Civil Defense Perspectives July 2015 Vol 31 No 5 [published Nov 30, 2015]
Claiming a “climate emergency” caused by atmospheric CO2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to impose the “Clean Power” Rule, which is supposed to save tens of thousands of lives because of decreasing “carbon”—not the life-giving gas but the elemental form, soot, that comes in small particulates less than 2.5 microns in size (PM2.5s). It happens that coal-fired electrical generating stations emit PM2.5s, as well as CO2, and health harm is said to come from the particle size, regardless of composition or source. It could be soot, diesel exhaust, or dust from storms or agriculture.
The reductio ad absurdum, used so brilliantly by 18th-century French economist Frédéric Bastiat, does not work well today, so accustomed are we, like the White Queen in Through the Looking Glass, to believing six impossible things before breakfast—as long as propounded by government-approved “scientists.” Continue reading
Civil Defense Perspectives Sept. 2015 Volume 31 No. 6
While some U.S. presidential candidates (Hillary Clinton, John Elias Bush [JEB], Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina) have expounded on the U.S. establishing a “no-fly” zone in Syrian airspace, Russia has established that it is not our airspace. U.S. pilots, conducting bombing raids on ISIS, were ordered to change course to avoid coming within 20 nautical miles of a Russian aircraft (http://tinyurl.com/poepl2q). Syria and our supposed ally Iraq have both invited Russia into their airspace to help quell ISIS—and the U.S.-supported insurgency that is trying to oust duly elected president Bashar al-Assad.
Over one week, Russia claimed to have destroyed 19 command facilities, two communications centers, 23 depots with fuel and ammunition, six plants for making improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and several training camps (RT.com 10/7/15, http://tinyurl.com/nvl5u6l). The U.S has not been announcing comparable claims. In addition to the well-tried workhorses like the Su-24 frontline bomber and the armored Su-25 ground-support fighter jet, designed decades ago, the Russian air force used the new Su-34, which can hit targets from an altitude of 5,000 feet, far from the range of the militants’ anti-aircraft weapons. The bombs include sophisticated laser-guided Kh-25Ls and steerable KAB-250s, and bunker-busting BETAB-500s (ibid.). Continue reading
Civil Defense Perspectives May 2015 Volume 31 No. 4
The sharpest dividing line between hominids and all other organisms is the use of fire, wrote the late Isaac Asimov (A Choice of Catastrophes). There is evidence of fire having been used by Homo erectus in caves in China half a million years ago. A method of starting a fire from scratch was probably discovered by a member of Homo sapiens around 7000 B.C.
In Greek mythology, the Titan god Prometheus stole fire, which Zeus had withheld from men, and delivered it to mortals. In retaliation, Zeus ordered the creation of Pandora, the first woman, to bring misfortune to the house of man. Continue reading
Civil Defense Perspectives March 2015 Volume 31 No. 3
The U.S. long ago adopted the nonstrategy of deliberately leaving its citizens completely unprotected against nuclear weapons. For prevention it has depended on the concept of nuclear deterrence. This depends on the enemy being rational, concerned about its own survival, and identifiable—and the willingness and ability of the U.S. to utterly crush the foe.
Nuclear proliferation, unilateral U.S. disarmament, technological change, and the rise of many enemies willing or eager to die in the process of killing infidels mean that nuclear deterrence is much less reliable—or even impossible. Continue reading
Civil Defense Perspectives January 2015 Volume 31 No. 2
All the calls for people to work to “Save the Planet” suggest that the Planet could have eternal life if only we banished the demon carbon dioxide to the nether regions of Earth. But of course the Planet had a beginning, and it will have an end. For perspective it is worth reviewing the late Isaac Asimov’s 1979 book A Choice of Catastrophes: the Disasters That Threaten Our World.
The heat death of the entire universe would seem to be an inevitable, inexorable end to everything not already destroyed. The Earth could be rendered uninhabitable by collision with an asteroid, or by changes in the sun as it became a red giant and eventually a white dwarf. But on a smaller than astronomic scale, the force with the greatest likely impact is climate. There have always been droughts, and floods, and storms, but could the Earth become a planetary Sahara or a planetary Greenland? The popular press in the 1970s was filled with threats of global cooling, which were endorsed by all major scientific organizations (http://tinyurl.com/q7pkmp4). Continue reading
Civil Defense Perspectives November 2014 Volume 31 No. 1
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may claim 95% confidence in its predictions, but 111 (97%) of 114 runs of climate models predicted temperature changes greater than observed (TWTW 8/23/14). After a 35-year simulation, models over-predicted actual temperatures by 200% to 750%. Would a 300-year simulation fare better (TWTW 11/8/14)?
Previously, the climate-research establishment denied the existence of a pause in the inexorable warming, but admitted that it would invalidate their theories. A 2008 report from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said: “The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 years or more” (Matt Ridley, WSJ 9/4/14). Continue reading
Civil Defense Perspectives September 2014 Volume 30 No. 6
[published November 2014]
In March, a devastating Ebola epidemic was building up in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, and was belatedly recognized as an international emergency by the World Health Organization only on August 6. At the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness meeting in Knoxville, Tenn., July 25-28, Steven Hatfill, M.D., gave an in-depth presentation on Ebola and other emerging diseases (http://tinyurl.com/mb3ftzo).
Some key take-home lessons: Continue reading
Civil Defense Perspectives July 2014 Vol. 30 No. 5
In Haitian folklore, a zombie is a dead person physically revived through necromancya bokorsorcerer. Zombies, having have no will of their own, are slaves of the bokor. Living persons in Haiti who were thought to be zombies may either have been drugged or mentally ill. Continue reading
Civil Defense Perspectives May 2014 Vol. 30 No. 4
[published July 2014]
Long before Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, by a group of five Serbs and one Bosnian Muslim, shots fired by a British militia company at Jumonville Glen, near what is now Pittsburgh, launched what some consider a world war. The French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Years War, killed at least a million men, women, and children in North America, South America, Europe, Cuba, Africa, India, Cuba, the Philippines, and the Caribbean. The young lieutenant colonel who lost control of his men was George Washington, writes Richard Maybury (EWR, May 2014). Continue reading
Civil Defense Perspectives March 2014 Vol. 30 No. 3
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1854
Even small, seemingly insignificant places, like Sarajevo, can spark global conflicts. Crimea is not strategically insignificant. The [First] Crimean War fundamentally altered the balance of power in Europe, which had kept the peace for three decades after the Treaty of Vienna ended the Napoleonic Wars. And the outcome set the stage for World War I. Continue reading