Over There

Spring                                                            Waxing Bee Hiving Moon

Libya.  The Middle East in an arc of protest.  We have intervened on behalf of Libyan rebels and I’m pretty sure my boy is over there, directing bombardments.  I say pretty sure because he was secretive when he told me about this deployment.  Wherever he is, he’s flying 20 hour missions day after day, work that tires him out and energizes him at the same time.  Thanks to e-mail, though I don’t know where he is, I can communicate with him easily.  Strange.

In this instance and in the case of Afghanistan I view our military presence as justified, in the Libyan case because of opposition to genocide and in the Afghan case because the Taliban have provided and would provide again, safe haven for an implacable and dangerous enemy of our country.  Do I like it?  No.  Military force is terrible, only less terrible in fact, than not having it available when needed.

Just for completeness, I did not believe in the war in Iraq and found/find it a much closer analog to Vietnam.  We went in without being asked on a mission only we identified to save people who did not want to be saved.  All in all, a fiasco made much, much worse by civilian casualties.  Not our fight.

The nuclear crisis in Japan, still difficult to assess from afar, shows improvement in that some of the plants now have functioning electricity, yet signs of worsening as an admitted crack in a container vessel resists plugging.  My friend Bill Schmidt wants the media to turn its face more toward the tsunami/earthquake victims and there is clear sentiment in Japan that agrees with him.

I would say we need to look at both.  The human cost already incurred needs and will need attention for some time.  The nuclear crisis, which has the potential to spread out and affect more people over a longer period of time, has implications not only for the current disaster, but for other nuclear plants in other locations, whether they suffer from the same vulnerabilities as Fukushima or different ones.

And, in the weirder news of the day, two odd stories from the LA Times, rapidly becoming one of my favorite news sources.

Classify under not particularly surprising:

Classical music still effective at dispersing loitering teens:  LA Times

Critics’ review unexpectedly supports scientific consensus on global warming

A team of UC Berkeley physicists and statisticians that set out to challenge the scientific consensus on global warming is finding that its data-crunching effort is producing results nearly identical to those underlying the prevailing view.

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project was launched by physics professor Richard Muller, a longtime critic of government-led climate studies, to address what he called “the legitimate concerns” of skeptics who believe that global warming is exaggerated.

But Muller unexpectedly told a congressional hearing last week that the work of the three principal groups that have analyzed the temperature trends underlying climate science is “excellent…. We see a global warming trend that is very similar to that previously reported by the other groups.”

The Berkeley project’s biggest private backer, at $150,000, is the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Oil billionaires Charles and David Koch are the nation’s most prominent funders of efforts to prevent curbs on the burning of fossil fuels, the largest contributor to planet-warming greenhouse gases.