Doug L. Hoffman's blog

Carbon Sediments Reconsidered

One of the major measurements that paleoclimatologists and other scientists who try to figure out Earth's climate in the distant past rely on is the ratio of two different isotopes of carbon, 13C/12C. This ratio, also called delta 13C (δ13C), has been used to estimate the carbon content of Earth's going back more than 150 million years. Now a new study, appearing in the pages of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has cast the accepted interpretation of δ13C into doubt.

Hurricanes and Hot Air

With the US storm tossed in the midst of the 2008 Hurricane season the predictable has happened: the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has released another report claiming that global warming is boosting the strength and number of storms around the world and in the Atlantic. In a press release dated September 4, UNEP blames climate change for the rising cost of natural disasters around the world.

Generating Power Is Easy, Moving It Is Not

Investors spent $320 million to build the Maple Ridge Wind farm, comprising 195 Vesta wind turbans each generating a maximum of 1.65 MW of electricity. Collectively, the turbines are capable of producing a maximum of 320 MW, which accounted for three quarters of the wind power capacity of New York when it became operational in 2006. The Maple Ridge Wind Farm, located in upstate New York, is a 50/50 joint effort of PPM Energy and Horizon Wind Energy. These companies are not philanthropies; they expect to get paid for producing electricity.

2008 the Coldest Year of the New Millennium

Eclipsed by the pageantry of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Russian attempts to start WWIII by invading their former client states, is a noticeable downward trend in global temperatures. Data from the UK Meteorology Office shows that temperatures in the first half of the year have been cooler than any year since 2000. The reason given for the cooler temperatures is the natural cycle of La Nina and El Nino periods, which affect climate world wide.

Flex Fuel Foolishness

One of the things that is getting a lot of lip service currently is the use of alternative fuels to power cars and trucks that normally run on gasoline—so called flex fuel vehicles (FFVs). The most common “flex fuel” is E85 ethanol, a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. The trouble is FFVs are gas guzzlers in green clothing.

And Now, the Paris Hilton Plan?

As if there weren't already enough confusion swirling around the US energy plan, or lack their of, now Paris Hilton, celebutant and well know party girl, has thrown her plan into the ring. In an online video, a swimsuit clad Hilton announced her candidacy for president and suggested an energy plan that combined elements of McCain's offshore oil drilling plan and Barack Obama's incentives for new energy technology. “I want America to know that I'm, like, totally ready to lead,” the sultry, blond heiress cooed to the camera.

The Cost of Coal

One of the ideas that gets mentioned in energy policy sound bites is “clean coal,” but what is entailed in cleaning up coal is not detailed. In The Resilient Earth we described coal as the most dangerous energy source on the planet—why? In Chapter 17, in the section titled Coal's False Promise we explain why coal is best left buried in the earth, where the efforts of millions of years of active geology has placed it.

Equal Opportunity Stupidity

Looking over the people who have been named Crank of the Week on this website it would appear that we are anti-Democrat or at least right wingers—this is not the case. We are equal opportunity debunkers of muzzy headed thinking and to prove it here is a collection of short takes on dumb ideas that span the political spectrum.

Hope for a Brighter Future

Lest you think that this site is all doom and gloom, concerned only with debunking eco-naysayers and energy illiterate politicians, this post contains some items of good news. As mentioned elsewhere on this site, Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens has kicked off a gigantic wind power project in the Texas panhandle, accompanied by a number of high-impact TV ads that seem to be aimed at moving the US Congress off its duff.

Ozone, Ice Caps and Unintended Consequences

One of the central points presented in The Resilient Earth is the fundamental immaturity of climate science and how unreasonable it is to ask for accurate predictions working from the current state of both climate theory and available data. We used the formulation of the three pillars of science—theory, experiment and computation—as the framework of our argument. As an example why we take this stand consider a recent article in the journal Science.

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