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This is the archive for June 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's seemed for a while that the up and coming theory of solar output driving earth's climate might be enough to cool the ardor of the Chicken Littles who want us all to start taking rikshaws to work and using hamsters in wheels to power our computers in order to prevent the earth from turning into a faintly glowing cinder. Well, never fear, Mr and Mrs. Little, your hopes of leveraging impending calamity into a world Luddite Renaissence and weekend music festival need never suffer for lack of remote possiblities that simply must be acted on before it's too late.

Meet global cooling, back for a whirlwind reunion tour after being written off as a has-been in the 1970's. All concert proceeds will be donated to the "Planets not People" foundation, and "Progressives Against Progress." Note: appearance dates and venues subject to change due to scheduling conflicts and poorly tested hypotheses.
Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments.
Now, should you think that our government has the capabilities required to judge such things, remember your judgement is always better than theirs. Here's a test to prove it.

Suppose you are a police officer, whose duty it is to protect the public, and incidentally, to subdue and apprehend those who might be a danger to themselves or others in the safest way possible. You encounter a man who has poured gasoline all over himself, and is threatening to burn himself alive. He is not a threat to anyone but himself (and his house), and so deadly force should be ruled out. After all, protecting a man from himself by killing him is usually an ineffective deterrent.

What then, is the least safe way to subdue this subject?

  • A: Wait until he gets tired and falls asleep, you can convince him to come along peacefully, or the gasoline evaporates.
  • B: Shoot him with (usually) non-lethal beanbags until he doubles over in pain and can be handcuffed and doused with water or foam, or the gasoline otherwise rendered somewhat non flammable
  • C: Throw a net over him and drag him to the ground where he can be detained as in B.
  • D: Leave him the hell alone, since he's not threatening anyone but himself.
  • E: Disable him with a device that indroduces a very high voltage electrical current, and gives off sparks in the process. This device is remarkably similar to a spark plug, several of which are included in every gasoline powered car, and are used to ignite the gasoline and provide power to the engine.


  • Did you choose (E)? If so, then yes, your judgement is better than the fine members of the Texas State Police.
    "We don't know what ignited the fire," police said.
    Indeed.