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Showing posts from June, 2005

Weather forecasting

CNN did a special on climate change over the weekend and one particular point struck me as brilliant.

An MIT scientist asked how is it that people are so prepared to accept the inaccuracy of weather forecasts even 3 or 4 days out but on the other hand seem to be willing to accept that it is possible to essentially forecast weather 100 years from now? It is puzzling since one of the more notoriously unpredictable things is weather and that is fundamentally understood by everyone but then people take forecasts of 3 to 5 degrees warming over the next 100 years as undisputed fact.

Over millennia weather patterns have been nothing but variable so past experience would also seem to caution against predicting long term trends. There is some debate over what would happen if the melting of the Arctic polar cap introduced so much fresh water into the Atlantic that the "great conveyor" effect of ocean circulation would disappear. A Woods Hole Oceanograhic Institute study says that this i…

Why not let them separate?

I could never be a politician in Canada because of the required orthodoxy of opposing Quebec separatist movement. If one has a difference in opinion with his party over abortion, that can be tolerated. Same for gay marriage or even the sacred cow of the health system. But on the issue of Quebec separation, there is no space for anything but vocal expressions of support for bi-lingualism and opposition to separation. The position is equally absolute, if opposite, for politicians in Bloc Quebecois.

I think Canada has simply been left behind by the times. The experience of EU shows that countries can achieve significant economic and political integration while keeping cultural autonomy and that is what everybody cares the most about anyway. They all want to be able to dictate domestic content on TV and radio and preserve the cultural uniqueness (and the right to smoke in restaurants and such).

Free movement of goods, people and capital can be achieved (or in the case of Canada maintained) …