james

Digging out of the Mess

by james on January 29, 2016

in Environmental

How does one dig out of an epic snow storm like we’ve just experienced? First, it is necessary to admit the reality of what just happened. Yes, that really is snow falling from the sky. Next it helps to have a sense of humor as you choose the direction to dig. There is no substitute […]

Eco-Power for Me

by james on January 28, 2016

in Environmental

Environmentalism is today the most popular and broad ideology amongst the intelligentsia in the West. On the one hand anyone who has been insulted by toxic odors or seen the effects of unrestrained industrial pollution can’t be unmoved by the consequences of humans behaving badly. On the other hand, most of those who call themselves […]

Thirty years ago, on January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger shattered out of existence. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, the most famous member of the panel assigned to study the disaster, argued that the estimates of reliability offered by NASA management were wildly unrealistic, differing as much as a thousand times from the estimates […]

Each January many of us engage in a cultural phenomenon—we make New Year’s resolutions. This practice has ancient pedigree. At the start of each year ancient Babylonians resolved that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. Were they any better at keeping resolutions than we? Looking forward has value because it enables us […]

The Power to Destroy

by james on January 28, 2016

in Uncategorized

In early January 2016, over 100 armed militia took control of a closed wildlife park headquarters at the remote Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. What would provoke these militiamen to take such a drastic step as to occupy a federal nature reserve? Why would they risk a confrontation, one that might even turn violent, […]

What is the final frontier? Whenever I ask my Earth Science 101 students they answer that the final frontier is space. This is no doubt because they have been acculturated by the ubiquity and glamour of space exploration in the popular imagination. The Apollo program conceived in early 1960 during the Eisenhower administration ignited the […]

SC Flooding

by james on October 10, 2015

in Education, Science and Technology

                    Congaree River during the record flood of 1908, when the river crested at 40 ft…about 9 ft. higher than the current flood event (31 ft).  For comparison, the worst SC floods on record occurred in 1903, 1908, 1940, 1945, and 1990.         […]

Consensus for thee

by james on September 21, 2015

in Uncategorized

Interesting stories from the National Association of Scholars on the use of ‘consensus’ as the blunt weapon to silence those whose opinions are unpopular with the club wielder. Academic “consensus” is in the news. Stetson University professor of psychology Christopher Ferguson, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, recently gave a run-down on how the American […]

Grief

by james on September 12, 2015

in Blog

There is nothing wrong with crying. Sometimes it is necessary. There is a time for every thing under heaven. Yet I am always suspicious of extravangant displays of emotion, whether grief or joy. Think of Tom Cruise doing somersaults on Oprah’s couch (in short order followed by a divorce), or of the purging at the death […]

Although politicians have worked hard to ensure high energy prices at least for the moment we are enjoying less pressure due to lower prices at the pump. This is mainly due to the shale gas revolution coupled with a weak US and global economy. President Obama has done much in his considerable powers to raise […]