Ritvars

Cheers to Klaus


Václav KlausVáclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, proves once again that he's the most distinguished European statesman of nowadays.
By the way, for acquaintance with Czech matters and physics I can warmly recommend the excellent Reference Frame of Luboš Motl.
Ritvars

Financial troubles

A couple of observations on the present financial turmoil.
First, the US vs. the EU. I might question the bailout bill but I do recognise that the US as a sovereign country has a capability of rapid response as it deems to be necessary. In the EU, financial regulations are imposed from Brussels and it might take years to change them. Meanwhile, member states are starting to breach the EU rules up to treaties to deal with the issue, Ireland, Greece, Denmark and Germany moving to guarantee savings in banks. The Central has a dilemma: either to enforce the EU rule and be responsible for eventual financial meltdown or keep silence while Your rules are flushed down hoping for "beneficial crisis" and resumption of power concentration later. In extremis, the present troubles might turn out a make-or-break for the EU. In any case, Europe is likely to suffer worse due to cumbersome regulation process of the EU.
Second, socialism vs. capitalism. On October 28, 1929, Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 12.8%, marking a start to the Great Depression. On October 19, 1987, Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 22.6%. Why another Great Depression didn't set in? To the large extent, different responses brought different outcomes. Reagan's capitalist policies ensured that mere another DJIA record was set, sweeping socialism of Hoover and Roosevelt blew medium crash into the Great Depression. This is why I'm rather cautious on that pork-laden bailout bill (aka relief for wooden arrows industry) and government intervention in general. As old chap Ronie said: "Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem."
In a month, we'll see who will steer America for the next years. Right now, bets are 2:1 in Obama's favour. And I'm concerned he's not to be Reagan-like. As a side note, the EU actions are even more likely to be on socialist side further darkening European prospects. As proverb goes, when America sneeze, Europe gets a fever.
Well, we live in interesting times indeed.
Ritvars

Palingenesis


Supporters of Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, hold up campaign signs, one of Palin as "Rosie the Riveter," as they wait in line to see Republican presidential candidate Sen., John McCain, R-Ariz., and Palin, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008, at a campaign rally at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. Photo by The Associated Press When it became certain that John McCain will win the Republican nomination I sighed: my favourite was Fred Thompson, that man with a potato-like nose who has played the President of the US in some movies. McCain looked too much of RINO.
When a time was closing to choose the VP candidate, I browsed eventual names and stopped on Sarah Palin as would-be American Iron Lady. But thought that McCain will take Mitt Romney, a safe choice to beat Joe Biden.
When McCain announced Sarah Palin I sighed again - but with a relief this time. In a week, my relief turned into delight as Palin besides of having the right opinion turned out to be an ignitor for the Republican side in general. An anger, hysterics and incredible make-believes about her are the best evidence how desperate the Democrat camp is now. And it's not just wishful thinking of mine, look on markets - for the first time, Intrade prediction market rates McCain-Palin ticket higher than Obama-Biden.
Barring something extraordinary, the next campaign stop will be candidate debates in the late September and October. Previous showing suggests Republicans might win them too.
Ritvars

Environmentalism as religion

Jonah Goldberg in Los Angeles Times:
"Environmentalism's most renewable resources are fear, guilt and moral bullying. Its worldview casts man as a sinful creature who, through the pursuit of forbidden knowledge, abandoned our Edenic past. John Muir, who laid the philosophical foundations of modern environmentalism, described humans as "selfish, conceited creatures." Salvation comes from shedding our sins, rejecting our addictions (to oil, consumerism, etc.) and demonstrating through deeds an all-encompassing love of Mother Earth. Quoth Al Gore: "The climate crisis is not a political issue; it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity.""
Ritvars

Global warming and forests

Last glacial maximum vegetation. Map generated by the National Geophysical Data Centre


From the desk of emeritus professor Philip Stott: the last glacial maximum vegetation map shows the world only became significantly forested with the global warming that followed the end of the glaciation. So a couple of questions arise:

  •  If the spread of forests is a characteristic of global warming, why then are forests and trees seen as a counter to ‘global warming’?”
  • Which follows which, the trees the climate or the climate the trees?