Windows on the World of Raymond Plank
Founder, Apache Corp
Vol. 2010 No. 1


“Eureka, I’ve found it!”  No, I’m not Archimedes, who made a true scientific discovery centuries back, when he noted that the water in the tub rose when his body descended as he sat down.  I had found a rare copy of “Ecoscience” by Paul R. and Anne H. Ehrlich plus President Obama’s Science Advisor, John P. Holdren, published in 1977, when all three coalesced to author “Ecoscience, Population, Resources, Environment.”


There it was, my Eureka found after a lengthy, and diligent search by my able assistant Debbie.  Our search had gone on for several months, a search largely limited to personnel of Harvard’s Kennedy School, where my inquiries drew only silence. to the rescue!  On page 737 of 1051 foreboding pages!  Suspicion had accompanied my frustrations.  Could it be that there was that which certain players might prefer to obstruct access?  Suspicion mounted when Debbie conveyed the price tag of $500.00. 


Curiosity overcame itself, and so did “Ecoscience,” a title which abuses the word science.  To me, even after 88 years I’m more attuned to accepting the use of the prefix Doctor to those engaged in fact-based science such as Drs. of Medicine, Geology, Geophysics, Engineering, Mathematics, and Technology than those eager to wear the cloak and the cap of the “soft sciences” such as the 4 E’s - Economics, Ecology, Environment, and Education.


Old fashioned?  Not in my life, the ascending of the phenomena, of communications technology with instantaneous global linkage coupled with political integration lead and mislead public opinion and obfuscate the distinction between fact driven knowledge and the increasingly fertile field of mind and thought control.


What’s wrong with that, one asks, isn’t that what advertising is all about?  Yes, of course, and we have come to distinguish, to a degree, between false and misleading promotion and that which throughout recorded history has accompanied the decline and fall of civilizations and nations.  The new ingredient is the volume and speed of communications, able to be focused on tyranny and its bunk-mate, anarchy.  There is an important distinction to be made between the two nouns “use” and “abuse.”  Psychology may be another “soft science” possibly able to be distinguished more readily from the higher order, of psychiatry. 


The Ehrilch’s, Paul and Anne and John Holdren’s “Ecoscience” is an awkward litany of directives at those potentially able to be misled to horrible outcomes.


The decline of civilizations into tyranny and anarchy throughout the history of mankind has been and is based on mind and thought control.  In the 21st century technology races ahead so rapidly it enables instant communications.  Good on the one hand, as in all human activity, there are trade offs which become excessively dangerous when mischief trumps facts and misguided assumptions.


There are too many ill formed opinions and conclusions out there, running at large, for citizens to comprehend in the present world of instant conclusions, or to discern the difference between “true or false.”


We live in a wonderful world which accommodates us, even as we use and abuse its bounties.


Unfortunately, the greatest abuse we can inflict on ourselves is to allow ourselves to be misled, gullible as to the motivations, consequences and tradeoffs.  Do we buy, sell, or hold, making do with our position, if we can?


I question the Ehrlichs motivations and intentions.  I also doubt their value and credibility.  I note that the third author of the $500 rare book is a man I know and came to like, John Holdren.  With respect to man-made earth warming as a threat we must not ignore, I note our dynamic earth should be just fine at least over the next 20 years while the scientists substitute known facts they’re studying while each side rages at the other, both playing to the public, and thereby those who govern, for better or worse.  Since their actions and inactions have been horrible, from all sides of the political aisle, 20 years had better be enough for a hundred percent turnover, good and bad. 


Risks spell danger; calculation of risk, based on knowns and probabilities, enabling better choices and lesser dangers.


If our economy has escaped “the worst,” cleaning up the debris and balancing our lopsided, still uncontrolled spending, is our number one need, and predominant fear of many presently employed, unemployed, underemployed.  We are overspent, undersaved, a reality which most 12 year olds can and probably do grasp.


With hospitalization at $10,000 a day, with pension funds, 401Ks, college and universities endowment funds shattered, tuitions still rising, grocery bills rising, there’s plenty to work our way through, as the jaws of inflation, entitlements, healthcare, are alligators with mouths open waiting to dismember.  We need a major new trillion dollar earth warming money spree like a hole in the head, at this unprecedented critical juncture.


If the frantic earthworm warmers don’t have enough to do, here are two little, tiny, very relevant things they can take their frustrations out on:  Work for a highway speed reduction and save hundreds of millions of gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel.  The second assignment, give the president the one line veto to eliminate earmarks and progress not only with needless waste but also American’s sense of decency a little bit – just a little bit.








͠Suddenly, there it was!  In “Ecoscience” by Ehrlichs and Holdren, on the first page of Chapter 13 on “Population Policies” was a quote from Mao Tse Tung, China’s preeminent Communist leader in WWII, which offers “Of all things, people are the most precious,” a quotation from China’s primary threat to then China’s leader, Chiang Kai-Shek, whose fears of Communism so threatened his supremacy that he rat-holed much, if not most of the war materials the U.S. sent China to fight the Japanese on land, while the U.S. took control of air and oceans.


Now how did the Ehrlichs and John Holdren, happen to alight on that compassionate lead in to “Population Policies.”  That statement was out of character for Mao.  Did our authors know of Mao, and if so, then we have a cross word puzzle in which to place the authors’ objectives.  Mao was a fighter who drove the Japanese on land toward Manchuria, slaying  them as they fled north; concurrently Chiang was more interested in his hold on political power than supporting his own troops on land against the over-extended Japanese who had to supply their troops to the south from ever-increasing distances as the Japanese over extended their supply lines. 


My first business partner, Brooks Fields, following a very brief stint in the U.S. Calvary, transferred to Cornell, which emporium pumped Mandarin Chinese into him, until he became fluent enough for U.S. General Vinegar Joe Stillwell, got Brooks’ orders changed from Europe to China, where both had their window on the war world, and Chiang, whom along with Theodore White, lacked respect for Chiang, and for the Soong Sisters, one of whom was affixed by marriage to Chiang.  As Chiang’s “emissary to the U.S.,” the sisters mesmerized Franklin D. Roosevelt’s power elite, into more and more military hardware being stashed away to deal with upstart Mao and less and less for Chiang’s Japanese resistance whose advance, like General Patton’s in Europe resembled a turkey shoot of Chiang’s Chinese people.  While my window on south China was pin-sized, on a night mission to Hainan Island, where the Japanese were provisioning selves from a distant Japan, we bombed Hainan Island’s dock warehouses and started fires hotter than required for marshmallows on bamboo sticks.  It’s irrelevant to the above, but we almost didn’t live to file our report on the mission, or finish our part of the air war against Japan, island hopping to the homeland and Nagasaki, which did them in. 


While Mao was killing the enemy, which is how wars are won, he was not, an admirable fellow, as chronicled by his doctor, one of perhaps lots of Dr. Li’s.


I happen to recall Mao’s approach and arithmetic which were part of the total of six years, between 1941 & 1946 I spent either in the then Air Corps Reserve, on active duty March 1943 – January 1946 in the Pacific Theatre, where unlike Senator Kerry, I did not pick up all of my ribbons, but saved enough for a plastic artifact I retain with a degree of pride.


Mao, I understood, to have looked at China’s big picture when its population was half today’s 1.2 billion – 600 million then, Mao noting they could lose half their people and still have 300 million from which to rebuild –even as Chiang was to move his government to Formosa now Taiwan.  He preferred to be a big fish in a small Taiwan, than to give up being supreme, which confused F.D.R. and the U.S.


And Dr. Li, who probably embellished Mao’s portrayal in a book to the English-speaking, noted his personal habits, apart from involving swimming, drew his feminine sexual requirements from farms where the children were 12 to 15, which seems to leave both  J.F.K. and Bill Clinton (of family values chatter) well in age arrears. 


Nor am I smitten by the gamut of “isms” which the U.S. has long rated, the soup de jour in 2010 is socialism, while during Ronald Reagan’s presidency it was Communism and the President’s Evil Russian Empire, to get at which he, off camera and constitution quashed everything in his way.  Add to Nazism, Globalism, Capitalism, to me, Jihadism (which really ticks me) and in the broader spectrum they seem but sects, from the same root stock.  What about anarchy?  Is that what we want?  If not, perhaps it’s time not to be looking the other way, but rather face history’s capacity to repeat itself.


The real issues are survival, humanity, and that which I deem requisite to human freedom, life time learning, lived out, and acted upon by every generation motivated to making a small difference.


An interesting and conflicting book of 2010 to date is entitled Heaven & Earth by Ian Plimer.  The author is a scientist, who forcefully represents that to which I believe to be the scientists’, versus politicos, contention that man made earth warming, rather than a fact, is well within planet earth’s dynamic capability to handle for us over the next 20 years where our priority is the economy, here and globally.  Yet Al Gore, Doha, Copenhagen Conferences hold sway, and political gridlock trumps scientists concurrence, still in dispute and character assassination.  Planet earth has been warming and cooling for millions of years, and a 20 year respite in acrimony would perhaps let some of the hot air out of the protagonist tires to change out all the present players, find better accord, and save trillions of dollars while better running the country we occupy, which has more to do than “cap, trade, spend, and tax.”


I’m not going there in Windows #1, rather I’m focused on one of Al Gore’s lucrative props, a loveable young polar bear, seeking one of his friendly packs estimated to aggregate perhaps 20-25,000 Arctic kinfolk, still busily munching seals, which like the once endangered caribou, are on the increase and Canada’s Inland Waterway where killer whales mash seals into seal burgers for their offspring and where as last reported to me, the seal population is exploding and the killer whales are bigger and more abundant.


The author’s Heaven & Earth does not make direct reference to another book, the Lost Squadron, by David Hayes.  In 1942, a squadron of American planes, bound for Britain, encountered bad weather and two heavy B-17 bombers and six P-38s, the fighter plane I’d hoped to pilot in WWII, landed in emergency on Greenland, where a number of pilots were rescued.  Greenland interested me as at Yale, I learned to fly at Stratford, Connecticut, its ground school which included Meteorology, and a chain of circumstances found me being approached to serve as a meteorologist on Greenland, a suggestion I declined, where for the second time in my life high marks lead to overtures.  One of my classmates, Bud Howe, did go to Greenland, and served out a boring military career.  Believing a nation wins wars by killing the enemy, I’d had adequate opportunity to do so, when shortly after the second atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki spelled unconditional surrender of Japan.


Fifty some years later, the planes of the Lost Squadron were located.  Where and how?  A series of hardy Americans dug down through 265 feet of ice and eventually brought the dismembered parts which process required skill, and fortitude, to the surface.  265 feet of ice is a lot of glacier to build up in 50 years when every factory, ship, man and women who could were busily “earth warming.”


Quoting from the P-38 National Associated Museum, “How do you get the P-38 out of the ice?  Simple…..melt the ice.”  And so they did, but not before a contraption called the Super Gopher had burrowed down through 268 feet of it (they needed 3 feet to work in), melting all the way.  The “Glacier Girl,” renamed, was to fly again, as the National Association and Museum notes “on July 15, 1992, 52 years later to the day, 74 year old Brad McManus stood on the ice cap surrounded by the recovered plane of his late friend Harry Smith’s P-38.”   (I’m glad I contributed a small sum to “Glacier Girl’s” recovery.)


Please note, the 265 feet of glacial ice accumulated over 50 years when war factories and man made emissions were at a peak.  Glacial ice was snow and water compacted, and had grown by 265 feet during man made “earth warming.”  Our planet earth is dynamic, not static.  Glaciers form and melt within their dynamics, even as over two thirds of earth is covered by water and ice, about 70% most of it in Antarctica, not the Arctic. 


Scientific facts are disputed.  Costs to deal with political assumptions price tag no less so.  In less dispute is the trillions of dollars a few Ehrlichs and Harvards would have us spend. 


It’s going to take more than football’s instant replay, which is the basis for suggesting a 20 year time out, for science and less inflamed panic to prevail.


In 1981 I experienced a heart attack.  After the best medical care available, at that time, from doctors and nurses, my cardiologist and internist at the Minneapolis Heart Institute and Abbott Northwestern showed me the “movie” of my heart arteries and veins.  Having reason to listen and hear, I did.


“Your likelihood of developing collateral circulation around the blocked artery are good.  You should have adequate time for a heart bypass if you have near term problems.  Heart technology is advancing so rapidly, that in a few years, treatment is likely to have changed and progressed.” 


It is 29 years later.  Scientists know more, and to date, no recurrence, despite my not being a model patient (no exercise and pipe many daily hours).  It shouldn’t take scientists that long to reconcile their conflicting claims, and the world has already spent the money with the favorite political fright tactic, “We can’t afford not to.”


I happen to subscribe to the views of Havel Klaus below, who penned the essence of his beliefs in 2007, thirty years subsequent to when the Ehrlichs and John Holdren were collaborating in California on “Ecoscience,” which treatise sprouts an anomaly: population must be controlled on the one hand, and millions will die of starvation if we don’t legislate population control on the other.  For once the pundits get the ball rolling; our schools’ faculties generate so many learned documents that other compadres, like in baseball when an infielder throws the runner out at first base, throws the ball around the infield the same as the learned professors pass along the akin to the process reinforcing each others learned but varying assertions.   


The Ehrlich dossier below notes Paul’s PhD derived from the University of Kansas and his career got started with his biological work on butterflies, and the dossier concludes this episode of Windows on the World of Raymond Plank.



                    Article by Vaclav Klaus    

                    Dossier Dr. Paul Ehrlich