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Rump’s Inauguration Debacle!

January 22, 2017

Empty seats and sounds of silence blended well with peaceful protests across our great country. But where, one may ask, are the cheering crowds. Don’t we want to see the greatest country on earth, great again. Huh, that makes no sense!

trump-and-obama-inaugration-crowdsThe answer is plain and simple, the new president is a nihilist. Many see the man has no plan. Few find pleasure cheering an invading horde destroy all that stands in its way. Never planting a seed along the way.

Hitler made cause by pointing to the helpless Jews. Trump made cause by pointing to the nascent Obamacare, something he probably cares and knows little about.

Words “I’m going to get rid of” is intuitively too sophomoric; superficial for most.  With not even a whimper of “how” between the anger and hate. The “how” is embarrassingly interlaced behind a non-vote for me and then I will tell you how,” merely plays to the ears of believes in miracles and Lords of the Rings. These find pride bowing down to such foolery.

When America Regains Greatness

January 3, 2017

America will be great again when the trumpet fails to sound and no musician is willing to play along.



A Wish

December 23, 2016

To thpeace-08-1e People of the world, may this holiday season bring forth global Tranquility, provide for the general Welfare and the security of all who walk amongst us, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity; Amen!

Ambiguous Cylinder Illusion

July 7, 2016

Kokichi Sugihara, a professor at Meiji University in Japan, won second prize in the international Best Illusion of the Year Contest last week for creating a brand-new visual illusion in which a perfectly rectangular shape appears circular when reflected in a mirror.

Source: The Huffington Post

The NRA’s Fraud: Fabrication of Second Amendment Rights

June 18, 2016

2nd amendmentYes; BarryOnEnergy serves as a reflection of today’s energy situation in our global community and not necessarily a site for political discussions. However, the topic of Energy, its source and consumption, turns out to be as political as it is scientific and empirical.

In this respect, there comes a time when BarryOnEnergy has to present issues that are at the epicenter of current debates. On such item is “gun violence in America.”

This article, The NRA’s Fraud: Fabrication of Second Amendment Rights, by Burton Newman, Attorney; Adjunct professor, Washington University School of Law, published by Huffington Post, is posted in its entirety. It was chosen as a credible source of information that gets to the heart of the matter in a fair, impartial, and factual way. Most likely this piece will not change anyone’s position. Yet, to fix a problem, ultimately we need to deal in facts rather than anecdotes.

Here we go!

“A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.“ ~ Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Following the Sandy Hook massacre, gun rights, gun laws and the Second Amendment have been the subject of a national dialogue. Any discussion of these topics is severely tainted by calculated messaging by the NRA to deceive and mislead our citizens to believe that the Second Amendment grants far reaching gun rights which have not and do not exist.

The Second Amendment became part of our constitution in 1791. For well over two centuries the Supreme Court never decided that the Amendment granted a constitutional right to individuals to bear arms. The widely held notion that such a right existed was a myth fabricated by the NRA for its own self-interest and for the corporate profits of gun manufacturers. This fabrication altered the mindset of most Americans to accept fictional Second Amendment rights that permitted the proliferation of all manner and kind of dangerous weapons. We became a gun culture run rampant. The gun manufacturers reaped enormous profits as gun sales soared. In 2011 industry wide gun sales were $4.3 billion. Misconceptions generated by the NRA created a warped interpretation of Second Amendment that generated these sales.

The fraud perpetrated by the NRA is patent. We do not heed the warnings of prominent citizens such as former attorneys general Nicholas Katzenbach, Ramsey Clark, Elliot L. Richardson, Edward Levi, Griffin B. Bell and Benjamin R. Civiletti. The joint statement in the Washington Post of these former attorneys general in 1992 reads as follows:

“For more than 200 years, the federal courts have unanimously determined that the Second Amendment concerns only the arming of the people in service to an organized state Militia: it does not guarantee immediate access to guns for private purposes. The nation can no longer afford to let the gun lobbies’ distortion of the constitution cripple every reasonable attempt to implement an effective national policy towards guns and crime.”

In a PBS News Hour interview in 1991, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger referred to the NRA Second Amendment myth as “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American people by any special interest group that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

The opinions of these distinguished legal scholars had no bearing on NRA propaganda that continued unabated. During the weeks before the 2000 general election, a self-anointed constitution “scholar,” Charleton Heston, ceremonial president of the NRA, flooded the airways to urge voters to support candidates who would protect and preserve Second Amendment rights. Little did most Americans realize that such rights did not exist. The NRA’s reading of the Second Amendment was purely fictional and unsupported by the law of the land.

Candidates for public office both state and federal reaped in political contributions from the NRA. These elected officials feared the wrath of the NRA should they stray from the NRA’s Second Amendment myth.

A norm evolved offering sanctity to gun owners and manufacturers. Gun manufacturers and the NRA prospered and profited. As one gun manufacturing executive states the equation, the NRA “protects our Second Amendment rights and those rights protect the ability to buy our products.” Elected officials stand idly by while gun deaths and massacres escalate without lasting public outcry or meaningful legislative efforts.

The statistics are staggering. The depth of lost life is evident by comparing deaths in foreign wars and firearm deaths of citizens within our borders. In all foreign wars during our history about 650,000 soldiers died. In the 45 years since Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated in 1968, there have been over 1.3 million deaths in our country caused by firearms. The fraud perpetrated by the NRA as recognized by former Chief Justice Burger is linked to these deaths. The blood of thousands upon thousands of Americans permanently stain the hands of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre.

How did the NRA gain such power and influence on our citizenry? For the first century of its existence beginning in 1871, the NRA primarily devoted its efforts to gun safety. Following enactment of new restrictive gun laws requiring gun licensing and taxes, a 1977 coup within the NRA membership led by militants resulted in a new harder edged and more aggressive NRA. The truth mattered not. The edifice of the NRA headquarters would now bear an abbreviated version of the Second Amendment: “The Right of the People to keep and Bear Arms Shall not be infringed.” The NRA amended the Constitution unilaterally to avoid even a hint that the language pertaining to a Militia had any meaning. The law of the land spoke otherwise.

In 1939 the Supreme Court issued the Miller decision. The justices ruled that “the Second Amendment must be interpreted and applied with the view of its purpose of rendering effective Militia.” That was the state of Second Amendment law until the 2008 Heller decision. Prior to Heller, the Supreme Court never recognized that individuals had an individual right to keep and bear arms. It was the NRA propaganda, not the law of the land, that led the cry for unlimited gun ownership and protection of gun owner rights. The NRA myths allowed the cycle of expanded gun sales and NRA power to purchase political influence. Democrats and Republican alike announced their allegiance to the Second Amendment and the public grew to believe that the NRA view of the Second Amendment was consistent with constitutional law. The NRA controlled too many elected officials to allow for protection of our citizens from gun violence, gun deaths and unspeakable gun horrors in schools and public places.

The NRA myths were disseminated on other fronts. Articles appeared in NRA publications and rewrote history by declaring that “Armed citizens [were] unregulated except by his own ability to buy a gun at whatever price he could afford.” This credo became an NRA rallying cry.

The NRA poured millions upon millions of dollars into congressional and state legislative campaigns. Gun owners and manufacturers poured more money into the NRA. The revisionist view of Second Amendment rights gained momentum in 1982 when a Senate judiciary subcommittee issued a report about the discovery of “long lost proof” of an individual’s constitutional right to bear arms. The chair of the subcommittee was Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. The “proof” has never surfaced.

For over three decades the NRA funded legal research, legal seminars and pushed for law review articles supporting individual rights to bear arms. This and the NRA persuasion of elected officials led to a dramatic shift in Second Amendment legal views. In 2003 the NRA established a $1 million chair at George Mason University law school. The views of NRA supported professors and legal scholars were relied on in the 2008 Supreme Court decision finding an individual right to bear arms for the first time.

What did the Supreme Court say in the 2008 Heller decision? The Court held that there existed an individual right to bear arms only for traditional purposes such as self-defense in the home. The Court declared that the Second Amendment should not be understood as conferring a “right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” The Court gave examples of firearms laws presumed to be lawful. These included laws prohibiting firearm possession by felons, mentally ill persons and possession of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings. The Court found that conditions on the commercial sale of firearms were presumptively lawful. The Court said this list was not exhaustive; and found that the Second Amendment is consistent with laws banning firearms that are “dangerous and unusual.”

The ruling in Heller was a departure from the 1939 decision in the Miller case where the court stated that the “obvious purpose” of the Second Amendment was to ensure effectiveness of the stated Militia. However, even with this departure the decision in Heller is limited in its scope. The only right specifically mentioned in the Supreme Court’s opinion is the right of an individual to possess a gun for self-defense in the home.

Did this limited decision stop the NRA from its propaganda campaign? Of course not. On Meet the Press on March 24, 2013, Wayne LaPierre declared to the nation that under the Heller decision it would be an “absolute abridgement” of constitutional rights to regulate assault weapons. That myth, heard by millions, was intended to again mislead the country into believing that there are sweeping Second Amendment rights that cannot be regulated. Nonsense. The very language of the Supreme Court opinion in Heller calls out LaPierre as a liar.

How can the American people be educated to understand the true meaning of the Second Amendment consistent with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of that Amendment? Such an education process could lead to sweeping reform of state and federal regulation of firearms. But how is the mindset of the American people to be changed? The same way our mindset about drunk driving and smoking changed over time. Let’s take a look at the circumstances involved in smoking. Smokers 35 years ago would never have believed there would be no public smoking. When harms caused by drunk drivers and tobacco users were known in clear terms, the mindset of the public changed. New reforms, enforcement of laws and demands for a safer society became reachable goals. The change in that mindset did not take place in a day a week or a year. Nor will the change in the mindset regarding Second Amendment rights change overnight. But it is the education of the citizenry and the education of our lawmakers that is necessary in order for the calculated messaging of the NRA to be known for what it is: Lies, myths and fictions that have harmed and killed our citizens and will continue to do so until an enlightened view of the very limited scope of Second Amendment rights is known, understood and acted upon.

Can Plants Overdose on CO2?

June 5, 2016

aCO2 and eCO2 (cropped)

Source: Scientific Reports

tmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) have been steadily rising, from approximately 316 ppm in 1959 to a current atmospheric average of 407 ppm (Mauna Loa Observatory). Antarctic ice-core records show “at no point during the last 800,000 years have CO2 levels been as high as they are now.” (Climate Central, 2013). And, current projections forecast CO2 levels will nearly double by 2100.

While debates concerning the impact of elevated CO2 levels (eCO2) on climate change are slowly converging on agreement of CO2 induced global warming, public opinion seems to diverge on whether high levels of atmospheric CO2 are beneficial or harmful to plant life.

This stands to reason, since it universally known that plant life depends on atmospheric carbon dioxide, light energy from the sun, water and nutrients to produce oxygen and sugars that builds roots, stems and leaves – cell wall, biomass and seeds – during photosynthesis. Without carbon dioxide, plants cannot get carbon and therefore, cannot live. Common logic then suggests that, as the level of atmospheric CO2 increases, so would plant growth. But is this true?

To find the answer, this paper surveyed thirteen scientific studies, from September 1992 through April 2016, investigating the impact of elevated levels of CO2 on plant growth. Understandably, this review constitutes a micro view of the vast number of research projects on this subject, which possibly goes back as far as 1779 when Jan Ingenhousz, a Dutch scientist, discovered photosynthesis.

This article gives only a brief statement on the results of each study. Methodologies used in these investigations range from a compilation of prior research projects to in-situ and ex-situ experimentation. Studies also involved mathematical modeling, genetic variations, nitrogen availability, temperature and rainfall variations, protein buildup, CO2 levels up to 1000 ppm, and rain-forest ecologies.  To draw your own conclusions, the title of each study links to the published paper, abstract or press release.

Whatever the case, for those that have faith in the scientific community’s ability to find the truth, this article should have value. For those that think scientists conspire to deceive the public, you might as well stop reading and turn on Fox News

Selected Studies, from most recent to oldest:

An international team of 32 authors from 24 institutions collaborated on prior research and published in the journal Nature Climate Change Greening of the Earth and Its Drivers, April 2016. The team reported over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated lands became significantly greener in the last 33 years. The researchers concluded that CO2 fertilization effects – an effect by which higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations fertilize, enhance plant growth – explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (4%) (Cayla Dengate, The Huffington Post Australia).

A research team from the Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Spanish National Research Council published, Elevated CO2 impacts bell pepper growth with consequences to Myzus persicae life history, feeding behaviour and virus transmission ability, Scientific Reports, January 2016. The team reported, “Among the observed effects on plants, typical responses to elevated CO2 include increased plant growth and biomass, canopy size, reduction in stomatal conductance and transpiration, improved water-use efficiency and higher photosynthetic rates. At the same time, increasing CO2 alters the chemical composition of plant tissue, with the accumulation of non-structural carbohydrates such as soluble sugars and starch. Elevated CO2 also has an impact on the nitrogen cycle that translates into a decrease in protein content and higher C:N ratio. The reduction in stomatal conductance may lead to a decrease in micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium or phosphorus due to the lower water uptake from the soil.”

A research team from the University of Hong Kong reported at the 2015 Paris Climate Summit the Discovery of a new plant growth technology that may alleviate climate change and food shortage, October 2015. The technology promotes plant growth and seed yield by 38% to 57% in a model plant by increasing CO2 absorption from the atmosphere. The researchers identified a plant-growth promoting gene that imports specific proteins into chloroplasts and mitochondria, thereby, stimulating growth of the engineered plant (University of Hong Kong), see also Plant growth in elevated CO2 alters mitochondrial number and chloroplast fine structure, February 2001.

Researcher Johan Uddling senior lecturer at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Gothenburg working with Swedish and international colleagues published Constraints to nitrogen acquisition of terrestrial plants under elevated CO2, Global Change Biology, May 2015.  The team investigated “to what extent nitrogen availability constrains the stimulation of terrestrial productivity by elevated CO2 (eCO2), and whether or not this constraint will become stronger over time.” The study examined various types of ecosystems, including crops, grasslands and forests, and involves large-scale field experiments conducted in eight countries on four continents. They found increased carbon dioxide levels in air restrict plants’ ability to absorb nutrients. For all types of ecosystem, increased carbon dioxide levels impaired plant quality.”

Researches from The Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota and Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire reported Plant growth enhancement by elevated CO2 eliminated by joint water and nitrogen limitation, Journal Nature Geoscience, November 2014. The scientists analyzed plant biomass levels during a five-year, open-air experiment in a perennial grassland under two contrasting levels of atmospheric CO2, soil nitrogen and summer rainfall, respectively. They found that the presence of a CO2 fertilization effect depends on the amount of available nitrogen and water. Specifically, elevated CO2 levels led to an increase in plant biomass of more than 33% when summer rainfall, nitrogen supply, or both were at the higher levels (ambient for rainfall and elevated for soil nitrogen). But elevated CO2 concentrations did not increase plant biomass when both rainfall and nitrogen were at their lower level. They concluded that given widespread, simultaneous limitation by water and nutrients, large stimulation of biomass by rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations may not be universal.”

Scientists at the University of California, Davis reported Nitrate assimilation is inhibited by elevated CO2 in field-grown, Journal of Nature Climate Change April 2014. “This first of its kind study demonstrated the inhibition of wheat crops to convert nitrate into a protein, due to increased CO2 levels. Previously, studies suggested this reaction in plants, but this is the first time it is shown in field grown crops” (Twanna Harps, Guardian).

A study by several Australian scientists published Impact of CO2 fertilization on maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments, Geophysical Research Letters, June 2013. They found plant growth surges as CO2 levels rise. “Using a mathematical model to predict the extent of this carbon dioxide fertilization effect, the scientists calculated that in warm, dry conditions, plants would make more leaves if they had the water to do so. They also determined this fertilization effect could account for an 11 percent increase in global foliage since 1982” (Tim Radford, Climate News Network).

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and the University of Potsdam reported Carbon dioxide could reduce crop yields, AlphaGalileo, November 2012. The researchers discovered that an increase in carbon dioxide levels could cancel out the beneficial effects of dwarf varieties of plants, such as rice, which ensure our basic food supply. These plants are bred for short stalks and high grain yields not for vertical growth. Thus, in the experiment, the dwarf plants gradually lost their advantage and increasingly resembled the control plants” (Philip Bump , Grist).

In a paper, Genetic manipulation of stomatal density influences stomatal size, plant growth and tolerance to restricted water supply across a growth carbon dioxide gradient published by Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, February 2012, a team of scientists from the University of Sheffield, UK and the University of Sydney, Australia investigated the impact of manipulating stomatal density on a collection of mutant plants with a 16-fold range of stomatal densities (approx. 20–325% of that of control plants). The plants were grown at three atmospheric CO2 concentrations (200, 450 and 1000 ppm), and 30 per cent or 70 per cent soil water content. The researchers found under some but not all conditions, mutant plants exhibited abnormal stomatal density responses to CO2 concentration. Plant size negatively correlated with stromal density. For example, at 450 ppm CO2, overexpressing plants, with reduced density, had larger leaves and increased dry weight.

An international team of scientist reported the results of a study, Climate change effects on beneficial plant–microorganism interactions, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, August 2010. The researchers reviewed the results of 135 studies investigating the effects of climate change factors on beneficial microorganisms and their interaction with host plants. “In most cases, plant-associated microorganisms had a beneficial effect on plants under elevated CO2. The effects of increased temperature on beneficial plant-associated microorganisms were more variable, positive and neutral, and negative effects were equally common and varied considerably with the study system and the temperature range investigated. Overall, the review shows that plant-associated microorganisms are an important factor influencing the response of plants to climate change.”

A study on Carbon dioxide and high temperature effects on growth of young orange trees in a humid, subtropical environment by Hartwell and Vu published by Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, January 2009, concluded that at lower temperatures an increased CO2 environment does indeed lead to an increase in plant biomass. However, they also showed that as temperature increases the biomass yield drops as a result of higher temperatures limiting stomatal water flow (Mark Cresswell, UK Science).

The Jasper Ridge Global Change Project, December 2002, an unprecedented three-year experiment, conducted at Stanford University concluded “that elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide actually reduces plant growth when combined with other likely consequences of climate change — namely, higher temperatures, increased precipitation or increased nitrogen deposits in the soil. The results revealed while treatments involving increased temperature, nitrogen deposition or precipitation — alone or in combination — promoted plant growth by as much as 84 percent, the addition of elevated carbon dioxide consistently dampened those increases by 40 percent.”

Dr. Christian Korner and Dr. John A. Arnone of the University of Basel, Switzerland reported Responses to Elevated Carbon Dioxide in Artificial Tropical Ecosystems, Journal Science, September 1992. The scientists disclosed that excessive amounts of carbon dioxide may impair plant health. “For their experiments, the scientists built identical sets of greenhouses and recreated complete rain-forest ecologies. In one set of greenhouses, the CO2 content of the air was maintained at 340 parts per million. In the other set of greenhouses, the CO2 content was increased to 610 parts per million. Both sets of plants grew vigorously, but the high-carbon-dioxide group produced no more weight of vegetation than the other group. Moreover, plants exposed to high carbon dioxide formed “massive” amounts of starch grains in their uppermost leaves” (Malcolm W. Browne, The New York Times).

In closing, the answer to the question – is it true that higher levels of atmospheric CO2 increase plant growth is a qualitative Yes when viewed only from the standpoint of CO2 and a resounding No when other factors are considered. While the preponderance of studies endorse the conventional notion of a direct relationship between CO2 concentration and plant growth, a number of well-designed investigations that incorporate secondary factors indirectly associated with the rise in CO2, support the opposing thesis that excessive amounts of ambient CO2 may adversely influence plant growth.

These “secondary” factors – ambient temperature, local precipitation, soil condition,  nutrient availability, and microorganism plant interactions – relate to climate change rather than a direct effect of  CO2. Plant growth is a complex process not readily explainable through one-dimensional thinking. Future studies need to consider the confounding interactions between these factors as well as the impact of climate and competition on forests, cropland and pastures. Only then, would it be possible to answer the question with a resounding Yes or No.

Carbon Dioxide Has Negative Effects on Plants and Crops

May 23, 2016

By Twanna Harps on April 8, 2014 Read more…

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