Monday, November 10, 2014

Assorted

Sheesh. It’s not enough that I have to kill a seemingly inexhaustible supply of Solarii. Now I have to kill Oni, too! The supernatural immortal guardians of the Sun Queen that feast on human flesh! Truly, a video gamer’s work is never done.

But hey, it’s Monday. Have a few tidbits from my morning rounds.


First, it seems that the Left’s worshippers of pseudo-science are frothing at the mouth over last Tuesday’s elections:

...all of which makes the following video, admittedly more than a year old, both relevant and funny:

Allow yourself to laugh at these pompous asses who claim knowledge and authority no actual scientist would ever presume to claim.


Second, we have a delicious irony about that Holy Grail of “renewable energy,” solar power:

No doubt most readers know of the $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar plant, a huge project in the Mojave Desert which is easily visible from many planes flying in the Los Angeles – Las Vegas vicinity. It has been controversial from even before its start — it required relocating large numbers of desert tortoises — and since startup for the birds it has killed and the menace it poses to aviation. Oh, and to the climate also; ironically, Ivanpah requires natural gas to operate, and 60 percent more of that than originally estimated, producing greenhouse gases that (per Mann and co.) menace the planet....

Unfortunately for Google and NRG, Ivanpah only produces a quarter of the power it was supposed to. Since Ivanpah isn’t producing enough electricity to meet payments on its loan, Google and NRG quietly asked the Department of Energy for a $540 million federal grant to pay down their $1.6 Billion federal loan. Oh, and to get an extension on loan payments until the ARRA tax credits arrive.

The sheer temerity of the request is almost outweighed by the unintended humor of their explanation for the failure of their project: the Sun isn’t shining as much as they thought it would. But I think they’re barking up the wrong tree: rather than ask for your money so they don’t have to use their money, they should ask the guy who said he would make the oceans recede, to order the Sun to stop slacking — rudely continuing to shine as it has for five billion years — and brighten up for Google, NRG, and Obama’s legacy.

Of course, the prospect of having to bail out yet another federal renewable-energy boondoggle isn’t all that delicious, but perhaps the new majorities in Congress can prevent it.


Third up is Doug Ross’s pictorial interpretation of a Trevor Loudon speech:

I like it. Not only might it work very well electorally, the picture puts the right people in the right places for maximum effectiveness. The prospect of John Bolton telling the Islamic world “prithee, go intercourse thyself” is particularly appealing.


Fourth, in the course of talking about hanging on to whatever truth one can, Sarah Hoyt tells a most instructive tale about a bad man with a single redeeming habit:

There is a story I was told as a child — those not raised in Catholicism, please bear with me — of a man who was a murderer, a thief, a blasphemer, and who died. As he was plunging into hell, a chain caught him by the leg and held him up. He noticed the chain had beads and, looking up, heard a voice say they were the beads of the rosary. You see, even though he didn’t believe, in the rosary or in religion at all, he prayed it every night, because his mother had asked him to. And that single virtue had saved him.

Tales like that do more for the Catholic faith than any amount of indoctrination.


Fifth and last, with regard to the Sarah Hoyt essay linked above – please read it in its entirety; it’s especially valuable – I’d like to resurrect a bit of something I wrote years ago:

In the ideological clashes of today, the attention of the greater mass of Americans is focused on secondary matters. Arguments over national defense, tax rates, social policy directions, regulatory structures, and so forth continue to rage, but with less prospect of being satisfactorily settled than ever before...because a critical pinion for all argument of any sort has been undermined near to collapse.

The pinion of which I speak is the concept of objective truth.

It's hard for most people to grasp that objective truth is a conception, rather than something self-evident. Yet furious philosophical battles have been fought over it. The negative side has never conceded defeat. They've advanced reason after reason to doubt the existence of objective reality. As each one is destroyed, they shift to another. In a sense, their proposition is its own strongest weapon, for they respond rather frequently to even the most obvious points by saying, "No, that's your truth" -- an implicit claim that it's the not the observation but the observer's willingness to accept it that really matters.

John Q. Public has heard little of this, of course; it's mostly fought in the ivory towers, and in the publications that cater to professional intellectuals. All the same, it matters to him more than he's able to appreciate.

Truth is an evaluation: a judgment that some proposition corresponds to objective reality sufficiently for men to rely upon it. The weakening of the concept of truth cuts an opening through which baldly counterfactual propositions can be thrust into serious discourse. Smith might say that proposition X is disprovable, or that it contradicts common observations of the world; Jones counters that X suits him fine, for he has dismissed the disprovers as "partisan" and prefers his own observations to those of Smith. Unless the two agree on standards for relevant evidence, pertinent reasoning, and common verification -- in other words, standards for what can be accepted as sufficiently true -- their argument over X will never end.

An interest group that has "put its back against the wall" as regards its central interest, and is unwilling to concede the battle regardless of the evidence and logic raised against its claims, will obfuscate, attack the motives of its opponents, and attempt to misdirect their attention with irrelevancies. When all of these have failed, its last-ditch defense is to attack the concept of truth. Once that has been undermined, the group can't be defeated. It can stay on the ideological battlefield indefinitely, preserving the possibility of victory through attrition or fatigue among its opponents.

Given recent developments, it’s more important than ever before that we not let them get away with it.

That’s all for now, Gentle Reader. Have a nice day.

1 comment:

  1. I used to live close to that solar plant you mention. There's an older plant not far from there that's been around since at least the 80s. I remember my father driving my past it in those days, commenting on the occasional glare into traffic on 395 from the farms of panels. The older plant is quite productive and uses much less natural gas (less than 10%). Supposedly it produces enough power for something like 300,000 homes. Nobody makes a big deal about it.

    All of this is confusing to me, because these new plants they are building are LESS efficient than the old ones, more expensive to build and operate. They take up greater amounts of real estate. It makes no sense, especially given the march of technology.

    Unless, of course, we figure that over-regulation, government inefficiency and graft has ruined the effort.

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