Friday, July 31, 2015

Article: Scientists warn an entire eco-system is under threat from climate change

I am not doubting the connection between craneflies, bogs and rare birds. And that they are all threatened by increasing droughts.

However, I ran across a comment a few weeks ago about the tentativeness of predictions involving the effects of global warming (and, no, I refuse to use "climate change.")

So here are the "tentative" words, and some comments.
Warn; threat; climate change (actually global warming); are being put at risk; climate change; warn; climate change; [predicted] rising temperatures; climate change; predicted; will cause; peatland model; climate change; predictions; could see; securing the future; peatland model; climate change; climate change; risk; climate change; big change; change; climate change; climate change. 
The body of the article has about 694 words (WordPerfect), 22 sentences, 26 "tentatives" and 10 uses of "climate change."

The peatland model is based on climate models and accepts them as accurate, even though all of the climate models in the IPCC reports have not been falsified.

Article: Readiness of America's biology teachers questioned
Data spanning 1987 to 2007 show changing demographics among public high school biology teachers. The workforce has become less experienced and has been destabilized by turnover, and biology teachers are more likely than other science teachers to work outside of their discipline.
I do not have enough personal knowledge about this. However, I do know that of the 6 people who teach biology at my high school, none teach all biology all the time. Four of the 6 teach biology related courses, while 2 teach other sciences. 

Bold-faced is mine. 
The authors support alternatives to the typical calls for more stringent certification and targeted professional development. In their view, it would be better to match curricula to existing expertise. They propose a model in which "instead of offering a static, predetermined slate of science courses at each school, district, or county, the curriculum is chosen largely as a function of the expertise of those teachers who they employ." 
Currently, curriculum is "top down" and controlled at the state and federal levels.

Actually having biology teachers teach their areas of expertise is a throw back to a previous, and long gone era.
Article: Researchers just developed a revolutionary vaccine that offers '100% protection against Ebola'

Good news.
The test, backed by drug firm Merck, the WHO and the governments of Canada, Norway and Guinea, saw 4,123 high-risk people vaccinated immediately after someone close to them fell ill with the deadly haemorrhagic fever.  
None of the vaccinated group caught the virus, according to study results published in The Lancet medical journal.

Article: European Renewable Energy performance for 2014 falls far short of claims
By 2014 European Union countries had invested approximately €1 trillion, €1000,000,000,000, in large scale Renewable Energy installations. 
This has provided a nameplate electrical generating capacity of about 216 Gigawatts, nominally about ~22% of the total European generation needs of about 1000 Gigawatts.
The actual measured output by 2014 from data supplied by the Renewables Industry has been 38 Gigawatts or 3.8% of Europe’s electricity requirement, at a capacity factor of ~18% overall.
Contrast that with coal or gas power plants that can operate at close to 100% capacity.
Accounting for capacity factors the capital cost of these Renewable Energy installations has been about €29billion / Gigawatt.  That capital cost should be compared with conventional gas-fired electricity generation costing about €1billion / Gigawatt.
Renewables cost 29X as much to install as gas-fired plants.

The wealthy elite are gaga over renewables, but they can afford to spend a lot more for energy. Back when Al Gore was pushing his "documentary" it was revealed that his primary residence used more electricity in one month that the average American used in one year.
In spite of their [ed., "there"] being virtually no costs for fuel, Renewable Energy installations can still cost up to 1.5 – 2.5 times as much to operate and maintain as conventional Gas Fired plant.
And the effect is to increase the cost of renewables even more.
Accordingly German Renewable installations perform at only ~13% overall.  They are by far the least performant in Europe because of their heavy commitment to Solar Energy at Northern latitudes.  Germany is followed by Italy with a more Southerly position but still with a heavy commitment to Solar Power.
Low solar incidence angle and short days for 6 months of the year. Berlin, Germany is 52 degrees North. Northernmost Maine is 47 degrees North. How did any rational person think that solar energy was a good choice for Germany?
In France which already has the lowest CO2 emissions levels/head [ed., per capita] of population in the developed world (substantially less (~60%) than China) because of its commitment to Nuclear electrical generation, the installation of Renewable Energy (Wind Power and Solar) in France would seem to be particularly costly and pointless.
If governments want low CO2 emissions, they should go with nuclear.

If they want to kill poor people in the winter, so with renewables.
To date about € trillion, (€1000,000,000,000), has been spent on the installation of Renewable Energy technologies for electricity generation in Europe.
By Government and EU diktat, this expenditure has been extracted by extra charges imposed on utility bills throughout Europe.  Viewed as taxation this is very regressive form:  it imposes more burdens on poorer people whilst leaving wealthier people who are able to pay less affected.  It is also invisible in Government accounts as a tax income at all, as it is an industry price imposition on consumers.
These regressive “Green taxes” have already lead to significant fuel poverty throughout Europe.
As I said, if they want to kill poor people in the winter, go with renewables.
The USA has made significant CO2 emissions reductions over the past few decades by replacing Coal Fired generation with Gas Fired electricity generation with the feedstock provided by the fracking revolution.  It is estimated that using natural gas for electricity generation as opposed coal burning saves about 30% of CO2 emissions.  
So the most environmentally sound, logical, rational, scientific, economic, compassionate choices are
1) Natural gas (and fracking).
2) Nuclear.

On the other hand renewables are the best choice for the elite because they offer
1) Smug moral superiority
2) Good opportunities for cronyism and graft.
It is also questionable whether these Renewable Energy industries, when viewed “from cradle to grave”, including manufacturing, site works, installation, connection and demolition costs, does in fact reduce CO2 emissions to any significant extent overall.  The CO2 saved may never exceed the CO2 emissions generated to erect the total installation.  
This is like the ethanol boondoggle in the US. Use lots of land and fossil fuels to grow and harvest corn, then lots of fossil fuels convert the corn to alcohol and purify it. Then claim that you are reducing CO2 emissions by using a "biofuel" from a renewable resource. All the while by driving up food (and fuel) costs by diverting corn (and land) from being a feedstock.

Science LInks - 7/31/15

Article: Independent expert confirms that the "impossible" EM Drive actually works
As efficient as this type of propulsion may sound, it defies one of the fundamental concepts of physics - the conservation of momentum, which states that for something to be propelled forward, some kind of propellant needs to be pushed out in the opposite direction. 
For that reason, the drive was widely laughed at and ignored when it was invented by English researcher Roger Shawyer in the early 2000s. But a few years later, a team of Chinese scientists decided to build their own version, and to everyone's surprise, it actually worked. Then an American inventor did the same, and convinced NASA's Eagleworks Laboratories, headed up by Harold 'Sonny' White, to test it. 
The real excitement began when those Eagleworks researchers admitted back in March that, despite more than a year of trying to poke holes in the EM Drive, it just kept on working - even inside a vacuum.
It might turn out that we need to rewrite some of our laws of physics in order to explain how the drive works. But if that opens up the possibility of human travel throughout the Solar System - and, more importantly, beyond - then it's a sacrifice we're definitely willing to make. Bring on the next set of tests.
Article #2: Engineers demonstrate the world’s first white lasers
While lasers were invented in 1960 and are commonly used in many applications, one characteristic of the technology has proven unattainable. No one has been able to create a laser that beams white light. 
Researchers at Arizona State University have solved the puzzle. They have proven that semiconductor lasers are capable of emitting over the full visible color spectrum, which is necessary to produce a white laser.
Applications include replace standard lighting because lasers are more efficient in change electrical energy into visible light. More vivid display screens (computers and TVs). And communications.

The lasers are also "tunable".

So far, this is "proof of concept" and not yet practical.

Article #3: Astronauts find living organisms clinging to the International Space Station, and aren’t sure how they got there
During a spacewalk intended to clean the International Space Station, Russian astronauts took samples from the exterior of the station for a routine analysis. The results of the experiment were quite surprising. Astronauts expected to find nothing more than contaminants created by the engines of incoming and outgoing spacecraft, but instead found that living organisms were clinging to outside of the ISS. The astronauts identified the organisms as sea plankton that likely originated from Earth, but the team couldn’t find a concrete explanation as to how these organisms made it all the way up to the space station — or how they managed to survive.
The article leads with a photo of diatoms (phytoplankton), but says that the organisms are invertebrates.

Article #4: Scientists identify men who died at Virginia's Jamestown 400 years ago
The men were identified as the Reverend Robert Hunt, Captain Gabriel Archer, Sir Ferdinando Wainman and Captain William West. All of them helped guide the colony during its difficult years after its founding in 1607. 
Researchers used archaeology, skeletal analyses, chemical testing, 3-D technology and genealogical research to identify the men who lived and died when the settlement was on the brink of failure due to famine, disease and war.

This is post #300.

Allow me to congratulate myself. ;)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Article: The Colossal Hoax Of Organic Agriculture

Well, yes.

Points made:

  • The "organic" pesticides permitted are still toxic. 
  • There is a huge premium to buying organic (up to 100%)
  • Researchers found that “99.99 percent (by weight) of the pesticides in the American diet are chemicals that plants produce to defend themselves.”
  • Food certified organic may contain GMOs. 
  • "The organic community... opposes more frequent mandatory testing of organic products for prohibited and excluded substances."
  • It is "faith based" because food is certified as organic if the farmer follows the correct process, not if there are low amounts of pesticide residues in the food. 
  • It is "faith based" because farmers have an incentive to substitute cheaper non-organic food for more expensive to produce organic food. 
  • "Organic agriculture is an unscientific, heavily subsidized marketing gimmick..."

Speaking of trust and faith—or lack thereof–in organic foods, there was the example of holier-than-thou Whole Foods importing large amounts of its supposedly “organic” produce from China, of all places. Those imports even included Whole Foods’ house brand, “California Blend.” (Yes, you read that correctly.)
I began reading the magazine, "Organic Gardening" while in my teens (early 1970's). One aunt and uncle also grew most of their garden organically and I talked with them a lot.

I grow my own garden organically, although I will use the classic herbicides on my lawn and gravel.

For me it is a choice. I police the garden for various types of caterpillars, and I hand weed. I let mildew take the cucumbers and daisies.

However, organic farming, and selling food as "organic" I always thought was a waste of money, with a large amount of "tribal value signalling."  "Look at me! I am virtuous; I buy organic. I support Mother Earth."

Additionally, the idea that organic agriculture should be the way to go instead of "non-organic" farming is an elitist view. People who can afford to pay premium prices should not impose that on others. Poor people benefit from cheap food. Period.

It is an actual example of the story falsely attributed to Marie Antoinette. When told that the bakers of Paris did not have enough bread for the poor, she is supposed to have reply, "Let them eat cake."

Organic methods simply not as productive on a per acre basis. This, by itself, both drives up prices and decreases the food supply.

"Let them organic," is not as resonant, but no less true.

I gave this a "moral panic" tag because of the fear of pesticides.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Article: Genes influence academic ability across all subjects, latest study shows [Update: Eugenics 2.0]
Around 60% of differences in GCSE results can be explained by genetic factors, with the same genes responsible for maths, science and the humanities 
The study suggests that a weakness in one subject is most likely to be caused by environmental factors, such as teaching, as the genes affecting ability for different subjects are the same. 
Results in all subjects, including maths, science, art and humanities, were highly heritable, with genes explaining a bigger proportion of the differences between children (54-65%) than environmental factors, such as school and family combined (14-21%), which were shared by the twins.
The article linked below suggests that inheritability of homosexuality is about about 35%; or, in other words, about half the inheritabilty of academic ability (including intelligence, memory, diligence, and curiosity).

I found this article in a post I will not link to. One of the points that the author makes is that "eugenics 2.0" is inevitable. Eugenics 2.0 will target the bearers of specific genes; for example, those involved in violence or low academic ability. While there will be a disparate impact in terms of race and ethnicity, eugenics 2.0 advocates will be able to declare that their motivation will not be racism. Eugenics 1.0, an enterprise of early 20th century Progressives, openly advocated sterilizing of the "unfit" and controlling the population of inferior races. Eugenics 2.0 will not have to and still acheive the same result.

Update: National Security Will Drive Genetically Enhanced Offspring
Eugene Volokh thinks the US will feel pressure to allow offspring IQ boosting or fall behind other nations. It becomes a national security issue if the American population becomes 20 IQ points lower than China, India, and Russia. So expect the national wing of a nation's elites to promote offspring genetic engineering. 
In spite of the outliers I expect offspring genetic engineering will lead to brighter, better looking, higher performing, and healthy children and adults. What I'm less sure about is personality traits and moral reasoning circuitry.  
Then the rate of human evolution will skyrocket. We live in the final decades of human wild type. Some day wild type humans will be the minority. In some countries that will happen in this century.

Article: Mind-Blowing Temperature Fraud At NOAA

Actual measured US climate data shows a longterm downward trend.

NOAA massaged data shows a longterm upward trend. The upward trend is due to taking data from urban (heat island) sites and "filling in missing rural data" that would be cooler than the urban sites.

There are three graphs supporting this accusation.

Unmentioned is fact that the NASA satellite data shows the same downward trend.
Article: The association between intelligence and lifespan is mostly genetic
Background: Several studies in the new field of cognitive epidemiology have shown that higher intelligence predicts longer lifespan. This positive correlation might arise from socioeconomic status influencing both intelligence and health; intelligence leading to better health behaviours; and/or some shared genetic factors influencing both intelligence and health. Distinguishing among these hypotheses is crucial for medicine and public health, but can only be accomplished by studying a genetically informative sample.
A long standing, and powerful, assumption among many people is that human beings are born as a "blank slate" and that any differences in outcomes among individuals or various socioeconomic groups must be due to disadvantages and oppression. This is another nail in the coffin of that pernicious paradigm.
Key Messages
  • It has been reported that brighter people live longer; we asked ‘why?'.
  • We found, using data from three studies, that the small association between being brighter and living longer was mostly genetic in origin.
  • This is a key finding in cognitive epidemiology; it is a further indication that intelligence is not just ‘school-smarts'.
I like this also because it shows the scientific method in operation.

Observation: Brighter people live longer.
Problem: Why do brighter people live longer?
Hypotheses: This positive correlation might arise from
1. socioeconomic status influencing both intelligence and health;
2. intelligence leading to better health behaviours;
3. and/or some shared genetic factors influencing both intelligence and health.
Experiment: retrospective analysis of three, long-term twin studies
Results: a small association between intelligence and living longer is mostly genetic in origin.
Conclusion: "intelligence is not just ‘school-smarts'."

Hypothesis falsification:
Factoring in socioeconomic factors, and health behaviors, using data from Sweden, seems to indicate that these factors do not influence lifespan.

In other word, environmental factors have a smaller effect on life span than genetic factors, such as intelligence.

Article: When the Cat Comes Back, With Prey

Another British study on the ecological effects of cats, considered a "predatory, non-native species."  Previous studies have attempted to determine how much of an impact cats had. This one is more about the attitudes and actions of the cat's owners.

Take aways:
  • cats are predators, good predators
  • their owners allow their cats to roam during prime hunting hours.
  • their owners know they hunt, and catch, other animals.
  • their owners underestimate how many prey animals their cats catch.
  • their owners do not want to contain their cats to protect wildlife
Addtionally, at then end of the article there is a discussion about cats avoiding parks and public lands in the US. Turns out that they are apparently avoiding coyotes.
That was even true of Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., which is surrounded by residences and likely thousands of pet cats. Yet in six months, researchers caught coyotes on camera 125 times in the park, but photographed a cat only once.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Article: Hot and Bothered: Air conditioning isn’t bad for you or even (relatively) for the planet.
[T]he case against AC has always been more a moral judgment than a scientific one. Summer cooling is no more damaging to the climate than the heating that we do in winter. In fact, it’s substantially less so, since the United States burns more fuel on radiators than it does on air conditioners. According to the most recent stats available from the federal government (which cover 2010), the average American household puts 40.4 million British thermal units into home heating, and just 9.3 million BTUs into home cooling. As I’ve pointed out before, this explains why the long-term shift in population from our coldest, Northern states into the hot and humid South has in sum reduced the amount of fossil fuel we burn to keep our houses at a comfortable temperature. Simply put: It’s more efficient to air-condition homes in Florida than it is to warm the ones in Minnesota. 
Europeans have trouble understanding the US's fondness for AC. They assume that our climates are like theirs. However, the climates in our midwest and east coast are very different from theirs, being much hotter and more humid during the summer. Only our west coast climates, mostly cool and humid or warm and dry, are similar to theirs.

Article: Male sexual orientation influenced by genes, study shows
A study of gay men in the US has found fresh evidence that male sexual orientation is influenced by genes. Scientists tested the DNA of 400 gay men and found that genes on at least two chromosomes affected whether a man was gay or straight. 
A region of the X chromosome called Xq28 had some impact on men's sexual behaviour – though scientists have no idea which of the many genes in the region are involved, nor how many lie elsewhere in the genome. 
Another stretch of DNA on chromosome 8 also played a role in male sexual orientation – though again the precise mechanism is unclear.
The cause of homosexuality in males is a fraught subject. There are, basically, three possible causes: free choice, genetic determination, and envirnmental factors.

Most male homosexuals say that, looking back, they knew they were homosexuals from an early age based on what and who attracted them. And they reject the idea that they chose a homosexual orientation.

It is obvious from previous studies on twins, going back to the 1980's, that there is a genetic component to male homosexuality, although there is not a 1:1 correlation with genes and homosexuality as there is with genes for eye color or (most) hair colors.  It is much lower.
Wikipedia: Biometric modeling revealed that, in men, genetic effects explained .34–.39 of the variance [of sexual orientation], the shared environment .00, and the individual-specific environment .61–.66 of the variance. 
In other words, while genetics plays a factor causing male homosexuality, its effect is half the size of enviornmental factors, whatever they may be.
The flawed thinking behind a genetic test for sexual orientation is clear from studies of twins, which show that the identical twin of a gay man, who carries an exact replica of his brother's DNA, is more likely to be straight than gay. 
A very clear example of the larger effect of environmental factors.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Science Links 7/25/2015

Article: Mystery beach blast in Rhode Island blamed on hydrogen gas

Abandoned and corroded copper cable releases hydrogen gas; catastrophically combines with oxygen creating a blast.

Article: Exploring deep microbial life in coal-bearing sediment down to ~2.5 km below the ocean floor

Lignite coal bed, about 2 miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean off of Japan. Buried for "tens of million of years." Still has an active bacterial ecosystem.

Article: New Horizons: Pluto may have 'nitrogen glaciers'
Scientists believe they see evidence of surface material having flowed around mountains and even ponding in craters. 
The activity is certainly recent, they say, and may even be current.
I love bizarre geology (or "plutology").
The other key detection was of hazes in the atmosphere. These are likely the consequence of high-up methane being broken apart and processed by sunlight into simple hydrocarbons like ethylene and acetylene, which then fall, cool and condense to form a mist of ice particles.
And bizzare meteorology.

Article: Abrupt climate change may have doomed mammoths and other megafauna, scientists report

During the Late Pleistocene, over about 50,000 years, most megafauna outside of Africa went extinct.

Old hypotheis: megafauna went extinct due to rapid cooling events.
More recent hypothesis: megafauna went extinct due to human migration into the megafauna's ecosystems.
New hypothesis: megafauna went extinct due to rapid warming events.
The study, published in Science on Thursday, is the first to link specific climatic events to localized extinctions of megafauna. In this case, the events are called “interstadials,” or short warming periods that occurred throughout the era. The interstadials saw temperature increases anywhere from 4 to 16˚C, the study’s authors explain, and sometimes that warming occurred over just a few decades. Once warming occurred, the Earth would stay warm for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years. 
[Alan Cooper of the University of Adelaide] Cooper’s model suggests that climate-driven extinction events happened in a pattern over time, closely tied to warming events that occurred through the era, going back until at least 50,000 years ago. Those patterns, Cooper said, weren’t always discernible from the fossil record. Instead, the team used a combination of DNA and radiocarbon dating to link localized megafauna extinctions to a series of rapid warming events over time.
The article ends with obligatory tie-in to global warming.

Article: Abrupt warming events drove Late Pleistocene Holarctic megafaunal turnover
The mechanisms of Late Pleistocene megafauna extinctions remain fiercely contested, with human impact or climate change cited as principal drivers. Here, we compare ancient DNA and radiocarbon data from 31 detailed time series of regional megafaunal extinctions/replacements over the past 56,000 years with standard and new combined records of Northern Hemisphere climate in the Late Pleistocene. Unexpectedly, rapid climate changes associated with interstadial warming events are strongly associated with the regional replacement/extinction of major genetic clades or species of megafauna. The presence of many cryptic biotic transitions prior to the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary revealed by ancient DNA confirms the importance of climate change in megafaunal population extinctions and suggests that metapopulation structures necessary to survive such repeated and rapid climatic shifts were susceptible to human impacts.

Article: Rise in Autism May Be Due to Semantics, Study Finds

Autism, autism-spectrum disorder, and Asperger's syndrome. 
A new study suggests the idea that more kids are being diagnosed with autism not because something catastrophic has happened to U.S. children, but rather because they're simply being classified and diagnosed differently.
Special education enrollment figures suggest 97 percent of the increase in autism seen between 2000 and 2010 could simply be accounted for by reclassification — at least among older kids — a team at Penn State University found. [And about 2/3 of the total increase.]
Santhosh Girirajan, an assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and of anthropology at Penn State and colleagues looked at 11 years of special-education enrollment data covering more than 6 million children a year. They found that the increase in students designated as having autism could be offset by a nearly equal decrease in students diagnosed with other intellectual disabilities often seen along with autism.
Additionally, higher autism rates are found in children of teen parents and of older parents. Since there has been more of those two groups over the last 30 years or so, that could account for some of the rest of the increase. 

Also, there is a genetic factor at work as well. Parents who are detailed oriented tend to be at an increased risk of having children with autism. It used to be that men who were detailed oriented tended to end up certain occupations, such as engineering. Women in others. These men would tend to find spouses at church or in social organizations or in support staff where they worked. These women would be less likely to carry any autism related genes. 

Because detail-oriented women are being encouraged to move into engineering type occupations, detail oriented men and women are now  more likely to marry each other. This increases the risk of a "double dose" of the genes related to autism. 

If these three things are true, they probably account for close to 100% of the increase in the diagnosis of autism and its related syndromes. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Article: ‘Deny’ and ‘Hoax’: Trump Words Intended to Shut Down Debate
The reason “deny” or “denial” or “deniers” is such a useful appellation to slap on people you disagree with is because of a phrase that entered the lexicon to describe an actually deranged point of view: Holocaust denial. Every time a variation on “deny” is used in such willy nilly fashion, the user is implicitly linking the target of your words to those who reject that the Holocaust happened.** Leave aside the damage this does to the ability to have a rational debate on the issues: that’s just a gross misappropriation of a humanitarian tragedy to score cheap political points. 
Now look: there are any number of reasonable debates to be had over this practice [Planned Parenthood selling "baby parts"]. Maybe the practice of selling dismembered-fetus organs actually saves lives! Maybe it is not only legal but also moral! Supporters of Planned Parenthood could try to convince us of these things. Instead, however, they say things like: [HOAX!]
Ad hominen logical fallacy. Don't deal with the facts, don't deal with the argument, shriek "Denier!"

And he does not even deal with Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming deniers. 

Arctic Sea Ice: 4 Articles

Article: Arctic ice 'grew by a third' after cool summer in 2013
Researchers say the growth continued in 2014 and more than compensated for losses recorded in the three previous years. 
The scientists involved believe changes in summer temperatures have greater impacts on ice than thought. 
"We looked at various climate forcing factors, we looked at the snow loading, we looked at wind convergence and the melt season length of the previous summer," lead author Rachel Tilling, from University College London, told BBC News. 
"We found that the the highest correlation by far was with the melt season length - and over the summer of 2013, it was the coolest of the five years we have seen, and we believe that's why there was more multi-year ice left at the end of summer."
However, 2014 was supposed to have been the warmest on record (according to recently "adjusted" "data"). How can the warmest summer on record be reconciled with increased sea ice if that should have caused decreased sea ice?

Article: Arctic ice EMBIGGENS, returns to 1980s levels of cap cover

To be fair, it is total sea ice, Arctic and Antarctic, that has reached 1980's levels. While the Arctic ice is still down from its 1980's high, Antarctic ice is at record breaking levels, and still increasing.

Article: CCGS Amundsen re-routed to Hudson Bay to help with heavy ice

The Amundsen is an icebreaker. During the summer it does double-duty as a "floating research center."
Johnny Leclair, assistant commissioner for the Coast Guard, said Tuesday conditions in the area are the worst he's seen in 20 years.
Because of the large amount of ice this summer (supposedly the hottest on record, so far) the icebreaker has had to return to its normal duties.

Trip down memory lane:
2007 Article, also at the BBC: Arctic summers ice-free 'by 2013'
Real world 
Using supercomputers to crunch through possible future outcomes has become a standard part of climate science in recent years. 
"We use a high-resolution regional model for the Arctic Ocean and sea ice forced with realistic atmospheric data. This way, we get much more realistic forcing..."
Yes, the BBC actually used the section heading, "Real World."

Yet another falsification of the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Article: The Many Manipulations of the Planned Parenthood AttackVideos:
An OB/GYN explains how medically incorrect language is used to distort the facts

Article in regular print; my fisking is in bold.

The anti-choice [pro-abortion groups want to be called "pro-choice" but refuse to use the "pro-life" for their opponents] organization Center for Medical Progress—which, in 2013, claimed tax-exempt status as a biomedical charity—have recently released two “undercover” [scare quotes] videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing post-procedure tissue [biologically, cells make up tissues, tissues working together make organs, and organs working together make up organ systems. A late term abortion, the subject of the 1st video involved selling the developed organs for an aborted child.] donation [sale, not donation]. The group claims the videos demonstrate that Planned Parenthood profits from fetal tissue donation (which would be illegal) and that they are “haggling” [scare quotes and the video shows haggling] over the price of “baby parts.” [more scare quotes; livers and hearts can be termed parts.]

As an OB/GYN [appeal to authority logical fallacy], I can tell you that neither of these claims are true. [The transcript from the 2nd video - link - shows them haggling over the price. The other claim, that they "profit" is harder to determine, partly because of the many definitions of the word profit. The PP doctor admits receiving money for fetal tissue; isn't that profit?]

These are not "baby parts." [scare quotes] Whether a woman has a miscarriage or an abortion, the tissue specimen is called "products of conception." [As the commericial used to say, "Parts is parts."] In utero, i.e. during pregnancy, we use the term "embryo" from fertilization to 10 weeks gestation and "fetus" ["from Latin, act of bearing young, offspring; akin to Latin fetus newly delivered, fruitful;" it was used in Latin for newborns, but was not the normal word, "infans".] from 10 weeks to birth. The term baby is medically [narrow definition, designed to hide a difference that could be counted in inches or minutes] incorrect as it doesn’t apply until birth. Note: are medical terms the only ones that can be used?] Calling the tissue “baby parts” is a calculated attempt to anthropomorphize [since this is a human fetus, with all the genes of chromosomes of a human, and in the 2nd and third trimesters is recognizably human. They are "anthropomorphizing" a human. Not very hard to do.] an embryo or fetus. It is a false image—a 10-12 week fetus looks nothing like a term baby—and is medically incorrect. [Tecnically true for the 2nd video, but in the first video, the PP doctor and the actors were discusses 3 trimester fetuses (to use their word) which does have recognizable, functioning organs. Third trimester infants are viable outside the womb; I had a friend, now in her 60's, that was one of the first early trimester babies to survive.]

I am cutting this off here. It runs on for 3 paragraphs. My point is made.

The thesis of this argument is in the title: An OB/GYN explains how medically incorrect language is used to distort the facts. 

Simply, what does the argument that medical terminology really mean? It is a way of hiding what is going on behind a bunch of Latin derived euphemisms: fetus, embryo, products of conception (most of us who have had children refer to them as children, not "products of conception"), post-procedure tissue and the rest.

The title of the article uses the word manipulative and, boy, is this article manipulative. 



Governor Jerry Brown spend 3 years studying for the priesthood before completing a bachelors of arts in classics. He then earned a law degree from Yale University. He has a fine mind, trained to read, interpret, and think. He is not a scientist, however, and is not trained in dealing with how science operates. His opinions about global warming are just that, opinions. And these opinions are informed by the deep, leftist bubble he has lived in all his life.
"Right in the middle of this problem, we have fierce opposition and blind inertia and that opposition is well financed. Hundreds of millions of dollars going into propaganda, in falsifying the scientific record, bamboozling people of every country, television stations, political parties, think tanks, PHDs, university personnel," Brown said.
Biblically, even legally, this is slander. Oddly enough, I agree with it, because this is true of the climate-acedemic-media complex that operates in the US that promotes global warming. The only people "falsifying the scientific record" are the global warming activists, including NOAA and NASA's Goddard Climate Center.
[Rome’s Mayor Ignazio] Marino, a former surgeon, underscored the problem of organ trafficking, saying the phenomenon was on the increase, with tens of thousands of operations carried out each year around the world to extract organs—particularly kidneys—for sale to rich patients. Marino’s statement came just after it was revealed in the United States that the nation’s largest abortion provider Planned Parenthood has been harvesting organs from aborted babies and offering them for sale.
The Catholic Church has long had deeply thought out, theological positions against abortion, slavery, prostitution, homosexuality and organ theft. What are Gov Brown's positions with regard to these issues?
1. Brown’s newfound love for Saint Paul seems to gloss over the apostle’s strong words condemning homosexual practice, which would clash with the governor’s favorable position on same-sex marriage. 
2. A former Jesuit seminarian studying for the priesthood, Brown has evolved considerably since his seminary days, and his support of abortion in opposition to the Catholic Church’s defense of unborn children has earned him the plaudits of Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice groups.
Why have such a person, who is in opposition to important parts of Catholic theology, show-cased at a meeting in the Vatican?

Gov. Brown: troglodytes, deniers, bamboozled, un-Christian, greedy swindlers.

"Climate change deniers" is a straw dog logical fallacy. NO ONE denies that the climate changes. Gov Brown is calling catastrophic anthropogenic global warming "climate change" and then saying people are denying that it is happening.

Name calling is a logical fallacy called the ad hominen logical fallacy.

If it is necessary to use these fallacies, it is evidence that you know your arguement is actually very weak, and the only thing you can do is to fake it.
Governor Brown: "God is not mocked for whatsoever a man soweth that he shall also reap and what Saint Paul said in reference to God, we can also say about God's creation. We have heard what we are doing to that creation. What a trillion tons of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses will do," Brown said.
So, how well does Gov Brown's fine mind interpret the Bible?
The Bible: Galatians 6:6-10 (NASB)6 The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
The context of Paul's admonition is to be generous to those in the church who teach and lead. Gov. Brown is advocating sowing to the flesh (concern about the things of this world).

If he is going to sow slander, that is what he will reap. If he sows hate, that is what he will reap. If he calls his opponents "un-Christian," and judges and condemns them, that is what he will reap. If he sows the murder of innocents, then that is what he will reap.

And may God have mercy on his soul.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Article: Fundamental Differences between the NOAA and UAH Global Temperature Updates

"Overcooked," "hiatus busting" NOAA update versus fine-tuned UAH update bringing it more into agreement with the satellite data.

UAH/RSS data show slight cooling over the last 20 years.
Article: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #188
The breakdown of consumer electricity bills [in Denmark] was very interesting: 15% for actual electricity; 18% for the grid; 10% for PSO; and 57% for Taxes and VAT. PSO is defined as subsidies for environmental friendly energy production. 
Denmark has the highest electricity bills in Europe. Fully 2/3's of the cost of their electricity is due to various forms of taxes.

Article: Abundance of certain elements in Earth dictate whether plate tectonics can happen

New hypothesis: Earth's core and mantle needed a specific amount of radioactive elements, especially uranium, to warm the earth to allow plate tectonics. Plate tectonics is necessary for life on earth as it apparently stops the sort of runaway greenhouse effect of Venus.

While the article does not mention it, this would also add to the reasons we do not see evidence of intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy.

If the ranges of abundance of these radioactive elements needed to produce plate tectonics are relatively narrow, then it pushes down the probability of life elsewhere.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Article: The CDC: rent-seekers or cowboys?
The CDC definition of maternal  mortality is much more expansive than the rest of the world. 
Because they’re a bunch of go-it-alone cowboys, who reject the value of consistent measurement internationally, thinking they know better? 
Or because they intentionally choose to overstate the problem, the better to acquire more funds for their projects?
The definitions
[T]he definition of maternal mortality that the CDC gives on their site:
For reporting purposes, a pregnancy-related death is defined as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 1 year of pregnancy termination—regardless of the duration or site of the pregnancy—from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes. 
And here’s the definition from the WHO: 
Maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes.
Maternal deaths up 42 days vs up to 1 year after giving birth.

Back when Obamacare was being debated, a friend of mine insisted we needed some kind of "Eurocare" because America's newborn death rate was so high. Shortly afterwards, I ran across the reason our death rate was so high compared to other countries: the differences in the definitions of "live birth." We count a lot of births as "live" that other countries do not: premature births, badly deformed children, multiple births, and even stillborns that other countries would not count as being born.

I brought this to his attention, and it made no difference to him. The only statistics that made any difference to him were the ones on his side. When they stopped being on his side, he simply ignored them.

My guess on the CDC's use of this statistic is that not only is it for rent-seeking, it is also for building a case for the next of phase of advocating for a complete government take over health care in the US.

Article: Shipwreck found off North Carolina, possibly from late 1700s

About 150 miles off the coast, about 1 mile down. These are hard wrecks to find and explore because of their depth.

It was found on an expediation looking for marine life.

Morons and Global Warming

I like to look at the orign and uses of words, how their meanings change over time, and why they come into use and go out of use.

At the bottom of the post, I have listed a number of words that at one time had a specific, legitimate medical use which have since fallen out of favor: idiot, cretin, moron, retard, imbecile and lunatic. All are Greek or Latin derivities, transferred into English as medical terms. All of them have similar meanings to the English word "fool" which itself is derived from Latin.  All of them are "no longer in technical use; considered offensive."

So what do morons have to do with the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) hypothesis?

I do not wish to imply that those accept or deny the hypothesis are morons. Rather I wish to illuminate something about the shift from using CAGW to using climate change.

Over the last 5 years or so, proponents have shifted away from using CAGW, or even just global warming (GW) to using climate change. Why?

The first reason I see is that CAGW and GW have become "considered offensive." That is, the shrillness and the extremism of CAGW proponents have become offensive to ordinary people and to some scientists.

The second reason is that the more extreme predictions (the "catastrophic" part) have already failed to pan out and climate warming is in a hiatus (only relieved by manipulating a single set of data). No one likes to be reminded of their failures.

The third reason is that "cimate change" is new, and there is no negative connotations.

The fourth reason is that it is a neutral phrase, not implying warming or cooling. It is a "safe" phrase. It is also cowardly because all climate phenomena can now be ascribed to "climate change:" warming or cooling, drought or floods, ice caps melting or increasing, increased storms or decreased storms.

Additionally, anyone who disagrees with CAGW can now be called a "climate change denier." This is a straw dog logical fallacy because no one denies that climate changes. The deniers can be dismissed as "anti-science."

In conclusion, the shift from CAGW and GW to climate change is an admission of failure on the part of advocates of the CAGW hypothesis.

Word study:
The definitions are word origins are from online resources include the online Webster Dictionary.


a stupid person.
synonyms: fool, ass, halfwit, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, moron, imbecile, simpleton; More

MEDICINE archaic: a mentally handicapped person.

Psychology. (no longer in technical use; considered offensive) a person of the lowest order in a former and discarded classification of mental retardation, having a mental age of less than three years old and an intelligence quotient under 25.

Origin of idiot

1250-1300; Middle English < Latin idiōta < Greek idiṓtēs private person, layman, person lacking skill or expertise, equivalent to idiō- (lengthened variant of idio- idio-, perhaps by analogy with stratiōtēs professional soldier, derivative of stratiá army) + -tēs agent noun suffix

Psychology. (no longer in technical use; now considered offensive) a person of borderline intelligence in a former and discarded classification of mental retardation, having an intelligence quotient of 50 to 69.

Origin of MORON

irregular from Greek mōros foolish, stupid
First Known Use: 1910

Psychology. (no longer in technical use; now considered offensive) a person of borderline intelligence in a former and discarded classification of mental retardation, having an intelligence quotient of 50 to 69.

Mentally retarded. 

subaverage intellectual ability equivalent to or less than an IQ of 70 that is accompanied by significant deficits in abilities (as in communication or self-care) necessary for independent daily functioning, is present from birth or infancy, and is manifested especially by delayed or abnormal development, by learning difficulties, and by problems in social adjustment

In reference to low intellectual ability, the terms retarded, retardation, and mental retardation [and retard] are now usually perceived as insulting.


affected with lunacy :  insane

Middle English lunatik, from Anglo-French or Late Latin; Anglo-French lunatic, from Late Latin lunaticus, from Latin luna; from the belief that lunacy fluctuated with the phases of the moon
First Known Use: 14th century


Definition of IMBECILE

usually offensive :  a person affected with moderate mental retardation

The noun imbecile is used informally as an insult to mean "fool". Its origins are in the Latin word imbecille, "weak or feeble," and it was an official medical term for people with a specific (and low) I.Q. in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Patients who were classified as imbeciles were said to have no more intelligence than a seven year-old child.

Origin of IMBECILE

French imbécile, noun, from adjective, weak, weak-minded, from Latin imbecillus
First Known Use: 1802


n. a person suffering from cretinism. Cretinism - a congenital disease due to absence or deficiency of normal thyroid secretion, characterized by physical deformity, dwarfism, and mental retardation, and often by goiter.

Word Origin and History for cretin
n. 1779, from French crétin (18c.), from Alpine dialect crestin, "a dwarfed and deformed idiot" of a type formerly found in families in the Alpine lands, a condition caused by a congenital deficiency of thyroid hormones, from Vulgar Latin *christianus "a Christian," a generic term for "anyone," but often with a sense of "poor fellow." Related: Cretinism (1801).

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Article: First Pluto data reveals lots of terrain that is “not easy to explain”

Tall mountains, vast plains, a young surface, and Charon, to boot.

Cool fact: it is going to take 6 months to download all of the data the probe captured during its flyby.

Article: EPA ‘secret science’ under the microscope as GOP lawmakers seek ban
The Environmental Protection Agency for years has issued costly clean air rules based, in part, on two '90s-era studies linking air pollution with death.  
But, critics say, the same agency has stymied efforts to access the data behind them. The transparency concerns have Republican lawmakers on a new campaign to end the use of what they dub "secret science."  
"Why would the EPA want to hide this information from the American people?" House science committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, asked EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at a hearing last week. 
Most of the regulations are based on two studies done in the 1990's. The studies contain raw data that include personal information that the original researchers want to keep private. Agreed.

1) The studies have never been reproduced (replication is an important concept in science).

2) Original research HAS to be available to be checked. This has also been the problem with checking global warming models and the data on which they are based. The original is data is "not available" to be checked.

3) Twenty-year-old research, that has to be the basis of current regulations, and must be kept secret, because "this is how science works"? Really?

 EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy:
"The EPA totally supports both transparency as well as a strong peer-reviewed independent science process, but the bill I'm afraid I don't think will get us there..."
"Peer review" has nothing to do with topic at hand. In this context, it is an appeal to authority logical fallacy.
"I don't actually need the raw data in order to develop science, that's not how it's done. ... I do not know of what value raw data is to the general public." 
It is not for the general public, it is so other scientists can evaluate it.

Article: Sun's activity controls Greenland temperatures

To summarize:

Increased solar activity cooled Greenland from the 1950's to the early 1990's due to a decreased Gulf Stream current.

Decreased solar activity warmed Greenland from the 1990's to the present due to an increased Gulf Stream current.

However, unstated, global warming was supposed to decrease the Gulf Stream current. We have been having global warming since 1950's. Therefore, we should be having cooling in Greenland and increased ice. Therefore, the warming of Greenland over the last 2 decades is actually evidence that global warming has not been happening.

Another recent study by [Penn State Professor Michael] Mann and his colleagues proposed that trapped greenhouse gases from fossil fuel burning caused warming across the Northern Hemisphere and triggered an increase in ice melt. This led to the slowdown in ocean circulation and a cooler Greenland.
So warming causes slowdown, but then so does decreased solar activity which causes cooling.

The increased flow of warm water and air to Greenland due to decreased solar activity will cause increase melting of Greenland's ice.

However, unstated, decreased solar activity is correlated with decreased world-wide temperatures, which should increase glacial ice in other places.

On the other hand, the Medieval warm period caused ice to melt in Greenland (which is why it is called "Greenland"). And the Little Ice Age (1300 to 1850) caused Greenland to ice up again, driving the Vikings to abandon their settlements there.

The Little Ice Age is correlated with decreased solar activity, the Maunder Minimum.

So we have both cooling periods and warming periods correlated with both warming and cooling episodes in Greenland.

I would guess that there may actually be a way to reconcile all this, and the researchers do propose a test to see if their hypothesis works out.
Starting around 2025, temperatures in Greenland could increase more than anticipated and the island's ice sheet could melt faster than projected,  
Article: Asteroid worth £3 TRILLION in precious metals set to pass Earth on Sunday - and YOU can watch it live
X-type asteroids are composed primarily of metal, and appear to be the remnants of large asteroids that fully separated into core and mantle.
Other cool things about this article:

Interactive map of the solar system showing asteroid locations (not to scale)

Video clip about the asteroid.

And a "box" with an interview about the one with "our name on it."

It is so SF to be thinking about mining an asteroid.

Satellites: No global warming for 20 years.

After September of this year, the Earth will be entering its 21st year without statistically significant warming trend, according to satellite-derived temperature data. 
Since September 1994, University of Alabama in Huntsville’s satellite temperature data has shown no statistically significant global warming trend. For over 20 years there’s been no warming trend apparent in the satellite records and will soon be entering into year 21 with no warming trend apparent in satellite data — which examines the lowest few miles of the Earth’s atmosphere. 
Satellite data from the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) group also shows a prolonged “hiatus” in global warming. After November of this year, RSS data will be in its 21st year without warming.  Ironically, the so-called “hiatus” in warming started when then vice President Al Gore and environmental groups touted RSS satellite data as evidence a slight warming trend since 1979. 
But what Michaels and others say is more problematic is the growing divergence between NOAA’s new temperature data [because of a massive "adjustment" up of data since the 1990's] versus satellite data and records from the UK Met Office. NOAA’s data shows significantly more warming than Met Office or satellite records.

EPA regulations have no effect on global warming

Article: EPA Chief Admits Obama Regs Have No Measurable Climate Impact: ‘One one-hundredth of a degree?’ EPA Chief McCarthy defends regs as ‘enormously beneficial’ – Symbolic impact

Government scientists in Australia were forced to admit the futility of their regulations 5 years ago. Now the US EPA is forced to admit the same thing. And at the same time forced to admit the large cost of those regulations.

The "Harry Read Me" site has a lot of links up right now to YouTubes with her testimony. It is embarassing to watch her flounder and spout talking points that have nothing to do with the questions she is being asked.

Article: Hipaa’s Use as Code of Silence Often Misinterprets the Law
“It’s [the law] become an all-purpose excuse for things people don’t want to talk about,” said Carol Levine, director of the United Hospital Fund’s Families and Health Care Project, which has published a Hipaa guide for family caregivers.  
Intended to keep personal health information private, the law does not prohibit health care providers from sharing information with family, friends or caregivers unless the patient specifically objects. 
“Providers may be disinclined to give out information anyway, and this provides an easy rationale,” Mr. Carlson, the Justice in Aging lawyer, said. “But Hipaa is more common sense than people give it credit for.”
In other words, health-care providers are engaged in the same sort of behavior as schools' "zero-tolerance" policies that suspends a student for bringing a plastic butter knife to school.

That is, it is better to ban the behavior outright than to engage in thought about each situation.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Article: Coal No Longer US's Most Popular Electricity Source For First Time Ever
For the first time ever, coal has been unseated as America’s largest source of fuel to generate electricity. As of April 2015, natural gas is now number 1. 
A report from SNL Energy shows that 31 percent of America’s electricity was now coming from natural gas. That’s up from just 22 percent in 2010. But even though natural gas has taken the lead, coal is still a formidable force, fulfilling 30 percent of the nation’s electrical energy needs.
 Fracking has increased the supply of natural gas, and (economics 101) driven down the price of it. In addition, EPA regulations (recently set aside by the Supreme Court) made coal less attractive.

Water for the farmers of California.

Democrats are against it. For decades, Democrats in general and California Democrats in particular have fought dam and reservoirs.

Article: An Engineered Drought
We do know two things. First, [current California Governor Jerry] Brown and other Democratic leaders will never concede that their own opposition in the 1970s (when California had about half its present population) to the completion of state and federal water projects, along with their more recent allowance of massive water diversions for fish and river enhancement, left no margin for error in a state now home to 40 million people. 
Second, the mandated restrictions will bring home another truth as lawns die, pools empty, and boutique gardens shrivel in the coastal corridor from La Jolla to Berkeley: the very idea of a 20-million-person corridor along the narrow, scenic Pacific Ocean and adjoining foothills is just as unnatural as “big” agriculture’s Westside farming. 
Article: House passes another bill to bring more water to California farmers
The House on Thursday passed GOP-led legislation designed to bring more water to California's farm belt amid a severe and lengthy drought. 
Similar legislation has failed in the last two congressional sessions, and the White House and Democrats remain opposed. 
The 170-page bill also sets deadlines for the completion of feasibility studies to build or enlarge five dams in the state and ends efforts to build up salmon populations in the San Joaquin River.
Article: House Democrats float new California water bill
The Democrats’ proposal omits new water storage projects or changes that boost irrigation deliveries to San Joaquin Valley farms, which have anchored House Republican drought-fighting efforts. Instead, it includes an array of water recycling grants, watershed protection programs, groundwater cleanup assistance and desalination studies, among other efforts.
Article: California flexes muscles in water tussle with farmers
California water regulators flexed their muscles by ordering a group of farmers to stop pumping from a branch of the San Joaquin River amid an escalating battle over how much power the state has to protect waterways that are drying up in the drought.
As the rest of the article makes plain, the farmers have long-standing, legally-binding water rights that (Democrat run) California are trying to take away.

Science Links - 7/17/15

The theme of today's science links is frauds and lies.

Article: Why are greens so keen to destroy the world’s wildlife?
When Professor David MacKay stepp ed down as chief scientific adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) last year, he produced a report comparing the environmental impact of a fracking site to that of wind farms. Over 25 years, he calculated, a single “shale gas pad” covering five acres, with a drilling rig 85ft high (only needed for less than a year), would produce as much energy as 87 giant wind turbines, covering 5.6 square miles and visible up to 20 miles away. Yet, to the greenies, the first of these, capable of producing energy whenever needed, without a penny of subsidy, is anathema; while the second, producing electricity very unreliably in return for millions of pounds in subsidies, fills them with rapture
Additional antienvironment environmentalism

1) windmills destroying birds and bats
2) biomass to biomass fuels causing deforestation
3) hydroelectric power plants in the Amazon destroying rain forests.

Article: The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science

A history of the take over of climate science, greens/environmentalists, the media, and bureaucrats by catastrophic anthropogenic global warming activists
The organisations that did the most exaggeration trousered the most money.
Garth Paltridge, distinguished Australian climate scientist:
We have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously overstating the climate problem—or, what is much the same thing, of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem—in its effort to promote the cause. It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science, because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis for society’s respect for scientific endeavour.
Long and well worth the read.

Article: Nature Rebounds – the world is getting better, not worse

References a deep, and long, study by one of the founders of the IPCC. I did not read the study.

Article: Study claims 1 in 4 cancer research papers contains faked data

Scientists, desperate for grant money, puffs up research.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Science Links - 7/16/15

Article: Natural contaminants, arsenic and uranium, in one-fifth of California's groundwater
Natural contaminants are more prevalent than human-made contaminants in California groundwater used for public supply, is the conclusion of a decade-long study by U.S. Geological Survey scientists. The study evaluated the quality of nearly all of the groundwater used for public supply in California and is the most comprehensive assessment of groundwater in any state to date. Groundwater provides about one-third of California's drinking supply in a typical year, but more during drought conditions.
There is more uranium and arsenic in the water supplies than nitrates (from fertilizers) and various organics.

Article: Old astronomic riddle on the way to be solved: Absorption of starlight in space

The absorption is due to a complex carbon molecule nicknamed, "buckyballs."
Scientists were able to identify for the first time a molecule responsible for the absorption of starlight in space: the positively charged Buckminsterfullerene, or so-called football molecule.
Article: Climate Scientists’ Road to Hell

Amusing, but 3 years old.

Article: Better chocolate with microbes: Same yeast used in beer, wine and bread

Best flavor from the common bread yeast.

Did you know that chocolate is fermented? So is coffee.

Article: New Horizons: Images reveal ice mountains on Pluto

Ice mountains 10000 ft (slightly less than 2 miles) high.

And no impact craters which implies enough geologic activity to smooth out the surface.

Article: What NOAA NCEI isn’t telling you in their 2014 State of the Climate Report released today

NOAA announces that 2014 was, in fact, really, no kidding, the warmest year in weather-keeping history.

Author Anthony Watts counts the lies:

1) Press release claims four independent datasets confirms the record. Lie: there is only one data set, but it is used by 4 different agencies.

2) Satellite data is still stubbornly refusing to agree with NOAA. And it is still showing a slight cooling trend.

3)  The NOAA data set is "highly adjusted, the adjustments are in one direction, a warmer trend, and [is] entirely under the control of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center."

Again, if catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is so obvious and so true, why is it so necessary to lie about it?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Article: Thanks partly to NOAA’s new adjusted dataset, tommorrow they’ll claim to reporters that May was the ‘hottest ever’
So for May 2015 NOAA says the globe is at 0.87°C above normal, and UAH [satellite data] says the globe is at 0.27°C above normal –  a difference by a factor of three.
So, again, I ask the question: If global warming is true and obvious, why is necessary to lie by adjusting the data up?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Article: Developments in the Framing of Climate Change as a Public Health Issue in US Newspapers

The article completely buys into the "climate change not global warming" mythology. All they talk about is effects of global warming, but they cannot use a discredited phrase.
The public health frame stresses climate change’s potential to increase the incidence of asthma, allergies, disease, heat stroke, and other salient health problems. 
Global warming as an environmental issue: You are all going to die because the oceans are rising.

Global warming as a public health issue: You are all going to die of heat stroke.
In the process, the public health frame makes climate change personally relevant to new audiences by connecting the issue to health problems that are already familiar and perceived as important to the American public.
Or, "if you asthma, global warming is going to make it worse."

With regard to previous postings about law, honor, and fear cultures, this is clearly an attempt to manipulate people using fear. Sadly, many people are suscaptible to that kind of "framing."

IPCC 5 - The Science Is Not Settled, part 2

This is the conclusion of the article posted below. 

Figure 9. Five projections of global warming, 1990-2050, compared with the linear trends on two observed datasets. IPCC projections are mid-range estimates. The trend (green) on the HadCRUt4 monthly global mean surface temperature anomalies reflects the warming at 0.11 K decade–1 observed since 1950. The trend (dark green) on the RSS satellite data reflects the zero trend that has now persisted for more than 17 years. Both observed trends are extrapolated to 2050.
If anyone ever again tries to tell you The Science Is Settled, as the now-axed Klimate Kommissariat in Australia is still trying to do in its latest taxpayer-funded propaganda sheet, point to Fig. 9 and ask two questions. 
First, point to the red zone marked Projections and ask which of the very wide range of official projections The Science has Settled upon. 
Secondly, point to the green zone marked Observations and ask why the real climate has so persistently failed to pay any attention to the Settled Science.

IPCC 5 - The Science Is Not Settled

Article: IPCC silently slashes its global warming predictions in the AR5 final draft
Unnoticed, the IPCC has slashed its global-warming predictions, implicitly rejecting the models on which it once so heavily and imprudently relied. In the second draft of the Fifth Assessment Report it had broadly agreed with the models that the world will warm by 0.4 to 1.0 Cº from 2016-2035 against 1986-2005. But in the final draft it quietly cut the 30-year projection to 0.3-0.7 Cº, saying the warming is more likely to be at the lower end of the range [equivalent to about 0.4 Cº over 30 years]. If that rate continued till 2100, global warming this century could be as little as 1.3 Cº 
Official projections of global warming have plummeted since Dr. James Hansen of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies told the U.S. Congress in June 1988 the world would warm by 1 Cº every 20 years till 2050 (Fig. 1), implying 6 Cº to 2100.
In other words:
  • The science is not settled
  • The models have failed, and the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming hypothesis has been falsified. 
  • The IPCC is trying to hide that failure.
  • Their current predictions are well below the 2 decreee C threshold that has been waved around as triggering the end of the world. 
Still too high
Global mean surface temperature anomalies and 0.11 Cº/decade least-squares trend, January 1950 to November 2013 (from HadCRUT4 data).
The problem with this prediction is the starting point, 1950. That year was one of the coldest in the last century. Chosing another starting point, say from the higher temperature years in the 1930's, would decrease the increase even more, perhaps even zeroing out.

Article: The Really Big One

The New Yorker Magazine, and John McPhee, pioneered this long-form, "creative nonfiction" essay on science topics. Here, Kathryn Schulz, does a good job of holding up that legacy.
The next full-margin rupture of the Cascadia subduction zone will spell the worst natural disaster in the history of the continent.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Article: Met Office caught out over its 'hottest July day ever’ claim
Since my story last week headed “Mystery grows over Met Office’s 'hottest day’”, there have been further developments. How could the Met Office justify its widely publicised claim that July 1 was the hottest July day recorded in Britain, based solely on a reading of 36.7 degrees Celsius (98 degrees Fahrenheit) made at Heathrow airport? 
When the blogger Paul Homewood (on Notalotofpeopleknowthat) tracked down four weather stations around Heathrow, none showed readings on July 1 above 35.1. He wondered how far the Met Office figure might have been influenced by the siting of its Heathrow temperature gauge, shown by aerial photographs to be surrounded by heat-radiating Tarmac and near a runway.
I have said this previously. If global warming is so obvious, why is it necessary to lie?

Article: El Nino Could Be One of Strongest in Past 50 Years

Strong El Nino events are associated with a lot of weather changes, for example, increased rain to our West Coast. This is good news for them, as they are in the midst of an extended drought.

The bad news for the rest of us is that they are also correlated with warm global temperatures. The last time there was an El Nino this strong was 1998. That was the hottest year on record (unless the 1930's temperature data has been re-readjusted to show one of those years as the warmest).
Article: Fracking with propane proposed for Tioga County, NY

NY state bans hydraulic fracking because, among other reasons, it uses large amount of water.

NY state landowners contract with an energy company to frack on their land using gelled propane and sand instead.

It appears to be legal and meets currently existing environmental impact requirements.

I am not a constitutional scholar, but I wonder if a total ban of fracking would be illegal under the "illegal takings" clause of the 5th amendment. The landowners hold mineral rights, and a total ban on using them might be unconstitutional.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Article: Is the Science Ever Settled? Theories, Hypotheses, and What Science Really Does
Exploring what the theory of evolution really says gives us a good example of what science really does.
The article sticks pretty close to evolution, although it is applicable to thinking about the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming hypothesis, as well.

As a believing Christian, I accept that God created the heavens and the earth. However, I recognize that the theory evolution, as described in this article and elaborated over the last 160 years, is a powerful and elegant explanation for the diversity and genetic relatedness of life on earth. (Other than, "That is how God made it; deal with it," that is.)

Article: Is a mini ICE AGE on the way? Scientists warn the sun will 'go to sleep' in 2030 and could cause temperatures to plummet

We already know that the Maunder [sunspot] minimum overlapped the Little Ice Age of the 1600's to early 1800's.

However, correlation is not causation.

It makes sense that less solar activity would mean a cooler earth, just as the greater sunspot activity of the 1850 to 2000 period could explain the warming of the earth during the same period.

The nice part of this is that there is a definite prediction that can be made: Lower sunspot/solar activity between 2020-2030 (even between now and 2030) should be associated with a cooler earth.

The early results, from 1996 to the present tend to support the hypothesis.

Cause or Effect?

Article: Climate Scientists Are Dealing With Psychological Problems
One psychologist who works with climate scientists told Richardson they suffer from “pre-traumatic stress,” the overwhelming sense of anger, panic, and “obsessive-intrusive thoughts” that results when your work every day is to chart a planetary future that looks increasingly apocalyptic. 
"Cause or effect" is a very rude way of putting this problem. However, serious depression is often a psychological problem having deep roots in genetic hard-wiring and in upbringing. Do people with mental illness, or even specific personality traits, get into certain professions instead of others? Yes.

Does environmental activism attract people with a particular set of personality traits, including a tendency towards a particular set of "psychological problems?" Why not?

I want to make a difference. 

A number of years ago, the "media" transitioned from reporting to journalism. Reporting is "just the facts." Journalism emphasizes "the narrative" where facts are used (or not used) to support a prefferred narrative. Surveys showed that people who went into journalism went into the field because they wanted to "make a difference" or "change the world" (as did many people heading into law school). Watergate (bringing down the EVIL Nixon administration) was the Morning Star that guided the quest to change the world.

This attracts a certain kind of personality. Sticking to the facts requires integrity and an analytical ability to sift truth from lies. A narrative requires only a fact or two, then a skill at creative writing. It favors a personality dependent one's emotional state. Winning the fight to change the world rewards one emotionally. Failing to do so damages one's self-esteem.

Recently, some of the blogs I read have been posting a "100-word" short story "contest" headed by a photograph for inspiration. From the facts shown on the photograph an amazing number of different scenarios can be spun. So it is with facts that support the journalists' narratives.


The real pollution issues that surfaced in the 1960's and 1970's, with the attendent environmentalist hysteria, helped produce a generation of scientists who wanted to make a difference. This was good. The real crises drove the free market economies to deal with the problem, vastly reducing pollution in the West.

Politically, however, pollution in free-market economies was seen as the proof that they were evil. Free-market economies therefore had to be overthrown and replaced by command economies (run by experts, ie., scientists) like in the communist East. This was despite the fact that the communist economies of China, the Soviet Union, and its satellites in Eastern Europe produced some of the most toxically polluted places on Earth.

Western, free-market economies adapted and reduced pollution. The communist economies of the East did not.

However, the real crisis of environmental pollution has been abated and its effects ameliorated. Culture and law keep vigiliant watch on the environment.

This is not to say that pollution is no longer a problem. It does mean that most of the easy fixes have been made. Remaining issues, such as non-point source pollution of the Chesapeake Bay, are going to require very expensive, very intrusive regulations to fix. The political will to pay for these, both in money and vastly reduced freedom, does not exist.

What does this have to do with global warming?

Of course scientists advocating the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming [CAGW] hypothesis are depressed:

1) Scientificallly: There has been no warming for almost 20 years, their hypothesis has been falsified, and they know it. How depressing is that?

2) Politically: The CAGW hypothesis has always been a means to end: political power. The "right" people (that is, the scientists) need to be in power in order to tell people how to live. A free market economy that has millions of ordinary people making billions of decisions on how to run their own lives is anathema. Ordinary people do not believe them and will not give them all the political power they feel they deserve in order to make a difference. How depressing is that?

3) The political class likes CAGW because the fear of catastrophe helps to put more power into their hands, as well as vast opporunities for graft. Of course, the political class sees the scientists merely as willing tools, who will be disposed of when they do not matter any more. And the scientists know it on some level. How depressing is that?

Hat tip: Instapundit 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Law, Honor, and Fear Cultures

Cultures have three major ways of maintaining social order: law, shame, and fear. All cultures use all three, but most tend to emphasize one over the other.

Honor Culture
In cultural anthropology, a shame society, also called shame culture or honour-shame culture, is a society in which the primary device for gaining control over children and maintaining social order is the inculcation of shame and the complementary threat of ostracism. A shame society is contrasted with a guilt society [also called a law culture], in which control is maintained by creating and continually reinforcing the feeling of guilt (and the expectation of punishment now or in the afterlife) for certain condemned behaviors, and with a fear society, in which control is kept by the fear of retribution. 
Paul G. Hiebert characterizes the shame society as follows:
Shame is a reaction to other people's criticism, an acute personal chagrin at our failure to live up to our obligations and the expectations others have of us. In true shame oriented cultures, every person has a place and a duty in the society. One maintains self-respect, not by choosing what is good rather than what is evil, but by choosing what is expected of one. 
Law Culture
Paul Hiebert characterizes the guilt society [or law culture] as follows:
Guilt is a feeling that arises when we violate the absolute standards of morality within us, when we violate our conscience. A person may suffer from guilt although no one else knows of his or her misdeed; this feeling of guilt is relieved by confessing the misdeed and making restitution. True guilt cultures rely on an internalized conviction of sin as the enforcer of good behavior, not, as shame cultures do, on external sanctions. Guilt cultures emphasize punishment and forgiveness as ways of restoring the moral order; shame cultures stress self-denial and humility as ways of restoring the social order. 

Note the emphasis on conscience.

Western cultures tend to be law cultures. One example is the US. The US is a law culture because of the heavy Christian component in its founding: Puritans (and Congretationalists), Quakers, Catholics, and Methodists. Later groups such as the German Anabaptists, Moravians, Baptists, and others merely solidified the tendency in the US.

This is referred to as "America's Judeo-Christian" tradition. Often people think that this means that the Founding Fathers were Christian believers. It does not. It means that the Founding Fathers were part of an over-arching culture that accepted and internalized a Christian moral structure. Additionally, they saw, accepted and routinely spoke out in favor of that culture even if they were not traditional Christians. (Yes, even, and most especially, Thomas Jefferson.)

Eastern cultures tend to be honor cultures. Examples include Japan and China.

Mediterranean cultures, even when "Judeo-Christian," and therefore law cultures, have a heavy honor/guilt culture aspect.

Tribal cultures tend to be honor cultures. The tribe may be rooted in blood kinship like the Romani, most Islamic cultures, or the traditional Native American cultures. Or they may be rooted in some sort of intense, shared experience (hazing in college fraternities or boot camp in the military).

While Western cultures tend to be law cultures, specific subcultures in the West can be honor cultures, for example the police, the military, criminal organizations, sports teams, and college sororities and fraternities.

Overall, human beings are tribal. That is, each of us relate to 100-200 people on a regular basis. Family, of course, is the basic tribal unit. However, all of us belong to other "tribes:" a political subculture, fans of a particular sports team, a clique of co-workers at an office, or members of a church or social organization. Once one is aware of our tribal nature, it becomes obvious everywhere: the regulars at a coffee shop or diner, the pundits on TV, or the regular commentors on a blog. There is an obvious camaraderie.

Fear cultures occur in totalitarian societies, ranging from the "petty tyrants" of the workplace to the totalitarian dictatorships of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.

However, to make it clear, no cultures or subcultures are only honor, law or fear cultures. All cultures are a mix. One or the other dominates, but does not exclude the others.

Tribal signaling in the US.

Because the US has a large and diverse set of subcultures, it is typical to "signal" which particular subculture a person belongs to. Signals may include symbols such as a rainbow flag, a cross or star of David, a hammer and sickle, or a national flag. Or it may be what is and is not posted or commented on. Signalling may be posting of one side or another of a controversary: confederate flags, gun rights, gay marriage, global warming, or "gamer-gate." This is common, and once noticed becomes obvious on social media sites.

For example, I know people on Facebook who I know are born-again Christians, from families of born-again Christians, all of whom attend "conservative" churches (conservative theologically, that is). However, They may post items, sometimes links and sometimes comments, that counter practices and beliefs of some or most Christian subcultures. The posts are from a "left" political or theological viewpoint. Additionally, none of them post links or comments that openly state any affiliation with a conservative political or theological viewpoint.

This puzzled me until I realized that all of them were also members of very intellectual, very technological "tribes." Since these tribes, unless physically located in "Bible Belt" type regions, are uniformly non- to anti-Christian, it became obvious that they were signalling their leftist tribe members that they were also members of that tribe and not of "those" type of Christians. An odd form of "bearing witness."

There are other forms of signalling. Sports and military metaphors are very common in our culture. They might signal being a sports fan. However, they may also signal that the user is affirming being in a clique with another person.

For example, one office worker might use the phrase, "I've got your back," in an office setting. The person is using a military metaphor that he/she will stand by his/her coworker during a bout of office politics.

Law/honor cultures in the Bible.
Joshua 1:8 (NASB)8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Jeremiah 31:33 (NASB)33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Philippians 3:4b-6 (NASB)4 If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I [Paul] far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.
Acts 23:1 (NASB)
23 Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.”
Paul was an embodiment of law culture.

It would appear from the quotes above, that the culture of the ancient Israelites was a law culture, but it was clearly also an honor culture.
Numbers 15:32-36.  So all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
The forty years in the wilderness welded a slave peoples into the nation of God. Twelve tribes, often in conflict, but still a unified nation.

How then should the Church function? 

Church should function as a law culture. We are given the mind of Christ; we have His laws written on our hearts; and we can have direct and personal access to God via the Holy Spirit.

We do not have a spirit of fear [2 Timothy 1:7] and we no longer come under, and thus fear, condemnation, sin, and death [Romans 8:1-2]. Therefore, the Church should not use fear or shame as a means of maintaining order in the Church. Yes, we are to fear God, but that is whole different thing than being cowed into obedience by Church leadership.

Church Discipline
Matthew 18:15-17 (NASB)
15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 
"Tell it to the church." This appears to be shaming behavior. The Law is written on our hearts, but we have a choice whether or not to obey that law. When the disobedience becomes obvious, it means that there has been a breakdown in a person's willingness to operate in the law culture established by God. The person is violating his or her own conscience, and that violation has become public knowledge.

Ideally, the person's fellow Christians then attempt to lovingly point out where the person needs to submit to the rule of the kingdom of God that is in the person's own heart. If the person refuses to submit to the law written by God on that person's own heart, they are unruly (that is, un-rule-y). They need to be told that it is they who have stepped out of bounds. "Telling it to the church" and disfellowshipping the person is merely a public acknowledgment of where the person is already.

It is an ostricizing or shaming action that is required, in good conscience, by law culture.

What about the honor aspects of the Church? 

"One maintains self-respect, not by choosing what is good rather than what is evil, but by choosing what is expected of one."

The church should not be about doing "what is expected of one," unless it is what is expected of one by God, by the voice in of the in-dwelling Holy Spirit.

Humans are tribal, and humans in the church are tribal and act tribally. That is, we try to turn the church into a tribe and operate inside an honor culture. The results is cliques.

Cliques are a natural side-effect of talking to our friends and meeting in small groups (Sunday school classes, Sunday or Wednesday night meetings, house churches, prayer meetings, or whatever). It means that new members or visitors feel unwelcome, not because they are unwelcome, but because they are not yet part of a tribe. New member classes can be a "rite of passage" signalling acceptence by the church (tribe).

However, we are not bound by our hard-wiring to act tribally.

One way is adjust our viewpoint. CS Lewis said of the church that it is "Spread out through time and space, and terrible as an army with banners." We can take a "God's eye view" and see the church as a unified whole ranging from the 1st century church with Peter and Paul through all the believers in any and all locales and times. A person who has made a profession of faith in one church, is a Christian, a brother/sister, a believer, a fellow disciple and traveller on the same road as any other.

However, it does not end there. Any future Christian is also part of that the body of Christ, as well. And we do not know today who will be a member tomorrow, or next year, or on their death bed 50 years from now.

The tribe of all Christians is the body of Christ, with Jesus Christ as its head, and its mind.

Note: I am cross-posting this on my other blog, as well.