Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Law of Unintended Consequences

I'm sorry that this post is not on my normal Friday schedule, but there were circumstances beyond my control.

My neighbor was having a sprinkler system installed in his yard, when the company doing the work cut my FIOS cable.
Verizon had been out to mark the cable locations, but only marked his and not mine which also runs through his yard.

The workers all agreed in Spanish that they would just tie my cable back together and rebury it.  When I noted that the cables were all fiber optics and probably wouldn't work simply tied together, we all agreed that Verizon needed to be called.
They'll be here tomorrow, maybe...  In the meantime, I have tapped into my neighbor's wireless network which is close enough that I can get pretty good reception.  So, better late than never!

This week I want to write about polar bears.  Cancer can wait...

When we lived in Heidelberg, young Matt (30 years old tomorrow!) insisted that, since I had earlier taken his older brother and sister to the circus, he deserved to go as well.  So, he and I went to Circus Krone.  One of the circus rings had a cage around it and was dedicated to the wild animals and their trainers.  They had lions, tigers, bears, leopards, a panther, and other assorted critters.  All were in the cage at once with a trainer or two, but then all were led out together.  

Why?  Because the single Circus Krone polar bear was going to enter the ring.  The announcer told us that the  other animals had to leave because the one polar bear would likely kill them all and begin eating them before we could react.  Wow!  When the one polar bear entered the cage, his trainer stayed outside.  The bear was at least twice the size of any other animal except the elephants and it was actively trying to break down the walls of the cage to come out and eat all of us.  The small children were terrified.  I have never seen such a vicious creature.

Fast forward to 17 May 2008, when, under pressure to make an immediate decision by a Federal judge, the Interior Department declared the polar bear to be "threatened," the first step enroute to becoming an "endangered species."  

It seems that most agree that the sea ice floating around in the Arctic Ocean is diminishing faster than usual and that polar bears need the sea ice to float out to where the seals are that make up breakfast, lunch and dinner.  

No argument that the ice is melting - but lots of argument as to why and to the degree that humans are the cause of this latest example of the dreaded "global warming."

Those who argue that human production of CO2 is the cause carefully ignore several pertinent facts:
1.  Although CO2 is a human produced greenhouse gas, by far the largest amount of CO2 comes from volcanic eruptions in and around the Pacific rim.

2.  Even more to the point, the single largest greenhouse gas contributor to global warming is water vapor, H2O, which accounts for more than 99% of the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.  Humans produce almost no water vapor; God has provided it in the form of clouds.  

If ALL, repeat ALL, human production of CO2 were to cease, that would produce a reduction of 0.117 % of greenhouse gasses.  That 1/8 of one percent reduction of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere would have NO MEASURABLE IMPACT on the temperature of the Earth or its atmosphere, but it would have AN ENORMOUS IMPACT on the economies of every nation on the planet.  Economic growth and the development of Third and Fourth world countries would essentially cease, while developed economies could not turn to clean nuclear energy immediately, or EVER if the Al Gore crowd and the eco-fascists have their way.

3.  Finally, it is "an inconvenient truth" for the greenie crowd to note that, while Arctic ice may be receding, Antarctic ice packs are actually growing!  To admit this might open the argument to the fact that the Earth periodically "wobbles" on its axis, placing one pole or the other closer to the Sun.  Since the Earth's orbit around the Sun is elliptical, not circular, it would also be "inconvenient" to note that sometimes the Earth is warmer than other times and that the Sun does not burn at a constant temperature.  Earth's orbital mechanics and Solar activity are widely agreed to have much more impact on our planet's temperature that all of the greenhouse gasses, to include the 1/8 of one percent of CO2 that we produce.

Back to the polar bears.  Despite the loss of some of their ice, they are not drowning.  Polar bears can swim for more than 50 miles at a time.  The very few polar bears found dead in Arctic waters have been hit by passing vessels, and big ones at that.  Smaller vessels would have been attacked by the bears who have no fear of humans.

The polar bear is the single largest predator on land.  Adult males weigh from 775 to more than 1500 pounds, and average between 8-10 feet in length.  They hunt by stealth, using their natural camouflage.  No human being not armed with a high powered rifle has ever survived an encounter with a polar bear.  Below is a picture of polar bears trying to figure out how to come aboard the USS Honolulu, a nuclear submarine, since they can smell the fact that some sort of food is perhaps inside...

Two years ago, an Eskimo hunting guide spotted an unusual bear while with his party.  The animal was killed and discovered to be grizzly-polar bear hybrid.  Very unusual, since polar bears usually kill and eat grizzlies whenever they meet.  But evidence that polar bears can come away from the Arctic ice when they perceive a need.  Lately, some Eskimo communities have reported unusual sightings of polar bears near their garbage collection areas and whaling factories.  They have asked for permission to increase the number of polar bears they can kill to protect their own population.

There are 19 known polar bear sub-populations totally over 25,000 estimated bears.  Of those populations, five are declining, five are stable, two are increasing and seven have insufficient data.  The polar bears in North America are among the stable and increasing populations.  With over 25,000 estimated bears, the polar bear has become the first critter ever to become "threatened" while being part of such a large number.

So, should we be concerned?  You bet!  But not for the polar bear... for HUMANS who may come into contact with polar bears who have decided to head south for the summer, winter or whatever season.  By declaring polar bears "threatened," the number who may be killed by legitimate hunters must decrease.  But, perhaps even worse, any business in the United States that wants to build a new factory, in any state, will be subject to  lawsuits by the envirocrazy crowd which will claim that human creation of additional CO2 will drive the polar bear from "threatened" to "endangered."  Doesn't matter where you live or work, polar bears - which are slowly moving south to devour you and yours - will become the ecological albatross around your neck to protect. That 1/8th of one percent of human produced CO2 has got be reduced!  Prince Charles and Al Gore insist!  No matter that 35,000 US scientists, many with PhDs and all with degrees in the sciences, not in politics, have signed a petition stating that the science of "global warming" is not "settled" as has been asserted.

Well, we reintroduced the wolves in Yellowstone and now the coyotes and cougars are heading east to escape.  We now have coyotes in Virginia for the first time since Daniel Boone crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains!  A cougar was shot last week in downtown Chicago.

The polar bears, yet another example of the law of Unintended Consequences, will soon be headed your way as well.  And they won't have bright holiday scarves around their necks and be drinking Coke...

Get to the high ground!  I'll see you there...


joan said...

I agree completely with you about all that you wrote. It was well thought out and very well articulated. I only ask one thing-
please allow me to have my illusion of the polar bear with the red scarf and the coke a cola can dancing with the penguins. I promise when they come to Virginia my whole family will meet you on the high grounds.
Glad you are doing so much better.

Kernal Ken said...

Joan - and others who may be technically oriented:

The great picture of the polar bears creating their own global warming by roasting a penguin has a small, factual problem. Click on the picture to see it animate.

Penguins live in and around Antarctica, not the Arctic which is the home to polar bears.

Luckily for the penguins, the only time they might see a polar bear is in some nearby "habitat" at a zoo. Sorry, Joan, they seldom dance together.

If penguins were at the North Pole, they would be a lot easier to catch and eat than those slippery seals that have to be pulled from the water. But then, polar bears would be a lot skinnier, since penguins contain a lot less blubber, if any, compared to a seal.

One other small factoid concerning polar bears and humans: 90% of the Canadian population lives within 100 miles of the US border. So if polar bears want to eat people, they do have some distance to cover before they get to the meat market. Those of you in places such as Bismarck, ND and Minneapolis, MN should be the first to keep your eyes open and your ammo clean.

Jean (Mosby Street Gang) said...

Ah to destroy the illusion of my twin was so so bad of you. But you do pontificate well and long.
I was going to set up a reserve in the back yard and start a rescue of polar bears. I would freeze the pool and make it a small ice float (have not addressed the summer months yet) Would have nice bears like Kunt and flocke to join the group. But now must have electrified fences around the yard and maybe even walking guards with large guns, Hmmm wonder how happy the neighbors will be. Was even going to put a coke machine in the shed out back for them. Oh well guess I will restart over and not do polar bear rescue but enjoy the commericals on TV. This seems to be safer and less smelly or violent. You head to the high ground and I will head to Texas and the heat. Only snakes move fast down there.
Oh as for global warming I will take part of your statements and part of Naders and part of Decaprio and mix will and come up with my own ways to help out the planet.
Glad you are off the medical for now. You must be feeling better since your keyboard runnth over.
You and the Queen Vee take care and know you are in our thoughts and prayers Jean

joan said...

Victoria, you must help me in keeping Jean and Ken from destroying my delusions. Armed guards and icebergs in my back yard how unheard of. I know polar bears drink coke cause I have a stuffed one right here with a bottle of coke in his paw. The next thing they will want me to beleave is that the delmation did not help the clydesdale to win the spot in pulling the budwiser wagon.
Love to you both.

Crazy Granny said...

Polar bears have been causing me some sleepless nights for the last few years. Maybe it's time that I have that security system put in.

Tobi said...

I say we eat the Polar Bears! I bet they make some mighty tasty Jerky!

Matt said...

Polar bears and the circus don't mix. That was one of the scary moments in my life.