Christopher Merle

Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be, but first I need more coffee.

Month: January 2007

Staffalicious

I liked the pictures in the blog entry I took of the ‘twa cars ‘n a ditch’ so much that I decided to post some more pics. This time it’s from our trip to Scotland in 2005. The graphic at the top of this blog is Marsco part of the Red Cuillins on the Isle of Skye. Is it not striking? Now for the pics:

staffaliscious
Melissa and I on Staffa at the mouth of Fingal’s Cave. Staffa off the west coast Mull and about six nautical miles north of Iona. It was part of a package tour, really more a series of separate trips and tickets. First we boarded a Calmac ferry from Oban to Mull then we hopped a bus that travelled a single track road through some of the most luscious and beautiful landscape we’d seen up to that point in our trip. Next we hopped on a small 30 foot boat which took us through some very choppy water to Staffa wherein I got very motion sick. After about an hour we got back on the boat which took us to Iona. Shortly before we docked I finally threw up, and as chance would have it, on the side and very spot of the boat where everyone had to step to get off. We the walked up to the ruins and the abbey to see what the place where St. Columba set up his monastary and where the Book of Kells was written. Then we got on another smaller Calmac ferry to Mull, back on the bus across the island, then the big ferry back to Oban.

Note- In 2006 we went to Ireland and saw both the Book of Kells in Trinity’s library and went up to Northern Ireland to see Giant’s Causeway which is the same type of volcanic columns as Staffa.

calmackie
This is a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Mallaig arriving at Armadale on Skye. It’s such a neat shot.
knoxious
This is the car park where John Knox is buried. The red arrow points to the spot. The building in the background is the old Scottish parliament building, which alas we didn’t get to go into because it was undergoing renovation. To the left and behind, outside the picture is Edinburgh Cathedral. If you go inside you can see a statue of the founder of the Scottish Protestant Reformation. We also saw his statue in Geneva, Switzerland in 2004 along with some other luminaries of the Protestant Reformation, including Calvin and two other stern looking gentlemen I’d never heard of. They look more like Time Lords from Dr. Who.

Some of my previous posts include PDF slideshows. I plan to post more pictures of previous trips.

Ice Ice Baby

We had an ice storm here in Tulsa over the weekend. We got mostly sleet. The ground looks like it’s covered with snow, but it ain’t. The residential streets in our neighborhood are solid ice. We only have to drive three treacherous blocks to get to a main street. One of the two streets we have to drive on has ditches on either side instead of curbs. This morning as well pulled out onto our side street we saw ahead of us at the T-intersection not one but two cars in the ditch. It was so cute. They were parrallel to each other with their trunks up in the air. One car has been stuck there for two days. The second got stuck sometime between 5pm and 9am when we left the house.

I hope they’ll both be there when I get home so I can take a picture. You think the second driver would have been clued in to slow the fuck down. As we drove up the street with open ditches we could see a smashed wooden fence but no vehicle. I heard the crash yesterday when I took the dog out for a walk. I happened to be in the empty lot at the corner of the T-intersection. I looked up the street in the direction of the sound but didn’t see anything. I discovered this morning why. My view had been blocked by another fence and some vehicles. I didn’t want to hazard the street because there were fucking idiots driving on the ice.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I found a third vehicle in the ditch or crashed into the other two when I get home. Tulsa drivers for the most part are clueless how to drive under icy conditions. Even if you are capable of driving under such conditions it doesn’t matter because some dipshit will run you off the road or crash into you. Now I’ll leave you with the following: imagine someone driving their SUV on solid ice talking to someone on their cell phone.

Update – They were still there and here they are:

twa cars

Here they are in relationship to the T-intersection.

twa cars closeup

Closeup. Car on the left was the first stuck.

Global BS

There is indeed hype and bullshit on both sides of the environmental debate. Am I like the doubting atheist who goes to church because the Bible might be right when it comes to environmental alarmism? Do I side with the environmentalists because the alternative is unthinkable? At worst undesirable.

Humans do have a large impact on the Earth’s environment. There is no debate on this issue. The evidence is all around us. Before either side gets in a tizzy, there is one fact and one question to consider. The fact is there are 6.5 billion people in this world. When I first heard of the world population was back in the 70’s and it was around 3.5 billion. That’s pretty amazing that we’ve added 3 billion people and the not have civilization collapse. The question is: Are our activities causing more harm than good?

What did Palast say about Peak Oil? It’s bullshit. Why? Well, oil will peak, but Hubbert worked for the oil companies and the concept of peak oil is good for the bottom line. Make people think we are running out. This’ll raise the price of oil.

So is global warming a conspiracy to get us to buy compact fluorescent light bulbs. They cost 10x as much and are supposed to last 10x as long. They do use only 1/4 as much electricity. Since most electricity is produced by coal. It will reduce the amount of C02 being pumped into the clear blue sky.

There is no argument promoting Peak Coal. We have enough coal in the ground in the US alone to supply our energy needs for 500 years. Yeah, coal will peak all right, long after we are several generations dead. The most asinine thing I’ve heard is to use some kind of coal reformation to produce hydrogen gas. I’m not sure how much hydrogen is in coal because it’s always been my understanding it’s a lump of fucking CARBON!

Now for the unseen villain of this piece to make it’s appearance. Carbon dioxide. The amount in out atmosphere is going up. Are we to blame? Is it bad? Has the earth been warmer in the past without this much C02? Most likely. We think so. Yes.

The earth is a closed system. Not isolated. An open system exchanges matter and energy. Closed only energy. Isolated none. There is an exchange of matter rockets and meteorites but it’s neglible. The explanations of how carbon dioxide warms the Earth are misleading. Calling it a greenhouse gas is a misnomer. It doesn’t trap heat the way a greenhouse does. Greenhouses inhibit convection. Our atmosphere convects. Anyway regardless of the explanation the earth is warmer now and warming. Without global warming we’d be one huge icecube. So but too much of a good thing is bad.

Maybe I have found a religion. Maybe like Christians who choose to believe in an afterlife with Heaven and Hell. I choose to believe in human caused global warming and that if I we do nothing about it we will all die. That is they might be right. Yes, yes, the sky is falling. The boy has cried wolf one too many times. Chicken little has risen from the grave.

You can make logical and rational arguments for both sides. Reality on the other hand will not be fooled. Humans can be fooled. Science if properly practiced is self-correcting. Feyman recalled a story of a visit to a Buddhist temple and said that knowledge was the key to a door that opened the door to heaven and to hell. How do you choose which is which?

To Do List

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