Archive for April, 2010
Posted by LT in on April 26, 2010
Many years ago I used to entertain some LDS (mormon) missionaries. The guys were cool. We were sure to the change the channel to basketball while they were trying to convert my roommates and I. Sadly they rotate their missionaries out after a few months. You get comfortable hanging out with a bunch of guys and then they are gone. One time they rotated in some “sisters.” One of them was quite pretty, so much so we nicknamed her “sister hottie.”
Before she was rotated out she wanted to share a passage from the book of Mormon with me that was important to her. I think everything was fine until she hit verse 28. After I heard the phrase “swelling motions” it became that much more difficult to stay composed.
The Book of Alma 32
27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than adesire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a aseed. Now, if ye give place, that a bseed may be planted in your cheart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your dunbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to eenlighten my funderstanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own alikeness.
32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
I actually kept my composure until they left and then I laughed for about 10 minutes straight.
A few days ago I came across a facebook post from a friend on earth day that certainly wasn’t charitable towards those of us who believe global warming is real and a legitimate concern. I replied with some vigour and never received a response.
1) The earth is getting warmer. The temperature record clearly indicates this. While some the sceptic camp have made some hay by pointing out things seemed to be getting cooler since 1998 it looks like 2010 is going to blow that point out of the water.
We see the evidence of it in shrinking polar ice, glaciers and permafrost.
2) If the earth is warming there must be a cause. Those who argue the warming is part of a natural process haven’t been able to make a case for which natural force is causing the warming. We know isn’t the sun, a tilting earth, continental drift, ocean currents or cosmic rays. All these alternatives have been investigated and ruled out. We know that C02, methane and other greenhouse gasses cause the atmosphere to retain more heat so they are by far the most likely culprit.
3) Skeptic arguments are often deeply flawed, dishonest or contradictory. One will argue that the earth isn’t actually warming and then they will argue that the warming is natural. In desperation they throw as much mud against the wall and hope some of sticks.
There are numerous examples where skeptics have been caught cherry picking data, misrepresenting the facts or flat out lying. A good place to go to see these examples is deSmogblog and Sceptical Science.
I have made a honest effort to understand global warming from both of the perspectives and I find the skeptics have the poorer arguments. Because they can’t make a convincing case in the realm of peer-reviewed science they peddle their wares directly to the public.
Posted by LT in on April 24, 2010
A few years ago my wife and I bought a house built in 1930. We took possession in October and we we were about a month away from greeting our first baby. The first year we did very little to the house other than move in. The following fall we had our first energuide evaluation and started working in the basement. We quickly discovered there was very little insulation anywhere. Over the next year and a half I purchased about $8000 worth of materials: rigid board insulation, rock wool, polyurethane sprayfoam, drywall, cellulose insulation, cfl light bulbs, lumber and a toilet. I rented blowers, drills and bought tools.
Original Energuide Rating : 34
Current Energuide Rating : 70
We currently save about $800 a year on natural gas, $150 a year on electricity and $200 in water.
So my $8000 investment saves me $1150 a year. That is a 14% return on investment. Unlike investment income there are no taxes to pay, it is just saved money. Go to any financial advisor and ask for an investment that guarantees a 14% return on your investment and they will laugh at you. The best one can do on a guaranteed investment is 2-3%. 14% is a pretty good return even on the volatile stock market.
Now what if I hadn’t done all the work myself? Well it probably would have cost me closer to $13000. In most reno projects materials and labour are worth about the same, but one insulating project, cost me about $4000 just for the insulation (tigerfoam spray foam). The project took me 3 days so I doubt a contractor would would charge me $4000 to do the same work. Even with $13000 invested that is still a 9% return. With all the uncertainties in the financial markets who wouldn’t want a guaranteed 9% return.
At the time I qualified for over $7000 of rebates through energuide for homes program. So my investment was really $1000 + my labour. Currently the national government stopped funding the energuide program so if I did it today I’d only get $3500 back from the provincial government. It is still a fantastic deal.
There are things I’ve passed on doing. I could have upgraded my furnace to one that is 94% efficient from the current 80% but that would have cost $4000 and only saved me $150 a year. That is still a 3.75% return, which is better than a GIC. The problem with using a more efficient furnace is that the returns diminish as your house holds more heat. If I used $2000 worth of fuel to heat my house and switched to a furnace that used 15% less fuel to heat the same area then I would save $300 a year. However if I reduce heat loss and I only need $800 worth of fuel to heat my home switching to the same furnace only saves me $120. Some upgrades make more sense than others. As the easy upgrades are done with the return on investment drops on things that use fuel more efficiently (like a furnace) or keep more heat in the house (like windows/insulation).
One upgrade I’m considering is the Cansolair 240. It looks to be a marvelous invention for home heating. Basically it is a solar oven that pulls the cold air from the bottom of a room heats it up outside your house and blows back in to the house through a dryer vent. Some people claim they are seeing payback in 6 years on a $3000 investment. Things are always bit sketchy without hard numbers. If they are saving $500 a year they are probably using home heating oil which is more expensive than natural gas. Even if I only saved $200 a year that would be a 6.6% return on investment. It is still a better upgrade than a high efficiency furnace and a slightly better return than paying down my mortgage. The nice thing about solar heating is that it requires no fuel at all and very little maintenance.
Posted by LT in on April 20, 2010
This is hard to believe.
The Anglican Church of Canada is inviting corporate sponsorship of its national convention this year, selling space for brand logos on delegate documents, advertising signs in its meeting spaces and a private lunch for executives with the church’s senior archbishop.
It’s the first time in its 117-year history that the Canadian church made its governing synod available for a mess of pottage – to use the language of the Bible’s Old Testament allusion to Esau selling his birthright for a lentil stew. For that matter, no other Canadian church is known to have sold advertising at its formal gatherings and access to its leaders.
The synod will be held June 3-11 at St. Mary’s University in Halifax.
Asked about the genesis of the sponsorship idea, Vianney Carrière, the Anglicans’ national director of communications and information resources, said: “The genesis is the need for money.” In particular, he said, the church must find private money to pay the $10,000 cost of live-streaming the nine-day gathering, Synod on Demand, or cancel the webcast.
By most indices the Anglican Church is struggling – declining faster than any other Christian denomination in Canada, according to a recent report from its Diocese of British Columbia, closing decades-old parishes for want of money and “moved to the far margins of public life.”
Sponsors will be grouped into three categories: visionary (for a $30,000 price-tag), supporter ($7,500) and friend ($2,500).
Posted by LT in on April 15, 2010
The energy crisis outlined in a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command, comes as the price of petrol in Britain reaches record levels and the cost of crude is predicted to soon top $100 a barrel.
"By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day," says the report, which has a foreword by a senior commander, General James N Mattis.
Read the rest here
Posted by LT in on April 8, 2010
From the Mogambo Guru
“Let me get this straight. We’re going to be gifted with a health care plan written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn’t read it but exempts themselves from it, to be signed by a president who also hasn’t read it and who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that’s broke. What the h*&$ could possibly go wrong?"
Posted by LT in on April 7, 2010
After enacting painful austerity measures and winning a deal for a European and International Monetary Fund financial backstop, Greece is back in a familiar position: Borrowing costs have skyrocketed and the stock market is sagging.
Drop your socks and grab your throttle. This could be a bumpy ride. If Greece goes pop all eyes will shift to Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy because they aren’t in much better shape. Normally a sovereign default isn’t such a big deal, but when so many countries sit on the precipice one domino could take many more down with them.