Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday Musings

Yeah, I'm one day late. But what do expect in this economy? Let's muse.


Every time I turn on NBC's Olympic coverage, I get pairs figure skating. How many pairs figure skating events are there? How can that number possibly be higher than "one"?

One thing I find amusing is the costume dichotomy. Half the dudes dress like David Bowie in Labyrinth, while the other half look like assistant managers at Applebees. Maybe they're working the fry stand after they get done pretending to die on ice.


I'd show you a picture, but NBC, in its infinite wisdom, is clamping down on social media coverage of the events. They are going after YouTube, and make it impossible to re-blog any of their photos. Good idea. No sense promoting the event to which you are dedicating 17 days of coverage.


One my qualms with the hardline greeno movement is their willingness to attribute any and all weather phenomena to global warming. If it's hot, that's because of global warming. Hurricane's got you down? Blame global warming. Drought? Global warming. Floods? Global warming. Earthquakes? Global warming, of course.

Huge snowstorms across the nation? You guessed it. Global warming, or so says spirtual enviro-guru Bill McKibben. He writes:

But rising temperature is only one effect of climate change. Probably more crucially, warmer air holds more water vapor than cold air does.
And so on and so forth. Never mind that it still has to be cold in order to snow, like, by definition. The myriad weather phenomena on the east coast argue neither for nor against global warming. Conservatives are vilified if they ever suggest anything to the contrary.

But when a greeno makes the argument that global warming causes snowstorms (floods, hurricanes et al...), it sticks? Why is this? The power of paradox.

Most people believe that hot tap water freezes faster than cold tap water (it doesn't). Most people remember when they learned this "fact". How has such a counterintuitive myth become part of our collective knowledge base? Because it is counterintuitive. The person dispensing the information is risking his credibility. In short, it's not the sort of thing anyone would lie about.

Same goes for arguing that global warming causes cold-weather phenomena. McKibben's argument about precipitation is very weak (in two years, he'll be talking droughts; I guarantee it), so he wedges it between banal anecdotes about winter sports and attacks on political conservatives.

And the non-thinking dolts who still read the Washington Post will nod in agreement and tell all their friends that global warming is causing snow storms.


The left is falling over itself to pretend that Senator Evan Bayh's retirement is a wash for the Democrats. Nate Silver puts that noise to bed with this thoughtful analysis, putting Evan Bayh squarely in the middle in terms of value to the Democratic party. The gist: A moderate from a red state is at least as valuable as a liberal from a blue state. Indiana will now almost certainly send a conservative to DC.

Beyond his voting record, Bayh was a popular, moderate face for the party. He helped orchestrate the 2006 takeover for the Dems, and very nearly earned the Vice Presidential nomination. Ironically, while I don't buy the spin that Bayh is simply getting revenge on Obama, Biden's selection almost certainly had to do with the relative safety of his Senate seat. Now, both seats represent likely takeovers.


I think Black Sheep pizza might become our Valentine's day tradition. No overpriced prix fixe menus from chefs cooking out of their element. No cramped quarters (at least no more than usual), and no brusque service. Oh, and the pizza is good, of course.



Blogger Memphis Evans said...

Speaking of persistent myths, I recently learned that the Great Wall of China is NOT actually visible from space. Who knew?

9:35 PM  

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