Combs Spouts Off

"It's my opinion and it's very true."

Posts Tagged ‘science’

The problem with DNA today

Posted by Richard on January 4, 2017

The next time you hear that the police have DNA evidence connecting someone to a crime, remember Michelle Malkin’s latest column, Forensic Nightmare: The Perils of Touch DNA.

The problem with DNA today is that we’ve become too good at finding it. It’s now possible to detect and analyze incredibly small samples of “touch DNA” — the epithelial cells that our skin sheds all the time everywhere we go. And those cells can then get transferred to who knows whom or where. Six degrees of separation, anyone?

You go to an office to drop off a job application and shake hands with the manager. She meets her husband for lunch, and they hug. Later that day, as he’s making the night deposit from his business, someone assaults him from behind and steals the money. Guess what? The police find your DNA on the back of his jacket. His assailant wore a mask, and the only description he can give is a white guy of average height and medium build wearing dark clothes. Hey, that’s you, isn’t it?

The problem is analogous to the problem caused by our ability to measure smaller and smaller concentrations of contaminants or pollutants. First it was parts per million, then parts per billion, and now we’re measuring parts per trillion. We’re approaching the point where we can detect almost anything almost anywhere. “The lake contains organophosphates!” “Detectable levels of arsenic were found on the playground!”

While there are some substances (like lead, which accumulates in the body) for which it’s fair to say that there really aren’t any safe levels, for almost everything else Paracelcus’ adage that the dose makes the poison is true. But people don’t know or tend to forget that (which radical environmentalists exploit all the time).

Just as tiny bits of your DNA can end up in many places, so can tiny bits of a farmer’s glyphosphate (Roundup). While both facts are interesting, they shouldn’t be assumed to prove that you, or the farmer, or Monsanto are guilty of anything or have harmed anyone. They merely demonstrate how good we’ve gotten at detecting stuff in very small quantities.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Forget zombies – prepare for a solar storm apocalypse!

Posted by Richard on July 13, 2013

I used to visit Spaceweather.com fairly often. I liked checking out the cool photos, keeping track of the sunspot (in)activity during the recent solar minimum, and checking for good flybys of the International Space Station (ISS) on the Satellite Flybys page. That’s how I was able to watch the spectacular flyby of the ISS being chased across the sky by the shuttle Atlantis. But I got out of the habit of visiting that site.

I was reminded of it today when I saw the /. post When Space Weather Attacks Earth, which points to an interesting Washington Post science article by Brad Plumer. It discusses how vulnerable our modern electrical and electronic systems are to a solar event like the one that happened 154 years ago:

The auroras of 1859, known as the “Carrington Event,” came after the sun unleashed a large coronal mass ejection, a burst of charged plasma aimed directly at the Earth. When the particles hit our magnetosphere, they triggered an especially fierce geomagnetic storm that lit up the sky and frazzled communication wires around the world. Telegraphs in Philadelphia were spitting out “fantastical and unreadable messages,” one paper reported, with some systems unusable for hours.

Today, electric utilities and the insurance industry are grappling with a scary possibility. A solar storm on the scale of that in 1859 would wreak havoc on power grids, pipelines and satellites. In the worst case, it could leave 20 million to 40 million people in the Northeast without power — possibly for years — as utilities struggled to replace thousands of fried transformers stretching from Washington to Boston. Chaos and riots might ensue.

That’s not a lurid sci-fi fantasy. It’s a sober new assessment by Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurance market. The report notes that even a much smaller solar-induced geomagnetic storm in 1989 left 6 million people in Quebec without power for nine hours.

A coronal mass ejection, if it hits the earth, amounts to a naturally-occurring electromagnetic pulse (EMP). While the consequences wouldn’t be as bad as what’s portrayed in the J.J. Abrams series, Revolution, they could be pretty grim.

Plumer focuses almost entirely on the consequences for the Northeast United States.  I guess that’s partly because the region is especially vulnerable, but I suspect it’s also because for Washington Post writers, nothing outside of the Northeast and California really matters. Still, it’s an interesting article about a frightening possibility. Read the whole thing. You may decide to price generators and look into stockpiling food, water, gas, …

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Researchers discover climate change skeptics aren’t ignorant

Posted by Richard on June 4, 2012

Everyone knows — at least among the liberal elite — that the people who question or reject the “settled science” of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are ignorant yahoos, right? Well, no. Not according to Yale University researchers who examined the “science literacy” and “numeracy” of climate change skeptics and true believers. It turns out that climate change skeptics are pretty scientifically literate and able to understand quantitative information.

The published information doesn’t reveal just how skeptics and true believers compare in their knowledge of science and ability to reason with numbers (a telling omission), but it’s clear that the results don’t conform to the prejudices of the cognoscenti. And the statements of one of the researchers suggest that (oh, the horror!) the skeptics may be more scientifically literate than the true believers (emphasis added):

“The aim of the study was to test two hypotheses,” said Dan Kahan, Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Yale Law School and a member of the study team. “The first attributes political controversy over climate change to the public’s limited ability to comprehend science, and the second, to opposing sets of cultural values. The findings supported the second hypothesis and not the first,” he said.

… The results of the study were consistent with previous studies that show that individuals with more egalitarian values disagree sharply with individuals who have more individualistic ones on the risks associated with nuclear power, gun possession, and the HPV vaccine for school girls.

“In effect,” Kahan said, “ordinary members of the public credit or dismiss scientific information on disputed issues based on whether the information strengthens or weakens their ties to others who share their values. At least among ordinary members of the public, individuals with higher science comprehension are even better at fitting the evidence to their group commitments.”

So does the same reasoning apply to the scientists who’ve created the “consensus” about AGW — could they also be “fitting the evidence to their group commitments”? Could that explain the faking of the hockey stick and the fudging of data revealed in the leaked Hadley CRU emails? Of course not:

Kahan said that the study supports no inferences about the reasoning of scientific experts in climate change.

As for us “ordinary members of the public,” the “consensus” scientists have an explanation for our troubling insistence on doubting the “scientific consensus” despite our scientific literacy and numeracy (emphasis added):

Researcher Ellen Peters of Ohio State University said that people who are higher in numeracy and science literacy usually make better decisions in complex technical situations, but the study clearly casts doubt on the notion that the more you understand science and math, the better decisions you’ll make in complex and technical situations. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”

So if you’re scientifically literate and numerate and you accept the “consensus” view of AGW, it’s because that’s what’s best for society. But if you’re scientifically literate and numerate and you reject the “consensus” view of AGW, it’s because you’re a selfish bastard.

Glad we got that straightened out. I thought I was just an ignorant yahoo.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Silence the Einstein deniers

Posted by Richard on September 23, 2011

Scientists at the CERN lab in Switzerland claim that they've observed neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. What nonsense! The science has long been settled. There's a consensus. All reputable scientists are in complete agreement regarding the speed limit of the universe.

These Einstein deniers are just doing the bidding of large multinational corporations and special interests that stand to benefit from having the speed limit of the universe overturned (although I'm not sure who they might be…).

This is just as reprehensible as denying that the Holocaust took place or that anthropogenic global warming is happening. They should be denied funding and barred from publishing in reputable journals. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

The cutest amputee cat you’ll see all day

Posted by Richard on June 25, 2010

How can I not post something about a double-amputee cat with groundbreaking prosthetic paws? Meet Oscar, the bionic cat:

When Oscar the cat lost both his hind paws in a farming accident, it was feared he'd have to trundle around in one of those wheeled-cat apparatuses. But Noel Fitzpatrick, a neuro-orthopedic veterinary surgeon in Surrey, pioneered a groundbreaking technique instead, installing weight-bearing bone implants to create a bionic kitty. 

Oscar gets around just fine, as you can see in this video. 


[YouTube link]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Electronic Armageddon

Posted by Richard on June 22, 2010

The National Geographic Channel's Explorer program is re-airing "Electronic Armageddon" tonight at 6 PM EDT. The episode is about a threat that could knock out 70% or more of America's power grid for months and permanently destroy countless electronic devices:

What do future presidents need to know about existential dangers this country could face? Explorer investigates the science behind the dangers of a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse, or HEMP. Picture an instantaneous deathblow to the vital engines that power our society, delivered by a nuclear weapon designed not to kill humans but to attack electronics. What could happen if an electromagnetic pulse surged to earth, crippling every aspect of modern society's infrastructure?

An EMP event could be caused naturally by the sun, or it could be caused by a terrorist or rogue state attack. Imagine, for instance, a nuclear Iran putting one of those 1500-mile missiles it's been testing on a freighter, sailing it to somewhere in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, and firing it to create an EMP high over the heartland. 

If you miss the show and want to know more about the EMP threat, visit EMPACT America. You'll find lots of information and resources, including the Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack. There are also several interesting discussions of this issue in the email archives (AprilJuly 2009) of ACT! for America, the activist arm of the American Congress for Truth. This is one of them.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

NYTimes story: no warming in a century

Posted by Richard on February 27, 2010

Don Surber pointed out an interesting story from the New York Times. It's about a study by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists published in a journal called Geophysical Research Letters. The researchers examined a century's worth of temperature and precipitation records from U.S. weather stations.

According to the New York Times, they found "no significant change in average temperatures or rainfall in the United States over that entire period" and "no trend in one direction or another."

No, I'm not making this up. It really was a NOAA study, that's really what it found, and it really was reported in the New York Times. On January 26, 1989.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Another benefit of global warming

Posted by Richard on August 26, 2009

Turn up your air conditioner. Fire up the barbecue grill. Gas up your SUV and take a road trip. If human CO2 production is in fact warming the planet, you'll be helping to make the desert bloom. And millions of Africans will thank you. This happy news comes from those right-wing shills for industry at National Geographic:

Desertification, drought, and despair-that's what global warming has in store for much of Africa. Or so we hear.

Emerging evidence is painting a very different scenario, one in which rising temperatures could benefit millions of Africans in the driest parts of the continent.

Scientists are now seeing signals that the Sahara desert and surrounding regions are greening due to increasing rainfall.

If sustained, these rains could revitalize drought-ravaged regions, reclaiming them for farming communities.

This desert-shrinking trend is supported by climate models, which predict a return to conditions that turned the Sahara into a lush savanna some 12,000 years ago.

The green shoots of recovery are showing up on satellite images of regions including the Sahel, a semi-desert zone bordering the Sahara to the south that stretches some 2,400 miles (3,860 kilometers).

Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences.

The study suggests huge increases in vegetation in areas including central Chad and western Sudan.

The transition may be occurring because hotter air has more capacity to hold moisture, which in turn creates more rain, said Martin Claussen of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, who was not involved in the new study.

In the eastern Sahara area of southwestern Egypt and northern Sudan, new trees-such as acacias-are flourishing, according to Stefan Kröpelin, a climate scientist at the University of Cologne's Africa Research Unit in Germany.

"Shrubs are coming up and growing into big shrubs. This is completely different from having a bit more tiny grass," said Kröpelin, who has studied the region for two decades.

In 2008 Kröpelin-not involved in the new satellite research-visited Western Sahara, a disputed territory controlled by Morocco.

"The nomads there told me there was never as much rainfall as in the past few years," Kröpelin said. "They have never seen so much grazing land."

"Before, there was not a single scorpion, not a single blade of grass," he said.

"Now you have people grazing their camels in areas which may not have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years. You see birds, ostriches, gazelles coming back, even sorts of amphibians coming back," he said.

"The trend has continued for more than 20 years. It is indisputable."

Sounds pretty good to me. I think I'll go increase my carbon footprint.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Conservatives aren’t credible on scientific matters

Posted by Richard on July 2, 2009

Dafydd at Big Lizards has identified the greatest weakness of the conservative movement, the one that cripples them in debates over some of today's biggest issues (emphasis in original):

… What do all these contemporary issues hold in common?

  • Cap and Trade — rather, Cripple and Tax
  • The expansion of nuclear power generation
  • The EPA's attempt to outlaw CO2 (and now NO2 as well; hat tip to Hugh Hewitt)
  • Missile defense, both theater and strategic
  • Nationalization of major industries
  • Nationalization of health care to a single-payer, government-controlled system
  • The promiscuous proliferation of "endangered species" that are, in fact, not endangered

First, each of these controversies is a wedge issue by which Republicans and conservatives can oust Democrats and liberals from Congress — and potentially from la Casa Blanca, as well.

Second, each is fundamentally a scientific question, from climate science, to nuclear physics, to aeronautics and cybernetics, to the optimal pursuit of medical research, to economic science, to the biological sciences.

And most important, for each of these wedge issues, the Right can only win if it is more credible when speaking about scientific matters.

It's not good enough merely to be no less credible than, on a par with the Left — in this case, a "tie" in rationalism goes to whoever is best at slinging emotional arguments; and in that arena, the Left always has the home-field advantage.

All of which leads me, by a commodious vicus of recirculation, back to the hubris-flaw of conservatives; and that is, of course, the squirrely refusal of so many prominent conservatives to accept the findings of a century and a half of evolutionary biology.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Another hazard of wind power

Posted by Richard on February 9, 2009

For those who view virtually all human activity with alarm and worry incessantly about the "fate of the earth," here's something else to fret about, courtesy of my CalTech-grad math-and-science whiz friend.

Tongue planted firmly in cheek, David noted that the prevailing winds over the vast majority of the earth's surface are from west to east. Therefore, if we build a sufficiently large number of wind turbines, they will slow the earth's rotation and lengthen our days.

Although he can do calculations in his head that would take me hours on the computer, David did not offer an estimate as to what would be a sufficiently large number.

It's also not clear to me what impact, if any, slowing the earth's rotational period would have on global climate.

But surely, wind energy advocates enamored of the precautionary principle are obligated to prove that their plans won't change the earth's rotational period or affect the climate. 

Don't even get me started on all those dead birds.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Apollo 8

Posted by Richard on December 24, 2008

Forty years ago today, Apollo 8 entered lunar orbit:

The SPS ignited at 69 hours, 8 minutes, and 16 seconds after launch and burned for 4 minutes and 13 seconds, placing the Apollo 8 spacecraft in orbit around the Moon. The crew described the burn as being the longest four minutes of their lives. If the burn had not lasted exactly the correct amount of time, the spacecraft could have ended up in a highly elliptical lunar orbit or even flung off into space. If it lasted too long they could have impacted the Moon. After making sure the spacecraft was working, they finally had a chance to look at the Moon, which they would orbit for the next 20 hours.

Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders were the first humans to escape Earth's gravitational field and the first to look directly upon the far side of the moon.

Apollo 8 was only the second manned Apollo flight. It was the first manned flight atop the Saturn V rocket. The mission was originally planned as a low-Earth orbit test of the combined command module (CM) and lunar module (LM). Depending on whom you believe, NASA gave Apollo 8 a lunar-orbit mission either because production of the LM was behind schedule or because the Soviets were suspected of planning a manned lunar-orbit mission for late 1968.

The Soviets, of course, never made that flight. NASA repeated the lunar orbit mission five months later with Apollo 10. Two months after that, Apollo 11 landed men on the moon. That should be a big anniversary celebration next July!

Maybe then someone can explain to me why, 40 years later, we don't have a thriving lunar colony, a large orbiting colony at L5, and reasonably priced space tourism — all the stuff Heinlein envisioned back in the 50s.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Liquid hydrocarbons on Titan

Posted by Richard on August 1, 2008

Scientists analyzing data from the Cassini space probe have discovered that it rains on Saturn's moon Titan, and there's at least one large lake. According to Saturn Daily, the precipitation (and thus the lake) consists of complex liquid hydrocarbons:

"We are quite certain that there is at least one large liquid-filled lake on Titan", stated Professor Ralf Jaumann of the DLR Institute of Planetary Research (DLR-Institut fur Planetenforschung) in Berlin.

"The measurements carried out with the VIMS spectrometer on board the Cassini space probe are all point in the same direction: Close to Titan's south polar region, we have discovered a lake filled with liquid ethane: The lake contains natural gas in a more or less liquid state."

It is likely that the ethane is mixed with other liquids, such as methane or other light hydrocarbons from the alkane series. The newly-discovered lake is called Ontario Lacus, in reference to the 300-kilometre long Lake Ontario near Niagara Falls on the US-Canadian border, because of the similarity in shape between the two.

Complex hydrocarbons. Liquified natural gas. You can make virtually any kind of petroleum product from those raw materials.

Brings to mind a bumper sticker I've seen: "Earth First – We Can Mine the Other Planets Later" 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Climate news, good and bad

Posted by Richard on March 23, 2008

There is both good news and bad news regarding global warming (which are bad news and good news, respectively, if your goal is to move us toward a command-and-control economy in which we're all poorer). First, the bad news: According to a Princeton study reported by National "Progressive" Radio, biofuels such as ethanol release huge amounts of greenhouse gases (emphasis added):

"The simplest explanation is that when we divert our corn or soybeans to fuel, if people around the world are going to continue to eat the same amount that they're already eating, you have to replace that food somewhere else," Searchinger says.

Searchinger and his colleagues looked globally to figure out where the new cropland is coming from, as American farmers produce fuel crops where they used to grow food. The answer is that biofuel production here is driving agriculture to expand in other parts of the world.

"That's done in a significant part by burning down forests, plowing up grasslands. That releases a great deal of carbon dioxide," Searchinger says.

In fact, Searchinger's group's study, published online by Science magazine, shows those actions end up releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide. The study finds that over a 30-year span, biofuels end up contributing twice as much carbon dioxide to the air as that amount of gasoline would, when you add in the global effects.

"Right now there's little doubt that ethanol is making global warming worse," Searchinger says.

But the good news is it may not matter much, climate-change-wise, because the world's oceans haven't warmed at all in the last five years and have actually cooled slightly, according to another NPR report (emphasis added):

Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years. That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren't quite understanding what their robots are telling them.

Oh, dear — I thought the science was "settled."

In fact, 80 percent to 90 percent of global warming involves heating up ocean waters. They hold much more heat than the atmosphere can. So Willis has been studying the ocean with a fleet of robotic instruments called the Argo system. The buoys can dive 3,000 feet down and measure ocean temperature. Since the system was fully deployed in 2003, it has recorded no warming of the global oceans.

"There has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant," Willis says. So the buildup of heat on Earth may be on a brief hiatus. "Global warming doesn't mean every year will be warmer than the last. And it may be that we are in a period of less rapid warming."

Describing slight cooling as "less rapid warming" is even more dishonest than referring to a recession as "a period of negative growth." 

But if the aquatic robots are actually telling the right story, that raises a new question: Where is the extra heat all going?

Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research says it's probably going back out into space. The Earth has a number of natural thermostats, including clouds, which can either trap heat and turn up the temperature, or reflect sunlight and help cool the planet.

That can't be directly measured at the moment, however.

"Unfortunately, we don't have adequate tracking of clouds to determine exactly what role they've been playing during this period," Trenberth says.

Gee, I guess that means those fancy computer models that "prove" anthropogenic global warming is taking place can't be accurately modeling the role that clouds are playing, can they?

It's also possible that some of the heat has gone even deeper into the ocean, he says. Or it's possible that scientists need to correct for some other feature of the planet they don't know about. It's an exciting time, though, with all this new data about global sea temperature, sea level and other features of climate.

So the science is settled, and we should all get used to the fact that we have to reduce our standard of living. But the planet seems to have stopped warming, the scientists have no idea why, they admit there are many significant aspects of global climate that they aren't able to measure and don't understand, and there may even be "features of the planet" that they don't know about at all. 

Yeah, it's an exciting time for these scientists all right. More grants! More research! Just don't question their conclusions and policy prescriptions, because those have already been "settled." 

Meanwhile, more and more ethanol is being burned instead of poured over ice. A tragedy.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Science as art

Posted by Richard on January 4, 2008

The geeks at Gizmodo and nerds at io9 (or is it the other way around?) thought this first-place winner in the latest "Science as Art" competition was one cool picture:

Nano-Explosions

Nano-Explosions

Color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph of an overflowed electrodeposited magnetic nanowire array (CoFeB), where the template has been subsequently completely etched. It’s a reminder that nanoscale research can have unpredicted consequences at a high level.

Credit: Fanny Beron, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Montréal, Canada

It is definitely cool, although the title is misleading. Nothing exploded, it's just the result of a deposition process going out of control and creating broccoli-like nanostructures instead of nanowires. If it were colored with shades of green (scanning electron microscopes produce black and white images), it would look like broccoli florets — but it wouldn't be as cool.

In the spirit of the explosion theme, though, a commenter at Gizmodo had the best line: "All your nano-base are belong to us!"

Nanowerk has nice-sized images of all the winners from this year. You can download high-res versions of all the current and past winners (for use as desktop wallpaper or screensavers) from the Materials Research Society, which sponsors the competition. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

What consensus?

Posted by Richard on December 23, 2007

A minority report from the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee provides further evidence that there is no "consensus" among scientists regarding anthropogenic global warming. The report names and quotes over 400 prominent scientists (several of whom have won Nobel Prizes in their fields) who dissent from the IPCC climate claims, and especially from the even more absurd predictions made by Al Gore.

The number of dissenters from the "consensus" view who are willing to speak out has grown significantly in the past year:

Even some in the establishment media now appear to be taking notice of the growing number of skeptical scientists. In October, the Washington Post Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin conceded the obvious, writing that climate skeptics "appear to be expanding rather than shrinking." Many scientists from around the world have dubbed 2007 as the year man-made global warming fears "bite the dust." (LINK)  In addition, many scientists who are also progressive environmentalists believe climate fear promotion has "co-opted" the green movement. (LINK)

The committee minority report makes it clear that the "consensus," such as it is, exists due to fear, intimidation, and the systematic exclusion of climate skeptics from conferences, committees, and journals (emphasis added):

Many of the scientists featured in this report consistently stated that numerous colleagues shared their views, but they will not speak out publicly for fear of retribution. Atmospheric scientist Dr. Nathan Paldor, Professor of Dynamical Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, author of almost 70 peer-reviewed studies, explains how many of his fellow scientists have been intimidated.

"Many of my colleagues with whom I spoke share these views and report on their inability to publish their skepticism in the scientific or public media," Paldor wrote. [Note: See also July 2007 Senate report detailing how skeptical scientists have faced threats and intimidationLINK]

The report also points out that small elites in control of the scientific organizations supposedly backing the anthropogenic global warming theory created the "consensus" (emphasis added):

The over 400 skeptical scientists featured in this new report outnumber by nearly eight times the number of scientists who participated in the 2007 UN IPCC Summary for Policymakers. The notion of "hundreds" or "thousands" of UN scientists agreeing to a scientific statement does not hold up to scrutiny. (See report debunking "consensus" LINK) Recent research by Australian climate data analyst Dr. John McLean revealed that the IPCC's peer-review process for the Summary for Policymakers leaves much to be desired. (LINK )

Proponents of man-made global warming like to note how the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) have issued statements endorsing the so-called "consensus" view that man is driving global warming. But both the NAS and AMS never allowed member scientists to directly vote on these climate statements. Essentially, only two dozen or so members on the governing boards of these institutions produced the "consensus" statements. This report gives a voice to the rank-and-file scientists who were shut out of the process. (LINK)

I've read barely a fraction of the 400-odd scientists' statements included in the report — basically just skimmed a few, slowing down when something caught my eye. If you're interested, but not obsessed, I recommend either that approach or searching repeatedly for "IPCC" — that will take you to some really interesting statements. And I recommend reading "Attachment Number 1" (search for that) near the end. It's the Dec. 13 open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon signed by over 100 prominent scientists, and it pulls no punches. Here's the first paragraph (emphasis added):

It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.

I'll toss out one more quote that caught my eye (emphasis added):

Finally, Rancourt asserted that in a warm world, life prospers. "There is no known case of a sustained warming alone having negatively impacted an entire population," he said, adding, "As a general rule, all life on Earth does better when it's hotter: Compare ecological diversity and biotic density (or biomass) at the poles and at the equator." Rancourt added, "Global warming is strictly an imaginary problem of the First World middle class." (LINK)

The notion that temperatures at some point in the recent past (like 1970, when scientists thought an ice age was coming?) were just right strikes me as absurd on its face. The notion that a degree or two of warming from that "proper" level will be profoundly catastrophic strikes me as bordering on mental illness.

(HT: Doug Ross @ Journal)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »