Harryhammer's Blog

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Talent and Taste

Snille och Smak” is a Swedish saying that means “Shoot the Puck.”

Actually, I’m kidding. It really means “Talent and Taste.”

It also happens to be the motto of the Swedish Academy.

The Swedish Academy is one of the Royal Academies of Sweden, which include three major science academies. Sweden’s Royal Academies were founded more than two centuries ago by King Gustav III who, in his infinite wisdom, granted Royal Charters; the purpose of which was to promote science, culture, and the arts in Sweden.

Given such a history, it’s not at all surprising that 224 years later the seeds that King Gustav planted have become Giant Sequoia’s and Sweden is now one of the world’s most prosperous nations, currently ranking 3rd overall on the Legatum Prosperity Index right behind Finland (#1) and Switzerland (#2).

I wrote about the index in a previous post that you can re-visit here:

http://harryhammer.wordpress.com/2010/06/06/legatum-prosperity-index/

Sweden’s Royal Academies are without a doubt the most influential scientific and literary bodies in the world. For instance, one of the many scholarly things they do is decide who gets Nobel Prizes.

The Nobel Prizes are five annual international awards presented to people in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. They were established in 1895 by the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the scientist made famous for inventing dynamite.

Make no mistake about it, a Nobel Prize is the most prestigious award in its field, and the prize winners are worthy of a great deal of respect.

That said, anyone who tries to tell you differently is full of it.

The Nobel Peace Prize is probably the most well-known of the Nobel Prizes. However, it also happens to be the only one of the five prizes not awarded by a Swedish organization. That task is handled by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee presents the Nobel Peace Prize in the presence of the King of Norway on December 10th each year (the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death).

The other Nobel Prizes are presented in Stockholm, the capital and largest city in Sweden.

Incidentally, Stockholm is known for its beauty, its buildings and architecture. It is also recognized for its abundant clean water and gorgeous parks, which is inspiring given that the city is 760 years old, or about 5 times older than Canada and 3 times older than the United States.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. The Swedish Academy grants the Nobel Prize in Literature. Each Nobel Prize includes a monetary award, which varies from year to year depending on how much the Nobel Foundation has available to give at the time. In 2009, the award for each category was about $1,400,000. Also, it’s not uncommon for recipients of a Nobel Prize to donate the prize money to some scientific, cultural, or humanitarian cause.

Having said all that, it bothers me that attacking the dignity of such highly regarded scientific organizations is considered good politics on the conservative side of the political spectrum in the United States. Basically, the Republican Party has been trying to convince everybody that the most reputable scientists and scientific organizations in the world are all either corrupt or stupid.

And why, might you ask, are Republicans doing this?

Because not a single reputable scientific organization in the world, or reputable scientist for that matter, thinks that man-made global warming is a myth, or that global warming and climate change aren’t very serious problems that require immediate attention.

Allow me to introduce you one of the top global warming deniers:

James Mountain “Jim” Inhoff is a member of the Republican Party and currently serves as the senior Senator from Oklahoma. Inhoff is among the most vocal global warming skeptics in the United States Congress and has been busy as a beaver trying to convince anybody and everybody that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind.” Believe it or not, he’s actually the guy who coined that phrase.

Here’s a link to Inhoff explaining what he believes and why:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFjMeFaBS7w

It sounds like Inhoff studied science at the University of Archie Bunker.

Check out this snippet from a 1975 episode of All In The Family to see what I mean. Archie displays Inhoff-like reasoning about 8 minutes in:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROuk85_qi18

In contrast, Anton Zeilinger is an Austrian quantum physicist. Zeilinger is an example of a reputable scientist from a reputable scientific organization. Here is a link to an interview where he talks a bit about science including a brief explanation of quantum physics:

Part 1:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5dNg6pmgPg

Part 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIzMZtQ9NwQ&feature=related

It bears repeating that not a single reputable scientist or scientific organization in the world thinks that man-made global warming is a myth.

If you find one, let me know.

3 Responses to “Talent and Taste”

  1. Fr. Juergen

    Mitsubishi i-MiEV: Das erste Elektroauto steht beim Händler

    Keine Sorge, vier Personen passen bequem in den i-MiEV© Hersteller

    Das erste in Großserie produzierte Elektrofahrzeug steht in Deutschland beim Händler. Jahrelang wird das Elektroauto gefordert und – ja auch das – herbeigeschrieben. Und nun ist es da und kaum jemand hat es bemerkt. Das liegt daran, dass der Hersteller Mitsubishi hierzulande nur ein Nischendasein führt und wenn überhaupt für kernige Offroader und Rallyefahrzeuge bekannt ist. Der Name des Stromautos lautet obendrein “i-MiEV”. Ein Kürzel, das sich niemand merken kann, das keine Emotionen weckt und im Deutschen fatal an “Mief” für schlechten Geruch erinnert.

    Preis wie ein Mittelklassewagen

    Elektroautos waren schon immer ein Thema, das die Medien mehr elektrisierte als den Kunden. Daran wird der i-MiEV nichts ändern. Umweltverträglichkeit hat ihren Preis: Stolze 34.390 Euro kostet der kleine Stromer von Mitsubishi. Das entspricht einem Wagen der gehobenen Mittelklasse, eine Investition, die sich nicht viele Haushalte leisten können. Einen Gebrauchtwagenmarkt gibt es naturgemäß nicht. Die ersten 600 i-MiEV werden bis März nächsten Jahres dann auch hauptsächlich an Firmen wie Energieversorger oder kommunale Behörden geliefert.

    Dabei ist der i-MiEV für Privatkunden nicht uninteressant. Zwar gibt es seit Jahren verschiedene Elektroautos auch in Deutschland zu kaufen, aber erst der i-MiEV wird in Großserie gefertigt und kann daher eine Verarbeitungsqualität bieten, wie man sie von normalen Autos gewohnt ist.

    Einsatzbereites Cityfahrzeug

    Der i-MiEV ist ein echtes Auto und keine zusammengeschraubte Seifenkiste. Innen wirkt er nüchtern, aber aufgeräumt. Trotz der kompakten Abmessungen bietet er eine gute Beinfreiheit auf allen vier Plätzen. Das Gepäckvolumen von 227 Liter lässt sich auf maximal 860 Liter erweitern, beim Umklappen der Rücksitzlehnen entsteht eine ebene Fläche. Innen bietet der Stromer also mehr Platz, als man ihm von außen zutraut. Mit einem Wendekreis von nur neun Metern ist der kleine Japaner wie geschaffen für die Stadt.

    Für einen Dienst als Stadtfahrzeug sind auch seine Fahrleistungen prädestiniert. Mitsubishi nennt 150 Kilometer als maximale Reichweite, 100 Kilometer sollten unter normalen Bedingungen zu erreichen sein. Das ist mehr als genug, um den innerstädtischen Einsatz zu bewältigen. Pendler können den Stromer mit einem normalen Stromanschluss in sechs Stunden auf dem Firmenparkplatz wieder aufladen. Alternativ lässt sich der Elektroflitzer über einen separaten Anschluss an einer Schnellladestation innerhalb von 30 Minuten auf 80 Prozent seiner Kapazität “auftanken”. Für Privathaushalte eignet er sich – wie alle anderen Stromfahrzeuge – vor allem als Zweit- oder Drittfahrzeug. Ausflüge an die Grenzen der Reichweite sind ein Nervenkitzel, den sich im Alltag niemand aussetzt. Eine echte Reise ist nicht möglich.

    Garantie aber kein Zuschuß

    Mitsubishi bietet dem Kunden Sicherheit und gewährt auf die Batterien und die wichtigsten Elektrokomponenten wie Motor und Inverter eine Garantie von fünf Jahren bis 100.000 Kilometer. Außerdem wird es verschiedene Leasingmodelle für den i-MiEV geben. Für den Privatkunden ist Leasing bei Elektrofahrzeugen unbedingt zu empfehlen. Sollte es in den nächsten Jahren zu Fortschritten in der Batterietechnik kommen, werden die Autos der ersten Generation praktisch unverkäuflich.

    Staatliche Kaufanreize für den Endkunden gibt es in Deutschland nicht. Die Vermutung liegt nahe, dass Berlin erst dann ernsthaft über eine Förderung nachdenken wird, wenn auch deutsche Hersteller Elektroautos anbieten. Im Moment aber hat Autozwerg Mitsubishi die Phalanx der deutschen Autohersteller abgehängt. Man stelle sich nur vor, Audi oder Mercedes hätten das erste Großserienelektrofahrzeug auf den Heimatmarkt gebracht. Dann hätte es eine nationale Jubelveranstaltung mit Ministern gegeben. So steht der i-MiEV nicht unter dem Brandenburger Tor, sondern bescheiden bei 200 Mitsubishi-Händlern auf dem Hof und ist bereit zu einer Probefahrt.

    Reply
  2. Scott Fennell

    Well, I have to believe the science community, but that doesn’t mean the globe may also be doing something on its own. Personally I think it is.
    Just look at the geological life of the Alberta dinasour. One minute they are living a life in a tropical rain forest; next they are under a kilometer of ice.
    Yes the globe does change on its own also. And yes a hundred thousand smoke stacks spewing carbon and pollution into our thin little atmosphere is also doing something as well.

    Scot Fennell

    Reply
  3. harryhammer

    Mr. Fennell, according to all those brilliant scientists at NASA, the causes of global warming are as follows:

    “Climatologists (scientists who study climate) have analyzed the global warming that has occurred since the late 1800′s. A majority of climatologists have concluded that human activities are responsible for most of the warming. Human activities contribute to global warming by enhancing Earth’s natural greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect warms Earth’s surface through a complex process involving sunlight, gases, and particles in the atmosphere. Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are known as greenhouse gases.

    The main human activities that contribute to global warming are the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and the clearing of land. Most of the burning occurs in automobiles, in factories, and in electric power plants that provide energy for houses and office buildings. The burning of fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide, whose chemical formula is CO2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that slows the escape of heat into space. Trees and other plants remove CO2 from the air during photosynthesis, the process they use to produce food. The clearing of land contributes to the buildup of CO2 by reducing the rate at which the gas is removed from the atmosphere or by the decomposition of dead vegetation.

    A small number of scientists argue that the increase in greenhouse gases has not made a measurable difference in the temperature. They say that natural processes could have caused global warming. Those processes include increases in the energy emitted (given off) by the sun. But the vast majority of climatologists believe that increases in the sun’s energy have contributed only slightly to recent warming.”

    Mr. Fennell, scientific opinion on climate change is clearly identifiable. It’s given by an amalgamation of reports produced by scientific bodies, of both national and international standing, and by surveys of the opinions of climate scientists from everywhere, including the United States. It’s true that it doesn’t include the personal views of individual scientists. Nevertheless, as of December 28, 2010, no scientific body of national or international standing agrees with the global warming deniers.

    Here is the most recent survey of climate scientist opinions:

    Anderegg, Prall, Harold, and Schneider, 2010

    A 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States reviewed publication and citation data for 1,372 climate researchers and resulted in the following two conclusions:

    (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC (Anthropogenic Climate Change) outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.

    The paid representatives of large oil, gas, coal, and electric utilities corporations have been busy. They’ve spent billions influencing governmental policy and funding global warming denial.

    Read: The Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan

    http://harryhammer.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/global-climate-science-communications-action-plan/

    Both electric companies and big oil and gas companies are consistently among the ten highest-spending industrial lobbyists.

    Here’s how such spending typically goes:

    • In 2006, oil and gas companies contributed over $19 million to political campaigns of which 82% of that money went to Republican candidates, while the remaining 18% went to Democrats.

    • In 2004, oil and gas companies contributed over $25 million to political campaigns, donating 80% of that money to Republicans.

    • In the 2000 elections, over $34 million was contributed, with 78% of that money going to Republicans.

    • Electric utilities also heavily favor Republicans; their contributions have recently ranged between $15-20 million.

    • From 2003-2006, the energy lobby also contributed $58.3 million to state-level campaigns. By comparison, alternative energy interests contributed around half a million dollars in the same time period.

    What does all that spending buy them?

    It buys them the bottom 2% of all climate scientists.

    Reply

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