Global Warming – what’s to come?

Today’s report on the IPCC “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” suggests that although the science is now clear, the politics are getting in the way of the credibility of the IPCC and climate science in general.   Unfortunately in my view we are not debating the important items about warming, which relate not so much to the science (that proves there is warming and suggests strongly that it’s caused by humans), but relate to whether we can do anything about this and how dangerous the warming will be for humanity.    In my view there is little to do now regardless of how dangerous the warming is to humanity, but it’s also unlikely the dangers are anything like they have been advertised by many in the activist community.

So I’m hoping to explore each of the following talking points in the coming months:

Climate change Impacts from NATURE CONSERVANCY:

It should be clear to everybody that the earth has warmed a bit over the past century – most scientists believe about  0.8 degrees.     It’s also *fairly* clear now that humans are almost certainly responsible for most of that warming, although there is more intelligent criticism of that idea than many believe   ( is the best source for the “smart skeptic” POV).

But far more relevant that those two issues are the following two issues:

1.   How will this affect us?

2.  What can we do about warming?

…. to be continued …

Got Dead?

One of the biggest legitimate beefs with the media and our own silly perceptions of the way the world works is how foolish we are with the math of death.    Breathless news reports talk about a death here or a few deaths there, ignoring the fact that death….happens a lot.    Only by a good review of the statistics can we begin to understand the significance – or in many case the insignificance – of reports of violence and death.     We tend to confuse “unusual” or “interesting” events with significant ones, and I think this is getting worse as the media increasingly depends on keeping the prurient interest of mathematically inept viewers.
From Centers for Disease Control – 2007 stats:
Mortality experience in 2007
In 2007, a total of 2,423,712 resident deaths were registered in the United States.
The age-adjusted death rate, which takes the aging of the population into account, was 760.2 deaths per 100,000 U.S. standard population.
Life expectancy at birth was 77.9 years.
The 15 leading causes of death in 2007 were:
Diseases of heart (heart disease)
Malignant neoplasms (cancer)
Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke)
Chronic lower respiratory diseases
Accidents (unintentional injuries)
Alzheimer’s disease
Diabetes mellitus (diabetes)
Influenza and pneumonia
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis (kidney disease)
Intentional self-harm (suicide)
Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease (hypertension)
Parkinson’s disease
Assault (homicide)
In 2007, the infant mortality rate was 6.75 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.
Here are the numbers for the top 10 (also from CDC for 2007)

  • Heart disease: 616,067
  • Cancer: 562,875
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 135,952
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 127,924
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 123,706
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 74,632
  • Diabetes: 71,382
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 52,717
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 46,448
  • Septicemia: 34,828

HD TV Hookup Tips and links. Plasma TV, LCD TV, and LED TVs

Although many others could do a much better job offering these tips, I’m doing it out of the great sense of frustration I’ve had during the transition to High Definition broadcasting and the plethora of new TVs and video options.   Please add links via the comments if you have a good source of hookup information.

For the folks out there who are easily frustrated and don’t like setting things up  I’d encourage using your Cable folks or  “Geek squad” or other services to set up systems rather than working on them yourself, as the number of options has become so great it’s hard to “get it all right”.

HD TV Primer from “HowStuffWorks” | HD TV Primer from Wikipedia:

HD TV Hookup Help:

Generally you’ll want to follow the diagrams included with your cable box and/or TV set since individual items can vary.   Try to visualize the “ins and outs” as best you can, recognizing that there are basically either audio or video signals coming in and out of each component.   Sometimes these run on separate cables  (as in the old style AV jacks), sometimes they run on the same cable (as in HDMI).   You will generally only use a few of the total connection points available on a new device, so don’t get overwhelmed by the many options – most are simply different ways to skin the audio / video cat.

OLD Article with good summary of some issues

Why NON HD programs can have worse picture quality on your fancy new TV:

I’m floored by how many people do not think this is an important and frustrating issue as we transition to “all HD all the time”.   In general terms your expensive new TV will give you INFERIOR picture for standard TV.    Eventually SD TV signals will go away but that’s not the case yet.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS:   Play with your TV Video display options via the TV setup screen to see if you can improve the standard picture.    For people with “mostly HD” channels this may not be important, but if you only get a handful of HD channels you may be frustrated with the new TV.

Hookup your OLD VCR to NEW TV:

In general you’ll want to consider getting new DVD player (and perhaps “surround sound” audio equipment with your new TV.    Even $150 will get you a decent HD disk player with a modest audio “surround sound” setup that offers a great movie experience.    However if you have a lot of old video tapes you may want a combination DVD  Video player.


Yosemite2010 134

Yosemite2010 134

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

The Clouds Rest hike in Yosemite was fantastic – one of the best hikes I’ve ever done in terms of scenery, modest difficulty, and drama as you ascend the last portion to some of the best views in the park (which, in the case of Yosemite, means some of the best views …. on earth…

We camped at Sunrise Lakes, a very steep hike of about 3 miles, then up to Clouds Rest the next day. It’s 10 miles round trip but the elevation gain from the lakes – which are at about 9200 feet – was just moderate.

At the top of Clouds Rest you can see most of Yosemite, with magnificent viewing for the entire 360 degrees. Especially spectacular is the look down Tenaya Canyon into Yosemite Valley far below. Half Dome hikers are visible with binoculars making their way up the cables that cover the last few hundred yards of the Half Dome hike.

The Half Dome hike offers great views and a huge sense of accomplishment when you make the top, but I’d say Clouds Rest is even more scenic.

Yosemite – what a great American Masterpiece!

Vietnam’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Vietnam’s UNESCO World Heritage List



I’m planning the 2011 trip to Vietnam, taking a look at all the great places which I’ll have to narrow down to the ten or so I’ll be able to visit in my trip of about 3 weeks which is also going to include Angor Wat in Cambodia.   Hanoi, nearby Ha Long Bay, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), and Historic Hoi An are already “must sees” for me.

Vernazza in Cinque Terre Italy 317

Vernazza in the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, National Park, and very cool place in Italy.

Cinque Terre Italy 317

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

I may have posted this already here at Joe Duck but I was reviewing the Europe Trip photos and could not resist. This was a great place, and as I recall the highlights of our 8 country adventure I would put the Cinque Terre at the very top. Spectacular and cozy, historic and charming, this is a wonderful place.