Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Guilty as charged

For those of you who haven't had a vasectomy, standard procedure is to come back a couple months later, drop off a cup of man-juice, and have it checked for swimmers. Usually they ask you to come back more than once, to make sure that the pipes haven't reattached.

I went the first time, but I never did show up for my last date with the cup. It turns out that I have lots of company - about 80% of men that have vasectomies, in fact.

I'm not sure why the other guys didn't return, but I know why I didn't. As much as I love my two sweet children (you never know - maybe they'll grow up and read this someday), I'm really, really sure that I don't want any more kids. So I had motivation to ensure my lack of reproductivity.

But after having a needle inserted into my taint and both testicles, after feeling the scalpel against my scrotum ("You feel that?" the doctor asked. "Hmmm...odd.") and after smelling the burned flesh of my vas deferens, I'm just not entirely sure I want to know that I need another visit with Mr. Sharpy. Maybe if I just believe hard enough that everything worked out, it will.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Economy of Enivronmentalism

I was going to do a book review of The Skeptical Environmentalist, but I didn't want to blog about the whole book as much as I wanted to blog on the section that pertains to my pet topic: anthropogenic global warming.

His argument boils down to this:

  • Using the IPCC figures, the total cost of doing nothing about AGW over the next century is a little less than $5 trillion. (Interestingly, this assumes a non-responsive humanity. ie: No levees are built against a rising sea, no population is moved inland, no new strains of grain are created that grow in warmer temperatures, no new irrigation is created in dry land, etc. The actual cost of adaptation to a slowly-warming globe is far cheaper.)
  • The economic cost of implementing the Kyoto Protocol is also roughly $5 trillion. Since 80% of the world is not required to cut CO2 emissions under Kyoto, the total reduction in temperature would be so insignificant that we would still incur almost all of the $5 trillion cost of global warming in addition.
  • The IPCC itself states that developing nations would be hit harder than developed ones, because they lack the economic means to adapt to a warming globe. Yet the IPCC does not recommend investing money to further develop these economies.
  • Conservative estimates (that were made before the recent rise of oil prices) predict that alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind, will become cheaper than fossil fuels sometime in the middle of the twenty-first century. So with no regulations at all, our carbon emissions will be reduced and approaching zero by 2100 anyway.

Although he lists numerous potential problems with the way that the IPCC has collected, modeled, and presented their climate data, he is not an AGW denier. He posits that, since CO2 is a greenhouse gas, pumping more of it into our atmosphere should logically create warmer temperatures. He instead asks - how much warming can we prevent, how soon, and at what cost?

His answer is that it makes economic sense to curtail CO2 emissions by 4%, but that beyond that point the cost of reduction becomes greater than the benefit. Additionally, that money could be spent more efficiently to reduce the world's "boring problems" - like malnutrition, poor sanitation, and malaria.

Take a look at this video from TED in 2005 - here he describes the findings of the Copenhagen Consensus, which state that spending money to solve AGW is the least efficient way to help humanity:

Here is an article that "debunks" Lomborg with green rhetoric, while this one complains about the bias of the graphs in his book, without challenging his conclusions.

Trying to research climate science has been confusing for me. I'm not sure I'll ever understand the complexity of cloud cover forcing T, or carbon feedback loops, but this economic breakdown of costs and solutions makes a lot of sense. You believe in AGW? Fine, let's attack the problem by investing money in the right places, not by anti-caplitalist regulations that will only delay innovation. Let's research geo-engineering and other technologies that will help us adapt to a warming globe. Let's build more nuclear power plants. Let's spend money in an efficient way, in a way that really makes the world a better place, instead of chasing solutions to alarmist propaganda.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Draft grades, part II

Green Bay Packers Grade: C
Harrell was slightly surprising, but a solid pick. I thought that Jackson and Jones were reaches, but Rouse and Clowney were good values.

Houston Texans Grade: C+
I liked the first three picks - Okoye, Jones, and Bennett will all be good players and should become starters sometime in 2007. They were missing a second-round pick, or they would have received a higher grade.

Indianapolis Colts Grade: C+
Gonzales, Hughes, Pitcock, and Sessions were excellent picks. They don't represent great value - they went about where they should have, but they fit the Colts' scheme so perfectly that their value to the Colts at those spots is tremendous. I'm confused and disappointed by the Tony Ugoh move...there's no way he's worth a first-round pick from next year, even if it is at the bottom of the first round. Overall, this is a tough class to grade.

Jacksonville Jaguars Grade: C-
Nice move in the first round to trade down and still get the guy they wanted in Reggie Nelson. After that, though, I'm not sure what to think. Their next three picks were two small-school guys and a punter, and I'm not familiar with any of them. They passed on a lot of big-school, well-known prospects for these guys that I've never heard of.

Kansas City Chiefs Grade: C
Bowe should be an immediate starter, while both McBride and Tyler have a chance to contribute quickly. They could have used an OT earlier than round 6...too bad they couldn't pull off the trade with Miami, and pick up someone like Doug Free in round 4.

Miami Dolphins Grade: F
What the fuck? Why not come out of the first two rounds with Brady Quinn and Dwayne Jarrett, instead of Ted Ginn and John Beck? Booker's a reach in the third round. Paul Soliali is supposed to be a good fit for them in round 4, but you can't go brain-dead for the first three rounds and expect a good grade.

Minnesota Vikings Grade: A-
Peterson and McCauley are instant starters and were great value at those spots. Allison should be a sub-package receiver who contributes on special teams and third down. I don't like the Sydney Rice pick - he refused to run a 40 at his workout, because "the ground was too hard", and he's from the same school as NFL studs Todd Pinkston and Troy Williamson - and they passed on both USC receivers to take this guy.

New England Patriots Grade: C
Meriweather is a nice pick in the first round - I wanted him for the Eagles - but then not another pick until the fourth. Have to give them some credit for the Randy Moss trade - he's definitely worth a fourth-round gamble. They added some picks for next year, which is definitely a plus, but I chose not to factor that heavily into their grade for this draft.

New Orleans Saints Grade: D
A team desperate for CB and LB help drafts a WR in the first round, and while Meachem's a good one, they definitely should have considered defense with that spot. Young was a reach in round 3, and I don't see Pittman as a good fit in round 4.

New York Giants Grade: C+
First four picks were solid and should all be starters by the end of 2008. I had Jarrett rated higher than his teammate Smith, but I guess that Smith is a better complement to Plaxico Burress.

New York Jets Grade: B
I really like Revis and Harris for this team, but the Jets paid a heavy price for them, not getting another pick until the sixth round. Both should be immediate contributors.

Oakland Raiders Grade: C
Russell was a no-brainer, I guess, because they needed a QB so badly. But despite his amazing physical tools, I'm leery of him as a top pick. LSU didn't put the game in his hands - they passed 15-20 times a game - but yet Oakland has faith they he can win for them. A lot of scouts say he's the real deal, and that he played in a complex offense and handled it well, but I'm just not convinced. Michael Bush was a great fourth-round value, but the rest of the draft was unexceptional.

Philadelphia Eagles Grade: F
I can't say this about any other team, but the Eagles may actually be worse after this draft. If they would have fallen asleep during their first selection and never turned in a card, they'd be better off. Kevin Kolb is a shotgun, 3/4 delivery QB from a school that produced such NFL legends as Andre Ware and David Klingler. He's got enough potential that he's worth a fourth-round flier, but at the top of the second round, he just creates more turbulence than he's worth. If Kolb turns out to be a stud NFL QB - worthy of the #35 pick in the draft - I'll drive to Philly and kiss Andy Reid on the lips. Abiamiri's really not a bad selection - I was a little harsh on him that first day - but if you wanted a DE, you should have just taken Spencer in the first round and then drafted Kolb at the bottom of the second. I love Tony Hunt in round 3, he will have a bigger impact on this offense than most people believe. No idea why they drafted Brent Celek instead of Ben Patrick, and no idea why they waited until round 5 to draft a DB.

Pittsburgh Steelers Grade: B-
Their first three picks will all be good NFL players who fit the Steelers' scheme, even if none of them represent great value.

Bored again. I may get to the last few teams, or I may not.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Draft grades

Feeling humbled by the draft process this year, as the Eagles took me completely by surprise, and I missed on my projections of a few players by as many as four rounds.

There are three components to a team's grade, listed in the order of importance:
1) Did they get good football players? (This is by far the most important, as you can never have too many good players.)
2) Did they address team needs?
3) Did they get good value? (This is often highly overrated, and meaningless once the games start, but there's not much else to talk about after the draft.)

Also, C is average. It means that a team did pretty much what they should have, but nothing exceptional.

Arizona Cardinals Grade: A
Levi Brown wasn't really worth the #5 pick, but he's exactly what the Cardinals need. Alan Branch in round #2 is tremendous value, as is Buster Davis in round #3. I'm still trying to figure out how Ben Patrick dropped to round 7 - I had him as a potential target for the Eagles in round 3! Breaston has a chance to make the team as a kick returner, which means this entire draft could end up on the roster and contributing this year.

Atlanta Falcons Grade: A
With Anderson, Blalock, and Houston, the Falcons picked up three very good players who could have been drafted in the first round. I don't like the Robinson pick at all (he's more of a late-round flier, and better WRs were on the board at that time), but Nicholas, Irons, and Datish were solid second-day picks who should contribute.

Baltimore Ravens Grade: B-
Grubbs is a solid pick who will start 16 games as a rookie and play well. Late-round fliers on Troy Smith and Prescott Burgess could pay off big down the road.

Buffalo Bills Grade: C
Lynch is an ok pick - he could be very good or flame out completely, but he does fill an obvious need. I like that they traded up to get Posluszny, and Trent Edwards is good value in round #3, but they whiffed on two big needs in this draft - CB and a pass rusher.

Carolina Panthers Grade: A+
Pretty much a perfect draft. With Beason, Jarrett, Kalil, and Johnson, they landed four starters with their first four picks. The first three were worthy of being picked in the first round. Tim Shaw is a great selection in the fifth round - he's got the speed to contribute immediately on special teams and later develop into an edge rusher.

Chicago Bears Grade: D
For what it's worth, I think I gave them a D last year as well, because I didn't foresee the impact of Devin Hester or Daniel Manning (I did like the Mark Anderson pick, as I had him targeted for the Eagles in the fifth round.) Greg Olsen represents nice value in round 1, but he doesn't block well, so at this point he's a situational player. Bazuin and Wolfe were reaches - especially considering they could have drafted Charles Johnson and Michael Bush in those spots.

Cincinnati Bengals Grade: C
They had to be delighted when Leon Hall fell into their laps, but I don't understand the Kenny Irons pick in round #2. For a team with several pressing defensive needs, and missing their #3 WR for half the season, I would not have selected another RB in this spot. Still, he's a good player who was worthy of a second-round pick.

Cleveland Browns Grade: A
This is a real boom-or-bust type of will depend a lot on whether Brady Quinn develops into the kind of QB that Charlie Weis thinks he can. Still, they got three first-round talents with Thomas, Quinn, and Wright...and that is the type of gamble that a team as bad as the Browns should take.

Dallas Cowboys Grade: C (B+)
Based on the players selected, this is an average draft. Anthony Spencer was a very good selection, and I would not have been disappointed if the Eagles selected him in round #1, but after that it gets a little shaky. Marten isn't worth a third-round selection, although Doug Free is a nice pick-up in the fourth. And addressing positions like QB and K, while waiting on a CB until the seventh round, is just weird. The B+ grade is for stealing a top-ten pick from Cleveland next year.

Denver Broncos Grade: D
I continue to be about the only person who is not impressed by Denver's offseason moves. Jarvis Moss, whom Denver traded up to get, benched a mere 13 reps at the combine (compared to QB Brady Quinn's 17). When a guy who's going to face 330lb offensive tackles his whole career can't even be bothered to visit a weight room a few times before he gets drafted, it sends up a huge red flag, but Denver didn't seem to care. Frankly, the guy they drafted in round #2, Tim Crowder, has a better chance of developing into an impact DE. Fourth-round pick Marcus Thomas is a character gamble who could either be a Pro Bowl DT or out of the league in two years.

Detroit Lions Grade: A-
I thought Alexander was a reach in round #2, but Manny Ramirez in round #4 is tremendous value (remember Jarvis Moss' 13 reps? Manny had over 40.) Detroit probably nabbed 5 starters from this draft, and that's exactly what they needed.

Getting bored now, I might finish this tomorrow.