July 27, 2009

Hey, we elect them!

During his speech at a National Press Club luncheon, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), questioned the point of lawmakers reading the health care bill.
“I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill,’” said Conyers.
“What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”

It would be one thing if he was making a point that the Bill is way too complicated and congress needs to simplify it and reduce it to make it easier to enact and follow. I would be cheering him on!

But, of course, he isn't. He is saying it is too complicated for HIM to waste time reading. He couldn't understand it if he did! So he will just vote "Yes" on it and leave it up to us to obey it and businesses across the country and doctors and lawyers to re-do their entire systems to comply with it. Billions and Billions of dollars will be spent on lawyers and experts and lawsuits and education and new departments and regulations and paperwork to teach the masses how to comply and what the new options are. But the leaders, who supposedly wrote the Bill, don't have to worry. No, they can't be bothered with understanding it... after all, they get to keep their current FEHBP Health Insurance. The rest of us huddled masses are left to figure it out. While we do, they will be off saving the planet with a cap-and-trade bill that they also don't read or understand the consequences of!
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July 24, 2009

New, Better, Efficient, Cheaper

I'm not sure if this is entirely accurate, I don't know that anyone can really tell. But some have tried to chart the new "Public Option" for health care that is being debated. The result:

Hmmm. I believe there is a few opportunities for waste and corruption in there somewhere. Why anyone would want politicians controlling our health options is beyond me.

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July 16, 2009

A fish and a half

I have been restoring an old aluminum fishing boat over the last year. I finally got it done and was able to take it out on the lake this past weekend. Had a very enjoyable afternoon. However, I didn't catch any fish and I broke a pole.
This girl seemed to have more luck:

Wow, I can only imagine how cool that was. She will remember that for the rest of her life. Great Job Jessica! It's really neat how they took the picture then released the fish. Maybe someone else will get to catch it one day.

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July 12, 2009

What is "Carbon Pollution"

The house has passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act. This bill is claimed to create green jobs, reduce "carbon pollution", and ultimately save the planet. Sounds great.

Unfortunately, if the results are like other countries that have done the same thing, it will actually destroy over 2 jobs for every green job it creates; not reduce any carbon output, but instead increase the tax burden on companies; create many new government agencies, bureaucracies, regulations and mandates making doing business more complicated and expensive; and not affect the temperature of the planet one bit.

As a follow up to this post on macro climate change, I will talk about carbon dioxide.

As a Chemical Engineer, I find the demonization of carbon dioxide incredibly frustrating and insulting. Carbon dioxide has somehow been turned into a pollutant, some kind of dangerous gas that humans “spew” out by their greed and industrialization and general raping of the planet. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Carbon dioxide is an absolute essential substance for all life on this planet. It is as fundamental to life as water! Carbon dioxide, by design or by evolution, is an ingenious battery, which is used to store vast amounts of energy from the sun that can then be used by all life on this planet.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is used in a plant and combined with water to form oxygen and sugars in a process called photosynthesis. Energy is required to perform this task; the energy comes from sun light. See below (click to enlarge):

CO2 + 2 H2O + photons → (CH2O)n + H2O + O2
carbon dioxide + water + light energy → carbohydrate + oxygen + water
In this way, plants can convert solar energy into stored energy. All life on this planet is carbon based, meaning it is mainly built out of carbon atoms. This is because we are all built out of carbon dioxide, we all get our energy and mass from the sun and the carbon dioxide molecule!

In actuality, oxygen is a byproduct (a pollutant if you will) of this process. In order for life to continue, the excess oxygen buildup must be converted back into carbon dioxide (releasing the stored energy). Animals (again by design or by evolution) aid in this by using the sugars and metabolizing them back into carbon dioxide, water vapor, and energy. This gives them the energy required to function and grow without absorbing it from the sun. The carbon dioxide energy can also be released by burning (oxygen reacting with organic matter and releasing heat energy, water vapor, and carbon dioxide).

Current levels of CO2 are around 300-400ppm (parts per million) depending on where you are. This is the low end of what plants need to grow. Plants have been shown to double their growth rate in environments of 2000 ppm with plenty of light. So, from a plants perspective, we are currently suffocating plant life on this planet with our extremely low levels of CO2.

I have created a picture of what dry air (what you are breathing right now minus water vapor) looks like below (click to enlarge):

1 “dot” = 100 ppm

Green is Nitrogen 780,800 ppm (78.08 %)
Blue is Oxygen 209,500 ppm (20.95 %)
Orange is Argon 9,300 ppm (0.93 %)
Black is Carbon Dioxide 350 ppm (0.03 %)
Red is other 50 ppm (0.01 %)

Water vapor, depending on temperature and available moisture, is anywhere from 1000 ppm (0.1%) to 40,000 ppm (4 %) of our air.

All the Global Warming alarmism is based on computer models saying carbon dioxide will go up to 450-600 ppm over the next decades or centuries from our fossil fuel burning. So, instead of 3 black dots there will be 5 or 6 in our air picture above. How does this destroy the planet?! Keep in mind, water vapor is a greenhouse gas also and fluctuates all the time from maybe 10 - 400 “dots” in our air picture!

The chart below shows the greenhouse gases and how much we as humans contribute. Numbers vary greatly depending on the source, so I took 4 different sources and averaged them. If anyone can find a good breakdown of how much CO2 is released by man (Burning fossil fuels and burning wood) and how much is natural (animal and people breathing, natural fires, volcanoes, vegetation and animal decay) I would appreciate it.

Clearly, we do not have as big of an impact on greenhouse gasses as we are led to believe.

But is the increase in CO2 bad for us?
Humans breathe out about 45,000 ppm carbon dioxide. At 20,000 ppm humans will increase heart rate and breathing. At 50,000 ppm we will become dizzy and have difficulty breathing. At 80,000 ppm we will get headaches, sweating, and lose of consciousness in 5-10 minutes. So carbon dioxide levels would have to go up over 50 fold (5000%) for us to even notice!

Even as CO2 levels have increased slightly (20 ppm) over the last 10 years, temperatures have not. In fact, they may be showing a downward trend over the last 5 years.

In conclusion, I don’t understand the hysteria over carbon dioxide. It does not seem to directly cause heating/cooling of the earth. At most, it is a small player of a secondary warming effect of which we only contribute or can control a small percentage. It is, however, an absolute necessity for all life.

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July 3, 2009

It's not just a personal matter

I am late to this story, I have been on vacation. But my governor, Mark Sanford, went "missing" last week. News stories began surfacing like this one, no one seemed to know where he was. His staff said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail which is a nearly 2200 mile trail through the Appalachian mountains. His wife claimed she didn't know where he was. Local talk radio began buzzing with people defending him saying he just needed time off, and other saying going AWOL for a week was bizarre at best.

At the time I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, I would want some personal time alone if I was in the public eye all the time. But I was fearing something worse.

When he returned the story became even more bazaar. He wasn't hiking, instead he flew off to Argentina. He said he was just driving around enjoying the beautiful city. It became obvious that he was not telling the truth as the lies began to compound and contradict.

Finally, he reveled that he was actually in Argentina, meeting his Mistress who was a long time friend. His news conference is here:

He resigned as chairman of the Republican Governors' Association but did not offer to resign as governor. The South Carolina Republican Party then voted to censure Sanford, but came short of demanding his resignation. This was the first time a sitting governor has been censured by the SC Republican Party.

I have always been a strong supporter of Mark Sanford. He has been a Conservative leader not only in this state but nationwide. He has held down the ballooning budgets of SC and even stood against the White House trying to block the "stimulus" money. However, this is not excusable regardless of how much I like the man politically. I reject the opinions that personal life is separate from public life and we shouldn't judge him. He holds himself out as a moral, Christian and Conservative man. He had the trust of his family, sons, and voters. He has violated that trust and lied to his wife, family, and the public. His marriage is falling apart and he is skipping out of the state to have sex with a woman in South America. If he can not even keep his promise to his wife and maintain his family unit, why would I trust him with the responsibility of an entire state and billions of dollars? I call for Mark Sanford to resign as governor, go home, and try to get his life back in proper priority.
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Up, Up, and Away

US unemployment rate has reached 9.5% nationally. Below is Obama's predicted results of his stimulus package. In February, he claimed that unless the stimulus bill was passed the recession would be "catastrophic" and "irreversible".

Now he says: "Obviously we are deeply concerned about the employment rate. What we are still seeing is too many jobs lost - too many families who are worried about whether they are going to be next."

No kidding... The question is, can the Federal Government spend its way into prosperity. I think the answer is obviously no. Now, instead of just high unemployment, we have high unemployment and massive record debt.

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