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

28 February 2015

Minnesota is Misrepresenting the Effects of Higher Taxes and Minimum Wages

It is being claimed that higher taxes on high income persons and increases in the minimum wage are the key to jobs creation and a fast-growing economy.  The example of Minnesota since Democrat Gov. Dayton took over is being used to "prove" this.

Gov. Dayton certainly benefited relative to Gov. Pawlenty in that he became Gov. in the year that the recovery from the Great Recession began, however meekly. He did not create the 172,000 jobs either. But let us note that 172,000 jobs in two years is just barely a match for an anemic population growth.

The article notes that the Minnesota median income advantage relative to the national average actually fell by $2,000 from 2012-2013 to now. It was not noted that the cost of living in Minnesota relative to the national average is going up as well. The combination of a rising cost of living and a falling median income, both relative to the nation, is not good.

While the minimum wage is to go up to $9.50/hr. for large employers by 2018, it will go up to only $7.75/hr. for small employers who employ most people. There are special provisions for a 90-day training period for workers under 20 years old and for all workers under 18 with a minimum wage of $6.50/hr. There are many states with no such provisions.

Furthermore, the private sector job growth in Minnesota from Q1 of 2013 to Q1 of 2014 showed Minnesota to be dead last in the Midwest in private sector job creation. Its 0.8% increase in private sector jobs was behind the next worst state in the Midwest, Illinois at 1.2%.

Gov. Dayton is probably not claiming that he caused a relative decrease in the median income with an increase in the relative cost of living.  And now that businesses have had time to react to his higher taxes and mandated higher wage costs, he is surely not claiming credit for Minnesota being dead last in private sector jobs creation in the Midwest.

Simple Illustration of the Limits of Alternative Power for the Electric Grid

The Institute for Energy Research has just put out a new report: Assessing Emerging Policy Threats to the U. S. Power Grid by Travis Fisher.  There are two graphs that quickly illustrate some of the critical limits on using solar and wind power generation on the electric power grid.  The first important plot is the daily average power output of the alternative energy sources:

Here one can easily see that the average daily output of electric power generated by solar power is a very small fraction of its peak output at the time of day when the electric power need is at its peak, namely at 5:53 PM.  This plot makes it hard to see whether wind power generation is a good actor.  With wind the time of day average is more of a problem than the above graph makes it appear and the time of year average changes are even worse.  To see this, examine the plot below:

This graph shows that the summer electric power usage greatly exceeds the average annual electric power usage for all hours of the day as shown in the black solid and dashed curves, respectively.  The red dashed curve shows the average annual wind generation percentage by hour of the day.  It has a minimum when the average annual power need has a maximum.  This problem is greatly increased in the summer months because except for a few hours in the night, summer wind power generation is less than the annual average.  That decrease relative to the annual average is the most dramatic during the peak electric power usage hours of the day.  Thus the seasonal peak load is in the summer, while the seasonal minimum in wind availability is also in the summer, creating a catastrophic disconnect.

We must not also forget that there are large variations in the availability of wind at any time of the year.  Wind speeds are often below their average or at speeds in excess of those for safe operation of a wind generator.  As for solar, well cloud cover is highly variable.  These are inherently very unreliable sources of energy.

The technology to store massive amounts of power from solar energy and wind generation inexpensively through the daily cycle for use when needed does not exist.  Of course then it also does not exist to deal with the seasonal changes in electric power use and generation by solar or wind as well.

This will never stop the green socialists from insisting that we stop using reliable and inexpensive fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas, which we have in abundance in the U.S.  No, they are very willing to proceed with the destruction of a vital source of our standard of living.  It must be because they wish to condemn mankind to a hell on Earth because their religion holds man to be the murderer of Mother Nature.  No matter how long the surface temperature of the Earth fails to rise in accord with their climate computer models, they will not admit to the failure of their alarmist belief in the claim of catastrophic man-made global warming.  That claim is just too useful to their need for more political power and control of the lives of the People.  It does not matter either that they have no practical alternative source of power for the fossil fuels for which they have an unreasoning hatred. 

23 February 2015

Absurd Claims for Catatrosphic Man-Made Global Warming Never Stop

Absurd claims of catastrophic man-made global warming continue at a mad pace in preparation for the "climate change" conference to be held in Paris later this year.  At that conference, developed nations are supposed to place themselves under energy restrictions so severe that income inequality will be reduced around the world by virtue of decreasing the future standard of living in the developed countries.  In addition, the developed countries are supposed to deliver large sums of cash to underdeveloped and largely poorly governed and corrupt nations to "aid them in adapting to the harm of catastrophic man-made global warming."  The planned economic transformation is massive and will be catastrophic.  Obama claimed catastrophic man-made global warming is mankind's greatest problem, rampant beheadings by Islamists being the small stuff we ought not to sweat.

The U.S. government, the United Nations, and many other developed nations around the world have poured hundreds of billions of dollars into rigged "research" of the causes of catastrophic man-made global warming.  Government funding agencies and the universities dependent upon their research funding have been vicious in destroying or damaging the careers of such research scientists as have had the scientific principles to oppose the agenda mandating that funded research will not shed doubt on the politically essential agenda for catastrophic man-made global warming.  Yet, if any skeptic of this hypothesis receives a piddling amount of money from U.S. industry, from an oil company, or from a limited government think tank that in turn receives a piddling amount of money from an oil company, this is enough to completely discount all of the scientific arguments made by the scientist.

An example of this is a foolish article by a Jay Michaelson called Armageddon for Climate Change Deniers.  He plays the further old game of mocking those who believe the U.S. government has an agenda to acquire more power over the daily lives of Americans and their use of energy and all that implies for economic controls.  He makes the claim that 13,926 of 13,950 peer reviewed papers from 1991 to 9 Nov 2012 agreed with catastrophic man-made global warming.  The "study" [found on an infamously foolish blog] in question actually only counted very strong and explicit claims of falsity of that hypothesis and did not count those cases in which the authors allowed that some doubt was reasonable.  Given the tight controls on who is allowed research money to write journal articles capable of being published in the peer-reviewed journals, with additional journal editorial and peer reviewer (with funding) controls on the orthodoxy, the fact that few authors who want to publish will explicitly say that catastrophic man-made global warming is false, is not surprising.  Scientists who think it is false commonly wait until they have retired before they come out as doubters.  It is amazing how many have done so.

Given my explanations on this blog and by many other scientists elsewhere as to how bad the science theory of CO2-induced catastrophic man-made global warming is, the obvious failure of the highly touted climate models to predict the temperature rise, the heavy-handed alterations of the actually measured surface temperature data record, the recent 18-year constancy of the satellite lower atmosphere temperature record, and the many claims by politicians that bad science explaining the theory should not be allowed to get in the way of the political agenda, there should be many, many scientists who do doubt the hypothesis of man-made global warming.  There are.  Yes, few of them are actively funded by the government for the purposes of climate research.  But many of them are good physicists, chemists, meteorologists, geologists, or engineers.  Over the years because of the great attention the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis has been given as the greatest of all problems facing mankind, many scientists have looked into this hypothesis and evaluated it.  The skepticism is huge.  Very large fractions of the membership of many, many scientific organizations are skeptics.  We scientists are not all fools.  And no, very few of us are receiving any funding from oil companies to support our skepticism.

I am more than a skeptic.  I say the hypothesis is very wrong.  The physics of the hypothesis is horribly wrong.  The empirical evidence has proven the hypothesis wrong.  It is not just that the effect of CO2 on warming is not catastrophic.  It is not even significant.

I have received piddling amounts of funding for my laboratory over the last 19 years from oil companies.  The amount of funding I have received from alternative or so-called green energy companies to solve problems of wind power generation, solar power, or biomass use has been significantly greater than the funding from oil companies.  Many of the oil companies are big and can do most of their own materials problem-solving or have long-established relationships with older laboratories. Oil companies are not clustered near Maryland, though my clients come from across the country.  I am happy to help oil companies and alternative energy companies alike with solving their materials problems.  I strongly prefer that they all operate in a rich and robust private sector with no government meddling, however.

So, advocates such as Michaelson will dismiss all I say because I have received a smidgeon of income from oil companies.  How convenient that they need not address the scientific analyses that I have published on this blog.  How convenient that they dismiss all I say because I am not funded by the government to perform climate research.  How convenient that they can dismiss me because I am not a climate scientist, but merely a physicist who studies materials properties using a range of radiations.

You alarmists are having a bit of trouble convincing Americans and many others around the world that man-made global warming is mankind's greatest problem.  I take comfort in the fact that I have convinced some people to be such skeptics.  I am doing my bit to promulgate what I believe to be the truth.  I am doing my part to uphold the scientific method of free inquiry, careful observation, the use of known scientific principles to understand phenomena, and the idea that an hypothesis has to stand up to empirical testing.  I will not destroy the credibility of science so that politicians can acquire more power and I will not have them buy me off with research grants.