Open Thread 20

Time for a new open thread.


  1. #1 DaveH
    February 1, 2009

    Antarctic warming!

    Obviously explained by the massive population increase on the continent, infinity per cent rise in a century or two. And I bet the weather stations are Right Next to the Buildings!!!11!111eleventy!

  2. #2 bi -- IJI
    February 1, 2009

    Dave H, the warming’s obviously due to volcanoes. If it’s not Urban Heat Islands, then it must be volcanoes.

    * * *

    And YouTube brings us yet another climate change conspiracy theory

  3. #3 Jacon
    February 1, 2009

    Has anybody heard of ultralight housing? It’s basically self contained housing – composting toilet, cogen for electricity and heat, thermal closet for air conditioning in summer. Very small, very cheap to build (~$7000 for small 1bedroom apt type ). Extremely low environmental impact.

    I wanting to build and move into one, but with zoning laws etc. it’s impossible.

    I don’t see why the heck I shouldn’t be allowed to build one on some unused government owned land. Does anyone else?

    Given that they can always be moved if the government decides they want the land later. I could pay some reasonable property taxes. They can look over the plans first.

    Maybe I should just do it – if I can stay there for more than 7 months I’ll be saving money even if it all gets seized by the po-poes (cops) or something.

  4. #4 z
    February 1, 2009

    “ultralight housing”

    didn’t we call those “trailers” once upon a time?

  5. #5 Nick
    February 1, 2009

    I don’t let my ultralight into the house, I keep it in the shed.

  6. #6 Jacon
    February 1, 2009

    No it’s not a trailer. Trailers dump their sewage, are badly insulated, need to be hooked up usually, are tiny inside, cost a fortune….. big difference.

  7. #7 Steve
    February 1, 2009

    Jacon, you’re brushing up against what I believe is a weakness of sorts in current environmental regulation of new homes.

    With the kind of building energy efficiency regulations that States such as VIC and NSW have, people are perhaps too inclined to build oversized concrete and brick bunkers – they have good thermal performance, but lots of embodied energy.

    You can still satisfy the regulations if you build a lightweight timber house if you design it just right, but the trend these days seems to be towards concrete slab + brick veneer (or double brick in WA).

    I think there are some caveats in NSW regulation to allow for lightweight timber homes, but I still think govts should be doing more to consider embodied energy in their planning decisions, not just operational energy. Surely its better to spread energy use out over the long term (when future energy generation might be cleaner), than to reduce operational energy use and replace it with a big wad of up-front energy consumption to build the house in the first place.

  8. #8 Jim Prall
    February 1, 2009

    I’m just catching up to look through the “Inhofe/Morano 6xx” list. I found the list that “Bob” posted at [650 list](
    and it has 663 unique names in it, AFAICT. (I have logged 111 of those in my table of climate scientists by citation count, at
    [table by cites]( but I have not yet annotated them for “presence in Inhofe/Morano list” – that’s another data entry project for me…

    Anyway, can you point out the source of the table that contains all those duplicate entries? I used a short perl script to put last name first (taking into account “van der ” and “de ” prefixes), stripped out “Dr. “, and used unix “sort -f” to alphabetize irrespective of capitalization.

    Feel free to email me offline to confer if you want.

  9. #9 nanny_govt_sucks
    February 2, 2009

    I don’t see why the heck I shouldn’t be allowed to build one on some unused government owned land. Does anyone else?

    Unused? That land is being leased to big cattle/drilling/mining/dumping interests in exchange for valuable campaign contributions! It other words, it is being “protected” by the government. You’ll find no haven there.

  10. #10 Hank Roberts
    February 2, 2009

    > ultralight housing

    Can’t buy the parts for that price. Don’t be a sucker.

    Anything you put on (or near) government land is either a meth lab (if it shoots back) or a road sign (if it doesn’t shoot back); test by shooting at it. That’s our area rule anyhow.

  11. #11 Jacon
    February 2, 2009

    I was thinking more a stand alone one bedroom or bachelors apt. than a house. Given that I’m already living in a tiny box what the heck….

    In hamilton, ontario, where I am, around the city and suburbs, there is a lot of unused land that is as close as normal housing to city amenities, incl. that which is slated to be developed in 5 years or something but is doing nothing in the meantime. Suits me; they can have it back when they want it and I’ll have saved a fortune in the meantime.

    Also, given how much I can pay a farmer per sq meter, I’m sure farmers would be ecstatic if they had the option of renting out bits of their land…. If the housing is self contained, I cannot think of any compelling reason this should not be permitted.

    When it comes to transportation, legislation changes along with the posibilites technology provides.
    Just about any suitable method for transporting yourself around that doesn’t endanger someone’s life or ruin the road is permitted.

    The situation with housing right now is like not permitting anything on the road except a yellow hummer with a huge leak in the gas tank. And if someone objects to the shade of yellow, it gets confiscated….

  12. #12 Trent1492
    February 3, 2009

    If anyone is interested we have a infestation of Deniers at Pharyngula

  13. #13 Thomas
    February 3, 2009

    Here you can find a funny advertisement for Heartlands conference on climate change:
    It’s clearly on Heartlands homepage, but is the video for real or a spoof? Have they been hacked?

  14. #14 bi -- IJI
    February 3, 2009


    It’s a spoof video by your truly. :-B

    > Have they been hacked?

    Good question, that. I was actually thinking that Heartland liked the video enough to put it on their site. :)

  15. #15 bi -- IJI
    February 3, 2009

    Seems that some Swedish folks are also being confused by the presence of the video there…

  16. #16 ben
    February 3, 2009

    Cap-n-trade not working out so well.

    The green lobby has lectured us for years that global warming is all about the sanctity of science. Those who question the “scientific consensus” on catastrophic atmospheric changes are belittled as “deniers.” Now, in assessing the costs, the greens readily cook the books and throw good science out the window. “To most of the most strident supporters of this legislation,” says Mr. Niello, “the economic costs don’t really matter anyway, because we are supposedly facing an environmental apocalypse.

  17. #17 Gaz
    February 3, 2009

    Cap-n-trade not working well, Ben (#16)? On the basis of anecdotal evidence reported by a political opponent?

    How about some hard anlaysis, Ben.

  18. #18 luminous beauty
    February 3, 2009


    It is amusing that anyone still believes anything written in the WSJ opinion pages.

    Another view:

    California adding green jobs, leads nation in energy efficiency

    “Here we are in January of ’09, and we’re hitting a rough spot,” said F. Noel Perry, a former venture capitalist and founder of Next 10, the nonprofit entity that funded the green index. “The question in California is how will green jobs be affected by that? How will venture capital be affected? All I can say is I don’t know.”

    But when Henton looks at the venture dollars invested into California clean-tech companies in 2008 — more than $3 billion — and the nation-leading number of patents issued for various solar, battery and wind-energy innovations here, he sees a strong potential for growth.

    As the Obama administration moves to use energy efficiency and renewable energy as a source of job growth, California could be an exporter of its expertise to other states, Perry said.

    “Imagine where the country could be if it were as efficient as California,”

  19. #19 z
    February 3, 2009

    “It is amusing that anyone still believes anything written in the WSJ opinion pages.”

    Hmm… <>

  20. #20 wilful
    February 4, 2009

    some unused government owned land. Does anyone else?
    Absolutely! Chances are you’re going to f*ck up and pollute that land and not care for it – where does sewage go? Litter? Are you going to plant a garden? What about access – soon you’ll want a road there, maybe garbage collection, hey what about postal services. The idea that there’s all this ‘unused government land’ out there that deserving souls should be using is really extraordinary. Don’t believe it mate. Even if you’re the lightest living little bunny who ever floated across the earth, how are the government able to distinguish between you and the far more common type of squatter?

  21. #21 bi -- IJI
    February 4, 2009

    Sifu Tweety Fish tells us that Boing Boing just invited a global warming inactivist as a guest writer.

    Another name to add to the “rapidly growing” list of liars and wafflers. Drum rolls please!

  22. #22 bi -- IJI
    February 4, 2009

    Yep, we knew they’re going to say this:

    > While the mainstream media continues to parrot the claim of Al Gore and the UN’s IPCC that “the science is settled” regardeing global warming, the expected 1,000 attendees [of the 2009 Heartland conference] from across the globe are living, visual proof that such a claim is merely an excuse to avoid debate.


  23. #23 Hank Roberts
    February 4, 2009

    Psst. Wha’hoppen ?

  24. #24 Tim Lambert
    February 4, 2009

    It’s supposed to be redirecting to But they said it could take up till 24 hours. All the posts from there are now here.

  25. #25 Gary Strand
    February 7, 2009

    Tim, I saw your comments on David Friedman’s blog – I just wanted to let you know that “VangelV” is a denialist of the highest order. We went back and forth on another site about climate change and he was stubbornly sticking to the denialist playbook – conspiracy, fraud, manipulation, and misstating the facts and evidence. I see he didn’t learn a thing, based on his comments.

  26. #26 Jacon
    February 7, 2009


    Yes, those could be valid points, but they are solved very easily.

    To prevent pollution, you can require that building plans be submitted and approved. That’s exactly what is done for normal housing, and it works fine.

    Like I said, it’s a *composting toilet*. It takes a whole year for the reservoir to fill, and even then a single person can carry it all and give it away as fertilizer. It’s the same as composted horse manure, which you can buy at canadian tire.

    No, you simply aren’t allowed to plant a garden, unless you can prove it would do no harm. Apartment dwellers don’t have one at present so that’s not a problem. It doesn’t matter if I want roads, postal service, etc., that’s my problem. There is nothing that requires the government to provide that and I can get by without very easily without (especially in exchange for ~$700 a month), just get a PO box, and walk a couple meters to the nearest road.

    As for the added road capacity and wear and tear, I said I could pay taxes, which would cover that easily. If thats the way you are going to be, though, you owe me a discount on my taxes right now because I use a bicycle. If you aren’t going to do that, you’d have no excuse to be so nitpicky.

    To distinguish responsible land users and polluting squatters, that is covered by the licensing thing. You can also have an inspector swing by every 6 months and check.

    If you stand by your concerns, then you’re just being completely paranoid that something extremely vaugely defined and potentially slightly bad *might* happen. Whereas there is a *lot* of economic and societal damage from high housing prices – crime, bankruptcies, evictions, 700 billion dollar bailouts etc. etc. which *would* be eased. Why leave all that oportunity on the table?

    The average lower class canadian spends HALF of their income on rent. Were talking about DOUBLING the effective income for a couple thousand people in the city, at no net cost to the public. That’s worth a small risk of a small amount of litter on a small amount of land, which can be cleaned up at any time at a very small cost.

    Litter is a potential problem, but have a look around your average apartment building – see any litter? Now divide by the population of the building. What makes you think people would litter any more if they had stand alone housing? It would be the same people involved. You can tack a cleanup fee onto the taxes if you want.

  27. #27 Jacon
    February 7, 2009

    Oh yeah, and you can always try a pilot project, and go from there. That is what is done for transportation.

    It uses more land per person, but that is no excuse to legislate it away – it still uses less than a house. If you artifically prevent the poor from getting their share of the land, you must do the same for those who can afford houses – you must ban normal houses. As a citizen of my country, I demand my fair share of land. Where I live, this is not like asking for a handout because there is a *lot* of spare land. It’s demanding that the government get out of the freaking way. If you want to preserve the land, turn it into a park, otherwise I may use my share.

  28. #28 Bill O"Slatter
    February 12, 2009

    Time to start a thread on fire mitigation Tim since Mirada Divide has upped the ante on SMH.

  29. #29 z
    February 12, 2009

    what evidence do they have that the fires are anthropogenic? i’ve been waiting for the news articles to mention something but they don’t.