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DougMacG
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« Reply #700 on: September 08, 2013, 12:20:41 PM »

Not a freaking peep from MSM.
I get Scientific American and nearly every article about everything somehow has references to man made "climate change".
They refuse to admit, maybe just maybe they are wrong.
The left never does.

Not just no correction for new data (no warming since 1997 covers the entire Kyoto Protocol / Inconvenient Truth era), but also no real disclaimers in past work that the theories were unproven, that natural volatility obviously plays the largest role, no recognition of negative feedback forces and their role in cycles, factors unaccounted for such as clouds, or that the best models do not fit or explain past data, much less future data.

Instead they run with phony polls of scientists that group anyone who believes CO2 emissions play ANY role in climate as agreeing with alarmism's wildly exaggerated predictions. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #701 on: September 14, 2013, 08:20:05 PM »

http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?action=post;topic=1454.700;num_replies=700
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ccp
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« Reply #702 on: September 22, 2013, 10:09:28 AM »

NEWER » What's Really Going On With Arctic Sea Ice?

I Told You So: Congressman Parrots Climate Change Denial Errors

By Phil Plait
   
Man, sometimes I hate it when I’m right.

This whole week I’ve been writing about how an article in the tabloid newspaper The Mail on Sunday is riddled with climate change denial nonsense, with error piled upon error. They even updated the atrocious article, making it in some ways worse—the basic mistake about temperatures increasing upon which the article was based was changed, but not corrected.

I also posted about how misinformation like this spreads through the deny-o-sphere, going from one mouthpiece to the next, changing and morphing into even more ridiculous claims. I pointed out that this kind of bilge eventually makes its way to people who have actual power.

And here we are. On Wednesday, the congressional Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing on the climate change policies President Obama has announced. On the subcommittee sits a congressman by the name of David McKinley (R-W. Va.). By many measures, he is a rank-and-file Republican, sitting squarely in the middle of his party’s ideological stance. During that meeting, where important issues in climate change policies were discussed, he said this:

Here’s what he said:

But here’s the reality of temperature changes over the last 40 years… Actually we can say over 40 years there’s been almost no increase in temperature – very slight – in fact […] even with increased greenhouse CO2 level emissions, the Arctic ice has actually increased by 60 percent. Also that the Antarctica is also expanding… most experts believe by 2083, in 70 years, the benefits of climate change will still outweigh the harm.

Let me be clear: What he said here is complete nonsense.

To start with, his claim that temperatures haven’t gone up in 40 years is just dead wrong. I think he was trying to talk about the flattening of temperatures over the past few years that deniers are making so much hay out of. At best, this leveling out of surface temperatures goes back 15 years or so, but certainly not 40. I might forgive the Congressman and say it was a slip of the tongue, but he says it more than once.

Temperatures are rsising, despite the claims of Rep. McKinley.

The reality is that since 1973 land surface temperatures have gone up a full 0.6° C in a trend so clear it’s hard to believe anyone could honestly miss it. And as I have pointed out, the recent flattening is only due to a downswing in ocean temperatures due to a natural and well-known cycle in the Pacific. Once that goes back to an upswing, land temperatures will increase once again as well.

Also, McKinley propagates the Mail’s grossly misleading claim about Arctic sea ice increasing. Last year at this time we had a record low extent of sea ice over the North Pole. This year, the ice is way, way below average, by about a million square kilometers. Sure, it’s more than last year, but that’s only because last year’s minimum was extremely low. It’s incredibly misleading to say this year’s ice recovered from that. It’s far more fair to note that this minimum is one of the lowest ever seen (the sixth lowest since satellite measurements began, and possibly for millennia).

His claim that Antarctica is “expanding” is also baloney. It’s an old denier trope, and doesn’t differentiate between sea ice and land ice. The sea ice around Antarctica grows every winter, and melts away every summer. Right now it’s winter in Antarctica, and sure enough the sea ice is at a maximum. In fact, it is at a record max: about 4% higher above the previous maximum. But this will all melt away again in the austral summer; it doesn’t really have any long-term implications for global warming (although a case can be made that warming means more moisture in the air, which can then snow out when it’s cold, ironically temporarily increasing ice extent). And note that this is happening when Arctic sea ice extent is still 30% below average.

And what of Antarctic land ice? Surprise: That’s decreasing over time, to the tune of about a hundred billion tons per year.

ice loss in Antarctica
Monthly ice mass change in the Antarctic, measured in billions of tons (normalized to 0 in 2007). The average annual drop is roughly 100 billion tons per year.
Image credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech; NASA GSFC; CU-Boulder; Technical University of Munich; Technical University of Denmark; Delft University of Technology, Aerospace Engineering, Netherlands; Durham University, UK; Leeds University, UK
   
Finally, about McKinley’s claims that most experts think climate change will have more benefits than harm: I will be very, very surprised—shocked, floored even—if that turns out to be the case. I have not read the full IPCC report (it’s still not released), but I’ve read a draft of the “Summary for Policymakers” and did not see any mention of this (to be fair, I might have missed it, but the SfP goes over specific topics like temperatures, history, and so on). But I have to wonder what “experts” would say such a thing. Most of the climate and environmental scientists I have read say that global warming on the scale and rate we’re seeing is catastrophic; only full-blown climate change deniers have made any claims that the benefits outweigh the harm.

So there you have it: A duly-elected Representative from West Virginia sits on the House Subcommittee for Energy and Power, and can make easily-disproven and frankly ridiculous statements like that, empowered by the kind of error-riddled articles published by the likes of The Mail, just as I warned.

I was glad to see Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) call McKinley out on his statements at the end of that video excerpt, and make a clear call for more science and scientists at hearings like this. But as long as Republicans hold a majority in the House I despair of that happening; they tend to call well-known deniers to testify at these panels, and the sitting Congresspeople on those committees are overwhelmingly anti-science.

This matters, folks. This is our future we’re talking about, and from top to bottom, people who flatly deny reality have infiltrated the system, with just enough influence to obstruct any real progress. This must change if we’re ever to fix this looming and globally critical problem.
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ccp
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« Reply #703 on: September 22, 2013, 10:41:38 AM »

Second post today.  OTOH:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/10310712/Top-climate-scientists-admit-global-warming-forecasts-were-wrong.html
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G M
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« Reply #704 on: September 23, 2013, 03:33:34 PM »

http://www.latimes.com/science/la-sci-climate-change-uncertainty-20130923,0,791164.story

Global warming 'hiatus' puts climate change scientists on the spot

Theories as to why Earth's average surface temperature hasn't risen in recent years include an idea that the Pacific Ocean goes through decades-long cycles of absorbing heat.




By Monte Morin
September 22, 2013, 9:14 p.m.



It's a climate puzzle that has vexed scientists for more than a decade and added fuel to the arguments of those who insist man-made global warming is a myth.


Since just before the start of the 21st century, the Earth's average global surface temperature has failed to rise despite soaring levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases and years of dire warnings from environmental advocates.
 
Now, as scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gather in Sweden this week to approve portions of the IPCC's fifth assessment report, they are finding themselves pressured to explain this glaring discrepancy.


The panel, a United Nations creation that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, hopes to brief world leaders on the current state of climate science in a clear, unified voice. However, experts inside and outside the process say members probably will engage in heated debate over the causes and significance of the so-called global warming hiatus.
 
"It's contentious," said IPCC panelist Shang-Ping Xie, a professor of climate science at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. "The stakes have been raised by various people, especially the skeptics."
 
Though scientists don't have any firm answers, they do have multiple theories. Xie has argued that the hiatus is the result of heat absorption by the Pacific Ocean — a little-understood, naturally occurring process that repeats itself every few decades. Xie and his colleagues presented the idea in a study published last month in the prestigious journal Nature.
 
The theory, which is gaining adherents, remains unproved by actual observation. Surface temperature records date to the late 1800s, but measurements of deep water temperature began only in the 1960s, so there just isn't enough data to chart the long-term patterns, Xie said.
 
Scientists have also offered other explanations for the hiatus: lack of sunspot activity, low concentrations of atmospheric water vapor and other marine-related effects. These too remain theories.
 
For the general public, the existence of the hiatus has been difficult to reconcile with reports of record-breaking summer heat and precedent-setting Arctic ice melts.
 
At the same time, those who deny the tenets of climate change science — that the burning of fossil fuels adds carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and warms it — have seized on the hiatus, calling it proof that global warming isn't real.
 
Climate scientists, meanwhile, have had a different response. Although most view the pause as a temporary interruption in a long-term warming trend, some disagree and say it has revealed serious flaws in the deliberative processes of the IPCC.
 
One of the most prominent of these critics is Judith Curry, a climatologist who heads the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She was involved in the third IPCC assessment, which was published in 2001. But now she accuses the organization of intellectual arrogance and bias.
 
"All other things being equal, adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere will have a warming effect on the planet," Curry said. "However, all things are never equal, and what we are seeing is natural climate variability dominating over human impact."
 
Curry isn't the only one to suggest flaws in established climate models. IPCC vice chair Francis Zwiers, director of the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium at the University of Victoria in Canada, co-wrote a paper published in this month's Nature Climate Change that said climate models had "significantly" overestimated global warming over the last 20 years — and especially for the last 15 years, which coincides with the onset of the hiatus.
 
The models had predicted that the average global surface temperature would increase by 0.21 of a degree Celsius over this period, but they turned out to be off by a factor of four, Zwiers and his colleagues wrote. In reality, the average temperature has edged up only 0.05 of a degree Celsius over that time — which in a statistical sense is not significantly different from zero.
 
Of course, people don't actually spend their entire lives subjected to the global average temperature, which is currently about 15 degrees Celsius, or 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Those who fixate on that single measurement lose sight of significant regional trends, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, climate scientists say.
 
Xie and Yu Kosaka, an assistant project scientist at Scripps, used computer models to simulate the Pacific decadal oscillation, a phenomenon related to the El Niño and La Niña ocean temperature cycles that lasts for 20 to 30 years. The model suggested that the northern mid-latitudes — an area that includes the United States and most of Europe and China — were "insulated" from the oscillation's cooling effect during the summer months, as was the Arctic region.
 
"In the summer you've basically removed the Pacific cooling, so we're still baked by greenhouse gases," Xie said.
 
As a consequence, 2012 marked two climate milestones, he said. The U.S. experienced its hottest year on record, while ice cover in the North Pole shrank to the lowest level ever observed by satellite.
 
Other climatologists, such as Bill Patzert of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, say sea level rise is "unequivocal proof" that greenhouse gases are continuing to heat the planet, and that much of this added heat is being absorbed by the oceans.
 
As ocean water warms, it expands and drives sea levels higher, Patzert said. Currently, oceans are rising at an average of more than 3 millimeters, or 0.12 of an inch, per year. This pace is significantly faster than the average rate over the last several thousand years, scientists say.
 
"There's no doubt that in terms of global temperatures we've hit a little flat spot in the road here," Patzert said. "But there's been no slowdown whatsoever in sea level rise, so global warming is alive and well."
 
Whether that message is communicated successfully by the IPCC this week remains to be seen. In the days leading up to the meeting, the organization has found itself on the defensive.
 
A draft summary that was leaked to the media reported that scientists were "95% confident" that human activity was responsible for more than half of the increase in average global surface temperature between 1951 and 2010. But critics openly scoff, considering the IPCC's poor record for predicting short-term temperature increases.
 
"This unpredicted hiatus just reflects the fact that we don't understand things as well as we thought," said Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder and vocal critic of the climate change establishment. "Now the IPCC finds itself in a position that a science group never wants to be in. It's in spin management mode."
 
monte.morin@latimes.com
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DougMacG
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« Reply #705 on: October 07, 2013, 10:34:39 AM »

Read it all at the Weekly Standard:
http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/pay-no-attention-bad-data_759168.html

Pay No Attention to the Bad Data
Behind the curtain at the IPCC.
Oct 14, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 06 • By STEVEN F. HAYWARD

Thought experiment: Imagine you are a national security reporter, covering the release of a massive, 2,000-page report on domestic intelligence gathering activities and future threat assessment from the National Security Agency. But instead of issuing the full report, the NSA issues a 30-page “Summary for Policymakers” (SPM) written by political appointees at the Justice Department, promising that the full 2,000-page report will be released a few days later. Would you print a front-page story based only on the 30-page summary, or would you demand to see the full report?

If you’d go with the politically massaged summary, then congratulations​—​you too can be an environmental reporter. Because that’s exactly what the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) did on Friday, September 27, in Stockholm, releasing only the SPM while withholding the full report. And the media played along, generating predictable headlines over the weekend about the increasing certainty of climate scientists that humans are warming the world.

To be fair, if they had waited until Monday’s release of the full Working Group I report on the current state of climate science, they’d have had to make sense of a jargon-filled report that Dutch scientist Arthur Petersen told the BBC “is virtually unreadable!” Churchill once quipped about a massive bureaucratic report that “by its very length, it defends itself against the risk of being read.” The IPCC appears to be following this example.

It is important to understand that the IPCC report is not an original scientific inquiry but a wide-ranging literature review and “synthesis.” The technical nature of climate science is such that only other scientists can possibly follow it, and even that is doubtful, as the specialized nature of so many aspects of climate science is beyond the grasp of scientists who work in widely scattered subfields. Whether the domain of climate science can be “synthesized” in this way is a debatable question.

A close reading of some of the key passages shows that it cannot bear the weight of the sensationalized parts of the SPM, at least as rendered in the media. One of the most misleading aspects of this story is the way in which the SPM conveys a “95 percent confidence” or certainty of its findings, as though this figure represented a rigorous or robust test familiar to first-year students of statistical correlation. The IPCC’s methodology behind these conclusions is thoroughly opaque. When you strip away the fog, the IPCC admits these conclusions are “qualitative,” and based essentially on a poll of the self-selecting participants in the IPCC review process itself.

This is like polling the Romney campaign staff about how confident they are their candidate will win the election, and representing it as
the firm “consensus” of all political scientists. The IPCC’s main report finally admits that the methodology for their confidence calibrations is derived from social science, and that “confidence should not be interpreted probabilistically, and it is distinct from ‘statistical confidence.’ ” You won’t see this admission reflected in any of the breathless news reports about the IPCC’s high confidence of our future doom.

The late James Q. Wilson argued that social scientists should quit trying to predict the future because they can’t predict the past. The climate science community might heed this advice. While the domain of climate science is highly complex, the heart of the enterprise is the calibration of climate models to explain the modest warming we have observed, mostly from 1960-98, which in turn is supposed to enable us to predict the future. Much was made in the media in recent weeks of how some governments were pressuring the IPCC to offer an explanation of the current 15-year “pause” in warming that is confounding the models. (This raises a curious question: Why do we need a “Summary for Policymakers” if policymakers determine what’s emphasized in the summary? Clearly the SPM should be called by its true name: Summary for Headline Writers.) The “pause” is glossed over in the SPM, because the underlying chapters in the full report do their best to skip over this inconvenient fact.

This conundrum is what makes Chapter 9 of the full report (“Evaluation of Climate Models”) fascinating reading. Out of the dense prose a reader can make out increasing confidence that by twisting the computer knobs (called “parameterizing”) we can match up models to the observed temperature record and other empirical data on clouds, oceans, and a multitude of other variables. But there are admissions of serious limitations of the models. Many of the models still produce results that match up poorly with the observational data, and some aspects of the models can’t be validated at all. The IPCC can’t even agree on a method for singling out the most accurate models. Our understanding of clouds​—​one of the most important variables for understanding climate​—​remains very low: “There remain significant errors on the model simulation of clouds,” the chapter says. Among other problems, our grasp of what’s going on in the oceans is still severely limited, and our ability to simulate the dynamics of the Amazonian basin is very poor.

But more important is the carefully worded concession that all this computer knob-twisting to make the models match the temperature record may not work for the future​—​or the past. An early draft of Chapter 9 included this startling sentence: “The ability of a climate model to make future climate projections cannot be directly evaluated.” This has been dropped from the final draft; now the chapter includes an embarrassing excuse for the failure of the models to match up with the current temperature “pause”: “[T]hese projections were not intended to be predictions over the short time scales for which observations are available to date.” Translation: Pay no attention to our models behind the curtain; just trust our judgment that the end is nigh.

The 12 chapters of the report are full of anomalous findings and admissions of scientific weaknesses that are not reflected in the SPM. Not to worry: the report is not final. The fine print on the IPCC’s website says that “following copy-editing, layout, final checks for errors, and adjustments for changes for consistency with the Summary for Policy-makers, it will be published online in January.” (My emphasis.)

In other words, this supposedly authoritative product of international scientific consensus will be reverse-engineered to match up with the politically determined SPM. No wonder skepticism of the climate science community is on the rise.

Steven F. Hayward is the visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #706 on: October 08, 2013, 08:32:36 AM »

The Computer says NO – The IPCC 2013 Summary for Policymakers
Posted on October 7, 2013    by Anthony Watts
By Tom Quirk

The IPCC use of computer models to predict temperatures, rain fall, sea level rises and other weather related events either global or regional has comprehensively failed to predict most of the observations made in the last twenty years and ignores any analysis that suggests natural variability as the main driver of climate. Ad hoc effects are put forward in order to explain why the model predictions parted company from the observations. This is most obvious in looking at the components of radiative (temperature) forcing (Figure SPM.5) where such effects as aerosols appear as contributions with 100% uncertainty. This is not a statistically derived uncertainty but rather an “expert” opinion on an effect that is needed to “balance the books”. Yet all the uncertainties are combined as if they are all well behaved statistical errors.

The report is best summed up by the classic Polish saying from Soviet times – The future is certain only the past is unpredictable.

There are a series of points that one can take immediate objection to:

The temperature plateau from 2000 to the present year is dismissed as of no consequence. The report has borrowed the reply of Chou En Lai who, when asked what he thought of the French Revolution, replied that “It was too early to tell”. Yet in 1988 James Hansen appearing before a Congressional committee said he was 99% certain that the temperature rise from 1977 was not a natural variation.

The oceans that have been ignored up to now have suddenly become centre stage as the lodging place for the heat that should have raised the global temperature. The extra infra-red radiation from the increasing atmospheric CO2 is absorbed in the top 2 millimetres of the ocean. This is then mixed by wave motion through the top 100 to 200 metres of the oceans. But the sea surface temperature is in equilibrium with the air surface temperatures so how has the heat energy achieved this avoidance. Of course the deep ocean from 1,000 to 4,000 metres is at 40C or less and any overturning of the deep ocean would cause no end of trouble. This looks like another ad hoc explanation.

Sea level rises are forecast to be as much as 1 metre by 2100 yet the measurements show quite different annual rises in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Indeed a good pair of gumboots should get our grandchildren through 2100 with the present measured annual increases.

Methane is referred to as reaching unprecedented levels in the atmosphere with no suggestion that its annual increases have fallen by a factor of eight since 1995[2]. Three of the scenarios (now called trajectories) have reasonable methane concentrations out to the year 2100 but the fourth (RCP 8.5) is an echo of the early extreme scenario A1FI and a little more borrowed from another earlier scenario of the IPCC 2007 report. The main justification for the more than doubling of the present methane level of 1750 ppb to 3750 ppb in 2100 may be to keep the highest temperature and sea level rise predictions in play. This last scenario is of course used by the CSIRO to predict the end of Sydney and Brisbane airports.

There is a reference (Figure SPM.4 (a)) to the long running time series measurements of atmospheric CO2 at the South Pole (black line) and Mauna Loa (red line). What has not been pointed out is that in 1958 to 1960, there is no difference in these measurements between the two stations but it remains unexplained. Also there is a modest bump in 1990 that had the Point Barrow measurements at latitude 710N been included would have shown a modest 2 year plateau in CO2 concentration. This, when properly analysed, shows that about 2.5 GtC of CO2 entered and left the Northern Hemisphere atmosphere in the space of 4 years when fossil fuel CO2 emissions were 6 GtC in 1990 with 90% occurring in the Northern Hemisphere.. Yet we are taught that fossil fuel emissions are absorbed with great difficulty by the land and oceans.. This is at the time of the Mount Pinatubo eruption but the CO2 output has been estimated at only 0.015GtC so volcanic activity is not the cause.

The temperature plateau from 2000 to the present has been variously explained by heat disappearing into the oceans, volcanic activity and a lessening of solar radiation (dismissed in this IPCC report). The failure to acknowledge the impact of the oceans that cover 70% of the surface of the earth not only on the temperature behaviour but also CO2 is extraordinary[3]. But the explanation may be that we do not understand what triggers the phase changes in the oceans where up-welling cold water displaces warmer water and of course the reverse. So it is not possible to model such events and this would be an admission of complete failure of the computer models.

Regional models should not be regarded as having any useful predictive power if the global models have been unsuccessful. There is a problem with regional modelling over land as the assumption that the mean temperature is the average of the minimum and maximum temperatures can increase temperatures by up to 0.50C. This distorts the heat load over the land and thus would cause a systematic error in computer modelling results.

This report from the IPCC should be its last. Not only has the climate science research community extracted billions of dollars from politicians but tens if not hundreds of billions have been invested in schemes to reduce CO2 emissions with little to show by way of reductions.

The last word should be left to Jonathon Swift who brilliantly satirized the Royal Society in Gulliver’s Travels[4]. Gulliver is taken to the country of Balnibarbi whose enlightened rulers have adopted new methods of agriculture and building but the country appears to be in ruins as “the only inconvenience is, that none of these projects are yet brought to perfection”.

[1] Catch phrase from Little Britain BBC TV series

[2] http://www.ipa.org.au/library/publication/1339463096_document_twentieth_century_sources_of_methane_in_the_atmosphere.pdf

[3] See http://www.ipa.org.au/library/publication/1339463007_document_break_paper_apjas_ipa.pdf

[4] http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=9213

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/07/the-computer-says-no-the-ipcc-2013-summary-for-policymakers/
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #707 on: October 21, 2013, 05:15:37 PM »

This takedown made me laugh:

Vitamin D And Cancer
Posted on 21 October 2013 by Briggs
This is our second big week focusing on colorectual cancer. Three weeks makes a streak. We’ll see.

Our paper is Mapping Vitamin D Deficiency, Breast Cancer, and Colorectal Cancer by Sharif Mohr, including four authors whose surnames suspiciously begin with G.

Paper is making the rounds with people concerned that they ought to be popping Vitamin D (VD for short?) pills to stave off the big C (today’s post sponsored by the letters C, D, G, and V).

Idea is that there’s more sun the closer to the equator you get, therefore the more opportunity there is for your body to produce VD. Why is this important? Because statistics appear to show that people who live in equatorial lands have lower rates of breast and colorectal cancer.



Rates of colorectual cancer countries classed by latitude.

This picture from their paper gives you the idea. Shows the rates of colorectal cancer (found in various and variable public data sources) by about 200 different countries classed by latitude (not all countries are labeled). Paper has a similar picture for breast cancer.

Seems plausible that the further from the sun you get the more at risk you are of cancer, no?

No. Those equatorial countries are places like the Democratic (don’t laugh) Republic of Congo, life expectancy 45; Equatorial Guinea, life expectancy 48, and so on and such forth (data source; from 2000).

This is versus sunlight depraved countries like Finland, life expectancy 78; Denmark, life expectancy 78; and on and on.

Now the longer you live the higher the chance you’ll develop one of these “old age” cancers (you have to die of something, after all). Most people are diagnosed north of 50. So if you die before 50, you don’t have much chance of getting these cancers. This is my “theory”, which has the benefit of parsimoniously explaining the observed data.

This explanation was much too simple for Mohr and the Four Gs, who show no sign of having thought of it. They instead developed complicated regression models of solar irradiance, optical depth, population density and, oh, I don’t know what all else. They got the wee p-values they sought, which was all the proof they needed.

And, hey, it could be that their vastly more complicated hypothesis is true and mine false. Plus, they have a wee p-value and I don’t. I can’t even get one! So, as the authors say (as they always say), “More research is clearly needed.”

http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=9612
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DougMacG
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« Reply #708 on: November 05, 2013, 07:59:53 AM »

Read to the end for attribution of the quote at the beginning.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303482504579177651057373802?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop
(subscribe at https://buy.wsj.com/offers/pages/OfferMulti1a?trackCode=aaqa209l)

Climate-change alarmists warn us about coming food shortages. They said the same in 1968.
By Bret Stephens, WSJ    Nov. 4, 2013

Warming is becoming a major problem. "A change in our climate," writes one deservedly famous American naturalist, "is taking place very sensibly." Snowfall, he notes, has become "less frequent and less deep." Rivers that once "seldom failed to freeze over in the course of the winter, scarcely ever do so now."

And it's having an especially worrisome effect on the food supply: "This change has produced an unfortunate fluctuation between heat and cold, in the spring of the year, which is very fatal to fruits."

That isn't a leaked excerpt from the latest report of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but it may as well be. Last week, Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise of the website No Frakking Consensus posted a draft of a forthcoming IPCC report on the alleged effects climate change will have on food production. The New York Times then splashed the news on its front page Saturday. It's another tale of warming woe:

"With or without adaptation," the report warns, "climate change will reduce median yields by 0 to 2% per decade for the rest of the century, as compared to a baseline without climate change. These projected impacts will occur in the context of rising crop demand, projected to increase by 14% per decade until 2050."

Two silly books, now being recycled by global warming alarmists.

If this has a familiar ring, it's because it harks back to the neo-Malthusian forecasts of the 1960s and '70s, when we were supposed to believe that population growth would outstrip food production. This gave us such titles as "Famine 1975!", a 1967 best seller by the brothers William and Paul Paddock, along with Paul Ehrlich's vastly influential "The Population Bomb," a book that began with the words, "The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now."

In case you're wondering what happened with that battle to feed humanity, the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization has some useful figures on its website. In 1968, the year Mr. Ehrlich's book first appeared, Asia produced 46,321,114 tons of maize and 439,579,934 of cereals. By 2011, the respective figures had risen to 270,316,205, up 484%, and 1,289,633,254, up 193%.

It's the same story nearly everywhere else one looks. In Africa, maize production was up 247% between 1968 and 2011, while production of so-called primary vegetables has risen 319%; in South America, it's 308% and 199%. Meanwhile, the world's population rose to just under seven billion from about 3.7 billion, an increase of about 90%. It is predicted to rise by another 33% by 2050.

But what about the supposedly warming climate? According to the EPA, "average temperatures have risen more quickly since the late 1970s," with the contiguous 48 states warming "faster than the global rate." Yet U.S. food production over the same time has also risen by robust percentages even as the number of acres under cultivation has been steadily falling for decades.

In other words, even if you believe the temperature records, a warming climate seems to correlate positively with greater food production. This has mainly to do with better farming practices and the widespread introduction of genetically modified (GMO) crops, and perhaps also the stimulative effects that carbon dioxide has on photosynthesis (though this is debated). Warming also could mean that northern latitudes now not suited for farming might become so in the future.

But whatever the reason, the world isn't likely to be getting any hungrier. Quite the opposite: Purely natural (as opposed to man-made) famines are becoming unknown. As the Irish economist Cormac Ó Gráda noted in a 2010 paper, "in global terms, the margin over subsistence is now much wider than it was a generation ago. This also holds for former famine zones such as India and Bangladesh, whereas China, once the 'land of famine,' nowadays faces a growing problem of childhood obesity." Only in Africa is food scarcity still an issue, but even there recent food crises in Malawi and Niger did not result in major loss of life.

What does hurt people is bad public policy. Exhibit A is the U.S. ethanol mandate—justified in part as a response to global warming—which diverted the corn crop to fuel production and sent global food prices soaring in 2008. Exhibit B is the cult of organic farming and knee-jerk opposition to GMOs, which risk depriving farmers in poor countries of high-yield, nutrient-rich crops. Exhibit C was the effort to ban DDT without adequate substitutes to stop the spread of malaria, which kills nearly 900,000 people, mostly children, in sub-Saharan Africa alone with each passing year. The list goes on and on.

Environmentalists tend to have conveniently short memories, especially when it comes to their own mistakes. They would do better to learn from history. Just take the quote about the warming climate with which this column began. It's from "Notes on the State of Virginia" by Thomas Jefferson, published in 1785.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #709 on: November 14, 2013, 09:39:32 AM »

http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/11/ipcc_s_bogus_evidence_for_global_warming.html

November 12, 2013
IPCC 's Bogus Evidence for Global Warming
By S. Fred Singer

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up by the United Nations in 1988 and has been trying very hard to demonstrate the threat of a dangerous human influence on climate due to the emission of greenhouse gases.  This is in line with their Charter, which directs the IPCC to assemble reports in support of the Global Climate Treaty -- the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) of Rio de Janeiro.

It is interesting that IPCC "evidence" was based on peer-reviewed publications - but (reluctantly) abandoned only after protracted critiques from outside scientists.  E-mails among members of the IPCC team, revealed in the 2009 'Climategate' leak, describe their strenuous efforts to silence such critiques, often using unethical methods.

I will show here that the first three IPCC assessment reports contain erroneous scientific arguments, which have never been retracted or formally corrected, but at least have now been abandoned by the IPCC -- while the last two reports, AR4 and AR5, use an argument that seems to be circular and does not support their conclusion.  Australian Prof. "Bob" Carter, marine geologist and paleo-climatologist, refers to IPCC as using "hocus-pocus" science.  He is a co-author of the latest (2013) NIPCC (Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change) report "Climate Change Reconsidered-II" www.climatechangereconsidered.org .  We also co-authored a critique of the 2013 IPCC-AR5 Summary <http://heartland.org/sites/default/files/critique_of_ipcc_spm.pdf>

1.  IPCC-AR1 (1990)

This first report of the IPCC bases its entire claim for AGW on the fact that both CO2 and surface temperatures increased during the 20th century -- although not in lock-step.  They assign the major warming of 1910 to 1940 to a human influence -- based on a peer-reviewed paper by BD Santer and TML Wigley, which uses a very strange statistical argument.  But the basis of their statistics has been critiqued (by Tsonis and Swanson) -- and I have demonstrated empirically elsewhere that their conclusion does not hold.

While this faulty paper has never been retracted, it is now no longer quoted as evidence by the IPCC -- nor accepted by the overwhelming majority of IPCC scientists:  Most if not all warming of the early 20th century is due to natural, not human causes.

2.  IPCC AR2 (1996)

This report devotes a whole chapter, #8, to "Attribution and Detection." Its main feature is what one might call the "invention" of the "Hotspot," i.e. an enhanced warming trend in the tropical troposphere -- never actually observed.

Unfortunately, the "evidence," as presented by BD Santer, was published only after the IPCC report itself appeared; it contains two fundamental errors.  The first error was to argue that the Hotspot is a "fingerprint" of human influence -- and specifically, related to an increase in greenhouse gases.  This is not true.  The Hotspot, according to all model calculations, is simply an atmospheric amplification of a surface trend, a consequence of the physics of the tropical atmosphere.

[Technically speaking, it is caused by increased convective activity whereby cumulus clouds carry latent heat from the surface of the tropical ocean into the upper troposphere.  In other words, the Hotspot is not human-caused, but arises from a "moist-adiabatic lapse rate" of the atmosphere.  This effect is discussed in most meteorological textbooks and is widely accepted.]

How then did AR2 conclude that a Hotspot exists observationally?  This is the second issue: The IPCC selected a short interval in the atmospheric temperature record that showed an increase -- while the general trend was one of cooling.  In other words, they cherry-picked their data to invent a Hotspot -- as pointed out in a subsequent publication by PJ Michaels and PC Knappenberger [see graph below]

The matter of the existence of a Hotspot in the actual tropical troposphere has been the topic of lively debate ever since.  On the one hand, DH Douglass, JR Christy, BD Pearson and SF Singer, demonstrated absence of a Hotspot empirically while Santer (and 17[!] IPCC coauthors), publishing in the same journal, argued the opposite.  This issue now seems to have been finally settled, as discussed by Singer in two papers in Energy & Environment [2011 and 2013].

It is worth noting that a US government report [CCSP-SAP-1.1 (2006)] showed absence of a Hotspot in the tropics (Chapter 5, BD Santer, lead author).  But the report's Executive Summary managed to obfuscate this result by referring to global atmosphere rather than tropical.

It is also worth noting that while the IPCC-AR2 used the Hotspot invention to argue that the "balance of evidence suggest a human influence," later IPCC reports no longer use the Hotspot argument.

Nevertheless, one consequence of this unfortunate phrase in AR2 has been the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.  Even though Kyoto expired in 2012, it has managed to waste hundreds of billions of dollars so far -- and continues to distort energy policies with uneconomic schemes in most industrialized nations.

3.  IPCC AR3 (2001)

AR3 attributes global warming to human influences based on the "Hockey-Stick" graph, using published papers by Michael Mann, derived from his analysis of multi-proxy data.  The hockeystick graph [bottom graph below] claims that the 20th century showed unusually rapid warming -- and thus suggests a strong human influence.  The graph also does away with the well-established Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, which were shown in earlier IPCC reports [see top graph below].

It was soon found that the Hockeystick graph was in error and did not deserve continued reliance.  Canadian statisticians Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick demonstrated errors in Mann's statistical analysis and in the use of certain tree-ring data for calibration.  In fact, they showed that Mann's algorithm would generate a Hockeystick graph -- even if the input data was pure noise.  [I served as a reviewer for M&M's initial paper in Energy & Environment 2003.]

It is worth noting that the IPCC no longer uses the Hockeystick to support human-caused warming, even though AR3 still claims to be at least 66% certain that greenhouse-gas emissions are responsible for 20th century warming.

4.  IPCC-AR4 (2007) and AR5 (2013)

Both reports use essentially the same faulty argument in their attempt to support their conclusion of human-caused global warming.  Their first step is to construct a model that tries to match the reported 20th-century surface warming.  This is not very difficult; it is essentially a 'curve-fitting' exercise: By selecting the right level of climate sensitivity and the right amount of aerosol forcing, they can match the reported temperature rise of the final decades of the 20th century, but not the initial decades -- as becomes evident from a detailed graph in their Attribution chapter.  This lack of agreement is due to the fact that their models ignore major forcings -- both from variations of solar activity and from changes in ocean circulation.

They then use the following trick.  They re-plot their model graph, but without an increase in greenhouse gases; this absence of forcing now generates a gap between the reported warming and unforced model.  Then they turn around and argue that this gap must be due to an increase in greenhouse gases.  It appears to me that this argument may be circular.  Even if the reported late-20th-century surface warming really exists (it is absent from the satellite and radiosonde records), the IPCC argument is not convincing.

It is ironic, however, that IPCC claims increasing certainty (at 90% in AR4 and at least 95% in AR5) for an attribution to human causes, which appears to be contrived.  Additionally, while AR4 calculates a Climate Sensitivity (for a doubling of CO2) of 2.0 - 4.5 degC, AR5 expands the uncertainty interval to 1.5 - 4.5 degC.  So much for the claim of increased certainty in the IPCC-AR5 Summary.   

Yet, while claiming increased certainty about manmade global warming, both reports essentially ignore the absence of any surface warming trend since about 1998.  Of course, they also ignore absence of any significant warming in the troposphere, ocean record, and proxy data during the crucial preceding (1979-1997) interval.

Conclusion

In spite of much effort, the IPCC has never succeeded in demonstrating that climate change is significantly affected by human activities -- and in particular, by the emission of greenhouse gases.  Over the last 25 years, their supporting arguments have shifted drastically -- and are shown to be worthless.  It appears more than likely that climate change is controlled by variations in solar magnetic activity and by periodic changes in ocean circulation.

There is no doubt about the existence of such a solar influence on climate.  As shown in the graph below, cosmic-ray intensity (as measured by the radioactive carbon isotope C-14) and terrestrial climate (as measured by the oxygen isotope O-18) correlate in amazing detail over an interval of at least 3000 years (see graph below; the bottom graph is the central section, blown up to reveal detail)

S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project.  His specialty is atmospheric and space physics.  An expert in remote sensing and satellites, he served as the founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service and, more recently, as vice chair of the US National Advisory Committee on Oceans & Atmosphere.  He is a senior fellow of the Heartland Institute and the Independent Institute.  He co-authored the NY Times best-seller Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 years.
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ccp
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« Reply #710 on: November 14, 2013, 10:50:37 AM »

My impression is that  most people are coming to the conclusion there is a global warming affect though what to do about it is in question.

I don't know what to think.

On this board we tend to only post the deniers point of view.   In some places I read just the opposite.  They conclude it is fact and anyone who disagrees is corrupt, stupid, or a crazed denier.

Again I don't know what to think.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #711 on: November 15, 2013, 12:44:29 AM »

Well, the Aussies appear to have changed their minds:

 
Australia – you beaut.
By Pointman

We have lived in a globalised society for a lot longer than that relatively recently coined phrase might suggest. Because we've greater and easier access to foreign news, and even if we don't take advantage of that, more foreign news is still reported on by domestic outlets, but usually through the prism of a local worldview.

By a large, this new global information age is a good thing but I think it comes with some downsides. Possibly the most obvious is that in a certain sense, it's a global disinformation age. The line between reportage and pure opinion is too often blurred and this combined with a supposed short attention span of the Internet reader, leads to ridiculously short and simplified articles on complex issues. All too often definitive and authoritive statements are made which have absolutely no provenance, and the sad thing is that it's rarely noticed.

The worst problem is information overload - there's simply too much of it and teasing out a useful signal from the background noise can be challenging. I once knew this guy who was a RIO (Radio Intercept Officer) on a MacDonnell Douglas F4 Phantom. He spent a lot of time in the rear seat of one as it made occasional hops into places like Hai Pong Harbour with a lot of people trying very hard to kill him while he was visiting. He told me something interesting.

He turned off stuff, in point of fact, he turned off pretty much everything except the essentials, closing down most of those multi-million dollar systems so he could concentrate on those few which could actually help complete the mission and save his own and his pilot's life. In an analogous fashion, looking on the web for information on a controversial issue involves tuning out the crap, because there are too many creatures like William Connolley skulking about.

The more subtle problem is that it gives the impression that we're all somehow aligned across the world in terms of popular opinion on controversial subjects. At a grassroots level, this is certainly not true and is compounded in the developed world by the stranglehold the left has over most organs of the mainstream media. They have a statist tendency to represent what they think the people should be thinking rather than what they're actually thinking.

Granted, we may all eventually come to the same rough consensus but that rarely happens as some sort of global gestalt thing. More usually, an opinion which eventually becomes mainstream thinking, is first expressed somewhere and the growing sentiment is reflected independently at different rates around the world.

Such changes in sentiment happen suddenly or they can be quite gradual. The sudden variety are usually brought about by things like surprise attacks such Pearl Harbour, the Twin Towers, or the Madrid or London bombings. Suddenly nobody's talking about multiculturalism any more but rather integration and oaths of allegiance by immigrants.

The hysteria about global warming, something nobody had even heard of twenty years ago, came about quite gradually. It was created by a building synergy between a headline hungry media, political interests, a coterie of activists scientists on an ego trip, some good but badly misguided intentions and of course greed by the seamier side of the financial services industry. Slow change like that becomes the establishment line, and since so many people and their livelihoods have become invested in it, is very difficult to reverse. Where something deeply flawed has become so ingrained, it's usually reversed just as slowly and mainly by people quietly withdrawing support for it once its problems have become apparent to all.

That process of slow reversal has to start somewhere and the longer it's delayed, the stronger and more violent it will necessarily become. No one wants to be the one to do it first, but it's inevitable and when it eventually happens, the unthinkable has been expressed and soon gathers support from the silent watchers who've long ago come to the same conclusion. The pressure of the magma underneath that great tectonic plate of public opinion has simply grown too great and finally breaks through somewhere. A change is gonna come.

We've just witnessed that eruption in Australia.

For decades we've had a united political front displayed by major western governments about a need to fight global warming and that has just been shattered into a million pieces by Australia. The newly elected government, after eviscerating the duplicitous and climate obsessed previous administration, is beginning the long process of dismantling both climate legislation and its administrative organs and has said flatly that it won't be kicking any money into the various global warming relief funds being pushed by the UN.

What's more, they're hacking back government spending on research aimed at combating global warming and by the abolition of such feel-good spinoff things as the Australian Animals Welfare Advisory Committee, Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Committee, National Inter-country Adoption Advisory Council; National Steering Committee on Corporate Wrongdoing, Antarctic Animal Ethics Committee, Advisory Panel on the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formula, Maritime Workforce Development Forum, Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing, Insurance Reform Advisory Group and the National Housing Supply Council among others. A lot of fat cat rent seekers have just been tossed out on their butt.

This is a government taking an axe to big government.

They're not even sending their environment minister, who's thankful he's got more than one ministerial portfolio, to the COP19 meeting in Warsaw and what's more, the language being employed is unequivocal. The junior representative turning up a Warsaw carried the "leaked" message that Australia - “will not support any measures which are socialism masquerading as environmentalism”. That tell it like it is form of words will probably be on the headstone of what looks to be the final annual climate conference of any significance.

The fallout is of course unfolding. The home-grown media is tearing its hair out and rending its garments like a distraught drama queen having an attack of the vapours but the ordinary person, once you get outside the ambit of stylish chatterati circles, is pleased as punch with a bit of muscular government which is for once doing what they wish for a change. The red light going off for climate alarmists is that Australia's gutsy stance was backed within days by Canada and there'll be more. The first girl has left the party and instead of being talked about, will shortly be joined by the rest.

I wrote an article last year about what I saw as the alarming erosion of basic democracy in Australia. All those bad bad signs were there. Censorship, a phoney political choice, a media which was a grovelling mouthpiece of government, attacks on free speech, a proposed Soviet style Finkelstein regulation of even blogs and the petty bureaucratic intimidation of any small opposition like the Thompson family. Of all the countries threatened by creeping totalitarianism masquerading as caring for the planet, Australia was the one on the very cusp of tipping over into that nightmare abyss.

Instead of that disaster happening, within the space of a year it's turned around big time, delivering a long overdue kick up the arse to its political establishment, reasserting its right to national prosperity and shucking off the foreign UN vampires wanting to feed on its lifeblood.

If it was going to be anyone, it just had to be the bloody Aussies. Well done you bunch of diggers.
©Pointman
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DougMacG
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« Reply #712 on: November 17, 2013, 10:17:26 AM »

Putting business interests ahead of the ski resort industry's anti-global warming activism, in Whistler Mountain decides to open early - in mid November!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/snowandski/skiing-news/10449066/Whistler-ski-resort-to-open-13-days-early.html



A statement from Whistler said: "Thanks to oodles of snow, Whistler Mountain will open 13 days early this season. Whistler is renowned, season upon season, for being the number one ski resort for guaranteed snow - lots of it - and this winter will be no exception."
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G M
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« Reply #713 on: November 17, 2013, 10:20:55 AM »

If it snows too little it's global warming, if it snows too much, it's global warming. If you dare to disagree, you are worse than Hitler.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #714 on: December 02, 2013, 01:49:41 PM »

Ice Everywhere, But No Hockey Sticks    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/365220/ice-everywhere-no-hockey-sticks-mark-steyn
By Mark Steyn    December 2, 2013 
News from Santa’s Grotto:  (http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/12/arctic_ice_cap_grows_29_in_one_year.html)

    Global warming hysterics at the BBC warned us in 2007 that by summer 2013, the Arctic would be ice-free. As with so many other doomsday predictions by warmists, the results turn out to be quite the opposite.

Meanwhile, down the other end at Santa’s summer vacation condo:  (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/09/23/antarctic-sea-ice-hit-35-year-record-high-saturday/)

    Antarctic sea ice has grown to a record large extent for a second straight year, baffling scientists seeking to understand why this ice is expanding rather than shrinking in a warming world.

Antarctic ice is now at a 35-year high. But scientists are “baffled” by the planet’s stubborn refusal to submit to their climate models. Maybe the problem with Nobel fantasist Michael Mann’s increasingly discredited hockey stick is that he’s holding it upside down.  (http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/359731/times-climbs-hockey-stick-mark-steyn)

Nonetheless, the famously settled science seems to be re-settling:  (http://usfinancepost.com/scientists-increasingly-moving-to-global-cooling-consensus-9198.html)

    Scientists Increasingly Moving To Global Cooling Consensus

Global warming will kill us. Global cooling will kill us. And if it’s 54 and partly cloudy, you should probably flee for your life right now. Maybe scientists might usefully consider moving to being less hung up on “consensus” – a most unscientific and, in this context, profoundly corrupting concept.
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ccp
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« Reply #715 on: December 06, 2013, 08:26:13 AM »

I know Doug looked outside his Minneapolis window and cursed the big oils for all that snow.  grin

We had a lot of rabbits in the area this year.  The wild turkeys were not seen. 

I cursed the carbon producing scum all season.  It is their fault.

Thank God we are going to get a carbon tax.  I really don't mind paying higher prices to compensate oil companies who will be forced to pay this tax.

Nothing grander than financing the Democrat Party.  One third of my life or more already is devoted to their existence.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #716 on: December 06, 2013, 10:46:20 AM »

I know Doug looked outside his Minneapolis window and cursed the big oils for all that snow.  grin
We had a lot of rabbits in the area this year.  The wild turkeys were not seen. 
I cursed the carbon producing scum all season.  It is their fault.
Thank God we are going to get a carbon tax.  I really don't mind paying higher prices to compensate oil companies who will be forced to pay this tax.
Nothing grander than financing the Democrat Party.  One third of my life or more already is devoted to their existence.

Yes, 42" of new snow in Two Harbors (by Duluth) with "highs" forecasted below zero.  No one needs to dream of a white Christmas here.  Most cruel is to keep hearing about global warming during this 17 year pause.  Are they nuts?  OTOH, it is a beautiful sunny day in the land of abrupt season changes!  Seems like only 2 days ago we were raking leaves.  Live cam out my frosty living room window this morning:

Snow totals: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/285242/
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« Reply #717 on: December 13, 2013, 10:45:18 AM »

Just 13 years ago, Dr. David Viner, senior scientist at Britain’s University of East Anglia’s climatic research unit, confidently predicted that, within a few years, winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event.”  “Children [in Britain] just aren’t going to know what snow is.”

Nothing was said about Israel and Egypt...

http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-snow-israel-egypt-20131213,0,1691393.story#axzz2nMzV6vMp
snow blankets Middle East
A bruising winter storm brought severe weather to the Middle East, forcing the closure of roads and schools
http://www.latimes.com/la-wn-snow-middle-east-pictures,0,4657856.photogallery#ixzz2nNFfAFFD
CAIRO -- Snow coated domes and minarets Friday as a record Mideast storm compounded the suffering of Syrian refugees, sent the Israeli army scrambling to dig out stranded motorists and gave Egyptians a rare glimpse of snow in their capital.

Nearly three feet of snow closed roads in and out of Jerusalem, which is set in high hills, and thousands in and around the city were left without power. Israeli soldiers and police rescued  hundreds trapped in their cars by snow and ice. In the West Bank, the branches of olive trees groaned under the weight of snow.

In Cairo, where local news reports said the last recorded snowfall was more than 100 years ago, children in outlying districts capered in white-covered streets, and adults marveled at the sight, tweeting pictures of snow-dusted parks and squares

Photos: Rare snow blankets Middle East
http://www.latimes.com/la-wn-snow-middle-east-pictures,0,4657856.photogallery#ixzz2nNEMXRdq
Associated Press / December 13, 2013


Jerusalem, 12/12/2013
http://news.yahoo.com/photos/snowstorms-in-syria-slideshow/



« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 10:56:35 AM by DougMacG » Logged
Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #718 on: December 21, 2013, 03:25:23 PM »

The Vast Majority of Raw Data From Old Scientific Studies May Now Be Missing
| | | REDDIT | DIGG | STUMBLE | EMAIL | MORE



Image via Flickr user dabblelicious
One of the foundations of the scientific method is the reproducibility of results. In a lab anywhere around the world, a researcher should be able to study the same subject as another scientist and reproduce the same data, or analyze the same data and notice the same patterns.

This is why the findings of a study published today in Current Biology are so concerning. When a group of researchers tried to email the authors of 516 biological studies published between 1991 and 2011 and ask for the raw data, they were dismayed to find that more 90 percent of the oldest data (from papers written more than 20 years ago) were inaccessible. In total, even including papers published as recently as 2011, they were only able to track down the data for 23 percent.

“Everybody kind of knows that if you ask a researcher for data from old studies, they’ll hem and haw, because they don’t know where it is,” says Timothy Vines, a zoologist at the University of British Columbia, who led the effort. “But there really hadn’t ever been systematic estimates of how quickly the data held by authors actually disappears.”

To make their estimate, his group chose a type of data that’s been relatively consistent over time—anatomical measurements of plants and animals—and dug up between 25 and 40 papers for each odd year during the period that used this sort of data, to see if they could hunt down the raw numbers.

A surprising amount of their inquiries were halted at the very first step: for 25 percent of the studies, active email addresses couldn’t be found, with defunct addresses listed on the paper itself and web searches not turning up any current ones. For another 38 percent of studies, their queries led to no response. Another 7 percent of the data sets were lost or inaccessible.

“Some of the time, for instance, it was saved on three-and-a-half inch floppy disks, so no one could access it, because they no longer had the proper drives,” Vines says. Because the basic idea of keeping data is so that it can be used by others in future research, this sort of obsolescence essentially renders the data useless.

These might seem like mundane obstacles, but scientists are just like the rest of us—they change email addresses, they get new computers with different drives, they lose their file backups—so these trends reflect serious, systemic problems in science.

And preserving data is so important, it’s worth remembering, because it’s impossible to predict in which directions research will move in the future. Vines, for instance, has been conducting his own research on a pair of toad species native to Eastern Europe that seem to be in the process of hybridizing. In the 1980s, he says, a separate team of researchers was working on the same topic, and came across an old paper that documented the distribution of these toads in the 1930s. Knowing that their distribution had changed relatively little over the intervening decades allowed the scientists to make all sorts of calculations that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. “That original data being available, from a very small old study written in Polish, was incredibly useful to researchers that came along 70 years later,” he says.

There’s also the fact that so much of this research is paid for with public funding, much of it coming through grants that stipulate that resulting data be made freely available to the public. Additionally, field data is affected by the circumstances of the environment in which it’s collected—thus, it’s impossible to perfectly replicate later on, when conditions have changed.

What’s the solution? Some journals—including Molecular Ecology, of which Vines is a managing editor—have adopted policies that require authors to submit raw data along with their papers, allowing the journal itself to archive the data in perpetuity. Although journals, like people, are susceptible to changing email addresses and technological obsolescence, these problems can be much more easily managed at the institutional scale.

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2013/12/the-vast-majority-of-raw-data-from-old-scientific-studies-may-now-be-missing/#ixzz2o3hpgpPk
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ccp
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« Reply #719 on: December 29, 2013, 10:27:22 AM »

To become administrators of liberal causes.   Seems like a good profession to be in:

Just the other day I was reading the Greens fighting oil, gas, and coal companies with huge complicated legal challenges all over the place.  I was thinking where do they get the money for this?  Must be Soros and others like him.

Answer, it is:

*****Indiatimes|The Times of India|The Economic Times|

Wall Street tycoon donates fortune, kills self
Jenn Selby,The Independent | Dec 29, 2013, 04.57 AM IST
A renowned Wall Street tycoon gave away his $800 million fortune before falling to his death in a suicide jump this week.

 Hedge fund multi-millionaire Robert W Wilson, who was 87-year-old, leapt from the 16th floor of his San Remo apartment building in New York's Upper East Side.

 According to the New York Police Department, he left a note at the scene. He had suffered from a stroke just a few months before.

 "He always said he didn't want to suffer," close friend Stephen Viscusi said. "His plan was to give all his money away. He told me recently, 'I only have about $100 million to go,'" he said.

 He has since been praised as a "legend" by his peers, after pledging his entire worth to charity some years before he ended his life. He gave the last $100 million of his money to not-for-profit environmental advocacy group the Environmental Defence Fund(EDF).

 Fred Krupp, the president of the EDF, said of the group's biggest benefactor: "Robert was a Wall Street legend who became a prominent philanthropist," he said. Other beneficiaries of his money include the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, the World Monuments Fund, the Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society, each of which received $100 million before Wilson passed away.

 "I realized that Catholic schools were closing all over the country, and Bill Gates probably didn't have enough money to save them," Wilson said in 2010 when asked about his decision to donate such a large sum to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.

 Wilson is survived by his brother William, 88. He had no children.


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DougMacG
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« Reply #720 on: December 31, 2013, 10:38:38 AM »

http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/saunders/article/Global-warming-researcher-gets-stuck-in-ice-5102720.php

Global warming researcher gets stuck in ice
Debra J. Saunders   December 30, 2013

A funny thing happened during Australian climate-change professor Chris Turney's venture to retrace a 1912 research expedition in Antarctica and gauge how climate change has affected the continent: Two weeks into a five-week excursion, Turney's good ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy got trapped in ice. It turns out, global warming notwithstanding, that there's so much ice down under that two ice-breaking vessels sent to rescue the research team cannot reach the Australasian Antarctic Expedition.

"Sea ice is disappearing due to climate change, but here ice is building up," the Australasian Antarctic Expedition acknowledges.
---------------------
 To the San Francisco Chronicle, Why is this in the Opinion section??

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« Reply #721 on: December 31, 2013, 11:02:08 AM »

It's the Al Gore effect. Just his presence alone is good for snow storms and record cold.
 
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/saunders/article/Global-warming-researcher-gets-stuck-in-ice-5102720.php

Global warming researcher gets stuck in ice
Debra J. Saunders   December 30, 2013

A funny thing happened during Australian climate-change professor Chris Turney's venture to retrace a 1912 research expedition in Antarctica and gauge how climate change has affected the continent: Two weeks into a five-week excursion, Turney's good ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy got trapped in ice. It turns out, global warming notwithstanding, that there's so much ice down under that two ice-breaking vessels sent to rescue the research team cannot reach the Australasian Antarctic Expedition.

"Sea ice is disappearing due to climate change, but here ice is building up," the Australasian Antarctic Expedition acknowledges.
---------------------
 To the San Francisco Chronicle, Why is this in the Opinion section??


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« Reply #722 on: January 01, 2014, 01:11:10 PM »

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=636296209765833&set=a.571165216278933.1073741830.440106476051475&type=1&theater
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« Reply #723 on: January 01, 2014, 09:24:26 PM »


"Remember, this is summer in Antarctica."



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304591604579292611684898656?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop

Carbon to the Rescue
Fossil fuels to power retrieval of trapped climate scientists.

"...the helicopters and ships that participate in the next rescue attempt won't be powered by renewable-energy credits."

« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 10:21:27 PM by DougMacG » Logged
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« Reply #724 on: January 01, 2014, 11:34:46 PM »

Parts of Manitoba colder than Mars today.  -53 C.   
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/winnipeg-deep-freeze-as-cold-as-uninhabited-planet-1.2479967
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« Reply #725 on: January 04, 2014, 10:41:30 PM »

Interesting exploration of how the Party Line re the Stuck Ship diverges from some of the tweeting/blogging going on re the same:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/02/the-cause-of-the-akademik-shokalskiy-getting-stuck-in-antarctica-sigtseeing-mishaps-and-dawdling-by-the-passengers-getting-back-on-ship/
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« Reply #726 on: January 06, 2014, 07:07:11 PM »

I'm not complaining, but to imagine the high temp in sunny Mpls today, 'real feel' of -45 , walk into a refrigerator, close the door and feel 80 degrees of warming.
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« Reply #727 on: January 06, 2014, 07:24:41 PM »

At least they were rescued by those champions of environmental responsibility, the Chinese.
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« Reply #728 on: January 10, 2014, 10:10:48 AM »

Mark Steyn in fine form:

http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9112201/ship-of-fools-2/
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« Reply #729 on: January 21, 2014, 08:29:27 PM »



http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/454657/Ice-age-on-the-way-as-scientists-fear-the-Sun-is-falling-asleep
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« Reply #730 on: January 22, 2014, 09:55:06 AM »

I don't know who to  believe or what to think.  ON Drudge is posted two agencies one being NASA that claim the hottest years globally on record are recent.   I am not fan of lets all drive electric junk and  tax how many times I flush my toilet but if the world is being affected to humanities future detriment what do we do?  I'll be long dead I guess....
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« Reply #731 on: January 22, 2014, 12:16:39 PM »

As I have stated numerous times transactions where all costs are not born by buyer and seller are a fair area for governmental action.

I agree that in various ways we are overloading our planet-- e.g. our oceans are being fished to empty, forests and eco-systems destroyed, the air being fouled, etc.  These are fair areas for governmental action.

However, science must rule and the global warming hypothesis is fairly challenged e.g. in this thread.  Before creating a world government to be put in charge of the weather (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) we must be REAL clear on the danger, and on the solutions!
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« Reply #732 on: January 22, 2014, 06:49:50 PM »

I am not sure you understood my question.

"However, science must rule and the global warming hypothesis is fairly challenged e.g. in this thread"

My point is I don't know which science to believe.  I don't know what to conclude.   I don't know who to believe. 
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« Reply #733 on: January 22, 2014, 07:21:24 PM »

Sorry I failed to communicate that I get that.

My intended point is that absent proof, putting the government and the UN in charge of the weather, and taxing us to do so to boot, is probably a real bad idea.
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« Reply #734 on: January 22, 2014, 08:00:44 PM »

Sorry I failed to communicate that I get that.

My intended point is that absent proof, putting the government and the UN in charge of the weather, and taxing us to do so to boot, is probably a real bad idea.


Even with proof, putting either in charge is a bad idea.

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« Reply #735 on: January 25, 2014, 10:08:56 PM »

But I enjoyed the different views in the comments section that follow her agenda laden comments:

http://news.yahoo.com/regardless-cold-winters-global-warming-fact-050113690.html
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« Reply #736 on: January 27, 2014, 11:16:18 AM »

15,000 years ago, where I live was like Antarctica and I would be writing from under a 1/2 mile of glacial ice.  We have come so far, now it is sunny here with a high today in terms of wind chill of -31 F (-35 C). 

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/25/when-did-global-warming-begin/

Many charts at the link.  You can look at any time frame of measurement scheme that you choose.  The earth most certainly warms and cools.  There is no truth in denying it.



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« Reply #737 on: February 04, 2014, 11:53:23 AM »

http://www.cato.org/blog/closing-books-2013-another-year-another-nail-coffin-disastrous-global-warming
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« Reply #738 on: February 05, 2014, 08:56:48 AM »

Thank you BBG.

This clarifies my latest confusion about the right's claims temperatures in the US fall but the left's claims global temps are nearly highest recorded.
Like I have questioned before I don't know what to think or believe because we are rarely getting unbiased balanced views.  This article indeed does address this:

*******Global Temperatures

And we’d be remiss not to review the global temperature for 2013.

The liberal-leaning press reports the 2013 global temperature as the seventh (or fourth) highest on record, while the conservative-leaning press reports it as another year in which the global temperature has refused to rise (Figure 4).



Figure 4. TOP: Annual global surface temperature history, 1880-2013, as compiled by NOAA (blue) and NASA (red) (figure source, NOAA/NASA Joint Briefing). BOTTOM: Monthly global surface temperature anomalies, 1997-2013 (source: U.K. Hadley Center).

But all can agree that the temperatures in 2013 further extended the “pause” in the global surface temperature record-which now stands at some 17 years. A lot of people are at work trying to explain what’s behind the “pause,” but no matter the cause the longer that it continues, the further from reality climate model projections become (Figure 5).



Figure 5. Observed (blue) and projected (red) temperatures, 1980-2013. The projected temperatures are the annual mean of 106 climate runs (data source, Climate Explorer).

The most viable explanation that ties everything together is that the climate sensitivity-that is, how much the earth will warm in response to a doubling of the effective carbon dioxide concentration-is much larger in the climate models than it is in reality.

If this is indeed the case, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it is, than the urgency to “do something” about climate change is reduced and so too the level of support for federal regulations aimed at limiting carbon dioxide and thus limiting our energy choices.*******
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« Reply #739 on: February 08, 2014, 10:13:58 AM »

http://www.startribune.com/local/244470191.html
Lake Superior nearing ice-over
February 8, 2014

DULUTH – Ice has overtaken a great swath of Lake Superior’s surface, edging it toward its first complete ice-over since 1996 and worrying the shipping industry.
...

http://www.startribune.com/galleries/243389031.html
Ice caves on Apostle Islands
February 3, 2014

It's been 5 years since the ice has frozen along the south shore of Lake Superior, creating access to the wonders of the Ice Caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Over the weekend over 8,000 people made the pilgrimage, a mile walk along the frozen shore, to witness and photograph the crystal wonders of the caves.

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« Reply #740 on: February 11, 2014, 10:32:42 PM »

It's fun to catch famous people reading the forum.  The Drudge lead now was posted here 3 days ago.  EXPERT PREDICTS COMPLETE FREEZE OF GREAT LAKE

http://www.startribune.com/local/244470191.html
Lake Superior nearing ice-over
February 8, 2014
DULUTH – Ice has overtaken a great swath of Lake Superior’s surface, edging it toward its first complete ice-over since 1996

End of Snow?
Not persuaded at the Pravdas, the NY Times today published "The End of Snow", I kid you not.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/08/opinion/sunday/the-end-of-snow.html?emc=edit_tnt_20140207&tntemail0=y&_r=5
The Times found a place in Germany with no snow.  Last week in Colorado we found plenty:

http://www.onthesnow.com/colorado/skireport.html
Up to 140 inches, that's 12 feet of snow.  

Not reported in the Times:
(5 hours ago) DENVER (Reuters)Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued an advisory to high-country visitors that avalanche danger is high in the Colorado mountains because of recent heavy snowfalls.
http://news.yahoo.com/skier-killed-colorado-avalanche-tenth-u-death-season-231739214--ski.html;_ylt=AvngQv8CCTSzqV2q_zbhv2DQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTBsbzR0bHJyBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMyBHNlYwNzcg--


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« Reply #741 on: February 16, 2014, 11:15:25 PM »

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/05/30/global-warming-alarmists-caught-doctoring-97-percent-consensus-claims/

http://nypost.com/2012/04/02/faith-in-science/
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« Reply #742 on: February 21, 2014, 12:46:39 PM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-the-myth-of-settled-science/2014/02/20/c1f8d994-9a75-11e3-b931-0204122c514b_story.html
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« Reply #743 on: February 24, 2014, 06:13:15 PM »

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/23/whole-foods-america-s-temple-of-pseudoscience.html

Some of the criticism struck me as curmudgeonly crankiness, but on the whole a fair point is made.
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« Reply #744 on: February 24, 2014, 06:17:41 PM »

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/23/whole-foods-america-s-temple-of-pseudoscience.html

Some of the criticism struck me as curmudgeonly crankiness, but on the whole a fair point is made.


100% organic snake oil.

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« Reply #745 on: February 26, 2014, 10:19:43 AM »

Is anyone following the Michael Mann v. Mark Steyn legal contest?  Maybe it is more a freedom of speech or freedom of press issue, but it is based on the merits of the pathological science.

Steyn I think has been quiet but posts the views of others here:
http://www.steynonline.com/6125/mann-about-the-house

Mann About the House

by Mark Steyn
February 24, 2014

UPDATE! My fellow free-speech warrior Down Under, Andrew Bolt, threatens to sue Michael Mann for a characteristically witless and leaden Tweet from a guy with the warm-monger's version of Tourette's. Hey, come on in, Andrew, the more the merrier!

UPPERDATE! Mann has apparently deleted the Tweet, and apologized. He's already in court in Virginia, the District of Columbia and British Columbia. I guess he figured side-trips to Melbourne would play havoc with his schedule. Easier to stick to bullying notorious Koch-funded denialist Diane Rehm.

**

Steve McIntyre continues his series on self-conferred Nobel Laureate Michael E Mann's equally false claims (in his legal pleadings against me and my co-defendants) to have been "exonerated" by multiple international inquiries. On Lord Oxburgh's panel, the President of the Royal Statistical Society described Mann's methods as "inappropriate" and the results "exaggerated". With the Muir Russell report, Mann and his lawyers doctored a quote to make it appear as if it applied to him rather than merely faculty of the University of East Anglia.

Now Steve turns his attention to the third of the United Kingdom's "official exonerations" of Mann cited in his court pleadings - by the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons. There's no reason why a committee at Westminster would investigate a professor at a university in Pennsylvania, and indeed they don't: the handful of references to Mann in the report are in the recipient lines of emails, plus a reference to "Mike's Nature trick". Nevertheless, on page 20 of his Plaintiff's Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Defendants National Review and Mark Steyn's Motion to Dismiss, Mann and his Big Tobacco lawyer falsely cite the House of Commons report in Paragraph Two of Section C, titled "Dr Mann is Exonerated":

    In March 2010, the United Kingdom's House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published a report finding that the skeptics' criticisms of the CRU were misplaced, and that its actions "were in line with common practice in the climate science community."

As Steve McIntyre puts it:

    The first sentence is completely untrue: the Committee Report said nothing of the sort. The assertion that "criticisms of the CRU were misplaced" is neither made nor supported in the Committee Report. This phrase originated instead with SKS [Skeptical Science, a Mann-friendly site], who, once again, altered the language, though, in this case, not going so far as to fabricate a quotation.

But the second half of that first sentence is even worse. With the Muir Russell report, the result of doctoring the quote is that it appears inclusive of Mann. With the House of Commons report, the meaning of the quote is entirely inverted. Here's what the Commons report actually says:

    As we explained in chapter 2, the practices and methods of climate science are a key issue. If the practices of CRU are found to be in line with the rest of climate science, the question would arise whether climate science methods of operation need to change. In this event we would recommend that the scientific community should consider changing those practices to ensure greater transparency.

In other words: If the Mann-Jones hockey-sticky hanky-panky is indeed normal climate-science behavior, then climate science needs to change. The Commons committee returns to this point:

    54. It is not standard practice in climate science and many other fields to publish the raw data and the computer code in academic papers. We think that this is problematic because climate science is a matter of global importance and of public interest, and therefore the quality and transparency of the science should be irreproachable. We therefore consider that climate scientists should take steps to make available all the data used to generate their published work, including raw data; and it should also be made clear and referenced where data has been used but, because of commercial or national security reasons is not available. Scientists are also, under Freedom of Information laws and under the rules of normal scientific conduct, entitled to withhold data which is due to be published under the peer-review process. In addition, scientists should take steps to make available in full their methodological workings, including the computer codes. Data and methodological workings should be provided via the internet.

In other words: all the stuff that Mann has spent the last 15 years obstructing access to - including right now in court in Vancouver and Virginia.

The brazen misrepresentation of these reports, the doctored quotations and inversions of meaning, in Mann's court pleadings is remarkable. I said above that Skeptical Science was a "Mann-friendly site". That's true. It's where he and his lawyers turned to get the bogus quotes they use in their legal pleadings. But, behind the scenes, Skeptical Science operated a private forum in which the "climate community"'s disquiet over Mann's methods and their distaste at feeling obliged to defend them is palpable. Robert Way:

    I don't mean to be the pessimist of the group here but Mc brought up some very good points about the original hockeystick. The confidence affirmed to it by many on our side of the debate was vastly overstated and as has been shown in the recent literature greater variability on the centennial scale exists than was shown. The statistical methodology used by Mann did rely too much on tree rings which still are in debate over their usefulness to reconstruct temperature and particularly their ability to record low-frequency temperature variations. I've personally seen work that is unpublished that challenges every single one of his reconstructions because they all either understate or overstate low-frequency variations. My personal experience has been that Moberg still has the best reconstruction and his one does show greater variability. That's why I don't like to talk the HS stuff, because I know a lot of people who have doubts about the accuracy of the original HS.

    Just like we complain about skeptics like Pielke and Christy etc letting their work be miscontrued, Mann et al stood by after their original HS and let others treat it with the confidence that they themselves couldn't assign to it. They had just as much of a responsability to ensure their work was used to promote properly just as Christy et al do. It is a tight rope we must all walk afterall.

And again:

    Even his newest reconstruction doesn't validate past 1400 if you don't include disputed series (which I have no idea why he's including them at all).

Principal Component Analysis honcho I T Jolliffe:

    'My strong impressive is that the evidence rests on much much more than the hockey stick. It therefore seems crazy that the MBH hockey stick has been given such prominence and that a group of influential climate scientists have doggedly defended a piece of dubious statistics...' [THIS IS THE EPITOME OF HOW I FEEL-Robert Way]

Neal King of UC Berkeley:

    The real question is, Why would you believe the tree-ring proxies at earlier times when you KNOW that they didn't work properly in the 1990s? I guess there is a good answer to that, but no one has ever given it to me.

    I believe a good 50% of the game is being able to avoid booby traps. Because the science is at the edge of ignorance, mistakes WILL be made. The question is, How do you avoid putting your foot in the traps? I think Mann (and maybe Steig) are examples of how NOT to proceed.

Robert Way again:

    MBH98 was not an example of someone using a technique with flaws and then as he learned better techniques he moved on… He fought like a dog to discredit and argue with those on the other side that his method was not flawed. And in the end he never admitted that the entire method was a mistake. Saying "I was wrong but when done right it gives close to the same answer" is no excuse. He never even said that but I'm just making a point. What happened was they used a brand new statistical technique that they made up and that there was no rationalization in the literature for using it. They got results which were against the traditional scientific communities view on the matters and instead of re-evaluating and checking whether the traditional statistics were valid (which they weren't), they went on and produced another one a year later. They then let this HS be used in every way possible (including during the Kyoto protocol lead-up that resulted in canadian parliament signing the deal with many people ascribing their final belief in climate change being assured by the HS) despite knowing the stats behind it weren't rock solid.

John Cook of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland:

    I have to tell you that you should warn those doing that particular one to stay away from Mann's 2008 paper if they take this topic as it seems it has actually been invalidated by climate audit (as much as I hate to admit it they are right about the issue of the study failing verification statistics past 1500 for one)

This is what the climate community says to each other about Michael Mann in private. Why won't they say it in public?

To reprise Judith Curry's words from yesterday:

    For the past decade, scientists have come to the defense of Michael Mann, somehow thinking that defending Michael Mann is fighting against the 'war on science' and is standing up for academic freedom. It's time to let Michael Mann sink or swim on his own. Michael Mann is having all these problems because he chooses to try to muzzle people that are critical of Mann's science, critical of Mann's professional and personal behavior, and critical of Mann's behavior as revealed in the climategate emails. All this has nothing to do with defending climate science or academic freedom.

~If you'd like to support Steyn's pushback against Mann and his enforcers, please see here.
http://www.steynonline.com/6048/give-the-gift-of-steyn
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« Reply #746 on: February 26, 2014, 06:09:15 PM »

http://www.nature.com/news/publishers-withdraw-more-than-120-gibberish-papers-1.14763

Publishers withdraw more than 120 gibberish papers


Conference proceedings removed from subscription databases after scientist reveals that they were computer-generated.
Richard Van Noorden
 
24 February 2014 Updated: 25 February 2014


Article tools
Rights & Permissions





The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense.

Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. Sixteen appeared in publications by Springer, which is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), based in New York. Both publishers, which were privately informed by Labbé, say that they are now removing the papers.


Among the works were, for example, a paper published as a proceeding from the 2013 International Conference on Quality, Reliability, Risk, Maintenance, and Safety Engineering, held in Chengdu, China. (The conference website says that all manuscripts are “reviewed for merits and contents”.) The authors of the paper, entitled ‘TIC: a methodology for the construction of e-commerce’, write in the abstract that they “concentrate our efforts on disproving that spreadsheets can be made knowledge-based, empathic, and compact”. (Nature News has attempted to contact the conference organizers and named authors of the paper but received no reply*; however at least some of the names belong to real people. The IEEE has now removed the paper).

*Update: One of the named authors replied to Nature News on 25 February. He said that he first learned of the article when conference organizers notified his university in December 2013; and that he does not know why he was a listed co-author on the paper. "The matter is being looked into by the related investigators," he said.

How to create a nonsense paper

Labbé developed a way to automatically detect manuscripts composed by a piece of software called SCIgen, which randomly combines strings of words to produce fake computer-science papers. SCIgen was invented in 2005 by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge to prove that conferences would accept meaningless papers — and, as they put it, “to maximize amusement” (see ‘Computer conference welcomes gobbledegook paper’). A related program generates random physics manuscript titles on the satirical website arXiv vs. snarXiv. SCIgen is free to download and use, and it is unclear how many people have done so, or for what purposes. SCIgen’s output has occasionally popped up at conferences, when researchers have submitted nonsense papers and then revealed the trick.

Labbé does not know why the papers were submitted — or even if the authors were aware of them. Most of the conferences took place in China, and most of the fake papers have authors with Chinese affiliations. Labbé has emailed editors and authors named in many of the papers and related conferences but received scant replies; one editor said that he did not work as a program chair at a particular conference, even though he was named as doing so, and another author claimed his paper was submitted on purpose to test out a conference, but did not respond on follow-up. Nature has not heard anything from a few enquiries.


Related stories
•Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing
•Editor will quit over hoax paper
•Computer conference welcomes gobbledegook paper

More related stories

“I wasn’t aware of the scale of the problem, but I knew it definitely happens. We do get occasional e-mails from good citizens letting us know where SCIgen papers show up,” says Jeremy Stribling, who co-wrote SCIgen when he was at MIT and now works at VMware, a software company in Palo Alto, California.

“The papers are quite easy to spot,” says Labbé, who has built a website where users can test whether papers have been created using SCIgen. His detection technique, described in a study1 published in Scientometrics in 2012, involves searching for characteristic vocabulary generated by SCIgen. Shortly before that paper was published, Labbé informed the IEEE of 85 fake papers he had found. Monika Stickel, director of corporate communications at IEEE, says that the publisher “took immediate action to remove the papers” and “refined our processes to prevent papers not meeting our standards from being published in the future”. In December 2013, Labbé informed the IEEE of another batch of apparent SCIgen articles he had found. Last week, those were also taken down, but the web pages for the removed articles give no explanation for their absence.

Ruth Francis, UK head of communications at Springer, says that the company has contacted editors, and is trying to contact authors, about the issues surrounding the articles that are coming down. The relevant conference proceedings were peer reviewed, she confirms — making it more mystifying that the papers were accepted.

The IEEE would not say, however, whether it had contacted the authors or editors of the suspected SCIgen papers, or whether submissions for the relevant conferences were supposed to be peer reviewed. “We continue to follow strict governance guidelines for evaluating IEEE conferences and publications,” Stickel said.

A long history of fakes

Labbé is no stranger to fake studies. In April 2010, he used SCIgen to generate 102 fake papers by a fictional author called Ike Antkare [see pdf]. Labbé showed how easy it was to add these fake papers to the Google Scholar database, boosting Ike Antkare’s h-index, a measure of published output, to 94 — at the time, making Antkare the world's 21st most highly cited scientist. Last year, researchers at the University of Granada, Spain, added to Labbé’s work, boosting their own citation scores in Google Scholar by uploading six fake papers with long lists to their own previous work2.

Labbé says that the latest discovery is merely one symptom of a “spamming war started at the heart of science” in which researchers feel pressured to rush out papers to publish as much as possible.

There is a long history of journalists and researchers getting spoof papers accepted in conferences or by journals to reveal weaknesses in academic quality controls — from a fake paper published by physicist Alan Sokal of New York University in the journal Social Text in 1996, to a sting operation by US reporter John Bohannon published in Science in 2013, in which he got more than 150 open-access journals to accept a deliberately flawed study for publication.

Labbé emphasizes that the nonsense computer science papers all appeared in subscription offerings. In his view, there is little evidence that open-access publishers — which charge fees to publish manuscripts — necessarily have less stringent peer review than subscription publishers.

Labbé adds that the nonsense papers were easy to detect using his tools, much like the plagiarism checkers that many publishers already employ. But because he could not automatically download all papers from the subscription databases, he cannot be sure that he has spotted every SCIgen-generated paper.
 Naturedoi:10.1038/nature.2014.14763
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« Reply #747 on: March 04, 2014, 01:17:09 AM »

Fascinating interview with profound critiques of science starting about halfway through.

http://kingsreview.co.uk/magazine/blog/2014/02/24/how-academia-and-publishing-are-destroying-scientific-innovation-a-conversation-with-sydney-brenner/
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« Reply #748 on: March 04, 2014, 07:30:47 AM »

That is an interesting read.  Thank you.
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« Reply #749 on: March 05, 2014, 07:58:00 PM »

Vegans eat plants.  Plants reduce CO2.  Therefore Vegans are destroying the planet.

I eat animals who produce CO2 and eat CO" reducing plants.  Therefore I am a hero.
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