Posted by: realengr | January 7, 2009

Global Warming: the New Religion of the New World Order

Hey, how’s that for a catchy title.  Actually I’ve been slightly involved in a little running text battle with a guy named ‘Spanky’ on the BROL board.  Usually I don’t attack anyone personally and strive to keep comments ‘impersonal’ but Spanky felt the need to attack myself and another BROL member about our AGW opinions and then used our religious beliefs and political beliefs as an excuse for other people involved in the discussion to ignore us.  A transparent attempt to discredit us.

I’ve replied to Spanky and he didn’t like it very well.  I received another post and the below text is my reply to him.  It’s much too long for BROL, so that’s why it is here.  Spanky’s comments are in italics.  Mine are in bold.  I’ve removed many of my comments that were personally directed.  I’ve got a poison pen and sometimes it gets out of control.  No need for that with civilized people……

They have already decided what they believe, and only pick out points that support their outright denial. There are for them no degrees of probability, no weighing and considering of any evidence unless it supports their position. I think this need to believe and the logical contortions required to hold it is a phenomenon almost as interesting as global warming itself. I have weighed the evidence and it is wanting. There’s a credibility gap that I will explore below.

But, as I said, for climate change deniers there is no weighing and considering, no degrees of probability, only an entrenched position to be defended as if their very lives depended on it. Such is the nature of the human ego.

This same comment can be applied to AGW proponents

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Answer me this for instance: if there is, say, only a 10% chance of catastrophic man made climate change, what do you have to gain from this position of absolute denial? There is not a 10% chance of catastrophic man made climate change except in computer simulations that keep having to be revised and revised as the predictions spewed forth don’t come to pass. As to your question: 1) I have not absolutely denied it. I am just not convinced. 2) The economic damage that can be inflicted on the world economy from draconian measures to solve a possibly non-existent problem could be more harmful to both industrialized and developing nations than the actual ‘problem’. Michael Crichton went into this in detail in ‘State of Fear’.

Can you really say with absolute certainty that the majority of the scientific community, minds vastly more qualified to judge than yours and mine, are totally mistaken about this? There are many, many members of the scientific community who do not believe in AGW. Are you saying that if 50.5% of the scientific community votes that AGW is correct that we should discount the other 49.5% and just accept this. No. I cannot say with absolute certainty that they are totally mistaken about this. Of course, if we were talking about eugenics in the early part of the 20th century then you would be on the side of the eugenics community and you would be talking about the eugenics consensus. We all know what the result of this scientific consensus was, don’t we? (See ‘Auschwitz’, ‘Final Solution’, etc. in your online encyclopedia).

Pertinent quotes:…

“I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion.” – Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.

“Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly….As a scientist I remain skeptical.” –  Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology  and formerly of NASA who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.”

Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” – UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

“The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t have open minds… I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists,” – Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.

“The models and forecasts of the UN IPCC “are incorrect because they only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity.” – Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico

“It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.” – U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.

“Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapour and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will.” – . Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, NZ.

“After reading [UN IPCC chairman] Pachauri’s asinine comment [comparing skeptics to] Flat Earthers, it’s hard to remain quiet.” – Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society’s Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review.

“For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?” – Geologist Dr. David Gee the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.

….

Can anyone really believe that the scientific community is only acting in its own interests in promulgating a fictional climate change scenario? Considering what this entails: that thousands of scientists are in on a conspiracy; that none of these scientists have any respect for scientific truth; that these thousand of scientists are primarily financially motivated; that there is nothing else they could equally as effectively apply for funding to research . . . do you honestly think anyone is justified in believing this? These are ‘strawman’ arguments. These scientists are not all in a ‘conspiracy’. I live in an R&D community (Knoxville/Oak Ridge area…you have heard of ORNL I am sure) and am familiar with the motivations of some of these researchers. Many people are motivated by the need for a paycheck. It is much EASIER if not more effective to get funding for AGW research right now. It has become its own industry. I have worked for British companies for 12 years now and must admit that our friends in the UK have a huge amount more of integrity, so perhaps we have a cultural difference in our perceptions of researchers. Unfortunately I have also talked to American researchers and they ‘follow the grant money’ pretty well.

Would you admit the possibility that you may only be believing what you need to believe to fend off fear? Uh….no. I believe what I believe because AGW proponents have made prediction after prediction based on faulty computer models that keep getting revised. Computer modeling of weather is not science. It is high tech guessing. Guessing that so far has been dismally wrong. Hardly any of the AGW crowds’ predictions have come to pass. When we have a cooling trend for the last few years they regroup and say that the cooling is caused by AGW. Then they make up a new name and call it ‘climate change’ because they look like fools as a ‘temporary’ cooling trend kicks in. It is silliness. In the private sector these fools would be fired. How many times do they have to get it wrong to lose all credibility?

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In the public life of the US, outright denial of AGW comes largely from the Republican party. A supposition. But if true may prove that the only people who can think for themselves may be people of that persuasion.

One need only look at the Bush administration’s attitude to the issue, or the way it is discussed on Fox news. Is Fox News rightist? I thought they were fairly balanced in reporting the news on AGW, LOL. They are a heck of a lot more balanced than that crazy female doc on the Weather Channel. In my country, the only bloc of the parliament that is demanding a select committee to review the science on climate change is the ACT party who are . . . libertarians. They have only a few seats in the parliament. Most of the country think they are a bit bonkers. Libertarians are fairly rational here. A little history: If you really read the US constitution and the Federalist papers and examine who the founders of our country were, you will come to the conclusion that they were very much Libertarian in their politics and economics.

Maybe you are an authoritarian personality type! Engineers have their own unique personality type. I think arrogance could go along with it….though maybe not authoritarian.

My only point was that I fail to see the rationality behind the outright denial that seems to come from the right of the political spectrum. Maybe you would like to address the primary question I posted:

Given even a relatively small probability of the reality of Anthropogenic Climate Change, what does anyone have to gain from a position of outright denial?

I’ll finally address your argument even though it is sort of a strawman.  The converse question is valid.  Yours is not:

1) I don’t think that anyone ‘outright’ denies ACC. They just are not convinced. Why should they accept it when they see the media pumping conflicting and often untrue anecdotal evidence out on the tube, hear of eminent scientists getting blackballed for disagreeing with AGW. There is a credibility gap here. People here distrust (with good reason) the media and government since those two institutions have pretty much shown they cannot be trusted due to many, many scandals in the last 15 years.

2) There is nothing irrational about questioning a hypothesis that has as its frontmen a failed VP candidate who has a riveting, mostly false powerpoint presentation on the subject and a NASA chief who in the 70s was a proponent of the opposite belief. BTW, that nobel prize winner also owns a major stake in a carbon offset trading corporation. He should have been disqualified for that huge conflict of interest.

3) The default belief is that climate change is a natural process. That is not denial. Many are just questioning the supposition that man has caused any climate change.

4) AGW is one of the few, if not the only scientific theory that is so politicized that it is being used to justify radically changing the entire political, industrial, and economic structure of the planet. That will affect me. Before I turn over my life to the politicos because of this, I am surely going to see if this is really happening. AGW is being used as a tool for a massive power grab. Billions of dollars are at stake and it is big, big business. I used to work for a company that was one of the leaders in promoting solutions to the ozone layer ‘problem’. Of course, they were the major manufacturer and patent holder of the Freon replacement that would be needed……I’m sure their motives were entirely altruistic though.

5) The potential socio-economic damage that can be done by relying on this ‘scientific consensus’ is staggering while the damage that can be done by doing nothing about it is admittedly, even by AGW proponents, debatable or minimal. The temperature rise specs have been repeatedly revised down, down, and down to the point that it would be considered statistical ‘noise’ in many ‘hard’ sciences. When you look at how the temperature monitoring stations have been compromised and the data continually changed (which no rational scientist or engineer would do) to fit the AGW template, any observed temperature rise is far within the measurement error. I stated it before and I will state the analogy again: A group of junior engineers, even all the engineers that work for me submit a report saying that we should spend 5 times our annual revenue on a new A/C system based on their studies that showed a statistically insignificant rise in temperature in the building that was within the measurement error of their instruments. They then tell me that they are not adhering to all the protocols for setup of the measuring devices and then they openly admit and publish that they have modified the data upward repeatedly each iteration and even added data points when they felt that interpolation was needed and deleted huge portions of the graphs which would have countered and falsified their claims. I would fire them all, every one of them. Now, that is EXACTLY what has been documented to be going on in AGW research. Why should I believe these people?

6) I have a bridge for sale here in Knoxville. It’s a fine bridge and I believe you would not have anything to gain by outright denial that I own it. However, you may have a large amount to lose if you believe I own it and then give me money in order to purchase it.

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Posted by: realengr | September 21, 2008

OK. Bike One

After all this time, Bike 0001 is done.  We reviewed this thoroughly so we could be sure of what we do to finish the remaining bikes.

Since some of you have wondered if we fell off the world, I thought I would update you all.

Naturally I am disappointed it took this long.  We basically ran out of money earlier in the year and were stalled for almost 6 weeks while we looked for new funding.  And then we found out that many of the fixtures we needed to finish the bikes had been disposed of or had to be redesigned and rebuilt.  Along with picking somewhat undependable vendors at first, it just added up to week after week of delay.

So….The bike looks great, rides great.  The seat frame is great, and we are going to do some slight redesign on the webbing this week and turn loose our new seamstress.  She is a master seamstress and has already designed about 40% of the extraneous sewing out of it.

This week, we are building a head tube alignment tool and then aligning and brazing the remaining frames.  We are now ready to take orders.  I’m going to send some press release pics to the usual outlets this week if our CFO approves and may post some pics here on the blog.

Our brazing guy had to leave for Galveston because he is a catastrophe adjuster.  Because of that, we are just going to do the brazing ourselves this week.  No worries, I’ve done enough of it myself.

So, there you go.  We should hit powder coating soon.

Posted by: realengr | August 19, 2008

Rich People should pay their ‘Fair Share’

Ever hear the above sentiment? The basic premise is that ‘rich’ people should pay their part in supporting government services. ‘Rich’ means anybody making more money than you, by the way……

I agree. I think that everyone should pay their fair share. If you use a road, it doesn’t matter how much you make. The costs for using that road should be the same for each person regardless of how much money they make. I mean, just imagine if we used the current tax system philosophy for shopping at Wal-Mart:

“That will be $50”

“wait a minute, You charged that guy in front of me only $5 for that gallon of milk”

“ I know sir, but he makes much less than you and our groceries are priced on a sliding scale. We think it is ‘fairer’ that way.”

Well, you can see how silly that whole thing is. Of course, there are those of you with limited intelligence who actually think the above scenario is workable.

‘Fairness’ is just a euphemism for thievery. It presupposes there is some cosmic equalization moving us all towards a steady state economic heat death. Just isn’t so. What I think people really want is a ‘fair’ chance. An equal opportunity. But to say that the rich are not paying their fair share is ludicrous.

I’ll tell you what is ‘fair’. Let’s charge everyone an equal dollar amount for every government service they use. By this reasoning the ‘rich’ people will pay very little since they really don’t lean on government services the same way that people of lesser economic means do. You see, a poor person depends on the rich already and the rich pay a disproportionate amount of their wealth already. So there isn’t anything fair about it. It is just thievery from the rich to give to the poor. Robin Hood if you will. Except, often, the money is just taken from the rich and spent on ….whatever.

Obama’s tax policies are predicated on the principle of fairness, not real world revenue needs. When it was pointed out that the capital gains tax increases actually decrease revenue, Obama didn’t care. He just wanted to raise the taxes because it was ‘fairer’ that way. What kind of Crack was Obama smoking back in school? “I’m going to ignore the facts and raise taxes anyway because of my crazy emotional feelings that it would be fair to do that”. Fair to who? If revenues drop, then they have to be made up somewhere. If the investors that lost their money in capital gains tax cut back, you can bet it will hurt the little guy. So in fact, Obama’s policies would hurt the people he is trying to be fair to. This is what putting an inexperienced empty suit in power will get us. More stupid economic and tax policies.

So let’s implement the ultimate ‘fair’ system. If you use a road, then you pay the same fee regardless of your income. If you use any government service you pay the same fee regardless. If you don’t use a govt service then you don’t pay for it. Soon, lower income people will be screaming that it isn’t fair.

Once again, ‘Fair’ = ‘Thievery’

Posted by: realengr | August 7, 2008

Be Seated!!!

Sorry about the hiatus. We have been very busy. We had our seats at one vendor for weeks and nothing was done so we had to pull the work. Nothing wrong with the guy, just too busy right now. We have placed our seat fabrication with a local machine shop that is also going to be doing our seat notching. A-Mazing. In just a day we had a new welding fixture that maintains all the critical dimensions. Their engineer is familiar with welded tubing fabrication and was able to devise a method to notch and install each set of lateral supports in about 8 minutes per seat. By Friday we will have 20 seats ready for powder coat. I also picked up our first frames. They do not even need cold-setting. I can’t believe it. The welder we have for our bikes is a welding genius. We knew his reputation for welding race cars without needing any post weld alignment but we had to see it for ourselves.

We have spent a lot of time developing fixtures to ensure accurate placement of braze ons and idler mounts. I have stopped putting out dates for completion as it seems there is always something coming up. I can safely say that our metalworking for the first batch of bikes is drawing to a completion. I’m turning most of my attention to soft goods stuff like getting the seat meshes done. In addition the alignment table is done. We can ensure that our bikes are straight to the same high standards that the previous owner of the designs was able to attain.

I’m very happy with the quality level of what we are producing. That has been in some part responsible for the delays. We have really held our vendors to a high quality standard and it will pay off.

I’ll try to post some relevant pictures next week since we anticipate having bike 0001 powder coated and assembled next week sometime.

Posted by: realengr | June 28, 2008

The Flu Hits…..Recumbent slowdown….

I’ve been down with the flu all week. Since I am the only one that can drive this pre-production phase, I’ve lost  few days on certain facets of the project.
However, I started several key phases before being taken down by a pack of viruses lodged in my intestines.

  • Looks like our frame welder has been busy and has welded 7 frame subassemblies.
  • I have not checked with our chainstay machining people but by now they should be done.  So final frame welding should commence Monday.  Yes, we are a week behind…..
  • My seat welder is pre-welding seat subassemblies.  I have to check on his progress this week.  He is supposed to make the final frame notching fixture and then we are set to finish the seats.  Since I already have more demand on seats than I can meet, we are going to weld up all 20 that we have parts for.
  • Our CFO finalized our deal with Burley for their extrusion dies so we are set to get new seat parts made.  We have seat parts for about 50 bikes but after that we were toast.  With this acquisition we can now produce the seat rails, sliders, and plastic sliders for the seat system.
  • Our frame labels for EDGE recumbents are in.

I’m really excited about the quality of our welding.  The guy we have welding our frames has done such a good job that at this point we don’t even need any post-weld alignment.  Even Burley could not say that….

Until next time.
Bill

Posted by: realengr | June 17, 2008

Father’s Day

I enjoyed spending Father’s Day with my sons and family. We had a great time at a picnic and played father/son games etc.

I fought hard in family court to get split custody of my boys and value every minute I spend with them. So it breaks my heart to see boys who have fathers that don’t care or when i hear of abusive fathers. I was in shock to hear of the man who beat his toddler to death just today and also there is a story from the Carolinas about a father who tied his boy to a tree for 18 hours as a disciplinary measure. The boy died. A 13 yo boy. What the hell???? They have a name for tying someone to a tree for 18 hours: Crucifixion. I just can’t imagine the horror of being tied to a tree in the summer heat for 18 hours. I just don’t understand.

I’m obviously venting. We can go on and on about punishment for these parents but that will not bring that little boy back. The parents are up for 1st degree murder and felony child abuse.

Fathers are here to protect children and nurture them. They are supposed to be their protectors, not their abusers.

I’m going camping with my boys this weekend. Maybe we will do some fishing too.

Posted by: realengr | June 17, 2008

Frame Welding, Seat Machining

Well, more progress……

Chainstays are done and we start main frame welding tomorrow night.  That means when the chainstays get back from heat treat we will be finishing up a couple production frames per day.  What does that mean?  It means we do braze ons and post weld alignment by the 29th.  Nope, it looks like we won’t meet our end of June date.  But it does mean we will be powdercoating and assembling first week of July.  Then we ship.  Looking good.

Seats are rolling along, but more from a machining standpoint.  My machinist/welder is back at it and I see seats being ready about the same time our frames are so our project plan is going pretty good.

Our new chainkeeper design is so simple and elegant, I am surprised that no one thought of it years ago.  You will see that later…..

I am constantly amazed at the elegance of design that Burley put into their bikes.  They did things on the cheap, but they did it without sacrificing quality. We aim to follow in their footsteps by making our bikes as inexpensively as possible while maintaining a very high degree of quality.

Lots of design to do…. We have to release the H frame for our friends at ‘WithinReach’ for their sociable quad we are building out of two of our frames.   We have to turn idler mounts but that’s not a big deal.

Well, more changes on the way……..

Posted by: realengr | June 12, 2008

The END of the World is Near!!!!

Yes. Now that Barry Obama, the silver tongued, teleprompter challenged 1st term Senator from Illinois has essentially sewn up the Democratic Socialist nomination over the wicked witch of the West, we are that much closer to the end of the American Experiment.

Of course, if the Hildabeast had won, we would be in just about the same amount of trouble…..

And our only bulwark against this insidious Marxist/Socialist is …….John McCain?????

Where is Ron Paul when we need him? The only candidate that had real ideas that were really workable this election cycle was Ron Paul.

I’ll add more to this post later, but in the meantime, check out my new header on the page. That’s my wife, Jacquilla on a tour in Florida. She is riding her custom built swb recumbent. I built that one. It’s essentially a Lightning Phantom clone. Many people mistake it for a Lightning and are amazed at it’s sheer lack of mass. A very fast and nimble bike with a 40″ wheelbase and it climbs hills like a scalded dog.

In the meantime, back at the ranch:  Pete, our seat welder has been sick for a week.  So nothing is happening on that front. He is also our machinist.

Chainstays are welded.  Looks like the bike frames are on schedule.  More material is coming in.  Still on track since there is some slack time in the seat schedule and all critical path items are flowing along.

My fellow bike builders in different companies are telling me the same thing.  Takes 10 times as long as you estimate and twice as much money.  So far, the money part is right, but we are not anywhere near the 10 times as long.

Well, we tested out our new seat and it is a great design.  Incredibly comfortable and easy to adjust.  We improved on the Burley seat by going to a mesh seat with a foam pad.  It is very plush.

We have retained the Burley mounting system but added stiffness into the bottom seat blades.  the blades do not deform when you tighten the quick releases so the seat stays put where you tighten it but moves easily when you want to adjust it.  We have a spring between the sliders that makes it easier to move the seat off and on the bike.  All in all, a great success. We are moving on to produce production seats.  In the meantime our first batch of chainstays will be done by mid next week. After that we should have production frames coming off the fixtures within two days.

We are excited that our designs are being verified.  It’s a very satisfying feeling to see your designs come to life and react in the way they are designed to react.  All in all, a real classy, quality product.

Posted by: realengr | May 30, 2008

I want an EcoMobile

What a cool machine. These tandem seated, fully enclosed motorcycles are my dream commuting machine. I’ve been coveting some high speed, nimble, super energy efficient machine and have been toying with ideas for a feet-forward motorcycle with enclosure.

But……what is wrong with these people on the pricing. Wow. Every one of these high efficiency machines cost as much as a small house.

Hello guys!!!! Engineering entails making a practical and cost effective solution. The discussion on BROL on these motorized recumbents has some cool machines but they cost an arm and two legs. One is even a million dollars!!

Maybe after I get these bikes going I should look at making an economical vehicle that does these things.

Well…..after I make my first million in the bike biz I will get an Ecomobile.

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