Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Previous studies have found that exposure to marijuana during pregnancy can increase a child's risk of having cognitive deficits or psychiatric disorders.
[I[t seems the brain may be particularly sensitive to THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) during early development, when neurons are forming critical connections. Any drug that interferes with this development could be detrimental to the child...
In the study, Harkany and his colleagues tested marijuana's effects in three ways: They grew brain cells from mice in the presence of THC, they injected pregnant mice with THC, and they studied the brains of electively aborted human fetuses whose mothers had used marijuana during pregnancy.
"Prenatal cannabis disrupts synapses [nerve connections] critical for higher order executive and cognitive function," study researcher Yasmin Hurd, a neuroscientist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, told LiveScience in an email.
There is a reason they call it dope.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Article: Why Most Published Science Studies Are Wrong
A simple idea underpins science: “trust, but verify”. Results should always be subject to challenge from experiment. That simple but powerful idea has generated a vast body of knowledge. Since its birth in the 17th century, modern science has changed the world beyond recognition, and overwhelmingly for the better.
Little wonder that one in three researchers knows of a colleague who has pepped up a paper by, say, excluding inconvenient data from results “based on a gut feeling”. 
And as more research teams around the world work on a problem, the odds shorten that at least one will fall prey to an honest confusion between the sweet signal of a genuine discovery and a freak of the statistical noise. Such spurious correlations are often recorded in journals eager for startling papers. 
Some government funding agencies, including America’s National Institutes of Health, which dish out $30 billion on research each year, are working out how best to encourage replication.
I started this blog back in June. I have deliberately sought out research that 1) contradicted the "received" and politically correct narrative and/or 2) "research" that is obviously bogus.

The paper reports between 75-90% of research findings could not be "replicated" (the gold-standard of research). That is, 75-90% of published research is bunk.

One of my favorite targets have been research focusing on global warming. It is obvious why this has been such an easy target for someone who actually thinks about the research, rather than repeat talking points.

Anything people, government and money touches, they corrupt. And $30 billion pays for a lot of corruption. I do not mean corruption in the sense of bribes. I mean paying for biases. Research that produces the correct answers get rewarded.

Michael Mann of Penn State is considered a major player in the field of climate change, yet the "hockey stick" research was full of cherry-picked data ("...One in three researchers knows of a colleague who has pepped up a paper by, say, excluding inconvenient data"). He has been called a fraud, though not in the technical and legal sense such as the convicted swindler, Bernie Madoff.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Article: Carbon dioxide satellite mission returns first global maps

The title summarizes the article well.

The graphic is interesting, and rich in information that is puzzling.


Note that the data is from late fall in the northern hemisphere and late spring in the southern hemisphere. Plant use of CO2 is lower in the fall than in the spring. Previous research shows that CO2 decreases in the atmosphere of the southern hemisphere and increases in the northern hemisphere at this time. The graphic generally shows the opposite of what might be expected.

There is a broad band with a higher concentration of CO2 in the southern tropics. The authors attribute this to "biomass burning." The northern tropics show a lower concentration in their "winter" than the "summer" southern tropics. However, why there would be such a larger amount of biomass burning in the southern tropics as compared to the northern ones is not clear. The difference between southern and northern Africa is especially dramatic.

The southern tropics also show areas with high levels in the open ocean, well away from any land. I would not put much credence on the "biomass burning" guess. It strikes me as a "climatically correct" guess pulled out of someone's **s.

England, and Europe in general, has a very low level of CO2 in their atmosphere. Given their reliance on fossil fuels, this is surprising. Germany is increasing its use of coal, and eastern Europe has always been more reliant on coal than the western part. [Note: of the fossil fuels, coal gives off the highest amount of CO2 per unit of energy. It is considered the most "polluting" of the fossil fuels.]

Oddly, too, the Pennsylvania/Ohio part of the eastern US has a lower level of CO2 than would expected given its reliance on fossil fuels in general and coal in particular. On the other hand, the southern US has a relatively high level.

China has very high levels of CO2, as to be expected given its very high reliance on coal.

There is also a large "spot" in the northern Pacific Ocean near the Arctic that has a high level of CO2. Perhaps it is to be expected that cold water would generate more CO2 than not, but does not explain why the southern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, near the Antarctic, have a low level of CO2 as that water is generally cool, as well.

Given the recent failures of multiple climate models, one wonders if actual data from satellite sensors will not cause of the overthrow of more models. The NASA satellites recording the actual temperatures of the earth are producing data that is at odds with data from other sources and with existing climate models.