Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Wind power turbine kills white-throated needletail

White-throated Needletail

White-throated Needletail

My friend Barbara G. sent me this UK Telegraph story about rare birds, because she knows that I love birds.

Excerpt:

Around 40 people were watching the White-throated Needletail, the world’s fastest flying bird, on the Isles of Harris when the tragedy happened.

Sightings of the bird have only been recorded eight times in the UK in nearly 170 years, most recently in 1991, prompting around 80 ornithologists to visit the island in the hope of catching a glimpse.

John Marchant, a project coordinator for the British Trust for Ornithology, visited the island on a specially-arranged trip with a group of other birdwatchers and witnessed the death.

The 62-year-old bird enthusiast said he travelled from Norfolk when he heard about the arrival of the bird, which had brown, blue and black bird plumage.

“We were absolutely over the moon and thrilled to see the bird. We watched it for nearly two hours. While we were watching it suddenly it was a bit close to the turbine and then the blades hit it,” he said.

[...]During the 1991 sighting, a single bird was spotted four times in Kent, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and finally Shetland.

The White-throated Needletail, also known as the Needle-tailed Swift or Spine-tailed Swift, is known to fly up at speeds of up to 69mph, although there are unconfirmed reports of them reaching 105mph.

The birds have very short legs, which they use only for clinging to vertical surfaces, and they build their nests in rock crevices in cliffs or hollow trees. They spend most of their lives in the air, living on the insects they catch in their beaks.

They breed in rocky hills in central Asia and southern Siberia but migrate south to the Indian Subcontinent, southeast Asia and Australia.

The SNP administration at Holyrood is pressing ahead with a rapid expansion in the number of wind farms after setting a target to generate the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

The SNP is the socialist Scottish National Party. They are basically secular communists, so they love subsidizing green energy – and killing rare birds.

Here’s a related story closer to home, from Fox News. (H/T Melissa)

Excerpt:

The Obama administration has never fined or prosecuted a wind farm for killing eagles and other protected bird species, shielding the industry from liability and helping keep the scope of the deaths secret, an Associated Press investigation has found.

More than 573,000 birds are killed by the country’s wind farms each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles, according to an estimate published in March in the peer-reviewed Wildlife Society Bulletin.

Each death is federal crime, a charge that the Obama administration has used to prosecute oil companies when birds drown in their waste pits, and power companies when birds are electrocuted by their power lines. No wind energy company has been prosecuted, even those that repeatedly flout the law.

[...]Documents and emails obtained by The Associated Press offer glimpses of the problem: 14 deaths at seven facilities in California, five each in New Mexico and Oregon, one in Washington state and another in Nevada, where an eagle was found with a hole in its neck, exposing the bone.

One of the deadliest places in the country for golden eagles is Wyoming, where federal officials said wind farms had killed more than four dozen golden eagles since 2009, predominantly in the southeastern part of the state. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the figures. Getting precise figures is impossible because many companies aren’t required to disclose how many birds they kill. And when they do, experts say, the data can be unreliable.

When companies voluntarily report deaths, the Obama administration in many cases refuses to make the information public, saying it belongs to the energy companies or that revealing it would expose trade secrets or implicate ongoing enforcement investigations.

Nearly all the birds being killed are protected under federal environmental laws, which prosecutors have used to generate tens of millions of dollars in fines and settlements from businesses, including oil and gas companies, over the past five years.

“What it boils down to is this: If you electrocute an eagle, that is bad, but if you chop it to pieces, that is OK,” said Tim Eicher, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement agent based in Cody, Wyo.

Most other people like dogs and cats, but I like birds. I am concerned about birds of prey who are endangered species. I believe in conservation. To me, what this story says is that Obama doesn’t really care about the environment. The federal government does have some legitimate functions, like protecting us from threats, maintaining roads and protecting endangered species. But they don’t have to be subsidizing wind power, especially when it causes pain and suffering to innocent birds.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Carson Weitnauer interviews biologist Jonathan McLatchie

Here’s the latest Apologetics 315 interview podcast.

Details:

Today’s interview is with apologist and biologist Jonathan McLatchie (twitter here). He talks about his background and influences, why he believes God exists and Christianity is true. Then the interview continues as an “intelligent design 101″ discussion: what is intelligent design, main reasons to infer intelligent causation, the explanatory filter for design, the Darwinian view, reasons for controversy, responding to challenges to ID theory, design detection in biological systems, varying views of origins, “god of the gaps” objections, how to falsify intelligent design, ID’s predictions, suggestions for those studying ID, lessons in apologetics, and more.

You can subscribe to the Apologetics 315 Interviews podcast here or in iTunes.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

Global warming: Scotland hit by blizzards, road closures and 8 inches of snow

The Scotsman reports:

The summer solstice is only 28 days away, but in parts of Scotland yesterday, it was like winter had never left, as people awoke to a blanket of snow.

At a time of year when thoughts should be turning to sunscreen and barbeques, a blast of wintry weather swept in from the Arctic, bringing blizzards and icy temperatures to the North-east. Drifting snow closed two roads, and many more were only passable with care.

The Express reported on the comments of the pro-global warming Met Office:

A freezing blast from the Arctic today will bring icy gusts, blizzards and temperatures plunging to -5C (23F), forecasters said.

It comes as Met Office figures reveal this spring is likely to be the coldest for 30 years.

The period from March to mid-May show average temperatures have not risen above 6.1C making it the 6th coldest on record.

Forecaster Sarah Holland said: “This year’s particularly cold spring was heavily influenced by an exceptionally cold March which had a mean temperature 3.3 °C below the long-term average. April and May (so far) have been less cold, but have also registered slightly below average mean temperatures.

[...]Leon Brown, forecaster for The Weather Channel, said parts of Scotland were expecting up to eight inches of snow today.

Heavy wintery showers in Aberdeenshire brought parts of the region to a standstill this morning and caused chaos on the roads and transport networks.

Mr Brown said the entire county is going to be colder than average for the time of year with the mercury struggling to get into double figures.

This is all the fault of global warming! We have to let government regulate the private sector and control our consumption, or we’ll all burn up in flames for our eco-sins!

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, saved Britain

Here’s an article from the UK Daily Mail with some more details about her.

Margaret Thatcher stood almost alone in driving through the tough policies now credited with saving the economy, secret papers reveal.

The Tory Premier had to take on her predecessor Harold Macmillan, Bank of England governor Gordon Richardson and even her own Chancellor Geoffrey Howe to push through the policies which pulled Britain back from the brink of economic chaos.

Documents released by the National Archives under the 30-year rule show the pressure Mrs Thatcher faced from the Establishment behind the scenes – and the extent to which she was isolated.

In 1980, the year after becoming Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher embarked on a controversial programme to revive the moribund economy through deep public spending cuts and strict control of the money supply, intended to stamp out inflation.

He warned that while her programme of cuts might give a ‘sense of exhilaration’ to her supporters, the country was heading for industrial collapse and ‘dangerous’ levels of unemployment.

Macmillan, then 86, sent the letter following a meeting with the Prime Minister at Chequers in August 1980.

He criticised her for abandoning ‘consensus politics’ to pursue radical reforms and ‘divisive politics’, which he said went against the ‘essence of Tory democracy’.

It was Macmillan who coined the phrase ‘you’ve never had it so good’ in 1957 during the long post-war economic boom.

His brand of consensus politics is now credited with contributing to the economic malaise that brought Britain to its knees in the late 1970s.

Years later, in her memoirs, Mrs Thatcher poured scorn on consensus politics, writing: ‘What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner “I stand for consensus”?.’

[...]In 1981, 365 economists wrote to The Times urging Mrs Thatcher to change course and limit the damage caused by the recession.

But she was unmoved, and her tough stance succeeded in reducing inflation from 27 per cent to four per cent in four years, putting Britain on the road to recovery.

Mrs Thatcher’s economic views were heavily influenced by the right-wing Cabinet minister Sir Keith Joseph, with whom she set up the free market think tank the Centre for Policy Studies in 1974.

Both drew on the work of the influential American economist Milton Friedman whose monetary theories challenged the post-war consensus on economic thinking.

I recommend reading the whole article for some more articles where Lady Thatcher had to stand against everyone and hold onto her convictions in the teeth of the majority.

Here’s an article from Forbes magazine that summarizes her effort to turn Britain around.

Excerpt:

It’s hard to appreciate today how desperate Britain’s condition was before Thatcher took office.  Its economy was a laughing stock, the perennial sick man of Europe.  Strikes were endemic and union bosses effectively governed the country.  Her Conservative Party had long ago made its peace with the welfare state and the ethos of high spending and high taxes. While the previous Tory Prime Minister, Edward Heath, wanted to revive Britain, he hadn’t a clue how to do it. In a make-or-break showdown with the coal miner’s union, Heath called a special election under the banner “Who Governs Britain?”  Heath lost and unions’ dominance in Britain seemed secure.

Great leaders have an astute sense of taking advantage of circumstances. Even though Heath had lost two elections, none of the senior party officials would challenge him.  At the time, Thatcher was not regarded as one of the party’s major figures.  But she was the only Tory who firmly believed in free markets and in Britain’s ability to become again a proud nation based on the principles of liberty. She was a devotee of Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman and of the idea of paring back big government and giving free enterprise room to flourish. Astonishingly she beat Heath in a leadership fight in 1975 and led the Tories to victory in 1979.

Immediately she began slashing income tax rates and reining in galloping spending and fighting inflation.  She also exhibited that critical sense of timing. When she took office, she was faced with a potential strike of nurses whose union was demanding huge pay increases. Thatcher compromised in a way that some thought she didn’t have the backbone to turn Britain around.  Instead she was exhibiting a great politician’s sense of knowing when to pick a fight.  Thatcher eventually pushed through major labor union reforms and made it clear she would not tolerate any union riots or violence.  Shortly after Thatcher won reelection, the coal miners union, which had destroyed Heath, decided to take her on. But unlike Heath Thatcher was fully prepared.  The big showdown ensued and Thatcher beat the coal miner’s union resoundingly. It never recovered from that defeat.

Thatcher knew the deadweight on the economy of excessive taxation. She cut the top income tax rate from 98% to 40%. She cut the corporate income tax rate from 52% to 35%.

One of Thatcher’s greatest innovations was the systematic selling off of the government’s business assets, dubbed privatization.  After World War II Britain nationalized enormous swaths of the economy which actions subsequent Conservative governments left largely untouched.  Thatcher sold government companies off and her example has been followed by countless nations around the world.

In the area of privatizations, she did two remarkable things. She sold off much of Britain’s public housing.  An enormous number of Britons, far more than in the U.S., lived in these government-owned buildings. Thatcher pushed the sale of these apartments to occupants at low prices and on very advantageous terms. The purpose was to begin to shift the mentality of people and their dependence on government. Her other smart move was in the privatization of government-owned companies:  offering a significant number of shares to workers at very low prices.  Union leaders hated privatization but their opposition was undermined as their members realized that they could do very well buying cheap shares in these newly-privatized entities.  Here again she was changing peoples’ thinking:  pro-big government workers now saw themselves as share owners, taking on more of a capitalist mentality.

Before Thatcher, many social observers thought that Britain had an ingrained, unchangeable, anti-commercial culture that would forever stand in the way of the country becoming an economic success. Yet within a decade of her taking office, Britain had the most vibrant, large economy in Europe, one even more dynamic, innovative than that of Germany’s.  London became a magnet for entrepreneurs from France, Sweden and elsewhere.

One unchangeable characteristic of a great leader is courage and that means taking career-breaking risks.  Thatcher demonstrated her mettle in the Falkland Islands crisis.  When the Argentinean military dictatorship seized Britain’s Falkland Islands, most military experts felt the Sceptred Isle simply did not possess the military means to take them back. Defying almost the entire political establishment which was haunted by both Britain’s current weakness and the memory of the Suez Canal debacle in 1956, Thatcher declared that the seizure would not stand and that Britain would go to war to take the Islands back. Thankfully she received critical help from the U.S. thanks to in large part the unrelenting efforts of Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger (who years later became Publisher and Chairman of Forbes). To the surprise of experts, Britain’s military expedition succeeded. The Argentinean military dictatorship fell and democracy was restored in that country.  For Britain the Falklands war was a huge boost to a demoralized nation. To the world it meant that once again tyranny would be resisted.

I recommend reading that whole article. It’s hard not to smile at a woman who clearly loved her country and worked to save it from poverty.

Why good men love Maggie

And now I must offend everyone. See, I have a theory about women. I think that women generally tend to be more beholden to the opinions and fashions of the crowd than men are. It’s not absolute, but it’s maybe two-thirds to one-third, in my experience. I think that it is generally hard for them to hold to their convictions in the face of peer pressure. That’s why so few young, unmarried women are conservative after graduating from college. As soon as they reach college, they are swayed towards liberal views by their need to feel good about themselves and their need to be liked by others. Their views at home were not rooted in real knowledge, they were just fitting in with their families and churches and saying whatever words they were expected to say. And then they go off to college and learn other words to say from another community that uses praise and blame to replace their former convictions with new convictions.

But Maggie Thatcher wasn’t like that. And here’s why:

John Ranelagh writes of Margaret Thatcher’s remark at a Conservative Party  policy meeting in the late 1970’s, “Another colleague had also prepared a paper arguing that the middle way was the pragmatic path for the Conservative party to take .. Before he had finished speaking to his paper, the new Party Leader [Margaret Thatcher] reached into her briefcase and took out a book.  It was Friedrich von Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty.  Interrupting [the speaker], she held the book up for all of us to see.  ‘This’, she said sternly, ‘is what we believe’, and banged Hayek down on the table.”  (John Ranelagh, Thatcher’s People:  An Insider’s Account of the Politics, the Power, and the Personalities.  London:  Harper Collins, 1991.)

Policies like unilateral disarmament, wealth redistribution and redefining marriage sound good to many women – especially in college, and especially when only one side is presented and the other side is demonized. The only way to resist ideas that feel good and ideas that get you peer-approval is to have formed your own views through independent study. Lady Thatcher’s economic policies were formed through a study of real economists like Nobel-prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek and Nobel-prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. The reason why she was able to hold to her principles is because she knew what she was talking about, and her opponents did not. She didn’t care about feeling good. She didn’t care about what other people thought of her. She knew was right, and that was enough to sustain her in trying times. She had the knowledge, and her opponents couldn’t change her core convictions by trying to shame her. It didn’t work.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday night movie: The 39 Steps (1935)

Here’s tonight’s movie:

IMDB mean rating: [7.9/10]

IMDB median rating: [8/10]

Description:

Richard Hannay is a Canadian visitor to London. At the end of a show in a music hall, he meets Annabella Smith who tells him about a plot by foreign agents to transfer secrets out of the UK. This is the beginning of a thrilling adventure for Hannay. Based on the novel by John Buchan.

Very adventurous movie.

Happy Friday!

Related posts

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , ,

Wintery Tweets

RSS Intelligent Design podcast

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Evolution News

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
Click to see recent visitors

  Visitors Online Now

Page views since 1/30/09

  • 4,387,864 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,074 other followers

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,074 other followers

%d bloggers like this: