January 22, 2013
Remember the news about "the warmest July since 1895?"
Scam. Here's a little sample of how it works...
The Science and Public Policy Institute has been asked to comment on the apparent inconsistency between the news that July 2012 was the warmest July since 1895 in the contiguous United States and the news that the Meteorological Office in the UK has cut its global warming forecast for the coming years. The present paper is a response to that interesting question.
Early in August 2012, the NOAA issued a statement to the effect that July 2012 had been the hottest month in the contiguous U.S. since records began in 1895. NOAA said the July 2012 temperature had been 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 0.2 F° warmer than the previous July record, set in 1936.
However, NOAA’s statement was based on incomplete information that has since been revised. Updated data available at the NCDC website (NCDC is the division of NOAA that maintains national climatic data for the United States) show that July 2012’s temperature was not 77.6 °F, as NOAA had previously claimed, but 76.9 °F, half a degree Fahrenheit below the record 77.4 °F set in July 1936
Even this revised value may be a considerable exaggeration. In response to criticisms of the siting of U.S. temperature monitoring stations, in 2008 NOAA introduced a new network of carefully sited stations with up-to-date, standardized, properly monitored equipment. The Climate Reference Network, as it is called, shows that the July temperature for the continental U.S. was 75.6 °F, lower by 1.3 °F than stated by the NOAA in August 2012 based on incomplete data from its older, poorly-sited stations influenced by urban heat-island effects, and lower by 2 full Fahrenheit degrees than the 77.6 °F that NOAA had published in August 2012. .
For some unaccountable reason, NOAA has not issued any statement correcting its original false claim that July 2012 was the warmest July since 1895. Indeed, the accurately-sited and properly-maintained Climate Reference Network is consistently delivering significantly lower contiguous-US temperatures than the older network: yet, again unaccountably, NOAA finds it expedient not to draw attention to the inconvenient results from its new network....
January 9, 2013
"Swimming in surpluses."
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government posted a $293 billion deficit in the first fiscal quarter of 2013, setting the Obama administration up for a record fifth-year of trillion dollar deficits. But while the fiscal condition of the Democratically controlled federal government is still atrocious, Republican controlled states are now swimming in surpluses.
Thanks to a Republican governor committed to developing its natural resources, not punishing entrepreneurs who do, Texas legislators are facing an $8.8 billion surplus over the next two years. To the east, Republican governors Bill Haslam of Tennessee and Rick Scott of Florida have also turned recession deficits into budget surpluses. Moving north, Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder, Iowa’s Gov. Terry Brandstad, and Indiana’s out-going-Gov. Mitch Daniels, also can now all boast surpluses in the hundreds of millions of dollars. All of these governors managed to turn their state’s fiscal situation around through spending cuts, not tax hikes. Now their budgets are in the black and their economies are growing.
Things do not look as good in Democrat-controlled states. Illinois, who massively raised taxes on the rich, still has a $5.9 billion stack of unpaid bills. California, who also raised taxes on the rich, was supposed to post a small surplus this year. But tax collections are coming in at 10.8 percent below budget projections. As a result, the state is now projected to be $1.9 billion in the red by the end of this fiscal year....
No comment needed. Except that rich people are the one thing that poor people need most...
January 6, 2013
Running the numbers on Jesus. Dennis the Shrimp was right...
...Doubts over the birth year of Christ arose in the 1600s. Scholars became aware of the chronology provided by the Jewish historian Josephus. Josephus places the death of King Herod the Great in what Dionysius called 4 B.C. Since Herod tried to kill the infant Christ, then it would necessarily be the case that Christ would be born before the death of Herod. If Herod died in 4 B.C., then Christ would need to be born before 4 B.C. And so, ever since the seventeenth century, people have been claiming that Dionysius got it wrong and that Christ was born four years before Christ.
What do we make of all this? Well, either Josephus is correct or Dionysius is correct. Both cannot be right. Until recently most scholars agreed with Josephus because: A) Josephus lived in the century of Christ, B) Josephus was Jewish, and C) Josephus was a professional historian. Dionysius was just a monk living in Rome over five hundred years later.
However, there is now good reason for believing that Josephus got it wrong. Further studies of Josephus reveal that he was most certainly not consistent or accurate in dating several key events in Jewish and Roman history. In fact, Josephus contradicts verified history, the Bible, and even his own chronology about one hundred times. His dates are not very accurate. The French archaeologist, jurist, and historian Theodore Reinarch was one of the first to document the many factual and chronological errors of Josephus. Reinarch’s translation of Josephus is steadily interrupted by comments such as “this is a mistake” or “in another book his figures are different.”[ii]
The following is an example of the poor chronology of Josephus. Josephus records in his Jewish War that Hyrcanus reigned for thirty-three years. Yet in his Antiquities of the Jews, that Hyrcanus reigned thirty-two years.[iii] Yet in another place in his Antiquities, Josephus says that Hyrcanus reigned only thirty years. That’s three contradictory claims—two in the same book!...
Note: Our system of dates comes from a 6th century monk known as Dionysius Exiguus. In English that would be "Little Dennis." I think of him as Dennis the Shrimp. His real mistake was to not start with a zero" century. That's why the year 1950 is in the 20th century, causing endless confusion.