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 thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

27 August 2013

Business Tax Climate Rankings by State

The Tax Foundation has produced the 2013 report on the tax climate rankings of the states as of July 2012.  The ten states with the most favorable business tax climate and the ten with the worst are color-coded in the map below with their rankings given.  The white states are the best.

2013 State Business Tax Climate Index Ranks and Component Tax Ranks
State Overall Rank Corporate Tax Rank Individual Income Tax Rank Sales Tax Rank Unemployment Insurance Tax Rank Property Tax Rank
Alabama 21 17 18 37 13 8
Alaska 4 27 1 5 28 13
Arizona 25 24 17 50 1 5
Arkansas 33 37 28 41 19 19
California 48 45 49 40 16 17
Colorado 18 20 16 44 39 9
Connecticut 40 35 31 30 31 50
Delaware 14 50 29 2 3 14
Florida 5 13 1 18 10 25
Georgia 34 9 40 13 25 30
Hawaii 37 4 41 31 30 15
Idaho 20 19 23 23 47 2
Illinois 29 47 13 34 43 44
Indiana 11 28 10 11 11 11
Iowa 42 49 33 24 34 37
Kansas 26 36 21 32 9 28
Kentucky 24 26 26 9 48 18
Louisiana 32 18 25 49 4 23
Maine 30 41 27 10 32 39
Maryland 41 15 45 8 46 40
Massachusetts 22 33 15 17 49 47
Michigan 12 7 11 7 44 31
Minnesota 45 44 44 35 40 26
Mississippi 17 11 19 28 7 29
Missouri 16 8 24 27 6 6
Montana 8 16 20 3 21 7
Nebraska 31 34 30 26 8 38
Nevada 3 1 1 42 41 16
New Hampshire 7 48 9 1 42 43
New Jersey 49 40 48 46 24 49
New Mexico 38 39 34 45 15 1
New York 50 23 50 38 45 45
North Carolina 44 29 43 47 5 36
North Dakota 28 21 35 16 17 4
Ohio 39 22 42 29 12 34
Oklahoma 35 12 36 39 2 12
Oregon 13 31 32 4 37 10
Pennsylvania 19 46 12 20 36 42
Rhode Island 46 42 37 25 50 46
South Carolina 36 10 39 21 33 21
South Dakota 2 1 1 33 35 20
Tennessee 15 14 8 43 26 41
Texas 9 38 7 36 14 32
Utah 10 5 14 22 20 3
Vermont 47 43 47 14 22 48
Virginia 27 6 38 6 38 27
Washington 6 30 1 48 18 22
West Virginia 23 25 22 19 27 24
Wisconsin 43 32 46 15 23 33
Wyoming 1 1 1 12 29 35
Dist. of Columbia 44 35 36 42 48 24
Note: A rank of 1 is more favorable for business than a rank of 50. Rankings do not average to total. States without a tax rank equally as 1. D.C. score and rank do not affect other states. Report shows tax systems as of July 1, 2012 (the beginning of Fiscal Year 2013).
The scores of the ten best business tax climate states are:

1)  Wyoming, 7.66
2)  South Dakota, 7.56
3)  Nevada, 7.45
4)  Alaska, 7.34
5)  Florida, 6.88
6)  Washington, 6.38
7)  New Hampshire, 6.25
8)  Montana, 6.22
9)  Texas, 6.09
10) Utah, 6.04

There is not much difference between the top four ranked states.  There also is not much difference in those ranked from 6 through 10.

The ignominious final ten states are:

50) New York, 3.40
49) New Jersey, 3.40
48) California, 3.67
47) Vermont, 4.08
46) Rhode Island, 4.12
45) Minnesota, 4.18
44) North Carolina, 4.21
43) Wisconsin, 4.37
42) Iowa, 4.47
41) Maryland, 4.47
40) Connecticut, 4.47

The three worst states, New York, New Jersey, and California really stand out from the rest with their very low scores.  The remainder of the worst ten states all have close scores between 4.08 and 4.47.

The middle states of Arizona with a score of 5.13 and Kansas with a score of 5.10 lag the lowest state of the top ten more than they exceed the best state of the bottom ten states.  There are more states with high tax policies than there are with low tax policies.  Indeed, the states ranked 20 (Idaho) through 30 (Maine) are only separated by scores differing by 0.27.  All of these states are closer to New York in score than they are to Wyoming.  The average of the Wyoming and New York scores is 5.53 and the state having the score closest to this is Missouri with a score of 5.46 and a rank of 16.  So, the top few states in the rankings are very much better than the average state.  Even in the top ten the differential score between #1 and #10 is much greater than that between #50 and #40.

I live in the beautiful state of Maryland with a really awful state government.  Its business tax climate rank of 41 makes it a terror for businesses.  Much of my family is in Oklahoma with a poor ranking of 35.  One sister owns a business in North Carolina, which actually worse than Maryland!  Another sister tries to do business in Kansas with a ranking of 26, which as I mentioned puts it much closer to New York than to Wyoming.

I hear that parts of Wyoming are beautiful.  I will have to do some business scouting there and see if there is a suitable way to do business as a materials laboratory there.  After all, almost all of our customers send us materials to analyze by Fed Ex and UPS anyway.  My laboratory could be anywhere.

26 August 2013

Fraud in Unemployment Claims by State

Fraud is rampant in virtually every federal and state welfare program.  The extent to which the government has been able to determine what it is in unemployment insurance benefits is revealed in the map below:

This may be just the tip of the iceberg, with most of the fraud undiscovered.  Apparently, the highest discovered fraud was in Louisiana, though Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maine, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi are all made more than 14% fraudulent payments.  In Louisiana's case, the fraudulent payments were a colossal 38.67% of all payments.  Taking advantage of government programs and taxpayers has long been developed into a fine art in Louisiana.

There are many people who have no compunction about stealing money from the businesses whose only crime is to take the many risks of being in business to produce needed goods and services and of hiring people to work for them.  What is more, as a businessman, I am sure that Congress and virtually every state legislature believes I am guilty of a crime because I actually take the many risks of hiring people.  They penalize me with many taxes and most of them do not even depend upon whether my business is making a profit or whether I am able to pay myself for my many hours of work.  Quite a few of which I am required by innumerable laws and regulations to donate to local, state, and the federal government totally without recompense.  That is what you do to criminals -- you punish them.  It makes one wonder why anyone is fool enough to own a business.

Perhaps all businessmen should quite hiring others and only provide themselves with a job.  That sure would go a long way toward reforming government!  Can you imagine the howl if every taxpayer was required to file his own payroll taxes to the state and the federal government?  There would be no unemployment taxes to provide unemployment benefits.  Everyone would have to generate their own W-2 forms and send them to the governments.  Everyone would be required to provide their own Workmen's Compensation Insurance.  Everyone would have more complex personal income tax filings.  Everyone would have to pay taxes on any business facility and equipment they used to generate their income.  Everyone would have to run equipment depreciation schedules and do the personal property tax filings.  Oh, what a plaintive howl there would be!  Government would become much smaller very quickly and many taxes now hidden from the employee dominated public would become known and hated.

18 August 2013

Claims of Long Life for Man's CO2 Emissions in Atmosphere are False

A post by Pehr Bjornbom discussing Gosta Pettersson's comments on the life of carbon isotopes in the atmosphere as CO2 shows that the model commonly used to predict the lifetime of man's CO2 emissions is seriously in error.  The Bern model for man's emissions is used in the many global climate models which my last post showed provided a very poor temperature prediction.  But C14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon that is produced in atmospheric atomic bomb tests.  Since those tests ended decades ago the C14 thrust into the atmosphere has diminished exponentially with time.  The concentration of the C14 over time is shown below in the graph and compared to the Bern model used in the climate models.
The x-axis is the time in years and the y-axis is the percentage of C14 compared to its start at 100%.  Note that the long dwell time of the Bern Model is entirely wrong.  In fact, the half-life of the C14 from this data appears to be about 10 years.  This is carbon that was thrust very high into the atmosphere.  There are also studies that claim that carbon dioxide generated at ground level has a shorter half-life than that deposited into the higher atmosphere.  These are all short lifetimes compared to the hundreds to thousands of years of the Bern Model.

One of the favorite arguments of the AGW alarmists is that man's emissions coming from the combustion of fossil fuels has less C13 isotope in it than the most common C12.  They use studies of the decreasing ratio of C13 to that of C12 in the air and in corals as shown below to argue that man-made CO2 emissions must linger a long time in the air and deplete the C13.

The argument is based on the idea that plants prefer C12 to C13.  If that is true, as more CO2 becomes available to plants in the air, will they not actually increase the ratio of C12 that they use to what they consider undesirable C13?  As they have more and more CO2 molecules to choose from, they can reject more and more of them having C13 in them.  Ocean absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere is also high, but the absorption of the less volatile CO2 molecules with the heavier isotope will be higher than that of molecules with only C12 in them.  So, the oceans with more CO2 molecules available for absorption will absorb more of the C13 and leave the atmosphere more and more short of C13.  These are dynamic situations.

There is even more to consider.  There are many natural sources of CO2 with varying concentrations of C13.  CO2 comes from deep sea vents and volcanoes as well.  It comes also primarily from the decay of vegetation in tropical areas and that source is low in C13.  In addition, any change in the flux of cosmic rays will change the amount of C13 created by cosmic radiation in the atmosphere.  Dr. Murry Salby recently showed that the higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was primarily a consequence of a higher surface temperature and secondarily a function of the moisture of soil and is not substantially due to man's emissions.

An increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide causes plants to use more of it.  A recent study using satellite observations found that the rise in atmospheric CO2 caused an increase of foliage coverage in arid areas in Australia, North America, the Middle East and Africa by 11%.  This happens because higher CO2 concentrations allow plants to reduce their water use in the photosynthesis process.  This adds to the complex dynamic response of the sources and sinks for CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. 

The idea that C13 ratios to C12 tell us a simple story about man's emissions dwell time in the atmosphere is clearly simple-minded and wrong.  We know this from the atomic bomb test data on C14, which plants also discriminate against in favor of C12.  We know this from the results of Dr. Murry Salby.  The much bally-hoed carbon cycle is not well-known and settled science despite the claims of the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming alarmists.

17 August 2013

The Unsettled Science of Global Warming Revealed by the Climate Models

The last 15 or so years of stasis in the global temperatures, is making it very obvious that the settled science we are told is so well-known and so well-executed in the climate models is full of holes.  Yet, Obama and many others claim that 97% of scientists are blind to these obvious problems.  Well no, 97% of scientists are not that blind and that claim of settled science and a consensus on it is hogwash.

Dr. Roy Spencer recently discussed a plot of the early fits and later predictions of 44 climate models for the lower troposphere temperatures for comparison with the University of Alabama Huntsville and the RSS satellite observations.  The plot was provided by John Christy based on data from the KNMI Climate Explorer.  Dr. Spencer's post was entitled Global Warming Slowdown: The View from Space.

The plot of the 44 climate model results for the temperature in the lower troposphere with comparison to the UAH and RSS satellite observations:

The heavy black line is the average of the 44 climate models.  The UAH satellite measurements are in blue and the RSS measurements are in red.  Both the UAH and RSS satellite measurements are now at lower temperatures than any of the 44 climate models predicted.  To be sure, a few models might say that they are still within their expected errors.  However, it is an obvious conclusion that the settled science of climate represented both by the average and by the wide dispersion of the results, is a myth cultivated by a tireless propaganda machine.

It is likely that most of the developers of these models believe in catastrophic man-made global warming due to man's emissions of carbon dioxide from his use of fossil fuels.  That belief is pretty much a requirement to get funding from governments around the world to develop these models.  This must certainly result in a significant bias of the average result of these models.

The UAH lower troposphere measurement has risen compared to the zero baseline temperature only 33% of the rise predicted by the model average.  The RSS lower troposphere measurement has risen only 28% as high as the model average.  Saying that climate science is settled in this case is like saying that the average of 44 models for the gravitational acceleration at the surface of the Earth is 32.1 m/s^2, but those doggone measurements keep coming up 9.8 m/s^2.  Despite that difference, there is a consensus among scientists that the science of gravity is well-understood and settled science!  It is not important whether the gravitational acceleration is 32.1 or 9.8 m/s^2 when we measure out gold for sale!

The settled science is also so well-known that the predicted temperature change in the lower troposphere for 2025 for the highest prediction based on the well-known and settled science is 2.63 times the lowest predicted change.  Even a non-scientist should be able to easily see that this implies a great disagreement in the science between these model-builders.  It implies a large uncertainty about the science the respective models believe they know well enough to try to incorporate into their models.

In fact, there are many uncertainties that are actually known and many others that may well be unknown.  Predicting the future solar insolation is not all that well known.  The effects of aerosols and of blown dust are not well-known.  The factors that change the degree cloud cover and type of clouds over time are not well-known.  These models have a bias toward assuming that radiation transport of energy in the lower troposphere is greater than it actually is.  They underestimate the energy transport effects of water evaporation and of air convection.  They do not understand the cycles in the oceans sufficiently well.  Thermal inputs from ocean vents and volcanoes and from solar wind and electromagnetic field effects are not well-known.  The large numbers of bacteria in the atmosphere came as a recent surprise.  How do they affect solar insolation and longwave IR scattering?  The non-human sources of CO2 are still not well-understood and this affects predictions of natural CO2 emissions over time.  For that matter, the amount of man's CO2 emissions over time and the time that CO2 remains in the atmosphere is not well-known in these climate models either.

So how do these government-funded and coddled global warming alarmist scientists, most of the print media, and the Obama administration get away with claiming that the science of catastrophic man-made global warming is settled?  How can they believe and expect anyone else to believe that 97% of scientists are on-board with this hogwash?

They ought to be laughed at were the consequences not so dire.  But, they advocate so many limits on our freedoms and so much economic damage in the name of this scientifically bogus theory that it is hardly a laughing matter.  What is more, it is very harmful to the respect that real science should be given.

13 August 2013

NASA Alters Iceland Temperature Record to Produce Warming

Steven Goddard at Real Science has an interesting post that provides the changes by NASA in the temperature records for Reykjavik, Iceland.

Apparently, NASA is convinced that Icelanders misread their thermometers by as much as 2.4 C in 1940 and 1941 and subtracted that huge correction to those years.  From 1955 to 1963 NASA subtracted about 1.2 C from the temperature record.  Since 1993 they added to the temperatures.

One might think a correction to the temperature record for the purposes of gaining a better sense of the change in global temperatures generally would be appropriate.  This change would be a correction for urban heat island effects.  The correction that NASA made would be of the correct sense if the population of Reykjavik, Iceland had decreased greatly since the start of this record in 1901.  If the population had increased, then the correction should be to subtract from the measured temperature as the population increased.

Surprise!  The population of Reykjavik did not shrink greatly from 1901 until now!  No, it actually increased by a factor of 18.8.  Since 1940, the population increased by a factor of 3.1.  Throughout this time, the population of Reykjavik increased except for the loss of a few hundred people since 2008.  So, NASA did not make these corrections to correct for the urban heat island effect.

The net effect is to create the illusion of a rise in temperatures in recent years to comply with the catastrophic AGW agenda due to man's emissions of CO2.  This appears to be why the temperature corrections were made.  If not, it sure would be great to learn what the reason was.

11 August 2013

Americans On Medical Care Subsidies Under ObamaCare

It is important to know how many Americans will be receiving government subsidies for medical care once ObamaCare takes effect in a few months.  I was looking at a article by Robert Romano, the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government.  His article is Why Obamacare always was a public option.  Unfortunately, I found upon examining this article more closely, that his numbers do not add up.  The outcome is worse than his totals imply.  [See Robert Romano's comment below.  He has set me straight on the errors I will correct in brackets below.]

Unemployed and Given Up on Finding Employment = 22 million
Pregnant Women, Disabled, and Nursing Home People on Medicaid now = 27 million
Children on Medicaid now = 31 million
Medicare Enrolled = 49 million
Workers making $45,960 or less, new under ObamaCare = 113 million [counts those adults already enrolled on Medicaid and Would-be Workers who are Unemployed]

Total Number of Medical-Expense Subsidized Americans =  242 million [- 22 - 27 million = 193 million, as Robert Romano wrote]

To be sure, there may be some people in more than one of these categories.  A few people who are unemployed may already be on Medicaid.  People in nursing homes may be enrolled in Medicare.  The total is probably a bit lower than 242 [193] million then.  However, some of the unemployed not on Medicaid have children and they will be in families receiving subsidies and therefor benefiting.  The U.S. population now is 316 million.

242/316 = 0.766 [193/316 = 0.611],

so it appears that [three-fifths] of Americans will be getting subsidized medical care!

How is the remaining two-fifths of Americans supposed to sustain this burden?  Should we not expect that many of them will be drawn under as the costs are put on their backs more and more?  This burden will actually increase the number of poor in America and hence those eligible for subsidies.

While getting subsidized medical care, many college graduates over 26 years old with jobs will soon not only be paying their unforgivable student loans, but will also be paying a fortune for health insurance at costs to provide for the very sick and older people or fined a minimum of $695 a year for not having expensive government-approved health insurance.  Those without jobs will also be fined $675 a year for not having insurance, which means almost all of such unemployed people will have to apply for the government subsidies.  Your life will be hard, but if you voted for Obama, it will be a just consequence.  Life is commonly hard on the irrational.  The exception is the irrational members of Congress who voted for ObamaCare or who have failed to defund it and who are being allowed to escape its draconian provisions in a most unlawful manner.

07 August 2013

NOAA Surface Temperature Changes Show Little Correlation to CO2 Changes Since 1880

Prof. Karl Erdman provided this surface temperature record to me from his search of government data files.  The orange dots are the change in the annual global temperature anomaly from year to year. The blue line is the 10-year average of the change in the annual global temperature anomalies.  The gray vertical bars are the average annual CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.  Since CO2 concentrations increase almost every year, if the temperature is increased by increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, then the change of temperature each year should have a strong tendency to be positive since the CO2 concentration change is positive almost every year.  The only years the CO2 concentration did not increase were from 1941 to 1946.

The sub-heading says that annual CO2 levels have little impact on the annual temperature change.  Looking at this data objectively, it is very difficult to claim that there is any correlation between the changes of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and the changes in the surface temperature!  This states the real lesson of the data better than the sub-heading of the graph does.

This is consistent with my understanding of the basic physics of the Earth's climate as I have discussed it numerous times.  The effect of atmospheric CO2 is very, very small.  It is probably actually a cooling effect, just as that of water vapor certainly is.

The data plotted is based on three data sources:
The changes in the temperature anomaly from one year to the next are the differences between a year's temperature anomaly and that of the next year from this data set.
Measurements of atmospheric CO2 concentrations from 1959 to 2012.
Historical CO2 record derived from a spline fit (20 year cutoff) of the Law Dome DE08 and DE08-2 ice cores June 1998 Source: D.M. Etheridge L.P. Steele R.L. Langenfelds R.J. Francey Division of Atmospheric Research, CSIRO, Aspendale, Victoria, Australia J.-M. Barnola Laboratoire of Glaciologie et Geophysique de l'Environnement, Saint Martin d'Heres-Cedex, France V.I. Morgan Antarctic CRC and Australian Antarctic Division, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Once again there is little reason to be concerned about the emissions of CO2 due to using fossil fuels.  So why is the Obama regime, and his EPA in particular, claiming that carbon dioxide is a pollutant.  Plants certainly do not think it is anything of the sort.  Increased crops and natural vegetation provide us many benefits:
  • Increased food supplies for people and livestock
  • A decrease in arid land areas
  • Moderation of day to night temperature variations
  • Increased oxygen production
I would like to thank Harry Dale Huffman for comments that lead to improvements in this post.

06 August 2013

Earth Surface Cooled from 1982 to 2006 According to Satellite Data

As is now generally known, there has been no warming of the Earth's surface since 1998 at least.  Prior to that time, we were informed that there had been a rapid warming of the Earth's surface and that it was caused by increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere due to man using fossil fuels.  The 2007 IPCC 4th Report still insisted that for 25 years the Earth had been warming.  A newly published study using satellite temperature sensing specifically for detecting the Earth's surface temperature and minimizing that of the atmosphere above the surface, shows that the Earth's surface, contrary to reports, actually cooled from 1982 to 2006!

The paper is entitled Meteosat Derived Planetary Temperature Trend 1982-2006 by Andries Rosema, Steven Foppes, and Joost van der Woerd and was published in Energy & Environment, Vol. 24, No. 3 & 4 2013.  They were very surprised to find the cooling trend they reported.

Earlier satellite data analyses, originated by investigators at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, used microwave sensors to infer the temperature from microwave emissions from oxygen molecules.  Microwaves of different energies originated from various layers of the atmosphere.  One set of data originated from an altitude of about 17 km.  Another at an altitude of about 3 - 4 km.  Then by looking at data taken at oblique angles of incidence, they inferred a temperature from an altitude of about 0.8 km.  However, none of this data actually the Earth's surface temperature.  Initially, this data on the lower atmosphere had shown a small cooling effect, but after many corrections were applied, the data yielded an increase of temperature of about 0.1 C/decade in the troposphere.  The troposphere is the bottom about 10 to 11 km of the atmosphere and its temperature is not at all necessarily in direct proportion to the surface temperature.  Indeed, increased cloud cover, water vapor, and CO2 in the atmosphere may cause an increase in the troposphere temperature even as it cools the surface temperature.

The Rosema, Foppes, and van der Woerd study used the infra-red radiation at 10.5 to 12.5 micrometers wavelength to directly measure the surface temperature of the Earth.  The copy of the paper incorrectly says mm instead of micrometers.  This infra-red radiation is in the mid-infra-red part of the electromagnetic spectrum, but close to the beginning of the far infra-red.  The atmosphere is highly transparent at these wavelengths, provided there are no clouds.  There is a minor effect due to water, but none due to CO2.  The minor water absorption does add a small temperature component from the lower atmosphere to the larger component directly from the Earth's surface.  This is nonetheless a huge improvement over the oxygen emission microwave emissions which have no surface component at all.  The effects of clouds were filtered out of the data.  The daily planetary temperature was approximated as the average of noon and midnight temperatures.

Such satellite measurements are critically important.  The land surface temperature record is highly contaminated by urban heat island effects and by the bad sites chosen for weather station measurements.  Very mysterious and undocumented changes to the raw data have been made to various time period sets of data.  See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, for instance.  The authors of this study note that 10% of their own country, the Netherlands, is now hardened surface.  Changes to ground cover, vegetation, or water surface coverage do have local effects on the surface temperature.

Indeed, they point to data for the area of the confluence of the Euphrat and Tigris Rivers in SE Iraq which showed a sudden warming when Saddam Hussein drained the extensive marshes there.  With less water in this warm area, less evaporative cooling occurred and water vapor absorbed less incoming solar insolation up in the atmosphere, so the average temperature increased.  They found another small area with warming in NW Tanzania.  There, they believe that major mining increases led to a decrease in vegetation and then a reduction in evapotranspiration.  The loss of that cooling caused surface temperatures to increase.  They also noted a cooling effect near Lake Chad and Lake Nasser in their data which they attribute to the growing size of those lakes.

From 1982 to 2006, an ocean location west of France showed a temperature decrease of 0.78 C/decade.  A location west of Senegal in the Atlantic showed a temperature decrease of 0.48 C/decade, which is less a decrease because of ocean upwelling in this area.  More generally, they report that the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, and Europe show a negative surface temperature trend from zero to 2 C/decade.  They observed that the greatest temperature decreases were in regions with greater cloud cover.  In particular, the temperature decrease over desert areas was smaller.

Increased cloud cover is correlated with increased humidity of the air.  More water vapor and more clouds both result in a lower surface temperature.  While it is harder to separate out the effect of CO2 from the overwhelming effects of water vapor, increased atmospheric CO2 probably will also increase the cooling of the surface, as I have argued.  In any case, the IPCC claim that a small surface temperature increase due to added CO2 will cause a much larger temperature increase due to more water vapor, is absolutely and clearly nonsense.