RWP was born in Manchester, in the north of England, in the late 1950s, so he is very old. He really liked the north of England, which by 1965 was hip and had three TV channels, and where he went to a coed school. His parents, for reasons best known to themselves, then yanked him away, to Belfast and then Dublin, which had one TV channel that started up at 6 pm with the Angelus (Catholic call to prayer). He also had to go to an all boys school, where he realized he really missed girls. This probably let him focus on schoolwork, though, and at age 19, after he had finished college, he set off for America, where he still resides. He has a bachelors degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. from Harvard in biophysics, and has lived also in Mainz, Germany, Setauket NY, and Richland WA. He currently divides his time between Nebraska, Rosslyn VA, and Florida.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Lyin' for Gaia

I accidentally came across a @boldnebraska tweet citing this article.

Windfarms do not cause long-term damage to bird populations, study finds

That's odd, I thought. Almost every birder knows that wind farms are blenders for large birds, particularly raptors and waterfowl. And guess what?. The text of the article indeed confirmed the largest waterfowl in the study area were seriously affected by the wind farm.

The most alarming findings were for the curlew, Britain's largest wader, whose numbers fell 40% in a radius of up to 800m from the site during construction at the 18 windfarms in northern England and Scotland involved in the study. Curlew numbers remained "significantly lower" after the windfarms began operating, after they abandoned nesting sites. Snipe numbers also failed to recover, falling by 53% within 400m of the study sites. Red grouse numbers also fell but rose again after construction finished.
The Eurasian curlew Numenius arquata is classed as a 'near-threatened' species.

Small common songbirds, such as the meadow pipit and stonechat, thrived. But then you can't throw a rock in an open, windy area of Britain without hitting a meadow pipit. Golden plovers, the other larger waterfowl species studied also declined, albeit the results were not definitive.

So the idiot ideologue editor at the Guardian completely inverted the sense of the article. Small surprise there. But what's interesting is the number of greens who have referenced and retweeted the article without (apparently) reading beyond the completely false headline. I doubt anyone at BoldNebraska knows a curlew from a chickadee, but also Greenpeace, the Daily Kos, and climate change groupie Heidi Cullen.

This bears out a frequent observation of mine; that most 'greens' love the environment from the safety of a small urban apartment and their copy of National Geographic, and mainly for the potential it offers to stick their noses in other people's lives. They like wind farms because they make other people's power supplies less certain and more expensive. They actually have no conception of what a large wind farm does to the environment around it, and mostly, they don't care, because they rarely get out anywhere one might build a wind farm.

BTW, full disclosure: the pic is a long-billed curlew, an American close relative of the Eurasian curlew. I've never gotten close enough to the latter with a good enough camera to get a decent picture. They're shy. As in "stay well away from big whooshing tower" shy.

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