Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Nothing New Here

It's not clear whether the beloved (just kidding) Press has become more or less biased over the Centuries. One thing never changes -- people like to read what they want to hear.
The Pest

How shall I speak of thee or thy power address,
Thou God of our idolatry, the Press?
By thee, religion, liberty and laws
Exert their influence and advance their cause;
By thee worse plagues than Pharaoh's land befell,
Diffused, make earth the vestibule of Hell;
Thou fountain at which drink the good and wise;
Thou ever-bubbling spring of endless lies;
Like Eden's dead probationary tree,
Knowledge of good and evil is from thee.

"The Progress of Error"
William Cowper (1782)

Friday, January 26, 2007

BLATHER 25.I.2007

A Diary by John McCaughey

Blather [magazine] is here. As we advance to make our bow, you will look in vain for signs of servility or for any evidence of a slavish desire to please. We are an arrogant and depraved body of men. Blather doesn't care. A sardonic laugh escapes us as we bow, cruel and cynical hounds that we are. It is a terrible laugh, the laugh of lost men. Do you get the smell of porter?

---Flann O'Brien, Dublin, 1934
None of us can really be sure that we exist. My whole life, as this Diary shows, is a lie. All the characters in it are invented, none bears any resemblance to anyone living or dead. People who claim to find themselves here must know that the only real existence we can any of us claim is in the imagination of God.

---Auberon Waugh, Diaries 1972-1985

More to Her than Waggling her Bottom?

Madonna (a popular singer) came in for a good deal of derision in Britain recently for remarking that she has been involved with "a group of scientists finding a way to neutralize radiation." She was told to go to the back of the science class and to stick to her microphone and to waggling her bottom at the chaps. Radioactivity, she was told, cannot be neutralized. It decays at its own rate.

Then (unexpectedly) along comes Professor Claus Rolfs of Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany---by all accounts a respectable academic. He points to work being done along these lines:

"German physicists have come up with a way of speeding up the decay of nuclear waste," he says. "The technique involves embedding the waste in metal and cooling it to ultra-low temperatures.

"We are currently investigating radium-226, a hazardous component of spent nuclear fuel with a half-life of 1,600 years. I calculate that using this technique could reduce the half-life to 100 years."

Clearly, we must put Madonna in charge of Yucca Mountain and urge her to waggle her bottom at the good professor.

Can't Pick Up Your Marbles

Between Vladimir Putin in Russia (that pasty-faced old KGB mass-murderer) and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela (also known as Fidelito), not to mention various mad mullahs in the Middle East, what is called "resource nationalism" is booming. Of course, greedy, short-sighted governments have been nationalising foreign-owned and financed assets for many decades. The owners are powerless because you can't pick up your marbles and run. But if this present outbreak continues, soon no major oil company will be able to do international business.

Blather's old pal Bob Hirsch (he of oil production peaking theory fame) says gloomily that it will all end in tears. To try to cheer him up, we buy him another glass of champagne at brunch in the Irish pub on Sunday morning. But he is inconsolable. So we put a bit more money in the pot and send him off for a short holiday to the Turks and Caicos Islands, where there are no oil resources to nationalise.

Fatal Fillings

Somewhere we read the other day the theory that mercury vapor from dental fillings poisons the body. This rang a bell because several years ago we had seen a story that the late Ken Lay of Enron fame--actuated by this very scare--had had all his fillings removed and replaced with gold, which must have been an expensive, tiresome and even painful business.

Waste of time, as well. "Amalgam is safe, "says expert J. Rodway Mackert Jr. of the Medical College of Georgia's School of Dentistry.

What little mercury vapor escapes from dental fillings with chewing or tooth brushing is too tiny to pose a hazard. From a normal diet (including fish), we get five or six micrograms of mercury every day. A person with seven silver amalgam fillings (assuming that he brushes diligently) gets about one microgram a day from the fillings.

Perhaps Ken Lay should have spent a bit less time at the dentist and a bit more time checking the books at Enron.

Carbon Footprints Balls

Leaving a computer on all night uses as much energy as it takes to print 800 sheets of paper---or so claims (with no adduced evidence) a new book by travel photographer (whatever that may be) Philippe Bourseiller called "365 Ways to Save the Earth."

Probably he made it all up, as is the all-too-common practice of these Frenchmen.

Bourseiller's book is coffee-table size, printed on glossy paper and weighs about two kilograms. Nowhere does it record that the paper is recycled or demonstrate the book's own negative carbon footprint.


"Gossip is creative. All art is based on gossip---that is to say, on observing and telling...Gossip is the art form of the man and woman in the street, and the proper subject for gossip, as for all art, is the behaviour of mankind."

W.H. Auden

In other words, gossips are the only artists left in our desolate civilization.

"Vobis plurimas gratias ago...."

(Thank you very much)

---from Blather's "Bluffer's Guide to Latin"

"Mr. Buchwald became the subject of headlines himself in 1957. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was in Paris attending a meeting of NATO when Mr. Buchwald, weary of the soft questions lobbed at Mr. Eisenhower by the press, wrote a column about a fictitious news conference in which reporters demanded to know, among other things, when the president started eating his morning grapefruit. The column incensed Eisenhower's press secretary, James C. Hagerty.

"Unadulterated rot," he called it.

Mr. Buchwald countered that he had "been known to write adulterated rot" but never "unadulterated rot."

---International Herald Tribune obituary of Art Buchwald 18.I.2007

"Pseudomania": an insane tendency to make false statements; hence 'pseudomaniac', a person affected with pseudomania"

---Sir James Murray's 'New English Dictionary, 1909

In contemporary English (as spoken in England) the abbreviated term "a pseud" is taken to mean any half-witted, pretentious, self-serving academic, literary or artistic prat. It is high time that this usage was incorporated into American English in rather the same way that "wanker" is beginning to show up. Years ago, Blather asked an English friend what "wanking" and "wanker" meant. "Pointless masturbation," he replied crisply. Intellectually and politically, there's a lot of it around.

"Cellulosic ethanol is one of the Holy Grails of energy.... But we never found the Holy Grail."

---John Felmy, chief economist, American Petroleum Institute

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bush Jerks Climate Rug

With a soft whoosh and a loud thud, George Bush pulled the climate rug right out from under Lady Pelosi and the Dems.

Bush is offering voters a simple, painless solution -- just use a different gas pump. E85 not only stops climate change but brings instant energy independence. This is something the Dems have also foolishly made part of the climate equation, with the Energy Independence or Global Warming Select Committee. Takes the heat off of electricity, where we only depend on our harmless and friendly neighbor, Canada.

Down with climate. Down with OPEC. Down I say.

This is so much better than the ration and gamble (a.k.a. cap & trade) big money you never see strategy of the Dems.

It even gets the kids off your back (the real need to do something) because it is an overt family act, done over and over, like recycling. Fill the tank to save the earth. Gotta love it. Sticker bait.

It also pays the farmers, making it the perfect political solution. Breathtaking.

Is this a great country or what?

The Pest

Friday, January 19, 2007

Protect Your Toilet Paper Rolls

By Ima Kute Copp, local action news

A trashy story appears in the local action section of the fantasyland Washington Post-Democrat newspaper. We are not making this up. The hyperventilated headline is: "An Environmentalist's Moment of Glory: Arlington Lawmaker Praised for Greenhouse Gas Initiative."

The story behind the story (accompanied by two large color photographs) can no better be expressed than in the words of the newspaper's manifestly-stupid staff writer Annie Gowen:

"Over the years, residents of the Fairlington neighborhood in Arlington County have grown accustomed to the site (sic) of a tall, lanky figure going through the trash bins outside their homes.

"No matter---it's just their county board president, Paul Ferguson, making sure they've recycled their cardboard toilet paper rolls properly."

The lanky Ferguson with his strange proclivities for diving for toilet paper rolls is, the idiotic reporter gushes, 41 years old and a longtime environmentalist and a vegetarian. As the headline notes, he also makes laws.

He has launched a $6 million Inconvenience Initiative (inspired in part by Al Gore's silly and duplicitous movie) to lower Arlington County's greenhouse gas emissions. The taxpayers will be asked to cough up the $6 million despite the fact that the county has a budget shortfall for the coming year of an estimated $20 million. Ferguson says that he is nevertheless comfortable with the price tag. Clearly fit for Congress.

Our advice to anyone who finds this lanky weirdo diving for toilet paper rolls in their trash bins is to call the police, who have been trying to nab him. Better yet, set the dogs on him. In no case vote for him.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Climate Marxism -- a Book Review

"Environment, Capitalism and Socialism"
Resistance Books, 23 Abercrombie St, Chippendale 2008, Australia

It is all here -- http://www.dsp.org.au/dsp/ECS/index.htm

An easy read if you like light Marxism, dry but not turgid. Marxism turns out to be surprisingly compatible with Climate Change Doctrine. Or maybe not that surprisingly, but very compatible. Marx, who never owned anything, would approve.

Marxism promises a workers' paradise upon the death of Capitalism. (Not to be confused with Muslim paradise, which is to die for.) Technology is supposed to provide the paradisiacal stuff of life, but this has been a hard check to cash.

Enter Climate Change Doctrine which teaches that we ought not to want so much. Behold, we have Sustainable Paradise. Climate Marxism promises not to make the workers equally rich, but to make them want to be equally poor. And we definitely have the technology to meet that challenge, the poor part, not the wanting part.

According to Climate Marxism the workers only want to be rich because of the evil genius of, you guessed it, Capitalism. Capitalism spends untold bazillions on mind-bending advertising (tell us about it) that dupes the workers into wanting unneeded stuff. Personal comfort and security is a con game. (We doubt this but it is Marx after all and a strong dose of willful suspension of disbelief is called for, preferably administered in a strong drink.)

Marxism only promises "to each according to need," not according to want, read the fine print. So only want what you need and paradise awaits. As soon as we get rid of evil genius Capitalism and all those damned commercials (a lot to like here).

Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains, your pensions and your carbon-based lifestyles. And no more commercials.

The Washington Pest

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

BLATHER 16.I.2007

A Diary by John McCaughey

Blather [magazine] is here. As we advance to make our bow, you will look in vain for signs of servility or for any evidence of a slavish desire to please. We are an arrogant and depraved body of men. Blather doesn't care. A sardonic laugh escapes us as we bow, cruel and cynical hounds that we are. It is a terrible laugh, the laugh of lost men. Do you get the smell of porter?

---Flann O'Brien, Dublin, 1934
None of us can really be sure that we exist. My whole life, as this Diary shows, is a lie. All the characters in it are invented, none bears any resemblance to anyone living or dead. People who claim to find themselves here must know that the only real existence we can any of us claim is in the imagination of God.

---Auberon Waugh, Diaries 1972-1985

Those Crazy Mullahs, Dontcha Love Em?

There is something both comical and ironic in the fact that oil exports from Iran, which has the third largest oil reserves in the world, are shrinking by 10 to 12 percent a year. By 2015, Iranian oil exports could be zero.

The reason is simple enough: the mad mullahs have failed to invest either in maintaining existing infrastructure or in new production. Rather than do so, they divert current oil profits towards maintaining a vast welfare state that props up their disagreeable Soviet-style, religious-mania regime.

Because gasoline costs a token 9 cents a liter, demand is exploding at 6 percent a year---the highest rate in the world.

So, despite Dubya Bush's belief that Iran's nuclear program is a blind to develop nuclear weapons, it may be that the mullahs really will need nuclear plants to fuel electric cars when the gasoline runs out.

Raise a Glass for the Republic

Is this a great country, or what? Americans are now well on track to replace the French as the world's leading drinkers of wine.

In 2010, says the International Wine and Spirit Record, Americans will knock back 27.3 million hectolitres of wine (12.3 percent of total world consumption)---thus placing them ahead of both the Frogs and the Italians.

A marked increase in production of American wines of good quality at reasonable prices, as well as imports of excellent wines from such places as Chile and Australia, is credited for this great American achievement, which would have been inconceivable just a decade or two ago.

The Frogs are said to be furious about the news. Good!

A votre sante, Gaston.....

Chop Me Down, or I'll Kill Again

Consumed by political correctness and a desire to appease the Greenies, Michael Dell, whose company is the leading direct seller in America of personal computers, has started selling trees online in order to help preserve the environment (he claims).

Buy a Dell desktop PC and for $6 extra the company will plant a tree for you. Buy a laptop and the price of the tree drops to $2. The idea, he said, is "to offset the emissions associated with the electricity used to power their computers." It's one of the carbon-neutral thingies, much advertised by morons like Al Gore and Prince Charles.

What no one seems to have pointed out to Michael Dell is that there is a respectable body of scientists who believe that far from soaking up CO2, most trees in non-tropical areas trap heat and thereby increase global warming (if there is such a thing).

Bad trees! Killer trees! Chop them down or they'll kill again.

Porcine News of Interest

All that pork money for ethanol producers emerging from Congress is worrying the National Pork Producers Council. With more corn being devoted to ethanol, it points out, a linkage is being established between the price of corn and crude oil prices. When the crude oil price goes up, so do corn prices and the cost of feeding a hog. And, eventually, the price of your pork roast in the supermarket.

The only law which those Congressmen have never passed (but ought to have done) is the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Gypsy Rose Lee

A most agreeable encounter at a cocktail party with Virginia "Gigi" Lazenby of Tennessee. Like ourselves, Gigi raises thoroughbred race horses. But she is best known, perhaps, from her period as President of the National Stripper Wells Association. Once, called upon to testify to a hearing on energy policy chaired by the rather humorless Senator Frank Murkowski from Alaska, she insisted upon being identified in the Congressional Record as the "Queen of the Strippers." A very droll lady indeed.


"In Rome to seek the blessing of Pope Ringo on my Parliamentary candidature in North Devon. I find difficulty in securing an audience. One explanation may be that this is Holy Week, a time when many clergymen are busier than usual, but I see something more sinister than this. I suspect the hand of Cardinal Alfredo Bougainvillea, malodourous head of the Vatican Dirty Tricks Department (the dreaded Comitato Santo degli Squalidi Trucchi) who is known to be my sworn enemy...."

Auberon Waugh: Diaries, April 11, 1979

Infinitus est numerus stultorum...

{For those few of our readers who were not blessed by a classical education, this is Latin for 'Infinite is the number of fools'. But feel free to add it casually to e-mails. Nobody will know that you don't know a word of Latin. In subsequent editions, Blather will add to this useful Bluffers' Guide to Latin.}

And this is law, I will maintain,
Until my dying day, Sir,
That whatsoever king shall reign,
I will be Vicar of Bray, Sir!

A 1734 chorus of an anonymous poem celebrating trimming, focus groups and Clintonesque triangulation. There is nothing new under the sun.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Fun With Asceticism

British opposition Tory leader David Cameron says "We've got to try and make the environment and climate change uplifting and fun and interesting ..."

Fun? Doing less with less is fun? We have always said that energy conservation is asceticism disguised as engineering, but fun? For example:

(Stolen from the Brit Independent) Flights within the UK should be taxed almost out of existence, a leading Tory MP said today. Tim Yeo, who chairs the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, said he wanted to see "virtually no" domestic flights taking off within a decade. Fun? Trains are fun, well not really. Once, not twice.

Meanwhile, Alistair Darling, the Trade and Industry Secretary, said that climate change could be the biggest business opportunity of the 21st century with the potential to create 100,000 new jobs in the next decade. "From climate change seen simply as a threat, the environment a cost, to where it is viewed as the greatest business opportunity of our age. Bringing jobs and wealth to Britain," he said.

Fun + jobs! My Darling thinks enviro costs are benefits because somebody gets the money. Voters may disagree. 100,000 make-work jobs, like driving people who should be flying, is not fun.

Clearly British politics has fallen into a frenzy of green one-upmanship. But then these are the funny folks that brought us Through the Looking Glass. Let's watch the new US Congress try to top them, as they no doubt will.

Enjoy the show. It should be fun.

The Washington Pest

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The smell of Manhattan By Erik Blare

It was the fart that felled Manhattan.

On Monday morning, Jan. 8 2007, a foul odor invaded trendy Manhattan and parts of New Jersey, causing transit shutdowns, business closings, and angry New Yorkers demanding an answer to what was invading the normally clean, pellucid air of the Big Apple. The answer wasn’t rotten apple.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, D-R-I-G, and anything in between, announced at a press conference before noon that serious investigations determined that the smell was not natural gas. That’s cool, because natural gas does not have an odor at all.

What Bloomberg was saying, although it’s not likely he understood what he was saying, is that the smell wasn’t from pipeline natural gas. Because methane has no smell – and is dangerous because it is heavier than air and displaces oxygen, leading to asphyxiations in some circumstances (such as inside the oven or in a construction ditch) – hishonor was reassuring the public that there was nothing to fear from the odor, but fear itself.

Let us all breathe a collective breath of relief, while holding our noses.
“The smell is there, we don’t know the source of it; it does not appear to be dangerous,” Bloomberg said. “And some of the facilities that were evacuated or shut down are now being reopened or put back on line.”

Of course, if it was natural gas, there was not much to fear, either, for a variety of reasons. But that’s another tale.

The reason natural gas smells is that the natural gas industry adds chemicals – mercaptans – making sure it smells bad in order to alert consumers if their gas stove or heating system is leaking. The fear is explosion if the right oxygen and methane mix occurs (unlikely in the out-of-doors).

That’s why farts smell. They have body-made chemicals, thiols that are related to mercaptans, that add odor to the odorless methane. According to Wikipedia, “The odor of thiols is often strong and repulsive, particularly for those of low molecular weight. Thiols bind strongly to skin proteins, and are responsible for the intolerable, persistent odor produced by feces, rotting flesh and the spraying of skunks.”

So here’s the answer to the malodorous Manhattan conundrum: The East River Monster.

For many years, the more clear-headed of us observers of life in the Big Ap have know that a giant, Loch Ness-quality creature has been living in the East River. Every now and again, Eastie surfaces, to eat a Toyota pickup truck for a film crew, or to release a giant fart. Normally, the wind blows from west to east, sending Eastie’s effluvia toward his native Scotland.

There was no film crew at East River on Monday, and the wind was blowing from east to west. Uggh!

Monday, January 8, 2007

BLATHER by John McCaughey, himself

After much begging on our part and the false promise of fame, John McCaughey has agreed to lend, but not sell, his fiascodic wit to The Pest. To Wit:


A Diary by John McCaughey


Blather [magazine] is here. As we advance to make our bow, you will look in vain for signs of servility or for any evidence of a slavish desire to please. We are an arrogant and depraved body of men. Blather doesn't care. A sardonic laugh escapes us as we bow, cruel and cynical hounds that we are. It is a terrible laugh, the laugh of lost men. Do you get the smell of porter?

---Flann O'Brien, Dublin, 1934

A Bad Year for Hurricane Alarmists

There can be no doubt about it: 2006 was a very bad year for hurricane alarmists. Storm and hurricane days were each off by 30 percent, Category 3-plus days off by 50 percent and Category 4 days off by 54 percent. Hurricane days were at their lowest level since 1989. The hyped-season turned out not to happen. Deaths and damages were about a hundredfold less than the previous year. It must be a seasonal thing. So all these theories that global warming fuels hurricane activity turn out to be just balls. And the forecasters turn out to be about as useful as the Deaf Adder they used to teach me about when I won a prize for Scripture Knowledge in school. Still, every non-hurricane has a silver lining. Insurers posted a $24.4 billion profit in the first nine months of 2006.Insured losses in 2006 from natural disasters (usually hurricanes) were $15 billion compared to $99 billion in 2005.

We'll Huff and We'll Puff and Not Blow the House Down

Having ruined some of the finest scenery in Europe (especially in the Scottish Highlands) the New Labour government in Britain turns out to have made a bloomer. A new independent study shows that very few wind farms in England and Wales produce anything like the amount of electricity civil servants and politicians had forecast, despite exorbitant subsidies to wide-boy wind farm developers.

Not merely do the turbines rarely work when power is most needed, but some of the output is ludicrously low: about 24 percent of capacity on average, dropping to 8.8 percent at one pharmaceutical plant which had installed its turbines for PC reasons rather than to benefit the shareholders.

Said John Constable of the group which performed the study: "We're really talking about a garden ornament, not a power station. These are statements about the company's corporate social responsibility, not efficient generating capacity."

Prime Minister Tony Blair's government has set a goal of producing 15 percent of Britain's energy from renewables by 2015. This would be comical if it were not so pathetic.

After You, Claude...

Once a sensible, pragmatic, business newspaper, Britain's Financial Times has gone entirely wobbly, as a long, fatuous lead editorial in a recent edition reveals. This urges urgent and decisive action in 2007 to write and to ratify a new and much tougher Kyoto Accord against global warming. The leader column is full of the same tired old arguments with which the enviros have been boring us for years: mandatory cuts in emissions, the excellence of Al Gore's movie, you know the sort of hopeless rubbish.

Mercifully, the leader writer, to some extent gets a grip near the end when he quotes (from a classic British radio comedy) the phrase: "After you, Claude; No, after you, Cecil" about two old-school British gentlemen who could never get through a door because of excessive politeness.

"No country," says the leader writer, "wants to risk economic damage from cutting its carbon emissions unless it is sure that others will do the same." Quite so: ask the smirking Frogs, the Indians or the Chinks.

The Natural Gas Cartel that Won't Happen

For a while, a year or so ago, it was a fertile and profitable story for energy hacks: the notion that (led by the Russians and Algerians) there would be created an OPEC-style natural gas cartel.

But as time goes by it seems ever less likely. Gas is traded mostly on long-term contracts, so manipulating prices by altering supply (in the way that OPEC does with oil) is more difficult.

In any case, in both Russia and Algeria, under-investment is such that no cartel is needed to boost gas prices, even if Europe depends on Russia for a quarter of its natural gas and Vladimir Putin is an old, unreconstructed KGB man determined to reconstitute the Stalin-era Soviet Union.

But, in the end, Russia's Gazprom is at least as reliant on Europe as Europe is on Gazprom. Go figure...

Home Design Hot Air

BedZed, a development of 99 apartments in south London, was designed to provide "zero carbon" living and to be entirely sustainable: wind-driven ventilation, rainwater to flush toilets, solar panels, walls two feet thick packed with insulation, triple-glazed conservatory to trap sunlight and heat house and many more such features.

Four years later, it turns out that it doesn't work.

The wood-burning technology that was supposed to provide heat and power has been abandoned, few of the tenants use the recommended "organic food boxes" (whatever they are) and the sewage treatment system (waste water filtered through reed beds) is no longer used.

"This hasn't turned out to be a zero-carbon development," says a rue Pooran Desai, who helped found the project. "We have learned as much about how not to do things as how to do them."

The problem is that there is no such thing as a "zero-carbon house."

Crackpot Charlie

Dear old Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, who has spent his life waiting fruitlessly for Queen Elizabeth II to die so that he may ascend the throne, now amuses himself by giving speeches.

The latest one informs us that we are "all living on borrowed time" if we don't stop eating up the world's resources.

Charlie is a fan of Al Gore, of course, and worries out loud about the "climate crisis." He encourages staff to get around London by bicycle rather than cars or cabs.

No question that Charlie is eccentric, but then he comes from an eccentric family. The current Queen's great-uncle Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward, Duke of Clarence, eldest son of Edward VII, was widely suspected to be Jack the Ripper, the notorious killer of prostitutes in London around 1890. And Henry, Duke of Gloucester, suffered from a distressing mental illness for many years before his death in 1974.

Despite the fact that he believed himself to be a poached egg, at school in Eton we all liked the Duke. He used to be known by us as "Henry Bonkers". So Charles is following a honorable tradition.


"In the case of global warming, the unanimity of so many scientists is very suspicious: it makes one feel that they are acting as a monopoly in their own interest (funds, power, publicity). Their sentences too often begin with the words 'The science says....' as if that could be asserted absolutely. When governments start to act against climate change, the efficacy of what they do will be highly uncertain. What will be certain, however, will be higher taxes (moralistically enforced in a 'Don't you know there's a war on?' tone of voice) and a vast extension of bureaucratic power. Having survived 50 years of people prophesying doom, I feel tempted to walk around with a placard saying 'The End is Not Nigh' ".

Charles Moore, The Spectator (London), November 2006

"John Spence's "Shetland Folklore" (1899) mentioned an old custom from which the verb "to earmark" is derived : Everyone knew his own sheep by the marks cut in their ears. The various sheep marks had names by which they were known, such as "bits, crooks, fiddlers" and "shols" indicating different cuts in the ear...."

Jeffrey Kacirk, Dictionary of Forgotten English

Monday, January 1, 2007

Pandora's Polar Bear

The US Fish & Wildlife Service has proposed classifying the polar bear as a threatened species. What makes this unusual is that the bear is not threatened by humans. The polar bear is threatened by computer models.

This action could set a really fat precedent because computer models are much more dangerous than humans. It is estimated that at least one half of all living species are threatened by computer models. Mitigating all these threats could keep the FWS busy, not to mention rich and powerful, for years to come.

The problem is that some computer models say the Arctic ice cap will disappear in about 40 years, give or take a century. Polar bears live and work on the ice so this might be a problem for them, we don't really know.

Just to be sure the FWS wants to invoke the Endangered Species Act, to give them dictatorial, sorry, administrative powers now to help the may someday be out of work bears. This especially means designating critical habitat (land, lots of it) where the bears can do whatever they are going to do when there is no ice to do it on. Artificial ice is also a possibility.

Mind you the bears are fine for now so send your BearCare packages to the Pandas as usual. In fact the polar bears might do very well on land, where they used to live about 300,000 years ago, before they took to the ice. They were called Grizzlies then and were brown, to go with their decor. Perhaps we are trying to protect the color, not the bear. The FWS proposal is silent on this question.

The Pest has learned that the FWS is also studying another million or so species for possible classification as threatened by computer models. Comments on the polar bear proposal are due around April Fool's Day, but the Pest has yet to figure out just who the joke is on. Send your nominations to the FWS, not the Pest.

For more and funnier information, see: