,

Ya gotta wonder about people who confuse the Jesuits with Stalin. The quote is: "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man"--based on the words of St. Francis Xavier, according to Wikipedia.

Actually, you don't have to wonder. Anybody that confused can be relied upon to get it wrong.

Engineer,

My point was somewhat different--it's not that we need $500 billion worth of government subsidies, it's more that when we talk of economic barriers to alternative energy sources, it's worth looking at how the government does spend money. Iraq isn't a good investment.

In other words, the solar panel/turbine suggestion is slightly tongue-in-cheek, though I do think, ultimately, that we will move toward multi-sourced power generation instead of the centralized model we now use--we'll both feed into and take from the grid.

I'm actually more of a free-market type. I think we're moving toward more efficient technologies in a variety of areas--LEDs, for example. It's a shame, in my opinion, that we're basically being forced to swap incandescents for CFLs by government mandate when LEDs will probably usurp both if we left the market to its own devices on this one.

Now I realize that this doesn't address the oil question. I don't think there's a single answer about this. However, I would expect more fuel efficiency--something we've only begun to tap with hybrids, decent mass transit in the U.S. Other first-world countries have it, but we don't in large chunks of the U.S.

And . . . here's the big one, I don't know that we can count on having the same global-supply chain that we've had. Our notion of "efficiency" is one that disregards some factors (finite fuel, long-term environmental degredation) and heavily values others (labor costs).

So, no, I don't have concrete solutions for you. I think if the answer was simple, we'd enact it. Unfortunately, in the case of nuclear power, there are major unresolved issues with it. So, no, I don't have an issue with funding research in the area. I do have an issue with ignoring its risk factors because it would be really, really convenient if they didn't exist.

I think it will be multiple things--a bit of this and a bit of that--so, yes, more solar power to meet residential needs. No, it won't fuel my car, but it will heat my water and run my dryer.

Basically, even if only some of our energy needs are met through clearn and renewable power, we're decreasing our oil demand. Presumably, oil would then be cheaper and supplies would last longer.



Posted by Stop Propaganda, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2008 at 10:34 pm

Donald, there is nothing wrong with reducing REAL pollutants or toxic substances. My point is that CO2 is not toxic or a pollutant. CO2 does not cause global warming - it is created by warming.
Therefore, regulating/reducing CO2 will NOT stop global warming. No, regulating CO2 will only cause energy costs to skyrocket, leading to increased costs for all goods and services throughout the economy. Just what we need when the economy is already struggling - and all for NOTHING.


Posted by Bob, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2008 at 11:28 pm

OhlonePar, scientist refused to answer several legitimate questions to his claims. Just like you, he could/would not engage in a logical debate.
There is no proof that the small (less than 5%) amount of CO2 created by man has "tipped the balance" in terms of global warming. Many other scientists who are directly involved in climate change research completely disagree with your friend. In fact new research shows that the sun's activity is the cause of the current and slight warming trend. There are aso indications that this trend has now leveled off.
Of course you will continue to believe what suits you. As soon as this present global warming scare evaporates, I fully expect to see you beating the drum on the comming of the next ice age. Remember the one predicted back in the 1970's? (Same players, same solutions, same tactics and same rotten science.)


Posted by CO2-Is-A-Natural-Gas, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2008 at 7:53 am

> Regarding Lenin's comment about children up to age 7,
> that is not relevant in this case.

Global Warm nonsense is being taught to children in the elementary schools, although not under a mandate of state law, such as the Simitian Bill. There is no reason to believe that Simitian (or another legislator) might not extend the scope of this legislation to include other grades too.

The point here is that Simitian's bill has the effect of increasing the propaganda in the public schools which will most likely have a negative impact on our society in the future. Last year, Simitian (and others) passed legislation which banned the use of "Mom" and "Dad" in literature which children could read in the public schools. Mothers and Fathers are the basis of our nuclear families in the US--and Simitian does not want public school children to learn that from their earliest days in the school. It is not at all hard to believe that he will be back with more onerous legislation about "global warming" in the future.

> Walmart has reduced their gasoline usage, which has
> reduced real pollution and saved them money.

In cases like Walmart's (a huge corporation with global reach), there is little evidence that anything they do to fight "global warming" works. However, when it comes to their "bottom line", it is easy to prove that changes in their operational mode does save them money.

Wal-Mart Boosts Fuel Efficiency Of Truck Fleet:
Web Link

Westport inks deal with Wal-Mart for LNG trucks:
Web Link

Wal-Mart tapping first solar electric store"
Web Link

The solar power unit at the Chino Sam's Club is expected to achieve savings over current utility rates "as soon as the first day of operation," according to Wal-Mart and the manufacturer, San-Jose, Calif.-based SunPower Corp., from which Wal-Mart is purchasing a total of 4.6 megawatts worth of solar electric systems for seven locations.

While the "Greenies" can fell all warm and cuddly about these sorts of corporate adaptations to their BS (as well as condem companies like Walmart for being successful), the fact is that Walmart is saving money (which is also green)--and that can be easily established by their accountants.


Posted by CO2-Is-A-Natural-Gas, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2008 at 8:03 am

> "Scientist" refused to answer several legitimate q
> uestions to his claims

Thanks for pointing that out.

Climate "Science" is relatively new, and is completely bound up in computer modeling. While there is nothing wrong with that approach, it does mean that hundreds of millions of lines of code are involved.

Large programs and programming systems are problematic, and without "open sourcing" the code, who knows what kinds of modeling shortcuts, or coding errors, might be included in any given program or program suite.

There are so many assumptions involved in this work. For instance, most of the temperature/CO2 relationships are tied up in ice core measurements. The temperature that is recorded in the ice (if we believe the science) is that of where the ice was accumulating--one of the polar areas. So, if it is -20 degrees today at the North Pole, how does one derive the temperature of a random point on the equator for the same day/time?

Few would probably put their "scientific career" on the line by making the claim that they know how to make that mapping. Yet, we have a lot of people (such as now ultra-wealthy Al Gore) running around making world-wide claims based on some data that is clearly local to the place where the ice cores were originally deposited.

There are too many details, and vast reservoirs of data that is not really open to public view, that are involved in coming up with these models.

It's doubtful that many "scientists" not directly involved in climate science have the time to do all of the reading necessary to defend these models and claims.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 14, 2008 at 11:43 pm

Bob,

Logical debate requires logic on both sides. You rant, you don't process and analyze. So, there's no debate.

For example, I haven't actually stated my opinion on global warming. You're just making assumptions. So, nope, won't cut it.

Neither you nor hecklers such as CO2 can actually respond to real arguments. You sort of disappear when cornered and then come back when you figure people have wondered off and spout anew.

I don't really get this particular compulsion, but then talk radio bores me.

So, I'm going to wander off now and let you enjoy your hot air.


Posted by There ought to be a law AGAINST THIS !, a resident of Professorville
on Feb 15, 2008 at 1:05 am

O.P., I agree, logical debate requires logic on both sides. While Bob and I and others have answered your questions, you never answered ours. So it is you who never engage in any debate. You always avoid any attempt to logically analyze or process your positions. I challenged you to respond to me at one point and you still did not. I find it disigenuous of you to accuse others of the tactics that in reality are your own.


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