Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

For "a human being, the question 'to be or not to be,' is the question 'to think or not to think.'" Ayn Rand

30 April 2013

The Obama Civilian National Security Force as Powerful as the Military

In a speech of incredibly blatant power-lust, candidate Obama on 2 July 2008 called for the creation of a civilian national security force as powerful as the military.  There are reports that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is buying up to 2 billion rounds of ammunition.  DHS says they will buy perhaps 750 million rounds for a five year period.  Some speculate this is an attempt of the Obama gang to make ammunition expensive and of very limited supply for civilians.  It is part of the attempt to limit the citizenry to 7 rounds apiece, perhaps.

Well, it sure is a curious matter.  Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz discovered the DHS has more than 260 million rounds in stock.  DHS bought more than 103 million rounds in 2012 and used 116 million rounds.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the primary weapons use part of DHS.  They had 15 shooting incidents in 2012 and fired fewer than 100 rounds.  DHS has a total of 70,000 agents, so the average number of rounds fired in training was apparently 1,657 rounds an agent.  In comparison, an Army officer fires an average of only 350 rounds a year.  Perhaps Obama was very serious that he wants his civilian national security force to be even better trained than the Army and more powerful.

This has a special meaning to me.  In 1970, I was drafted and the Army trained me as a light arms infantryman and sent me to Vietnam to fight the North Vietnamese Army.  My entire training consisted of about 4 trips to a firing range where I was given an M16 whose sights were always very badly aligned for me.  I was never allowed to fire more than about 10 rounds and about half of those were commonly used to align the sights.  Several times the first round hit 3 or 4 feet away from the target.  My last 3 or 4 rounds were pretty well aimed and the Army was satisfied with my shooting ability.  I was not.  I thought I was seriously under-trained.  But Obama's DHS agents are clearly not suffering from under training at the firing range.  He is really serious about his civilian army.

Even the Social Security Administration is arming up.  Its 295 agents investigate Social Security fraud and apparently those fraudsters are mighty dangerous.  They bought 174,000 hollow point rounds to deal with the threat.  This is 590 rounds apiece.  Each of them will fire enough rounds to train about 15 of us late Vietnam era light arms infantrymen.  I do not believe they have been involved in as many shoot-outs as the ICE agents are, so they must be well-trained.  Though one does not normally use expensive hollow point rounds for training.

This is a very curious affair.  The Obama regime has a real penchant for curious affairs which the press rarely has any interest in learning more about.  Given the totalitarian socialists he and his friends so much admire, a rational person sure has to wonder and worry about what is going on.

Federal Reserve Joins Vendetta Politics of Obama Regime

Steve Forbes discusses the Federal Reserve action on its latest stress tests of the nation's 18 largest banks in his Fact & Comment in the 6 May issue of Forbes.  Of the 18 biggest banks, the Federal Reserve claimed four had serious problems which it said must be cleared up.  Ally Financial is the present name for GM's bankrupt and reorganized financial services arm.  It is in real trouble.  But Steve Forbes claims that JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and BB&T were named as having problems purely for small-minded political reasons.

JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon has expressed displeasure with the Obama administration, but it is a well-run company with a good balance sheet.  Goldman Sachs was too close to Romney and Lloyd Blankfein also made it clear he is not happy with Obama.  So, the Federal Reserve concocted reasons to fault these two institutions.

Most troubling was the claim that the best run major bank in the entire nation had serious problems because it uses its own economic models and judges its own loan portfolio differently than the Federal Reserve wants it to.  Independent thinking is discouraged, even when a company's track record justifies it to any rational observer.  In fact, if all banks work on one model, the risks of a systemic banking failure go up.  This is especially true when the dictated model is designed by bureaucrats for their purposes, not those of the private sector.  It is even more true when the appointments to the Federal Reserve are poisoned by Obama appointees.

Steve Forbes notes that the Basel Accords required banks to have heavy reserves for loans to even the best commercial companies, but none for loans to Greece or Iceland or Ireland.  Those government accords also enshrined mortgages for special low reserve treatment.  Look where these imposed government models led the world financial institutions in 2008 and 2009.

BB&T bank CEO John Allison IV, now retired and heading the Cato Institute, opposed the TARP program and was most forcefully forced to take that money in 2008-2009.  His bank was so well run it had no need for the money.  The Federal Reserve wanted to hide the worst banks by making sound banks take the money and it was hiding potential losses on its loans by making a forced profit in interest from sound banks that did not want the money in the first place.  Allison further earned the enmity of the Federal Reserve and the Obama Regime by writing The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure - Why Pure Capitalism is the World Economy's Only Hope, published in 2013 by McGraw Hill.

Government thugs cannot stand the heat of criticism, especially when it is well-stated.  In the Obama Chicago style, they strike back brutally with the misuse of government power.  You do as they say, or they will breaka you knee caps.

24 April 2013

Tough Massachusetts Gun Controls Ignored by Tsarnaev Brothers and Criminals Generally

Massachusetts passed a very tough gun control law in 1998.  The results have thoroughly pleased the supporters of tough gun control laws and those who wish to infringe upon the right of self-defense protected by the 2nd Amendment.  In 1998, there were nearly 1.5 million gun owners in Massachusetts.  The draconian gun control law of 1998 reduced the number of registered gun owners to only 200,000 by June of 2002.

Of course, the 65 murders with firearms in 1998 in Massachusetts became 122 murders with firearms in 2011.  The number of armed robberies increased by 20.7% and aggravated assaults increased by 26.7%.  And, surprise, surprise, the Boston Marathon bombing Tsarnaev brothers' revolvers and rifle were not registered.  The adjacent states with less strict gun control laws have seen their crime rates go down.

Of course the strict gun control advocates claim that the reason for the high crime rates in Massachusetts is the failure of the lower crime rate states to enact stricter gun controls!  Some people are really, really unable to draw logical conclusions from their observations.  Have not those who are better armed often preyed upon those who are less well armed throughout human history?  Sometimes it was roving bands of marauders, sometimes it was the local warlord, sometimes it was the criminals who defied the law and armed themselves to the teeth, and sometimes it was the government itself that preyed upon those who would not or could not defend themselves.

A Most Conveniently Pliable Weapons of Mass Destruction Definition

The radical Islamists who bombed the families watching the Boston Marathon have been accused of using weapons of mass destruction by the Justice Department of the Obama Democrat Regime.  I have no problem with this as a manifestation of reality.

But is it not most interesting that when a couple of radical Islamists in the United States use a home-made bomb or two, these are weapons of mass destruction, but when Saddam Hussein used anti-aircraft missiles, hundreds of tanks, and thousands of artillery pieces against American and allied forces, he had no weapons of mass destruction according to the same Democrats of the present regime in Washington.

Perhaps the necessary scale for a weapon of mass destruction is lowered when it is used against civilians.  OK, then what about when Saddam used chemical weapons against entire Kurd villages or he used artillery against the majority southern Iraqis he suppressed?

So, Saddam Hussein with many billions of dollars of oil money and the willingness to lavish it on his military of regime supporters to suppress the majority of the Iraqi population had no Weapons of Mass Destruction, but two not very rich and not very bright young guys in Boston did have Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Democrats have a most pliable definition of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Indeed, they are loaded with pliable definitions.  Who can forget that it all depends on what the meaning of "is" is?  Who can forget that oral sex is not sex?  Who can forget that a leading Weatherman terrorist is just a guy in the neighborhood?  Who can forget that Obama's spiritual mentor had widely known negative opinions of the USA that Obama had never heard about?  Or how about the meaning of you can keep your health insurance plan if you want to?  Or that ObamaCare will bend down the curve of health care costs, in which down apparently means as seen when viewed from an alternative universe which is a mirror image to our own?  Who but a Democrat would have thought to view that critically important issue from the perspective of some string theorist's alternative universe?  Which brings us right back to "It all depends on what the meaning of "is" is."  For Democrats it is that which provides them with more power to control our lives or which in any other way is convenient to them.

21 April 2013

Food Stamp Use and Poverty Level by State

Since the Great Socialist Recession began, the number of Americans receiving food stamps has increased by 20 million.  Before the recession, the Food Stamp program cost $35 billion, but it was costing $78 billion by 2011.  In 2012, the Food Stamp program spent $85 billion.  Meanwhile, the numbers of Americans below the poverty level was not increasing anywhere near as quickly.  On looking into this, I found this map of the population percentage by state of people on Food Stamps and wondered how the Food Stamp use by state compared with the percentage of the population below the poverty level by state.

The following table shows the comparisons of the percentage of the population of a state on Food Stamps and of those below the poverty level in 2011.  Data for 2012 does not yet seem to be available.  It also gives the rate of growth of those on Food Stamps and of those below the poverty level.  The last column shows the difference in percent of those below the poverty level and those on Food Stamps.  The table only includes those states for which at least 15.0% of the population was either receiving Food Stamps or below the poverty level.  The states in red are those with a higher percentage of the population on Food Stamps than are below the poverty level.

In all, 28 states have either 15% of the population under the poverty level or on Food Stamps.  Those states with double-digit increases in the percentage of the population on Food Stamps in 2011 compared to 2010 have the increases color-coded.  The states of Maine, Oregon, and Michigan have especially embraced the Food Stamp program, having substantially more people on them than are below the poverty level.  California, Nevada, Texas, Arizona, and Arkansas in order have the largest shortfalls on those on Food Stamps compared to those below the poverty level as of 2011.

11 April 2013

European Energy Silliness: Wood is Top Renewable Fuel

Despite the huge investments in wind and solar renewable energy in Europe, the top form of renewable energy is wood biomass.  About half of Europe's much hyped effort to advance renewable forms of energy has wound up in wood fuel according to the 6 - 12 April issue of the Economist.  Even in Germany, 38% of non-fossil fuel consumption is wood.  In Poland and Finland, 80% of the renewable energy is from wood.

Wood, unlike wind and solar, is at least reliable.  The EU effort to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 is impossible based on wind and solar.  Wood makes this possible.

Coal-fired power plants have been under pressure due to the production of carbon dioxide, which according to fable will cause catastrophic man-made global warming.  So, the power companies with coal-fired power plants like wood because they can easily modify a coal-fired power plant to mix in 10% wood pellets.  In Great Britain, power plants are given a huge subsidy to use wood and this is causing a number of coal-fired power plants to convert to wood use.

So much wood is being used for fuel that Europe is importing considerable wood.  In 2012, Europe used 13 million tonnes or 13 billion kilograms.  A tonne is a metric ton or 2204.6 pounds.  Europe is expected to use 25 to 30 million tonnes of wood pellets in 2020.  In 2010, wood pellet imports increased by 50%.  Global trade in wood pellets is expected to shoot up from about 10 to 12 million tonnes now to about 60 million tonnes by 2020.  Much of this wood comes from western Canada and the southern U.S.

Consequently, prices for wood are rising rapidly.  Wood pellet prices rose from $116 a tonne in August 2010 to $129 a tonne in December 2012.  Prices of hardwood from western Canada rose by 60% since the end of 2011.  These wood price increases have contributed to the closing of about 20 large saw mills making particle board in Europe over the last five years.  The higher prices are creating difficult times for pulp and paper companies, as well as furniture makers.

Burning wood pellets in coal-fired power plants makes no sense at all.  It was early on claimed that burning wood was carbon neutral, since as the trees grew, they removed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  There are many problems with this.  If you use hardwood pellets from western Canada, the output of CO2 from coal-fired plants using 10% wood pellets occurs now and it may take 100 years of new trees growing in western Canada to remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as is being emitted now.  In addition, making the wood pellets uses considerable energy and transporting them from North America to Europe uses still more.  It has been calculated that with the British subsidy of 45 Pounds per MWH of electricity, switching from gas to wood saves one tonne of CO2 emission at a cost of 225 pounds.  That is very expensive for an idea based on a failed hypothesis of catastrophic man-made global warming and a bad accounting of the total carbon dioxide emissions due to using wood pellet as fuel.

There are other considerations.  Land not used to grow trees can be used for other purposes that have value.  Taxpayers have to pay the subsidy money.  Consumers pay higher electricity costs, as well as higher particle board, paper, cardboard, board, and furniture costs.  They are forced to do this on the basis of a false hypothesis of catastrophic man-made global warming and concern for fossil fuel supplies in the face of the huge supplies of coal and natural gas now made available by hydraulic fracturing technology.

European socialism can sure cause Europeans to pursue and enforce some very silly ideas.

10 April 2013

Taxpayer Unapproved State and Local Government Debt: $7.3 Trillion

Steven Malanga, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, says that state and local governments have $7.3 trillion of hidden debt.  These debts were not approved by taxpayers, despite the fact that most state constitutions and many city charters limit borrowing and require voter approvals.
  • Illinois is rolling pension debt and state officials are being sued because they failed to disclose the debt and misrepresented it.
  • Chicago city employees retiree health care annual expenses will increase by a factor of 5 in ten years.
  • Each and every resident of Sacremento, CA is obligated with $4200 of debt they did not approve and the debt is 5.5 times the annual city budget.
  • New Jersey legislators wanted $8.6 billion for school refurbishing projects and knew voters would not approve it.  So, they set up an independent borrowing commission for the purpose.  After spending $7 billion, the commission disbanded and left the taxpayers the debt.
  • 95% of New York's $63 billion debt was never given voter authorization.
Malanga recommends that governments are forced to stop providing defined benefit pension plans.  Independent borrowing authorities must be denied and debts should only be allowed with voter approval.

The total state and local debt is mentioned twice in the article.  The first time it is mistakenly given as $7.3 billion.

08 April 2013

Forests Saved by Fossil Fuels and High Farm Productivity

American forests were disappearing between 1850 and 1910 due to the need for wood as fuel and the increases in farmland.  After 1910, the extent of our forests was stable and then they began to expand as crop yields increased dramatically.  High-yield varieties of wheat, rice, and corn were developed.  Fossil fuel use spared the forests from use as fuel.  See Ronald Bailey's article Peak Farmland?, which is largely based on a lecture by Jesse Ausubel at Rockefeller University in December 2012.

U.S. corn production from 1860 to 2010 increased by a factor of 17.  Corn yields in America are now averaging 180 bushels per acre, while worldwide yields are 82 bushels per acre.  Increasing yields should continue, since non-irrigated yields of about 300 bushels per acre are already being produced with new varieties.

The story of India is instructive.
 In 1960:

  • Population = 435 million
  • Diet = 2000 calories a day
  • Farmland = 398 million acres (slightly more that 2 times the size of Texas), 0.91 acre/capita
In 2010:
  • Population =  1.155 billion, increase of 2.66 times
  • Diet = 2330 calories a day, or one-sixth more
  • Farmland = 420 million acres, or 5.5% more, 0.36 acre/capita
If Indian wheat production had not improved since 1960, an additional 161 acres of farmland would have been needed to produce the same amount of wheat.  Thanks to Indians flocking to the cities since then, Indian forests have actually expanded by 37 million acres.

China in the post-Mao period has a similar history.  The population doubled, GDP increased 45 times, farmland planted in corn doubled, but corn yield was 4.5 times greater per acre.  The corn yield increase kept 297 million acres of land from being used to produce this corn.  Chinese forest land increased from 1990 to 2010 by 30%.

Without crop yield increases from 1960 to 2010, about 7.4 billion more acres of farmland would have been needed worldwide.  This land area is almost twice that of South America or equal to that of the USA, Canada, and China combined.  Fortunately, farmers today are producing almost three times as much food on the amount of land used in 1960 for farming.

Ausubel and colleagues estimate that the world average corn yield in 2060 will be about equal to that of the USA in 2010.  General increases in crop yields will release between 360 and 990 acres of farmland by 2060.  In addition, about 40% of the world's grain is used for livestock.  A biotech company called Modern Meadows wants to use 3D printers and tissue engineering to make meat.  If that idea works, less farmland still will be needed.  The forests are saved.

07 April 2013

March Employment Situation Worsened

After a long period of almost total stagnation in the employment numbers, the March 2013 household survey numbers without seasonal adjustment show more missing jobs than was the case in each of the last three March months of 2012, 2011, and 2010!  Not only has there been no jobs recovery, but there is now a clear backward slide.  With Obama's European socialism economic policies, we are now seeing evidence of long-term European unemployment.  To be sure, the so-called unemployment rate fell from 8.08% in February to 7.65% in March, but this is only because the workforce participation rate fell to 63.07%, the lowest rate in the table below.  Americans are still dropping out of the labor force.  Apparently they are not feeling the Hope that Obama has so often claimed he was going to deliver to them.

Basically, the number of missing jobs is maintaining the pattern it has from the start of 2010.  There is no evidence of improvement.  Yes, the March data was a step back, but one month is of very limited import by itself.  What is important is that the pattern of total stagnation shows that Obama's anti-business policies have been very effective in preventing the economy from rebounding from the recession.  This is truly the never-ending Obama Recession.

The situation is really even worse than the missing jobs chart indicates.  More and more people are under-employed.

Many employers who had not been too worried about the implementation of ObamaCare are learning to worry about it.  Many had planned to have more part-time employees so they would not have to provide them expensive ObamaCare health insurance policies or pay tax penalties on them.  By now many have heard that the IRS is going to add up the hours of all employees and treat employers as though they have 50 employees or more if the equivalent hours of all employees equal or exceed those of 50 employees working the minimum 30 hours required to be on employer paid health insurance.  This has to have forced many employers to cut back on employees to get under the 50 employee limit or to not hire additional workers.  Many employers probably still do not know about this insidious IRS plan to sweep employers into ObamaCare.

In addition, employers are learning that the exchanges that were to provide them with some measure of health insurance options in 2014 will not now be implemented until 2015.  These employers will be forced to take a single plan, like it or not, in 2014.  They are also now hearing more and more about how much more expensive health insurance will be under ObamaCare.  All of these ObamaCare factors are very negative factors for job creation.

The ADP says for those companies with employees numbering from 50-499, the group most directly affected by the health care reform, a rather sharp slowing in job creation has occurred this year: 43,000 jobs created in January, 20,000 in February, and -5,000 in March.  Of course smaller companies do not have to provide health insurance or pay the penalty tax, but for those that do provide health insurance, ObamaCare is going to drive their costs way up.  The Society of Actuaries believes the cost will go up an average of 32% due to ObamaCare.  The costs for young workers, therefore for most new workers, will go up much more since they are expected to cover more of the costs for those in less good health, such as much older workers and the chronically ill.  Small growing companies will face much higher costs in their early years since they tend to hire more of the young workers whose health insurance used to cost much less than it will.  This will add to the woes of young people in finding their first jobs.

We may be looking back a year from now and be wishing for the jobs stagnation of the last 3.25 years.

06 April 2013

The Stefan-Boltzmann Law at a Non-Vacuum Interface: Misuse by Global Warming Alarmists

One of the significant errors commonly made by the advocates of catastrophic man-made global warming due to CO2 emissions is the claim by the settled science proclaimers that radiation from a non-vacuum interface is the same as radiation from a surface into a vacuum.  This error in the physics of radiation from the Earth’s surface results in an exaggeration of the cooling radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface and contributes to them positing a hugely larger back-radiation from greenhouse gases than can actually occur.

I have previously pointed out that the Stefan-Boltzmann Law actually only tells us the amount of radiation emitted by a surface into a vacuum.  A surface in contact with another material will lose energy by other mechanisms, so one must apply the law of Conservation of Energy to determine the actual amount of radiation in many cases of material contact across an interface.  In the case of the Earth’s surface, water is evaporated at the surface with a very substantial cooling effect.  In addition, air molecules strike the surface and carry away heat gained in collisions with the surface.  Despite these obvious problems with an unchanged surface emission of radiant energy into the atmosphere compared to that into a vacuum, the settled science proclaimers have in many cases steadfastly said that I am wrong.  OK, so I will try to explain this in greater detail in this post.

Atoms in solid materials such as in soil and rock, are held at distances from one another which are determined by a minimum in the potential energy.  The atoms can only be forced closer with the expenditure of energy and they can only be pulled further apart with the expenditure of energy.  An electron in orbit about a nucleus will also have motion constrained by a potential energy well.  The greater the temperature, the more an atom may move near the potential energy minimum and the more the electron can move in the nucleus-electron potential well.  In both cases, positive and negative charges will move with respect to one another.  When positive and negative charges are close to one another, but have offset centers of charge, they form a dipole.  Because the displacement movements of the charges in the dipoles are small for the temperatures near the Earth’s surface, the results are dipole charges with an oscillating distance between them similar to a mass hanging from a spring in small motion.  These are harmonic oscillators and they emit radiant energy.  While the interatomic potential energy wells in a liquid are broader than those in a solid material, the same principle applies to liquids.  Of course, in either a solid or a liquid, atoms have several nearest neighbors or near neighbors.  Multiple harmonic oscillators are interacting.

If a harmonic oscillator in a vacuum is set into motion by a heating process and the heat source is removed, the harmonic oscillation will lose strength as it emits energy into a strengthening radiant energy field.  Conversely, an increase in the harmonic oscillation caused by an electromagnetic field, such as the solar insolation acting on the Earth's surface, will decrease the energy in the radiation field.  A cooling surface radiating energy will have decreased harmonic oscillator displacements as it pours energy into the electromagnetic field.  A surface near 300K will generate infra-red and microwave radiation, though almost all of the energy given off will be in the infra-red radiation range.  The generation of a radiant energy field decreases the kinetic energy of the harmonic oscillators in the surface.  There is Conservation of Energy between the harmonic oscillators and the electromagnetic field which is generated.

The Stefan-Boltzmann Law tells us how much energy is radiated per unit time into the electromagnetic field of the vacuum:

P = ε σ A T4,

where P is the power, ε is the emissivity and characteristic of the surface, σ is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant, A is the surface area of the radiating material, and T is its temperature in Kelvin.

We must remember however that the radiated energy comes from harmonic oscillators.  If the surface is a water surface or if it is a soil or a plant with water content and water is evaporated from the surface, we must remember that the energy required to change water from its liquid to its vapor form has to come from somewhere.  The Earth’s surface does have considerable water evaporating from it and the latent heat of vaporization for water is very high.  Where does this energy come from?  Well it comes from the kinetic energy of the oscillating dipoles at temperatures near the average Earth temperature of 288K.  As the warm surface materials evaporate water, their harmonic oscillators lose kinetic energy and settle more towards their potential minima except insofar as the energy is replaced by more solar insolation or by heat flow from the subsurface.  The oscillation displacements decrease.  There is a conservation of energy between the harmonic oscillators and the energy used to evaporate the water.  The same is true when the harmonic oscillators warm air molecules that strike the Earth’s surface.  Those air molecules take away some of the kinetic energy of the harmonic oscillators.

Consequently, the harmonic oscillators that generate radiation into vacuum will not be able to generate as much radiant energy into the atmosphere.  The presence of contacting liquid water and air molecule collisions with the surface remove energy from the harmonic oscillators that generate the radiation field.  Consequently, the amount of infra-red and microwave energy emitted from the surface will be less than if that surface were radiating into vacuum.  It has to be so because energy is conserved.

This is why it is clear that the Stefan-Boltzmann Law tells us the maximum energy that can be obtained from a warm surface of material.  At a vacuum interface, that energy given off will be entirely radiant energy and it will all go into strengthening the electromagnetic field.  The Earth’s surface however is taking the same kinetic energy from its many harmonic oscillators and it is partitioning that energy among the processes of generating water vapor, warming colliding air molecules, and emitting radiant energy.  The amplitude of the oscillation in the harmonic oscillators decreases as they pour energy into these three loss mechanisms.  Energy is thus conserved.

The Kiehl-Trenberth Earth Energy Budget used so prominently in the UN IPCC 4th Report of 2007 made the mistake of not adjusting the Earth's surface radiation downward due to the evaporation of water and the warming of air.  Here is that diagram:

It is claimed in this diagram that the Earth's surface at 288K emits 390 W/m2 or 114% of the average power incident at the top of the atmosphere and 2.32 times the power absorbed by the surface from solar insolation.  The 390 W/m2 of surface radiated energy assumes that the Earth’s surface is a black body radiator emitting the same energy it would into vacuum into the atmosphere.  As I have explained in my post The Earth Surface Temperature without Greenhouse Gases: The Shade Effect of Infra-Red Active Gases, the Earth’s surface is not a black body radiator.  It does not have an emissivity of one as a black body radiator does.  It has an emissivity of less than 0.5.  But even if it were a black body radiator, energy conservation would require that the emitted radiant energy be (390 – 78 – 24) W/m2 or 288 W/m2 due to subtracting the energy put into evaporation and thermals.  This is 112 W/m2 less than they claim is emitted from the surface.

They then make the further mistake of believing that most of that exaggerated surface emitted radiant energy is returned to the surface by greenhouse gases.  This makes up much of the 324 W/m2 they claim is absorbed by the surface after it had been absorbed in the atmosphere first.  The back radiation energy is thus exaggerated hugely by a combination of errors.  Among the errors are:
  • The belief that the Earth’s surface is a black body radiator with emissivity 1.
  • The violation of the Conservation of Energy by failure to subtract the energy used to cause evaporation and to generate thermals from the energy that would be emitted as radiant energy into vacuum.
  • The failure to understand the consequences of the high gas molecule collision rates near the surface and the very short mean free path of infra-red radiation which can be absorbed by water vapor and carbon dioxide, as well as their rarity among air molecules.  In the lower troposphere, energy is almost entirely transported upward.
The most recent Earth Energy Budget posted by NASA makes the same errors:


This is an incredible comedy of errors for science that has been funded by about $140 billion of hard-earned taxpayer money.  It is a comedy of errors with very tragic consequences.  Obama and his Democrat Socialist Party are still calling for the destruction of the American economy and the lowering of our standard of living for the supposed purpose of saving the world from catastrophic man-made global warming due to the use of fossil fuels.  This disastrous crusade is pursued in the name of this childishly wrong "settled" science.  A great many scientists are eagerly participating in this pandering for the goodies handed out by a government eager to exercise still more power while pretending to protect us from a fictional catastrophe.  We are ruled by pimps and fools.

05 April 2013

Oil and Gas Industry Tax Breaks: Lies by Democrats

For decades, I have been hearing about the massive tax breaks and subsidies that the government gives the oil and gas industry.  Obama has recently been repeating this wild-eyed claim.  On 2 November 2011, in a reply to a comment claiming the oil and gas industry was subsidized by $2 billion a year to my post North Dakota Oil, Truckers, Railroads, Jobs, I said:
There are frequent claims that the government is subsidizing the oil industry, but rarely does anyone actually attempt to describe what the subsidy is and how it is given to the oil industry. The oil industry gets four tax breaks, the domestic manufacturing break of $1.7 billion, the oil depletion break of $1 billion, the foreign tax credit of $0.85 billion, and the intangible drilling costs break of $0.78 billion. The first three tax breaks are given to every manufacturing company whether in the oil and gas industry or not. The oil depletion allowance is the equivalent of the depreciation of capital equipment, which is reasonable. The intangible drilling cost write-off allows drilling costs to be written off in the first year rather than over the entire time of the investment. This is probably most important to the very many small drilling companies and it is the only tax break really unique to the oil and gas industry.
Merrill Matthews recently had an Opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled About Those Tax Breaks for Big Oil... which notes how a bill submitted to the House of Representatives by the socialist Chris Van Hollen of Maryland is forced to insert special language aimed at the oil and gas industry to exclude that targeted industry from the same tax breaks or options held by and used by many other industries. Van Hollen's bill is the Stop the Sequester Job Loss Now Act and would increase tax rates on higher income individuals (soak the rich) and increase taxes on the oil and gas industry which has been doing yeoman work in keeping the economy from complete collapse.

In the best tradition of the Democrat Socialist Party the bill pretending to end job loss will actually increase job loss by depriving small business owners and investors of the money and incentive they need to hire people and by hobble the oil and gas industry which is one of the few job bright spots in our economy.  In Democrat Socialist logic, it is OK to blow away both feet as long as the bill that will do this has a title implying that it will put great shoes on both feet.  Upon passage of the bill and with its exercise, the people eventually have no feet and no great shoes.  The Democrat Socialists will then claim that is because of some fictional deregulation.

Matthews points out that the oil and gas industry reputed to be unfairly taxed (to Democrats this always means under-taxed) includes the two companies at the top of the company list of the biggest taxpayers, as well as the sixth biggest taxpayer.  Exxon Mobil paid $31 billion of U.S. income taxes in 2012.  Chevron paid $20 billion and ConocoPhillips paid $8 billion of U.S. income taxes in 2012.  These  three oil and gas companies paid more U.S. income taxes than did the remaining 7 companies in the top 10 list.  They did so using the same tax rules used by other industries.

So how does Van Hollen target the oil and gas industry?  His act
  • limits the Section 199 deduction which sought to encourage domestic production activities in the American Job Creation Act of 2004.  This gave domestic manufacturers a 9% tax deduction from net income, except for the oil and gas industry, which only receives a 6% tax deduction because the Democrats have a vendetta against oil and gas.  So, the oil and gas industry gets less of a tax break than other U.S. manufacturers on this!
  • denies the industry the use of the accounting method for inventory known as last-in, first-out or Lifo, which is widely used by all extraction industries.  It will remain an available choice for all industries except the oil and gas industry.
  • denies only integrated oil and gas companies the deduction for many of the taxes they pay to foreign countries.  To avoid double taxation, all companies are allowed a credit for the taxes they pay to foreign countries.  Now, however, the integrated oil and gas companies would not be allowed to deduct the royalty payments they make to foreign countries, though other companies will continue to deduct royalties.
In other words, it is very clear that the van Hollen act discriminates against and targets the oil and gas industry.  This is just a case of a bloodsucking parasite looking for a host with plenty of blood to suck, just as is its soak the productive rich campaign.  Willie Horton is ogling other people's money in the bank and he will steal their money if he thinks he can get away with it.

04 April 2013

A Hypothetical Earth Atmosphere of Carbon Dioxide and Comments on Vertical Mixing

There is a claim by some doubters of the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis that because CO2 is a heavier molecule at 44.01 atomic mass units (amu) than the mean mass of air at about 28.96 amu, carbon dioxide will settle into higher concentrations at low altitude and be much rarer at higher altitudes than the lighter molecules making up nearly 100% of our atmosphere.  In other words, it will not maintain the same ratio of number density to other air molecules as the altitude increases.  I will show why this is a reasonable claim, but I will also caution that there are powerful forces stirring the atmosphere and we should not be surprised that the case for a molecule at less than 400 ppm concentration is very different than when it is 100% of the atmosphere.

In fact, the vertical distribution of carbon dioxide is a very reasonable measurement to make experimentally.  The claim is that the actual measurements show it to be well mixed vertically through the troposphere.  There is apparently a slight decrease in relative density in the stratosphere, but that is thought to be due to a slow diffusion rate through the tropopause in response to the increase in carbon dioxide in the troposphere.  These are measurements I would expect atmospheric scientists to get right, so I am inclined to accept that the forces mixing the heavy atmospheric gases with the lighter atmospheric gases are highly effective.  Note that water vapor is not so well-mixed, but this is due to its high transition temperature from the liquid to the gas phase.

Still, it is interesting to look at some properties of a carbon dioxide atmosphere with a few boundary conditions applied from our present atmosphere.  Let us assume an average surface temperature of 14.5° = 287.65K, even though the solar insolation incident upon the Earth’s surface would undoubtedly be different with a 100% carbon dioxide atmosphere.  The cooling mechanisms would also be affected.  Let us also assume that the atmosphere has the same total number of molecules in it.  Then we are going to ask how the sea level pressure, the sea level number density of atmospheric molecules, and the temperature gradient with increasing altitude change.  We will ignore any effects due to absorption of solar insolation in the carbon dioxide atmosphere as well.  By making these assumptions, I am not implying that these are unimportant effects.  I am not implying that my assumptions are realistic.  Nonetheless, we will see some interesting properties of the hypothetical atmosphere.

At sea level, the hypothetical carbon dioxide atmosphere will exert a pressure (44.01)/(28.96) = 1.520 times that of the air atmosphere we now have, given the same number of gas molecules.  The U.S. Standard Atmosphere says that sea level pressure is 1.01325 bar.  In comparison, the carbon dioxide atmosphere will have a sea level pressure of 1.540 bar or 1.54 x 105 N/m2.

Let us find out what the number density of carbon dioxide molecules is at sea level.  For a perfect or ideal gas, P = (2/3) (N/V) , where P is the pressure, N is the number of molecules, and V is the volume.  N/V is the number density of the molecules, which is what we want to calculate.

To do that, we need to calculate the mean kinetic energy of translation.  Because the temperature is proportional to the mean kinetic energy for a perfect gas, we can calculate the mean kinetic energy knowing the gas temperature.  So, at sea level, the carbon dioxide gas was posited to have the present Earth surface temperature of 287.65K.

Now, a monatomic gas, such as the argon that makes up about 0.93% of our atmosphere, has a temperature (T) to total kinetic energy (Et) relationship of Et = (3/2) kT, where k is the Boltzmann Constant of 1.381 x 10-23 J/K.  Nitrogen and oxygen molecules have two rotational degrees of freedom in addition to the three translational degrees of freedom, so Et = (5/2) kT.  Molecules such as CO2 with 3 or more atoms have 3 degrees of rotational freedom and a total kinetic energy to temperature relationship given by Et = (6/2) kT = 3 kT.  Consequently, carbon dioxide at sea level with T = 287.65K has a total mean kinetic energy of 1.192 x 10-20 J.  Half of this energy is in the rotational modes and half is translational kinetic energy.  Therefore, the mean translational kinetic energy at sea level is 5.96 x 10-21 J.

Now, using the pressure to mean translational kinetic energy relationship three paragraphs up:

P = (2/3) (N/V)

1.54 x 105 N/m2 = (2/3) (N/V) (5.96 x10-21 J)

N/V = 3.876 x 1025/m3

The U.S. Standard Atmosphere sea level molecular number density is only 2.547 x 1025, so the carbon dioxide atmosphere has a number density 1.522 times greater according to this calculation.  The number density increase factor is the same as the pressure increase factor.

Now, if this perfect gas atmosphere of carbon dioxide has an increased number density of molecules at sea level and the same total number of molecules in the atmosphere, then the number density of such an atmosphere must decrease with increasing altitude more rapidly than does the number density in our air atmosphere.  It is this fact that has excited some who doubt the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis based on man’s emissions of carbon dioxide.  They believe there ought to be a much lower ratio of carbon dioxide to the other gases in the atmosphere at higher altitudes in the troposphere.

However, in our present atmosphere, the frequency of molecular collisions at sea level is 6.92 x 109/s and at 10 km altitude it is still 2.06 x 109/s.  At sea level, the mean free path length between collisions is only 66 nm.  At 10 km altitude, the mean free path is 197 nm.  In other words, the almost 100% of other molecules are slamming into the carbon dioxide molecules constantly and apparently do a very good job of stirring them into the mix of the dominant gases.  Carbon dioxide molecules apparently do not have the opportunity to settle out to lower altitudes as a result.

Before we leave our hypothetical carbon dioxide atmosphere, it is interesting to calculate the static temperature gradient in the atmosphere with increasing altitude.  We have for altitude h:

Et, h=0 = Et , h=10000m + mgh

3 kTh=0 = 3 kT h=10000m + mgh

1.192 x 10-20 = 3 kT h=10000m + (44.01 amu)(1.660 x 10-27 kg/amu)(9.776 m/s2)(10000 m)

T h=10000m = 115.33K at 10,000m altitude

This is a much lower temperature than we have in the case of the perfect gas and static and dry U.S. Standard Atmosphere of 223.25K.  This hypothetical carbon dioxide atmosphere would have a cooling temperature gradient of -17.23K/thousand meters, instead of the U.S. Standard Atmosphere temperature gradient of -6.49K/thousand meters.  Of course this much greater temperature gradient ignores solar radiation absorbed by the carbon dioxide directly and was based on the unlikely condition that the Earth surface temperature would be unchanged.  Still, this is an interesting property of an atmosphere with a very heavy carbon dioxide concentration.  It is a consequence of its greater mass, its added rotational degree of kinetic energy freedom, and Conservation of Energy in the Earth's gravitational field.