Sunday, December 31, 2006

John Feeney Opens a Blog......
Dr. John Feeney is someone who is a fiercely intelligent scholar, poker player, and author. He just opened up a blog which will cover exponential population grown and the implications it will have on our planet. He is a man who I have a deep admiration for and I hope to meet in person one day. Even though Feeney is passionate about this particular subject he has more emotional control than just about anyone I know. Unfortunately exponential growth is something I know very little about. And to be honest I am still very skeptical about the dangers. After all, many countries in Europe and Russia seem to be self regulating rather nicely. Despite this I will be reading his blog and covering any topic that there is a well documented consensus on. For all those that are willing to learn, feel free to take the jump at the link:

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bush's Appointee: Mums the Word on the Grand Canyons Birthday
Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees.
The book store is selling a book called Grand Canyon: A Different View which claims the canyon is only 6,000 years old. The fight isn't just on the official level:
In a letter released today, PEER urged the new Director of the National Park Service (NPS), Mary Bomar, to end the stalling tactics, remove the book from sale at the park and allow park interpretive rangers to honestly answer questions from the public about the geologic age of the Grand Canyon. PEER is also asking Director Bomar to approve a pamphlet, suppressed since 2002 by Bush appointees, providing guidance for rangers and other interpretive staff in making distinctions between science and religion when speaking to park visitors about geologic issues.
And from Time Magazine:
Even more troubling, PEER charges that Grand Canyon National Park no longer offers an official estimate of the age of the canyon.... NPS has allowed the placing of bronze plaques bearing Psalm verses at Grand Canyon overlooks.
More at peer. For all of those that have any doubt about the age of the grand canyon, I suggest you read up on radiometric dating.

Grand Canyon: A Different View (Hardcover) Tom Vail, ISBN 978-0890513736 HOW OLD IS THE GRAND CANYON? PARK SERVICE WON’T SAY — Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology, December 28, 2006, Carol Goldberg
TIME, Faith-Based Parks?, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2004 LEON JAROFF

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

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From DeSmogBlog:
DeSmog is thoroughly investigating 61 signatories to an anti-climate-change petition sent in April, '06 to Canada's Prime Minister. Supporters claim it is signed by "60 leading scientists." We will report daily on their credentials and their connections (or their lack of connections) to the oil or tobacco industries.
It's a good start. There will surely be leftovers. I know at least one regrets signing the petition and claims he was misled.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Terrorsism: Another Reason To Support Alternative & Micro Energy
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Apparently it's becoming damn near impossible to get electricity up in Iraq. This is from the NYT's:
Crews that arrive to repair the damage are often attacked and sometimes killed, ensuring that the government falls further and further behind as it attempts to repair the lines.And in a measure of the deep disunity and dysfunction of this nation, when the repair crews and security forces are slow to respond, skilled looters often arrive with heavy trucks that pull down more of the towers to steal as much of the valuable aluminum conducting material in the lines as possible. The aluminum is melted into ingots and sold.
All of this means electricity is expensive both in monetary and human cost. To make matters even worse:
Electricity Ministry officials said they could think of no case in which saboteurs had been caught. Payments made to local tribes in exchange for security have been ineffective, electricity officials said.
So what does this mean for Iraqi's?
The attacks have an immediate impact on the lives of ordinary Iraqis. Last week even the official United States State Department figures, which many Iraqis contend lean toward the optimistic side, said there was an average of 6.6 hours of electricity per day in Baghdad and 8.9 hours nationwide.

Before the war, Baghdad had 16 to 24 hours of power and the rest of Iraq 4 to 8 hours, according to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, an independent United States federal office.
And then there is this suggestion from Coeruleus:
Considering that natural gas bubbles up from underneath most every desert rock, the sun shines 300 days a year, and there's enough wind to whip up dust storms, why hasn't anyone ever troubled themselves to attempt to establish some distributed power generation other than diesel generators--the fuel for which itself requires power to refine--in Iraq? Years after we toppled Saddam's regime?
Which if you think about it makes a lot of sense. If solar cells or wind turbines were on each roof top then it would be very difficult to take out the power. The terrorism resistance of alternative and distributed energy has been highlighted by several Nobel Laureates for some time. I have yet to see this tactic implemented.

New York Times, Iraq Insurgents Starve Capital of Electricity, JAMES GLANZ, December 19, 2006
Lohachara island, home of 10,000, is claimed by the ocean.

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Straight from the source:
Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.

As the seas continue to swell, they will swallow whole island nations, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge parts of scores of coastal cities.
I'm going to have to check up on this a little more. I remember reading a few journals discussing how very small sea level rises can destabilize land masses by saturating the soil which dramatically increases soil erosion. The current sea level rise is about 3 mm/yr which can add up to a lot for a low lying island when you consider the first industrial revolution began in 1789. A quick search on Dr Sugata Hazra shows that he has published in the proceedings of the Indian National Academy of Sciences. So he certainly has some credibility. The article doesn't reference a journal and a quick search on Lohachara via google scholar doesn't turn up anything by Hazra. So I have to take this news report with a grain of salt. This may or may not be a case of hype. Only time will tell.

*Disappearing world: Global warming claims tropical island For the first time, an inhabited island has disappeared beneath rising seas. Environment Editor Geoffrey Lean reports 24 December 2006
*Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789–1848, Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd. ISBN 0-349-10484-0
*Development of grabens and associated fault-drags: an experimental study Sugata Hazra - Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences. Earth and …, 1995 -

Monday, December 25, 2006

Will Termites Save the Planet?

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The enzymes in the stomachs of termites may be the key to unlocking cellulosic ethanol. Termites turn cellulose into alcohol in their stomachs. If we can mimic this process it will be bye bye oil. Steven Chu, who shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997, has begun studying termite guts. He left Stanford University to become Director of the Lawrence Berkeley Labs and kick-start the research effort.

PhysOrg 'Termite guts can save the planet', says Nobel laureate, Published: 11:01, April 13, 2005

Friday, December 22, 2006

Is Exxon About to Surrender?

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Exxon CEO Rex Tilerson gave a speech at Boston College. Here he advocates taking a cautionary approach that mainstream scientists support:
While our scientific understanding of climate change continues to improve, it nonetheless remains today an extraordinarily complex area of scientific study. Having said that, the potential risks to society could prove to be significant, so despite the areas of uncertainties that do exist, it is prudent to develop and implement strategies that address the potential risks.
He does the same here as well:
This is a global-wide, century-scale problem. 85% of the growth of CO2 emissions are associated with economic activity in the developing part of the world, with only 15% of the growth associated with developed countries. We should start on a path to reduce the likelihood of the worst outcomes… and understand the context of managing carbon emissions among other developing world priorities, such as economic development, poverty eradication and public health.

Consistent with this approach, we should take steps now to reduce emissions in effective and meaningful ways.

Just when it sounds too good to be true, he leaves himself an out which I've highlighted in bold:

In my view, this means we should continue to fund ongoing scientific research without conditions or preconceived outcomes to increase our understanding of all of the forcings which are part of this very elegant, but very complex climate systems in which we live – including ongoing study of not only the possible forcing effects resulting from mankind's socioeconomic activity, but equally if not more important understanding of the natural forcing elements that are and have been apart of the climate system since the dawn of time.
The National Academy of Sciences of 18 different countries say the recent warming is very unlikely to have been caused by natural forces. Exxon still seems to completely ignore this fact and the scientific consensus on climate change. Still, this seems to be a rather big shift in energy policy recommendations by Exxon. Has the beast grown a heart? Has the horned monster of misinformation raised a white flag? Will they cut off the funding to Astroturf organizations like the Royal Society asked? Or is this merely a green washing two-face maneuver?

Only time will tell.


Exxon's response to the Royal Society's letter:
The Royal Society's letter and public statements to the media inaccurately and unfairly described our company. Our views on climate change are clearly described in our company publications. We know that carbon emissions are one of the factors that contribute to climate change - we don't debate or dispute this.
Well according to Exxon Secrets and Exxpose Exxon the Royal Society's letter was fair. Again, it will be interesting to see who they decide to fund in the future. I'm not terribly optimistic. But it is nice to see them acknowledging the greenhouse gas effect.

Environmental defense, Rex Tillerson Speech, Boston CEO Club, Boston, Massachusetts, November 30, 2006, Posted on: 12/06/2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I ain't got the words......


But these guys do. This article is a must read. Information suppression at it's finest. The list could be much longer. They skip a lot of the events described in Chris Mooney's book.

TPMuckraker, Bush Admin: What You Don't Know Can't Hurt Us

Monday, December 18, 2006

"Skeptics Have Their Funding Cut"
Conspiracy Theorists, Here's Your Chance!
Part of the: Common Arguments by Skeptics and Deniers series

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One of the most common and damaging accusations by climate change skeptics and deniers is that the pillars of our intellectual societies have become corrupt. The skeptics and deniers say climate scientists are now motivated to skew the science in attempt to fabricate a disaster. The biggest doomsayers are promoted while the skeptics have their funding cut. In short, they are insinuating all of the scientists on this world-wide consensus are partaking in a fraud. A few of these arguments can be seen below.

From the website World Climate Report:
"Science has become as blatantly biased in the direction of tragedy as television. But, given the way we fund and reward science and scientists, it was inevitable."

David E. Wojick says the IPCC is:
" artfully constructed presentation of just the science that supports the fear of human-induced climate change. It is as one sided as a legal brief, which it resembles."

Then there are blanket condemnations such as:
"We know that one's career and income are closely related to one's position on global warming."

Dr. Bill Gray joins the foray with:
The minority of scientists who are skeptical that humans have had large influences on climate change have been purposely squeezed out of the climate research funding picture.

Now there are some real problems with this argument. And I've outlined a few of them on the non-blog version of this website. But the real development is that BBC has called upon these skeptics to show their cards. There have been lots of name-calling and barking but not a whole lot of bite. Many are saying it's time to show the evidence or shut up. The following is from the BBC:
If you have evidence of research grants turned down because of a clash with the prevailing consensus, of instances where journals or conference organisers or consensus bodies have rejected "inconvenient" findings, please send it to us;

Please read the full BBC article as to what constitutes evidence. And if you have any please e-mail it to them. After all, good climate science makes good climate policy. In the mean time we will be waiting for the evidence of the massive worldwide conspiracy.

BBC, Sceptics: Cards on the table please!, Richard Black, Friday, 1 December 2006, 17:14 GMT
World Climate Report, Proving Science Bias, December 22, 2005*
Hurricanes and Climate Change:Assessing the Linkages Following the 2006 Season, William M. Gray
John-Daily.comThe UN IPCC's Artful Bias, Glaring Omissions, False Confidence and Misleading Statistics in the Summary for Policymakers, David E. Wojick, Ph.D.

*unknown author, probably Pat Michaels or Robert Balling

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Stephen McIntyre says 'Al gore is fat, should "lead a penguin army"'
He Then Indirectly Admits a Consensus.

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The global warming skeptic/denier and mining executive Stephen McIntyre that runs Climate Audit has some not so nice things to say about Al Gore's presentation at the fall American Geophysical Union conference:
Gore has gotten a little stout over the years and a little jowly, as though he was subconsciously morphing into a shape more suitable to lead a penguin army.
Ladies and gentlemen, once again the Denier's have removed their gloves and are hitting below the belt. There is nothing like good old fashioned demagoguery. Yet in the comments McIntyre follows up:
.... try to be a little bit funny, not just juvenile. Gore’s a public figure and fair comment. If he chooses to comment on this blog, we will treat him politely as we expect you to treat other participants here.
So calling someone fat and and comparing their looks to a penguin is polite? Ok. What I find most interesting is it seems as if he indirectly admits there's a consensus on global warming. For all of those that don't know, the fall AGU is the largest convention on the subject of climate change. And this is how McIntyre describes the meeting:
Al Gore was welcomed by a standing ovation from about 4,000 scientists from the AGU convention.....
and here too:
Then Gore’s friend and mentor, Gore himself said, “Now is the time”, before leaving to a standing ovation.
So if global warming is a hoax, why does the "penguin general" Al Gore get a standing ovation by 4,000 scientists? For all of those who are still unsure about the consensus please read this rather long list of quotes.

Please keep in mind I do not advocate personal attacks. I'm merely pointing out the hypocrisy in those that resort to non-scientific ad hominem attacks.

Climate Audit, Day Four - Al Gore, Steve McIntyre, Thursday, December 14th, 2006 at 11:47 pm
Global Warming Denier Michael Crichton 'Libels' Critic as a Pedophile.
Ironically, Crichton's Autobiography Shows Toleration Towards Real Pedophiles.

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Michael Crichton has been a very vocal global warming critic/denier. The professional climate scientists have spent a considerable amount of time rebutting Crichton's arguments. One of Crichton's most vocal critics is The New Republic's Senior Editor Michael Crowley. Crichton takes off the gloves in his new book and labels his fictionalizes critic as a child rapist:
Alex Burnet was in the middle of the most difficult trial of her career, a rape case involving the sexual assault of a two-year-old boy in Malibu. The defendant, thirty-year-old Mick Crowley, was a Washington-based political columnist who was visiting his sister-in-law when he experienced an overwhelming urge to have anal sex with her young son, still in diapers. Crowley was a wealthy, spoiled Yale graduate and heir to a pharmaceutical fortune. ...

It turned out Crowley's taste in love objects was well known in Washington, but [his lawyer]--as was his custom--tried the case vigorously in the press months before the trial, repeatedly characterizing Alex and the child's mother as "fantasizing feminist fundamentalists" who had made up the whole thing from "their sick, twisted imaginations." This, despite a well-documented hospital examination of the child. (Crowley's penis was small, but he had still caused significant tears to the toddler's rectum.)

Crowley responds to this
The next page contains fleeting references to Crowley as a "weasel" and a "dickhead," and, later, "that political reporter who likes little boys." But that's it--Crowley comes and goes without affecting the plot. He is not a character so much as a voodoo doll. Knowing that Crichton had used prior books to attack very real-seeming people, I was suspicious. Who was this Mick Crowley? A Google search turned up an Irish Workers Party politician in Knocknaheeny, Ireland. But Crowley's tireless advocacy for County Cork's disabled seemed to make him an unlikely target of Crichton's ire. And that's when it dawned on me: I happen to be a Washington political journalist. And, yes, I did attend Yale University. And, come to think of it, I had recently written a critical 3,700-word cover story about Crichton. In lieu of a letter to the editor, Crichton had fictionalized me as a child rapist.
Ladies and gentlemen, not only have the Denier's removed their gloves, but they are hitting below the belt as well. Although it is a bit ironic that Crichton will fictionalize and libel someone as a child rapist but won't stop are real pedophile. The following is from a review of Crichton's apparently non-fiction book Travels:
Finally, after testing the waters, the journalist excitedly drops his bombshell and suggests a child whorehouse. Crichton doesn't dare to tell his companion what a loathsome creep he is or that he finds the suggestion repulsive and wants nothing more to do with him. Instead,he goes and checks the place out. He gives a description of tarted up six-year-old girls posing provocatively and being kept in line by geriatric prostitutes. Perhaps I'm just a prude but it seems to me that any normal decent young man would find the idea of sex with tots and grannies vile. I didn't expect Crichton to actually put a stop to all of this but he could have perhaps told the sickie to get some professional help or at least told him that kiddie sex wasn't his thing, instead he makes up some whiny complaint about a stomach ache and tells the guy to go ahead without him.
For all of those interested in understanding the psychic, aura seeing, spoon bending, 6 year old whore house condoning mind of Crichton feel free to buy a used (no royalties) copy of his autobiography via amazon.

Please keep in mind I do not advocate personal attacks. I'm merely pointing out the hypocrisy in those that resort to non-scientific ad hominem attacks.

TPMuckraker, Global Warming Denier Michael Crichton Fictionalizes Critic as Child RapistBy Paul Kiel - December 14, 2006, 11:45 AM
The New Republic, MICHAEL CRICHTON'S SCARIEST CREATION. Jurassic President by Michael Crowley Post date 03.09.06 | Issue date 03.20.06
The New Republic, WASHINGTON DIARIST Cock and Bull by Michael Crowley Post date 12.14.06 | Issue date 12.25.06

Saturday, December 16, 2006


A new windpower device that is very quiet and can be integrated into homes and commercial buildings very easily. From the PDF:

The benefits of this device include:
* Fully utilizing variable and gusting winds running at speeds as low as 3 mph (low wind speed geometry)
* Low profile integrated support structures that safely enclose all turbines without noise or vibration within super-safe rotation that prevents machine runaways
* Safe high-torque/low speed rotation that prevents machine runaways
* High-integration and low-profile support structures that rarely produce TV shadowing
* Compatibility with current building code requirements governing rooftop signage, photovoltaic installations and cell phone tower applications in Chicago and other cities.

More info:
University of Illinois, Modular, building-integrated, and sustainable energy from aeroturbine systems, Bil Becker
Zombie Crickets!

A video of the zombie cricket above, and an explanation below. A parasite forces the cricket to commit suicide by releasing mind controlling drugs.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

McCain: 'Bush Admin has violated the law for over a year and a half'

Admiral Lautenbacher was appointed by President Bush as the Under Secretary of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In the above video Senator John McCain yells at Lautenbacher for violating the law with his failure to provide reports on climate change. Dr. Judith Curry has seen him deny the existence of man made climate change twice. The most recent occurrence was at a Feb 25, 2005 talk given at Georgia Tech.1

Almost a year and a half later McCain says the Bush appointee continues to violate the law:

"They're simply not complying with the law. It's incredible." Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) raised eyebrows yesterday with that comment regarding the Bush administration, made before a crowd of several hundred at a Washington, D.C. event.1

Video is from US Senates Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Wed, June 8 2005
TPM Muckraker: McCain: Bush Admin Breaks Laws to Hide Global Warming Data By Justin Rood - November 17, 2006,
Ultra efficient LED's to be 10x more efficient regular lighting

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New extremely efficient lighting from Zled (Seoul Semiconductor) boasts an efficiency of 100 lumens per watt. These LED's are expected to approach 145 lumens per watt by first quarter of 2008. Flourescents only get less than half of that at 70 lumens/watt and incandescents get one tenth of that at 15 lumens/watt.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

River Dolphin goes bye bye


The Chinese dolphin pictured above has now been declared extinct. It's the first large mammal to go extinct in 50 years. The last one was the Caribbean monk seal which was hunted to extinction. Scientists expect many more animals to follow the same path due to global warming. And if you watch this Google Talk video by Stanford's Dr. Stephen H. Schneider, you will see that the polar bear and the Arctic Fox is expected to endure the same fate. Fast forward to 1:21:15 of the video for the exact quote. Much more on extinction in the future.

CNN China's white dolphin called extinct after 20 million years
9:59 a.m. EST, December 13, 2006
Blind kid masters echolocation

It's off topic but I like to add a little fun to this blog every now and then. This kid is simply amazing. Even with the video, it's a little hard to believe.

Monday, December 11, 2006

It's a small world after all

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Scientists at the Census of Marine Life are using a new device to track the migration pattern of Sooty Shearwaters via satellites. The above image is the result. Here is a video (linky) where you can watch the migratory patterns of 19 birds. Research like this shows the need for international cooperation when it comes to maintaining wildlife and fishing stocks. This is especially true in the fishing sector. Americans spent 27.9 billion dollars on recreational fishing in 1996 and I can only assume commercially sold fish is also very significant. So there is much at stake. If you think the ocean is too big to impact I suggest you watch this Jellyball Man video (linky) provided by the LA Times. I hope to have high resolution Albacore tuna tracks posted here in the future.

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Back to the birds. Apparently these seabirds will make trips that are around 65,000 kilometers long. And they will transit at a rate of around 1,000 kilometers a day. Adding one amazing feat on top of another, these birds dive to a depth of 200 feet to grab fish. Such an unbelievable set of statistics I am forced to go for a direct quote. This is straight from the abstract:
Transit rates as high as 910 ± 186 km·day-1 were recorded, and shearwaters accessed prey resources in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere's most productive waters from the surface to 68.2 m depth.1
Apparently these pigeons fly a 25,00 mile trip each year.


BBC News: In pictures: Year of marine wonders
TOPP: Sooty shearwater study is TOPP milestone 8/7/2006
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Shaffer et. al, Migratory shearwaters integrate oceanic resources across the Pacific Ocean in an endless summer, 8/16/2006
Science & Spirit, Billion Dollar Bugs, David Wolman
The most expensive thing we can do is nothing

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Here is an interesting quote taken from an open letter written by 60 leading economists to the Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger.
We urge you to accelerate climate action policies that will demonstrate political leadership and create economic opportunities in California. The most expensive thing we can do is nothing.
The Most Expensive Thing We Can Do is Nothing, An Open Letter from California Economists, August 2006

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Zombies support Microsoft

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Large companies will often hire public relations experts to help them clean up their image. When Microsoft was confronted with an anti-trust lawsuit they hired Americans for Technology Leadership (ATL) and Citizens Against Government Waste to help their side of the battle. About 400 people wrote letters to Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch asking him to take it easy on Microsoft. It was a grassroots campaign, ordinary citizens trying to defend a company. Unfortunately some of those people were dead when they wrote their letters. This type of fake-movement is called "Astroturf" in honor of the real fake grass-(roots movement). This isn't particularly science related but it is a powerful example of just how far some of these public relations companies will go. And when large corporations and scientific evidence conflict, the Astroturfing public relations companies come out of the wood work. The response from government officials?

"It's sleazy," said Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch, whose office received about 300 pro-Microsoft letters. "This is not a company that appears to be bothered by ethical boundaries."
I will be covering similar practices a lot more in the future.

Microsoft Supported by Dead People, August 23, 2001
The Associated Press Report: Microsoft funded 'grass roots' campaign

Friday, December 08, 2006

They are a small close nit group of climate scientists.
Part of the: Common Arguments by Skeptics and Deniers.

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A lot of climate change deniers make the argument that climate scientists are unreliable because they are a close nit group. The deniers claim climate scientists are biased to protect each other and cover up each others mistakes. The deniers have even made this argument under oath in the halls of Congress. Well this is Eli Rabett's response as to the number of climate scientists:
  • 1956 Atomspheric
  • 1564 Biogeochemistry
  • 334 Cryosphere
  • 751 Global climate change
  • 4736 Hydrology
  • 2326 Ocean sciences
  • 634 Paleoclimate
  • 2004 Volcanology (you can argue here if you want)
If we look at foreign members we get a total of 19340, which in the spirit of Iraq Body Count we can take as a lower limit, but certainly within a factor of 2.

(if you ain't a member of the AGU you ain't no damn climate scientist in the US, just like the AMA)
12,301-14,305 scientists in the United Stats alone is not exactly what I would call a small group of self protecting butt buddies. Michael Mann also has a retort which he submitted to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The image he references is located at the top of this blog entry.
Let me next address Wegman’s equally specious and unsupported claim that scientists who work in a given field cannot objectively review the work of their colleagues and competitors in that field. By way of illustration, I have attached (as Attachment 1 to these Responses ) the famous 1927 photograph of attendees of the Solvay Physics meeting in Brussels. It shows a group of 29 physicists engaged in a collegial, small conference. Virtually every attendee was a driving figure behind our understanding of modern physics. Appearing in the photograph are Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, Fermi, Dirac, de Broglie, Born, Pauli, Langmuir, Planck, Curie, Compton, Ehrenfest, Lengevin, and others of equal prominence. The members of this group all knew each other, worked with each other, collaborated on research with one another, visited each other, went mountain-climbing together, and so forth. Familiarity did not compromise their contributions to science. While I do not claim that the group I collaborate with is likely to duplicate the feats of the scientists who gathered in Brussels 80 years ago, the point remains --- scientific collaboration does not turn scientists into timid lapdogs unwilling to criticize the work of their colleagues.
Source: Followup to the ‘Hockeystick’ Hearings 31 Aug 2006
M. Mann Answers to Followup Questions and Supporting Materials Related to July 27 2006 Hearing of U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Rabett Run How many climate scientists are there mommy? Friday, November 10, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Google Talks: Stanford Experts on Climate Change and Carbon Trading

A lecture given by a couple of top scientists. Very informative even for those well versed with the climate science. They spend a considerable amount of time pointing out some of the flaws in Kyotto. Here is the abstract:

Please join two distinguished Stanford ... all » Professors, Dr. Stephen Schneider and Professor Thomas Heller, for a discussion on climate change and the emerging carbon trading markets. Dr. Schneider is one of the world's leading scientific experts of climate change (his name is cited on all those climate change charts and graphs we've seen so far). Dr. Heller has extensive experience with policy and negotiations surrounding climate change and sustainable development. Professor Heller also recently served as Sergey's host at the recent UN Climate Change Conference meeting in Montreal where Prof. Heller proved his indepth knowledge of thenuances of legislative works, such as the Kyoto Protocol, and the mechanisms that are currently being employed.

This tech talk will be different than our previous climate change talks. These men have helped steered the international course of policy, scientific verifications and the overall consensus on the existence of climate change. They both have plenty to say about what the failures and successes have been along the way, and what their predictions for the future of climate change policy will be.
One Billion Bulbs

A new project has been unleashed. According to the site:

Imagine the possibilities. Imagine if people all over the world mobilized to replace one billion standard incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs. What would that mean? It would mean that those people would save money each month on their electricity bill. It would mean they would save enough energy to light tens of millions of homes for a year. It would mean the prevention of greenhouse gases equivalent to the annual emissions of millions of cars.
Interesting how something so simple and painless could have such a drastic impact. I haven't done the math to double check their claims but I see very little risk in taking their word on it. There is an energy calculator on the front page of their website.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Loopwing Wind Turbine

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Loopwing is a new wind turbine that is low noise, low vibration, self stabilizing, and high torque. It is specifically designed for quiet home use. It's low maintenance and requires only a 1.6 mph breeze to get started. Not too bad looking either. It's almost like a work of art. Well, I like it anyway. Placing small wind turbines in a variety of locations could go a long way to getting us off of coal. Here is one ontop of a lightpost:


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Exxon Buying the Teachers Associations?

The NSTA consists of 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives which are involved in science education. Membership is not free and typically costs a teacher $74 each year. In otherwords, the NSTA is not a lightweight organization. In fact their website self describes the NSTA as the "largest organization in the world committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. "

Larry David, the co-creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, has a environmentally conscious wife that decided to donate 50,000 DVDs of the documentary An Inconvenient Truth to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Despite the fact that the documentary received "five stars for accuracy" by scientists, the Washington Post is now reporting that the NSTA has refused to accept the DVDs:

In their e-mail rejection, they expressed concern that other “special interests” might ask to distribute materials, too; they said they didn’t want to offer “political” endorsement of the film; and they saw “little, if any, benefit to NSTA or its members” in accepting the free DVDs. …

[T]here was one more curious argument in the e-mail: Accepting the DVDs, they wrote, would place “unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters.”

As it turns out those special interests include Exxon-Mobil, Shell Oil, and the American Petroleum Institute. To take matters one step farther the NSTA has distributed videos produced by the American Petroleum Institute. This video claims that one "can't be cool without fuel". In this case fuel is natural gas and oil.

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Feel free to spend a few minutes watching the video. (Link to video). The Washington post article continues:
An API memo leaked to the media as long ago as 1998 succinctly explains why the association is angling to infiltrate the classroom: "Informing teachers/students about uncertainties in climate science will begin to erect barriers against further efforts to impose Kyoto-like measures in the future."
The information war knows no boundaries.

regurgitation hat tip: Thinkprogress

Washington Post, Science a la Joe Camel Sunday, November 26, 2006; B01

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Shell: "the debate is over"

From the Washington Post:

Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co., said in a recent speech at the National Press Club. "From Shell's point of view, the debate is over. When 98 percent of scientists agree, who is Shell to say, 'Let's debate the science'?"
And amazingly Exxon Mobil has finally begun the process of accepting the possibility that climate change might be real:
Exxon Mobil Corp., the highest-profile corporate skeptic about global warming, said in September that it was considering ending its funding of a think tank that has sought to cast doubts on climate change. And on Nov. 2, the company announced that it will contribute more than $1.25 million to a European Union study on how to store carbon dioxide in natural gas fields in the Norwegian North Sea, Algeria and Germany.
It's a small step, but better than the all out war they've previously funded. Is it good faith or just an inevitable result of the dethroning of the Exxon backed "climate change is a hoax" Senator Inhofe? Only time will tell.

Washington Post: Energy Firms Come to Terms With Climate Change Saturday, November 25, 2006; Page A01

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Fifth Estate: The Denial Industry

A new documentary from the Peabody winning CBC News just came out. Here is the official description of the documentary:

In the past few years, a hurricane has engulfed the debate about global warming. This scientific issue has become a rhetorical firestorm with science pitted against spin and inflammatory words on both sides.

This documentary shows how fossil fuel corporations have kept the global warming debate alive long after most scientists believed that global warming was real and had potentially catastrophic consequences. It shows that companies such as Exxon Mobil are working with top public relations firms and using many of the same tactics and personnel as those employed by Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds to dispute the cigarette-cancer link in the 1990s. Exxon Mobil sought out those willing to question the science behind climate change, providing funding for some of them, their organizations and their studies.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Plane vs. Wall @ 500 mph

Since I debunk a wide variety of misinformation I might as well do something relevant to a popular September 11th conspiracy theory. As you can see the plane "mysteriously" vanishes without a trace. Some medium res pics here, here, and here.

Here is a really good site:

And here are a few more:

Purdue simulation
Purdue simulation II
Snopes on the pentagon
Popular Mechanics on 9/11

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hydrogen Economy: No backing in Physics

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Many people think hydrogen is the key to the future. However, Ulf Bossel of the European Fuel Cell Forum says the "Hydrogen economy is a structure of mind, which has no backing by physics. " To explain why, here are a few quotes.

On efficiency:
hydrogen has to be compressed or liquefied for handling, it has to be distributed, and then reconverted back to, guess what, electricity. That means electricity derived from hydrogen has to compete with its original energy source, electricity. If you go through a hydrogen chain, you find that after the fuel cell only 25% of the original electricity is available for use by consumers. A hydrogen economy is a gigantic energy waste.
He then goes on to say "compressed air has [an efficiency of] 75%, flywheels perhaps 80% and Lithium-ion batteries about 90%." In other words, hydrogen is by far the most inefficient energy storage technology discussed in the interview. Think about that for a second. The relatively cave man like technology of compressing air is 3 times more efficient. THREE TIMES!!! Yes, there is energy density problems so it's not exactly proper to compare the two. However, air powered cars that travel 70 mph (range 50 miles, more if traveling slower) are being sold in Europe. And the potential energy storage capabilities of batteries is much much greater. If the battery problem is solved then gasoline will be a slow and cumbersome technology. I will post more on that later. Ok we are getting off topic, back to hydrogen...

Quotes on scales of power:
Using hydrogen for all public air and road transport in Germany, it would take the power output of about 400 nuclear power plants plus enormous amounts of water. You need nine kilograms of water to make one kilogram of hydrogen. The Rhine river and all other rivers would be dry in the summer because the water is used to make hydrogen.
Every river in Germany would run dry? That is a LOT of water to power just one country. And just to drive the point home:
Without the slightest doubt, the technology for a hydrogen economy exists or can be developed in reasonable time. Also, hydrogen is an appropriate energy carrier for particular niche applications, or it may become an important medium for electricity storage with reversible fuel cells. But hydrogen can never establish itself as a dominant energy carrier. It has to be fabricated from high grade energy and it has to compete with high grad energy in the marketplace. Hydrogen cannot win this fight against its own energy source.

Physics is eternal and cannot be changed by man. Therefore, a "Hydrogen Economy" has no past, no present and no future. The road to sustainability leads to an "Electron Economy".
It seems Dr. Ulf Bossel feels the hydrogen economy is a joke and batteries are the key. So what does Robert Rapier, a chemical engineer at big oil, think?

Well on his blog titled R-Squared Robert Rapier says:
I was recently asked what kind of cars we would be driving 100 years from now. Without hesitating for a second, I replied “Electric cars.”
And he confirmed Ulf Bossels findings in the comments of his blog as well.

Considering AC Propulsion's tzero does 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, and the Tesla does 0-60 in 4 seconds then the only thing that's holding us back is batteries. The good news is there is tremendous room for improvement for battery technology. Solid state batteries, Super caps, and carbon nanotube batteries all have tremendous potential. (more on that later) Unfortunately this area isn't a hotbed of federal funding and R&D. Yet for some reason hydrogen is being aggressively funded. The dissonance between the politicians and the scientists is often comical.

TheWatt- Interview with Ulf Bossel - Hydrogen vs Electron Economy
TheWatt- Podcast with Ulf Bossel
"Intelec '05" - On the Way to a Sustainable Energy Future
R-Squared - Cellulosic Ethanol vs. Biomass Gasification
R-Squared - Electric Car Breakthrough?
MSNBC - Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?

Other sources:

JOSEPH J. ROMM (Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary US Department of Energy), The Hype about Hydrogen
Salon, Just say no, to hydrogen If we're serious about stopping global warming, hybrid cars make a lot more sense than a hydrogen future, says Joseph Romm, a former Clinton administration energy official.

Physorg caught on to the news:

Physorg, Why a hydrogen economy doesn't make sense, 15:44, December 11, 2006
Bossel, Ulf. “Does a Hydrogen Economy Make Sense?” Proceedings of the IEEE. Vol. 94, No. 10, October 2006. (PDF)

And so did Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer and president of Pioneer Astronautics:
Robert Zubrin, "The Hydrogen Hoax," The New Atlantis, Number 15, Winter 2007, pp. 9-20.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Grudge Match: Dems vs Exxon, FIGHT!

According to this article:
The Democrats plan to rescind $11.6 billion in energy subsidies for Exxon Mobil and other oil companies and require pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer Inc. to negotiate with Medicare on prescription-drug prices.
I'm not going to comment about the prescription drugs but the Exxon subsidy removal is excellent news. $11.6 billion in direct subsidies and tens of billions in military subsidies (last I read it was ~$1.50 a gallon) to control unstable regions is an unfair advantage to competing alternative energy. I'm hoping the democrats will take the 11.6 billion and invest it in the development of alternative energy technologies. According to the recently deceased Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley, that is more than enough money to fund the research that could solve all of our problems.

Source:, Democrats Hold `Grudge' Against Republicans' Corporate Allies

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A Wooden Stake in Newsweek's Global Cooling Heart

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William Connolley claims imminent global cooling was never predicted by the scientific community in the 70's. He has documented this on his website and reiterated this on as well.

Despite all of this, Senator Inhofe has been waving around a 1975 Newsweek article titled "A cooling world" which claimed scientists thought we were heading for a "little ice age". Inhofe used this to discredit the scientific community. These actions seem to have prompted Newsweek to re-examine their old article. In this self-review they reference Connolley:
The point to remember, says Connolley, is that predictions of global cooling never approached the kind of widespread scientific consensus that supports the greenhouse effect today. And for good reason: the tools scientists have at their disposal now—vastly more data, incomparably faster computers and infinitely more sophisticated mathematical models—render any forecasts from 1975 as inoperative as the predictions being made around the same time about the inevitable triumph of communism.
That makes it seem like Newsweek was trying to imply that scientists were making predictions about imminent global cooling. Yet they dismiss this mishap by saying the technology just wasn't very good back then and the consensus wasn't very strong so those predictions couldn't be trusted. Yet somehow we should forget all of those "mistakes" and trust the current predictions. Newsweek continued to defend themselves by saying: In fact, the [1975] story wasn't "wrong" in the journalistic sense of "inaccurate". Well here we have a problem. The website that Newsweek links to actually conflicts with their defense. Also, the author of that website William Connelly, responded to the most recent Newsweek article by telling us "not to take your science stories from the mass media". Given this conflict, I decided to buy the 1975 National Academy of Sciences report and see for myself. The report is titled "Understanding Climatic Change, A Program for action" and is featured in the picture above. A picture that I took with my very own camera. The ISBN# is 0-309-02323-8.

So what does it say inside?

At the bottom of page V of the forward it says:
Unfortunately, we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines it's course. Without this fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate-neither in short-term variations nor in any in its larger long-term changes.
Wow. It says we "can't predict climate". So what does it say we need to do? What actions are needed? Lets skip to page 9 which is the beginning of the chapter titled Summary of Principle Conclusions and Recommendations. It lists 6 recommendations. They are:

1) Adopt a national program to study the climate
2) Analyze climate data from conventional instruments, satellites, etc.
3) Develop a program to monitor and index all climate data.
4) Accelerate research on climate.
5) Adopt an international program to study climate. (same as #1 but just international)
6) Try to reconstruct the history of the earths pre-industrial climate via tree rings, fossils, etc.

There is no doom and gloom, no national emergency, there are no dire predictions of the world coming to an end. It's just a bunch of scientists saying there might be a problem but we don't know because nobody has studied this crap. So please exercise some common sense and hire someone to study the earth. In short, it is exactly how William Connelley describes it on his website.

So where did Newsweek get their information to claim their story was accurate? Who made those predictions? I don't know. In 1975 Newsweek said "Others regard the cooling as a reversion to the little ice age" but they never said who those "Others" were. Considering the National Academy of Sciences is the premier authority on this subject, and both Science and Nature are devoid of gloom and doom, I'm not sure their source matters. Were there scientists back then that were worried? Sure, there will always be someone that fears the unknown. Is that fear in any shape or form comparable to current models or projections? Well since that fear never made it into either peer review or the national policy recommendations via the NAS, there seems to be a clear distinction between the two.

Newsweek should stand up and admit their mistakes. Maybe after they do that the industry shills will stop using Newsweek's error to discredit the entire scientific community.

Scans of the NAS book's forward:
Page V
Page VI

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Exxon's Lee Raymond to chair the NPC


The NPC is a federal advisory committee to the Secretary of Energy. From 1946 until the implementation of the U.S. Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977, the NPC served as an advisory body to the Secretary of the Interior. The NPC is currently chartered by the Secretary of Energy. The sole purpose of the Council is to advise, inform, and make recommendations to the Secretary of Energy on matters pertaining to oil and natural gas or to the oil and gas industries.

Some may find it interesting that the chairman of this whitehouse advisory committee has long funded think tanks that say cigarettes don't cause cancer, global warming isn't real, and all of these scientists are part of one massive scam. Considering he was the CEO of ExxonMobil and still has strong financial ties, he isn't exactly the most unbiased source. This by itself is not a big deal. But the real question is how many other people the Secretary of Energy listens to? Earlier I highlighted some rather odd behaviors by the Whitehouse. Behaviors that are not only very damaging to the scientific community but are also at odds with the messages put out by the army core of engineers and even other oil companies. It seems the answer to that question may very well be "no-one".

Relevant info:

Bush’s Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has hand-picked former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond to lead an influential study to develop policy solutions to America’s energy crisis. Exxpose Exxon is running a petition to have him removed from the study. An uphill battle for sure.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Benny Peiser Finally Admits He's Wrong

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Benny Peiser
, the climate change skeptic that claimed there was a conspiracy against his work by the scientific journals finally admits he was wrong. Peiser claimed there were 34 peer review journals that refuted the existence of human driven climate change. Even though one of the abstracts he referenced as "debunking" the climate change consensus was about carbon sequestration and promoted alternative energy it took him about a year to admit he was wrong on "some" of them. Now he has admitted to Media Watch (video) that the only one that belonged on his list was a paper that wasn't even peer reviewed. It belonged to a group called the AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists). The AAPG is the same group that gave skeptic Michael Crichton a journalism award for his book "State of Fear" which claimed global warming is just one big hoax. According to Media watch:

So how many of the 34 articles does Benny Peiser stand by?

How many really "reject or doubt" the scientific consensus for man-made global warming?

Well when we first contacted him two weeks ago he told us...

"Only [a] few abstracts explicitly reject or doubt the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) consensus which is why I have publicly withdrawn this point of my critique." -- Email from Benny Peiser to Media Watch

And when we pressed him to provide the names of the articles, he eventually conceded - there was only one.

hat tip: Tim Lambert

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ford's Two-Face

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On the first night at the Society of Environmental Journalists Conference representatives from several major auto manufacturers took part in a panel discussion about alternative fuel vehicles. After they had all spoken, the audience was allowed to ask questions. DeSmogBlog's Kevin Grandia stood up and asked his question to the senior Ford rep (paraphrased here):
"If you say that you're so concerned about climate change, and acknowledge that it's happening, and are involved in things like Terrapass and alternative fuels, then why are you still funding think tank groups like the CEI, who have a position that climate change is not happening and is nothing to worry about?"
Ford's senior representative who was standing in front of the microphone didn't even attempt to answer the question. Instead one of his PR people who was sitting in the audience stood up to answer that question. He responded:
"We completely divorced ourselves from that particular campaign,"
Ironically that is the exactly same response Ford gave DeSmogBlog when a leaked memo showed that Ford funded CEI's "CO2 is life" and the "Glacier" TV ad. TV ads that attacked the science of global warming. TV ads that Professor Curt Davis says misrepresent his very own papers and research.

Considering polls show the vast majority of Americans believe global warming is happening it's bad business to openly campaign against the environment. At the same time it's well known that the gold mines in the auto industry aren't the hybrids and economy vehicles but the gas guzzling SUV's and muscle cars. It looks like some people are trying to get the best of both worlds.

But it doesn't stop there, Ford has abandoned several environmental strategies including hybrid cars. The auto industry has also lobbied against higher CAFE standards. The list goes on and on. This is just one tiny slice of a much larger pie. In the end I can't blame them. The business world is ruthless and Ford is only doing what businesses do.... making money. Ford is not a charity and they are not going to spend a significant amount of energy fighting for the environment. Anyone that assumes they are needs to pay a little more attention. The only good news, for the environment anyway, is that Toyota is promoting traditional but efficient cars as well as hybrid technology and their market share is growing.

More info:
Washington Post: Ford Abandons Pledge On Hybrid Production
NYT's: Is Ford running on empty?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Re-writing the History of Science

On Fox News Sean Hannity (video) went on about global cooling calling it , and the scientists as well, "madness". Anyone that has been to Realclimate, William Connolley's website, or read the peer review journals at the time knows that imminent predictions of global cooling were never made in the peer review literature.

Sean Hannity and friends probably just get their information from unreliable sources. But the real kicker is when Newsweek re-examines their old 1975 article. They concede that the article was "so spectacularly wrong about the near-term future" but defend themselves with In fact, the story wasn't "wrong" in the journalistic sense of "inaccurate". Well, that's one way to cover your own tail at the expense of the scientific community.

What really amazes me is the fact that they actually link to "William Connolley, a climate scientist at the British Antarctic Survey who has made a hobby of studying Ice Age predictions." The title of the very page they link to is "Was an imminent Ice Age predicted in the '70's? No" yet they continue to insist that predictions were made. Newsweek references a forecast made in 1975 but doesn't mention who or what made that forecast. Could they be referencing the 1975 National Academy of Sciences report? Lets take a quick look at some quotes. From the foreword:
"...we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course. Without the fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate...".
It simply amazes me that this attack on science continues to go on. It's like what happens in the scientific community has nothing to do with what is being reported in the mainstream media.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"Lack of leadership" from climate scientists

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Apparently some people get upset when climate research leaders fly in private jets for philanthropy reasons. Mark Lynas made a public outcry asking the public to "[p]lease urge them to apologize for this outrageous incident". On the other side of the fence I've seen the Exxon funded CEI use this tactic to discredit Al Gore's movie. And I've seen the argument from the former Reader's Digest staff writer Robert Bidinotto that environmentalists just want to make us poor peasants.

I would just like to say that not all of those that are in touch with climate change science are conservationists. Ross Gelbspan once said that even if we give up our cars and turn off the lights it won't solve all of our problems anyway. I will have to double check those figures, but the point is simple lifestyle changes aren't going to make a drastic impact on CO2 emissions.

The Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley campaigned until his death for an Apollo energy program. A program that would encourage the development of a wide variety of energy technologies. He is very pro-energy and wants to break our dependence on terrorist funding oil and other fossil fuels. Dr. Ulf Bossel wants us to be able to say: "Goodbye steam engines. Goodbye Carnot cycles. Here we are with electricity. We don't need you any longer."

So for all of you climate change deniers that think scientists are limousine liberals like the ones portrayed in this book, well you are sorely mistaken. Pharisees once tried to trick Jesus by saying
“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone". Well that trick won't work here either. There is more than one camp defending the climate change science.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Au revoir Bangladesh!

The new(ish) GRACE satellites have been keeping a close watch on Greenland's Ice sheet. In the past snowfall has outpaced the melting of the ice sheet. However, now things have changed. Researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center explain:

"What we see is a massive amount of mass shedding that far outweighs an interior growth. .

We are now losing 20 percent more coming out each year than goes in as snowfall.

None of this has been predicted by numerical models, and therefore all projections of the contribution of Greenland to sea level [rise] are way below reality."

Sounds like the future is going to be fun for a few million in Bangaldesh.

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EDIT: As a precautionary note GRACE has only been around for 4 years. So we have to be careful extrapolating long term trends over such a small sample set. It seems my title may be a bit premature. However, since "all indicators have started to point in the same direction" it is certainly something to think about.

source: Scientific American; Gravity Measurements Confirm Greenland's Glaciers Precipitous Meltdown

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Lindzen fibs again..............

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On a Fox News interview (video) climate change skeptic Richard Lindzen says:
But there is no agreement that the warming we've seen is due to man. Moreover, the warming we've seen is much less than we would have expected on the basis of the models that produce alarm.
So I guess this list of people are in no agreement. It seems as if national academies of 18 total countries never signed these two press releases. And Lindzen says the models are wrong? It looks as if these graphs and predictions are fake then.

See the video of Lindzen talking here. If anyone can download the video please help me out. I want a copy of this on my hard drive so I can take clips of this to add to his profile page.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bush vs. EPA round 23, fight!

The NYT's is reporting how the scientists at the EPA (voting 20-2) and the unanimous votes at the AMA are asking for tighter restrictions on soot emissions. Yet the politically appointed head at the EPA says there is “insufficient evidence” and kills the increased air quality standards. The following is the breakdown of the cost/benefit analysis:

The environmental and medical communities suspect that the administration’s main motive was to save the power companies and other industrial sources of pollution about $1.9 billion in new investment that the more protective annual standard would have required. But here, too, the administration appears to have ignored expert advice. Last Friday, the agency released an economic analysis showing that in exchange for $1.9 billion in new costs, the stronger annual standards could save as many as 24,000 thousand lives and as much as $50 billion annually in health care and other costs to society. Studies like these always offer a range of possible outcomes, but even at the lower end — 2,200 lives and $4.3 billion in money saved — the cost-benefit ratios are very favorable.

source: NYT's, Science Ignored, Again
Flock of Dodos

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A new documentary is out called Flock of Dodos. It analyzes evolution and intelligent design proponents. Should be worth a watch. There is an ABC news interview clip on the website that gives a good feel of the films direction.

The author also recomends Stephen Gould's book Rocks of Ages which says evolution and religion do not conflict.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Coming to a church near you: An Inconvenient Truth

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Eric Berger is reporting that more than 20 Houston-area churches with show Gore's film on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth. The religious have banded together on environmentalism before. This event is sponsored by Interfaith Power and Light which says:

The weeklong event -- called "Spotlight on Global Warming" -- is sponsored nationally by Interfaith Power and Light, an organization of congregations and individuals devoted to deepening the connection between ecology and faith. There are 18 state Interfaith Power and Light chapters, including Texas Interfaith Power and Light.

The world's religious traditions are clear in their message that God loves the whole creation and calls people to care for the Earth and everything in it. Religious leaders of all faiths are increasingly vocal in their calls for strong action on global warming to protect human life and all creation.

Texas leads the nation in global warming pollution but there's good news, too: Texas has the greatest renewable energy potential of any state, and this year became the largest wind power producer in the US. It's a key time for people of faith and all Texans to engage in the debate surrounding global warming solutions.

It seems the churches of Texas are ahead of the big man from Texas.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Penn & Teller: Bullshit!

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In Episode 13, season 1 of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! they try to prove the global warming crisis, among other things, was created by the out of control imagination of hysterical hippies and environmentalists. This is why the episode is titled "Environmental Hysteria". We would just like to point out that Penn Jillette is a research fellow of the ExxonMobil and Industry funded CATO institute which has strong minarchist leanings. This gives Penn Jillete a conflict of interest when it comes to any topic that might require government regulation. During the show he puts Tobacco and Oil funded lobbyists against hippie college protesters. If a fair match was their intent they should have those lawyers up against any of the scientists on this massive list. Granted the show was officially about "hysteria" and not science itself but that doesn't excuse them for grossly misrepresenting a very strong scientific consensus and providing facts thats are demonstrably false. The following is a quoted, sourced, and time stamped point by point analysis of their show (google video). It will focus on the facts presented by Penn & Teller's "experts":

10:28 Bjorn Lomborg presents his book

Lomborg is an associate professor of statistics at Denmark's University of Aarhus. He has been widely criticized for his book The Skeptical Environmentalist. Scientific American has a 12 page article titled "Misleading Math about the Earth" dedicated solely to debunking Lomborg's book. The prestigious peer-review scientific journal Nature also joined the battleground and described Lomborg's work as 'employs the strategy of those who argue that... Jews weren't singled out by the Nazis'. Grist Mill certainly didn't treat Lomborg kindly as they lined up a whole host of leading scientists to critique his work. And National Academy of Science member Norman Myers says Lomborg lacks "a preliminary understanding of the science in question." Regardless of whether or not Lomborg is right or wrong, Penn & Teller may have done better by choosing someone that is a little more respected among mainstream scientists. More information on Lomborg can be found here.

13:30 Penn says 1998 was the peak (temperature wise).

Not anymore, according to NASA 2005 was the hottest year. Penn Jillete also left out a little thing called El Nino which gave 1998 a nice artificial boost. In defense of Penn Jillette, the show was made in 2002. However, this does not excuse the fact that he cherry picked the year of El Nino. If he had interviewed a mainstream scientist Penn & Teller would have known this. If he had looked at a simple line graph he would have also seen an obvious trend in temperatures. The 1998 argument stems from Bob Carter and his claims are debunked in full here.

13:42 Jerry Taylor from CATO says "If we plot temperatures... put them on a graph and draw a trend line, we will know what is going to happen with global warming in the next 100 years.

Jerry Taylor, might want to comment on
this list of quotes or even this graph:

This is known as the "hockey stick". It is arguably the most analyzed graph in the history of science. The hockey stick continues to be affirmed by realclimate, the IPCC, the national academies of 11 countries, Wahl and Amman, and every major American scientific society with relativant expertise.

15:08 Jerry Taylor from CATO claims scientists predicted an Ice age

Real climate covered this topic in their article titled The Global Cooling Myth. William Connolley has also made a hobby out of debunking this myth. There is a BIG difference between peer-review scientific literature and regular magazines and newspapers. While there were some questions about aerosols blocking sunlight, the global cooling threat was not predicted in the peer-review scientific literature and it was not predicted by the National Academy of Sciences.

Taylors exact quote from Penn and Teller's show: "In the mid 70's we were told pollution is going to cause a new ice age... The very same scientists who argued an ice age was coming because of industrial pollution then shifted gears and argued industrial pollution will bring on a greenhouse warming world with virtually no breath in between." It would be nice if he actually named which NAS reports and scientific journals he was talking about. If you find any peer-review journals predicting imminent global cooling please email them to us or William Connolley. As of right now we can't find any.

15:50 Penn says "they must remember we are still gathering information..... we are not sure yet!"

Maybe Penn should actually do a little research or ask a real scientist what the scientific consensus is before he makes such a bold claim. The National Acadamies of 18 countries and every single scientific institution with relative expertise disagrees with him. There is a massive list of people that say we do know.
Dr. James Baker says "There's a better scientific consensus on this than on any issue I know - except maybe Newton's second law of dynamics". There is probably a very good reason why there is such a strong worldwide consensus. Maybe Penn should have asked them what those reasons might be.

25:40: Patrick Moore says the "best science tells us less than 1% of the species will go extinct in the next 100 years."

This is also false. A peer review paper from Nature titled "Extinction risk from climate change" showed a significant percentage of our planets species could become extinct by 2050. As an added note, the excess CO2 is also increasing the oceans acidity by turning into carbonic acid. The acidification of the ocean could drive all known forms of coral to extinction by 2065. 10, 11, 12 In the Discovery Channel's show "Global Warming: what you need to know with Tom Brokaw" NASA's James Hansen talks about the extinction of 50% of the planets species by 2050 being a realistic possibility due to ocean acidification and other mechanisms. The World Wildlife Fund says: "Without action, climate change will cause the extinction of countless species and destroy some of the world's most precious ecosystems." So what exactly is "the best science" in Patrick Moore's mind? Again, he doesn't mention their source. This may be hard to believe for many of our readers so here are some more sources on climate change and species extinction:

Blogs, Mainstream Media & Press Releases:
BBC: Acid oceans spell doom for coral
Los Angeles Times: A Primeval Tide of Toxins
The New York Times: British Scientists Say Carbon Dioxide Is Turning the Oceans Acidic
University of Minnesota ecology professor David Tilman: Species extinction rate speeding up The Acid Ocean – the Other Problem with CO2 Emission
NCAR: Report Warns about Carbon Dioxide Threats to Marine Life
World Wildlife Fund: Climate Change
Discovery Channel: "Global Warming: what you need to know with Tom Brokaw"

Peer-Review Scientific Journals & Government Reports
Thomas et. al., Nature 8 January 2004: Extinction risk from climate change*
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Climate change hastens population extinctions
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Climate change threats to plant diversity in Europe
Pearson & Palmer, Science 10 December 1999: Seawater pH and Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
Pennisi, ScienceNOW 5 July 2006: Coral Face Death From Above
NSF, NOAA, USGS Report: Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reefs and other Marine Calcifiers
*interviews w/ Gavin Schmidt from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies show this is the source of the Discovery Channel's info

End Notes:

Penn & Teller did bring up some good points. For example, they managed to get college aged protesting hippies to sign petitions to ban dihydrogen monoxide which is also known as water. This showed that people will take information at face value and that can be a very dangerous thing. By the same token many of the industry lobbyists interviewed on that show were speaking falsehoods (e.g. the global cooling myth) to discredit mainstream scientists. So you really have to watch your sources. Penn & Teller used these falsehoods to debunk "hysteria" that lined up very well with the scientific consensus. If they are going to critique "environmental hysteria" it might be wise for them to focus on a movement that doesn't agree with the scientific consensus. Misinformation is a double edged sword. Former Greenpeace member and cofounder Patrick Moore spent a considerable amount of time denouncing the motives of Greenpeace. The problem is that Greenpeace is not an accredited scientific institution and does not represent the scientific consensus. So while Greenpeace may go overboard when it comes to certain dangers with fusion and fission power, nothing mentioned in the "Environmental Hysteria" show that was attributed to Greenpeace differed from the scientific consensus. To make matters even more complicated Patrick Moore owns Greenspirit whose clients consist of industries that have to deal with environmental regulations. Moore's current business gives him a conflict of interest. Penn & Teller's Bullshit! started in 2003. This was after the Royal Society's 2001 press release on climate change which was signed by 16 countries. For more about the consensus please go here. Since so many scientists agree, maybe they should have talked to scientists instead of oil lobbyists to get their environmental data and scientific facts. If this show really was about "hysteria" then why did the only post-puberty 'environmentalist' interviewed on the show, Ross Gelbspan, represent the scientific consensus and undisputable facts far more accuratetly than the oil-funded experts used by Penn & Teller?

Please Comment!
Please comment on this article at our Blog!. I posted a link to this page on wikipedia here. Apparently it might be against the rules (rule #4 and #6 are conflicting) to post a link to a website you maintain. One wikipedia user that doesn't like this page has since removed it from the page's external links. However, that doesn't prevent other people from referencing this website! The wikipedia user that deleted the link called this page a "strawman" even though I've been very careful to use quotes, time stamps, and address every single scientific "fact" presented or "debunked" during the show with multiple and reproducible peer review journals. If you feel I have misrepresented the show in any way please feel free to comment on our blog. Since I cannot post a link to this site on wikipedia I release the content of this page under a GPL. In otherwords, feel free to reproduce, rehost, and even modify this page. Just don't forget to give me credit for my hard work! If you do replicate the page please let me know, my e-mail is at the bottom of the page.

For more info on Penn & Teller:
Related Info:
Sierra Club director Paul Watson says: "
Moore makes accusations that have no basis in fact."