Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Inconvenient Clown

Unless you've been living under a rock the past eight years you've probably been subjected to the girly shrieks of Al Gore, warning us that the planet is about to boil over, the seas are drying up (or flooding the planet...the message seems to change) and polar bears are being forced to live in public housing, or something like that.

Alarmism has been a good racket for Gore, who stands to become the world's first "carbon billionaire," as outlined in this New York Times article.

Al had a few moments last week to face the challenging questions of noted scientific expert Conan O'Brien, and the two of them got off on a little exchange that demonstrated the depth of Al's knowledge of the earth. Conan asked about the possiblities of geothermal energy - harvesting the heat from the earth's core - and Alvin jams enough mistakes into the discussion to make a middle school earth science teacher cringe. First, he asserts that the temperature of the earth's interior is "several million degrees:

AL: People think about geothermal energy - when they think about it at all - in terms of the hot water bubbling up in some places, but two kilometers or so down in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, 'cause the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees, and the crust of the earth is hot...

Then he agrees with Conan's assertion that two miles down is "drilling deeper than we've ever drilled before," and expresses wonderment about new, state-of-the-art drill bits that "don't melt in that heat."

You can see the segment here.

First of all, the earth's core temperature is nothing near "several million degrees" hot. Most scientists estimate the core of the earth to be at about 5,000 degrees, while some say it's cooler, and some groups assert it may be as hot as 9,000 degrees. For comparison's sake, the surface of the SUN is about 6,000 degrees (though it reaches millions of degrees near its core).

Quite a stretch from "several milion degrees."

(Imagine for a moment that George W. Bush, Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney had asserted that the earth's core temperature was "several million degrees." A snarky story would be on the front page of the New York Times the next day.)

Secondly, there is nothing magical or cutting-edge about drilling two miles deep into the earth. The deepest hole ever drilled is something called the Kola Borehole, a Soviet project that managed to drill more than seven miles into the earth's crust. That was in 1989 - TWENTY YEARS AGO - even before we put a goofball like Gore a heartbeat away from the presidency.

And, appropos of this discussion, the temperature seven miles below the surface was about 356 degrees. Not quite "several million degrees."

That Gore is taken seriously by anyone is amazing;, That he was given a Nobel Prize for his "work" would be even more amazing, but of course we've recently learned that Nobel Prizes can be won by almost anyone, for almost anything, as long as they hold politically correct viewpoints.

Coming on a future blog post: The day Al Gore and I discussed global warming while he was riding in the back seat of my car. (Really, it happened. You're going to love the story.)

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