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Sun Oddly Quiet -- Hints at Next "Little Ice Age"?
National Geographic News ^ | May 4, 2009 | Anne Minard

Posted on 05/04/2009 8:20:01 PM PDT by neverdem

A prolonged lull in solar activity has astrophysicists glued to their telescopes waiting to see what the sun will do next—and how Earth's climate might respond.

The sun is the least active it's been in decades and the dimmest in a hundred years. The lull is causing some scientists to recall the Little Ice Age, an unusual cold spell in Europe and North America, which lasted from about 1300 to 1850.

The coldest period of the Little Ice Age, between 1645 and 1715, has been linked to a deep dip in solar storms known as the Maunder Minimum.

During that time, access to Greenland was largely cut off by ice, and canals in Holland routinely froze solid. Glaciers in the Alps engulfed whole villages, and sea ice increased so much that no open water flowed around Iceland in the year 1695.

But researchers are on guard against their concerns about a new cold snap being misinterpreted.

"[Global warming] skeptics tend to leap forward," said Mike Lockwood, a solar terrestrial physicist at the University of Southampton in the U.K. (Get the facts about global warming.)

He and other researchers are therefore engaged in what they call "preemptive denial" of a solar minimum leading to global cooling.

Even if the current solar lull is the beginning of a prolonged quiet, the scientists say, the star's effects on climate will pale in contrast with the influence of human-made greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).

"I think you have to bear in mind that the CO2 is a good 50 to 60 percent higher than normal, whereas the decline in solar output is a few hundredths of one percent down," Lockwood said. "I think that helps keep it in perspective."

(Related: "Don't Blame Sun for Global Warming, Study Says.")

Local Cooling

For hundreds of years scientists have used the number of observable sunspots to trace the sun's roughly 11-year cycles of activity.

Sunspots, which can be visible without a telescope, are dark regions that indicate intense magnetic activity on the sun's surface. Such solar storms send bursts of charged particles hurtling toward Earth that can spark auroras, disrupt satellites, and even knock out electrical grids.

In the current cycle, 2008 was supposed to have been the low point, and this year the sunspot numbers should have begun to climb.

But of the first 90 days of 2009, 78 have been sunspot free. Researchers also say the sun is the dimmest it's been in a hundred years.

The Maunder Minimum corresponded to a profound lull in sunspots—astronomers at the time recorded just 50 in a 30-year period.

If the sun again sinks into a similar depression, at least one preliminary model has suggested that cool spots could crop up in regions of Europe, the United States, and Siberia.

During the previous event, though, many parts of the world were not affected at all, said Jeffrey Hall, an astronomer and associate director at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.

"Even a grand minimum like that was not having a global effect," he said.

Wild Cards and Uncertainties

Changes in the sun's activity can affect Earth in other ways, too.

For example, ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is not bottoming out the same way it did during the past few visual minima.

"The visible light doesn't vary that much, but UV varies 20 percent, [and] x-rays can vary by a factor of ten," Hall said. "What we don't understand so well is the impact of that differing spectral irradiance."

Solar UV light, for example, affects mostly the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere, where the effects are not as noticeable to humans. But some researchers suspect those effects could trickle down into the lower layers, where weather happens.

In general, recent research has been building a case that the sun has a slightly bigger influence on Earth's climate than most theories have predicted.

Atmospheric wild cards, such as UV radiation, could be part of the explanation, said the University of Southampton's Lockwood.

In the meantime, he and other experts caution against relying on future solar lulls to help mitigate global warming.

"There are many uncertainties," said Jose Abreu, a doctoral candidate at the Swiss government's research institute Eawag.

"We don't know the sensitivity of the climate to changes in solar intensity. In my opinion, I wouldn't play with things I don't know."

 

© 1996-2008 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: agw; catastrophism; climatechange; globalcooling; globalwarming; globalwarminghoax; godsgravesglyphs; littleiceage; maunderminimum
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If you thought National Geographic was going to commit heresy, there are enough vaveats about agw to choke a horse.

In July 2000 the sun was at a peak in activity, as seen by the speckling of sunspots spied by NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft. But the sun was a blank disk in March 2009, when it was the quietest it has been since the 1950s.

The current sunspot deficit has caused some scientists to recall the Little Ice Age of the early 1600s and late 1700s, a prolonged, localized cold spell linked to a decline in solar activity.

Images courtesy SOHO, the EIT Consortium, and the MDI Team

1 posted on 05/04/2009 8:20:05 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
“[Global warming] skeptics tend to leap forward,” said Mike Lockwood, a solar terrestrial physicist at the University of Southampton in the U.K. (Get the facts about global warming.)

Uh, I'd say the Global Warming idiots are the ones that “leap forward.”

Freaking stupid.

2 posted on 05/04/2009 8:24:05 PM PDT by ConservativeMind (When you're RuPaul posing as the wife of the president, you need all the make-up help you can get.)
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To: neverdem

vaveats = caveats


3 posted on 05/04/2009 8:24:37 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem
Photobucket

Algore and his loonies are burning the midnight oil preparing to launch their new and exciting "Global Cooling" campaign. The culprit? Big Gulps and Icees bought at local convinience stores. Al is on the case.

4 posted on 05/04/2009 8:25:11 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Politicians always love to talk about "hard work." What the hell would they know about it?)
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To: neverdem

Goracle’s fault!


5 posted on 05/04/2009 8:26:25 PM PDT by rdl6989
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To: neverdem

“”[Global warming] skeptics tend to leap forward,” said Mike Lockwood, a solar terrestrial physicist ....”

Psychological projection!


6 posted on 05/04/2009 8:27:02 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: neverdem

We must immediately raise taxes and increase regulation.

Let the sun know we’re taking this very seriously.


7 posted on 05/04/2009 8:31:32 PM PDT by Snickering Hound
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To: neverdem
"I think you have to bear in mind that the CO2 is a good 50 to 60 percent higher than normal, whereas the decline in solar output is a few hundredths of one percent down," Lockwood said. "I think that helps keep it in perspective."

Boy, are these idiots going to be embarrassed.

8 posted on 05/04/2009 8:34:06 PM PDT by Rocky (OBAMA: Succeeding where bin Laden failed.)
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To: neverdem

“In general, recent research has been building a case that the sun has a slightly bigger influence on Earth’s climate than most theories have predicted.”

I guess I’m being too simplistic. I’ve always had the assumption that the sun had EVERYTHING to do with our climate.

I love where they’re going with this: Even if the waterways are locked with ice, and people are freezing to death, don’t let your AGW guard down and start using energy to stay warm (movie stars and politicians not included)


9 posted on 05/04/2009 8:34:31 PM PDT by lacrew (Axe not what your teleprompter can do for you....)
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To: ConservativeMind

Fire up the coal plants...and build new ones...


10 posted on 05/04/2009 8:34:51 PM PDT by Dallas59 ("You know the one with the big ears? He might be yours, but he ain't my president.")
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To: SunkenCiv

May be of interest.


11 posted on 05/04/2009 8:35:53 PM PDT by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: neverdem
Even if the current solar lull is the beginning of a prolonged quiet, the scientists say, the star's effects on climate will pale in contrast with the influence of human-made greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).

That's called "denial".

12 posted on 05/04/2009 8:37:01 PM PDT by wendy1946
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To: FlingWingFlyer
"I think you have to bear in mind that the CO2 is a good 50 to 60 percent higher than normal, whereas the decline in solar output is a few hundredths of one percent down," Lockwood said. "I think that helps keep it in perspective."

Wow! What backward logic. If 50 years Global Warming coincident with 50-60% rise in CO2 has been wiped out in the last eight years by solar output declining 0.02% logic says that the Sun's output variability is 2,500 times as powerful as CO2 concentrations.

13 posted on 05/04/2009 8:38:38 PM PDT by DJtex
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To: neverdem

The Earth has been cooling since temps peaked in 1998.

Over a decade of global cooling.


14 posted on 05/04/2009 8:38:51 PM PDT by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: wendy1946

AGW has become their cult. All they are missing is Algore calling himself Bagwan Al and moving to a compound in Oregon where they can all live together.


15 posted on 05/04/2009 8:42:36 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: neverdem

American SUVs have done this.

Not to worry — cap and trade will bring back the sunspots.


16 posted on 05/04/2009 8:44:59 PM PDT by BenLurkin
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To: neverdem
"I think you have to bear in mind that the CO2 is a good 50 to 60 percent higher than normal, whereas the decline in solar output is a few hundredths of one percent down," Lockwood said. "I think that helps keep it in perspective."

Good Lord. This guy is a scientist?

I suppose as an equally stupid rejoinder one might point out that the sun is much larger than a CO2 molecule.

17 posted on 05/04/2009 8:46:18 PM PDT by Interesting Times (For the truth about "swift boating" see ToSetTheRecordStraight.com)
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To: Army Air Corps
hi all...monitor sunspots (or lack thereoff) at:

http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/sunspots/

enjoy

18 posted on 05/04/2009 8:49:15 PM PDT by spokeshave (USA #1; Pirates -3)
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To: neverdem

“Even if the current solar lull is the beginning of a prolonged quiet, the scientists say, the star’s effects on climate will pale in contrast with the influence of human-made greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).”

Chortle.


19 posted on 05/04/2009 8:49:30 PM PDT by headstamp 2 (Spay or Neuter your liberal today!)
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To: neverdem
is a good 50 to 60 percent higher than normal...

And makes up what -- 1-2% of total greenhouse gases?

20 posted on 05/04/2009 8:52:17 PM PDT by jonno (Having an opinion is not the same as having the answer...)
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To: Rocky

hese idiots are beyond embarrassment. If they weren’t they be afraid to show their face in public. I know I couldn’t.
They just know no shame.


21 posted on 05/04/2009 8:54:08 PM PDT by mcshot (The line in the sand has been drawn: It's good vs evil.)
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To: DJtex
"...Sun's output variability is 2,500 times as powerful as CO2 concentrations.

Yup. AGW cultists rarely have any concept as to just how flippin' huge an powerful our little star is. When you begin to break it down for them, they cannot believe it. When they learn how much energy the Sun generates in an hour, their eyes go wide.
22 posted on 05/04/2009 8:55:12 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: neverdem
In general, recent research has been building a case that the sun has a slightly bigger influence on Earth's climate than most theories have predicted.

Ok, that has to be the stupidest statement ever printed.

23 posted on 05/04/2009 8:56:57 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (Somebody stole my tagline)
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To: jonno

I believe the reference to CO2 being higher than “normal” is eroneous. It has been higher in Earth’s history.

And the argumnt that 50 or 60% more co2 has a greater effect than a tiny change in solar activity is laughable. Similar “tiny” solar changes caused the little ice age because the Sun’s influence is so powrful.


24 posted on 05/04/2009 8:59:28 PM PDT by Williams (It's The Policies, Stupid.)
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To: neverdem
"There are many uncertainties," said Jose Abreu, a doctoral candidate at the Swiss government's research institute Eawag.

"We don't know the sensitivity of the climate to changes in solar intensity. In my opinion, I wouldn't play with things I don't know."

It's a shame Al Gore is too damned stupid to understand this.

25 posted on 05/04/2009 9:00:11 PM PDT by Post Toasties (Conservatives allow the guilty to be executed but Lefties insist that the innocent be executed.)
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To: neverdem
"I think you have to bear in mind that the CO2 is a good 50 to 60 percent higher than normal, whereas the decline in solar output is a few hundredths of one percent down," Lockwood said. "I think that helps keep it in perspective."

1% of a large number is a much greater influence than 50% of a small number.

As if the solar irradiation were the problem, rather than the magnetic effects and solar wind.

Dipsh*t.

26 posted on 05/04/2009 9:03:58 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: DJtex
“I think you have to bear in mind that the CO2 is a good 50 to 60 percent higher than normal, whereas the decline in solar output is a few hundredths of one percent down,” Lockwood said. “I think that helps keep it in perspective.”

Wow! What backward logic. If 50 years Global Warming coincident with 50-60% rise in CO2 has been wiped out in the last eight years by solar output declining 0.02% logic says that the Sun's output variability is 2,500 times as powerful as CO2 concentrations.


Now you are confusing the matter with facts and data. /s

27 posted on 05/04/2009 9:04:38 PM PDT by az_gila (AZ - need less democrats - one Governor down... more to go.)
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To: wendy1946
In general, recent research has been building a case that the sun has a slightly bigger influence on Earth's climate than most theories have predicted.

Idiots!!! The sun is the source of almost all the surface and atmospheric heating. Using their logic, if the sun stopped shining it would only make a minor difference in the temperature of the earth.

28 posted on 05/04/2009 9:13:29 PM PDT by cpdiii (roughneck, oilfield trash and proud of it, geologist, pilot, pharmacist, iconoclast.)
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To: neverdem

“preemptive denial”

ROFL.


29 posted on 05/04/2009 9:14:38 PM PDT by Winstons Julia
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To: cpdiii
Using their logic, if the sun stopped shining it would only make a minor difference in the temperature of the earth.

With the hot air and lies of Gore and Hansen on their side, the alarmists were getting ready to disenfranchise the sun.

30 posted on 05/04/2009 9:18:19 PM PDT by Post Toasties (Conservatives allow the guilty to be executed but Lefties insist that the innocent be executed.)
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To: Army Air Corps
Yup. AGW cultists rarely have any concept as to just how flippin' huge an powerful our little star is. When you begin to break it down for them, they cannot believe it.

Some of these people don't even realize it's a star, because it's the "Sun".

I met some of these people that thought the moon generated it's own light, as they had not a clue it was just reflecting starlight. These people are totally wrapped up in their own tiny political realm, and so convinced external forces do not have any effect on this planet...We'll, they are just beyond help.

31 posted on 05/04/2009 9:32:03 PM PDT by dragnet2
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To: neverdem
He and other researchers are therefore engaged in what they call "preemptive denial" of a solar minimum leading to global cooling.

Sorry, but they're not the biggest deniers in the game. The AGW alarmists are.

32 posted on 05/04/2009 9:32:18 PM PDT by Post Toasties (Conservatives allow the guilty to be executed but Lefties insist that the innocent be executed.)
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To: neverdem; SunkenCiv
I'm surprised that this is from National Geographic, once a venerable source of knowledge until it fell under the spell of politically motivated popular Jeremiahs. But then evidence is the cure.

Now we are dealing with time....the time it takes to reverse idiocy to rationalism and empiricism again, a polar shift of stunted scientific teaching.
33 posted on 05/04/2009 9:38:10 PM PDT by BIGLOOK (Keelhaul Congress! It's the sensible solution to restore Command to the People.)
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To: neverdem
"I think you have to bear in mind that the CO2 is a good 50 to 60 percent higher than normal, whereas the decline in solar output is a few hundredths of one percent down," Lockwood said. "I think that helps keep it in perspective."

Which proves how little C02 plays in our climate, while the Sun's "few hundredths of one percent down" truly does affect our climate.

34 posted on 05/04/2009 9:38:42 PM PDT by RJL
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To: neverdem

What...no more worry about Global Warming? Algore must have stopped breathing and so now the hot air on this planet is - Allgone !


35 posted on 05/04/2009 9:40:43 PM PDT by CitizenM ("An excuse is worse than an lie, because an excuse is a lie hidden." Pope John Paul, II)
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To: BIGLOOK
Now we are dealing with time....the time it takes to reverse idiocy to rationalism and empiricism again, a polar shift of stunted scientific teaching.

Of course, for the alarmists, there are no such things as rationalism and empiricism. They deal only in apocalyptic predictions and emotional power plays. It'll be interesting to see how many of this noisome AGW crowd will veer to the other extreme if and when the current cooling trend persists.

36 posted on 05/04/2009 9:48:18 PM PDT by Post Toasties (Conservatives allow the guilty to be executed but Lefties insist that the innocent be executed.)
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To: CitizenM

I rarely comment on people like Gore. Not worth my time. But he’s like the weird little peddler, rolling into the small town on his wagon, with his elixirs, and potions that will keep the spooks away. The term snake oil salesmen, is way to nice of term for that AH.

This freak is all about control and his selective political game.


37 posted on 05/04/2009 9:49:46 PM PDT by dragnet2
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To: RJL; neverdem
"I think you have to bear in mind that the CO2 is a good 50 to 60 percent higher than normal, whereas the decline in solar output is a few hundredths of one percent down," Lockwood said. "I think that helps keep it in perspective."

Except that CO2 is not a good "50 to 60 percent higher than normal." The average CO2 for the 19th century was about 330 ppm, with highs as high as almost 500 ppm. And in the context of geological time the present level of CO2 is about as low as it's ever been, dangerously low. Lockwood should be, but apparently isn't, smart enough to realize that small fluctuations in solar output have large effects on earthly climate (as seen by decadal relationships between solar variation and global temperature as well as sea level) whereas increasingly larger amounts of CO2 have demonstrably increasingly smaller effects on global temperature.
38 posted on 05/04/2009 9:55:32 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: dragnet2

It is really fun to remind them that it is a thermonuclear reactor and that we are bathed in its radiation.


39 posted on 05/04/2009 9:57:53 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: headstamp 2

Global warming - Little Ice Age...... which is it? What’s the diff? We can’t expect them to just give our credit cards back.


40 posted on 05/04/2009 9:58:07 PM PDT by dusttoyou (Remember the Alamo - CHENEY-PALIN 2012)
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To: Army Air Corps

From about 93 million miles away it can still burn the skin pretty well too.


41 posted on 05/04/2009 10:27:41 PM PDT by deks (Prevent the next Ice Age ... Support Global Warming)
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To: Rocky

These idiots don’t realize how stupid their comments on CO2 vs. solar quietness are.CO2 levels have been significantly higher in past ages, during or before ice ages. And CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas at 350ppm. Thus, even a large increase in CO2 will have little effect. On the other hand, the sun is 100 % of the cause of a warm earth. Without it the temperature of the earth would be almost absolute zero. Thus, a small change in solar illumination (and sun spots) can have dramatic effects (as measured in a few degrees change) on the global temperature.

These “scientists” must not be very scientific.


42 posted on 05/04/2009 10:30:07 PM PDT by Laserman
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To: Post Toasties
It'll be interesting to see how many of this noisome AGW crowd will veer to the other extreme if and when the current cooling trend persists

No time at all....for my son and his kids. When I was at the UH, the 'Coming Ice Age' was the rage. Professors pulled their teeth and were fitted with dentures, stocked a sailboat and sailed south to a more tropical island over the news of the climate change predictions that proved false. Figure on another few years for a new doomsday publication and a few pseudo documentaries to make their way into the media distribution to schools and theaters for another apocalypse. Maybe a few of the disaster movies will have skimpily clad heroine babes that will make them watchable.

Sometimes I wonder about lemmings. Not all of them jump but do the survivors ever learn?
43 posted on 05/04/2009 10:30:52 PM PDT by BIGLOOK (Keelhaul Congress! It's the sensible solution to restore Command to the People.)
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To: neverdem
"I think you have to bear in mind that the CO2 is a good 50 to 60 percent higher than normal, whereas the decline in solar output is a few hundredths of one percent down," Lockwood said. "I think that helps keep it in perspective."

We do ... the sun has magnitudes more power over our climate than CO2 ...

This is Earth without enough sunlight and heat energy


44 posted on 05/04/2009 10:44:16 PM PDT by Centurion2000 (We either Free America ourselves, or it is midnight for humanity for a thousand years.)
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To: wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; Jeff Head; ...
Jack Kemp in His Own Words

The Tortured Rhetoric of the Reactionary Left

Europeans: U.S. Should Give Up Control of Internet

Proposed gun law couched states' rights language

Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.

45 posted on 05/04/2009 11:02:13 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

“He and other researchers are therefore engaged in what they call “preemptive denial” of a solar minimum leading to global cooling.”

Did you guys hurt yourselves producing that idea? Biting ice might help.


46 posted on 05/04/2009 11:07:29 PM PDT by floralamiss
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To: dragnet2
"I met some of these people that thought the moon generated it's own light"

I find this astonishing. I'm hoping they weren't being serious.

47 posted on 05/04/2009 11:15:09 PM PDT by ChicagahAl (Don't blame me. I voted for Sarah.)
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To: neverdem

NOOOOOOOOEZ!


48 posted on 05/05/2009 1:44:34 AM PDT by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: OKSooner; honolulugal; Killing Time; Beowulf; Mr. Peabody; RW_Whacko; SideoutFred; Ole Okie; ...
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

FReepmail me to get on or off

Ping me if you find one I've missed.



49 posted on 05/05/2009 3:29:54 AM PDT by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: WL-law; Genesis defender; proud_yank; FrPR; enough_idiocy; Desdemona; rdl6989; Little Bill; ...
 


Beam me to Planet Gore !

50 posted on 05/05/2009 3:43:05 AM PDT by steelyourfaith ("The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." - Lady Thatcher)
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