July 6, 2014

Wildfires and controlled burns...

Last year there was a huge fire in our area, the Rim Fire. A vast area in the Sierras was turned into a blackened wasteland. 257,314 acres were burned.

And what drives me crazy is that it was totally unnecessary. The way to prevent wildfires is well known. I personally learned of it in the 1960's. What is it? "Controlled burning."

From Wikipedia: Controlled or prescribed burning, also known as hazard reduction burning (HRB) or swailing, is a technique sometimes used in forest management, farming, prairie restoration or greenhouse gas abatement. Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for foresters. Hazard reduction or controlled burning is conducted during the cooler months to reduce fuel buildup and decrease the likelihood of serious hotter fires.[1] Controlled burning stimulates the germination of some desirable forest trees, thus renewing the forest. Some cones, such as those of Lodgepole Pine and Sequoia, are serotinous, meaning they require heat from fire to open cones to disperse seeds.

Wildfires are not natural. They only happen when a lot of fuel accumulates. Fallen leaves and needles, dead trees and fallen branches, and areas that have become choked with vegetation. The fuel builds up for decades, and and when it burns it is like nuclear bombs going off. The eara where the Rim Fire happened had not burned since 1989.

But in nature forests burn every few years. These fires are usually what are called "cool fires," because not much fuel has accumulated since the last fire. They are ground fires, that move erratically, burning along the ground, but not igniting healthy trees. The results are more open forests, instead of dense thicketty ones.

These kinds of fires can be produced intentionally. The pictures below were taken by my daughter, when she drove through Groveland recently. Notice that among the dead trees, vegetation is returning. Suppose, in 3 or 4 years, in say May, when things are still fairly cool and moist, fires were lit in the area. They would not be catastrophic wildfires, because there wouldn't be enough to burn. Patches of dried vegetation would burn, dead plants would burn, but it would be too soon, and too early in the year to result in a "hot fire." And if you kept doing that every 3 or 4 years, you would never have a hot fire. The fuel would never get a chance to gather.

Rim Fire, fallen tree

Rim Fire area, near Groveland

Rim Fire area, dead trees


Posted by John Weidner at 7:25 PM

October 25, 2013

A eulogy for Mr Climate Change...

snowy bear

Friday Funny - A Tribute to the Life of Climate Change | Watts Up With That?:

...Despite a string of events that would have broken a lesser man, he continued to face the world with an unparalleled hope and optimism that nothing could stop him. Einstein once said "there are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." The latter certainly defined Climate Change. He believed nothing could prove him wrong, and he radiated a Machiavellian-like passion that inspired a wave of second-rate postdocs and government researchers to use the magic of politics, in a strange twist, to transform alchemy into a respected science that would let them to taste fame and fortune beyond their wildest expectations.

However, even with all his fame, Climate Change was never a rich man. He did not have money to give to the world's poor and suffering, nor was he ever able to convince his mother to use her riches to help anyone other than herself. This particularly weighed on him given all the heat waves and snow storms, droughts and floods, and all manner of pestilence that had been falsely attributed to him now and into the future. Nonetheless, he had an uncanny way of inspiring a sort of assisted generosity in his fellow man. Countless billions of our hard earned dollars have been given in his name. For this more than anything else, I'm sure he will be missed by real friends.

His seemingly sudden death has come as a surprise to many, but Climate Change had been in poor health for some time. His close friends were in a deep denial, most of those in the media were too distraught to bring themselves to report it; and, despite his ever worsening condition, Climate Change never grumbled or complained about his sometimes obvious discomfort, a rare virtue in any man. Hopefully his friends can find it in them to be as strong. Let us honor Climate Change's brave struggle by letting him go silently into the night. Rest in peace.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:17 PM

September 29, 2013

Ha ha. Pelt them with rotten vegetables...

Most fun of the whole day, Study: Everyone hates environmentalists and feminists - Salon.com:

...Why don't people behave in more environmentally friendly ways? New research presents one uncomfortable answer: They don't want to be associated with environmentalists.

That's the conclusion of troubling [charming] new research from Canada, which similarly finds support for feminist goals is hampered by a dislike of feminists.

Participants held strongly negative stereotypes about such activists, and those feelings reduced their willingness "to adopt the behaviors that these activities promoted," reports a research team led by University of Toronto psychologist Nadia Bashir. This surprisingly cruel [accurate] caricaturing, the researchers conclude, plays "a key role in creating resistance to social change." [Social destruction]

Writing in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Bashir and her colleagues describe a series of studies documenting this dynamic. They began with three pilot studies, which found people hold stereotyped [accurate] views of environmentalists and feminists.

In one, the participants--228 Americans recruited via Amazon's Mechanical Turk--described both varieties of activists in "overwhelmingly negative" terms. The most frequently mentioned traits describing "typical feminists" included "man-hating" and "unhygienic;" for "typical environmentalists," they included "tree-hugger" and "hippie." [Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of commies.]...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:24 PM

September 28, 2013

You don't have to read the complicated stuff...




This line pretty much sums up the latest report...

From Anthony Watts' roundup, Reactions to IPCC AR5 Summary for Policy Makers :

When it was warming, the reason was CO2 and climate was simple; now that it's not warming, the reason isn't known and climate is complex.

All is proceeding as Professor Akasofu has predicted. (The red dot is where we are now.) I expect the world to get worse before it gets better. BUT, my unhappiness will be leavened with shadenfreude, as the climate scamsters wriggle and squirm trying to avoid reality...

Akasofu's climate graph


Posted by John Weidner at 7:03 AM

August 12, 2013

Just one more good piece on the climate scam...

Stop global warming sign covered with snow

From Anthony Watts, What the 'year of living dangerously' at nearly 400 ppm of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere looks like:

...Next: let's take each of the claims below and provide the context for proof:

Coldest summer on record at the North Pole
Highest August Arctic ice extent since 2006
Record high August Antarctic ice extent
No major hurricane strikes for eight years
Slowest tornado season on record
No global warming for 17 years
Second slowest fire season on record
Four of the five snowiest northern hemisphere winters have occurred since 2008...

CO2 keeps going up and up, yet nature is just not doing her part!

Posted by John Weidner at 7:08 AM

July 1, 2013

Scam in-the-making...




From a fascinating (to me at least) piece on "hottest day" records in Death Valley, from Watts Up With That?:

"The devil's in the details," as the saying goes, and Anthony Watts has spent years investigating the details of our system of weather stations. If you follow his work it seems clear that a lot of "global warming" is due to problems with the stations that record temperatures. Typically with stations that once were properly sited now sitting among parking lots and buildings. But here's a new twist, a station badly sited on purpose...

...In all of Death Valley, the ARC has chosen just about the hottest spot possible in the hottest valley in North America. They have in effect put it [a new weather station] into a natural oven - and done so in the full knowledge of Badwater's topography. Now all they have to do is wait - wait for the inevitable day when the conditions will be just right - clear skies, still air, a blazing sun, and that instrument will heat up from the combined heating of the air, the immense heating from the nearby cliff only metres behind the instrument, the intense reflected heat radiation from the salt pan, and the mercury will very likely fall over the Libyan line and record the `hottest temperature ever measured on earth'.

Then we will see the champagne corks fly as the greenhouse industry will cry with righteous indignation, announcing the `new hottest temperature ever recorded on earth', how it's all due to global warming etc. etc. and all the time, the whole thing will be about as fake as a three dollar bill.

Even the wording on the plaque on the instrument betrays the real intent - the exclusive emphasis on the significance of heat, of global warming, of record-breaking temperatures, of the `hottest year ever' etc. The plaque speaks of little else. Even the opening words of the text are `Carbon dioxide released by human activities etc. ....'. Consequently, it is reasonable to conclude that record-breaking is the primary purpose of the instrument, not genuine climatic research...

...If there is a media announcement of a record being broken at Death Valley, the skeptical observer should immediately demand to know if the record was broken at Furnace Creek, or at Badwater. If it is Furnace Creek, then the record will be quite genuine. But if it is Badwater, then the record will be a complete fake....

He also debunks the recent "hottest day" in Las Vegas, NV.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:46 AM

June 23, 2013

Climate thinking that smells right to me...




Take a look at this graph, from the work of Dr Syun-Ichi Akasofu, of the International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks. [Link]

I spend a lot of time wandering the realm of climate studies. So I'm not ignorant. And Dr Akasofu's graph makes a heap of sense to me. That dashed line is the general warming trend, about 1°C per 100 years, as the earth recovers from the Little Ice Age, which hit its low point about 1800.

The observed climate forms a sine wave superimposed on that warming trend. The box shows the time period with good observational data being considered. Note the darker red line within the box. That follows the increasing temperature trend as the wave leaves the low point of the 1970's, and rises during the 1980's and early 90's.

What happened in that period? Computer climate models were invented. And baked into all the models was the assumption that increasing CO2 would result in warming. And those models all matched reality--the world really was warming at that time! And they all predicted that the globe would continue to warm, since CO2 was continuing to increase. The pink area labeled IPCC (The UN International Panel on Climate Change) can be considered the combined predictions of all the models.The models have come to be treated as if they are the climate themselves, and nature is just a dullard that isn't conforming very well to the software of reality.

Once it dawned on the world's leftists (which includes most scientists) that this predicted warming was a perfect excuse to seize power and wealth, and crush freedom and democracy, warmist scientists were showered with grants, tenures, prestige, and trips to luxurious climate conferences in posh venues. So, surprise surprise, scientists produced ever more of the kind of research that was being rewarded. And any dissenters were attacked and ostracized, so they mostly kept their heads below the parapets.

Akasofu's climate graph


BUT, the sinusoidal wave always turns back. Sometime in the 1990's the climate leveled off. This was assumed at first to be just a random fluctuation. But during the "noughties" (is that a word?) the leveling-off continued, with maybe some signs of cooling, and by, say, 2010, was becoming too obvious to ignore. And people like me made our popcorn, and settled back in our seats to watch the commies squirm and make excuses and lash-out in their desperation.

One of the many reasons that Akasofu's works smells right to me is that I was there back in the 1970's, when predictions of an imminent ice age were being made. And the same power-grabs were being attempted, although they didn't have time to really take effect before the wave headed upwards.

Pollution and cooling requires sacrifice democracy


UPDATE: Here's a very interesting piece on the Little Ice Age. But I was amused by the fear evidenced in this author's intro...

Note to general public:
My position on the current global warming is the same as the overwhelming majority of international climate scientists: the current rate of global warming is unprecedented and is being caused by humans. In no way can my summary of the research regarding the impact of regional climate change on the Viking civilization and Europe during the Little Ice Age be used to "prove" the current global warming is due to a natural cycle...

Of course his work, while not proving anything, is a strong indicator that current warming is in fact natural. The same is true of the Medieval Warm Period. That's why the warmists have used foul deceits to try to make those variations go away.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:55 AM

June 5, 2013

Fire is part of the natural environment...

An image of the Powerhouse Fire in California:

...According to the CBSnews.com, "Nearly 3,000 people from some 700 homes were under evacuation orders Monday as a wildfire north of Los Angeles kept growing, feeding on old, dry brush, some of which hadn't burned in decades.

The blaze had burned about 46 square miles in the mountains and canyons of the Angeles National Forest, destroying at least six homes and damaging 15 more."...

"some of which hadn't burned in decades." That's the problem, one we already know how to solve. Fire suppression causes fuel to accumulate to the point where a fire can be like letting off tactical nukes. What should happen is that this area that is now burning should henceforth be targeted for intentional fires every 3 or 4 years. Done during cooler and wetter times. Presumably starting with carefully controlled back-fires moving outward from the inhabited areas. And these fires would not produce a devastated burned-over landscape. They would be patchy and of low intensity, with plant life quickly recovering.

But it probably won't happen. Because this would require a cultural change. A change in thinking. But people won't re-think.

The chit-chat of people in a fire-danger area should change from, "Why can't big government take care of these fires?" to "Should we burn this year? Looks like about time to me." Like so many of our problems, this is partly an issue of lingering Industrial Age thinking. We assume that a problem must be handled by a few "experts," not by the linked brain-power of the many.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:48 AM

March 14, 2013

Maybe there's something wrong with reality...




This piece, from BBC climate blogger Paul Hudson is a great example of how climate "scientists" baked their hypothesis into their computer models, the used their models to prove their theories. The basic theory is that since CO2 is a greenhouse gas in the laboratory, rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere must also act as a greenhouse gas and warm the planet.

Now we have a scientific problem! Nature isn't doing her part. Nature must be adjusted! It never enters the minds of the cultists that maybe the models were buncombe from the beginning. Real scientists would be questioning the models right now.

And Mr Hudson, if he was a real science reporter, would be pointing out that the computer models were always fairly sketch compared with the unfathomable complexity of global climate. For instance they are too coarse-grained to model clouds. We can assume that variations in cloud cover and type should have a large effect on climate, but nobody can say exactly what that will be.

Also, we are told climate models are verified by using them to "predict" the past, and then comparing those predictions with the historical record. And yes, they do that rather well. But the dirty secret is that all the models are "tweaked." They are tested, and then adjusted. Adjusted to fit what? Historical data.

BBC - Blogs - Weather - Global warming: The missing energy:

...My initial articles created huge interest around the world. They aimed to highlight the fact that global temperatures had levelled off at elevated levels, despite ever rising levels of greenhouse gases, a situation which remains unchanged nearly four years later.  

At the time there seemed to be a reluctance to acknowledge such a levelling off in global temperatures, although this is no longer the case.  

But Dr Kevin E Trenberth of University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) was one climate scientist at the time who did acknowledge this apparent lack of warming in surface temperature observations.  

It’s now described as the issue of ‘missing energy’ – namely with rising levels of greenhouse gases, where has the expected extra global warmth, which basic physical laws predict, gone?...

Something I find interesting is that one of the underlying assumptions of leftist thought is that there is no human nature. What humans are can be changed. This is the same thinking that was behind Stalin sending geneticists to the Gulag, and feminists declaring that male and female are "social constructs." Or homosexualists doing the same to marriage.

Warmists seem to have a kind of analogous thinking. "Nature" is something we can just change. Gaia will conform to the models, or else! We humans are all-powerful, and can simply decide what the world is going to be like, and make it so.

All of these are intrinsically totalitarian, because they depend on forcing people to agree with "the model." They are also all intrinsically opposed to belief in the Judeo-Christian God, which always presupposes that there is such a thing as Truth, which we cannot alter.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:21 AM | Comments (7)

March 11, 2013

An unadaptable species facing extinction...

Turbine in flames

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of slimy scumbags! The climate "journalist" is going the way of the Dodo. A species facing extinction. | Pointman's:

...This slow demise of so-called environmental journalism is actually an act of euthanasia, a mercy killing. To my mind, it always embodied the very worst aspects of journalism. All the grubby professional sins were there; advocacy dressed up as balanced reportage, an intolerant moral arrogance, totally one-sided reporting, knee-jerk churnalism, absolutely no distinction between opinion and factual pieces, suppression of stories that didn't square with an approved set of viewpoints, selective misinformation, hit pieces dressed up as respectable journalism directed at their pet hate figures, a crusading willingness to sacrifice truth, by both omission and commission, in the name of a higher cause and a basic dishonesty to both the reader and their profession

The environmental niche in which such dire journalistic practices could flourish, is on the way out and they're simply not adapting to that new situation. Beyond a large amount of denial and what frequently looks to be plain displacement activity, their solution appears to be to try and repackage the product, but that simply doesn't address the fundamental problem - the product no longer has any mass appeal. It's not selling. Read it. That's the writing on the wall.

Things like Climategate, along with a cascade of other gates and a stream of failed predictions, have undermined and destroyed the credibility of the science on which the whole house of cards stood. It's toast. Because of the easy ingrained habits of churnalism, passively reproducing press handouts and never doing much more than commenting on other people's articles and papers, they failed in general to produce outlets publishing a steady stream of original and quality content. Their volume audience was essentially a transitory fashion demographic, and the fashion has now changed. When that happened, they lost their mass audience.

Ordinary people, struggling through the worst recession in living memory, see environmentalism as just another financial overhead they're having to contend with. They simply haven't got time for it any more. No time and no interest at all.
It was a type of journalism which was never really about the environment, never mind science, but rather it was about the idea of a single correct political viewpoint on any topic. It was a vital element of a failed social re-engineering project, which now lies in ruins. They rode a hysterical fashion wave far up the shore in the mistaken belief that it was somehow permanent, but that wave is now receding, never to return.

People have by now gone through the stage of tiredly shrugging off your latest efforts to continue scaring them and are just plain ignoring you at this stage, which is why all the cuts. You're being culled, because the bean counters are perceptive enough to know there won't be any blowback these days from any significant quarter....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:12 PM | Comments (9)

January 22, 2013

Remember the news about "the warmest July since 1895?"



Scam. Here's a little sample of how it works...

Lord Monckton: No Global Warming for Almost Two Decades | Climate Realists:

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....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:02 AM

October 22, 2012

Ha ha. Think up a new scam, slimeblls...

snowy bear

Four Debates No Global Warming - By Wesley J. Smith - The Corner - National Review Online:

...Wow. If the world is really doomed, it is amazing that there wasn't one question about global warming, and indeed, I don't think any of the candidates for POTUS or VPOTUS even mentioned it.  Talk about a dead issue! Well, at least Al Gore became one of the 1%....

It was a great blogging target while it lasted....

Posted by John Weidner at 9:24 PM

October 11, 2012

More climate BS exposed...

Stop global warming sign covered with snow

Anthony Watts, Remember the panic over methane seeping out of the Arctic seabed in 2009? Never mind.:

...All sorts of wailing came from that by climate alarmists. The New Scientist claimed there were megatonnes of methane bubbling out at that time. It was even billed under “Arctic Climate Emergency” All of this came from a single paper published in the AGU Geophysical Research Letters. In January 2012, perhaps sensing that it really was hyped up, an essay at RealClimate “Much ado about methane” said:

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, but it also has an awesome power to really get people worked up, compared to other equally frightening pieces of the climate story.

Yep. I can recall lots of terrified comments here at WUWT about this, plus some emails along the lines of “if you don’t pay attention to this you’re going to denialist hell”.

Well, a new more comprehensive on-site study has been done, and it has just been announced by the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel:...
Posted by John Weidner at 12:13 PM | Comments (18)

July 17, 2012

This is beautiful... "Sheer synchronized stupidity"

snowy bear

Energy Tribune- Irony of Ironies: Europe Switches to Coal as US Gas Glut Reduces Emissions:

...Here's a tester for you. Which raft of energy policies gets proven 'greener' results? Is it the anti-fossil fuel, cap-and-trade regulatory regimes of socialist Europe? Or is it the path of technological innovation set by the 'evil' capitalists in the Kyoto-eschewing Bush White House?

In what has to be the irony of ironies, Europe's consumption of coal grew by 3.3 percent in 2011. The increase was directly due to the glut of European Trading Scheme (ETS) emission allowances which made coal the most profitable electric power fuel. Over in the United States in 2012, however, coal burning to generate power continued to decline, primarily due to America's switch to shale gas. Natural gas emits around half the CO2 of coal. U.S. levels of carbon emission are currently plummeting; a feat Europe has no chance of matching, not least as coal use is on the increase. It's a situation that ought to bring the whole raft of EU market-interfering policies geared to reducing carbon emissions into sharper focus. Policies that can only be characterize by three S's: sheer synchronized stupidity.

Not that the U.S. coal industry is suffering from the domestic switch to gas, you understand. America's high-quality coal has had no trouble finding an alternative and lucrative market: Europe. And U.S. coal exports to Europe are only set to increase further....
Posted by John Weidner at 12:05 PM

May 24, 2012

So, will Al Gore and company be pleased?

As reported by Andrew Montford, FT says Shale gas slashes US carbon emissions:

The shale gas boom in the US has led to a big drop in its carbon emissions, as power generators switch from coal to cheap gas.

According to the International Energy Agency, US energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, fell by 450m tonnes over the past five years - the largest drop among all countries surveyed....

This is a good test of whether the people who claim to care about man-made global warming actually do.

Stop global warming sign covered with snow

Posted by John Weidner at 6:15 AM

May 12, 2012

Things could be tons worse here... Three cheers for political inaction... and fracking!

Stop global warming sign covered with snow

Lawrence Solomon: Green power failure | Climate Realists:

.Global-warming-related catastrophes are increasingly hitting vulnerable populations around the world, with one species in particular danger: the electricity ratepayer. In Canada, in the U.K., in Spain, in Denmark, in Germany and elsewhere the danger to ratepayers is especially great, but ratepayers in one country — the U.S. — seem to have weathered the worst of the disaster.

America’s secret? Unlike leaders in other countries, which to their countries’ ruin adopted policies as if global warming mattered, U.S. leaders more paid lip service to it. While citizens in other countries are now seeing soaring power rates, American householders can look forward to declining rates.

The North American exemplar of acting on the perceived threat of global warming is Ontario, which dismantled one of the continent’s finest fleets of coal plants in pursuit of becoming a green leader. Then, to induce developers to build uneconomic renewable energy facilities, the Ontario government paid them as much as 80 times the market rate for power. The result is power prices that rose rapidly (about 50% since 2005) and will continue to do so: Ontarians can expect power prices that are 46% higher over the next five years, according to a 2010 Ontario government estimate, and more than 100% higher according to independent estimates. The rest of Canada may not fare much better — the National Energy Board forecasts power prices 42% higher by 2035, while some estimates have Canadian power prices 50% higher by 2020.

The story throughout much of Europe is similar. Denmark, an early adopter of the global-warming mania, now requires its households to pay the developed world’s highest power prices — about 40¢ a kilowatt hour, or three to four times what North Americans pay today. Germany, whose powerhouse economy gave green developers a blank cheque, is a close second, followed by other politically correct nations such as Belgium, the headquarters of the EU, and distressed nations such as Spain.

The result is chaos to the economic well-being of the EU nations. Even in rock-solid Germany, up to 15% of the populace is now believed to be in “fuel poverty” — defined by governments as needing to spend more than 10% of the total household income on electricity and gas. Some 600,000 low-income Germans are now being cut off by their power companies annually, a number expected to increase as a never-ending stream of global-warming projects in the pipeline wallops customers. In the U.K., which has laboured under the most politically correct climate leadership in the world, some 12 million people are already in fuel poverty, 900,000 of them in wind-infested Scotland alone, and the U.K. has now entered a double-dip recession.

The U.S., in contrast, will see power rates decline starting next year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, dropping by more than 22% by the end of the decade and then staying flat to 2035. Why the fall? Mainly because the U.S. will rely overwhelmingly on fossil fuels in the years ahead, not just coal, which dominates the current power system, but increasingly natural gas, which is expected to account for 60% of all new generating capacity in the future. Thanks to fracking, the U.S. effectively has limitless amounts of inexpensive natural gas to add to its limitless coal....

Turbine in flames


Posted by John Weidner at 5:25 PM | Comments (13)

May 3, 2012

We've seen this fraud so many times...

Delingpole, gotta love the guy!



There's a great scoop in The Australian today about more lying climate scientists making stuff up.
CLAIMS that some of Australia's leading climate change scientists were subjected to death threats as part of a vicious and unrelenting email campaign have been debunked by the Privacy Commissioner.

Timothy Pilgrim was called in to adjudicate on a Freedom of Information application in relation to Fairfax and ABC reports last June alleging that Australian National University climate change researchers were facing the ongoing campaign and had been moved to "more secure buildings" following explicit threats.
Needless to say the University did everything it could to prevent the investigation, arguing that the release of the climate scientists' emails (why am I getting an eerie sense of deja vu here?) "would or could reasonably be expected to…endanger the life or physical safety of any person". But doughty Sydney blogger Simon Turnill appealed against this stonewalling drivel and won. And here's what was revealed when the 11 relevant emails were eventually released. Ten of the documents "did not contain threats to kill or threats of harm."

Of the 11th, the Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said: "I consider the danger to life or physical safety in this case to be only a possibility, not a real chance."

No wonder the university was so keen to keep things quiet. Contrary to the claims of the "climate" "scientists" – widely reported, of course, in the left-wing media – there had been no death threats whatsoever. Yet their vice-chancellor at the time – now the Australian government's Chief Scientist – Professor Ian Chubb decided to move them to "more secure buildings" without, he now admits, having read the emails to see whether these threats actually existed.

Maybe it's time someone did an FOI to see whether the UEA's dodgy and discredited Phil Jones really did get any of those "death threats" he claims to have received after Climategate and which allegedly drove him to consider suicide....

It reminds me of the good old days of the Iraq campaign. Remember how lefty politicians, when challenged on their appeasing policies, would whimper, "How dare you question my patriotism!"

Posted by John Weidner at 6:50 PM | Comments (13)

March 30, 2012

Yet another Lefty lie debunked...

Glenn Reynolds, writing on that supposed finding that "Confidence in science by conservatives has declined since 1974"...

...UPDATE: Reader Mary Ritenour writes:

I tracked back to the original paper (http://www.asanet.org/images/journals/docs/pdf/asr/Apr12ASRFeature.pdf) to see what the exact survey question was.
"The GSS asked respondents the following question: "I am going to name some institutions in this country. As far as the people running these institutions are concerned, would you say you have a great deal of confidence, only some confidence, or hardly any confidence at all in them [the Scientific Community]?" (page 172)
The confidence in "people running these institutions" was being measured, not "Science" itself. Huge difference. HUGE!

Maybe we should be skeptical of science reporting, too...

Actually if you follow the link to the article Conservative Distrust of Science, it's not "science reporting" at all. It's "sociology." Which is to say, you can presume it to be rubbish unless presented with very strong evidence to the contrary.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:21 PM

March 18, 2012

Just thought you might be interested in your masters have in store for you...



A 'modest proposal" from Scientific American, Effective World Government Will Be Needed to Stave Off Climate Catastrophe:

...Unfortunately, far more is needed. To be effective, a new set of institutions would have to be imbued with heavy-handed, transnational enforcement powers. There would have to be consideration of some way of embracing head-in-the-cloud answers to social problems that are usually dismissed by policymakers as academic naivete. In principle, species-wide alteration in basic human behaviors would be a sine qua non, but that kind of pronouncement also profoundly strains credibility in the chaos of the political sphere.

Some of the things that would need to be contemplated: How do we overcome our hard-wired tendency to "discount" the future: valuing what we have today more than what we might receive tomorrow? Would any institution be capable of instilling a permanent crisis mentality lasting decades, if not centuries? How do we create new institutions with enforcement powers way beyond the current mandate of the U.N.? Could we ensure against a malevolent dictator who might abuse the power of such organizations?

Behavioral economics and other forward-looking disciplines in the social sciences try to grapple with weighty questions. But they have never taken on a challenge of this scale, recruiting all seven billion of us to act in unison. The ability to sustain change globally across the entire human population over periods far beyond anything ever attempted would appear to push the relevant objectives well beyond the realm of the attainable. If we are ever to cope with climate change in any fundamental way, radical solutions on the social side are where we must focus, though. The relative efficiency of the next generation of solar cells is trivial by comparison....

I especially like: " Could we ensure against a malevolent dictator who might abuse the power of such organizations?" Oh, right. As opposed to the non-abusive use of: "heavy-handed, transnational enforcement powers" to cause "species-wide alteration in basic human behaviors."

Posted by John Weidner at 3:40 PM | Comments (4)

March 13, 2012

Something I had wondered about...

snowy bear

This is interesting to me for a couple of reasons. One, I've blogged about sunspots occasionally, and wondered how people can possibly make predictions of how intense the next sunspot cycle will be. This piece by David Hathaway of NASA lays it out...

NASA/Marshall Solar Physics:

...Predicting the behavior of a sunspot cycle is fairly reliable once the cycle is well underway (about 3 years after the minimum in sunspot number occurs [see Hathaway, Wilson, and Reichmann Solar Physics; 151, 177 (1994)]). Prior to that time the predictions are less reliable but nonetheless equally as important. Planning for satellite orbits and space missions often require knowledge of solar activity levels years in advance.

A number of techniques are used to predict the amplitude of a cycle during the time near and before sunspot minimum. Relationships have been found between the size of the next cycle maximum and the length of the previous cycle, the level of activity at sunspot minimum, and the size of the previous cycle....

The other reason? Well, I hope you are not making any long-term bets based on that Global Warmin' stuff. The bumps on the sunspot cycle charts are getting smaller and smaller. (More here on the changing predictions). And, as I'm sure you know, sunsets have historically correlated with climate. The low points of the Little Ice Age are associated with the Spörer, Dalton and Maunder sunspot Minima.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:13 AM | Comments (2)

March 8, 2012

A little tale to tease our thoughts...



Willis Eschenbach pulls a fast one to make a point which I suspect is valid. Under the radar – the NAS Report | Watts Up With That? This is the end of his piece, so it's a spoiler. Sorry...

...Now, why is the speed of a Cray-1 computer relevant to the NAS report I quoted from above?

It is relevant because as some of you may have realized, the NAS report I quoted from above is called the "Charney Report". As far as I know, it was the first official National Academy of Science statement on the CO2 question. And when I said it was a "recent report", I was thinking about it in historical terms. It was published in 1979.

Here's the bizarre part, the elephant in the climate science room. The Charney Report could have been written yesterday. AGW supporters are still making exactly the same claims, as if no time had passed at all. For example, AGW supporters are still saying the same thing about the clouds now as they were back in 1979—they admit they don't understand them, that it's the biggest problem in the models, but all the same but they're sure the net feedback is positive. I'm not sure clear that works, but it's been that way since 1979.

That's the oddity to me—when you read the Charney Report, it is obvious that almost nothing of significance has changed in the field since 1979. There have been no scientific breakthroughs, no new deep understandings. People are still making the same claims about climate sensitivity, with almost no change in the huge error limits. The range still varies by a factor of three, from about 1.5 to about 4.5°C per doubling of CO2....

How can we understand this stupendous lack of progress, a third of a century of intensive work with very little to show for it?

For me, there is only one answer. The lack of progress means that there is some fundamental misunderstanding at the very base of the modern climate edifice. It means that the underlying paradigm that the whole field is built on must contain some basic and far-reaching theoretical error...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:06 AM | Comments (2)

March 6, 2012

Nothing to hit back at...

Stop global warming sign covered with snow

From an essay by Pointman, on the Gleick affaire, The Climate Wars:

...The problem the alarmists had, was that there was never anything substantial to hit back at. They had the equivalents of the big guns and the massive air support but there never was a skeptic HQ to be pounded, no big central organisation, no massed ranks of skeptic soldiers or even any third-party backing the resistance. Every one of the skeptics was a lone volunteer guerilla fighter, who needed absolutely no logistical support of any kind to continue the fight indefinitely. The alarmists never understood this, preferring to think that there simply had to be some massive hidden organisation orchestrating the resistance...


...When you look at the Fakegate scandal in the light of the history of the war, the reactions of both sides reflects the nature of the combatants it produced. On the day the material was published, the realists knew something concrete straight away while the alarmists fervently hoped they had something concrete. We knew it was suspect whereas they hoped it was true.

We knew it was suspect because we each knew there was no massive hidden organisation controlling and backing our efforts and there never has been either. Given that fact, the forensics began and that’s why nothing much happened on the skeptic side in immediate response to the publication. Within a few days, in a collective effort using writing style and IT analysis skills that would have put the best forensic lab in the world to shame, the identity thief had been tracked down and the faked material exposed.

The NY Times, with all its resources, went into print on it using several reporters and didn’t once get in touch with the Heartland Institute, not even to get a quote. The DeSmogBlog published within an hour of receipt, again, with absolutely no attempt to verify the material. They abandoned all pretence of journalistic professionalism, because they thought they’d finally found that elusive big target they’d always believed in and hunted so desperately and proceeded to flatten it with all their firepower....

I keep hoping my checks from Big Oil will arrive. But 'till then I'm just another "lone volunteer guerilla fighter." Albeit a very minor one.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:29 AM | Comments (3)

February 28, 2012

Ignorant masses, linked by blogs..

snowy bear

The Weidners have been most fascinated by the Peter Gleick affair. (Link.) I haven't blogged it, been too busy and tired. But this is worth a mention, because of the way warmists try to portray themselves as little Davids being bullied by Goliaths...

EU Referendum: Wither transparency?:

...While the warmists are successfully focusing attention on the minor-league operations of the Heartland Institute, with a total budget for all its issues, which include health care, education, and technology policy, of around $4.4 million, their own funding arrangements, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars, are largely evading scrutiny....


...The Climate Works Foundation, though, is of special interest as it was in 2008, awarded $460,800,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a grant-making organisation with assets of $7.2 billion, which disbursed $353,400,000 in grants in 2011. It has made another grant to Climate Works only last week of $100 million – bringing the total grants to this organisation to just short of $600 million.

Where such huge funding is devoted to global warming advocacy, and policy development, there must indeed be a distortion of the democratic process, especially where politicians are also being paid. These organisations must come clean about the sources of their money, and provide exact details of how much is paid to which organisations, for what purposes....

I've been thinking lately that a lot of the cult-like fervor of supporters of AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) is because it is a sort of "Last Hurrah" of the Blue Model, of Industrial Age thinking. Even as Blue institutions crumble all around us, their crowd has found a way to once again be saviors-of-the-world by the application of massive government control.

If true, it is delicious that the very technologies that have propelled us into the Information Age have undermined the greatest-ever project of Industrial Age rule by-the-expert-few-over-the-ignorant-masses. The ignorant masses can now apply their vast aggregate brain power in a way that the credentialed few can't match. One of the interesting things in this Gleick affair is how bloggers and their commenters instantly began putting together clues as to who had fabricated the "secret memo" of the Elders of the Heartland Institute. They were focusing on Gleick within less than a day, as I recall. Perfect.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:04 AM | Comments (8)

February 19, 2012

What fun. Another SF GreenFAIL...

snowy bear

California Academy of Sciences pulls the plug on their climate change exhibit:

...Maybe it was the labeling of California as an "altered state" in their press release for it that did it in. The LA Times said at the opening that it was a Museum that Shouts Climate Change.

I guess maybe they shouted too loud, because now they plan to exhibit on something that Californians can really relate to: [Earthquakes]

When the über green California Academy of Sciences pulls the plug, you know "climate change" is a dead issue with the public....

The article is a hoot, for the pictures of the exhibits, and then them laying in pieces on the floor. Ha ha. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of totally dishonest frauds. Check out the one that reads: CLIMATE. IS AN. ANGRY. BEAST. AND WE ARE. POKING. AT IT WITH. STICKS. (My hatred of these animals is given especial venom because I loved the old museum building and its exhibits. They replaced it with a building that screams nihilism, that says there is no god except the lefty fad of the moment.)

When the glaciers have advanced south of Santa Rosa, we can start sacrificing liberals to the angry climate gods, to appease them. I will personally carve out their hearts with an obsidian knife---to reduce our carbon footprint, you understand. Who could object to that?

Posted by John Weidner at 10:12 PM

February 15, 2012

Ha ha. this one's close to home...

There are lots of stories like this now, as the global warming fraud unravels. Hardly worth blogging. But this one is about our Sierras, and in the liberal SF newspaper. So it gives me an extra bit of satisfaction...

The Science is Settled: “Dramatic Claims About Snow Disappearing in the Sierra Just are Not Verified” | Jammie Wearing Fools:

...Have you noticed lately how many stories that are reaching the "mainstream" media debunking the whole global warming/climate change scam? A sure sign this hoax is headed toward history's dustbin is the virtual irrelevance of chief scammer Al Gore and the growing evidence of data refuting the wild-eyed claims of Gore and his leftwing accomplices.

Well, there's another breakthrough today as the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting snowfall in the Sierras has remained consistent over a 130-year span despite the hysterical claims of those who've perpetrated this massive fraud on a gullible public....

Emigrant Wilderness

(A picture we took in the Emigrant Wilderness. A very cool bit of the Sierras.)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:45 PM | Comments (5)

January 6, 2012

Can we dress these boobies in clown suits, and chase them with sticks?



This is the laugh of the day. Being "balanced" gets you an "F". If that doesn't encapsulate the Lefty mind, I don't know what does...

Study: Is Fox Too Balanced? - Washington Whispers (usnews.com):

....That's a conclusion one might reach from a first-of-its-kind study in the authoritative International Journal of Press/Politics of how Fox, CNN, and MSNBC cover the issue of global warming. The bottom line: Being balanced and providing supportive and critical views of global warming is actually biased because it gives critics a louder voice. Worse: Fox covers global warming about twice as much as CNN and MSNBC combined, meaning those critics get much more airtime, another sign of bias....

..The authors also looked at the opinions of guests. Here Fox again out-balanced the competition. Of Fox's 149 guests, 59 believed in global warming, 69 didn't, with the rest someplace in the middle. Of CNN's 53 story guests, 41 were "climate change believers" and nine were "doubters." On MSNBC, 11 of 20 guests were believers.

The study acknowledges that Fox was the most balanced from the numbers perspective, but the network still gets an F. The reason, it says, is because viewers are influenced by what they see, and seeing more critics of global warming makes more viewers critics. "The more often people watched Fox News, the less accepting they were of global warming. Conversely, frequent CNN and MSNBC viewing was associated with greater acceptance of global warming," the study concludes....

Question. Who—exactly—gets to dub the "International Journal of Press/Politics" as "authoritative?" I've never even heard of them.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:29 PM

December 21, 2011

"Debauched science"

Climate change and the Catholic Church - phillyBurbs.com : Doylestown:

In the wake of yet another fiasco at the latest U.N. Convention on Climate Change (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa, and on the heels of another release of damaging emails between high-profile climate scientists (Climategate 2.0), I believe this to be a propitious time for the Catholic Church and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to faithfully re-evaluate their position on climate change science. As a practicing Catholic and one who has also diligently researched this subject for the last several years, I am increasingly disconcerted to see the church and the bishops take such an inflexible position on an issue that has become more fraught with controversy and uncertainty as new studies and data fail to corroborate earlier claims of the climate-change alarmist community.

Moreover, the Catholic Church's active membership in the National Religious Partnership for the Environment — the NRPE is an organization of mainline churches promulgating "environmental sustainability and social justice" — is disturbing given the radical environmentalist positions taken by various ecotheologian leaders in the history of this group and the principles the organization embraces.

Coming full circle, the Catholic Church and the USCCB, in associating with the NRPE and its more extremist affiliate members, have disingenuously communicated a message to church members conflating ideas of stewardship of the Earth with the debauched science supporting the claims of those in the radical environmentalist community....

It's disgusting to me to see the Church sucked into this kind of malarky. But you have to realize that there is a bigger issue. For most people, re-thinking is a worse thing than death. To admit that lefty environmentalism might be flawed (not to mention anti-Christian, as I think) would be to admit that all sort sof other lefty notions might be flawed. Impossible!

Hmm. I wonder which term denotes the greater amount of tricksy hidden wickedness and folly, "social justice," or "sustainability?"

Posted by John Weidner at 5:29 PM

December 11, 2011

In a nutshell...

Turbine in flames

Tim Blair describes wind turbines concisely and accurately...

...useless bird blenders...
Word Note logo
Posted by John Weidner at 7:50 PM | Comments (3)

December 2, 2011

Anything for the cause...

snowy bear



Posted by John Weidner at 11:40 AM | Comments (9)

November 30, 2011

"a triumph for science..."

snowy bear

A snippet from an interesting piece on Hans Joachim "John" Schellnhuber, Malcolm Gladwell, tipping points and Climategate. Schellnhuber is a sort of warmist "entrepreneur" and glad-hander, now an advisor to Merkel. This is a glimpse of the creepy ugliness that lurks beneath the surface of the "green" world...

...Amongst the subsystems discussed are the Arctic sea ice, which could take 10 years to disappear, the collapse of the Gulf Stream (10 years), and the greening of the Sahara Desert (10 years). None look likely today, with global temperatures fairly static (or falling slightly – depending on how you fit the curve) for 15 years.

It was a deeply pessimistic point of view. But Schellnhuber welcomed the climate apocalypse, because he saw human beings as the planet's enemy – and the planet must come before human life.

"In a very cynical way, it's a triumph for science because at last we have stabilised something – namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet, namely below 1 billion people," Schellnhuber told a conference in March 2009. Such a neo-Malthusian vision could only be turned into reality with unprecedented coercion and repression....

Just keep in mind, when you are asked to donate to Greenpeace or WWF or other organs of genocidal nihilism.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:34 PM

November 23, 2011

Just in case anyone's late to the Orwellian party...

...You can see the famous "Hockey Stick" in the upper part of the graph below. It covers about 1,000 years. Hockey stick-shaped graphs have been reproduced tens-of-thousands of times, in articles, schoolbooks, government reports. When you hear that the science of Anthropogenic Global Warming is "settled," that's the picture you are supposed to be accepting ...

Two climate graphs

The lower part is the consensus view of climate for the last millennium that prevailed until the 1990's. What I grew up with. (The "science was settled!") The big orange bump is the Medieval Warm Period. Remember that? Farms in Greenland? Wine produced in England? And the blue dips comprise the "Little Ice Age." Remember that? Remember reading about ice fairs on the Thames? Hmm?

Well, if such things linger in your head, you are anti-science! You are a crazy right-winger attacking settled truth.

What fills me with exceptional scorn and contempt, is that it was just like Orwell's book 1984, where the totalitarian state has been at war with Oceania. And then it's announced that they are now allied with Oceania, and at war with Eastasia. And the minds of the obedient subjects just flip to the new position, and assume that they have always been at war with Eastasia.

The same kind of flip happened in the 90's. All our obedient fake-liberals flipped, and accepted the new "settled" version without questioning. Without thought. The Medieval Warm was deep-sixed without a qualm. Animals.

Here's the most common version of the 'Hockey Stick," from the original paper by Michael Mann.


And since I'm rambling away here, here's a quote on a "Frost Fair" on the river Thames, from the Diary of John Evelyn, about 1670:

"Coaches plied from Westminster to the Temple, as in the streets; sleds, sliding with skates, bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet plays and interludes, cooks, tippling and other lewd places, so that it seemed to be a bacchanalian triumph, or carnival on the water."

Frost Fair 2


Posted by John Weidner at 1:04 PM

Worth reading...



Mike Plaiss sent me a link to a great essay by Matt Ridley, Scientific Heresy. I've seen it mentioned in the past, but somehow never got around to reading it...

...I was not always such a 'lukewarmer'. In the mid 2000s one image in particular played a big role in making me abandon my doubts about dangerous man-made climate change: the hockey stick. It clearly showed that something unprecedented was happening. I can remember where I first saw it at a conference and how I thought: aha, now there at last is some really clear data showing that today's temperatures are unprecedented in both magnitude and rate of change — and it has been published in Nature magazine.

Yet it has been utterly debunked by the work of Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. I urge you to read Andrew Montford's careful and highly readable book The Hockey Stick Illusion. Here is not the place to go into detail, but briefly the problem is both mathematical and empirical. The graph relies heavily on some flawed data — strip-bark tree rings from bristlecone pines — and on a particular method of principal component analysis, called short centering, that heavily weights any hockey-stick shaped sample at the expense of any other sample. When I say heavily — I mean 390 times.

This had a big impact on me. This was the moment somebody told me they had made the crop circle the night before. For, apart from the hockey stick, there is no evidence that climate is changing dangerously or faster than in the past, when it changed naturally. It was warmer in the Middle Ages and medieval climate change in Greenland was much faster...

I would make a couple of very minor quibbles. I don't think the theory that Edmund DeVere, 15th Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare's plays is pseudo-science. I thought so for most of my life, since there are abundant documentary references to William Shakespeare. But I was jolted when it was pointed out to me that none of them refer to him as a playwright! I haven't pursued the matter, but a hasty scan showed me that there are some good arguments for that theory.

And alchemy was not pseudo-science when Newton studied it. To a considerable extant it was the stunning success of Newton's other work that established what we now call "science" as... science. And thus showed alchemy up as an effort that was going nowhere.

WORD NOTE: I would argue that our use of the word "science" to refer to the natural sciences is a misnomer that has poisoned our thinking. A science is, to quote my American Heritage Dictionary: 3. A systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject: the science of criminology. That's the original meaning of the word, which has been almost driven out of discourse. To the great impoverishment of thought. [A bit more here.]
Word Note logo


     

Posted by John Weidner at 8:39 AM | Comments (17)

November 22, 2011

Oh bliss! Unbelievable!



James Delingpole- Telegraph Blogs:

Breaking news: two years after the Climategate, a further batch of emails has been leaked onto the internet by a person - or persons - unknown. And as before, they show the "scientists" at the heart of the Man-Made Global Warming industry in a most unflattering light. Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Ben Santer, Tom Wigley, Kevin Trenberth, Keith Briffa - all your favourite Climategate characters are here, once again caught red-handed in a series of emails exaggerating the extent of Anthropogenic Global Warming, while privately admitting to one another that the evidence is nowhere near as a strong as they'd like it to be.

In other words, what these emails confirm is that the great man-made global warming scare is not about science but about political activism. This, it seems, is what motivated the whistleblower 'FOIA 2011' (or "thief", as the usual suspects at RealClimate will no doubt prefer to tar him or her) to go public....

I haven't had any time to look at them, but from a quick scan of blogs, things are going to get interesting. Some highlights from Bishop Hill:

...4369: Ed Cook say Mike (presumably Mann) is "defending something that increasingly can not bedefended". PResumably the Hockey Stick

5055: Cook criticising RegEm, a statistical method used in one of Mann's later papers.

1527 Wilson says McIntyre correct on verification statistics.

3757: Harrabin writes to UEA's Mike Hulme about a global broadcasting initiative.

4693 Crowley: I am not convinced that the "truth" is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships

???? Jones (?) UEA does not hold the very vast majority of mine [potentially FOIable emails] anyway which I copied onto private storage after the completion of the IPCC task.

???? Jones: I've been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process

1577: Jones: [FOI, temperature data] Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get - and has to be well hidden. I've discussed this with the main funder (US Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.

1682: What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation? They'll kill us probably [...]...
Posted by John Weidner at 2:19 PM

November 10, 2011

Interesting parallel at Penn State...



Steve McIntyre, Penn State President Fired — Climate Audit:

...On the same day that Nature published yet another editorial repudiating public examination of the conduct of academic institutions, Penn State President Graham Spanier was fired from his $813,000/year job for failing to ensure that a proper investigation was carried out in respect to pedophilia allegations in Penn State's hugely profitable football program. The story is receiving massive coverage in North America because the iconic Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno, was also fired today.

CA readers are aware of Spanier's failure to ensure proper investigation of Climategate emails and his untrue puffs about the ineffective Penn State Inquiry Committee, reported at CA here and by the the Penn State Collegian as follows:
Graham Spanier addressed the inquiry and the panel's work during the Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 22. Penn State President Spanier is quoted as saying:

“I know they've taken the time and spent hundreds of hours studying documents and interviewing people and looking at issues from all sides,” Spanier said.
Spanier's claims were totally untrue. Not only did the Inquiry Committee fail to “look at issues from all sides”, they didn't even interview or take evidence from critics – as they were required to do under the applicable Penn State policy. As I reported at CA at the time...

Scoundrel dogs. The self-styled "elites" betray us again. And again. At least a few of them have now got bought in something they can't whitewash.

Actually the climate fraud could be considered far worse, morally, than the pedophilia. The proposed remedies for AGW could, due to the massive economic contraction they would entail, kill millions of the world's most poor and vulnerable people.

Steve McIntyre is one of the unsung heroes of our age, for his work in exposing climate frauds. I've written about him before. Link, link, link.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:46 PM | Comments (8)

October 30, 2011

Oh bliss...



Scientists who said climate change sceptics had been proved wrong accused of hiding truth by colleague:

By David Rose, 30th October 2011

It was hailed as the scientific study that ended the global warming debate once and for all – the research that, in the words of its director, 'proved you should not be a sceptic, at least not any longer'.

Professor Richard Muller, of Berkeley University in California, and his colleagues from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures project team (BEST) claimed to have shown that the planet has warmed by almost a degree centigrade since 1950 and is warming continually.

Published last week ahead of a major United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa, next month, their work was cited around the world as irrefutable evidence that only the most stringent measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions can save civilisation as we know it.

It was cited uncritically by, among others, reporters and commentators from the BBC, The Independent, The Guardian, The Economist and numerous media outlets in America.

The Washington Post said the BEST study had 'settled the climate change debate' and showed that anyone who remained a sceptic was committing a 'cynical fraud'.

But today The Mail on Sunday can reveal that a leading member of Prof Muller's team has accused him of trying to mislead the public by hiding the fact that BEST's research shows global warming has stopped.

Prof Judith Curry, who chairs the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at America's prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology, said that Prof Muller's claim that he has proven global warming sceptics wrong was also a 'huge mistake', with no scientific basis.

Prof Curry is a distinguished climate researcher with more than 30 years experience and the second named co-author of the BEST project's four research papers.

Her comments, in an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, seem certain to ignite a furious academic row. She said this affair had to be compared to the notorious 'Climategate' scandal two years ago....

If you are familiar with the warming wars, you know that Dr Curry is a rare voice of reason and conciliation within the science establishment. She is a truth-seeking scientist. To have her say this just knocks my socks off!

Posted by John Weidner at 2:35 PM | Comments (2)

October 13, 2011

Emblematic of a whole bunch of stuff...



One good thing about the colossal economic mess we are in is that it shines the harsh light of reality on all sorts of rubbishing ideas. One of which is wind power. I expect to be hearing a lot less about that in the future. Actually, the people who promoted wind power could reasonably be called mass-murderers, since the billions of dollars spent on it could have surely have saved hundreds-of-thousands of lives if used wisely.

Wind turbine FAIL – school left holding the bag for £53,000 | Watts Up With That?:

...An eco-friendly school has been left £55,000 out of pocket after its wind turbine broke – with governors admitting that it was based on "completely unproven technology".

The company that installed the turbine has gone bust leaving the school with a pile of scrap.

The Gorran School in Cornwall revealed its 15 metre turbine in 2008 which was designed to provide it with free electricity – and sell any surplus power to the National Grid.

The system was seen as a green blueprint for clean, sustainable energy for schools nationwide and received grants from various bodies including the EDF power firm.

But soon after being installed the wind turbine became faulty and after a few months seized up – showering the school's playing field with debris.

Since then the school has been locked in a battle with suppliers Proven Energy which has now gone into administration leaving the school with little hope of any money being returned – and a pile of scrap in their field....

One might be tempted to feel sorry for them, except that one knows darn well that any wind-power skeptics would have been made to feel distinctly unwelcome in their school. Like most liberals they do NOT want both sides of the story. One can imagine how puffed up and self-righteous they must have been over their stupid turbine. And think of the unrelenting brain-washing of the students that surely went on.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:03 PM

October 12, 2011

All your butter are belong to us...

Does this not encapsulate most of what's wrong with our world?

Charlene recommends (for heapings of contempt and scorn: NYC Mayor Bloomberg: 'Government’s Highest Duty' Is to Push 'Healthy' Foods:

...Speaking on the government's role in diet and health last week, Bloomberg told the UN General Assembly, "There are powers only governments can exercise, policies only governments can mandate and enforce and results only governments can achieve. To halt the worldwide epidemic of non-communicable diseases, governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option. That is ultimately government’s highest duty."...

I shall dine tonight on roast beef and Scotch whiskey. I have a hunch bordering on a certainty that that's a much more healthy diet than the slop Nurse Bloomberg recommends. We spits upon them with uttermost contempt.

"Nemo Me Impune Lacesset" (No one wounds me with impunity)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:52 PM | Comments (9)

October 3, 2011

No wonder I've been feeling chilly....



Every Day In 2011 Has Been Cooler Than 2010 — Real Science

Every day 2011 cooler than 2010

Speaks for itself. And remember, atmospheric CO2 has continued to rise all the while. If you look at that World Climate Widget I keep on my sidebar, the magenta line that goes up and up is carbon...

http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/data/amsu_daily_85N85S_ch05.r002.txt

Posted by John Weidner at 7:00 AM | Comments (1)

September 27, 2011

Schadenfreude strikes deep. Into your life it will creep...

snowy bear

I hope candidate Palin acknowledges that Obama has accomplished one good thing...

Planet Healer Obama Calls It: In 2008, he declared his presidency would result in 'the rise of the oceans beginning to slow' -- And By 2011, Sea Level Drops! | Climate Depot:

...President Barack Obama can take a bow. As Obama struggles with poor polling numbers, persistent high unemployment, the possibly of a primary challenge within his own party and a stagnant economy saddled with massive deficits and debts, one area where he can claim success is his prediction that he would slow sea level rise.

Obama -- in similar fashion to baseball legend Babe Ruth calling his home run during the fifth inning of Game 3 of the 1932 World Series -- called it successfully on sea level rise.

Obama declared in a June 8, 2008 speech, that his presidency will be "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." Obama's prognostication occurred during his victory speech in St. Paul for the Democratic Party nomination.

Climate Depot can now announce it is official. Earlier this month, the European Space Agency's Envisat monitoring, global sea level revealed a "two year long decline [in sea level] was continuing, at a rate of 5mm per year."

In August 2011, NASA announced that global sea level was dropping and was "a quarter of an inch lower than last summer." See: NASA: 'Global sea level this summer is a quarter of an inch lower than last summer'...

To see the AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) hoax unravelling is sweet sweet sweet. Alas none of the lefties will re-think. Al Gore will flip, from one day to the next, to warning about the apocalyptic dangers of Global Cooling, and all the little Chumskys will all flip with him. And all condemn those wicked capitalists and Republicans who are failing to pump enough Carbon into the atmosphere...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:15 PM | Comments (9)

September 7, 2011

Protest against "vanillafication of the planet"

Willis Eschenbach, Frozen Global Warming Research:

I liked this conclusion to an interesting piece...

... From some of the comments below, it's clear that�my eco-felony in writing this is admitting to feeling "schadenfreude", which means taking pleasure in your opponents misfortunes. It's one of those emotions that everyone has, but nobody is supposed to admit they have. What, you never laughed when irony overtook your opponent? And you gotta admit, global warming research cancelled because of too much ice? That's funny anywhere.

I'm no different than the rest in relishing life's ironic turns, except for the fact that I'm willing to admit that I'm not PC (politically correct) in the slightest, and to take the inevitable heat for saying so. Consider it my small protest at the ongoing vanillafication of the planet.

Well, I doubt if vanillafication can be halted, short of giant meteorite impacts. But I'll do what I can.

The actual article is about how the Swedes have been loaning us their giant icebreaker "Oden" during their summer, for use in supporting our research stations in the Antarctic. The problem is, too much ice in Sweden. They can't spare their icebreaker. So all those science johnnys studying global warming in the Antarctic are being frozen out. Ha ha. Schadenfreude warms my heart.

Well, it's the only cheer I have. Now we are begging the Russians for an icebreaker. Enjoy it, "liberals." You've humbled America, that's what you wanted.

RELATED, this is something that gives me maximum bitterness... Somebody once wrote that "Liberals want America weak and government strong." That pretty much sums it up. Read on about how the fake "scientists" of the NSF have destroyed our icebreaker fleet... God how I hate this kind of evil...

CHANGE OF PLANS. I'll make this a post of its own. It's the tiny tiny least morsel I can do, to express the furious anger that consumes me. A friend recently chided me, for not deploying my subtle understated humor of yore. Well, sorry. Screw it, that's really hard work, for no gain. If I could do some good, I'd crawl across broken glass to achieve it. But all I can do is vent.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:49 PM | Comments (3)

August 26, 2011

Finally...Svensmark vindicated.



Nigel Calder, BREAKING NEWS -- CERN Experiment Confirms Cosmic Rays Influence Cloud Seeds:

...As knowledge accumulated behind their dam and threatened to overtop it, the warmists had one last course to lay. Paradoxically it was CLOUD. Long delays with this experiment to explore the microchemical mechanism of the Svensmark effect became the chief excuse for deferring any re-evaluation of the Sun's role in climate change. When the microchemical mechanism was revealed prematurely by the SKY experiment in Copenhagen and published in 2006, the warmists said, "No particle accelerator? That won't do! Wait for CLOUD."� When the experiment in Aarhus confirmed the mechanism using a particle accelerator they said, "Oh that's just the Danes again! Wait for CLOUD."

Well they've waited and their dam has failed them.....

If this doesn't mean anything to you, you are not tuned in. You are no doubt living in the realm of illusion created by the mainstream media. Wake up. Everything you know is wrong!

Posted by John Weidner at 7:17 AM

July 18, 2011

It will be interesting to see how this works out...



Science writer Nigel Calder, "No, you mustn't say what it means!"� — Calder's Updates:

Although still very busy with other work, I keep looking out for results from the CLOUD experiment at CERN in Geneva, which is testing Henrik Svensmark's hypothesis that cosmic rays help to make clouds. They are due for publication this summer. All I have just now is a startling remark by Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director General of CERN, in an interview by Welt Online a few days ago.

Here is a tidied-up Google Translate version of the relevant exchange.
Welt Online: The results of the so-called CLOUD experiment, exploring the formation of clouds, are awaited with great excitement. Could these results still be important for understanding global climate change? Heuer: This is indeed a matter of understanding better the formation of clouds. In nature there are many parameters at work – including temperature, humidity, impurities and also cosmic radiation. In the experiment, CLOUD investigates the influence of cosmic rays on cloud formation, using radiation [meaning particles] coming from the accelerator. And in an experimental chamber one can study, under controlled conditions, how the formation of droplets depends on the radiation and particulate matter. The results will be published shortly. I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them. That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate. One has to make clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters.
Four quick inferences:

1) The results must be favourable for Svensmark or there would be no such anxiety about them.....

I've been meaning to post this with some thoughts, but the time just isn't there.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:32 AM

June 21, 2011

Shell games...

There's a new BBC story, World's oceans in 'shocking' decline. It seems scientists have discovered that we are on the edge of the abyss.

But are they really scientists?

Climate Resistance — A Deep Sea Mystery:

...Call me a cynic, but I no longer take claims about 'expert panel of scientists' at face value. Sadly, Richard Black of the BBC does.

Who are the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) anyway? A visit to their website barely gives any information about itself at all. It doesn't appear even to have an email address, let alone a postal address. There is no mention of who is running it, or what organisations are involved. Isn't that a bit odd, for 'an expert panel of scientists'.

Looking at the final report [PDF] produced by IPSO, there is similarly little mention of the organisation's relationship to the rest of the world, such that we can see for ourselves what kind of a panel of experts they really are. However, at the top of the report is the following text:
The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) is�a coalition of over 60 organizations worldwide�promoting fisheries conservation and the�protection of biodiversity on the high seas.�The DSCC has been actively involved in the�international debate and negotiations�concerning the adverse impacts on deep-sea�biodiversity in areas beyond national�jurisdiction from bottom trawling and other�methods of bottom fishing on the high seas�since 2003/2004.
Ok. So who the hell are the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition?

Surprise, surprise...

There's more.

Just remember, this stuff has nothing to do with science. It's all Lefty politics. And Leftists lie. Always. They are working for the Father of Lies. Well, it's true! You can see this. All around you.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:38 PM

April 22, 2011

As religions go, this is a really stupid one...

It's perhaps a bit unfair to flog a dead horse such as "Earth Day," but there could hardly be a better example of how bad philosophy leads one into cosmic stupidity...

"We have about five more years at the outside to do something."
• Kenneth Watt, ecologist

"Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind."
• George Wald, Harvard Biologist

"We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation."
• Barry Commoner, Washington University biologist

"Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction."
• New York Times editorial, the day after the first Earth Day

"Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years."
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist
"By...[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s."
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

"It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,"
• Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

"Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions....By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine."
• Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University

"Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support...the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution...by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half...."
• Life Magazine, January 1970

"At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it's only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable."
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

"Air pollution is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone."
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

"We are prospecting for the very last of our resources and using up the nonrenewable things many times faster than we are finding new ones."
• Martin Litton, Sierra Club director

"By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate...that there won't be any more crude oil. You'll drive up to the pump and say, 'Fill 'er up, buddy,' and he'll say, 'I am very sorry, there isn't any.'"
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

"Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct."
• Sen. Gaylord Nelson

"The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age."
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist
Posted by John Weidner at 9:01 PM

April 11, 2011

Scientists are always advocates...

Dr Terence Kealey, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, in an interesting talk on how science actually works...

Thanks to Bishop Hill

Posted by John Weidner at 3:05 PM

March 17, 2011

Decline? What decline...



Berkeley physicist Richard Muller on Climategate, and "hide the decline."

As a simplified explanation, the phrase "hide the decline," from the Climategate e-mails, refers to tree-ring proxy data, used to estimate temperatures from the past before thermometers. The ugly fact is that the data shows global temps going down in the late 20th century. As you will see in the video. Researcher Keith Briffa [Link] substituted measured temperatures for proxy temperatures for that period, and did so in a way that was not obvious.

That can sometimes be a legitimate thing to do—often data-sets are incomplete, or show anomalies that are clearly wrong. Then one adds data from some other source to give a larger picture.

BUT, in this case, the proxy data also failed to show the warming of the Medieval Warm Period. You know, the time when Greenland had farms, and England produced wine. In that case, Briffa was perfectly happy to say that the tree-ring data was an oracle of truth, since warmists want, above all, to kill the Medieval Warm, which contradicts the narrative that we are now in some sort of "unprecedented" warming.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:11 AM

January 15, 2011

The old army game...



Willis Eschenbach, at Watts Up With That?:

I would like to take as my text the following quote from the recent paper (PDF, 270k) by Dr. Kevin Trenberth:
Given that global warming is "unequivocal", to quote the 2007 IPCC report, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence [on the climate]....

Can you see the shell game in that quote? Read the article if you don't.

Warmists are NOT honest people. Much less honest scientists.

* Update: Dr Trenberth has very quietly edited the speech. No apologies of course.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:19 AM

December 26, 2010

Off into cloud-cuckoo-land...

snowy bear

The green hijack of the Met Office is crippling Britain - Telegraph:

...The reason why the Met Office gets its forecasts so hopelessly wrong is that they are based on those same computer models on which the IPCC itself relies to predict the world’s climate in 100 years time. They are programmed on the assumption that, as CO2 rises, so temperatures must inexorably follow. For 17 years this seemed plausible, because the world did appear to be getting warmer. We all became familiar with those warmer winters and earlier springs, which the warmists were quick to exploit to promote their message – as when Dr David Viner of the CRU famously predicted to The Independent in 2000 that "within a few years winter snowfall will be a very rare and exciting event". (Last week, that article from 10 years ago was the most viewed item on The Independent’s website.)

But in 2007, the computer models got caught out, failing to predict a temporary plunge in global temperatures of 0.7C, more than the net warming of the 20th century. Much of the northern hemisphere suffered what was called in North America "the winter from hell". Even though temperatures did rise again, in the winter of 2008/9 this happened again, only worse.

The Met Office simply went into denial. Its senior climate change official, Peter Stott, said in March 2009 that the trend towards milder winters was likely to continue. There would not be another winter like 1962/3 "for 1,000 years or more". Last winter was colder still. And now we have another even more savage "random event", for which we are even less prepared. (The Taxpayers’ Alliance revealed last week that councils have actually ordered less salt this winter than last.)

The consequences of all this are profound. Those who rule over our lives have been carried off into a cloud-cuckoo-land for which no one was more responsible than the zealots at the Met Office, subordinating all it does to their dotty belief system. Significantly, its chairman, Robert Napier, is not a weatherman but a "climate activist", previously head of WWF-UK, one of our leading warmist campaigning groups....

The thing you have to remember about computer models is that they are tweaked. The climate scientist works for years constructing a vastly complex computer model of the earth. Then he runs the model, and gets clearly wrong results. So he adjusts it—nudges it—until it produces results that make sense.

But there's a lot that's subjective in the process. If you believe that increasing CO2 will warm the earth, if your politics hungers for the power grabs that are presaged on this, if all your acquaintances will like you more if you produce a certain result... and if grants and acclaim will flow to you if you produce certain results...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:04 PM

December 15, 2010

There never was a climate consensus...

car covered with icicles

Let's keep our cool in the battle over global warming — Irish Examiner:

...The talk about a "climate change consensus" never was a scientific consensus about climate change but at most was a political agreement to act and speak as if the major questions surrounding climate change had already been answered.

In reality, however, there are very few things on which the majority of climate scientists would readily agree apart from the fact that the world is warmer than it was 150 years ago — about 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer; that we humans have released a lot of additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the world population has grown; and that we are (to some debatable extent) responsible for global warming through increased energy and land use.

Everything else in the climate change debate is highly controversial. Has the climate of the past millennium always been colder than today or not? How much of an effect on the climate does atmospheric carbon dioxide have? Do rising carbon dioxide concentrations lead us to a point of no return? Or are there self-regulating mechanisms which will slow, halt, or even reverse the process? For each question one finds much disagreement among climatologists.

Such disagreement should be welcomed, for it is what science is all about....

"But at most was a political agreement to act and speak as if the major questions surrounding climate change had already been answered." another way to put that is that the world's political/media/academic elites have been living a lie.

This is also a good example of Thomas Sowell's dictum: The political left's favorite argument is that there is no argument.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:26 PM

November 28, 2010

My list of reasons for climate skepticism (All from Random Jottings archives)

This list, taken from my own blog's science archive, is mostly compiled for my own satisfaction, and to have my ammo dry if anyone challenges me. It is also a cool example of how a blog can be an information storage device.

1. Argo [Link]

2. "Climategate" [Link, link, link, link]

3. Severe problems with weather stations. Pursued by Anthony Watts. [Link, link link, link]

4. Hiding data very common among warmists. [Link, link

5. This overview of ice-core temperatures over tens-of-thousands of years. [Link]

6. The "greenhouse signature" is missing. [Link]

7, Global temps have stopped rising significantly since 1998 [Link]

8. Sunspots [Link, link, link]

9. Skeptics frequently attacked, though skepticism is essential to true science [Link, link]

10. "Hockey Stick" refudiated [Link, link, link, link]

11. Medieval Warm Period airbrushed out [Link]

12. Warmist leaders have large "carbon footprints." [Link]

13. Computer models "tweaked" [Link, link, link]

14. No one "peer reviews" scientific software. [Link]

15. Uncertainty of climate science kept hidden [Link]

16. Hurricanes at 30-year low. [Link]

17. Climate alarmism invariably tied to attempts to increase government power [Link, link, link]

19. Higher carbon levels in past didn't lead to warming [Link]

20. Antarctic ice increasing, "Ice free Arctic" didn't happen. [Link. link, link, link, link]

21. Polar Bear fraud [Link]

22. Methane has not appeared [Link]

23. massive journalistic malpractice [Link, link, link]

24. Wikipedia fraud [Link, link]

25. E.M. Smith's summary [Link]

26. Slippery name changes, "Global Warming > Climate Change > Extreme Weather > Climate Disruption [Link]

27. Many many environmental disaster predictions have turned out to be bogus [Link]

Posted by John Weidner at 6:36 PM

November 26, 2010

Good wholesome slam...



I haven't forgotten the ongoing war against the ongoing scientific and political fraud that is AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming). But the fighting has settled down into trench warfare, and there haven't been many short and pithy quotes to blog. Here's James Delingpole at his best...(thanks to Climate Realists)

Motes, beams and the University of East Anglia:

An email reaches me from the office of Sir Edward Acton, Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia. Apparently in my blogs I have expressed "inaccurate and vituperative views" about certain members of his hugely distinguished and globally admired seat of learning, and unless I apologise and retract he will report me to the Press Complaints Commission.

As you can imagine I am keen as mustard to soothe the wounded feelings of Sir Edward and his world-renowned staff, but not if it means retracting statements which are patently true. For example, Sir Edward takes exception to my description of Prof Phil Jones, the head of his Climatic Research Unit, as "disgraced, FOI-breaching, email-deleting, scientific-method-abusing." Clearly poor Sir Edward has not been kept in the loop by his minions, so I'd better break the sad news about something really quite embarrassing that happened to his university last year. It was a story called Climategate and involved numerous leaked emails, many of which showed the aforementioned Prof Jones in a not-altogether flattering light....

Read on, and be reminded of how ugly the Climategate e-mails really were. And remember, if anyone complains that these items are being unfairly "taken out of context," they look much worse if you place them in context!

I have lots more "warming" posts here.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:27 AM

August 9, 2010

Leftist theories kill millions. Another example...

Tens of millions.

This is the same general catastrophe I wrote about last week here. And Here. To these people, the theory is real; the actual human beings affected are not real. So humans can be killed without a qualm.

Malarial mosquitoes, not bedbugs, are the real pest--Paul Driessen - NYPOST.com:

...DDT is the most powerful, effective, long-lasting mosquito repellant ever invented. Spraying the eaves and inside walls of mud huts and cinderblock homes every six months keeps 80 percent of the flying killers from entering. It irritates most that do enter, so they leave without biting, and kills any that land.

Yet many aid agencies refuse to encourage, endorse or fund spraying. Many don't even want to monitor mosquito and malaria outbreaks or determine success in reducing disease and death rates. That's more difficult and costly than counting the number of bed nets distributed and underscores the embarrassing reality that their "comprehensive" (and politically correct) programs achieve only 20 to 40 percent reductions in morbidity and mortality. By contrast, as South Africa and other countries have shown, adding insecticides and DDT can bring 95 percent success.

Since the Environmental Protection Agency banned DDT in 1972, billions have been stricken by malaria and tens of millions have died. This is intolerable.

We need adult supervision and informed debate on pesticide policies, laws and regulations. We can no longer leave those decisions to anti-chemical activists in unaccountable pressure groups and government agencies. These zealots are making decisions that affect the quality of life for millions of Americans -- and life itself for billions of poor people worldwide....

"Many don't even want to monitor mosquito and malaria outbreaks or determine success in reducing disease and death rates." They don't want to know!

Posted by John Weidner at 6:44 AM

August 8, 2010

Every true scientist will be saved...

...If he had wished to overcome the obstinacy of the most hardened, he could have done so by revealing himself to them so plainly that they could not doubt the truth of his essence, as he will appear on the last day with such thunder and lightning and such convulsions of nature that the dead will rise up and the blindest see him.

This is not the way he wished to appear when he came in mildness, because so many men had shown themselves unworthy of his clemency that he wished to deprive them of the good they did not desire. It was therefore not right that he should appear in a manner manifestly divine and absolutely capable of convincing all men, but neither was it right that his coming should be so hidden that he could not be recognized by those who sincerely sought him He wished to make himself perfectly recognizable to them. Thus wishing to appear openly to those who seek him with all their heart and hidden from those who shun him with all their heart, he has qualified our knowledge of him by giving signs which can be seen by those who seek him and not by those who do not.

'There is enough light for those who desire only to see, and enough darkness for those of a contrary disposition.'
      — Blaise Pascal, Pensées, #149. [ Link to my edition, which I recommend.]

That last line is perfect!

The word "science" means an organized search for truth in a particular subject. We use the term mostly for natural science, but one can speak of "the science of criminology," or "the science of history." Someone who calls himself or herself a scientist should be a seeker of truth.

A true scientist is a seeker of truth. Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Thus the true scientist, who hungers for truth, will be saved, either in this world or the world to come. [More here. And here.]

Alas, in our time the word scientist has come to mean a technician in a white coat who is the willing slave and hireling tool of giant leftist bureaucracies, willing to lie and deceive if it will feed the power of the state. [For instance, a few items plucked from my "science" category: Link, link, link, link, link. The are tons more there.]

Posted by John Weidner at 8:50 AM

July 3, 2010

Atheists in church? Too cool...

From an exceedingly interesting piece (to me at least), Elaine Howard Ecklund, Ph.D.: What Scientists Think About Religion:

...Almost a quarter of Americans think scientists are hostile to religion. But what do we really know about how scientists think about morality, spirituality and faith?

From 2005 to 2008, I surveyed nearly 1,700 natural and social scientists on their views about religion, spirituality and ethics and spoke with 275 of them in depth in their offices and laboratories. It turns out that nearly 50 percent of scientists identify with a religious label, and nearly one in five is actively involved in a house of worship, attending services more than once a month. While many scientists are completely secular, my survey results show that elite scientists are also sitting in the pews of our nation's churches, temples and mosques.

Of the atheist and agnostic scientists I had in-depth conversations with, more than 30 percent considered themselves atheists; however, less than six percent of these were actively working against religion. Many atheist and agnostic scientists even think key mysteries about the world can be best understood spiritually, and some attend houses of worship, completely comfortable with religion as moral training for their children and an alternative form of community. If religious people better understood the full range of atheistic practice -- and the way that it interfaces with religion for some -- they might be less likely to hold negative attitudes toward nonreligious scientists. The truth is that many atheist scientists have no desire to denigrate religion or religious people....

Fascinatin'. Among many reasons, because I've often thought about my Catholic faith, that scientists should dig this stuff. Christianity is actually very scientific, in the broader sense of the word. (and I'm myself very much scientific, in all senses of the word, and my reaction to discovering the Church Catholic was, like, wow. So cool!

The immense prestige of the natural sciences caused people in the 19th Century to start applying the word "science" only to the study of the natural realm. But actually science means, by my dictionary, "a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject : the science of criminology." Myself, I'd define the word science as "disciplined truth-seeking within a particular field of knowledge." One could be a scientific pasty cook.

I noticed especially the line about atheist scientists being "comfortable with religion as moral training for their children," because commenter AOG mentioned that he was doing much the same thing. And he's a respect-worthy thinker. I'd say that AOG's on the right track, but not yet thinking things through clearly. A great scientist named Blaise Pascal pinned all this question down about 350 years ago. (Link, link.)

One of his points was that God can not be discerned by the senses. There's never going to be "scientific evidence" for the existence of God. A fact he regretted as much as we do. But, there is another instrument we can use, and that is the heart. (Not the pump in your chest, of course, but an inbuilt faculty we have for perceiving things in the realm of God.) And you calibrate the instrument... how? By not being hard-hearted. As the operator's manual says, "If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart."

If there is a Creator God, then the realm of God is the larger context which contains the natural realm which is the study of the natural scientist. So the scientist, if he is an intellectually bold chap, ought to be delighted to expand his horizons into a larger sphere. Especially since the Judeo-Christian God (at least in the Catholic view; I can't vouch for Protestant deviants) is the source of that lawfulness of creation upon which natural science is based.

Alas, there's that problem of hardness of heart.


.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:45 PM

June 21, 2010

Highly recommended book...



I love books that take me behind the scenes to find out what really happened. And I love books that explain tricky things in a way I can understand. And I love mysteries and whodunits. AND, I love to witness that rarest of treats, the downfall of the wicked. SO, this book, The Hockey Stick Illusion, by A. W.Montford, is pure jam to me.

Did you ever wonder how climatologists can tell us things about the climate of the world many centuries ago? When there were no thermometers or weather stations? They use various "proxy data," such as isotope counts in ice cores or lake-bed cores. Also dendrochronology, which is the study of tree rings. But this is a very tricky and controversial business, and it involves intense statistical analysis of masses of very noisy data.

In 1998, an obscure young climatologist named Michael Mann wrote a paper claiming that global temperatures over the last 1,000 years had been very stable until there was a sharp upturn in the latter 20th Century. The graph he presented looked like a hockey stick—a long straight handle, then a sharp turn upwards that formed the blade.

This was fairly outrageous since the consensus view had always included the Medieval Warm Period, when temperatures were higher than now, and farms flourished in Greenland, and winemaking in England. Mann ought to have been greeted with extreme skepticism. Instead he was lauded, and his graph instantly became an icon of AGW—the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

Why? Because the hockey stick was a "Reichstag Fire" for the leftists and fake-environmentalists who are dreaming of unprecedented power-grabs.

Enter Steve McIntyre. Once upon a time there was a brilliant young Canadian lad who planned to go to MIT for a PhD in Math. Family problems sent him into the business world instead, and he became a mining executive, using his statistics talent to delve into thousands of mining proposals. He saw the hockey stick, and immediately thought of many bogus schemes he had seen. They tended to have the shape of.... hockey sticks!

The book is the story of McIntyre's relentless insurgency fought in tangled thickets of statistical analysis. Which the author manages to make crystal clear, and utterly fascinating. (I blogged about one skirmish of the war here.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:03 AM

May 28, 2010

Thiotimoline and the ice caps...

car covered with icicles

Willis Eschenbach:

...Google also revealed that the report of the study has been picked up by ABC News, NewsDaily, Yahoo News, New Scientist, Arab News, and ScienceDaily. It was featured on Joe Romm's global warming blog "ClimateProgress". It has been referred to in blogs and news reports from India, Australia, Russia, and China. It shows up on TweetMeme, Huffington Post, and Facebook. Even Scientific American has an article on it.

So at this point, it has gone round and round the world. It has been illustrated with all kinds of pictures of melting ice, and of global ice extent, and (inevitably) of polar bears. It has been discussed and debated and dissected around the web.

And with all of that publicity, with all those news reports, with all that discussion and debate ... as near as I can determine, despite Reuters saying it was published a month ago, the study has never been published anywhere.

Not only that, but nobody seems to have noticed that the study has never been published.

Well, that's not entirely true. Scientific American must have noticed, because they quietly removed the page where they had published the report ... but it is still in Google's cache....
Posted by John Weidner at 9:54 PM

Pistachios...



Bishop Hill:

P Gosselin notes the rise in environmentalists demanding a suspension of democracy so that the wise ones in the green movement can put their ideas into practice. The BBC has apparently given them an episode of the Analysis programme to promote their views.

This idea raises a whole new concept of the environmentalists. No longer are they watermelons - green on the outside and red on the inside - they are something else - green on the outside and brown on the inside.

Gosselin wonders what kind of fruit this might be and can't come up with anything much. I think perhaps the word he is after is "pistachio".

It's a kind of nut.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:30 AM

May 18, 2010

Amazing scientific shenanigans...



by Barry Brill at Climate Realists, Crisis in New Zealand Climatology:

...The New Zealand Meteorological Service, with its forebears, has been measuring and recording our weather since 1861. In 1992, it published a booklet containing a detailed history of all its weather stations, along with 140 years of climate data. In that year, NIWA [National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research] came into being and has now published most of the Met Service data online.

In 2007, the then Prime Minister announced her party's intention that New Zealand should lead the world in fighting climate change, and aim to be the world's first carbon-neutral country by 2025.

Earlier in 2007, NIWA produced a web page, followed by a printed brochure, with a graph showing that New Zealand had already warmed by an amount far in excess of global averages. The web page claimed a temperature increase of 1.1C during the 144 years of Met Service records, and a 0.92°C trend during the 20th century.

These are remarkable claims. They came out of the blue and do not accord with any written histories, or the personal impressions of our older generations. They don't square with "hottest day" records held in provinces and city archives. They were not accompanied by big changes in rainfall or winds or sea levels. In these claims, NIWA is a very lonely orphan.

Global warming during the 20th Century was 0.6C, with a margin of error of +/-0.2C. The Southern Hemisphere warming was less than half that level. But New Zealand warming, according to NIWA, was almost twice the global average - and with no error margins mentioned.

Referring to the NIWA web page, one finds that this major warming trend is the product of a single study involving only 7 temperature stations - out of the 238 stations which currently report to NIWA. [This is the "NIWA Seven-station Series" or NSS.] In response to a request under the Official information Act, NIWA has disclosed that this study was undertaken as part of a student's thesis some 30 years ago.

NIWA has no record of how the NSS came to be in their computers. The only reasonable inference is that the student himself, one Jim Salinger, must have added it when he became NIWA's Principal Scientist many years later.

How do we know the NSS is wrong? ...

[My emphasis] Well, read the whole thing if you are interested. What is especially odd here, to me at least, is that the science was being fudged 30 years ago. Deep-laid plans, eh?

Posted by John Weidner at 1:40 PM

April 25, 2010

Nonetheless they want the gov to take over our health care...

New York Times:

...The nation's most important system for judging the clinical effectiveness of cancer treatments is approaching "a state of crisis." That is the disturbing verdict of experts assembled by the National Academy of Sciences to review the performance of clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute...

...The most shocking deficiency highlighted by the report, issued by the academy's Institute of Medicine, is that about 40 percent of all advanced clinical trials sponsored by the Cancer Institute are never completed. That is an incredible waste of effort and money, and a huge obstacle at a time when researchers are developing promising new therapies that must be rigorously tested....

...Yet a series of reviews in recent years found that the testing operation is mired in bureaucracy and poorly coordinated. A typical trial must navigate past dozens of overlapping reviews by different boards and agencies that must approve the original concept for the trial and then the protocol that will govern how it is conducted before the investigators can start enrolling any patients.

The average time between developing the concept for a study and getting it started is about 2.5 years. The longer a study takes to get started, the more likely it is to become scientifically out of date, and the less likely it is that doctors or patients will want to participate.

Other factors, including failure to pay investigators and their institutions the full costs of a trial, can also impede enrollment....

What really pisses me off is the tone of studied neutrality in this NYT editorial. As if it had nothing to do with them and they are merely detached observers. Actually they've been laboring tirelessly for all of my lifetime and longer to help erect the massive bureaucracies that are failing so conspicuously all around us. The Times supported Obama and "Obamacare" and Pelosi and Reid and all the rest of the caterpillars gong back to at least Stalin and FDR.... and now they report on their policies as if they had just sprang up like mushrooms, to the surprise of everyone.

I just love reading stories about the massive losses of subscribers and money by the NYT. They richly deserve far worse.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:33 PM

March 11, 2010

Quote for Thursday...

car covered with icicles

Tide is turning on global warming by Robert Gentle, BusinessDay.com | Climate Realists:

...The smart money is on global warming going the same way as bird flu, swine flu, Y2K, the ozone layer, the population explosion, the food crisis, the energy crisis, global cooling and the litany of Armageddon-type predictions of the past 30 years that never came to pass. ...

Don't forget acid rain. Our forests were going to be dead by now. Scientists told us so....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:56 AM

March 9, 2010

In a nutshell...



Dafydd sums up warmist "climate science" with enviable concision: "Bride Mistress Tawdry One-Night Stand of Climategate":

...The hacked documents stunned the world, as they appear to demonstrate that the "consensus opinion" of climate research was not driven by strong and uncontroverted science -- as we'd been told ad nauseam since the 1990s -- but by political calculation and activism, sloppy research techniques, malfunctioning or mis-sited measuring equipment, predetermined outcomes and the "desk drawer" fallacy, bullying of peer-reviewed literature to exclude dissent, hounding and character assassination of "deniers" (skeptics), and above all, driven by the lure of hundreds of billions of dollars in "carbon credits," with all the anti-scientific pressures such massive monetary manipulation inevitably entails.

And it all began with such promise... the promise of a world cleansed of the contagion of religion, technology, Capitalism, and conservatives!...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:02 PM

March 3, 2010

So, what happens when the bio-tech equivalent of Moore's Law kicks in?

This is very interesting tech, but my guess is that it is even more interesting that portrayed, because the technology sounds like stuff that can get cheaper and cheaper, and simpler and simpler. Like, you know, computers do. Or digital cameras, or flat-screen TV's, or smart phones. And could head in the direction of home machines that can take a drop of your blood and report on your blood sugar or cholesterol levels. And send the results to your physician, who will see graphs of her patient's conditions, wit warning flags if something needs attention, or prescription dosages need tweaking.

What's missing? You and me buying our medical diagnoses like we buy other consumer goods.

Technology Review: Personalized Medicine on the Spot:

A new device can rapidly test biological samples for genetic variations that could cause dangerous reactions to some drugs. By Erica Naone

Different people can react to drugs in different ways, and in some cases the response can be predicted from their genes. For example, the drug warfarin, often used to prevent blood clots, can cause dangerous bleeding in some patients. Researchers have identified two genetic variations that can increase this risk.

Tests for this type of individual genetic variation have been available for a long time, but in many cases they cost too much and take too long. Nanosphere, a startup out of Northwestern University that's based in Northbrook, IL, hopes to change that. Its Verigene system, which takes just a few hours to analyze DNA from blood or other material, allows doctors to test for genetic variations without having to send samples out to a lab.

A. DISPOSABLE CARTRIDGE
A single-use cartridge uses a combination of chemical reactions to isolate fragments of DNA from a patient sample and test them for specific genetic characteristics. The top half of the cartridge is discarded after this process is complete, leaving a prepared glass slide behind.

B. BAR CODE
To help keep track of samples, a bar code is printed on the test cartridge and the underlying slide.

C. REAGENT WELLS
The necessary ingredients for the chemical reactions used to process the DNA are stored in wells located around the edges of the test cartridge. After the DNA is extracted from a sample, the machine uses air pressure and mechanical valves to release the ingredients from the wells as needed. Strands of DNA that are complementary to the target sequences are used to bind those sequences to the glass slide below the cartridge, as well as to gold nanoparticles that will allow the DNA to be detected when exposed to light. The cartridge washes away any excess DNA or nanoparticles and then sets off a reaction that coats the remaining nanoparticles with silver, which makes it easier to scan for them.

D. DNA LOADING CHAMBER
A DNA sample is loaded into the port shown here. Sonic energy, applied when the cartridge is inserted into the machine that processes the samples, breaks the DNA into small fragments and separates it into its two complementary strands so that it can be captured on the surface of the glass slide.

E. GLASS SLIDE (MICROARRAY)
After the chemical reactions have finished, the target DNA remains on the surface of the prepared glass slide, tagged by silver-coated gold nanoparticles. The Verigene's reader can read the slide by shining light into it and measuring how that light is scattered by the tagged DNA. The system can be used to look for single or multiple genetic targets....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:42 AM

February 25, 2010

"Scientific four-flushers"

From The Big-Science Poker Game, by Douglas Cohen,

In poker a four-flusher cheats by claiming to have a flush, five cards all of the same suit, when what he really has is four cards of the same suit and one bad card. Sometimes the card is known to be bad, and sometimes the four flusher just gets excited, failing to check his hand closely. If another player notices the bad card, the four flusher will say that an honest mistake was made, and -- who knows? -- maybe that is exactly what happened. What non-scientists often do not realize is that the way we support non-profit research turns many scientists into scientific four flushers because, like rich poker players who must remain friends, they have little incentive to look for the hidden bad cards.

Teams of professional scientists, no matter what their field of research, always know that next year's paychecks depend on making the case for more funding. I have worked in groups of this sort for thirty years and know how financial pressure warps the values of those working in an institutionalized "Big Science" environment.

If a scientist or engineer in a Big-Science project is worried about the soundness of the research and alerts a Big-Science manager about possible problems, the scientist or engineer will usually be ignored. After all, checking something nobody knows for sure is wrong can only cause trouble in the short term, and what manager likes that? In my first Big-Science job, the supervisor told us that our research should be "success oriented". Success-oriented research -- it sounds good, who can be against it? But in practice it means that research should aim at creating a funding story that is likely to bring in more money. Four flushers flourish in this sort of environment because nobody wants to find hidden cards -- they might be bad ones. Big Science managers who don't worry much about hidden cards are more likely to impress their colleagues because it's easier to give a sincere presentation when you think everything's OK. Society can live with this sort of scientific four-flushing as long as an actual product has to get built. Then, if the project leaders are basically correct about all the hidden cards being unimportant, and the product works, the project is a success. ...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:45 AM

February 17, 2010

I could spend all day fisking this one...

Tom Friedman, Global Weirding Is Here:

But I'll just mention what occurred to me when I read this part...

... In my view, the climate-science community should convene its top experts – from places like NASA, America's national laboratories, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, the California Institute of Technology and the U.K. Met Office Hadley Centre – and produce a simple 50-page report. They could call it "What We Know," summarizing everything we already know about climate change in language that a sixth grader could understand, with unimpeachable peer-reviewed footnotes....

This reminds me of the days when pundits friendly to the Republicans were saying, "Why doesn't President Nixon just fire those little people who were responsible for that silly Watergate burglary, so he can avoid being distracted from the big issues facing the country!"

Posted by John Weidner at 8:18 AM

January 31, 2010

Time for a witch-hunt...



The extent of the fraudulent politicized "science" of AGW is stupefying. This is clearly the biggest science fraud in history. (Unless perhaps you call Lysenkoism "science.")

And it is thrilling how fast the rotting log has been rolled over, and the number of horrid bugs that are scurrying for cover. Awesome! It reminds me of one of my first blog-posts right after 9/11, when I compared that time to... A rotting log being rolled over. And Oh the bugs we found! And "realists" back then were tut-tutting that there was a danger of the Middle East being "de-stabilized." And people like me were saying, "YES! That's what we want! Break some glass!"

The threads of deceit and mendacity run everywhere. The science establishment, the journals, the massive propaganda-and-bullying apparatus of education, politicians, bureaucrats, "journalists." And it is a pity that most of them will escape by a quick change of costume, and still infect the world with the spirit of the Father of Lies.

We need a new Tail-Gunner Joe, a new Nixon, to pursue the guilty with the ferocity of pigs rooting for truffles, hounding the guilty out of public life, and putting a few thousand behind bars. It won't happen of course. All will be tidied over.

James Delingpole has the right spirit. Climategate: time for the tumbrils :

...I first met Professor Stott a couple of years ago. He's emeritus professor of biogeography at the University of London, and I tracked him down because in those days he was pretty much the ONLY senior scientific academic anywhere in Britain brave enough publicly to dispute the AGW 'consensus."

We had lunch. "There are many more scientists who think the way I do," he told me. "But they don't want to stick their heads above the parapet. They don't want to lose their jobs." We talked a bit about the loneliness of our position, how impossible it was to place dissenting articles anywhere in the media, how people who thought like us were treated like pariahs.

Now suddenly it has all changed utterly. And you know what? I'm in no mood for being magnanimous in victory. I want the lying, cheating, fraudulent scientists prosecuted and fined or imprisoned. I want warmist politicians like Brown and disgusting Milibands booted out and I want Conservative fellow-travellers who are still pushing this green con trick – that'll be you, David Cameron, you Greg Clark, you Tim Yeo, you John Gummer, to name but four – to be punished at the polls for their culpable idiocy.

For years I've been made to feel a pariah for my views on AGW. Chris Booker has had the same experience, as has Richard North, Benny Peiser, Lord Lawson, Philip Stott and those few others of us who recognised early on that the AGW thing stank. Now it's payback time and I take small satisfaction from seeing so many rats deserting their sinking ship. I don't want them on my side. I want to see them in hell, reliving scenes from Hieronymus Bosch.

Yeah, maybe it isn't the Christian way. But screw 'em. It's not as though they haven't all been screwing us for long enough....

And as a Christian I would wish to note that the AGW scam is un-Christian, despite all the liberal Christian sob-sisters who have signed on. Why? Because the desired end-result of the scamsters would result in massive economic contraction, the most grievous results of which would fall upon the world's poor. The warmists are all prosperous people who would be only mildly inconvenienced by economic shrinkage (And of course many of them could look forward to being in the Nomenklatura of the new "Global Governance" order) while, un-seen by them, millions of Third World people would die, or suffer horribly.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:02 AM

January 16, 2010

This may become an interestin' lawsuit...

car covered with icicles

Capital Press agriculture news (Thanks to Rand):

...A national beef group is invoking the so-called "Climategate" controversy as it challenges a recent U.S. government ruling on climate change. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association has filed a petition to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. to overturn the EPA's recent greenhouse gas "endangerment" ruling.

The ruling states that gases believed to cause global warming pose a human health risk and is the first step toward their regulation by the EPA under the Clean Air Act. The NCBA and other producer groups fear the ruling could lead to lawsuits and new restrictions on the nation's livestock industries.

The NCBA plans to argue the government's finding is based on faulty and incomplete science and that the Clean Air Act is the improper vehicle for regulating greenhouse gases, said Tamara Thies, the organization's chief environmental counsel.

"We are taking a position that we do not believe the science with regard to alleged manmade climate change is there," Thies said. "The EPA has a responsibility to conduct a rigorous scientific analysis and look at all the science out there instead of just cherry-picking certain studies that agree with its position about manmade climate change."

The cattle group points to Climategate, in which critics allege that e-mails stolen from Great Britain's University of East Anglia show bias and manipulation of data by scientists on the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The fact that the EPA relied on some of the IPCC's data to make its finding makes the ruling questionable, Thies said.

"The EPA has only considered some (evidence) and never really seriously considered that climate change could actually be caused by natural causes," she said....
Posted by John Weidner at 10:06 AM

January 9, 2010

Feliz A�o Nuevo!

On New Year's Day the Weidners did something chronologically appropriate (quite by accident), we went to Año Nuevo State Reserve, to see the Elephant Seals, which come ashore for a month or so for mating and giving birth to pups.

Here's a little bit of video I shot, of some males moving about. The way they move is utterly weird; galumphing along like giant caterpillars. The big males weigh about 2 tons! More than your car. And they can move fast, though mostly they just lay there semi-comatose. They aren't hostile to humans, but if you got in their way they would just squash you like a bug. So one proceeds carefully!

One of the oddities about them is that, aside for this brief time ashore, the males and females live in different worlds. The females will soon go west, as far as Hawaii. The males head north towards the Aleutians. And they will all travel alone—no packs or herds.

And the dying-motor sound you hear near the end, ka-leckh ka-leckh ka-leckh... that's their means of self-expression!

Posted by John Weidner at 7:27 PM

December 28, 2009

Climategate... Plus Reportergate...

This is a good piece on how "journalists" bend the words of people they interview to make them imply exactly the opposite of what they said. Biased reporting on Climategate - Washington Times:

...To judge by recent coverage from Associated Press, the Fourth Estate watchdog has acted like a third-rate pocket pet. Case in point is an 1,800-word AP missive that appeared in hundreds of publications, many carrying it on the front page of their Sunday, Dec. 13 issue with the headline, "Science not faked, but not pretty." AP gave three scientists copies of the controversial e-mails and then asked them about their conclusions. The wire service portrayed the trio of scientists as dismissing or minimizing allegations of scientific fraud when, in fact, the scientists believe no such thing....
Posted by John Weidner at 10:54 AM

December 21, 2009

It's in Wikipedia, it must be true....

This story is appalling and sick, but I had to smile because it reminded me of how, when I was much younger, people used to say that something was true because "it's in Webster's!" I was a bookseller, and was well aware the name "Webster's" had become a generic and public-domain term, and all sorts of rubbish books were cranked out with names like "Webster's New Standard Revised Dictionary and Encyclopedia."

But boy, these guys, like so many Lefties, are just tireless ant-workers...


Lawrence Solomon: Wikipedia's climate doctor:

...The Climategate Emails reveal something else, too: the enlistment of the most widely read source of information in the world — Wikipedia — in the wholesale rewriting of this history....
...Connolley took control of all things climate in the most used information source the world has ever known – Wikipedia. Starting in February 2003, just when opposition to the claims of the band members were beginning to gel, Connolley set to work on the Wikipedia site. He rewrote Wikipedia's articles on global warming, on the greenhouse effect, on the instrumental temperature record, on the urban heat island, on climate models, on global cooling. On Feb. 14, he began to erase the Little Ice Age; on Aug.11, the Medieval Warm Period. In October, he turned his attention to the hockey stick graph. He rewrote articles on the politics of global warming and on the scientists who were skeptical of the band. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world's most distinguished climate scientists, were among his early targets, followed by others that the band especially hated, such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, authorities on the Medieval Warm Period.

All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles. His control over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with virtual impunity. When Connolley didn't like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley's global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia's blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement.

The Medieval Warm Period disappeared, as did criticism of the global warming orthodoxy. With the release of the Climategate Emails, the disappearing trick has been exposed. The glorious Medieval Warm Period will remain in the history books, perhaps with an asterisk to describe how a band of zealots once tried to make it disappear.
Posted by John Weidner at 5:58 PM

December 19, 2009

If I were giving a lecture on global warming, this might be my outline...

E.M.Smith is a climate blogger (Musings from the Chiefio) who tends to be a bit too abstruse and technical for the casual reader. But here's a good summary he's written of what's bogus about AGW (anthropogenic global warming) theory, AGW: Basics of What's Wrong. (Also good is his summary of the problems with GIStemp)

...8. They simply can not model what they do not know. ANY computer model can only tell you things in the domain of your present understanding. If your understanding is broken, so is your model. They "know" that CO2 is causal (despite the data) and that is what they model, ergo what they find. The truth is that we really don't know how weather and climate work completely, so any 'model' can at best be used to show places to do more research, not to make policy. They don't predict, they inform of our ignorance.

9) The thing they are trying to model, 30 year weather, is chaotic. (That does not mean random, it means that the state jumps all over from trivial input changes.) Chaotic models are, at the present state of the art, worse than guessing (and may always be, the math behind it leads me to think maybe so...) The input data are very flawed.

10) Based on these models saying the world will end Real Soon Now, many other folks run off to show that they ought to get funding for their grant because it is related to this hot topic of global warming. When you look into the 'thousands and thousands' of papers endorsing the global warming thesis you find the vast majority are of the form "If we assume that the model run by [foo] is right, this is the bad thing that will happen in MY field." There are in fact only a few centers doing the modeling (a half dozen?) and their ideas are very inbred. We are really basing world decisions on the work of about a half dozen.

11) Dissent is to be crushed, ruthlessly. Frankly, this is what got me started down the "What the..." trail. I've worked in forensics and law enforcement from time to time. Sets off my Madoff Alarm. (Used to be Ponzi...) If you're so sure you are right, demonstrate (share) your data, models, et. al. and we'll have a nice debate. No? OK, WHAT ARE YOU HIDING? One of the hallmarks of a shared delusion is the ruthless attack of anything that would threaten the delusion. It just smells of cult. And there are plenty of alternative theories, including the established one of 'it is natural variation'. The science is not settled and the debate is not over, even if one side is paranoid about being challenged.

12) The major drivers of the process are not scientists, but political bodies with agendas for control and a history of corruption and deception. UN? You want me to trust a UN Political Committee? The IPCC is NOT a bunch of scientists, it's a bunch of politicians. They consult scientists. They have at times re-written scientists work (without notice). Many scientists have now begun speaking out against the IPCC. See #11 for how they are treated.

13) Mr. Albert Gore. His 'inconvenient truth' is a nice propaganda piece. It is decidedly not science. Polar bears are aquatic, they swim hundreds of miles sometimes (one swam from Greenland to Iceland). He shows them drowning... Their numbers are rising, he shows them near extinction. The list goes on. When a politician starts blatantly propagandizing for central power and authority my 'peace in our time' buzzer goes off...

14) The 'cure'. The proposed cure will result in terrible death and poverty. It will misallocate trillions of dollars (that would be much better spent improving other things: education world wide, malaria, cooking stoves in the 3rd world, food supplies, etc.)...
Posted by John Weidner at 1:02 PM

December 18, 2009

"The low-fat diet seems to be unhealthy"

Philosopher Martin Cohen has an interesting piece on the "madness of crowds," with particular reference to Climategate. Worth reading, and this excerpt is pretty interesting also!

Times Higher Education - Beyond debate?:

...One of the best examples of cascade theory is that of the entirely false consensus that built up in the 1970s around the danger of "fatty foods". In fact, this consensus still exists, even though it has never had any scientific basis.

The theory can be traced back to a single researcher, Ancel Keys, who published a paper saying that Americans were suffering from "an epidemic" of heart disease because their diet was more fatty than their bodies were used to after thousands of years of evolution.

In 1953, Keys added additional evidence from a comparative study of the US, Japan and four other countries. Country by country, this showed that a high-fat diet coincided with high rates of heart disease.

Unfortunately for this theory, it turned out that prehistoric "traditional diets" were not especially low-fat after all - indeed, even the hunter-gatherers of yore, if they relied on eating their prey, would have had more fat in their diet than most people do today. As Science magazine pointed out, in the most relevant period of 100 years before the supposed "epidemic" of heart disease, Americans were actually consuming large amounts of fatty meat, so the epidemic followed a reduction in the amount of dietary fat Americans consumed - not an increase...

(continues below)

...Keys' country-by-country comparison had also been skewed, with countries that did not fit the theory (such as France and Italy with their oily, fatty cuisines) being excluded. The American Heart Association (AHA), considered to be the voice of experts, issued a report in 1957 stating plainly that the fats-cause-heart-disease claims did not "stand up to critical examination". The case for there being any such epidemic was dubious, too - the obvious cause of higher rates of heart disease was that people were living longer, long enough to develop heart disease. But it was too late: the cascade had started.

Three years later, the AHA issued a new statement, reversing its view. It had no new evidence but it did have some new members writing the report, in the form of Keys himself and one of his friends. The new report made the cover of Time magazine and was picked up by non-specialists at the US Department of Agriculture, who then asked a supporter of the theory to draw up "health guidelines" for them. Soon, scarcely a doctor could be found prepared to speak out against such an overwhelming "consensus", even if a few specialized researchers still protested. And all this was good enough for the highest medical officer in the US, the Surgeon General, in 1988 to issue a doom-laden warning about fat in foods, and claiming that ice-cream was a health menace on a par with tobacco smoking.

It was a pretty silly theory, and certainly not one based on good evidence. In fact, in recent years, in large-scale studies in which comparable groups have been put on controlled diets (low fat and high fat) a correlation has at last been found. It turns out that the low-fat diet seems to be unhealthy. But no one is quite sure why....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:04 AM

December 16, 2009

Ha ha! Biter bit!

Greenism is just another form of soul-destroying Leftism, so it's nice to see those self-righteous creeps of "Greenpeace" get a bit of payback...

CFACT drops the banner on Greenpeace ships in daring land and sea raids:

(Copenhagen, Denmark, December 16, 2009) Global warming skeptics from CFACT yesterday pulled off an international climate caper using GPS triangulation from Greenpeace's own on-board camera photos to locate and sail up long-side of the infamous Greenpeace vessel, Rainbow Warrior. Then in Greenpeace-like fashion, the CFACT activists unfurled a banner reading "Propaganda Warrior" which underscored how the radical green group's policies and agenda are based on myths, lies, and exaggerations.

Earlier in the day the activists daringly boarded Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise with neither stealth nor force, but by baffling the crew with doughnuts, and unfurled a banner that read "Ship of Lies" off the starboard side.

"Greenpeace has been using these kinds of tactics for decades, and now they can find out what it's like to have a little taste of their own medicine," said CFACT executive director Craig Rucker who masterminded the operation.

CFACT unfurled the banners for two reasons, CFACT president David Rothbard explained. "Greenpeace ships, like the Rainbow Warrior and Arctic Sunrise, have become global symbols for radical environmentalism, and we wanted to call attention to the harm these groups are causing. And second, it seemed appropriate to use one of Greenpeace's favorite tactics to make this point."

Greenpeace protesters frequently hang banners from factories and office buildings, paint slogans on smokestacks, and employ other publicity stunts. Some are relatively harmless, but others reflect a willingness to lie or even destroy property to make a point...
Posted by John Weidner at 5:52 PM

December 14, 2009

What you see is fear...

The question no one seems to ask is, "If people are really worried about man-made global warming, WHY don't they want to hear any of possibility that the theory might be wrong?" You would think that they would be happy to hear that the seas are perhaps not going to rise and inundate them? Right? Or, if not happy, and least slightly open to the idea.

This is from an interesting story by a meteorologist who makes school presentations on weather, to which he has been adding a soupcon of warming skepticism. Art Horn: Climategate in the Classroom? (PJM Exclusive):

... A school told me I would not be able to return this year because of my global warming comments. When I visited the school last year, I told the students that the polar bears were not drowning and that their numbers have been increasing. I also showed them reasons to believe that nature has changed climate in the past and would likely continue to do so in the future.

One of the students then went home and told the parents. Apparently this did not fit the parents' understanding of what is going on in the Arctic. I was told the student was upset; I tend to believe it was the parents that were upset.

A phone complaint was made to the teacher who had invited me. Also, a complaint was made to the superintendent. The teacher who invited me actually had to do a special project about global warming to set the parents minds at ease. I have no idea what the teacher told the parents. The teacher then asked the district science coordinator if I could tone down my comments about global warming if I were to return.

The principal of the school said my information was educational, but very one-sided. I found this rather odd, since the principal also said in the email that:
It is our obligation as a public school to present both sides of an argument. In the area of science this is extremely important.
Since the kids are constantly bombarded with the alarmist point of view, I figured the realist side was just getting equal time.

The school has agreed to have me back — but there is to be absolutely no mention of global warming at all....

Anyone who follows this blog knows that I think that many people are in deep spiritual trouble, and the natural consequence is fear. [Link] And I suspect, though it seems paradoxical, that the possibility of warming catastrophe is a kind of antidote to that fear. Why? Because an imminent catastrophe over-rides all sorts of other worries and problems. It gives a kind of meaning to life.

I've read accounts of people who felt deep relief at the outbreaks of the two world wars. All the nagging problems and doubts of life were suddenly replaced by one big simple problem. And the duty to help solve that problem gave meaning and purpose to their lives.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 AM

December 10, 2009

Take a look at the ice...



Watts Up With That? has a cool piece by J. Storrs Hall, Hockey stick observed in NOAA ice core data:

...One thing that Climategate does is give us an opportunity to step back from the details of the AGW argument and say, maybe these are heat-of-the-moment stuff, and in the long run will look as silly as the Durants' allergy to Eisenhower. And perhaps, if we can put climate arguments in perspective, it will allow us to put the much smaller nano arguments (pun intended) into perspective too.

So let's look at some ice.

I'm looking at the temperature record as read from this central Greenland ice core. It gives us about as close as we can come to a direct, experimental measurement of temperature at that one spot for the past 50,000 years. As far as I know, the data are not adjusted according to any fancy computer climate model or anything else like that.

So what does it tell us about, say, the past 500 years? (the youngest datum is age=0.0951409 (thousand years before present) — perhaps younger snow doesn't work so well?) [Shows a graph from 1400 to present, with noticeable rise after 1850]

Well, whaddaya know — a hockey stick. In fact, the "blade" continues up in the 20th century at least another half a degree. But how long is the handle? How unprecedented is the current warming trend?...

Then the author "pulls the camera back," and shows us the same temperature graph from AD 800 to the present... Most interestin'...

And then a broader view, 3,000 BC to present..... then 9,000.... then 50,000...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 PM

December 8, 2009

Every day, some charming dead fish floats to the surface...



Anybody who is not following Climategate must be brain-dead. It's a feast of revelations. A daily banquet. Here's a taste from a good one by Willis Eschenbach, from Watts Up With That?, The Smoking Gun At Darwin Zero:

...Figure 8 Darwin Zero Homogeneity Adjustments. Black line shows amount and timing of adjustments.

Yikes again, double yikes! What on earth justifies that adjustment? How can they do that? We have five different records covering Darwin from 1941 on. They all agree almost exactly. Why adjust them at all? They've just added a huge artificial totally imaginary trend to the last half of the raw data! Now it looks like the IPCC diagram in Figure 1, all right ... but a six degree per century trend? And in the shape of a regular stepped pyramid climbing to heaven? What's up with that?

Those, dear friends, are the clumsy fingerprints of someone messing with the data Egyptian style ... they are indisputable evidence that the "homogenized" data has been changed to fit someone's preconceptions about whether the earth is warming.

One thing is clear from this. People who say that "Climategate was only about scientists behaving badly, but the data is OK" are wrong. At least one part of the data is bad, too. The Smoking Gun for that statement is at Darwin Zero.

So once again, I'm left with an unsolved mystery. How and why did the GHCN "adjust" Darwin's historical temperature to show radical warming? Why did they adjust it stepwise? Do Phil Jones and the CRU folks use the "adjusted" or the raw GHCN dataset? My guess is the adjusted one since it shows warming, but of course we still don't know … because despite all of this, the CRU still hasn't released the list of data that they actually use, just the station list.

Another odd fact, the GHCN adjusted Station 1 to match Darwin Zero's strange adjustment, but they left Station 2 (which covers much of the same period, and as per Fig. 5 is in excellent agreement with Station Zero and Station 1) totally untouched. They only homogenized two of the three. Then they averaged them....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:08 AM

December 7, 2009

The banality of evil...

Steven Hayward, another point about Climategate...

...This raises another small but perhaps significant point that I didn't have room to comment on in my Weekly Standard article: How is it possible for a group of smart people to write over 1,000 e-mails over the course of a decade without a single shred of wit or humor in any of them? There isn't the tiniest hint anywhere that any of these guys ever grin. It jives with my experience of environmentalists for 20 years now that they are the single most humorless slice of humanity on the planet....

How is it possible? Imagine a minor Soviet commissar sending some kulaks to the Gulag...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:18 AM

December 5, 2009

A wee quote for you...

Jimmy Akin:

...I know there are some who are calling for the hacker(s) or whistle-blower(s) who exposed the data to be prosecuted, but whoever did this is one of the great heroes of science. They should be awarded a Nobel Prize (if nothing else, the peace price for all the lives that stand to be saved). The Roman Senate should vote them a full triumph (not just triumphal ornaments). And they should be given a lifetime supply of carbon.
Posted by John Weidner at 11:19 AM

December 4, 2009

Stupefyin'!



Reels the mind... The Met Office! The Heart of Darkness is going to re-think. I can't cope, this is just too strange to deal with. Maybe I'm dreaming...

Met Office to re-examine 160 years of climate data - Times Online:

The Met Office plans to re-examine 160 years of temperature data after admitting that public confidence in the science on man-made global warming has been shattered by leaked e-mails.

The new analysis of the data will take three years, meaning that the Met Office will not be able to state with absolute confidence the extent of the warming trend until the end of 2012.

The Met Office database is one of three main sources of temperature data analysis on which the UN's main climate change science body relies for its assessment that global warming is a serious danger to the world. This assessment is the basis for next week's climate change talks in Copenhagen aimed at cutting CO2 emissions.

The Government is attempting to stop the Met Office from carrying out the re-examination, arguing that it would be seized upon by climate change sceptics. [Gee, do you think?]

The Met Office works closely with the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), which is being investigated after e-mails written by its director, Phil Jones, appeared to show an attempt to manipulate temperature data and block alternative scientific views.

The Met Office's published data showing a warming trend draws heavily on CRU analysis. CRU supplied all the land temperature data to the Met Office, which added this to its own analysis of sea temperature data....

If you follow climate "science," you will over and over see the acronym "HADCRU," or "HADCRUT." That's the biggie of global temperature data-sets. CRU for Climatic Research Center of the University of East Anglia—those are the guys whose e-mails were whistle-blowed into public shame recently—and "Had" for the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, part of the... Met Office.

When pomposos say about man-made global warming that "the science is settled" (of course science is NEVER settled) there is nothing closer to what they mean than the stuff labeled "HADCRU." and now "HAD" is tossing "CRU" under the bus!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:34 PM

December 2, 2009

If you prefer spoken to written...

This video is good on how consumer-driven health care can reduce costs is pretty good. To their examples of falling prices and improved quality in laser eye surgery and hair-transplants (not covered by insurance, and thus paid for out-of-pocket) I would add optometry, which you can now get at Costco!

I'd guess that if a hundred million people were paying for routine health care out of their own HSA's, we would quickly see the advent of the medical equivalent of the personal computer. Machines that could take and analyze tiny blood samples and analyze urine samples, and check blood-pressure and heart-beat. Then give rapid feedback on possible problems, or recommend dosage changes for medications. And send the info to your physician, along with alerts if anything is out of the ordinary. Maybe include video-conferencing with your doc...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:24 AM

November 30, 2009

(Yes, I know I'm obsessing over Climategate - and I should get a life)



This piece by Clive Crook on Warmergate is pretty good, but there's something here that really bothers me...

More on Climategate - Clive Crook:

...While I'm listing surprises, let me note how disappointed I was by The Economist's coverage of all this. "Leaked emails do not show climate scientists at their best," it observes. No indeed. I should say I worked at the magazine for years, admire it as much as ever, and rely on the science coverage especially. But I was baffled by its reaction to the scandal. "Little wonder that the scientists are looking tribal and jumpy, and that sceptics have leapt so eagerly on such tiny scraps as proof of a conspiracy," its report concludes. Tiny scraps?  I detest anti-scientific thinking as much as The Economist does. I admire expertise, and scientific expertise especially; like any intelligent citizen I am willing to defer to it. But that puts a great obligation on science. The people whose instinct is to respect and admire science should be the ones most disturbed by these revelations. The scientists have let them down, and made the anti-science crowd look wise. That is outrageous. ...

NO, this is not the "anti-science crowd" vs the "science-crowd. It's the honest-science crowd vs the dishonest-science crowd. It's been stupid all along to say that the skeptics are "anti-science," since many of them are cracker-jack scientists, or engineers, or amateurs with a deep appreciation of what natural science is and should be. Steve McIntyre has show those big-shot "scientists" Mann and Briffa and Caspar Amman to be dead wrong, and he did it without complete datasets, and without the big grants that Jones & Co had. He's a scientist.

It's a hundred times more wrong and STUPID to say the critics are "anti-science" now.

Being a scientist is not a matter of having a white lab coat and a union card. A scientist is a seeker of Truth. Everything else is trivial compared to that. Phil Jones and his gang ARE NOT SCIENTISTS. Not even a little bit. (You might perhaps call them scientific technicians.)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:51 PM

Peer-Review--a magical spell...





Shannon Love, No One Peer-Reviews Scientific Software:

...Too often these days when people want to use a scientific study to bolster a political position, they utter the phrase, "It was peer reviewed" like a magical spell to shut off any criticism of a paper's findings.

Worse, the concept of "peer review" is increasingly being treated in the popular discourse as synonymous with "the findings were reproduced and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt."

This is never what peer review was intended to accomplish. Peer review functions largely to catch trivial mistakes and to filter out the loons. It does not confirm or refute a paper's findings....

[...]

....Custom-written scientific programs are much, much larger and much, much more complex than any spreadsheet. It would take a huge amount of time for a peer reviewer to go through the code line by line to see if the software had any faults. Normally, peer reviewers work for only a token payment and they work in isolation. They don't have the time or resources to actually check out a complex piece of software. Further, there is no guarantee that a peer reviewer in a particular field is competent to judge software. That is like assuming that a biologist who understands everything about the Humboldt squid can also rebuild any automotive transmission.

The practical inability of peer reviewers to verify scientific software doesn't mean much in reality, because scientific institutions never even developed the standard that experimenters had to make the code for their software available to reviewers in the first place!

This raises a troubling question: When scientists tell the public that a scientific study that used a large, custom-written piece of software has been "peer reviewed" does that mean the study faced the same level of peer scrutiny as did a study that used more traditional hardware instruments and procedures?

Clearly not.

Scientists have let a massive flaw slowly creep into the scientific review system as they have ignored the gradually increasing significance and complexity of computer software...
Posted by John Weidner at 12:13 PM

November 29, 2009

Makes Piltdown Man look like child's play...



Christopher Booker has a powerful editorial in the Telegraph, Climate change: This is the Worst Scientific Scandal of our Generation:

I've added my own emphasis, comments and links. ('cause what's the use of having a blog if not to have fun?)

A week after my colleague James Delingpole, on his Telegraph blog, coined the term "Climategate" to describe the scandal revealed by the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, Google was showing that the word now appears across the internet more than nine million times. [And growing fast!] But in all these acres of electronic coverage, one hugely relevant point about these thousands of documents has largely been missed.

The reason why even the Guardian's George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Professor Philip Jones, the CRU's director, is in charge of the two key sets of data used by the IPCC to draw up its reports. Through its link to the Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office, which selects most of the IPCC's key scientific contributors, his global temperature record is the most important of the four sets of temperature data on which the IPCC and governments rely — not least for their predictions that the world will warm to catastrophic levels unless trillions of dollars are spent to avert it.

Dr Jones is also a key part of the closely knit group of American and British scientists responsible for promoting that picture of world temperatures conveyed by Michael Mann's "hockey stick" graph which 10 years ago turned climate history on its head by showing that, after 1,000 years of decline, global temperatures have recently shot up to their highest level in recorded history....
...Given star billing by the IPCC, not least for the way it appeared to eliminate the long-accepted Mediaeval Warm Period when temperatures were higher they are today, the graph became the central icon of the entire man-made global warming movement. [Prediction: We will be rooting out hockey stick graphs for a generation.]

Since 2003, however, when the statistical methods used to create the "hockey stick" were first exposed as fundamentally flawed by an expert Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre, an increasingly heated battle has been raging between Mann's supporters, calling themselves "the Hockey Team", and McIntyre and his own allies, as they have ever more devastatingly called into question the entire statistical basis on which the IPCC and CRU construct their case.

The senders and recipients of the leaked CRU emails constitute a cast list of the IPCC's scientific elite, including not just the "Hockey Team", such as Dr Mann himself, Dr Jones and his CRU colleague Keith Briffa, [LINK] but Ben Santer, responsible for a highly controversial rewriting of key passages in the IPCC's 1995 report; Kevin Trenberth, who similarly controversially pushed the IPCC into scaremongering over hurricane activity; [Yeah, what happened to those huge hurricanes we were promised?] and Gavin Schmidt, right-hand man to Al Gore's ally Dr James Hansen, whose own GISS record of surface temperature data is second in importance only to that of the CRU itself. [And here's another culprit.]

There are three threads in particular in the leaked documents which have sent a shock wave through informed observers across the world. [You could even call me an "informed observer," in the most minor way. And I'm stunned by this. Suspicions confirmed a thousandfold beyond anything I could have dreamed of.] Perhaps the most obvious, as lucidly put together by Willis Eschenbach (see McIntyre's blog Climate Audit and Anthony Watt's blog Watts Up With That), is the highly disturbing series of emails which show how Dr Jones and his colleagues have for years been discussing the devious tactics whereby they could avoid releasing their data to outsiders under freedom of information laws.

They have come up with every possible excuse for concealing the background data on which their findings and temperature records were based.

This in itself has become a major scandal, not least Dr Jones's refusal to release the basic data from which the CRU derives its hugely influential temperature record, which culminated last summer in his startling claim that much of the data from all over the world had simply got "lost". [The dog ate it.] Most incriminating of all are the emails in which scientists are advised to delete large chunks of data, which, when this is done after receipt of a freedom of information request, is a criminal offence.

But the question which inevitably arises from this systematic refusal to release their data is — what is it that these scientists seem so anxious to hide? The second and most shocking revelation of the leaked documents is how they show the scientists trying to manipulate data through their tortuous computer programmes, always to point in only the one desired direction — to lower past temperatures and to "adjust" recent temperatures upwards, in order to convey the impression of an accelerated warming. This comes up so often (not least in the documents relating to computer data in the Harry Read Me file) that it becomes the most disturbing single element of the entire story. This is what Mr McIntyre caught Dr Hansen doing with his GISS temperature record last year (after which Hansen was forced to revise his record), [Here's a LINK. And don't miss second half of the article!]] and two further shocking examples have now come to light from Australia and New Zealand. [Drip drip drip, like Watergate!]

In each of these countries it has been possible for local scientists to compare the official temperature record with the original data on which it was supposedly based. In each case it is clear that the same trick has been played — to turn an essentially flat temperature chart into a graph which shows temperatures steadily rising. And in each case this manipulation was carried out under the influence of the CRU. [Lots more of this coming, I bet.]

What is tragically evident from the Harry Read Me file [We'll be mining that mother-lode of mendacity for years.] is the picture it gives of the CRU scientists hopelessly at sea with the complex computer programmes they had devised to contort their data in the approved direction, more than once expressing their own desperation at how difficult it was to get the desired results.

The third shocking revelation of these documents is the ruthless way in which these academics have been determined to silence any expert questioning of the findings they have arrived at by such dubious methods — not just by refusing to disclose their basic data but by discrediting and freezing out any scientific journal which dares to publish their critics' work. It seems they are prepared to stop at nothing to stifle scientific debate in this way, not least by ensuring that no dissenting research should find its way into the pages of IPCC reports. [Years of ferocious and unscrupulous attacks have made the skeptics tough and dangerous. TRUTH is the best revenge, and now it's payback time.]

There's more in the article. But it's time to stop enjoying myself and get back to ordinary life...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:41 AM

November 25, 2009

"Perverse... even to imagine so heinous a crime"

Here's a little insight into how attitudes towards scientific fraud have changed since I was a boy.

In 1957 Isaac Asimov was still a professor of bio-chemistry at Boston University Medical School. His science fiction was popular, but SF was then a marginal genre that wouldn't support a man with a family. He was also starting to branch out into other sorts of writing.

He wrote a mystery novel, a A Whiff of Death, which he had a hard time getting published, and which was not a commercial success. This quote is from his autobiography, In Joy Still Felt:
...I sent it to several publishers of mystery novels, such as Harper and William Morrow. and it kept coming back. Apparently Doubleday's decision as to its unworthiness was part of a general notion.

That bothered me, for I was convinced the murder mystery was a good one. Of course the setting of a graduate chemistry department was an esoteric one, but that should have been a point in the book's favor.

I discovered eventually, that the chief flaw in the book from the standpoint of the publishers was the inadequacy of the motive for the murder. It involved a Ph.D. student faking results, and that seemed a tiny sin to most editorial readers.

When I gave fellow professors an inkling of the plot, however, they shuddered and turned away, obviously suspecting some deep-seated perverse element in my nature even to imagine so heinous a crime. Too little for one group of people, too much for another!...
[My emphasis]

I took quite a few science classes in high school and college, and I'm pretty sure the subject of scientific fraud was never mentioned. I don't think anyone considered it even possible. That's certainly a contrast with what we've seen in the CRU e-mails. Or in many other things, such as the years of frustration Steve McIntyre had trying to get a look at Keith Briffa's tree-ring data. Wow!

And it is all of a piece with the meta-theme of this blog in recent years, that much of what we see around us can be explained as results of the slow draining away, over generations, of habits inherited from the Christian and Jewish faith and culture of Western Civilization. Religious faith has been declining for several centuries, but Christian habits of mind have long lingered. And we tend to just take them for granted, until one day they are gone!

One of those habits has been the intense respect we once had had for honesty in the practice of natural science. It used to be so common that no one even imagined a different possibility... (except one science fiction writer!). What we call "science" (really just one example of science; the scientific study of the natural realm) is a product of Medieval European Catholic faith and culture. It was not invented by Newton or Sir Francis Bacon—they just popularized a philosophical tradition that had been growing for centuries before them.

This tradition grew out of Catholic beliefs, including that the created realm is good, and real, and intelligible. And that there is Truth, and we are called to be servants of Truth.

(I'll try to find time to post a bit more to support this, though it is a subject that is far vaster than me! 'Till then, a couple of quotes: Link, Link.)

[I've posted below the fold a quote from Chesterton on Aquinas, describing St Thomas's epic battle with Siger of Brabant on the nature of scientific truth. Just to give you the flavor of what I'm hinting at....]

...Nevertheless, it was never the existence of atheists, any more than Arabs or Aristotelian pagans, that disturbed the extraordinary controversial composure of Thomas Aquinas. The real peril that followed on the victory he had won for Aristotle was vividly presented in the curious case of Siger of Brabant; and it is well worth study, for anyone who would begin to comprehend the strange history of Christendom. It is marked by one rather queer quality; which has always been the unique note of the Faith, though it is not noticed by its modern enemies, and rarely by its modern friends. It is the fact symbolised in the legend of Antichrist, who was the double of Christ; in the profound proverb that the Devil is the ape of God. It is the fact that falsehood is never so false as when it is very nearly true. It is when the stab comes near the nerve of truth, that the Christian conscience cries out in pain. And Siger of Brabant, following on some of the Arabian Aristotelians, advanced a theory which most modern newspaper readers would instantly have declared to be the same as the theory of St. Thomas. That was what finally roused St. Thomas to his last and most emphatic protest. He had won his battle for a wider scope of philosophy and science; he had cleared the ground for a general understanding about faith and enquiry; an understanding that has generally been observed among Catholics, and certainly never deserted without disaster. It was the idea that the scientist should go on exploring and experimenting freely, so long as he did not claim an infallibility and finality which it was against his own principles to claim. Meanwhile the Church should go on developing and defining, about supernatural things, so long as she did not claim a right to alter the deposit of faith, which it was against her own principles to claim. And when he had said this, Siger of Brabant got up and said something so horribly like it, and so horribly unlike, that (like the Antichrist) he might have deceived the very elect.

Siger of Brabant said this: the Church must be right theologically, but she can be wrong scientifically. There are two truths; the truth of the supernatural world, and the truth of the natural world, which contradicts the supernatural world. While we are being naturalists, we can suppose that Christianity is all nonsense; but then, when we remember that we are Christians, we must admit that Christianity is true even if it is nonsense. In other words, Siger of Brabant split the human head in two, like the blow in an old legend of battle; and declared that a man has two minds, with one of which he must entirely believe and with the other may utterly disbelieve. To many this would at least seem like a parody of Thomism. As a fact, it was the assassination of Thomism. It was not two ways of finding the same truth; it was an untruthful way of pretending that there are two truths. And it is extraordinarily interesting to note that this is the one occasion when the Dumb Ox really came out like a wild bull. When he stood up to answer Siger of Brabant, he was altogether transfigured, and the very style of his sentences, which is a thing like the tone of a man's voice, is suddenly altered. He had never been angry with any of the enemies who disagreed with him. But these enemies had attempted the worst treachery: they had made him agree with them.

Those who complain that theologians draw fine distinctions could hardly find a better example of their own folly. In fact, a fine distinction can be a flat contradiction. It was notably so in this case. St. Thomas was willing to allow the one truth to be approached by two paths, precisely because he was sure there was only one truth. Because the Faith was the one truth, nothing discovered in nature could ultimately contradict the Faith. Because the Faith was the one truth, nothing really deduced from the Faith could ultimately contradict the facts. It was in truth a curiously daring confidence in the reality of his religion: and though some may linger to dispute it, it has been justified. The scientific facts, which were supposed to contradict the Faith in the nineteenth century, are nearly all of them regarded as unscientific fictions in the twentieth century. Even the materialists have fled from materialism; and those who lectured us about determinism in psychology are already talking about indeterminism in matter. But whether his confidence was right or wrong, it was specially and supremely a confidence that there is one truth which cannot contradict itself. And this last group of enemies suddenly sprang up, to tell him they entirely agreed with him in saying that there are two contradictory truths. Truth, in the medieval phrase, carried two faces under one hood; and these double-faced sophists practically dared to suggest that it was the Dominican hood.

So, in his last battle and for the first time, he fought as with a battle-axe. There is a ring in the words altogether beyond the almost impersonal patience he maintained in debate with so many enemies. "Behold our refutation of the error. It is not based on documents of faith, but on the reasons and statements of the philosophers themselves. If then anyone there be who, boastfully taking pride in his supposed wisdom, wishes to challenge what we have written, let him not do it in some corner nor before children who are powerless to decide on such difficult matters. Let him reply openly if he dare. He shall find me then confronting him, and not only my negligible self, but many another whose study is truth. We shall do battle with his errors or bring a cure to his ignorance."

The Dumb Ox is bellowing now; like one at bay and yet terrible and towering over all the baying pack. We have already noted why, in this one quarrel with Siger of Brabant, Thomas Aquinas let loose such thunders of purely moral passion; it was because the whole work of his life was being betrayed behind his back, by those who had used his victories over the reactionaries. The point at the moment is that this is perhaps his one moment of personal passion, save for a single flash in the troubles of his youth: and he is once more fighting his enemies with a firebrand. And yet, even in this isolated apocalypse of anger, there is one phrase that may be commended for all time to men who are angry with much less cause. If there is one sentence that could be carved in marble, as representing the calmest and most enduring rationality of his unique intelligence, it is a sentence which came pouring out with all the rest of this molten lava. If there is one phrase that stands before history as typical of Thomas Aquinas, it is that phrase about his own argument: "It is not based on documents of faith, but on the reasons and statements of the philosophers themselves."
Posted by John Weidner at 10:23 AM

November 24, 2009

Today's catchy tune...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:57 PM

Good summary piece on "Climategate"

Probably you Random Jottings people are already up to speed on this, but here's a clear summary to pass on to those still in the dark.

Iain Murray, Pajamas Media — Three Things You Absolutely Must Know About Climategate:

...They're calling it "Climategate." The scandal that the suffix —gate implies is the state of climate science over the past decade or so revealed by a thousand or so emails, documents, and computer code sets between various prominent scientists released following a leak from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in the UK.

This may seem obscure, but the science involved is being used to justify the diversion of literally trillions of dollars of the world's wealth in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by phasing out fossil fuels. The CRU is the Pentagon of global warming science, and these documents are its Pentagon Papers.

Here are three things everyone should know about the Climategate Papers. Links are provided so that the full context of every quote can be seen by anyone interested....

One of the interesting things about this is that it's not the kind of conspiracy where a cabal manipulates things in darkness. Megan McArdle wrote today: "I have so far seen no evidence of the kind of grand conspiracy that some critics have charged." She misses the essence of the thing. It's like high school, where everybody knows who's "in" and who's "out." And most kids would KILL to be in the "in crowd." No one has to be "recruited" into that rat-race. It's a conspiracy with no conspirators. For instance, there is one e-mail in the pile that says something like: "those people will know what to say without being prompted."

It's similar to how no one among the press and the liberal public needed to be prompted to start referring to teachers as some sort of precious national treasures (a silly idea; a good teacher IS a treasure, but most of them are mediocrities.) And sending them up in space shuttles, etc. The corrupt teacher's unions own the Democrat Party, so once conservatives started talking about privatizing schools, the faithful rallied round. They probably weren't even lying; they believe what the crowd believes...

Most people today have the morals of high schoolers. I bet Phil Jones and the other Climate-gaters could give speeches to young people explaining how science works because of skeptics, and peer-review, and open-ness........ without feeling any cognitive dissonance whatsoever! Just like teenagers might lie and cheat to get into the "in crowd," and not even connect that with "being dishonest."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:29 AM

November 23, 2009

Life is hard.... but there are sweet moments...

Viscount Monckton on Global WarmingGate: 'They Are Criminals':

...This is what they did — these climate "scientists" on whose unsupported word the world's classe politique proposes to set up an unelected global government this December in Copenhagen, with vast and unprecedented powers to control all formerly free markets, to tax wealthy nations and all of their financial transactions, to regulate the economic and environmental affairs of all nations, and to confiscate and extinguish all patent and intellectual property rights.

The tiny, close-knit clique of climate scientists who invented and now drive the "global warming" fraud — for fraud is what we now know it to be — tampered with temperature data so assiduously that, on the recent admission of one of them, land temperatures since 1980 have risen twice as fast as ocean temperatures. One of the thousands of emails recently circulated by a whistleblower at the University of East Anglia, where one of the world's four global-temperature datasets is compiled, reveals that data were altered so as to prevent a recent decline in temperature from showing in the record. In fact, there has been no statistically significant "global warming" for 15 years — and there has been rapid and significant cooling for nine years.

Worse, these arrogant fraudsters — for fraudsters are what we now know them to be — have refused, for years and years and years, to reveal their data and their computer program listings. Now we know why: As a revealing 15,000-line document from the computer division at the Climate Research Unit shows, the programs and data are a hopeless, tangled mess. In effect, the global temperature trends have simply been made up. Unfortunately, the British researchers have been acting closely in league with their U.S. counterparts who compile the other terrestrial temperature dataset — the GISS/NCDC dataset. That dataset too contains numerous biases intended artificially to inflate the natural warming of the 20th century.

Finally, these huckstering snake-oil salesmen and "global warming" profiteers — for that is what they are — have written to each other encouraging the destruction of data that had been lawfully requested under the Freedom of Information Act in the UK by scientists who wanted to check whether their global temperature record had been properly compiled. And that procurement of data destruction, as they are about to find out to their cost, is a criminal offense. They are not merely bad scientists — they are crooks. And crooks who have perpetrated their crimes at the expense of British and U.S. taxpayers....

"And that procurement of data destruction.... is a criminal offense." Oh let it be so. How I want to see those animals prosecuted. It probably won't happen because they are on the Left, but they deserve to be seen in jumpsuits and shackles, hanging their heads as they are sentenced for..... Well, murder would be the appropriate term, since they are trying to stifle economic growth that could save the lives of tens-of-millions of the world's poorest people.

I still retain some remnants of faith in science. (Using the word in the common sense to mean natural science. Actually any disciplined truth-quest should be called "science.") To see these scoundrels corrupt science for personal gain—if not in the form of $, then of esteem and fame and promotions, and invites to "conferences" at swank resorts—is utterly disgusting to me...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:15 AM

November 22, 2009

Just in case you were wondering WHY...

Just in case you were wondering why "scientists" at the CRU have been fabricating global-warming science, let Mr Steyn fill you in on the intoxicating levels of POWER environmental scientists and politicians are trying to get their hands on...

Gullible eager-beaver planet savers:

I'm always appreciative when a fellow says what he really means. Tim Flannery, the jet-setting doomsaying global warm-monger from down under, was in Ottawa the other day promoting his latest eco-tract, and offered a few thoughts on "Copenhagen"—which is transnational-speak for December's UN Convention on Climate Change. "We all too often mistake the nature of those negotiations in Copenhagen," remarked professor Flannery. "We think of them as being concerned with some sort of environmental treaty. That is far from the case. The negotiations now ongoing toward the Copenhagen agreement are in effect diplomacy at the most profound global level. They deal with every aspect of our life and they will influence every aspect of our life, our economy, our society."

Hold that thought: "They deal with every aspect of our life." Did you know every aspect of your life was being negotiated at Copenhagen? But in a good way! So no need to worry. After all, we all care about the environment, don't we? So we ought to do something about it, right? And, since "the environment" isn't just in your town or county but spreads across the entire planet, we can only really do something at the planetary level. But what to do? According to paragraph 38 on page 18 of the latest negotiating text, the convention will set up a "government" to manage the "new funds" and the "related facilitative processes."...

Do read it all.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:39 AM

November 21, 2009

Sweet. So sweet....

The "hacked" (or maybe released by some insider) e-mails and files of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia make intoxicating reading. As a minor member of the crowd which has been saying for years that fishy stuff is going on, the schadenfreude is just yummy. A treat. If I had lots of time I would be downloading the whole file and picking out gems of duplicity. But lots of other people are doing that, so I can just enjoy.

The thing to keep in mind is that the research that justifies the enormous economic and political power-grabs of "Global Warmism" does not come from all over the globe. A large part of it comes from the CRU (and the allied Met Office Hadley Centre). A handful of people have produced most of the papers. Now they are exposed as liars and frauds. And people like me have been shown to have been right all along...

* Update: "Bishop Hill" has summaries of the most interesting e-mails, with links to a searchable database that's been established Ha ha, ain't technology wonderful!

a bit of commentary from ICECAP:

...Jones claims the files were obtained illegally as if that absolves the content. It doesn't and it is enough to destroy all their careers. Jones gave a foretaste of his behavior in 2005. Warwick Hughes asked for the data and method he used for his claim of a 0.6C temperature rise since the end of the nineteenth century. Jones responded, "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" He has stonewalled ever since. The main reason was because it was used as a key argument in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports to convince the world humans caused rapid warming in the 20th century. The emails obtained are a frightening record of arrogance, and deception far beyond his 2005 effort.

Another glimpse into what the files and emails reveal was the report by Professor Deming. He wrote, "With publication of an article in Science (in 1995) I gained sufficient credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them someone who would pervert science in the service of social and political causes. So one of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said. "We must get rid of the Medieval Warm Period." The person in question was Jonathan Overpeck and his even more revealing emails are part of those exposed by the hacker. It is now very clear that Deming's charge was precise. They have perverted science in the service of social and political causes.

Professor Wegman showed how this "community of scientists" published together and peer reviewed each other's work. I was always suspicious about why peer review was such a big deal. Now all my suspicions are confirmed. The emails reveal how they controlled the process, including manipulating some of the major journals like Science and Nature. We know the editor of the Journal of Climate, Andrew Weaver, was one of the "community". They organized lists of reviewers when required making sure they gave the editor only favorable names. They threatened to isolate and marginalize one editor who they believed was recalcitrant.

Total Control

These people controlled the global weather data used by the IPCC through the joint Hadley and CRU and produced the HadCRUT data. They controlled the IPCC, especially crucial chapters and especially preparation of the Summary for PolicyMakers (SPM). Stephen Schneider was a prime mover there from the earliest reports to the most influential in 2001. They also had a left wing conduit to the New York Times. The emails between Andy Revkin and the community are very revealing and must place his journalistic integrity in serious jeopardy. Of course the IPCC Reports and especially the SPM Reports are the basis for Kyoto and the Copenhagen Accord, but now we know they are based on completely falsified and manipulated data and science. It is no longer a suspicion. Surely this is the death knell for the CRU, the IPCC, Kyoto and Copenhagen and the Carbon Credits shell game....

Here are some earlier posts of mine on this goldmine of fishyness.
Link,
Link,
Link,
Link,
Link,
Link,
Link.

Or heck, just go to my "science" category. There's tons of this stuff. surprises even me how much 've blogged over the years...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:42 PM

November 19, 2009

Just airbrush some hurricanes in...

Alex Jones' Prison Planet.com —With Hurricanes At Thirty Year Low, Gore Turns To Photoshop:

...With the increasingly discredited notion of man-made global warming crashing and burning on a daily basis, climate alarmists are being forced to accelerate their fearmongering to unprecedented levels. With the evidence failing to match up to the doomsday proclamations, Al Gore has turned to photoshop in order to make a CO2-choked earth look scary enough to sell his cap and trade scam.

The latest example of climate cult fakery comes in the form of the front cover of Al Gore's new book, Our Choice; A Plan To Solve The Climate Crisis.

Shortly after the devastation of Katrina, Al Gore was busy making a correlation between hurricanes and global warming in an effort to drive home his claim that higher global CO2 emissions cause an increase in extreme weather events. The cover art for Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, features an image of a hurricane rising out of a smoke stack.

Seemingly underwhelmed that there have been no major hurricanes since Katrina, along with the fact that global hurricane activity is now at a thirty year low, Gore came up with an ingenious method of solving the problem of the lack of scary depictions of frightening hurricanes to display on his book — simply airbrush them in!...

Don't miss the pictures! You can compare the original photo with the one in Gore's new book, with the added extra hurricanes, including one rotating the wrong way! And a hurricane on the equator! Fascinatin' what scientists can discover these days.

And look at Greenland. I always thought there was land under the Greenland ice-cap, but it sure looks like the recent melting has revealed blue water right in the middle!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:53 AM

October 10, 2009

Hatefulness grows, as mean-spirited reality savages innocent climate models...

(My title is due to having to endure in silence a critique of "mean-spiritedness," which has—wait for it— "taken over again!" complete with examples of "right-wing hate," morphing into "JFK was killed by hate." Nudge, wink.)

That worrisome "Methane Beast" apparently is still not awake.:

The Ups and Downs of Methane
Reposted from World Climate Report

One of the indisputable facts in the field of global climate change is that the atmospheric build-up of methane (CH4) has been, over the past few decades, occurring much more slowly than all predictions as to its behavior (Figure 1). Since methane is a particularly potent greenhouse gas (thought to have about 25 times the warming power of CO2), emissions scenarios which fail to track methane will struggle to well-replicate the total climate forcing, likely erring on the high side—and feeding too much forcing into climate models leads to too much global warming coming out of them...

...This behavior is quite perplexing. And while we are not sure what processes are behind it, we do know one thing for certain—the slow growth of methane concentrations is an extremely cold bucket of water dumped on the overheated claims that global warming is leading to a thawing of the Arctic permafrost and the release of untold mega-quantities of methane (which, of course, will lead to more warming, more thawing, more methane, etc., and, of course, to runaway catastrophe)....
Posted by John Weidner at 3:03 PM

October 8, 2009

You would think people would be happy to hear this...

Antarctica's ice story has been put on ice — Watts Up With That?:

Where are the headlines? Where are the press releases? Where is all the attention?

The ice melt across during the Antarctic summer (October-January) of 2008-2009 was the lowest ever recorded in the satellite history.

Such was the finding reported last week by Marco Tedesco and Andrew Monaghan in the journal Geophysical Research Letters:
A 30-year minimum Antarctic snowmelt record occurred during austral summer 2008—2009 according to spaceborne microwave observations for 1980—2009. Strong positive phases of both the El-Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM) were recorded during the months leading up to and including the 2008—2009 melt season.
The silence surrounding this publication was deafening.

It would seem that with oft-stoked fears of a disastrous sea level rise coming this century any news that perhaps some signs may not be pointing to its imminent arrival would be greeted by a huge sigh of relief from all inhabitants of earth (not only the low-lying ones, but also the high-living ones, respectively under threat from rising seas or rising energy costs).

But not a peep...

Allie in Antartica

(The picture is of a good friend of the Weidners, Allie Barden. And yes, she is in Antarctica, and yes, it is cold. Read more here.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:07 AM

September 30, 2009

The sleuth is on the trail...

"Bishop Hill" has done it again. He's posted another tale, understandable by laymen, of a scientific detective at work. It's similar to his classic Caspar and the Jesus paper. Nowadays, alas, the job of a scientific truth-seeker is often to uncover the deceits of scientists themselves...

(It's probably hard for most people to even understand how shocking this stuff is. Scientific fraud used to be almost nonexistent. Scientists were really truth-seekers, once upon a time. To see the words "smoking gun" used routinely of scientists is truly calamitous.)

The Yamal Implosion:

...Having had his requests rejected by every other journal he had approached, McIntyre had no great expectations that the Royal Society would be any different, but there was no harm in trying and he duly sent off an email pointing out that Briffa had failed to meet the Society's requirement of archiving his data prior to submission and that the editors had failed to check that Briffa had done so. The reply, to McIntyre's surprise, was very encouraging:
We take matters like this very seriously and I am sorry that this was not picked up in the publishing process.
Was the Royal Society, in a striking contrast to every other journal in the field, about to enforce its own data availability policy? Had Briffa made a fatal mistake?

Summer gave way to autumn and as October drew to a close, McIntyre had still heard nothing from the Royal Society. However, in response to some further enquiries, the journal sent McIntyre some more encouraging news -- Briffa would be producing most of his data, although not immediately. Most of it would be available by the end of the year, with the remainder to follow in early 2009.

The first batch of data appeared on schedule in the dying days of 2008 and it was something of a disappointment. The Yamal data, as might have been expected, was to be archived with the second batch, so there would be a further delay before the real action could start. Meanwhile, however, McIntyre could begin to look at what Briffa had done elsewhere. It was not to be plain sailing. For a start, Briffa had archived data in an obsolete data format, last used in the era of punch-cards. This was inconvenient, and apparently deliberately so, but it was not an insurmountable problem -- with a little work, McIntyre was able to move ahead with his analysis. Briffa had also thrown a rather larger spanner in the works though: while he had archived the tree ring measurements, he had not supplied any metadata to go with it -- in other words there was no information about where the measurements had come from. All there was was a tree number and the measurements that went with it. However, McIntyre was well used to this kind of behaviour from climatologists and he had some techniques at hand for filling in some of the gaps. Climate Audit postings on the findings followed in fairly short order, some of which were quite intriguing. There was, however, no smoking gun....

* Update: Charlene says, "I guess we now know where the "anthropogenic" in "Anthropogenic Global Warming" comes from!"

Posted by John Weidner at 7:01 AM

September 29, 2009

Ignore that elephant...

The latest Orwellian* garbage from the usual suspects seems to be that we "already have" health-care rationing, so why not put it in the wise hands of government?

In Rationing Health Care, More Not Always Better, Experts Say - washingtonpost.com:

...A dirty word in health-care reform is "rationing," a term that conjures up the image of faceless government bureaucrats denying lifesaving therapies in the name of cutting costs.

But what if the real issue is not the specter of future rationing, but the haphazard, even illogical, way in which care is delivered today?

Medical professionals say the fundamental problem in the nation's health-care system is the widespread misuse and overuse of tests, treatments and drugs that drive up prices, have little value to patients, and can pose serious risks. The question, they say, is not whether there will be rationing, but rather what will be rationed, and when and how....

"Haphazard and illogical" are code words for "not controlled by government experts." Of course there's not one of us who has not experienced "haphazard and illogical" treatment by bureaucrats, eh? BUT, this time socialism is going to work! Experts will be in control. What could go wrong?

The big stupidity of the article is to completely ignore the reason WHY the current system is wasteful. It mentions people asking for CT scans because they have a headache. But it doesn't mention that those people aren't paying for their scan! Their "plan" is paying. If they had to pay out of their own pockets for routine care, their behavior would be different. A possible answer to these problems is consumer-driven health care. But that isn't even mentioned.

And of course tort reform isn't considered as a possible way to reduce costs. The trial lawyers bankroll the Dem Party, so that's off the table....

*It's Orwellian, because the intent is to destroy the meaning of the word, in order to prevent thought. In this case it's like saying the we have "rationing" of caviar, since some can't afford it, and some live where they don't even sell the stuff! If that's rationing, then the word has become meaningless.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:36 AM

September 21, 2009

One of life's mischievous pleasures...

...Is following Anthony Watt's blog, and seeing the Arctic Sea Ice Extent creep slowly up. Here's the the latest. (Or you can go direct to the source.)

Just follow the red line. And think of all the Lefty hopes of gaining power that are invested in dying Polar Bears. (Which are of course increasing also, but you are not supposed to know that.) Ha ha! all those lovable pacifists and anti-imperialists, drooling over gaining global power and forcing the little people to obey them and worship them. And yet......... and yet......... the ice isn't shrinking......

Perhaps Global Cooling will afford them some opportunities to be the big bosses.....

Though I have to admit this is very funny...

Melting Ice Caps Expose Hundreds Of Secret Arctic Lairs | The Onion:

..."This is no longer conjecture," Lorenzen added. "This is a full-blown crisis."

According to oceanographers, the Arctic Circle has been devastated by the effects of global warming in recent years, threatening hundreds of men and women who use the frozen tundra as a place to conduct bizarre experiments in human-animal grafting, carry out massive government cover-ups, or simply as a hidden headquarters from which to battle the forces of evil and fight crime.

"Last week a giant ice sheet broke off and split my prized underground complex nearly in half," said Dr. Raygun, a self-described psychotic mastermind best known for his diabolical thought-control experiments. "Now millions of dollars in state-of-the-art doomsday devices are gone—all because of the environmental carnage wrought by the human race."

"You spend your whole career concocting a brilliant scheme to wipe out all of mankind, and what happens?" Dr. Raygun continued. "They bring about a major global catastrophe completely on their own, those fools!"

Evil Scientist Dr. Raygun has begun the expensive task of moving his entire mutant staff to their Titan moon base.

Scientists predict the problem will only get worse as rising temperatures release methane trapped in Arctic permafrost, perpetuating the warming cycle and threatening the habitats of those who depend on the ice caps for safety from the prying, meddling public.

Earlier this week a flying saucer surfaced and is reportedly still pulsating with increasingly intense, unearthly colors. And late last month, a mystical order of Nazi occultists emerged from an underground bunker where they had spent decades communing with the Hyperborean gods and attempting to breed a new Aryan super-species destined to destroy Homo sapiens and rule the earth for untold millennia.

The 12 elderly Germans were detained by local law enforcement in Wainwright, AK....
(Thanks to Dave T.)
Posted by John Weidner at 9:42 PM

September 7, 2009

Interesting charts...

Just in case you are alarmed by those stories about the Arctic ice disappearing, here's a link to some graphs of the actual data. Looks rather like the trend is in the opposite direction, with sea ice increasing after a low point in 2007...

From Anthony Watts:

...It looks like we'll see the 2009 Arctic sea ice melt season bottom out in a few days and it won't be a record setter. Even NSIDC admits this. Here is a magnified graph of the IARC-JAXA AMSRE sea ice extent plot that is linked in the sidebar of WUWT....

This you might also find interesting, from a few months ago...

Here's a description of the movie...

This movie is to show the complete 30 year history of the NSIDC satellite derived arctic sea ice extent in a single video. Brown is land, black is shoreline, blue is water except for the large blue dot in the center of the plot. The movie plays double speed at the beginning because the early satellite collected data every other day. Youll see the large blue circle change in size flashing back and forth between the older and newer sat data just as the video slows down.

After staring at the graphs above you think you understand what is happening as ice gradually shrinks away. Well the high speed video shows a much more turbulent world with changing weather patterns in 2007 and 2008 summer blasting away at the south west corner of the ice. Ive watched it 20 times at least, noticing cloud patterns (causing lower ice levels), winds, water currents and all kinds of different things. Im not so sure anymore that were seeing a consistent decline to polar bear doom, with this kind of variance it might just be everyday noise.

Note that despite some mainstream media reports, our Arctic Sea ice has not melted away, but comes back every year as it has done for millennia..This is the normal season cycle.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:06 AM

September 1, 2009

Cool! In fact, very very cold...

Astronomers find coldest, driest, calmest place on Earth: (Thanks to Alan)

The search for the best observatory site in the world has lead to the discovery of what is thought to be the coldest, driest, calmest place on Earth. No human is thought to have ever been there but it is expected to yield images of the heavens three times sharper than any ever taken from the ground.

The joint US-Australian research team combined data from satellites, ground stations and climate models in a study to assess the many factors that affect astronomy – cloud cover, temperature, sky-brightness, water vapour, wind speeds and atmospheric turbulence.

The researchers pinpointed a site, known simply as Ridge A, that is 4,053m high up on the Antarctic Plateau. It is not only particularly remote but extremely cold and dry. The study revealed that Ridge A has an average winter temperature of minus 70C and that the water content of the entire atmosphere there is sometimes less than the thickness of a human hair.

It is also extremely calm, which means that there is very little of the atmospheric turbulence elsewhere that makes stars appear to twinkle: "It's so calm that there's almost no wind or weather there at all," says Dr Will Saunders, of the Anglo-Australian Observatory and visiting professor to UNSW, who led the study.

"The astronomical images taken at Ridge A should be at least three times sharper than at the best sites currently used by astronomers," says Dr Saunders. "Because the sky there is so much darker and drier, it means that a modestly-sized telescope there would be as powerful as the largest telescopes anywhere else on earth."...
Posted by John Weidner at 11:35 AM

August 12, 2009

The art of soliciting criticism...

From an interesting piece by Barbara Oakley, in Psychology Today:

...How can Drew Westen, a remarkably intelligent man, make the kinds of one-sided statements he made, and why did no one in the room question the sheer inanity of what was being presented?

My theory—call it the "Oakley effect"—is that really smart people often don't know how to accept and react constructively to criticism. (A neuroscientist might say they "have underdeveloped neurocircuitry for integrating negatively valenced stimuli.") This is because smart people are whizzes at problems that only need one person to figure out. Indeed, people are evaluated from kindergarten through college prep SATs on the basis of such "single solver" problems. If you are often or nearly always right with these kinds of problems, your increased confidence in your own abilities would be accompanied by an inadvertent decrease in your capacity to deal with criticism. After all, your experience would have shown that your critics were usually wrong.

But most large-scale societal issues are not single solver problems. They are so richly complex that no single person can faultlessly teach him or herself all the key concepts, which are often both contradictory and important. Yes, smart people have an advantage in dealing with such problems, because they've got natural brain-power that allows them to hold many factors in mind at once, bringing formidable problem-solving skills to bear. But smart people have a natural disadvantage, too: they're not used to changing their thinking in response to criticism when they get things wrong.

In fact, natural smarties—the intellectual elite—often don't seem to learn the art of soliciting the criticism necessary to grasp the core issues of a complex problem, and then making vital adaptations as a result. Instead, they fall in naturally with people who admire, rather than are critical, of their thinking. This further strengthens their conviction they are right even as it distances them from people of very different backgrounds who grasp very different, but no less crucial aspects of complex problems. That's why the intellectual elite is often branded by those from other groups as out of touch...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:33 PM

August 9, 2009

Just some facts..

Sarah Palin has been getting a lot of criticism for suggesting that ObamaCare will include "death panels" to decide when people should die. Such as this "...Except, there is nothing in any proposal by any Democrat, Republican, Greenie, Communist, New Nazi, or a Flat Earther on health care that even hints about a "death panel." You're just making stuff up. In fact, it's hard to know just what the hell you're referring to..."

From Dr. Betsey McCaughey's rebuttal. (Link from a long post full of good info at Conservatives4palin.)

End of Life Counseling

There have been flawed criticisms of my reading of a section of H.R. 3200. The critics have hastily read page 425 of the HR 3200, rather than reading the full relevant text (425-443) or considering the reality of being a frail elderly patient. Here are four facts frequently overlooked:
1. The counseling includes not only living wills and durable powers of attorney, but specific methods to end life. On page 430, the bill prescribes counseling on whether or not to forego nutrition, hydration, and antibiotics, in states where such counseling is permitted.

2. There is an inherent conflict of interest in this counseling. Medicare funding is going to be cut 10% over the next decade ($500 billion in cuts) to pay for the health reform legislation, at the same ti e that Medicare enrollment is projected to increase 30%. More people to care for and fewer dollars will necessitate rationing. It is understandable that the government wants to curtail spending on end of life care. But the use of specific "patient decision aids" (p.443) discussed in the legislation such as scripts, videos, and brochures is problematic. If United Healthcare provided end of life counseling with a script prepared by the insurance company, there would be up uproar over the obvious conflict of interest.

The author of "Pants on Fire" should read on to pages 443 to see that patients will participate in "shared decision making." Shared with whom? The government certified counselors. No where is it stated that the patient unilaterally has the final say. The bill merely says the patient's views will be "incorporated" into the decision making...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 AM

August 3, 2009

"Extreme meltdown" maybe next year...

Anthony Watts quotes a news article, "Ice pockets choking Northern Passage" :

...Ice pockets choking Northern Passage: officials By Randy Boswell, Canwest News ServiceAugust 1, 2009

excerpts:

Despite predictions from a top U.S. polar institute that the Arctic Ocean's overall ice cover is headed for another "extreme" meltdown by mid-September, the Environment Canada agency monitoring our northern waters says an unusual combination of factors is making navigation more difficult in the Northwest Passage this year after two straight summers of virtually clear sailing.

...

"In the southern route," Canadian Ice Service officials told Canwest News Service, the agency "has observed more ice coverage than normal. This is partly due to the fact that the ice in the Amundsen Gulf consolidated this past winter, which is something it didn't do in 2007 and 2008."

The result, the agency said, is that ice conditions "are delaying any potential navigability of the Northwest Passage this year. This is opposite to what Environment Canada observed in the last week of July in 2007 and 2008."...

Funny how many stories like this one encounters nowadays. Mostly not in the news of course, but passed around the Interweb... It may be time for a massive governmental and international effort to avert global cooling! Capitalism and individualism have had their day, but when the fate of the planet is at stake, then they are luxuries which must be put aside. Power must shift to those who put the planet first, instead of corporate greed!

Hey, maybe I could make a big thing of this, and cash in like Al Gore!

Posted by John Weidner at 4:49 PM

July 19, 2009

"The very lawfulness of nature points to a divine Lawgiver..."

From an excellent piece, How God and Science Mix, by Stephen M. Barr...

...My fellow particle physicist Lawrence Krauss has argued that "God and science don't mix." He began with an interesting statement of J.B.S. Haldane, an eminent biologist of the last century:
"My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel or devil is going to interfere with its course."
Scientists are atheists in the lab, said Krauss, and so it is only logical that they should be atheists everywhere. This is a logical argument, yes, and also quite popular, but it is based on a conception of God that is alien to Jewish and Christian tradition. For Haldane and Krauss, religion is about miracles, and miracles are about magic and the irrational, and therefore belief in God stands in opposition to the world revealed by science, a world intelligible by reason and governed by law.

For Jews and Christians, however, pitting God and the laws of nature against each other in this way is an absurd mistake; for it is the very lawfulness of nature that points to a divine Lawgiver. In the Bible, God gives laws not only to the people of Israel, but to the cosmos itself, as in Jeremiah 33:25, where he declares his fidelity to Israel in these terms: "When I have no covenant with day and night, and have given no laws to heaven and earth, then too will I reject the descendants of Jacob and of my servant David."

In arguing against pagans for the existence of a creator God, ancient Christian writers pointed to the order and lawfulness of nature, not to the miraculous. The following passage from the second-century writer Minucius Felix is typical:
If upon entering some home you saw that everything there was well-tended, neat, and decorative, you would believe that some master was in charge of it, and that he was himself much superior to those good things. So too in the home of this world, when you see providence, order, and law in the heavens and on earth, believe that there is a Lord and Author of the universe, more beautiful than the stars themselves and the various parts of the whole world.
...What then of miracles? Doesn't belief in them make nonsense of everything I have just said? On the contrary; there is no logical contradiction in believing in both natural laws and miracles; for if the laws of nature are God's ordinances to begin with, then what he has ordained he may also suspend. Indeed, to speak of a miracle in the absence of law would be meaningless...

...In the Christian view, miracles are not mere outbreaks of lawlessness in nature that happen in an utterly capricious way. Since only God can suspend his own laws, miracles are always divine acts, and serve a divine purpose. In the Bible and Christian tradition, that purpose is always to manifest God's love and mercy, and to attest to the authority of singular figures who teach or act in his name. Miracles are thus exceedingly rare events, fraught with deeply symbolic religious significance. The idea that God would interfere in the scientific experiments of Haldane or anyone else, as if he were a mischievous imp or poltergeist, is utterly silly from a Christian point of view. And to consider the fact that he doesn't do so an argument for atheism is on a par with Khrushchev's triumphant announcement that the cosmonauts had not seen God in outer space...
Posted by John Weidner at 5:52 AM

July 9, 2009

"Metropolitan liberals who don't even know where meat or milk comes from..."

Meet the man who has exposed the great climate change con trick | The Spectator:

...His name is Ian Plimer, Professor of Mining Geology at Adelaide University, and he has recently published the landmark book Heaven And Earth, [Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science ] which is going to change forever the way we think about climate change.

'The hypothesis that human activity can create global warming is extraordinary because it is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astronomy, history, archaeology and geology,' says Plimer, and while his thesis is not new, you're unlikely to have heard it expressed with quite such vigour, certitude or wide-ranging scientific authority. Where fellow sceptics like Bjorn Lomborg or Lord Lawson of Blaby are prepared cautiously to endorse the International Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) more modest predictions, Plimer will cede no ground whatsoever. Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory, he argues, is the biggest, most dangerous and ruinously expensive con trick in history....

...What Heaven And Earth sets out to do is restore a sense of scientific perspective to a debate which has been hijacked by 'politicians, environmental activists and opportunists'. It points out, for example, that polar ice has been present on earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time; that extinctions of life are normal; that climate changes are cyclical and random; that the CO2 in the atmosphere — to which human activity contributes the tiniest fraction — is only 0.001 per cent of the total CO2 held in the oceans, surface rocks, air, soils and life; that CO2 is not a pollutant but a plant food; that the earth's warmer periods — such as when the Romans grew grapes and citrus trees as far north as Hadrian's Wall — were times of wealth and plenty.

All this is scientific fact — which is more than you can say for any of the computer models turning out doomsday scenarios about inexorably rising temperatures, sinking islands and collapsing ice shelves. Plimer doesn't trust them because they seem to have little if any basis in observed reality....

Here's a little more of the article...

...Heaven And Earth is the offspring of a pop science book Plimer published in 2001 called A Short History of Planet Earth. It was based on ten years' worth of broadcasts for ABC radio aimed mainly at people in rural areas. Though the book was a bestseller and won a Eureka prize, ABC refused to publish the follow-up; so did all the other major publishers he approached: 'There's a lot of fear out there. No one wants to go against the popular paradigm.'

Then someone put him in touch with a tiny publishing outfit in the middle of the bush — 'husband, wife, three kids, so poor they didn't even have curtains' — and they said yes. Plimer couldn't bring himself to accept an advance they clearly couldn't afford. But then something remarkable happened. In just two days, the book sold out its 5,000 print run. Five further editions followed in swift succession. It has now sold 26,500 copies in Australia alone — with similarly exciting prospects in Britain and the US. There's even an edition coming out in ultra-green Germany.

But surely Aussies of all people, with their bushfires and prolonged droughts, ought to be the last to buy into his message? 'Ah, but the average punter is not a fool. I get sometimes as many as 1,000 letters and emails a day from people who feel helpless and disenfranchised and just bloody sick of all the nonsense they hear about global warming from metropolitan liberals who don't even know where meat or milk comes from.'...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:01 AM

July 6, 2009

Lying with statistics...

This is some info one might want to save. Certain statistics get used over and over for mendacious purposes...Canada's Single-Prayer Health Care:

...Infant mortality rates are often cited as a reason socialized medicine and a single-payer system is supposed to be better than what we have here. But according to Dr. Linda Halderman, a policy adviser in the California State Senate, these comparisons are bogus.

As she points out, in the U.S., low birth-weight babies are still babies. In Canada, Germany and Austria, a premature baby weighing less than 500 grams is not considered a living child and is not counted in such statistics. They're considered "unsalvageable" and therefore never alive. Norway boasts one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world — until you factor in weight at birth, and then its rate is no better than in the U.S.

In other countries babies that survive less than 24 hours are also excluded and are classified as "stillborn." In the U.S. any infant that shows any sign of life for any length of time is considered a live birth.

A child born in Hong Kong or Japan that lives less than a day is reported as a "miscarriage" and not counted. In Switzerland and other parts of Europe, a baby is not counted as a baby if it is less than 30 centimeters in length....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:23 AM

June 28, 2009

A little quote for you...

Roger L. Simon:

All of a sudden... well, not quite all of a sudden, but recently...I have noticed my liberal friends (except for the most extreme and knee-jerk) are not very interested in discussing man-made global warming. The subject rarely comes up and, when it does, it is passed over quickly, given only a nod. It's as if that was last year's — or last decade's — fad, at the very moment the House of Representatives has been browbeaten by LaPelosita into voting for a cap-and-trade bill no known person has read, let alone understood....

It often happens that ideas are defended most furiously just before they collapse. My guess is that AGW is pretty close to the point where a loud noise can start the avalanche.

But what interests me, as always, is the larger question of whether people can or will re-think. My guess is that most leftish types will be able to flip effortlessly to supporting the Kyoto Global-Cooling Treaty, without a moment of self-doubt. They don't dare think or probe.

(Tangentially, I was bothered as a child when my Dad told me that if you throw a ball up, and then it falls down, there is a brief moment when it is stationary. I still find that hard to swallow. I think it's either going up, or going down.)

Posted by John Weidner at 4:30 PM

June 27, 2009

Just in case you still think "global warmists" are doing science...

From Anthony Watts, Warmists deny Copenhagen access to polar bear scientist...

Over the coming days a curiously revealing event will be taking place in Copenhagen. Top of the agenda at a meeting of the Polar Bear Specialist Group, set up under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission, will be the need to produce a suitably scary report on how polar bears are being threatened with extinction by man-made global warming.

This is one of a steady drizzle of events planned to stoke up alarm in the run-up to the UN's major conference on climate change in Copenhagen next December. But one of the world's leading experts on polar bears has been told to stay away from this week's meeting, specifically because his views on global warming do not accord with the views of the rest of the group.

Dr Mitchell Taylor has been researching into the status and management of polar bears in Canada and around the Arctic Circle for 30 years, as both an academic and a government employee. More than once since 2006 he has made headlines by insisting that polar bear numbers, far from decreasing, are much higher than they were 30 years ago. Of the 19 different bear populations, almost all are increasing or at optimum levels, only two have for local reasons modestly declined....
Posted by John Weidner at 1:00 PM

June 15, 2009

"Climate governing system"

I am very much intrigued by this guest post by Willis Eschenbach at Anthony Watts' blog, The Thermostat Hypothesis:

Abstract: The Thermostat Hypothesis is that tropical clouds and thunderstorms actively regulate the temperature of the earth. This keeps the earth at a equilibrium temperature.

Several kinds of evidence are presented to establish and elucidate the Thermostat Hypothesis — historical temperature stability of the Earth, theoretical considerations, satellite photos, and a description of the equilibrium mechanism....

The interesting words there are "actively regulate." It has long been considered plausible that there is negative feedback caused by clouds. That is, more heat > more evaporation > more clouds > more sunlight reflected away from the earth > less heat. But Eschenbach is not just thinking of negative feedback...

(also, you might want to keep in mind that AGW (the theory of Anthropogenic—man-made—Global Warming) is entirely based on computer models, none of which can model clouds!)

...The tropical sun is strong, and despite the negative feedback from the cumulus clouds, the day continues to heat up. The more the sun hits the ocean, the more warm, moist air is formed, and the more cumulus clouds form. This, of course, reflects more sun, the throttle closes a bit more. But the day continues to warm.

The full development of the cumulus clouds sets the stage for the second part of temperature regulation. This is not simple negative feedback. It is the climate governing system. As the temperature continues to rise, as the evaporation climbs, some of the fluffy cumulus clouds suddenly transform themselves. They rapidly extend skywards, thrusting up to form pillars of cloud thousands of meters high in a short time. These cumulus are transformed into cumulonimbus or thunderstorm clouds. The columnar body of the thunderstorm acts as a huge vertical heat pipe. The thunderstorm sucks up warm, moist air at the surface and shoots it skyward. At altitude the water condenses, transforming the latent heat into sensible heat. The air is rewarmed by this release of sensible heat, and continues to rise.

At the top, the air is released from the cloud up high, way above most of the CO2. In that rarified atmosphere, the air is much freer to radiate to space. By moving inside the thunderstorm heat pipe, the air bypasses most of the greenhouse gases and comes out near the top of the troposphere. During the transport aloft, there is no radiative or turbulent interaction between the rising air and the lower and middle troposphere. Inside the thunderstorm, the rising air is tunneled through most of the troposphere to emerge at the top.

In addition to reflecting sunlight from their top surface as cumulus clouds do, and transporting heat to the upper troposphere where it radiates easily to space, thunderstorms cool the surface in a variety of other ways, particularly over the ocean...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 AM

June 12, 2009

Worth reading:

Dr. Sanity: The Left Legitimizes Anti-Semitism Every Day:

Anthony Watts: Suggestions of "strong negative cloud feedbacks" in a warmer climate

Edgelings.com---The Obama Surprise:

...Be careful what you wish for. No segment of American industry did more than high tech to elect Barack Obama as President of the United States....

...The first surprise to many Valleyites is how innately anti-entrepreneurial the new Administration has turned out to be....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:02 AM

June 6, 2009

If you can't trust the data...

Anthony Watts notes an interesting editorial in the Orange County Register, about his own work...A significant editorial on weather stations and data quality:

...Now another serious doubt has been raised concerning how much of the 1-degree centigrade increase over the past century allegedly caused by escalating emissions has even occurred.

"We can't know for sure if global warming is a problem if we can't trust the data," said Anthony Watts, veteran broadcast meteorologist, who for three years organized an extensive review of official ground temperature monitoring stations, in conjunction with Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., senior research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and professor emeritus of the Department of Atmospheric Science at the University of Colorado.

The study, recently published by the free-market Heartland Institute, inspected 860 of the 1,221 U.S. ground stations that gauge temperature changes. The findings were alarming.

They found 89 percent of stations "fail to meet the National Weather Service's own siting requirements" that say stations must be located at least 100 feet from artificial heat sources.

"We found stations located next to the exhaust fans of air conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering hot rooftops and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat," Mr. Watts reported.

Many stations also had added more sensitive measuring devices, heat-generating radio transmission devices and even latex paint to replace original whitewash, resulting in greater heat retention and reflection.

At one location, Mr. Watts said when he "stood next to the temperature sensor, I could feel warm exhaust air from the nearby cell phone tower equipment sheds blowing past me! I realized this official thermometer was recording the temperature of a hot zone...and other biasing influences including buildings, air conditioner vents and masonry."...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:11 PM

June 3, 2009

Something to be aware of...

From Anthony Watts:

...In addition, a significant new report was released, the NIPCC. It is a comprehensive rebuttal to the IPCC report.

Climate Change Reconsidered, the 2009 report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), is the report on global warming the United Nations' climate panel should have written – but didn't.

The 880-page report, released June 2nd, 2009 at an international meeting in Washington DC of scientists and policy experts, rigorously critiques the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which concluded that harmful global warming "very likely" has been due to human activity in the release of greenhouse gases. The science behind that conclusion is soundly refuted in Climate Change Reconsidered, coauthored by Dr. S. Fred Singer and Dr. Craig Idso.

The full text of the report and related materials can be found here....

Here's a video of the introduction of the report yesterday...

 

Posted by John Weidner at 5:24 PM

May 9, 2009

"Officially spotless"

Alan Sullivan:
There was a minor flare-up of cycle 24 activity on the far side of the sun yesterday. It was detected by solar-orbiting scientific satellites. There were three CME's (coronal mass ejections). Presumably one or more sunspots were present for a time. But today the disturbed area has rotated around the limb of the sun, and it has already calmed down. No spot is visible, so the sun remains officially spotless. Yet this flutter of activity has caused a flurry of media attention.

Until recently, the media had entirely ignored the unusual extended solar minimum. When some stories appeared, they were invariably accompanied by caveats, quoting some warmista "climate scientist," asserting that the sun could not possibly override the overwhelming force of "greenhouse effect." But now, the moment cycle 24 shows a sign of life, the media are all over it. They are so desperate for the agenda to remain undisturbed...

"Desperate." Ha. To me the climate situation is like one of those movies where the viewer knows that something is about to happen, but the characters go wandering around the haunted house without a clue. Perhaps we are at the stage where somebody says, "I have a bad feeling about this place."

There presumably must be a point where people become aware that the Earth seems to be cooling. Average temperatures have been declining for a decade, polar ice is increasing, and, most importantly, the Argo experiment shows that deep ocean temperatures are going down. (Link, link)

And if/when we come to that point, that's when it gets really interesting to me. The question is, will people re-think? In a general way, that is. Will any significant number of people become true skeptics? A skeptic is not a disbeliever, it's someone who prefers to look carefully at the evidence and find the truth. (That, by the way, is why most people who claim to be "skeptics" in religion are phonies. They are disbelievers pretending to be thinkers. Here's a good essay on this.)

My guess is that people won't re-think. They will just accept whatever new "consensus" they are fed by politicians and the media. And Leftists will discover that massive government action is needed, lest selfishness and individualism and unrestrained capitalism cause a new ice age...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:37 AM

May 5, 2009

"Preemptive denial" to preempt those denialists!

Anne Minard for National Geographic NewsSun Oddly Quiet -- Hints at Next "Little Ice Age"?:

...A prolonged lull in solar activity has astrophysicists glued to their telescopes waiting to see what the sun will do next—and how Earth's climate might respond.

The sun is the least active it's been in decades and the dimmest in a hundred years. The lull is causing some scientists to recall the Little Ice Age, an unusual cold spell in Europe and North America, which lasted from about 1300 to 1850.

The coldest period of the Little Ice Age, between 1645 and 1715, has been linked to a deep dip in solar storms known as the Maunder Minimum.

During that time, access to Greenland was largely cut off by ice, and canals in Holland routinely froze solid. Glaciers in the Alps engulfed whole villages, and sea ice increased so much that no open water flowed around Iceland in the year 1695.

But researchers are on guard against their concerns about a new cold snap being misinterpreted.

"[Global warming] skeptics tend to leap forward," said Mike Lockwood, a solar terrestrial physicist at the University of Southampton in the U.K. He and other researchers are therefore engaged in what they call "preemptive denial" of a solar minimum leading to global cooling. [Getting nervous there?]

Even if the current solar lull is the beginning of a prolonged quiet, the scientists say, the star's effects on climate will pale in contrast with the influence of human-made greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).

"I think you have to bear in mind that the CO2 is a good 50 to 60 percent higher than normal, whereas the decline in solar output is a few hundredths of one percent down," Lockwood said. "I think that helps keep it in perspective."...

That last sentence is just silly. Atmospheric CO2 is something like 300PPM. That's Parts Per Million. And it only accounts for about 3% of the greenhouse effect. Also, while the correlation of sunspot minimums to colder climate is not yet understood, the theories being considered don't rest on a simple decline in solar output.

(Thanks to Anthony Watt, who you should be reading every day.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:44 AM

May 1, 2009

Out in the cold

Andrew Bolt of the Australian paper Herald Sun, has a good round-up on global warming, Global warming alarmists out in cold:

...IT'S snowing in April. Ice is spreading in Antarctica. The Great Barrier Reef is as healthy as ever.

And that's just the news of the past week. Truly, it never rains but it pours — and all over our global warming alarmists.

Time's up for this absurd scaremongering. The fears are being contradicted by the facts, and more so by the week.

Doubt it? Then here's a test.

Name just three clear signs the planet is warming as the alarmists claim it should. Just three. Chances are your "proofs" are in fact on my list of 10 Top Myths about global warming. And if your "proofs" indeed turn out to be false, don't get angry with me....

You might want to take a look at his list. It's pretty good...

Here's one item I hadn't heard...

...What's more, not one of the world's seven continents has set a record high temperature since 1974. Europe's high remains the 50 degrees measured in Spain 128 years ago, before the invention of the first true car...
Posted by John Weidner at 4:00 PM

April 29, 2009

Just for the record...

How Bush Prepared for the Outbreak - WSJ.com:

...Swine flu has presented the Obama administration with its first major public-health crisis. Fortunately for the Obama team, the Bush administration developed new tools that will prove critical in meeting this challenge.

Under President Bush, the federal government worked with manufacturers to accelerate vaccine development, stockpiled crucial antivirals like Tamiflu, war-gamed pandemic scenarios with senior officials, and increased the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) sample identification capabilities. These activities are bearing fruit today....

I'll add it to my list of Bush accomplishments...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:57 AM

April 27, 2009

Something to save for next year...

I'm late with this, but it might be worth a look. Pretty funny. (And pretty mendacious, since I doubt any of these people have apologized, and most of them are still spouting any BS that helps the Left, science be damned. Notice the last "prediction.") Earth Day predictions of 1970: (Thanks to Alan. 1970 was the first "Earth Day")

"We have about five more years at the outside to do something."
• Kenneth Watt, ecologist

"Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind."
• George Wald, Harvard Biologist

"We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation."
• Barry Commoner, Washington University biologist

"Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction."
• New York Times editorial, the day after the first Earth Day

"Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years."
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist
"By...[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s."
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

"It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,"
• Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

"Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine."
• Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University

"Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half…."
• Life Magazine, January 1970

"At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable."
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

"Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone."
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

"We are prospecting for the very last of our resources and using up the nonrenewable things many times faster than we are finding new ones."
• Martin Litton, Sierra Club director

"By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’"
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

"Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct."
• Sen. Gaylord Nelson

"The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age."
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist
Posted by John Weidner at 10:09 AM

April 2, 2009

It's unlikely you have one of these gadgets sitting in your garage.....

...But probably somebody does somewhere. Anthony Watts (His blog Watts Up With That? is an indispensable source on the subject of global warming) writes....

Readers: Your help needed to recover old satellite imagery:

...As WUWT readers know, I covered a fascinating project on 3/31 here showing how a team of dedicated technical archaeologists are trying to get old AMPEX 2" reel to reel data recorders functional again so that they can recover thousands of moon and earth images from the 1960's that would otherwise be lost to history. There is a current scientific interest in the images, as some may help determine the extent of polar ice during those years.

I've offered WUWT as a vehicle to help find parts and manuals. You may have access to these things and not know it. Ask around, especially with the old-timers in your department, and check your dusty basements and storage areas. - Anthony...

...The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP), is a NASA ESMD funded project to recover the original Lunar Orbiter analog data which was recorded on an Ampex FR-900 2" video instrumentation recorder. As far as we know, we have the last surviving drives of this type in the world. We have retired Ampex engineers working with us on this project but the FR-900 was a limited use machine (exclusively the U.S. government at the FAA, USAF, NASA).

What we need is to find any possible source of documentation (we know about the Stanford Archive and have been there many times) for the FR-900 or the possibility of actual machines.

There are similar machines with the numbers FR-901, FR-902, FR-950 that are close enough that we can use any information on them....
Posted by John Weidner at 3:54 PM

March 26, 2009

Contrary to Reason...

Charlene recommends this post from ShrinkWrapped: Scientists and Morality. I started to blog my agreement, but was sidetracked by this paragraph...

...Scientists spend their working lives pursuing a rational understanding of the world around them. They are often both ignorant of, and intolerant of, the irrational. Because they pursue a rational understanding of the world they typically do not recognize their own irrationalities. This can be a problem when scientists venture into discussions of politics and morality....

Christians do NOT think that morality or faith in God are irrational. Not one little bit. (Well, actually, there is a modern splinter-movement, calling itself "Protestant," that has abandoned reason for a make-stuff-up-as-you-go approach. Perhaps the author is influenced by them. But the result of that experiment is that there are 30,000+ different Protestant groups--all claiming to have "the truth!" Nuh uh.)

I can't really blame people for not understanding this, since I am only starting to discover it myself. I'd heard the general idea of our catholic faith being based on reason, but, as a former Protestant I assumed that it meant that there was a glaze of philosophical justification painted over the totem pole. Turns out, not so. Christian faith is based on deductive reason in exactly the same way a proof in geometry is. Reason can prove to even a pagan like Aristotle that there must be one all-good and all-powerful god, and also the basics of traditional morality. (In addition to this other things are revealed. We are given additional information by God such as the Trinity or the Incarnation.)

That's why I've been recommending [link, link] the book The Last Superstition by Feser. He refutes the "new atheists" with a clear explanation of the metaphysics of Aristotle and Aquinas, which has been a huge "ah ah" moment for me. (And no one has ever refuted their logic, by the way. Modern philosophers have just tagged it "Medieval," laughed at Aristotle's mistakes in physics—which his metaphysics is not based on—and moved on.)

Scientists today have no philosophy that ties their work into the wider world, or helps them even think about such things. The result is that scientists are vulnerable when they try to extend their discipline into realms like politics or morality. They don't even notice that AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) has become a quasi-religion, and they excommunicate heretics and take things on faith, all the while telling themselves that are just "doing science," and are being hindered by "irrational" people.

And they don't understand that Secularism and Materialism are "faiths" just as much as the conventional religions. They can make "scientific judgements" on, say, the value of human lives compared to endangered species...and not realize they've left the realm of things that natural science can speak about.

Mr Shrinkwrapped also writes something that I've tried to get at before:

...Note the assumption that the greatest danger now resides in the alliance between science and business, ie the profit motive. Many, perhaps most, scientists are liberal by temperament and intellectual insularity. They have generally focused far more on their areas of expertise than on the political and moral dimensions of their work. Since liberalism has gained a monopoly (in the popular press and especially in academia) on morality, the assumption is that government run programs will be protected form the dangers of avarice. Government research is therefore, somehow more pure than business supported research. (We see this all the time when research supported by business is always reported in ways conducive to accepting that such research is tainted by its funding whereas government supported research is never considered tainted by the analogous human desires that determine its course and contents.)...

One can be avaricious for all sorts of things besides money. I suspect that many a scientist would kill (if there was an easy fool-proof way to do it) to be known for a significant discovery. Or to have a big lab full of top-notch post-docs. Or to be invited to important conferences. This is just as much greed and covetousness as wanting to earn millions of dollars. And it can corrupt people in just the same way. Actually, one could live like St Francis, and give the clothes off your back to the shivering poor... and still be a greedy miser. If, for example, what you coveted most was being considered "saintly."

And of course even in government-funded science there are potential big monetary-equivalent rewards. A "science star" might be flown first-class to a posh resort to mingle with rock-stars and shake hands with Al Gore or Prince Charles. That's worth enough money to corrupt almost anyone.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:38 AM

March 17, 2009

Critters...

We were at the Monterey Bay Aquarium yesterday. It's really an amazing place--extremely well done. These are just a couple of quickie videos I took. The first one is from the Sea Otter tank...

And these are some little jellyfish plankton. They are the most delicate things...no bigger than your thumb.


     

Posted by John Weidner at 2:21 PM

Nudging the data...

Alan Sullivan pointed to this blog post, Kafka at Albany, about the investigation--or rather, non-investigation--of what looks like academic fraud. Fraud involving--you will be so surprised--climate-change and big federal grants.

I suspect there is a lot more of this than we will ever know. We won't know because most of it will be more subtle. Nudging the data rather than fudging. Quite probably much of it is unconscious--very few of us would not be influenced by knowing that finding one kind of data means we remain a "star professor" with a lab full of hot post-docs.....and coming up with a certain other sort of data means academic obscurity and possibly ostracization.

And there's this other thing going on. There is, I think, a lot of incentive towards slanting science due to the personal politics of the people involved. When certain science topics come up, everyone gets twitchy because we know the issues have political implications. One of my sisters is a scientist (smart, honest as they come, not involved in any controversial research) and a liberal. We normally don't mention politics! But climate science came up once in a e-mail exchange, and she made some complaint about Bush/Cheney... and I pointed out that she had in fact instantly turned the science into a political weapon. That ended that conversation pronto, but it's stuck in my mind.

Here's a bit of the post. Looks like a juicy bit of business. (Possibly equivalent to the milching malicho around the "hockey stick" climate-history data...)
...Last June I reported on the allegations of academic fraud levelled by a British mathematician, Doug Keenan, against Professor Wei-Chyung Wang of New York State University at Albany.

Dr Keenan alleged that in work that has come to be widely cited in climate studies, work that included the collation of data from temperature measuring stations in China, Professor Wang made statements that "cannot be true and could not be in error by accident. The statements are fabricated."

In August 2007, Dr Keenan submitted a report (pdf) of his allegations to the Vice President for Research at Wang's university and an inquiry was initiated. In February 2008 this was escalated into a full investigation by the Inquiry Committee.

All this was summarised in my earlier post, together with quotations from Dr Keenan's allegation....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:02 AM

February 23, 2009

Flaily flaily...

Tim Blair:
Reader Becky M. notes a climate change ... change:
I was forced to have lunch with two repulsive and rabid environmentalists the other day.

A most unpleasant experience, but I did learn something.

The correct terminology for the phenomenon formerly known as global warming and later as climate change is now to be referred to as "climate disruption." By using "climate disruption," one effectively blocks the "knuckleheads who point to headlines about 'record cold,' etc."
They've already ditched "climate crisis", then. And extreme weather. Can't these clowns make a brand stick? Perhaps we should offer a superior, enduring title -- "weather" might work -- in comments. Otherwise we're going to be hit with New Coke versions of global warming until the End of Days.

"Climate disruption." I'm all agog to see what will happen when it really starts to sink in the the planet is cooling. (Yes, yes, of course the current decade-long cooling trend could reverse. I'll take your bet, if you want to put money on that.)

On the one hand, the chomskies have a lot of credit invested in global warming, so cooling could hit them hard. On the other hand, they don't think or reason (and have no character or honesty) so they will surely try to flip to "Global Cooling Hysteria" without any intervening moment when things are considered OK.

Really, I'm not just being snarky; this very much interests me.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:20 PM

January 11, 2009

Sleuthing...

Alan Sullivan:

In a superb example of investigative journalism, meteorologist Anthony Watts pursues a single inconsistent dot on map of recent US temperature anomalies and discovers a relocated instrument station that is now corrupting the climate database. In several years of research, Watts has found such problem sites by the score. Perhaps it is time to re-run climate models, inputting only rural stations with well-documented continuity � if there are enough of them...

What Watts is doing is totally cool, not just meteorologically, but as an example of digging into things using online tools. Here's a sample, but it's better in the Original, with all the many pictures and maps...

A simple question; what is that red dot on the map? I was looking at the CONUS map browser depicting the 2008 temperature departure from normal provided by NOAA's High Plains Regional Climate Center and noticed something odd:

Note the red dot in Arizona, which is the only one in the USA. Truly an anomaly. At first I thought it might be University of Arizona Tucson and its famous parking lot station, but that is further southeast.

The other map depiction HPRCC offers also shows it, and narrows it to a single data point:...

....The new location is at about 500 Main Street, rather than the 1206 Main Street listed in the NCDC MMS database. Perhaps it has been moved to a new location and NCDC has not caught up with the street address change. Perhaps the lat/lon is off. Anything is possible as I and the surfacestation volunteers constantly find discrepancies and errors in the database.

So I decided to use the new Google Street Level View feature to snoop around a bit at the two locations. I found nothing at 1206 S. Main Street except a lot of grass and buildings. It looks like perhaps a community college:

But when I went looking around 500 Main Street - BINGO! I can spot both the MMTS sensor unit and the standard rain gauge to the west of the street:

Looking at an aerial view using NCDC's most current coordinates of 33.0363,-111.388 and Microsoft Live Search Maps, we can see what surrounds the sensor:....

Since the whole purpose of the global Warming religion is to put Leftists into power over horrid people like you and me, what Watts and others like him are doing is vital work.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:45 PM

January 10, 2009

I've been wondering about this...

when I drive near our local hospitals, I always see people wandering around the streets in scrubs. They seem to treat them as everyday comfy clothes. (And no doubt they display their health-wear to gain the little person's ego boost from being part of a prestigious and oppressive institution.)

Opinion: Hospital Scrubs' Deadly Mess - WSJ.com:

You see them everywhere -- nurses, doctors and medical technicians in scrubs or lab coats. They shop in them, take buses and trains in them, go to restaurants in them, and wear them home. What you can't see on these garments are the bacteria that could kill you.

Dirty scrubs spread bacteria to patients in the hospital and allow hospital superbugs to escape into public places such as restaurants. Some hospitals now prohibit wearing scrubs outside the building, partly in response to the rapid increase in an infection called "C. diff." A national hospital survey released last November warns that Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections are sickening nearly half a million people a year in the U.S., more than six times previous estimates...
Posted by John Weidner at 5:35 PM

January 8, 2009

Today's bit of leftlunacy...

The Secularist Church must have come down hard on Ms. Huffington! Think of the cocktail parties she must have been about to be disinvited to, for daring to suggest that there might be two sides to a certain issue...

NewsBusters.org: Huffington: 'I Would Not Have Posted' Article Asking Gore To Apologize:

....The associate blog editor published the post. It was an error in judgment. I would not have posted it. Although HuffPost welcomes a vigorous debate on many subjects, I am a firm believer that there are not two sides to every issue, and that on some issues the jury is no longer out. The climate crisis is one of these issues...

Pretty funny. Think about how she must have choked when she discovered that she had published heresy! Here's a link to the article...

Harold Ambler: Mr. Gore: Apology Accepted:

....Mr. Gore has stated, regarding climate change, that 'the science is in.' Well, he is absolutely right about that, except for one tiny thing. It is the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind.

What is wrong with the statement? A brief list:....

* Update: Perhaps I'm too harsh in criticizing "liberals" for having no principles. I'd guess a lot of them are firm believers that the "climate crisis" must not be debated. There's a bedrock principle for you! They will bravely nail their thesis to the door: "There are NOT two sides to every issue."

Posted by John Weidner at 1:04 PM

December 29, 2008

Just in case you thought the future was going to be "business as usual"

www.sfexaminer.com -- Local News, Amateurs Toil With DNA In Their Homes:

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Apple computer was invented in a garage. Same with the Google search engine. Now, tinkerers are working at home with the basic building blocks of life itself.

Using homemade lab equipment and the wealth of scientific knowledge available online, these hobbyists are trying to create new life forms through genetic engineering -- a field long dominated by Ph.D.s toiling in university and corporate laboratories.

In her San Francisco dining room lab, for example, 31-year-old computer programmer Meredith L. Patterson is trying to develop genetically altered yogurt bacteria that will glow green to signal the presence of melamine, the chemical that turned Chinese-made baby formula and pet food deadly...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:03 PM

"The people who make the lists turn out to be wrong about nearly everything..."


David Warren has a pretty good piece on those "person of the year" thingies in the Gasping Media. (Of course the whole idea behind "Person of the Year" stories is garbage, since it presupposes that people who possess wisdom and insight are likely to become "journalists.")
...As noted above, global warming alarmists are going out of fashion, owing to the collapse of their tenuous evidence, and the global cooling alarmists have yet to organize their fans. This eliminates all the leading climatologists except Reid Bryson.

The pioneer of modern climatology, Prof. Bryson has been blowing holes in man-made climate-change alarms for decades. He is the man who replied to the "retreat of the Alpine glaciers" hysteria by asking, "And what did you find when the snow melted?" (A silver mine, with all the tools stacked up for the next spring: i.e. the glacier was recent.) He should have been man of the year around 1999.

Among other leading "scientists and thinkers," it is the same story, endlessly repeated. The people who make the lists turn out, nearly invariably, to be wrong about nearly everything; the people who have been fairly consistently right never make the lists. It was typical of the year in which the Large Hadron Collider debuted as the most expensive dysfunctional white elephant in history, that the Nobel physics prize went to three particle physicists...
Do they still DO particle physics? Talk about clinging to the past!
....That is probably enough drumroll. We must get to business. Pass myself the envelope, please.

My selection for "Man of the Year 2008" is: Sarah Palin.

The citation reads: "For a politician of real accomplishment and promise, who has somehow managed, for the first time since Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, to cut through the verbiage and posturing of an election campaign, and look an electorate in the eye; a politician whose policy instincts are sound, whose wits are sharp, and whose moral vision is unclouded -- who drives all the right people crazy, across party lines."...

I'm looking forward to years of having her drive all the right people crazy!

She's a "living treasure" just for the way she reveals who is UNSOUND. The easy way to detect the phonies, on either the Left or the Right, is to note who hates Sarah.

I'm not referring to those who disagree with her, but to the multitudes who felt an instant visceral dislike. The kind of "conservatives" who suddenly discovered the importance of rule by Ivy-League elites. Or the "liberals" whose guilty consciences "saw" a Palin campaign focussed on abortion--which in fact I don't think she even mentioned on the campaign trail.


Posted by John Weidner at 8:48 AM

November 10, 2008

End-of-World postponed 'till next year...

Thanks to Matthew Hoy, a spiffy chart of sea-ice extent since 2002, when NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) Aqua Satellite satellite was launched. The red line that ends at November is 2008. You will see that it is currently above the other lines. (Be good chaps now, and pretend you don't notice---It's for the children.)

Amsre Sea Ice Extent

Posted by John Weidner at 9:11 PM

October 22, 2008

This is not a parody... I guess

Charlene notes a letter sent to Jerry Pournelle:

Orchestrated Objective Reality (Orch OR) is a theory of consciousness jointly developed (from independent underpinnings) by Sir Roger Penrose and anesthesiologist/neurologist Sturart Hameroff.

To summarize, the core theory states that consciousness arises from quantum mechanical effects in the transmission and operation of nervous tissue, probably in connection with quantum coherence in spin states of solvated electrons trapped within microtubules embedded in the connective proteins of nerve cells, which they argue following Penrose allows collapses of formative quantum events into a final objective quantum state associated with completion ("orchestration") of the thought process in the higher structures of nerve cells on the time scales which have been neurologically associated with consciousness.

In other words, the human mind is a biological quantum computer and as such is capable of leaping past inductive and deductive logic into what Penrose described as computable and non-computable insights.

Needless to say, the core theory is itself controversial (see the wiki above for details). The friend who introduced me makes the further claim (which does not appear in the wiki, but may appear in some of the ancillary references) that, due to entanglement, it is thus possible that thought processes affect, and are affected by, events in the broader spacetime in the vicinity (and NOT in the vicinity) of the person thinking. Thus, the further postulate he espoused is that "the power of positive thinking" thus has a quantum mechanical underpinning in terms of entanglement of certain thought processes with the external universe to directly effect events. This ranges from variations of "the placebo effect", self-healing, and faith healing up to the viability of the so-called "Jedi philosophy."

Pournelle responds: Chesterton famously said that when a man ceases to believe in God, he will believe in anything.

(And I respond: If I told this guy about Christianity he would say that I'm trying to snow him with mumbo-jumbo!)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:08 PM

October 19, 2008

Ignore this stuff, it doesn't fit the template...

Matthew Hoy:

Last summer the global warming alarmists were predicting an ice-free arctic. One environmental activist vowed to kayak to the north pole to highlight the dangerous global warming.

Well, the arctic didn't become ice-free and that poor kayaker had to turn back.

Anthony Watts has been watching the numbers, and after a record-low sea ice coverage in 2007, this year has been cooler, with more ice than last. In the past few weeks, ice has been growing at a near-record rate....

Funny how we keep hearing such stuff. Read on for some fancy footwork from the National Snow and Ice Data Center....

Kayaking to the North Pole! Reminds me of a funny story from long ago here in the SF Bay Area. Some guy announced he was going to paddle a rubber boat across the Pacific Ocean, to visit his girlfriend in Vietnam. The morning news had him leaving Berkeley, crossing the bay, and showed him out in the Pacific, past the Golden Gate Bridge.

Then the tide turned (we have huge tides because the whole bay connects to the ocean through the narrow Golden Gate). The evening news revealed that the poor goop had been sucked back into the Bay, and deposited very close to his starting point...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:33 PM

September 19, 2008

Climate change in the Solar System...

They're being kinda cute about this. "...could result in changing conditions in the solar system." Uh huh. No mention of changes in the Earth's climate. As in, global cooling. That's the real question.

Move along folks, nothing to see here....

MEDIA ADVISORY : M08-176 NASA To Discuss Conditions On And Surrounding The Sun

WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a media teleconference Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 12:30 p.m. EDT, to discuss data from the joint NASA and European Space Agency Ulysses mission that reveals the sun's solar wind is at a 50-year low. The sun's current state could result in changing conditions in the solar system.

Ulysses was the first mission to survey the space environment above and below the poles of the sun. The reams of data Ulysses returned have changed forever the way scientists view our star and its effects. The venerable spacecraft has lasted more than 17 years - almost four times its expected mission lifetime... [Thanks to Glenn Reynolds]
Posted by John Weidner at 12:12 PM

September 8, 2008

Moose surplus...

(Since I'm sure the lie will be floating around) Mark Steyn: Moose Blarney
Our pal Jay Nordlinger was on Irish radio yesterday, and several callers objected to Sarah Palin on the following grounds:
The woman shoots moose, as did Teddy Roosevelt, a long time ago. Only in TR’s day, there were many more moose — Sarah endangers a species.
Absolutely backwards, but an interesting example of how the progressive mind prefers to obsess on entirely fictional crises. There were far fewer moose in Teddy's day. Today there are more moose than a century ago, in Alaska, Canada, New England. In New Hampshire in the mid-19th century there were fewer than 15 in the whole state. Now NH sees more than 250 killed every year just in highway collisions - before Sarah even has a chance to load. We are awash in moose. We have a moose surplus.

And as you'd expect me to add, being NR's in-house demography bore, on present population trends the Italians, Germans and Spaniards will be extinct long before the moose. But no Irish radio listeners seem to be worried about them.

(More here about the great increases in various North American animal populations, and also of our forests.)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:13 PM

August 17, 2008

Uh, about that arctic ice...

Thanks to Tim Blair, an interesting bit of news. Things may not be quite as we've been told...

....The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado released an alarming graph on August 11, showing that Arctic ice was rapidly disappearing, back towards last year’s record minimum. Their data shows Arctic sea ice extent only 10 per cent greater than this date in 2007, and the second lowest on record. Here’s a smaller version of the graph:....

....The problem is that this graph does not appear to be correct. Other data sources show Arctic ice having made a nice recovery this summer. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center data shows 2008 ice nearly identical to 2002, 2005 and 2006. Maps of Arctic ice extent are readily available from several sources, including the University of Illinois, which keeps a daily archive for the last 30 years. A comparison of these maps (derived from NSIDC data) below shows that Arctic ice extent was 30 per cent greater on August 11, 2008 than it was on the August 12, 2007. (2008 is a leap year, so the dates are offset by one.)...

...The Arctic did not experience the meltdowns forecast by NSIDC and the Norwegian Polar Year Secretariat. It didn’t even come close. Additionally, some current graphs and press releases from NSIDC seem less than conservative. There appears to be a consistent pattern of overstatement related to Arctic ice loss...

I feel so torn. A real cooling trend would be bad for our world, and people might starve. But the humiliation of the people who are using global warming as an excuse for a lefty power-grab would be an excellent thing for mankind.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:30 PM

August 16, 2008

Science shenanigans...

A blogger calling himself Bishop Hill has written a fascinating post on the machinations behind the famous and influential "hockey stick" model of historical trends in global temperatures. (Thanks to AOG, who notes, sadly, "...But, then reality set it. The ‘hockey stick’ has been generally discredited for a while, and it’s either used without regard to its provenance, or redacted out of talking points as if it never existed so as to also erase the sordid history behind it. They’ve moved on to some other foundation, which will also be abandoned once it cracks..."

This is just a morsel, to give you the flavor of Bishop Hill's post:

[Please note, dear coz, that I'm not hereby proposing any scientific judgement on whether the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming is true or false. Just pointing out a tiny bit of the miching mallecho that underpins it...]

...In the background, howevrer, much had been happening. Suddenly in September 2007, and with the IPCC report published, the CC paper suddenly appeared, preceded in the same journal by another paper by the same authors. What had happened was that Wahl and Amman were quietly allowed to rewrite their rejected GRL paper and submit it to Climatic Change instead. All reference to the rejected GRL paper in the CC paper could be replaced by reference to the new paper, (which I will call the Jesus paper, in light of its extraordinary resurrection and for lack of any less confusing name). With identical authorship, and a maze of cross-references between them, the two CC papers were carefully designed to make understanding how their arguments relied on each other as difficult as possible.

...The beauty of this approach was that it allowed for retention of the original acceptance date for the CC paper, and hence its inclusion in the IPCC process. It did leave them with the embarrassing problem that a paper that was allegedly accepted in March 2006 relied upon another paper that even the journal itself said was only received until August (and in reality, is was even later than that) Readers should note that this matters because unless the paper was accepted by the journal by the deadline, it should not have been accepted by IPCC for inclusion in the Fourth Assessment Report. But the IPCC needed the CC paper and despite the inconsistency being pointed out to them, the IPCC they waved the objections aside as irrelevant.

The CC paper argument leads from the text, to the appendix and then onto the Jesus paper. At places in the Jesus paper the argument referred back to the CC paper creating a neat, if logically flawed, circular argument. One notable feature of the CC paper and the Jesus paper was that they relegated some of their key argumentation to their Supplementary Information (SI) sections, online appendices to the published papers. In particular, the Jesus paper stated that the statistical discussions and more precisely, the establishment of RE benchmarks could be seen there. To have key arguments in the SI was most unusual and it quickly became apparent why it had been done: the SI was nowhere to be seen. Even the peer reviewers appear not to have had access, and once again, Amman refused McIntyre's request for the data and code. His reply to this request was startling (and remember that Amman is a public servant):

"Under such circumstances, why would I even bother answering your questions, isn’t that just lost time?"

Again, everything fell silent. For the next year nothing more was heard of the two papers. McIntyre pressed from his blog for release of the SI and the politicians were able to quietly take advantage of the political space created by the IPCC report. Then, just a few weeks ago, and entirely unannounced, Wahl and Amman's Supplementary Information suddenly appeared on Caspar Amman's website, some three years after that first press release announcing the refutation of McIntyre's work. With it, and a godsend to McIntyre, was the code used to establish the benchmark for the RE statistic. With no more than a few days work, McIntyre was able to establish exactly what had been done....
Posted by John Weidner at 9:43 AM

July 22, 2008

Signature missing...

An interesting piece of carbon-skepticism, from someone in a position to know...

....I DEVOTED six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian Greenhouse Office. I am the rocket scientist who wrote the carbon accounting model (FullCAM) that measures Australia's compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, in the land use change and forestry sector.

FullCAM models carbon flows in plants, mulch, debris, soils and agricultural products, using inputs such as climate data, plant physiology and satellite data. I've been following the global warming debate closely for years.

When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty good: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the old ice core data, no other suspects.

The evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we were certain when it appeared we needed to act quickly? Soon government and the scientific community were working together and lots of science research jobs were created. We scientists had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet.

But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming. As Lord Keynes famously said, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

There has not been a public debate about the causes of global warming and most of the public and our decision makers are not aware of the most basic salient facts:

1. The greenhouse signature is missing. We have been looking and measuring for years, and cannot find it.

Each possible cause of global warming has a different pattern of where in the planet the warming occurs first and the most. The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. We have been measuring the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes: weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. They show no hot spot. Whatsoever.

If there is no hot spot then an increased greenhouse effect is not the cause of global warming. So we know for sure that carbon emissions are not a significant cause of the global warming. If we had found the greenhouse signature then I would be an alarmist again....

It's worth reading the rest.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:03 AM

July 15, 2008

Slippery deal...

Dafydd has a good post on some attempted "legislation by bureaucrats" that leftists tried to slip under the radar...

...Today, President George W. Bush did something that shocked some of us: With a sweep of his presidential hand, he rejected the attempt by a low-level advisor to the Environmental Protection Agency to force the administration to regular carbon dioxide (which we all exhale) as a "pollutant," defying both the Democrats and the Supreme Court...

Good for him.

This was, of course, an attempt by Democrats/collectivists to create an "establishment" of their (Global Warmist) religion. Without of course allowing voters any say in the matter, and without requiring the Dems in Congress to actually stand up for something and pass legislation. (Too bad they didn't try, it would be fun to watch them write into law that your every exhalation is destroying the planet, and your breath is an affront to Gaia. Hey, they could market an abortifacient mouthwash!)

Thank you President Bush. (Though how I wish, as always, that George W Bush were a communicator, and could take on these evils in open conflict, asking the American people for help and understanding. But that isn't Bush.)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:20 AM

June 20, 2008

Volcano update...

Alan Sullivan continues to cover Chaitén, which continues to erupt.

...At Chaitén the first stage of dome-building was estimated at 37 cubic meters per second. It has now accelerated past fifty. No wonder the photos are so striking. This is an event outside historic parameters. It is consistent with the large magma chamber implied by the initial earthquakes. But the eruption is rhyolitic. This is a comparatively rare lava with a high silicate content and relatively low sulfur content. Only a few rhyolitic dome formations have been observed. There is virtually no basis for prediction. There is no way to know the significance of recently increased seismic activity and very rapid dome growth. Certainly it seems ominous.

At the least, one must wonder about the mechanical stability of the huge, teetering dome. A simple landslide could release internal pressure and trigger an explosive eruption that would destroy the edifice. It is also possible that rapid evacuation of the magma chamber could lead to a larger collapse of the entire caldera floor. This would probably induce an eruption with serious global consequences. We can only watch and wait.

"Serious global consequences" is no joke. On the other hand there's not much we can do about it! But at least Random Jottings has not failed to keep you informed. The dome is bulking-up at 50 cubic meters per second. That's hard to imagine. An old pick-up truck I used to own would hold about one cubic meter of soil.

Alan links to some awesome pictures....

....The Volcanism Blog has published an awesome aerial photo sequence from June 17, when the weather was clear. The eruption was increasing in intensity. The photos show steam emission at locations near the dome base, thick fume rising off the dome itself, and intense ash pluming from the new crater. The old crater may have been choked off by growth of the dome, which would explain pressure buildup sufficient to blast a new crater. But the base fumaroles, though small in comparison, may be more significant. They could imply the fracturing preliminary to dome collapse, as the partially emptied magma chamber undermines the massive and growing lava pile. Such a collapse would trigger explosive release of all the remaining pressure in the magma chamber, and perhaps also the deeper conduit that feeds it. Recall that we had reason from the pattern of the initial earthquake sequence to suspect that magma chamber was very large.

I’m not a geologist, and these are no more than half-educated speculations. It seems to me there is ample reason for concern, even some degree of alarm. We are not speaking of a model based on dubious data. We are witnessing a natural process which, in the geological record, has often led to world-class eruptions. This phenomenon coincides with — and could significantly amplify a period of global cooling...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:03 PM

June 2, 2008

Sunspots....still waiting....

I'm too busy to blog up my own thoughts, and anyway you've already read them, but...

This, by Alan Sullivan, is worth a look...

Cap and trade is a raw grab of power and wealth — aptly termed the largest redistribution scheme since the income tax. “Redistribution” is too mild a word. This crazy plan must be stopped. But how? The critical mass of idiocy has been reached. The reaction is going nuclear.

There are still no sunspots; oceans and atmosphere are cooling; sea level is steady to falling, measured by 3000 Argo buoys. The greenhouse model is flawed in its basic mathematics. Anthropogenic global warming is a fraud. Yet a bizarre cabal of economic dolts and puritanical ninnies is about to foist ruinous burdens on everyone. This not a climate crisis, but a political one: moonbats and dingbats are taking over the Republic.
Posted by John Weidner at 11:48 AM

May 25, 2008

Chilly outside?

Here's a nice summary of some of the reasons we possibly ought to be thinking about global cooling. It's hidden in a small-town paper, no surprise; the big media are not about to speculate outside their comfort-zone. Thanks to Alan Sullivan...

Eau-Claire Leader-Telegram:
The 2008 winter was the coldest in 40 years for the upper Midwest, Plains states and most of Canada. Minnesota newspapers report that this year's opening of the locks to Mississippi barge traffic, delayed by three weeks, was the latest since the modern waterway opened in 1940.

Eau Claire, where "old-fashioned winters" have been a thing of the past, recorded 43 days of below-zero temperatures, while folks down in Madison shoveled away at a 117-year record snowfall throughout the season, as did many in New England and Canada.

Rare snowfalls struck Buenos Aires, Capetown, and Sidney during their mid-year winter, while China continually battled blizzards. Even Baghdad experienced measurable snowfall.

Antarctic pack-ice far exceeded what Captain Cook saw on his 18th century voyage into the Southern Ocean. On the continent itself the miles-thick ice continues to accumulate despite peripheral melting along the Antarctic Peninsula and occasional calving of an ice block. At the opposite pole, flow-ice once again spans the entire Arctic Ocean, and by April it had extended into the Bering Strait, making up for the much heralded melt-back last summer.

From January 2007 through the end of January 2008, the average global temperature fell by nearly a degree Fahrenheit, based on data obtained by the MET Office in Great Britain and other international temperature monitoring networks....

There's also Argo which I wrote about here. Remember that AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) theory is mostly based on computer models. And the models agree that the oceans are earth's great (and stable) heat sink. Surface temperatures may go up and down in a confusing way, but warming should be clearly seen in deep ocean temperatures. Argo is one of the biggest scientific experiments ever. Argo was intended to clinch AGW theory. And now, funny thing, our brave and clear-sighted scientists and journalists don't mention Argo.

Oh, and then there are those Sunspots. Read on....

....Solar experts highlighted how sunspots, and associated magnetic storms on the Sun's surface, affect Earth's weather and climate. The previous (very strong) 11-year sunspot cycle, associated with the recent warmth, ended in 2007, after having peaked in 2002. The new cycle should have already begun, but hasn't yet.

In the absence of sunspots, solar flares are minimal. Flares eject massive streams of electrons and protons outward from the Sun. A portion of this stream, called the "solar wind", bathes our planet producing the aurora and interfering with communications. The solar wind, as it interacts with Earth's magnetic field, also protects us from the harmful effects of cosmic radiation.

During periods of weak solar activity - as at present - cosmic rays (high-energy protons originating in interstellar space) penetrate through the troposphere and ionize oxygen and nitrogen molecules. The ions become nucleating sites for water vapor that condenses into clouds. And when sunspots are at a minimum, more clouds form and correspondingly more sunlight is reflected back into space. The enhanced reflectance (albedo) cools the Earth. We all have experienced how quickly the temperature drops when the sun ducks behind a puffy white cloud on a warm, dry afternoon.

Past cool periods, identified with the late stages of the "Little Ice Age" and with the Maunder and Dalton climate minima, closely correlate with low sunspot numbers (astronomers have kept close tabs on sunspots since Galileo's time). Some solar-physicists are now saying if the current cycle doesn't begin to produce spots soon, we can expect a cool-down like the 19th-Century Dalton minimum - or worse. Decades-long cooling in the past brought crop failures to Europe from repeated summer frosts and restricted growing seasons.....
Posted by John Weidner at 9:16 AM

May 23, 2008

Things could get much worse...

I've been meaning to post on this very important possibility, but I've been as distracted as usual. Alan Sullivan has been following the ongoing eruption of the volcano at Chaitén. This is from a couple of weeks ago...

....Let’s recall the onset of the eruption. One significant earthquake on April 30 preceded the first explosions; four more accompanied them on May 2. Epicenters were arrayed radially around the caldera. Their locations implied that a very large magma chamber might be released by the eruptive process. After the initial blasts, the eruption settled into a near steady-state, sustained so long that a vast amount of material must have been spewed by now — perhaps doubling the two cubic kilometers of ejecta estimated in the first phase. (Caveat: that’s just a guess.) But the plume has not been punching high enough to matter, in the global scale.

That may change very soon. If the magma conduit is breaking up, and the capping lava dome explodes away, a Tambora-sized event could happen in the next few days. It is plausible that the blowout could be even greater. The tragedies of China, Burma, or Sumatra are trivial in comparison with what may be about to occur. Global climate is already cooling; food supplies are already tight. The Four Horsemen have been stabled for many years. Tonight I can hear their mounts champing...

So what is a "Tambora-sized event?" Tambora exploded in 1815. From Wikipedia: The Year Without a Summer:

The Year Without a Summer, also known as the Poverty Year, The Year There Was No Summer or Eighteen hundred and froze to death, was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities destroyed crops in Northern Europe, the American Northeast and eastern Canada.[1][2] Historian John D. Post has called this "the last great subsistence crisis in the Western world".[3] It appears to have been caused by a volcanic winter.

Chaitén is quiet at the moment, but:

...The Chilean government issued a new statement today. The Volcanism Blog has yet to post one of its elegant translations. I ran the text through Babelfish and got comical results. It’s not geared for science. But there’s nothing funny about what’s happening at the volcano. It is exactly as I suspected. Major dome building is now underway. The geologists were astonished by their flyby yesterday. Seismic signals indicate continued magma movement. The authorities remain worried about a catastrophic blowout. This event is not over. It may continue for weeks or even months before a climactic phase ensues...

I remember "dome building" before Mt St Helens blew. But this seems to be something considerably bigger.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:49 AM

April 22, 2008

"The mother-of-all-environmental scares"

From Happy Earth Day, by Steven F. Hayward...

More than 30 years ago political scientist Anthony Downs discerned what he called the “issue-attention cycle,” a five-stage process by which the public and especially the news media grow alarmed over an issue, agitate for action, generate piles of scary headlines, and then begin to draw back as we come to recognize that the problem has been exaggerated or misconceived, and the price tag for action comes in. While Downs thought that the issue-attention cycle for the environment would last longer than most issues, it appears the mother-of-all-environmental scares -- global warming -- is following his model and is going to begin to fade like other environmental alarms of the past such as the population bomb and the “we’re running out of everything” scares.

The current media and political blitz on Capitol Hill for government controls on energy production are the product of the panic felt by environmentalists who realize that opinion polls show the public is climbing off global warming bandwagon...

I think a lot of the panic is coming from the unconscious, because even if the globalistas ignore the facts that contradict global warming theory, they had to be expecting a lot more bad news than there has been. Global mean temps have not increased since 1998! That's gotta be making certain people nervous.

And Argo. Argo was going to clinch the case for global warming. People were expecting that. Now you hear almost nothing about it.

What's bothersome to me is that the demise of each scare-issue doesn't cause ordinary people to start thinking for themselves. Minds just gradually adjust to the new CW, without people noticing that there's something really wrong. The "population bomb" fades away, and people stop worrying, but they retain a vague idea that there are too many people, and some of them really ought to be eliminated to "save the planet." That the predictions of mass-starvation never came true.... that's not dwelt upon.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:36 AM

April 17, 2008

Don't trust Wikipedia

Charlene recommends this piece, by Lawrence Solomon in the National Post, on how Wikipedia is bogus on the subject of Global warming. "Information wants to be free," but not when the subject has become part of a monomaniacal religion...(Thanks to Instapundit)

...Tabletop, it turns out, has another name: Kim Dabelstein Petersen. She (or he?) is an editor at Wikipedia. What does she edit? Reams and reams of global warming pages. I started checking them. In every instance I checked, she defended those warning of catastrophe and deprecated those who believe the science is not settled. I investigated further. Others had tried to correct her interpretations and had the same experience as I -- no sooner did they make their corrections than she pounced, preventing Wikipedia readers from reading anyone's views but her own. When they protested plaintively, she wore them down and snuffed them out.

By patrolling Wikipedia pages and ensuring that her spin reigns supreme over all climate change pages, she has made of Wikipedia a propaganda vehicle for global warming alarmists. But unlike government propaganda, its source is not self-evident. We don't suspend belief when we read Wikipedia, as we do when we read literature from an organization with an agenda, because Wikipedia benefits from the Internet's cachet of making information free and democratic. This Big Brother enforces its views with a mouse.

While I've been writing this column, the Naomi Oreskes page has changed 10 times. Since I first tried to correct the distortions on the page, it has changed 28 times. If you have read a climate change article on Wikipedia -- or on any controversial subject that may have its own Kim Dabelstein Petersen -- beware. Wikipedia is in the hands of the zealots.
Posted by John Weidner at 5:56 AM

April 12, 2008

"Emerging truth"

I commend to your attention this piece from the National Post, about how the BBC was cajoled into changing an article that didn't conform to The Church of Climate Change orthodoxy... (Thanks to Michael Goldfarb)

This is just a part of the quoted e-mail exchange. "Roger" is the journalist, "Jo" is cracking the whip on behalf of the "Campaign Against Climate Change."

jo.

From: Roger Harrabin

The article makes all these points quite clear. We can't ignore the fact that skeptics have jumped on the lack of increase since 1998. It is appearing reguarly now in general media.

Best to tackle this -- and explain it, which is what we have done

Or people feel like debate is being censored, which makes them v. suspicious.

Roger

---

Hi Roger,

... . Your word "debate." This is not an issue of "debate." This is an issue of emerging truth. I don't think you should worry about whether people feel they are countering some kind of conspiracy, or suspicious that the full extent of the truth is being withheld from them.

Every day more information is added to the stack showing the desperate plight of the planet.

It would be better if you did not quote the skeptics. Their voice is heard everywhere, on every channel. They are deliberately obstructing the emergence of the truth.

I would ask : Please reserve the main BBC Online channel for emerging truth.

Otherwise, I would have to conclude that you are insufficiently educated to be able to know when you have been psychologically manipulated. And that would make you an unreliable reporter.

I am about to send your comments to others for their contribution, unless you request I do not. They are likely to want to post your comments on forums/fora, so please indicate if you do not want this to happen. You may appear in an unfavourable light because it could be said that you have had your head turned by the skeptics. Respectfully,

jo.

---

From: Roger Harrabin

Have a look in 10 minutes and tell me you are happier. We have changed headline and more.

"This is not an issue of "debate." This is an issue of emerging truth." You gotta love the frankness!

Notice how Jo Abbess just assumes she has the right to demand suppression of facts! As does the "journalist," Roger Harrabin. He doesn't even pretend to be objective; he merely claims it is better tactics to be open about inconvenient truths.

And this is similar to a few occasions I recall when the Old Media have been c aught being taken to task by Democrats for publishing some story that hurts a Dem. It is just assumed that the media are in the leftist camp, and that it is perfectly proper to tell them they can't publisj tjis or that.

And you just know that these "journalists" go to journalist banquets where they present each other with plaques and awards for journalistic integrity and "speaking truth to power." And listen to speeches about how a free press is essential to the functioning of democracy.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:28 PM

April 6, 2008

The old Manichean error

A bit of Michael Heller, quoted at First Things:

....And what about chancy or random events? Do they destroy mathematical harmony of the universe, and introduce into it elements of chaos and disorder? Is chance a rival force of God’s creative Mind, a sort of Manichean principle fighting against goals of creation? But what is chance? It is an event of low probability which happens in spite of the fact that it is of low probability. If one wants to determine whether an event is of low or high probability, one must use the calculus of probability, and the calculus of probability is a mathematical theory as good as any other mathematical theory. Chance and random processes are elements of the mathematical blueprint of the universe in the same way as other aspects of the world architecture.

Mathematical structures that are parts of the composition determining the functioning of the universe are called laws of physics. It is a very subtle composition indeed. Like in any masterly symphony, elements of chance and necessity are interwoven with each other and together span the structure of the whole. Elements of necessity determine the pattern of possibilities and dynamical paths of becoming, but they leave enough room for chancy events to make this becoming rich and individual.

Adherents of the so-called intelligent design ideology commit a grave theological error. They claim that scientific theories that ascribe a great role to chance and random events in the evolutionary processes should be replaced, or supplemented, by theories acknowledging the thread of intelligent design in the universe. Such views are theologically erroneous. They implicitly revive the old Manichean error postulating the existence of two forces acting against each other: God and an inert matter; in this case, chance and intelligent design. There is no opposition here. Within the all-comprising Mind of God, what we call chance and random events is well composed into the symphony of creation....

-- Michael (Michał) Heller is a Polish cosmologist and Catholic priest. These remarks were made at the news conference announcing his reception of the 2008 Templeton Prize.

PS: I just saw this, posted by JB Watson:

Any deity worthy of a graven image can cobble up a working universe complete with fake fossils in under a week… But to start with a big ball of elementary particles and end up with the duckbill platypus without constant twiddling requires a degree of subtlety and the ability to Think Things Through: exactly the qualities I’m looking for when I’m shopping for a Supreme Being.
-- a Usenet poster
Posted by John Weidner at 5:10 AM

March 29, 2008

strangest health story in many years?

Hugh Hewitt, on another recall of possibly-contaminated Heparin from China....

This remains the strangest health story in many years because it is so under-reported....

...The questions I have yet to see answered in a newspaper account (or anywhere for that matter):

Where and when did the 19 fatalities occur?

During what time frame did the "hundreds" of allergic reactions occur?

Are there possible long-term consequences from use of the adulterated heparin which patients have to be vigilant about?

Have all patients who received potentially contaminated heparin been informed?

Why are there still possibly-contaminated Heparin products on the market?

Either the 19 deaths and "hundreds" of allergic reaction numbers are inflated or conjecture, or this story has been terribly handled by MSM.

It's certainly odd how little we've heard of this.

My guess is that it's mostly political. There's no domestic political angle. If An American firm were at fault, this would be a big story. If Mr McCain owned stock in that company, it would be a HUGE story. (If Mr Obama were involved, it would be a story about "Republican smear tactics.")

But mostly I would guess it's a non-story because the media's instincts are always Tranzi. They don't want you to notice that there are certain differences between countries...since they are hoping to kind of merrrrrge things, under the supervision of elite post-nationalist bureaucrats. A group that would have considerable overlap with elite post-nationalist journalists.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:54 AM

Are we at the "willing suspension of disbelief" stage?

Alan Sullivan writes:

...Today BBC has a new datum from Antarctica. A section of ice shelf is breaking away. You have to read the article closely to find amid the language of alarm that the chunk is question is a small piece of a small shelf on the Palmer Peninsula — the one part of Antarctica that has been warming. The rest of the continent has been getting markedly colder for many years. This is not mentioned in the article. BBC provides no balance in climate coverage, only propaganda.

The “unprecedented warming” of the peninsula is probably a direct consequence of the continent chilling. With colder air over the great icecap, ocean storms round the perimeter get stronger. Those storms drive maritime winds over the north-jutting peninsula, causing a local warming. It has nothing to do with global climate, which is not warming, and has not been for nearly a decade. Curiously enough, BBC has offered readers no story on the startling data from the Argo buoy program, announced last week. It covered the launch of the system with green enthusiasm in 2000. Now not a word. Why? Because Argo finds no warming in the oceans, and zealots can abide no contradiction....

We are in an interesting situation here, where those following certain subject via the Internet are aware of a growing disconnect between what you "read in the paper" and what's actually happening on the ground. And the fascination is in wondering when "they" are going to be forced to acknowledge the new reality.

This is starting to feel a lot like Iraq in early 2007, when blogs started to pick up on stories about sheikhs in al Anbar turning against al Qaeda, and about the shift in our tactics to counter-insurgency. And our question became not: "who's going to win," but instead: "When are our lefties going to be forced to admit that their side has lost?"

I'm wondering if the "global warming" debate is approaching a point similar to when Hillary greeted Gen. Petraeus' report with her "willing suspension of disbelief" wise-crack. (McCain recently suggested it was high time she apologized to a great American. I kinda hope she gets the nomination just so McCain can rub her nose in it.)

This is sort of like watching a movie, where the characters have decided to explore the spooky mysterious old house How long will it be before something jumps out at them?... This is going to be fun.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:21 AM

March 25, 2008

Tiresome little blighters...

Lorne Gunter: Perhaps The Climate Change Models Are Wrong...

...They drift along in the worlds' oceans at a depth of 2,000 metres -- more than a mile deep -- constantly monitoring the temperature, salinity, pressure and velocity of the upper oceans...

....When they were first deployed in 2003, the Argos were hailed for their ability to collect information on ocean conditions more precisely, at more places and greater depths and in more conditions than ever before. No longer would scientists have to rely on measurements mostly at the surface from older scientific buoys or inconsistent shipboard monitors.

So why are some scientists now beginning to question the buoys' findings? Because in five years, the little blighters have failed to detect any global warming. They are not reinforcing the scientific orthodoxy of the day, namely that man is causing the planet to warm dangerously. They are not proving the predetermined conclusions of their human masters. Therefore they, and not their masters' hypotheses, must be wrong.

In fact, "there has been a very slight cooling," according to a U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) interview with Josh Willis at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a scientist who keeps close watch on the Argo findings....

....The big problem with the Argo findings is that all the major climate computer models postulate that as much as 80-90% of global warming will result from the oceans warming rapidly then releasing their heat into the atmosphere.

But if the oceans aren't warming, then (please whisper) perhaps the models are wrong....

Actually, the real scandal about the models is that they are--all of them--tweaked to make them produce credible results. No one has ever just created a model from existing data and had it produce anything like our climate.

However, since all scientists are honest and pure of heart--secular saints, you might say--it is merely coincidence that all the models produce the results hoped-for by their political flavor. Anyone who suggests otherwise is a right-wing hate-monger.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:40 PM

March 9, 2008

Sunshine vitamin...

I found this piece on vitamin D and disease prevention.from Canada's Globe and Mail (Thanks to Glenn) intriguing. I've been taking extra Vitamin D for a few years, but this has a lot of stuff I hadn't heard of. A lot of this research is coming from Canada, and Scandinavia, where there are lots of people living at high latitudes who are not exposed to much sunlight. But nowadays we are all turning into zombies who sit inside and stare at computer screens.

In the summer of 1974, brothers Frank and Cedric Garland had a heretical brainwave.

The young epidemiologists were watching a presentation on death rates from cancer county by county across the United States. As they sat in a lecture hall at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore looking at the colour-coded cancer maps, they noticed a striking pattern, with the map for colon cancer the most pronounced.

Counties with high death rates were red; those with low rates were blue. Oddly, the nation was almost neatly divided in half, red in the north and blue in the south. Why, they wondered, was the risk of dying from cancer greater in bucolic Maine than in highly polluted Southern California?....

[...]

...A 2001 Finnish study found that children given 2,000 IU daily cut their risk of getting juvenile diabetes by 80 per cent.

The strong correlation between latitude and the incidence of multiple sclerosis has led researchers to suspect the trend is related to vitamin D status. In the U.S., for example, MS rates are four times higher in northern states, along the Canadian border, than in the southern parts of the country. Similarly, Australian research shows the incidence of MS increases the farther people live from the equator. The highest incidence rates in the world are found in Northern Europe and Canada....
....The simple answer may be that Vitamin D interacts with an unusually large number of our genes, working like a master switch to turn them on or off. Researchers believe a deficiency of the vitamin leads to a deficiency of the proteins manufactured under the direction of these genes, which then undermines key defences against seemingly unrelated diseases such as cancer, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

John White, who has been studying the antimicrobial activities of vitamin D at McGill University in Montreal, says that "virtually every cell" in the human body has receptors for vitamin D and that hundreds of different genes may be regulated by it.

Vitamin D's most profound gene-influenced activity appears to be in keeping healthy the broad category of cells known as epithelium, which line the outsides of our organs and the surfaces of the structures in our body.

Even though these lining tissues amount to only about 2 per cent of the weight of our bodies, they are the source of about 85 per cent of cancers, those known as carcinomas.....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:08 PM

March 8, 2008

"The sun is the primary driver"

Alan Sullivan has posted a very long piece on Climate. He's a weather-nut, has been studying this for a lifetime, and knows a lot. Well worth reading...

....But why are ice ages occurring now, and why at other times in earth’s history, has warmth predominated, with only a few previous cycles of widespread glaciation? At last the information from the various sciences offers a coherent explanation of paleoclimate, with which we can better understand the present, and take more educated guesses at the future.

There is one essential truth to emphasize: the sun is the primary driver. All other factors affecting climate are trivial in comparison, though sometimes they may briefly override the solar homeostasis. Virtually all Earth’s thermal energy derives from the sun; only the tiniest traces leach from the planet’s interior. But the sun’s output is not perfectly constant. Its immense thermonuclear furnace fluctuates, with short-term and long-term cycles. We scarcely understand the former, and the latter we don’t understand at all.

Our time-line of sophisticated solar study is very brief. Only in the last few years have instruments been deployed that can probe the sun’s innards more precisely. Even with super-computers, scientists will need some time to integrate the new information into theories that might help us comprehend Sol’s long-term behavior, and its peculiar short-term changes.

The first solar cycle known to astronomers was the sun-spot cycle, which was found to peak at eleven-year intervals. We have decent records of sunspot count going back to the 1500’s. They show something very odd: the Maunder minimum. During the 1600’s, the sunspot cycle collapsed, and hardly any sunspots were observed for the better part of a century. Then the cycle resumed and gradually sharpened. The peaks of the Twentieth Century appear to be the highest in the record, even when weighted for the limitations on the older counts.

The Little Ice Age happened during the Maunder Minimum. Europe and other parts of the world suffered crop failures and food crises. Winters were fierce; snows deep; ice covered the rivers; and we inherited pretty paintings of people ice-skating on canals of the Netherlands. This is not a coincidence. Solar radiance peaks with the flares that accompany sunspots. When solar storms quit entirely for decades on end, Earth’s energy balance changes. There is less input from the primary driver. The effects come promptly, and pass when the sunspot cycle resumes.....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:41 PM

February 9, 2008

Gaia angry at Bush, Cheney--withholds sunspots...

DailyTech: Solar Activity Diminishes; Researchers Predict Another Ice Age

Dr. Kenneth Tapping is worried about the sun. Solar activity comes in regular cycles, but the latest one is refusing to start. Sunspots have all but vanished, and activity is suspiciously quiet. The last time this happened was 400 years ago -- and it signaled a solar event known as a "Maunder Minimum," along with the start of what we now call the "Little Ice Age."

Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada's National Research Council, says it may be happening again. Overseeing a giant radio telescope he calls a "stethoscope for the sun," Tapping says, if the pattern doesn't change quickly, the earth is in for some very chilly weather.

During the Little Ice Age, global temperatures dropped sharply. New York Harbor froze hard enough to allow people to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island, and in Britain, people reported sighting eskimos paddling canoes off the coast. Glaciers in Norway grew up to 100 meters a year, destroying farms and villages....

It's our fault for being selfish. But Obama is wiling to negotiate with the Sun.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:15 PM

January 4, 2008

"the most important public health response -- is ending the war."

Remember the Lancet study that claimed that more than 600,000 Iraqis had died since the US invasion? It was not even close to any other mortality estimates, and was widely condemned as bad science motivated by politics. Now National Journal has an article suggesting that actual scientific fraud may have been involved!

I found this part on the politics of those involved very interesting. My guess, from watching such people closely since 2001, is that that they are deranged enough that they could jigger the figures and then sincerely believe that they were telling the "real truth," and not committing fraud.

...In fact, the funding came from the Open Society Institute created by Soros, a top Democratic donor, and from three other foundations, according to Tirman. The money was channeled through Tirman's Persian Gulf Initiative. Soros's group gave $46,000, and the Samuel Rubin Foundation gave $5,000. An anonymous donor, and another donor whose identity he does not know, provided the balance, Tirman said. The Lancet II study cost about $100,000, according to Tirman, including about $45,000 for publicity and travel. That means that nearly half of the study's funding came from an outspoken billionaire who has repeatedly criticized the Iraq campaign and who spent $30 million trying to defeat Bush in 2004.

Partisan considerations. Soros is not the only person associated with the Lancet studies who had one eye on the data and the other on the U.S. political calendar. In 2004, Roberts conceded that he opposed the Iraq invasion from the outset, and -- in a much more troubling admission -- said that he had e-mailed the first study to The Lancet on September 30, 2004, "under the condition that it come out before the election." Burnham admitted that he set the same condition for Lancet II. "We wanted to get the survey out before the election, if at all possible," he said.

"Les and Gil put themselves in position to be criticized on the basis of their views," Garfield concedes, before adding, "But you can have an opinion and still do good science." Perhaps, but the Lancet editor who agreed to rush their study into print, with an expedited peer-review process and without seeing the surveyors' original data, also makes no secret of his leftist politics. At a September 2006 rally in Manchester, England, Horton declared, "This axis of Anglo-American imperialism extends its influence through war and conflict, gathering power and wealth as it goes, so millions of people are left to die in poverty and disease." His speech can be viewed on YouTube.

Mr. Roberts tries to go to Washington. Roberts, who opposed removing Saddam from power, is the most politically outspoken of the authors. He initiated the first Lancet study and repeatedly used its conclusions to criticize Bush. "I consider myself an advocate," Roberts told an interviewer in early 2007. "When you start working documenting events in war, the public health response -- the most important public health response -- is ending the war."..

When he says "ending the war," he is telling a lie. He really means ending American involvement in the war. If the US pulled out of Iraq, and a million people died subsequently, that would not be "war." That would be "peace," and these animals would be preening themselves on "ending the war." (And you can bet your last nickel that there would never be any "Lancet studies" of those deaths!)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:53 AM

December 24, 2007

Curious facts. How odd we haven't heard more about this...


David Whitehouse, in the New Statesman, Has Global Warming Stopped?

Global warming Stopped? Surely not. What heresy is this? Haven't we been told that the science of global warming is settled beyond doubt and that all that's left to the so-called sceptics is the odd errant glacier that refuses to melt?

Aren't we told that if we don't act now rising temperatures will render most of the surface of the Earth uninhabitable within our lifetimes? But as we digest these apocalyptic comments, read the recent IPCC's Synthesis report that says climate change could become irreversible. Witness the drama at Bali as news emerges that something is not quite right in the global warming camp.

With only few days remaining in 2007, the indications are the global temperature for this year is the same as that for 2006 � there has been no warming over the 12 months.

But is this just a blip in the ever upward trend you may ask?

No.The fact is that the global temperature of 2007 is statistically the same as 2006 as well as every year since 2001. Global warming has, temporarily or permanently, ceased. Temperatures across the world are not increasing as they should according to the fundamental theory behind global warming � the greenhouse effect. Something else is happening and it is vital that we find out what or else we may spend hundreds of billions of pounds needlessly..
Posted by John Weidner at 7:38 AM

December 17, 2007

shibbuwichee...

Penraker:

.....Today's latest garbage seminar is being held in Indonesia, where the world's great reformers are gathering:

"If you cannot lead, leave it to the rest of us. Get out of the way," said Kevin Conrad, Papua New Guinea's ambassador for climate change.

Oh my. Papua New Guinea's "Ambassador" for climate change is dressing us down. My knees are going wobbly. It's not even the president or premier of Papua New Guinea. It's not even a minister in the government. It is some flake that they gave the honorific of "ambassador". No doubt, he is yet another climate change freak dressed out in UN garb to pose as someone of substance.

Bush is giving in to the hysteria, it seems. But he has played this whole faux-crisis brilliantly. Let us enter into a renegotiation of Kyoto. That ought to take about 4 or 5 years, during which he ( or his successor) can use the hysteria to get us into nuclear power in a big way. Oops! That's not what Gore and his buddies wanted! A delicious bit of ju-jitsu by Bush.
And the REAL research will come streaming in, telling us that hey, we are not having as big an effect on the climate as we thought. New data will show that the sun has been fluctuating, and that more warmth is actually good for us. More crops can be grown, less heating oil is used, etc, etc.

That two-foot sea level rise will shrink yet again, to a bare nickel's width per year - the same as has been going on for the last 10,000 years.....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:48 AM

December 12, 2007

New bug. Be aware

Virus Starts Like a Cold But Can Turn Into a Killer - washingtonpost.com:

....Gilbert alerted state health officials, a decision that led investigators to realize that a new, apparently more virulent form of a virus that usually causes nothing worse than a nasty cold was circulating around the United States. At least 1,035 Americans in four states have been infected so far this year by the virus, known as an adenovirus. Dozens have been hospitalized, many requiring intensive care, and at least 10 have died.

Health officials say the virus does not seem to be causing life-threatening illness on a wide scale, and most people who develop colds or flulike symptoms are at little or no risk. Likewise, most people infected by the suspect adenovirus do not appear to become seriously ill. But the germ appears to be spreading, and investigators are unsure how much of a threat it poses.....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:57 AM

November 28, 2007

THE fashionable disease...

From An Epidemic of Falsehoods, by Michael Fumento...

The UNAIDS program has issued its annual report in which, finally, it doesn't say how many more current HIV infections there are this year than last. Rather it drops the figure by over six million from its 2006 estimate. Specifically, it went from 39.5 million to 33.2 million. Further, the Agency now admits the number of new HIV infections per year peaked way back around 1998.

For years, some of us have dared write that worldwide HIV and AIDS figures have been grossly exaggerated; that we were being lied to by just about everybody, including -- or especially -- the UNAIDS program and the World Health Organization...[...]

.....Such an extrapolation from a small non-representative portion of the population to literally the whole world is nonsense.
And UNAIDS knew it because it had been told by a number of careful, knowledgeable scientists such as Berkeley epidemiologist Dr. James Chin. Chin, when he worked for the UN, was responsible for some of the earliest world AIDS forecasts. Later he watched how politics -- not a virus -- made those figures zoom into the stratosphere.

Three years ago, Chin told me: "They [the UN] don't falsify per se" but "as an epidemiologist I look at these numbers and how they're derived. Every step of the way there is a range and you can choose the low end or the high end. Almost consistently the high end was chosen."

And guess what? Chin, who is also author of The AIDS Pandemic: The Collision of Epidemiology With Political Correctness, still thinks the numbers are too high. He estimates worldwide HIV infections to be 25 million, still about eight million less than the revised estimate...

Look, it's obvious that AIDS is THE fashionable disease. Africans dying of AIDS is a big deal, Africans dying because of polluted water supplies or lack of vaccinations is not very interesting to Western elites and Hollywood saints. The question is, why?

I myself have little doubt that it is--unconsciously perhaps--because it is mostly a "gay" disease, and all things homosexual are being officially "approved of" as part of Leftist attacks on traditional morality and values. And gays are just pawns here--Leftists would happily sacrifice them to the "cause." (If you think I exaggerate, imagine as a thought experiment a popular new movement in the gay culture, with all gays becoming monogamous and all voting Republican, leading to ZERO new cases of AIDS. Do you think for a moment that Lefty activists would be pleased?)

Part of the weirdness of the "popularity" of AIDS, (and the popularity of many other issues) is the way that all left-leaning people have picked-up their marching orders from...where? From out of the ether it seems. In the old days the Left had a hard core of communists who told the "useful idiots" how to think. But that's all gone, there is no center anymore, and no real belief in socialism. And yet, millions of people have a little internal Politburo that pushes them towards positions that advance the cause of socialism. In which they do not actually believe. Always towards atomizing society, and destroying institutions like families and churches that come between people and government.

 

Posted by John Weidner at 7:01 AM

November 21, 2007

Thanks once again Mr Bush...

From an editorial in National Review....

Today’s papers bring news of an enormous advance in stem-cell research. Scientists in the United States and Japan have managed to turn regular human skin cells into the equivalent of embryonic stem cells — achieving what they’ve sought until now through the destruction of embryos, but without the need to use embryos, to use cloning, or to use eggs...

...In an effort to cause the country to abandon this conviction, some advocates of the research, including nearly every prominent Democrat in Congress, have made reckless and irresponsible promises, offered false hope to the suffering, depicted their opponents as heartless enemies of science, and exploited sick people for crass political gain.

Meanwhile, in an effort to defend that conviction, President Bush and most congressional Republicans have stood up to all that pressure, and have pursued an approach that seeks to advance science while also insisting on ethics. Contrary to the common myth, Bush never “banned” stem-cell research, or even federal funding for it. Instead, he permitted such funding, for the first time, in a way that could help basic science advance while not encouraging the ongoing destruction of human embryos. He acknowledged the importance of the science, acknowledged the importance of the ethics, and sought to champion both.

For several years now, the president has also clearly understood that the potential for scientific alternatives to the destruction of embryos could offer a powerful means to that end. Helped along by a variety of experts who saw that promise — perhaps most notably William Hurlbut of Stanford University, who was a member of Bush’s bioethics council — he came to recognize that stem-cell science could solve the ethical quandary stem-cell science had created. As early as 2005, Bush was speaking about “ethical ways of getting the same kind of cells now taken from embryos without violating human life or dignity.” And after trying unsuccessfully to get the Congress to support such new avenues of research, he acted on his own through an executive order this summer....

As someone said, Bush accomplishes more in a bad year than Clinton did in his whole 8 years.

And even if you do not care about this particular issue, SANE people should recognize that there should be the possibility that elected governments can exercise oversight in scientific research. I don't think it is sane to say, "Scientists should be allowed to discover or build anything they like, and we should all just pay them to do so and accept humbly whatever they decide to give us." Am I right? (shall I pause and give you Democrats an hour to scratch your heads?)

And therefore sane people should agree that something good has been accomplished. Ordinary Americans said they were not happy with the way certain research was going, and the political process produced a pause, and a change of direction. That's a good thing, right?

And the administration is not "anti-science." That's lying crap from people who can't compete in the arena of ideas. Imagine that researchers were hoping to save lives by inventing what could be an Ozone Layer-destroying chemical? Or by slaughtering baby seals? Would not Al Gore and Democrats be arguing for a slowdown? A change of direction? Alternatives? Hmmm? That would not be "anti-science."

Actually, if you scrutinize that "baby seal-destroying research" analogy, it gives one pause. To be more analogous, Republicans would have to be eager, nay HUNGRY for the destruction of baby seals. And they would have to ignore the fact that there were more promising lines of research that did not kill seals. And they would have to heap scorn on anyone not eager to club little seals en mass, and deride them as knuckle-dragging obscurantists who didn't want Christopher Reeve to be cured.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:27 AM

October 9, 2007

We take cream in our coffee here...

There's a really interesting piece in the New York Times, Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus. It covers the findings in a new book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes, who debunks the notion that fatty foods shorten your life...

....With skeptical scientists ostracized, the public debate and research agenda became dominated by the fat-is-bad school. Later the National Institutes of Health would hold a “consensus conference” that concluded there was “no doubt” that low-fat diets “will afford significant protection against coronary heart disease” for every American over the age of 2. The American Cancer Society and the surgeon general recommended a low-fat diet to prevent cancer.

But when the theories were tested in clinical trials, the evidence kept turning up negative. As Mr. Taubes notes, the most rigorous meta-analysis of the clinical trials of low-fat diets, published in 2001 by the Cochrane Collaboration, concluded that they had no significant effect on mortality.

Mr. Taubes argues that the low-fat recommendations, besides being unjustified, may well have harmed Americans by encouraging them to switch to carbohydrates, which he believes cause obesity and disease. He acknowledges that that hypothesis is unproved, and that the low-carb diet fad could turn out to be another mistaken cascade. The problem, he says, is that the low-carb hypothesis hasn’t been seriously studied because it couldn’t be reconciled with the low-fat dogma....

This is of course cool for Charlene and I, both of us being low-carbers, and longtime skeptics about low-fat. The reason "the low-carb hypothesis hasn’t been seriously studied" is because, to put it more bluntly, it has not been politically correct to do so. If you follow the subject you soon see that diets line up with politics in the most fascinating way. The big bureaucracies are low-fat and so the left tends to go that way. Low carb diets, like the Atkins Diet, have always been "counter-cultural, and tainted with capitalism—Dr Atkins products are sold for profit.

And doesn't this quote remind you of a certain other "scientific consensus" we've been hearing a lot about lately?...

....It may seem bizarre that a surgeon general could go so wrong. After all, wasn’t it his job to express the scientific consensus? But that was the problem. Dr. Koop was expressing the consensus. He, like the architects of the federal “food pyramid” telling Americans what to eat, went wrong by listening to everyone else. He was caught in what social scientists call a cascade.

We like to think that people improve their judgment by putting their minds together, and sometimes they do. The studio audience at “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” usually votes for the right answer. But suppose, instead of the audience members voting silently in unison, they voted out loud one after another. And suppose the first person gets it wrong.

If the second person isn’t sure of the answer, he’s liable to go along with the first person’s guess. By then, even if the third person suspects another answer is right, she’s more liable to go along just because she assumes the first two together know more than she does. Thus begins an “informational cascade” as one person after another assumes that the rest can’t all be wrong.

Because of this effect, groups are surprisingly prone to reach mistaken conclusions even when most of the people started out knowing better, according to the economists Sushil Bikhchandani, David Hirshleifer and Ivo Welch. If, say, 60 percent of a group’s members have been given information pointing them to the right answer (while the rest have information pointing to the wrong answer), there is still about a one-in-three chance that the group will cascade to a mistaken consensus....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:40 AM

September 24, 2007

Chasing things ever more subtle and elusive...

This piece from the NYT is a bit depressing. So much effort, with no clear results...

....In January 2001, the British epidemiologists George Davey Smith and Shah Ebrahim, co-editors of The International Journal of Epidemiology, discussed this issue in an editorial titled “Epidemiology — Is It Time to Call It a Day?” They noted that those few times that a randomized trial had been financed to test a hypothesis supported by results from these large observational studies, the hypothesis either failed the test or, at the very least, the test failed to confirm the hypothesis: antioxidants like vitamins E and C and beta carotene did not prevent heart disease, nor did eating copious fiber protect against colon cancer.

The Nurses’ Health Study is the most influential of these cohort studies, and in the six years since the Davey Smith and Ebrahim editorial, a series of new trials have chipped away at its credibility. The Women’s Health Initiative hormone-therapy trial failed to confirm the proposition that H.R.T. prevented heart disease; a W.H.I. diet trial with 49,000 women failed to confirm the notion that fruits and vegetables protected against heart disease; a 40,000-woman trial failed to confirm that a daily regimen of low-dose aspirin prevented colorectal cancer and heart attacks in women under 65. And this June, yet another clinical trial — this one of 1,000 men and women with a high risk of colon cancer — contradicted the inference from the Nurses’s study that folic acid supplements reduced the risk of colon cancer. Rather, if anything, they appear to increase risk.

The implication of this track record seems hard to avoid. “Even the Nurses’ Health Study, one of the biggest and best of these studies, cannot be used to reliably test small-to-moderate risks or benefits,” says Charles Hennekens, a principal investigator with the Nurses’ study from 1976 to 2001. “None of them can.”...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:12 AM

September 15, 2007

Expanding ice caps...

John Hinderaker:

You've no doubt read about the shrinking ice cap at the North Pole, and the plight of the polar bears there. It's less likely that you've heard that in the meantime, the ice cap at the South Pole has been expanding, and just recently reached its largest extent since measurements began in 1979.

I compared Google News searches for "ice cap 'north pole'" and "ice cap 'south pole.'" The North Pole stories were all about the shrinking ice cap there as evidence of global warming. I couldn't find a single news story about the expanding ice cap at the South Pole. This strikes me as a pretty good illustration of how the conventional story line about Earth's climate drives news reporting...

Neither North nor South Poles are definitive evidence in themselves. Climate change would not be linear. But this is sure powerful evidence of what a bunch of frauds our news-media are.

The whole globo-warming debate is warped because a LOT of things are not being mentioned. Things that would cause the little people—you and me— to possibly fail to reach the conclusions deemed appropriate by our elite would-be masters. For instance, 99% of the Greenhouse Effect on Earth is caused by water vapor. And lucky we are that it is; we'd be pretty cold without it. We'd all be living in the "Antarctic."

Posted by John Weidner at 12:24 PM

July 27, 2007

A bit of a follow-up on a old story...

From Michelle Malkin...

One of the most useful roles of the blogosphere is its service as an open-source intelligence-gathering medium. You can draw on the expertise of people around the world at the touch of a button. We saw this with typography experts during the Rathergate scandal; Photoshop experts during the Reutersgate debacle; and military experts during the Jesse Macbeth unmasking.

Now, it’s the statisticians and math geeks’ turn. Remember that massively-publicized 2004 Lancet Iraq death toll study? It was cited in nearly 100 scholarly journals and reported by news outlets around the world. “100,000 Civilian Deaths Estimated in Iraq” blared the Washington Post in a typical headline.

There were attempts made by lay journalists to debunk the 2004 study (as well as the 2006 follow-up study that purported to back up the first). But none of those dissections comes close to a damning new statistical analysis of the 2004 study authored by David Kane, Institute Fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. I read of Kane’s new paper at this science blog and e-mailed him for permission to reprint his analysis in its entirety here so that a wider blog readership could have a look. He has given me his permission and adds that he welcomes comments and feedback....

....An interesting side note: as Kane observes in his paper, the Lancet authors “refuse to provide anyone with the underlying data (or even a precise description of the actual methodology).” The researchers did release some high-level summary data in highly aggregated form (see here), but they released neither the detailed interviewee-level data nor the programming code that would be necessary to replicate their results.....

I've written about this BS before.

...It's the same with that widely disseminated figure of 100,000 killed in the American occupation of Iraq. Statisticians have thoroughly debunked the number, though liars are still pushing it. But common sense tells us it's bogus. 100,000 bodies are hard to hide. There would be big piles of them lying around for significant periods of time. You can be sure Kevin Sites would have snapped pictures, and the MSM would have given them all possible publicity.

And 100,000 dead means at least a quarter of a million wounded! In a place the size of California. Where are they? I doubt if Iraq has even 10,000 hospital beds. There would be wounded people scattered everywhere...

I'm sure the fake-pacifists will still be pushing the fake numbers long after I'm dead and gone.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:26 AM

May 20, 2007

EMR's...cool

The Economist writes:

The federal government is giving a push to EMRs, following the lead of the Veterans' Health Administration (VHA). Studies have shown that thanks in large part to its sophisticated national database, the VHA has fewer patient errors and better health outcomes than the health system at large, despite the fact that its patients tend to be older, poorer and sicker. George Bush wants a system of universal health-records by 2015. And Medicare, the government-run health scheme for pensioners, is shifting to a tiered reimbursement system in which it pays doctors more if they go electronic.

Employers are also keen on technology, since it promises to curb health-care costs and improve efficiency. Intel, BP, Wal-Mart and several other big companies got together last year to form Dossia, an independent, non-profit company that will develop an EMR system to give employees lifelong, portable medical histories. And over a hundred other firms including Dell, IBM and Microsoft now allow employees to manage their health affairs via WebMD, a big health-information website.

Wayne Gattinella, WebMD's boss, says the popularity of this corporate product persuaded his firm to develop a version for individual consumers, supported by “discreet” targeted ads for pills, devices or relevant consumer products. “The consumer will be the catalyst to drive doctors and community hospitals to adopt IT,” he says.

Intuit, known for its accounting software, is convinced the market is ready for health-care software too. But when it tested such a product last year, it found that users were frustrated at having to fill in so many forms and search for bills and records to which they did not have easy access. So it now plans to offer its software in conjunction with health insurers, so that payment data and other information can be filled in automatically.

Aetna, a big insurance firm, has taken a different path by acquiring ActiveHealth, a firm that provides EMRs for around 14.5m users and also scours those health records with decision-support software to spot signs of trouble (such as missed doctors' appointments or early warnings of obesity). Aetna plans to offer this software to its own customers...

Well, just add this to the list of things being accomplished by the failed/beseiged/dead-in-the-water/lame duck/not-conservative Bush administration.

EMR stands for electronic medical record. The real reason they are a big deal is that if you had your medical records in a standardized electronic form, and your doctor recommended treatment, you could get a second opinion just by sending an e-mail. And, more importantly, you could get BIDS for your treatment, from other providers, without them having to re-examine you. That should start to shake things up.

(Thanks to Orrin)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:30 AM

April 11, 2007

Good news (won't be seen on your TV)

Here's some good news, via Rand...

...The restoration of southern Iraq's Mesopotamian marshes is now a giant ecosystem-level experiment. Uncontrolled release of water in many areas is resulting in the return of native plants and animals, including rare and endangered species of birds, mammals, and plants. The rate of restoration is remarkable, considering that reflooding occurred only about two years ago. Although recovery is not so pronounced in some areas because of elevated salinity and toxicity, many locations seem to be functioning at levels close to those of the natural Al-Hawizeh marsh, and even at historic levels in some areas....

You know, since I've told you already, that the Iraq Campaign does not really have a military purpose. We just did it to test leftists. To test whether "liberals are really liberal. Test 'em to destruction; show them up for the evil horrid frauds they are.

I wrote here:

...Iraq was (and is) the big test. To propose regime-change in Iraq is really to say to the Left: , "OK wise guys, you claim to be anti-fascist. Help us remove the worst fascist tyrant of our times. You claim to be humanitarian; here's one of the most brutalized countries of the earth needing our help. You claim you are not anti-Semitic; stand with us against against a monster who was paying bounties to Jew-killers. You claim to care about a certain group that's been denied a homeland; here in the Kurds we have a far bigger group denied a homeland..." (I could go on for a long while with these. You get the picture.)...

Now I see there is another test. A test for the fake-environmentalists commonly known as "Greens." The deliberate destruction of the Iraqi Marshes was the biggest environmental crime of our time. Any real environmentalist would be thrilled by the possibility of bringing back to life this vast wetland, and succoring the simple people who lived in harmony with it for at least 5,000 years....

Real environmentalists would be eager to help out. So where are they?

Posted by John Weidner at 3:20 PM

April 2, 2007

"A small ecological footprint"

A friend sent this.

A TALE OF TWO HOUSES

House 1:
The four-bedroom home was planned so that "every room has a relationship with something in the landscape that's different from the room next door. Each of the rooms feels like a slightly different place." The resulting single-story house is a paragon of environmental planning. The passive-solar house is built of honey-colored native limestone and positioned to absorb winter sunlight, warming the interior walkways and walls of the 4,000-square-foot residence. Geothermal heat pumps circulate water through pipes buried 300 feet deep in the ground. These waters pass through a heat exchange system that keeps the home warm in winter and cool in summer. A 25,000-gallon underground cistern collects rainwater gathered from roof urns; wastewater from sinks, toilets, and showers cascades into underground purifying tanks and is also funneled into the cistern. The water from the cistern is then used to irrigate the landscaping around the four-bedroom home, (which) uses indigenous grasses, shrubs, and flowers to complete the exterior treatment of the home. In addition to its minimal environmental impact, the look and layout of the house reflect one of the paramount priorities: relaxation. A spacious 10-foot porch wraps completely around the residence and beckons the family outdoors. With few hallways to speak of, family and guests make their way from room to room either directly or by way of the porch. "The house doesn’t hold you in. Where the porch ends there is grass. There is no step-up at all." This house consumes 25% of the energy of an average American home.
    (Source: Cowboys and Indians Magazine, Oct. 2002 and Chicago Tribune April 2001.)

House 2:
This 20-room, 8-bathroom house consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year. The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, this house devoured nearly 221,000 kWh, more than 20 times the national average. Last August alone, the house burned through 22,619 kWh, guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of this energy consumption, the average monthly electric bill topped $1,359. Also, natural gas bills for this house and guesthouse averaged $1,080 per month last year. In total, this house had nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for 2006.
    (Source: just about anywhere in the news last month online and on talk radio, but barely on TV. An inconvenient truth.)
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House 1 belongs to George and Laura Bush, and is in Crawford, Texas.

House 2 belongs to Al and Tipper Gore, and is in Nashville, Tennessee.

Of course no "Green" person is going to be bothered by this, because Green is a religion, and Algore's virtue lies in being a believer, not in actually caring about the environment. Actually, it's a pseudo-religion; a rather pathetic attempt to give meaning to lives lived in the void...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:02 AM

March 24, 2007

Quote for the day...

Rand noticed this, by Jonah Goldberg:

...But the reader's point that global warming provides an excuse for liberals to do what they've always wanted should make us very reluctant to take their proposed solutions at face value. That's why it's particularly maddening when Gore is so determined to shut off all debate.

It's funny, the same people who insist that dissent is the highest form of patriotism when it comes to the war, suddenly think you're a moronic bastard or environmental traitor if you want to debate global warming a bit more, even when the solutions being discussed could cost — in monetary terms — far more than the Iraq war....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:31 AM

March 10, 2007

"Tweaked"

I recommend reading this interview with Dr S. Fred Singer, and the climate change debate. It's got lots of insights on how the science works. And the politics of science...

...Talk about the models. What is a computer model, and what isn't it? What is its purpose in science?

There are many kinds of computer models. But the ones that people mostly talk about these days are the giant models that try to model the whole global atmosphere in a three-dimensional way. These models calculate important parameters at different points around the globe--and these points are roughly 200 miles apart--and at different levels of the atmosphere. You can see that if you only calculate temperature, winds, and so on at intervals of 200 miles, then you cannot depict clouds, or even cloud systems, which are much smaller. So until the models have a good enough resolution to be capable of depicting clouds, it's very difficult to put much faith in them.

But, still, they're playing quite an important role in this debate. Take me through a history of what the models have predicted. You've alluded to this, and how some of their predictions have had to be scaled down. What can models do, and what can't they do?

You have to understand that these models are calibrated to produce the seasons. That is to say, the models are adjusted until they produce the present climate and the seasonal change.

So they're faked, you're saying?

They're tweaked. I think that's a polite way of putting it. They're adjusted, or tweaked, until they produce the present climate and the present short-term variation. You have to also understand there's something like two dozen climate models in the world. And one question to ask is: Do they agree? And the answer is: They do not. And these models are all produced by excellent meteorologists, fantastic computers. Why do they not agree? Why do some models predict a warming for a doubling of CO2, of, let's say, five degrees Centigrade--which is eight degrees Fahrenheit)--and why do other models predict something like one degree?

Well, there's a reason for this. These models differ in the way they depict clouds, primarily. In some models, clouds produce an additional warming. In some models, clouds produce a cooling. Which models are correct? There's no way of telling. Each modeler thinks that his model is the best. So I think we all have to wait until the dispersion in the model results shrinks a little bit--until they start to agree with each other.

What happens when you use these models to try and reproduce past climates, when other forcings are known, like ice ages and so forth? Can they succeed at that?

They fail spectacularly in explaining, for example, why an ice age starts, or why an ice age stops. The most recent result on this was published in early 1999. It's always been known that, for example, the deglaciation--that is, the transition from an ice age to the warm interglacial, which is spectacular--suddenly the ice age ends and the warming starts. And at the same time, you see an increase in carbon dioxide in the record. And these are records taken from ice cores--good measurements....

One trouble with computer models is that every one of them is good at something. If you spend years making a complex model, based on real data, it's going to predict something or other with great accuracy. So it's easy to hold up your model and say, "Look. Crushing irrefutable evidence! Those who dissent are like Holocaust Deniers."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:34 AM

March 2, 2007

"Zero Grazing"

This WaPo article, Speeding HIV's Deadly Spread is about how mainstream liberal prescriptions for stopping AIDs in Africa have had exacty the opposite effect. While the promotion of traditional morality does work.

On a hospital wall here, not far from the AIDS clinic that Khumalo visited with his friend, the painted image of a condom shimmers like a comic-book superhero. Giant, colorful block letters declare, "CONDOMISE AND STAY ALIVE!!"

In cramped black script below, it adds, "Abstain first."

Yet rarely seen among Botswana's AIDS prevention messages is one that has worked in other African countries: Multiple sex partners kill. Dubbed "Zero Grazing" by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, this approach dominated in East Africa, where several countries curbed HIV rates.

Fidelity campaigns never caught on in Botswana. Instead, the country focused on remedies favored by Western AIDS experts schooled in the epidemics of America's gay community or Thailand's brothels, where condom use became so routine it slowed the spread of HIV.

These experts brought not just ideas but money, and soon billboards in Botswana touted condoms. Schoolchildren sang about them. Cadres of young women demonstrated how to roll them on. The anti-AIDS partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and drugmaker Merck budgeted $13.5 million for condom promotion -- 25 times the amount dedicated to curbing dangerous sexual behavior.

But soaring rates of condom use have not brought down high HIV rates. Instead, they rose together, until both were among the highest in Africa...

"Multiple sex partners kill." That's been obvious from the beginning. But pointing out that obvious thing has been taboo to liberal do-gooders. Infantilizing themselves and the world—especially by promoting the unquestioning acceptance of sex-lives based on teenage fantasy—is much more important than saving lives. Not growing up is much more important than saving lives. Result: Millions die. You've heard about the "Culture of Death;" here it is.

[Thanks to Penraker]

Posted by John Weidner at 11:34 AM

February 20, 2007

Neat. And you wouldn't know about it without the Internet...

A State Department official gives the Germans some straight talk about Carbon emissions. I love it. Davids Medienkritik: How Unpolite: State Official Claims Superiority of U.S. Climate Policy:

....Now let's be honest--even a 2.4 percent increase for the EU-15 is a very modest increase. But given the way this issue gets talked about publicly in Europe, I would venture to say that few people in Europe know that from 2000 to 2004, EU-15 emissions grew at nearly double the U.S. rate, and that Europe, at least during this period, has been moving away from—not towards—its Kyoto target of an 8 percent cut. (...)

Now notice something else. This time period of 2000 to 2004 was a period of rapid economic growth in the United States. Between 2000 and 2004 we grew our economy by almost 1.9 trillion dollars (or nearly 1.46 trillion Euros). That's about the equivalent of adding Italy to the U.S. economy. And we increased our population by 11.3 million people--adding more than the population of Greece. And yet our emissions grew only 1.3 percent--that tells you a lot about how the U.S. economy is already changing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It is of course very hard if not impossible to see an actual decrease in emissions when both your economy and population are growing, though we came close. So how do we get a better measure of what is really happening? We do that by measuring the greenhouse gas intensity of an economy--that is, greenhouse emissions per unit of GDP. As our economy soared, our emissions rose only slightly; from 2000 to 2004, we reduced the greenhouse gas intensity of the U.S. economy by 7.5 percent. That is a good result....(Thanks to Penraker)
Posted by John Weidner at 4:58 PM

December 26, 2006

"And now we're wondering if we didn't create a monster..."

An interesting piece about climatologists having some second thoughts, So what happened at AGU last week?

....I wasn't so much interested in the details of climate science at this year's AGU. What I was (and am) interested in is seeing the conference as a whole. My interest in AGU has strayed from the hardrock science, moving into something more to do with feelings and hunches. That's right, feelings. Hunches. Intuition. The squishy, soft underbelly of the human mind; the part we want to ignore in pursuing geophysical data analysis. What I want to know is attitude. More than the state of the science, I now want to know about the state of the scientists....

...What I see is something that I am having a hard time labeling, but that I might call either a "hangover" or a "sophomore slump" or "buyers remorse." None fit perfectly, but perhaps the combination does. I speak for (my interpretation) of the collective: {We tried for years – decades – to get them to listen to us about climate change. To do that we had to ramp up our rhetoric. We had to figure out ways to tone down our natural skepticism (we are scientists, after all) in order to put on a united face. We knew it would mean pushing the science harder than it should be. We knew it would mean allowing the boundary-pushers on the "it's happening" side free reign while stifling the boundary-pushers on the other side. But knowing the science, we knew the stakes to humanity were high and that the opposition to the truth would be fierce, so we knew we had to dig in. But now they are listening. Now they do believe us. Now they say they're ready to take action. And now we're wondering if we didn't create a monster. We're wondering if they realize how uncertain our projections of future climate are. We wonder if we've oversold the science. We're wondering what happened to our community, that individuals caveat even the most minor questionings of barely-proven climate change evidence, lest they be tagged as "skeptics." We're wondering if we've let our alarm at the problem trickle to the public sphere, missing all the caveats in translation that we have internalized. And we're wondering if we’ve let some of our scientists take the science too far, promise too much knowledge, and promote more certainty in ourselves than is warranted.....

...I realize that many of you will disagree with the notion that we are overplaying our hand, or are not giving full voice to our uncertainties. I'm not sure the answer to this question myself. But I write all this because I sense a sea change in attitudes amongst climsci people that I know as good scientists without agendas. These are solid scientists, and some told me in no uncertain terms that we are not giving full voice to uncertainties; others implied as much. Therein lies the tension. Where we go from here is anybody's guess, but I tend to agree with the Oracle in the second Matrix movie: we already know the answer to that question, our task is to understand why we are going to do what we are going to do....(Thanks to Rand)
Posted by John Weidner at 10:27 PM

November 10, 2006

data from the deep past...

Mike Plaiss sent a link, and wrote: "Here is what a "fair and balanced" article on climate change should look like - and from the NYT no less...."

...The discoveries have stirred a little-known dispute that, if resolved, could have major implications. At issue is whether the findings back or undermine the prevailing view on global warming. One side foresees a looming crisis of planetary heating; the other, temperature increases that would be more nuisance than catastrophe.

Perhaps surprisingly, both hail from the same camp: scientists who study the big picture of Earth’s past, including geologists and paleoclimatologists.

Most public discussions of global warming concentrate on evidence from the last few hundred or, at most, few thousand years. And some climate scientists remain unconvinced that data from the deep past are solid enough to be relevant to the debates.

But the experts who peer back millions of years, though they may debate what their work means, do agree on the relevance of their findings. They also agree that the eon known as the Phanerozoic, a lengthy span from the present to 550 million years ago, the dawn of complex life, typically bore concentrations of carbon dioxide that were up to 18 times the levels present in the short reign of Homo sapiens.

The carbon dioxide, the scientists agree, came from volcanoes and other natural sources, as on Mars and Venus. The levels have generally dropped over the ages, as the carbon became a building block of many rock formations and all living things.

Moreover, the opponents tend to agree on why the early Earth’s high carbon dioxide levels failed to roast the planet. First, the Sun was dimmer in its youth. Second, as the gas concentrations increase, its heat trapping capacity slows and reaches a plateau.

Where the specialists clash is on what the evidence means for the idea that industrial civilization and the burning of fossil fuels are the main culprits in climate change....
Posted by John Weidner at 4:02 PM

This beats all...

I'm skeptical about the science behind Global Warming, as you know. I strongly suspect there's a lot of suppressio veri, suggestio falsi going on. But I didn't expect the suppressio part to be quite so shocking as this.

It looks like UN documents that have been widely circulated and used to promote **ahem** certain policies, have been doctored to remove a major historical event, the medieval warm period (the global warming at the end of the First Millennium AD). This period of dramatic climate change has been magic-ed out of the record! Here's the article, scroll down to the part with the two graphs. Astonishing...

Two climate graphs, one without Medieval Warm Period

Now I may not know much about computer climate models (though I know enough to smell a rat when people get exactly the results they so obviously want) but I do know a lot of history. The medieval warm period is real, it shows up in the record over and over again, as does the cooling after 1500. The most famous example is the Norse farms in Greenland, where no one would farm today. But there are plenty of others.

As always, what interests me are the underlying questions. Why is this such an overwhelming issue to certain people? One reason is contained in the first paragraph of the article:

Last week, Gordon Brown and his chief economist both said global warming was the worst "market failure" ever. That loaded soundbite suggests that the "climate-change" scare is less about saving the planet than, in Jacques Chirac's chilling phrase, "creating world government"...

That's a lot of it, I think. But there is also the desire to distract attention away from the failures of Leftism, which are now so evident. This is an issue that people can be passionate about without actually arguing in a positive way the virtues of their own philosophy. A leftist can scream 'We've got to do something!" and just assume that momentum and habit will produce the desired results of bigger government, less freedom, and rule by "experts." (I, on the other hand, can proclaim my ideas on this topic openly, and let them be debated.)

And perhaps the most conspicuous failure that leftists want to distract attention from are the declining birthrates throughout the developed world, which track closely with the rise of leftish ideas and the decline of Christian and Jewish faith, and which have brought many European nations into irreversible demographic collapse. Leftists are pointing frenziedly at global Warming to distract us from the fact that they have been killing billions of people, by persuading people not to have children.

(thanks to Kathy Shaidle)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:17 AM

November 4, 2006

Like a virus mutating to overcome the immune system...

I didn't get around to blogging Bjorn Lomborg's article on the Stern Report—I didn't have anything witty to say. Alan Sullivan did:

I saw news stories about the release of the Stern report in Great Britain. I didn’t bother to link them. Another climate scare — yawn. But this is rather serious. Like a virus mutating to overcome the immune system of its host, the global warming meme has a newly-written line in its DNA. A government-commissioned panel has determined — surprise! — that more government is the answer to hypothetical climate woes. Since Kyoto critics killed off the treaty by insisting it would cost too much, the counterargument is to claim climate change would cost much, much more than any system of confiscation and regulation socialists could concoct...

Climate change is probably one of the things we should be worrying about. But it's almost impossible to deal with it rationally when so many people have seized on it as a fetish-object that will magically rid them of the dynamism and rapid change that they hate.

The Global Warming cultists never want to reveal the philosophy that underlies their thoughts, preferring to don the symbolic white lab coats of scientific objectivity. (Which is ridiculous when you know how politicized the academy is, and note the venom with which it pursues heretics from its climate "consensus.") They are afraid to expose their ideas to criticism.

But I can tell you what their philosophy is. They want to go back to the world I grew up in, where it was assumed, with almost no questioning, that experts could run things with much better results than the marketplace. (This was always mostly about government running things, but I remember when it was also thought that "scientific" business management was going to give giant entities like GM and IBM and AT&T and Pan Am(!) an unbeatable advantage, thus bringing order and stability to the messy economic sphere.)

[And yes, I'm aware that arguments that run, "Here's what you think and here's why it's wrong" are often illegitimate. But this is meant as an invitation to make counter-arguments. If I'm wrong, make a case! Show why I'm wrong. I double-dare you.]

And I can tell you what my philosophy is when I approach these questions---I'm not afraid to be open...

One basic element of my thinking is, you can't go backwards. The only way out is forward. Though the fire to the other side. In the question of Climate Change this is obvious to the point of triviality when you recognize that developing countries are now contributing half of carbon emissions, and their share is rising. One can at least imagine the US or Europe hobbling their economic growth, but China? India? Malaysia? Get serious. (It is a clear indicator of how fraudulent the Gore-ites are, that their bashing is always against Bush, never Deng.)

The corollary of this is that solutions will come through economic and scientific development. The world needs to get richer and smarter and more knowledgeable fast. The crucial resource is people, and we need to have more of the world's brains working on development of all sorts. (I suspect population growth itself is a positive development.) And the best way to do that is to spread American ideas of freedom and capitalism and individual initiative far and wide. And the best way to do that is Globalization—in fact that is precisely what Globalization is. I suggest that anyone who is serious about dealing with Climate Change is in favor of Globalization. (I'm NOT saying that Globalization or development are unalloyed good things. But I suggest that for this question they are.)

More specifically, the one technology we have available right now that could make a big difference in carbon emissions is nuclear power. So I further suggest that a test of whether a person is serious on this issue is that they are openly thinking nuclear. And to get more specific yet, a good test is whether they have the simple awareness that nuclear power technology has advanced greatly in safety, reliability and efficiency over the last few decades. People who are still talking Chernobyl or Three Mile Island are flakes. They don't know what's going on.

BY BJORN LOMBORG: The report on climate change by Nicholas Stern and the U.K. government has sparked publicity and scary headlines around the world. Much attention has been devoted to Mr. Stern's core argument that the price of inaction would be extraordinary and the cost of action modest.

Unfortunately, this claim falls apart when one actually reads the 700-page tome. Despite using many good references, the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change is selective and its conclusion flawed. Its fear-mongering arguments have been sensationalized, which is ultimately only likely to make the world worse off...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:29 AM

October 26, 2006

Sometimes extinction is no bad thing...

SF Chron: A curious teenager in Argentina has discovered the fossil skull of the biggest bird ever found -- a swift, flightless predator 10 feet tall that pursued its prey across the steppes of Patagonia 15 million years ago, researchers at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County announced Wednesday.

The skull, tapering to a cruel beak curved like a brush hook, belongs to a previously unknown offshoot of extinct birds known as phorusrhacids -- "terror birds."

Weighing perhaps 400 pounds in life, the bird most likely preyed on rodents the size of sheep that once grazed on the South American savanna.

"It is an unbelievable creature," said paleontologist Luis Chiappe, director of the museum's Dinosaur Institute who documented the find in the journal Nature. "This is the largest known bird, with a skull bigger than a horse's head."....(Thanks to The Anchoress)

Yow!

Actually we sent time travelers back to the past to hunt them. Not cheap, but more fun and danger than a safari....

Posted by John Weidner at 8:50 PM

September 12, 2006

I'm sure there must be some kind of lesson hidden in this somewhere...

Reborn
We have always been told there is no recovery from persistent vegetative state - doctors can only make a sufferer's last days as painless as possible. But is that really the truth? Across three continents, severely brain-damaged patients are awake and talking after taking ... a sleeping pill. And no one is more baffled than the GP who made the breakthrough. Steve Boggan witnesses these 'strange and wonderful' rebirths....

.. .For three years, Riaan Bolton has lain motionless, his eyes open but unseeing. After a devastating car crash doctors said he would never again see or speak or hear. Now his mother, Johanna, dissolves a pill in a little water on a teaspoon and forces it gently into his mouth. Within half an hour, as if a switch has been flicked in his brain, Riaan looks around his home in the South African town of Kimberley and says, "Hello." Shortly after his accident, Johanna had turned down the option of letting him die.

Three hundred miles away, Louis Viljoen, a young man who had once been cruelly described by a doctor as "a cabbage", greets me with a mischievous smile and a streetwise four-move handshake. Until he took the pill, he too was supposed to be in what doctors call a persistent vegetative state.....
Posted by John Weidner at 2:11 PM

August 31, 2006

Shoddy research. Shall we say, "fake but accurate?"

Dean Esmay, on the The Wegman committee's report on the 'Hockey Stick' analysis on recent global climate change...

....I was literally aghast at the Wegman group's report. It makes it clear that only a tiny handful of researchers are at the center of most research and most public policy recommendations on climate change, and that practically no one outside this tight little clique-ridden community is in charge of reviewing their work. They all simply review each other's work--and now literally dozens of papers in the field, along with general practices and procedures in the field, have been independently reviewed and found deeply flawed.

Worst of all, although the Wegman report does not say this openly, anyone who knows how taxpayer funding of science recognizes this (and it is all over the Wegman report by inference): Practically all the taxpayer funding for this climate research, much of it clearly shoddy, is controlled by this same Good Ol' Boy Network with practically no independent review, who simply "peer review" each other in a not particularly anonymous way while they dole out each other's grants and approve each other's papers....

- - - - - -

....At bare minimum, damning accusations have been levelled at Dr. Mann, and by extension, just about everyone associated with him--who turn out to be dozens of important people who've co-authored papers with him, or conducted peer review on his work.

This, again, from research that was a core part of the IPCC report telling everyone in the world--important politicians and the general public--that catastrophic global warming was real and probably human-caused and required extensive and very expensive public policy changes to address. All of it put together by the same tiny little social network of equally self-interested researchers, with two or three cliques pretty much at the center of everything (with "clique" being mathematically and precisely defined by the Wegman group, no less!)....

You don't have to be a scientist to smell a rat in the climate-change research. Academics frequently produce "research" that just happens to fit their world-views and their political allegiances. We see it all the time.

Hey, I've got research! Numbers and graphs! And guess what. The world is dooooomed unless I and my friends and my political allies are put in charge and given extraordinary powers to make changes and tell everybody what to do.

"Back off man, I'm a scientist"

Posted by John Weidner at 10:57 PM

April 3, 2006

You are not "ready" to hear this...

...Something curious occurred a minute before Pianka began speaking. An official of the Academy approached a video camera operator at the front of the auditorium and engaged him in animated conversation. The camera operator did not look pleased as he pointed the lens of the big camera to the ceiling and slowly walked away.

This curious incident came to mind a few minutes later when Professor Pianka began his speech by explaining that the general public is not yet ready to hear what he was about to tell us. Because of many years of experience as a writer and editor, Pianka's strange introduction and the TV camera incident raised a red flag in my mind. Suddenly I forgot that I was a member of the Texas Academy of Science and chairman of its Environmental Science Section. Instead, I grabbed a notepad so I could take on the role of science reporter.....

So what, exactly, are we not ready to hear? Us in the "general public?" Hmmm?

You just might want to read the story and find out what our wise and good liberal elite scientists have in mind for us little people....

(Thanks to O Judd.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:34 AM

March 28, 2006

Medical amazements...

Fascinating article on the new medial skills of our military doctors and nurses. I was struck by the way the Air Force has turned C-17's into flying hospitals...

...On a recent C-17 medical evacuation flight from Balad to Landstuhl, 32 patients rested comfortably, many of them in litters stacked three high on aluminum racks. Among them: burn patients; an amputee; soldiers with broken bones, a shoulder sprain and back injuries; one with a blood disorder; two psychiatric cases; and a servicemember stricken with lung cancer. Two in critical condition were hooked to ventilators.

Like flight attendants, the nurses, medical technicians and doctors circulated throughout the plane, offering water, oxygen and medication to relieve the pain. They also kept a close eye on monitors.

"The civilians are always amazed at how we do this," said Air Force Reserve Maj. Ken Winslow, 49, a flight nurse from Issaquah, Wash.

About 65 hours after he was shot — and after a stop in Germany — Mundo arrived at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington. From there, he headed to Walter Reed....

Other things:

....Made with an extract from shrimp cells, the HemCon bandage creates a tight bond that stopped the bleeding almost instantly. Seconds later, Mundo, 24 — a widower from Colorado Springs and the father of two young girls — was airlifted to the Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad, 10 miles away. He got there in five minutes....

....A portable heart-lung machine developed in Germany and not yet approved for use by U.S. doctors is helping wounded soldiers breathe.It is small — not much larger than a laptop computer — and connects to blood vessels in the groin to filter out poisonous carbon dioxide while filtering in oxygen. Military doctors in Balad also are using an expensive clotting drug, licensed for use on hemophiliacs, to help stem massive hemorrhaging in troops torn apart by roadside bombs....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:55 AM

February 28, 2006

They wanted to believe it was real...

Good article in the NY Post by Michael Fumento, on politicized scientific journals...

...Some journal editors are completely unabashed about their chicanery. In 2004, The Lancet released ahead of publication and right before the 2004 U.S. presidential election an outrageous report claiming 100,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed since the U.S. invasion. Yet other calculations showed a range of 15,000 to 24,000 — and even Osama bin Laden claimed just "over 15,000."

No matter, the Lancet's editor took the opportunity to blast "democratic imperialism" and said "the evidence we publish today must change heads as well as pierce hearts."

Even Science's awful stem-cell embarrassment wasn't purely a matter of fraud. I have written repeatedly on how both Science and Nature have turned themselves into cheerleaders for any supposed advance in ES cell science, while opening their pages to laughable attacks on what many see as both medically and ethically superior — namely adult stem cells.

Perhaps the best explanation for why the Korean paper slipped by is that the editors so desperately wanted to believe it was real that they missed all the warning signs of fraud....

They are desperate. Their Leftish world is crumbling away, and the lies become ever more shrill and forced. If the dike crumbles at embryonic stem cells or global warming, the floodwaters will rush in....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:43 AM

February 8, 2006

There's no elephant in the living room....

This is very interesting and important just in itself. BUT (much the way the media hides or ignores good news from Iraq or about the economy) there is something missing in this article...

WaPo: Low-fat diets do not protect women against heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer or colon cancer, a major study has found, contradicting what had once been promoted as one of the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle.

The eight-year study of nearly 50,000 middle-age and elderly women -- by far the largest, most definitive test of cutting fat from the diet -- did not find any clear evidence that doing so reduced their risks, undermining more than a decade of advice from many doctors.

The findings run contrary to the belief that eating less fat would have myriad health benefits, which had prompted health authorities to begin prominent campaigns to get people to eat less fat and the food industry to line grocery shelves with low-fat cookies, chips and other products.

"Based on our findings, we cannot recommend that most women should follow a low-fat diet," said Jacques Rossouw of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which funded the $415 million study.

Although the study involved only women, the findings probably apply to men as well, he said....(Thanks to Orrin)

Can you guess what's missing?

You would never discover from the article that there exists an entire alternate universe of dietary theory, a place where you could have learned 30 years ago that low-fat diets don't work...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:54 PM

January 31, 2006

Junk science in the Post...

From a WaPo article that purports to report on a "study" that shows Republicans are more racist than Democrats...(Thanks to Michelle)

...For their study, Nosek, Banaji and social psychologist Erik Thompson culled self-acknowledged views about blacks from nearly 130,000 whites, who volunteered online to participate in a widely used test of racial bias that measures the speed of people's associations between black or white faces and positive or negative words. The researchers examined correlations between explicit and implicit attitudes and voting behavior in all 435 congressional districts.

The analysis found that substantial majorities of Americans, liberals and conservatives, found it more difficult to associate black faces with positive concepts than white faces -- evidence of implicit bias. But districts that registered higher levels of bias systematically produced more votes for Bush....

It's impossible to properly critique the study, which has not yet been published. But I have my doubts about its validity. For one thing, "blacks" and "whites" are not equivalent groups. Most of us have a fairly clearly delimited mental picture that we think covers most "blacks." (Yes, yes, I know there are lots of exceptions.) Something like:

  • Inner-city-urban with high levels of crime and welfare
  • Southern rural honest-but-poor
  • A growing middle-class that can fit in with middle-class whites pretty well
  • 90% Democrat

But there is no equivalent simple mental picture to go with the word "white." If someone has positive feelings associated with the word "white," it's almost impossible to guess what sort of people they are thinking of. The group is just too vast and undefinable.

I wonder how the study might go if the "whites" presented in the test were limited to a sub-set who are also 90% Democrat. Say perhaps: "long-haired-urban-weirdos-with-piercing?" I bet they would discover that Republicans are not at all likely to "registered higher levels of bias." And if the white pierced-aliens were contrasted with blacks who work hard and pay their taxes, I bet you would find that Republicans test as "prejudiced against whites."

This sort of experiment can produce any result wanted. And since calling Republicans 'racists' is on page one of the tattered old 1970's lefty playbook, and most psychology experimenters are Democrats...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:52 PM

January 30, 2006

Periodicals...

This is fun, a Periodic Table of the Elements, with the letters of each element taken from photos--click on CL for Chlorine, and you see the photo it came from, a neon sign that reads "PLASTICLAND." (Thanks to Zakok.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:28 AM

December 4, 2005

Good book. Scary.

On rare clear days we can see the Farallones, a cluster of rocky islets 27 miles from San Francisco, where many ships have perished. Charlene and I have been reading The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks, by Susan Casey, a book about them, and about the astonishing fact that for about 3 months a year they are a gathering place for Great White Sharks. LOTS of White Sharks! Hundreds, nobody knows how many for sure.

But a handful of scientists study them, at considerable risk and hardship. For instance, there is no safe place to tie up their whaler, which is lowered from a crane when they rush out because a kill has been spotted. Which is about the only way they have to get close to the sharks, watching for seal kills. Thousands of seals and sea lions live on the Farallones, and the sharks arrive lean and hungry, and depart much fatter in a few months.

Great Whites are BIG. Females can be 20 feet long, and 8 feet wide! They are mysterious creatures, smart, fast, warm-blooded. There's a terrible story, true, (and one I could not help laughing over, evil person that I am) in the book about some people who found an injured seal and nursed it back to health. And decided those nice islands off the coast would be a good place to release it back to the wild...in about 30 seconds a shark bit the thing literally in half!

...Later I saw the pictures myself, and they are spectacular. A two-ton, sixteen-foot male shark named Gouge [they give them names not to be cutsy, but to help keep track of them--some have been returning for a decade or more] is heaving himself out of the water only a few feet from the camera...In one image a tiny flipper can be seen hanging out of the left side of Gouge's mouth...
Posted by John Weidner at 5:28 PM

October 12, 2005

Cracker Barrel Philosophers

I have, as you know, done a number of posts on the risk of Avian Flu. And now, belatedly, it's getting serious attention from government and the press.

And one of the reactions I'm now noticing is from the type of people you might call "cracker-barrel philosophers," who are slapping their knees and saying, "Yew can't believe them big-gummint types. They're always tryin' to skeer us, 'cause there's a lot of money in to be made in this."

First of all, this isn't a "government" scare. It's been forced on government by people in science and Public Health who have been screaming about it for several years, and getting precious little attention from government.

And because a source has been wrong in the past doesn't mean they are always wrong. Stopped clock, and all that. (Even Democrats criticizing Bush are bound to be right sometimes, even though they have disgraced and discredited themselves with lies and by blaming him promiscuously for every ill and happenstance, and gloating when things go wrong.)

And in the case of disaster warnings, it's the nature of the things that there will be many false alarms. Same with warnings of terrorist attacks. In fact the people who issue such warnings soon become gun-shy, because they know they will be criticized and mocked if the problem doesn't happen, and people will ignore the next warning.

Secundus, it's good if people are making a lot of money off of Flu preparations. We used to have many more providers of vaccines, but most gave up the business, tired of lawsuits and low profits. (If you find yourself in a Flu pandemic, and want someone to lynch, consider stringing up the vile animals of the "Plaintiffs' Bar," or maybe their patron saint, Ralph Nader.) What we ought to be doing is offering a sort of "X-Prize" of a billion dollars to whoever finds a fast way to produce vaccines. Instead, if there IS a vaccine available during a pandemic, I have no doubt we will hear loud calls to restrict the obscene profits of the wicked drug companies, who are getting rich while the poor suffer. [Example #378 of how "Liberalism" kills.]

Tertius, The "philosophers" like to say things like,"I'll just wash my hands and drink orange juice and eat healthy, and I'll be OK." Even if this saves you from flu (unlikely) it's not enough, because many of the preparations we should all be making, for any possible disaster, involve being ready for interruption of food or water supplies, or electric power. And the person who doesn't prepare, far from being a strong individualist, might end up like those wretched Katrina folks, part of a hapless rabble waiting for the National Guard convoys...which may not come. Waiting for government to save them. They remind me of the staunch individualists who resist those obtrusive government regulations about wearing motorcycle helmets. Which would be fine, except that one knows that when they end up paralyzed, they will be complaining that government doesn't do enough to take care of the handicapped.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:11 AM

September 23, 2005

Mama said there'd be days like this...

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked, leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and forcing firefighters to evacuate a building.

Frank Clewer, who was wearing a woolen shirt and a synthetic nylon jacket, was oblivious to the growing electrical current that was building up as his clothes rubbed together.

When he walked into a building in the country town of Warrnambool in the southern state of Victoria Thursday, the electrical charge ignited the carpet....

..."We tested his clothes with a static electricity field meter and measured a current of 40,000 volts, which is one step shy of spontaneous combustion, where his clothes would have self-ignited," Barton said....

Thanks to Zannah.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:15 PM

July 14, 2005

You watch the hand that's waving the wand...

Watch Rove. Watch the giant puppets. Meanwhile, unnoticed, the good guys slip another win under the radar...

Gleneagles Outcome Major Energy Triumph for Bush:

...The totality of Bush's victory was cloaked by the outrageous rhetoric of French President Chirac, who claimed major U.S. concessions at Gleneagles. ''We have noticed a shift in the American position,'' he said, contending Bush has isolated his country in rejecting the Kyoto pact.

But Chirac's claims are contradicted by what really happened in Scotland. U.S. negotiators insisted on removal from the summit's communique language describing global warming as ''an urgent threat to the world'' requiring ''immediate action.'' Also eliminated were references to melting glaciers and rising seas, plus an audacious effort by France to link Europe with pro-Kyoto U.S. cities and states (mainly California and New England)...

California and New England, huh.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:42 PM

June 10, 2005

more on turmeric

I've previously blogged about the possible benefits of the spice turmeric (active ingrediant: curcumin) in preventing memory loss and Alzheimer's.

Now Alan calls my attention to research on its possible use against cancer...Interesting.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:39 PM

May 23, 2005

Lunatic numbers...

Shannon Love has a must-read post, Number Gut:

When I was in college, one of my professors used to complain that too many of his students had no "number gut."

A number gut is an intuitive feel for the possible magnitude of a particular number that describes a particular phenomenon. A good number gut tells you if the results of some calculation are at least in the ball park. People develop number guts through experience with particular phenomena but they also develop it just by doing a lot math by hand. When you do math by hand, you have to do more physical writing to deal with very large numbers so you develop a kind of visceral sense of scale. The coming of calculators, however, destroyed this physical relationship, leading many budding scientists to make gross errors of magnitude without realizing it.

The lack of a number gut destroys any sense of context for numbers that describe a phenomenon, leading people to casually accept as valid statements that a little double-checking would show to be just plain silly.

For example, there was news story published back in the late 80s that reported that the state of New Jersey produced 50 billion used tires every year which caused a huge environmental problem. The story got widely disseminated before somebody pointed out that since New Jersey had a population on only around 8 million, 50 billion tires a year came out to 6,250 tires per capita per year. The story got play because the editors had no intuitive feel for the significance of 4 orders of magnitude difference between the size of the population and the tire consumption.

Which brings me to the subject of the
Lancet Iraqi Mortality Survey (LIMS) [free reg].....

I won't spoil the suspense by telling you what she says about the LIMS. It's assorts well with the New Jersey tire story. Go read...

(Thanks to Brian Tieman)

Posted by John Weidner at 4:48 PM

May 4, 2005

the truth is out there....I think.

INFO NEEDED...
In the recent Squad Report, Scott comments:

I wanted to post about your journal entry on 4/15/05 about Krugman. I get into debates online in forums all the time with liberals, and they give very specific data about how much better european countries are than us, and how we are "37th" on the list of the best health care systems in the world. What do you do when they have specific details, and we just have general, common sense concepts?

Does anyone know where specific information has been collected that supports the common sense and anecdotal evidence we've all encountered?

UPDATE: You know, thinking about this, it's really scary how normal this question is. We don't even find it strange that the sort of people we would label "liberal" or "leftish" would collect and cherish information that makes other countries look better than ours.

As part of your basic education, everyone should glance at this article, by David Brooks, Among the Bourgeoisophobes. It traces the roots of the way Americans and Jews came to be symbols of "bourgeois" evil and greed. This has become so much a part of leftish thought, and everybody's thought, that we hardly notice it. We don't notice how bizarre it is that leftish Americans have the unshakable conviction that other countries have superior health care (even though none of them travel to those countries when they are sick). Nor do we see how weird it is that the so-called-Palestinian "cause" is worth millions of man-years of protest effort and propaganda, while other Middle Eastern minorities, often much worse off, are ignored...)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:51 AM

April 12, 2005

gold- and silver-wrapped threads....

I recommend this New Yorker article, Capturing the Unicorn, by Richard Preston. It's about the famous Unicorn Tapestries, and a project to clean and refurbish them (fascinating in itself), and to photograph them digitally. The photography was done but then no software could manage to stitch together the small and very detailed digital images, which fill 200 CD's, into pictures of whole tapestries.

...In 1992, I wrote in this magazine about two mathematicians named Gregory and David Chudnovsky The Chudnovskys, who are brothers, were born in Kiev They are number theorists—they investigate the propertie of numbers—and they design and work wit supercomputers. The Chudnovsky brothers insist that the are functionally one mathematician who happens to occupy two human bodies...

The two brothers undertook to produce the images on a supercomputer they had built from mail-order parts.

..."We thought to ourselves that it would be just a bit of number crunching,” Gregory said

But, David said, “it wasn’t trivial.”

The brothers had a fairly easy time setting up the tiles on It. When they tried to fit the puzzle pieces together, however, they wouldn’t join properly—the warp and weft threads didn’t run smoothly from one tile to the next. The differences were vast. It was as if a tapestry had not been the same object from one moment to the next as it was being photographed...

...The tapestries, they realized, had changed shape as they were lying on the floor and being photographed. They had been hanging vertically for centuries; when they were placed on the floor, the warp threads relaxed. The tapestries began to breathe, expanding, contracting, shifting. It was as if, when the conservators removed the backing, the tapestries had woken up. The threads twisted and rotated restlessly. Tiny changes in temperature and humidity in the room had caused the tapestries to shrink or expand from hour to hour, from minute to minute. The gold- and silver-wrapped threads changed shape at different speeds and in different ways from the wool and silk threads....
Posted by John Weidner at 9:23 PM

March 12, 2005

footprints...

Wesley J. Smith writes:

...Yesterday, I linked an article written by Michael Fumento, which noted that a potential cure for juvenile diabetes using adult stem cells is not being funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, even though the technique cured mice with late stage disease.

Fumento wanted to follow up with a
"Part 2" commentary. But, it appears that somebody doesn't want this truth widely disseminated. According to Fumento, his syndicate, Scripps Howard refused to publish the article, based on it allegedly being a "diatribe." What? Fumento's tone is utterly reasonable. The facts about which he opines are indisputable. Indeed, SCIENCE DID publish the study demonstrating that adult spleen stem cells completely cured mice with late stage juv. diabetes. Despite this amazing success, the JDRF DID refuse to fund human trials. Finally, the JDRF DID fund Proposition 71, which created a right to therapeutic cloning, to the tune of about $2 million. Yet, even IF that technology EVER becomes an effective treatment for juv. diabetes, it is at least a decade or more away...(Thanks to Orrin Judd)

I don't have time to dig into this right now, but the pattern seems familiar. Or rather, patterns. Footprints left by invisible men. I've read a number of instances of promising adult stem-cell research (even cures) getting no publicity, sometimes no funding, because fetal stem cells are all the rage among the fashionable.

And of course we've seen many instances of stories being ignored by the Gasping Media. I'd guess a calm factual debunking of John Kerry's Vietnam service would also be a "diatribe" to the Scripps-Howard syndicate.

And we've seen the pattern of large non-profit or public-service organizations moving leftward, and having more interest in pushing a certain agenda than in solving their particular problem or cause.

And the footprints of what you might call "crony socialism," [Wrong word. I need something like "crony trendy-leftism"] which I suspect is far more common than "crony capitalism." What are the chances that the board or management of Scripps-Howard intersects socially with the board or management of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation? Pretty high, I'd guess. Charlene and I don't belong to the social circles that are asked to sit on the boards of foundations and charities and schools. But we sometimes encounter them here in SF. Being fashionable has a lot to do with what goes on these days. Around here being, say, black or Jewish doesn't keep you out of the best social circles. But I suspect that being "pro-life" or being a "Reagan Republican" would...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:16 AM

February 6, 2005

Hurts just to think about it...

I just read a fascinating article in Wired, about a new method of pain control being used in Iraq...

...Now Buckenmaier is leading a group of army doctors and nurses determined, as he puts it, "to drag the military kicking and screaming into the 21st century." His team believes the future of wartime pain control is a new form of anesthesia called a continuous peripheral nerve block, which takes a more targeted approach by switching off only the pain signals coming from the injured limb, leaving patients' vital signs and cortical functions unimpaired...

....The blocks used by Buckenmaier and his team are made possible by the recent invention of small, microprocessor-controlled pumps which bathe nerves in nonaddictive drugs that discourage the transmission of pain signals. The pumps also can be used for weeks after surgery, enabling soldiers to adjust the level of medication themselves as they need it.

For soldiers evacuated from the battlefield, the advantages of nerve blocks over traditional methods of pain control are clear. The wounded troops flying in and out of Landstuhl are often in misery or a narcotized stupor, while those treated with blocks remain awake and pain-free despite massive injuries....(via
Stryker Brigade News)
Posted by John Weidner at 8:03 PM

January 14, 2005

The leaven...

Orrin links to a great article, The Galileo Legend, by Thomas Lessl, that demolishes the urban legend that "the Catholic Church killed all those scientists..." Nonsense of course, it never killed any scientists (Giordano Bruno was no scientist, and his execution had nothing to do with his Copernican speculations.) The stories of brave truth-seekers crushed by an obscurantist church are historical rubbish, pushed by people who push science as a sort of modernist religion. (And who shed tears and eloquence over Galileo being placed under house-arrest, but have nary a tear for the thousands of scientists killed or imprisoned by socialists.)

...It is not an accident that such complicating factors as this are never discussed in popular scientific accounts. Clearly those who tell this story have strong ideological interests which make the maligning of the Christian Church attractive. A big part of this seems to be the belief shared by such storytellers that the scientific way of life would operate best in a world untroubled by religious belief. In fact one of the main themes of the Galileo legend seems to be the idea that Christianity is an anti-scientific monster, now safely caged, that sought to devour science at the moment of its birth. This in fact is how the story is presented in what is perhaps the most popular treatment of science ever published, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time:
Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science. His renowned conflict with the Catholic Church was central to his philosophy, for Galileo was one of the first to argue that man could hope to understand how the world works, and, moreover, that we could do this by observing the real world.
Since the author of this passage is often compared with Einstein and Newton in the popular press, his readers, (approximately nine million to date), are likely to assume that he is simply telling it like it is. But that conclusion would be wrong. Hawking's genius as a mathematician and theoretical physicist does not make him an historian of any kind. Neither does it lessen the temptation to succumb to a romantic legend that seems to lend itself to his preconceptions...

Hawking's giving us pure bunk as history. But read the whole article, it's worth it...

...A broader reading of scientific history shows that Galileo's mistreatment by his ecclesiastical bosses was an anomaly, a momentary break in an otherwise harmonious relationship. In fact a more complete understanding of the relationship between Christianity and science has suggested to some scholars that Christian belief may have been the leaven that made the development of modern science possible. Modern science, after all, emerged in a most unlikely place, in an adolescent European culture that was only a few hundred years removed from barbarism. Nothing so revolutionary ever developed in the great civilizations of the Middle or Far East, despite their considerable antiquity and sophistication. The reason for this should be quite clear. The founding assumptions of modern science, its belief in a universe that is highly ordered and in a human mind that was created to reach beyond its finitude to grasp the mystery of this order, are premises that are secure only where monotheism has taken root.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:28 PM

January 8, 2005

I had something I was going to say, but I just can't remember...

There is evidence that the spice Tumeric, which gives Indian dishes (and traditional American mustard) their yellow color, may reduce the incidence of Alzheimer's disease.

I blogged about something similar about 2 years ago. If this line of research is still active, there may well be something to it...

(Thanks to Roger Simon)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:27 AM

October 16, 2004

Hockey puck...

Global Warming Bombshell In the scientific and political debate over global warming, the latest wrong piece may be the “hockey stick,” the famous plot (shown below), published by University of Massachusetts geoscientist Michael Mann and colleagues. This plot purports to show that we are now experiencing the warmest climate in a millennium, and that the earth, after remaining cool for centuries during the medieval era, suddenly began to heat up about 100 years ago--just at the time that the burning of coal and oil led to an increase in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide....

...But now a shock: Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have uncovered a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program that was used to produce the hockey stick. In his original publications of the stick, Mann purported to use a standard method known as principal component analysis, or PCA, to find the dominant features in a set of more than 70 different climate records....

...This improper normalization procedure tends to emphasize any data that do have the hockey stick shape, and to suppress all data that do not. To demonstrate this effect, McIntyre and McKitrick created some meaningless test data that had, on average, no trends. This method of generating random data is called “Monte Carlo” analysis, after the famous casino, and it is widely used in statistical analysis to test procedures. When McIntyre and McKitrick fed these random data into the Mann procedure, out popped a hockey stick shape!

That discovery hit me like a bombshell, and I suspect it is having the same effect on many others. Suddenly the hockey stick, the poster-child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics....(Thanks to Orrin Judd)

The problem is that Global Warming is both a scientific question and a secular religion, one of the many morphings of socialism. Just when the faith side is ready to tie down Capitalism and the US like Gulliver, and put the scientific elite in charge of things, the science side spoils the party by actually doing some science...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:22 AM

Even better than the B-52...

The Diplomad writes:

We've come across some very good news for millions and millions of people around the world, especially in Africa. It seems that researchers have made a tremendous break-through in developing a vaccine against malaria, historically perhaps the most debilitating and destructive disease to afflict mankind....

...What we find particularly interesting is that given the negative spin being put on "big pharmaceuticals" in the US election campaign and wherever else political correctness thrives, e.g., the UN, we note that this vaccine has been developed by Western capitalist pigs such as the huge drug multinational SmithKlineGlaxo with support from the ultimate capitalist pig, Bill Gates and his foundation. In addition, not mentioned in the articles we have seen is the ground-breaking and expensive research done on malaria and distributed freely to researchers all over the world by the ultimate tool of greedy imperialist capitalist pigs, the US military.

So it seems that just as the B-52 has liberated more people, especially women, than any NGO or UN pronouncement, greedy Western capitalists and their tool of oppression, i.e., the US military, will now save the lives of more men, women, and children than . . . well, let's just say that Bill Gates has improved and now saved the lives of more people in more countries than Mother Teresa and whomever that forgettable person is that just got the latest Nobel Peace Prize...

Actually, though I think Windows is a loathsome kludge, I'd say Bill Gates has done for more good for the world as a capitalist (by spreading a cheap and standardized OS to the far corners of the globe) than he will ever do as a philanthropist.

(Thanks to Orbital)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:17 AM

October 13, 2004

Stop a bad law...

Moira Breen requests assistance to help fight a very stupid change in the law. It would make all human remains found in the US, no matter how old, the property of the Indian tribes. This is absurd on the face of it; remains that are thousands of years old, like the 9,000 year-old Kennewick Man, can't seriously be considered to belong to any current tribe.

And of course the real kicker is that the tribes don't want us to discover that other groups came to America before them. Their position on the preferred-victim gravy-train would be imperiled if it were found that they had exterminated the "Native Americans!" Oooops. And they would get a lot less sympathy when they whine about badminton teams named "The Redskins." Also, this would embarrass lefty intellectuals, who partly base their anti-Americanism on the long-ago genocide against the Indians (while ignoring any genocides that aren't committed by Americans or Jews.)

WHAT YOU CAN DO. SB 2843 has the potential to cripple the field of physical anthropology and to limit studies on the peopling of the Americas. All Americans own the past and should share equally in what we can learn about our common human heritage. Please call and write your senator and house representatives now! Passage of this bill is eminent and could occur within a matter of days. Although the Society for American Archaeology represents itself as a supporter of scientific study, the leadership has gone on record in support of SB 2843, an antiscience measure. The only way to stop this bill is through a grass root movement. Call and write now before SB 2843 becomes law! Address information for Senators and Representatives and additional information on SB 2843 can be found here. Calls and faxes are most effective.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:13 PM

September 29, 2004

Reagan was right....

Study: Emission of smog ingredients from trees is increasing rapidly... (thanks to BroJudd)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:29 PM

May 1, 2004

'Thar She Grows'

I remember reading years ago about how large parts of the oceans are fairly lifeless because of the lack of Iron—needed as a trace element in plant life. The possibility was raised of adding iron to the water so that CO2 would be trapped in biomass. It was a possible answer to fears of global warming.

I never heard any more about it. But apparently it wasn't forgotten, and experiments have been ongoing. There's an interesting article in TechCentralStation.

...The latest results, just published in Nature, respond  to criticisms skeptics raised at the very idea of reducing atmospheric CO2 by raising the iron level of sterile expanses of cold salt water far offshore. It indeed appears that circumpolar waters that lack only iron run-off from the land might be turned into the equivalent of offshore national forests that sequester carbon in seas instead of trees.

Many greens screamed that the very idea was a snare and a distraction, diverting the world from the canonical solution of curbing energy consumption and taxing or rationing fossil fuels. It was one of the rare instances in which National Review, not The Nation, came to the fore as an early advocate of innovative intervention in curbing climate change -- the first experiments in the Pacific were hailed under the rubric 'Thar She Grows'...

Not only may we be able to reduce greenhouse gas, but there could in the future be lots more fish! Yum. And there are whole constellations of people and groups who hope to use "global warming" to hog-tie capitalism and America. The thought of spoiling their fun is delicious...


Posted by John Weidner at 8:29 PM

January 30, 2004

The great blanched beast...

Natalie Angier has a fascinating article on Polar Bears in the NYT:

....Yet as a handful of hardy researchers continue to study the biology and behavior of the polar bear, they are unearthing ever more impressive and sometimes mystifying details about the great blanched beast. They have discovered that full-grown male bears play with each other for hours on end, an extremely rare behavior among adult animals. Moreover, they play at the most improbable time of year: after the long summer fast, when they are gaunt and famished and by any ordinary calculation should be conserving calories rather than frittering them away on sports.

Researchers have also learned that the bears can switch back and forth rapidly between a normal physiological state and one akin to hibernation. During the summer months, when the Arctic ice retreats and polar bears have no base for hunting seals, they migrate onto land, eat almost nothing, and lapse into a state of what is called "walking hibernation": the heart rate slows, the body temperature falls, they cease urinating or defecating, and they recycle nitrogen...

I followed a link (thanks to John Ellis) because Natalie Angier wrote one of my favorite books on science, Natural Obsessions : Striving to Unlock the Deepest Secrets of the Cancer Cell, which I highly recommend. It's a rare combination, digging seriously into biology and at the same time showing us the most fascinating personalities.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:07 AM

January 24, 2004

Zoom in

I long ago had a book called Powers of Ten. It was a long series of pictures, each showing one tenth of the last one, getting smaller and smaller, going from fields of galaxies down to protons and such.

Now some people at Florida State University at Tallahassee have done the same thing in a Java applet. You can see it here.

Thanks to Darren Kaplan

Posted by John Weidner at 9:20 PM

January 4, 2004

Earthquakes...

Richard Bennett pointed me to an article on earthquake science, and the San Andreas Fault.

....The San Andreas last slipped in the region [Coachella Valley, in Southern California] 191 years ago. That is 40 years beyond the average interval for the southern segment, based on estimates that stretch back 12 centuries.

Geologists arrived at the calculations through paleoseismology, a fairly new technique that dates prehistoric quakes. Scientists dig into the fault to look for layers of peat and sand.

The strata time-stamp cracks � give or take 50 years � that quakes opened to the sunlight and that flood sediments filled later.

It is one of the disciplines that has made strides since Northridge, although the fault responsible for that quake resists paleo-detective work because it never broke the surface. The San Andreas is a proven crust-buster.

"Over the past 10 years, we've put a lot of effort into the L.A. Basin," McGill said. "Now it's time to put more attention on the San Andreas."

She was climbing a low ridge where the October wildfires burned away enough brush to leave fault impressions bare.

Her camera raised, she paused at a gully that stopped halfway down a hillside, as if it had hit an invisible wall. McGill pointed to a spot about 20 feet away where the gully reappeared. Its lower leg had been shunted to the right in shifting of the San Andreas....

The scientists seem to think that Northern Calififornia is not due for a big quake, that we are still benefitting from the release of tension in 1906. Doesn't mean that it can't happen, just that the probability is lower. It's Southern California that's way overdue.

Seems to me that if there is any area where we should not be thrifty, it's funding earthquake research. If I ran the circus, I'd shut down that utterly stupid "space station," (which should be more aptly termed the "space dead-end") where we spend billions to let a couple of guys do some part-time science, and use that money to let thousands of scientists do useful work.

The article is also interesting stuff on damage mitigation�how San Bernadino is pumping out excess groundwater to reduce the threat of soil liquification during a quake. I'd guess that there is a lot more that should be done, but won't. And one problem is that a lot of what should be done will be in the form of Big Government bullying people with things like tougher building codes.

Charlene and I recently investigated the possibility of adding some french-doors to open onto our garden. We spent a lot of effort and money just to find out how much it would cost (more than we can afford). The engineer said we would have to re-build the whole wall, with various pieces of steel inserted, etc. It was infuriating. BUT, a wall that's mostly window, such as we were dreaming of, is a weak point, unless it has extra reinforcement.

There's no easy answer to problems that require pushing people to do things that may pay off in the long run. One type of government coercion tends to lead to others. Building departments get hijacked by anti-growth types, who don't want to issue any permits. Which leads to evasion. And government always attracts, like flies to a corpse, the kind of people who think government should be controlling everything.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:20 AM

December 7, 2003

Right here in our very neighborhood!

Just when Charlene and I were feeling a bit bored with our little patch of the galaxy, (and were about to conclude that the answer to the question "where are they?" is that we live in one of the "flyover" nebulae) there comes this...

....So, using infrared light, astronomers have just found a small galaxy of about a billion stars in the constellation Canis Major, that is, astonishingly, only about 25,000 light years away from the Sun. That's closer to us than the center of our own Milky Way! The Canis Major dwarf galaxy is not faring well in its gravitational battle with the Milky Way, and there are streamers of stars being pulled off the smaller galaxy onto the disk of our own.

Some of these cannibalized stars are drifting down to become part of the Milky Way's disk, and others are even heading in the direction of the Sun. It's a pretty weird thought that some of the stars around us may not come from our galaxy at all, but were pulled off the Canis Major dwarf galaxy many millions of years ago....

May I suggest we take all the money spent on Sociology and shift it to Astronomy?

(thanks to Craig Newmark)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:01 PM