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Friday, December 26, 2014

Birds Lost Their Teeth 116 Million Years Ago, Scientists Say?

A group of genetic researchers led by Prof Mark Springer from Montclair State University has found that teeth were lost in the common ancestor of all living birds about 116 million years ago (the end of the Early Cretaceous).

Mutations that eliminated enamel and dentin from the teeth of modern birds - an event which eventually led to toothless beaks - began about 116 million years ago, according to a new study. Image credit: Michael Day / CC BY 2.0.
Mutations that eliminated enamel and dentin from the teeth of modern birds – an event which eventually led to toothless beaks – began about 116 million years ago, according to a new study. Image credit: Michael Day / CC BY 2.0.
All toothless vertebrates are descended from an ancestor with enamel-capped teeth. In the case of birds, it is theropod dinosaurs. Modern birds use a horny beak instead of teeth, and part of their digestive tract to grind up and process food.

Tooth formation in vertebrates is a complicated process that involves many different genes. Of these genes, six are essential for the proper formation of dentin (DSPP) and enamel (AMTN, AMBN, ENAM, AMELX, MMP20).

Prof Springer and his colleagues form Denmark, China, Australia and the United States examined these six genes in the genomes of 48 bird species for the presence of inactivating mutations that are shared by all these birds. The presence of such mutations in dentin and enamel-related genes would suggest a single loss of mineralized teeth in the common ancestor of all living birds.
The scientists found that the 48 bird species share inactivating mutations in both dentin- and enamel-related genes, indicating that the genetic machinery necessary for tooth formation was lost in the common ancestor of all modern birds.

“The presence of several inactivating mutations that are shared by all 48 bird species suggests that the outer enamel covering of teeth was lost around 116 million years ago,” said Prof Springer, who is the senior author of the paper published in the journal Science.

On the basis of fossil and molecular evidence, the team proposes a two-step scenario whereby tooth loss and beak development evolved together in the common ancestor of all modern birds.
In the first stage, tooth loss and partial beak development began on the anterior portion of both the upper and lower jaws.

The second stage involved concurrent progression of tooth loss and beak development from the anterior portion of both jaws to the back of the rostrum.

“We propose that this progression ultimately resulted in a complete horny beak that effectively replaced the teeth and may have contributed to the diversification of living birds,” Prof Springer said.
The scientists also examined the genomes of additional toothless / enamelless vertebrates including three turtles and four mammals – pangolin, aardvark, sloth, and armadillo – for inactivating mutations in the dentin- and enamel-related genes. For comparison, they looked at the genomes of mammalian taxa with enamel-capped teeth.

“All edentulous vertebrate genomes that we examined are characterized by inactivating mutations in DSPP, AMBN, AMELX, AMTN, ENAM, and MMP20, rendering these genes non-functional,” Prof Springer said.

“The dentin-related gene DSPP is functional in vertebrates with enamelless teeth – sloth, aardvark, armadillo. All six genes are functional in the American alligator, a representative of Crocodylia, the closest living relatives of birds, and mammalian taxa with enamel capped teeth.”

Songbirds Can Sense Tornado-Producing Storms, Ornithologists Say? Scientists have known for decades that tornadoes produce very strong infrasound – acoustic waves that occur at frequencies below 20 Hz, which is below the normal limits of human hearing. Birds and other animals, however, have been shown to hear infrasound

While tracking a population of golden-winged warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera) in Tennessee in April 2014, a team of ornithologists led by Dr Henry Streby of the University of California, Berkeley discovered that the birds fled their breeding grounds days ahead of the arrival of severe, tornado-producing storms.
Tornado. Image credit: Macbroadcast / CC BY-SA 2.0.

“The most curious finding is that the birds left long before the storm arrived (more than 24 hours ahead). At the same time that meteorologists on The Weather Channel were telling us this storm was headed in our direction, the birds were apparently already packing their bags and evacuating the area,” said Dr Streby, who is the lead author of a paper published in the journal Current Biology.
With a big storm brewing, the warblers took off from their breeding ground in the Cumberland Mountains of eastern Tennessee, where they had only just arrived, for an unplanned migratory event.
The birds, according to the scientists, traveled 1,500 km in five days to avoid the tornadic storms.
“The warblers in our study flew at least 1,500 km total to avoid a severe weather system. They then came right back home after the storm passed,” Dr Streby said.

“Notably, the birds fled while the storm was still 400-900 km away, and local environmental cues to inclement weather – including changes in atmospheric pressure, temperature and wind speed – were largely absent.”

The findings show that birds that follow annual migratory routes can also take off on unplanned trips at other times of the year when conditions require it.

“Our observation suggests that birds aren’t just going to sit there and take it with regards to climate change, and maybe they will fare better than some have predicted. On the other hand, this behavior presumably costs the birds some serious energy and time they should be spending on reproducing,” Dr Streby noted.

Scientists have known for decades that tornadoes produce very strong infrasound – acoustic waves that occur at frequencies below 20 Hz, which is below the normal limits of human hearing.
Birds and other animals, however, have been shown to hear infrasound and the new study presents convincing evidence that birds use it to remotely detect storms.

“The ability of birds to forecast massive storms could become increasingly important in the decades ahead,” the scientists said.
Henry M. Streby et al. Tornadic Storm Avoidance Behavior in Breeding Songbirds. Current Biology, published online December 18, 2014; doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.10.079

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

‘Absolutely Breathtaking’: See the Photo From Space That People Are Calling ‘Stunning’ Here comes the sun:

It’s the celestial body that puts the “solar” in “solar system” — and NASA just published an incredible new look at it.
X-rays stream off the sun in this image showing observations from by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, overlaid on a picture taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). This is the first picture of the sun taken by NuSTAR. The field of view covers the west limb of the sun. The NuSTAR data, seen in green and blue, reveal solar high-energy emission (green shows energies between 2 and 3 kiloelectron volts, and blue shows energies between 3 and 5 kiloelectron volts). The high-energy X-rays come from gas heated to above 3 million degrees. The red channel represents ultraviolet light captured by SDO at wavelengths of 171 angstroms, and shows the presence of lower-temperature material in the solar atmosphere at 1 million degrees. This image shows that some of the hotter emission tracked by NuSTAR is coming from different locations in the active regions and the coronal loops than the cooler emission shown in the SDO image. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC)
(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC)
Below is NASA’s explanation of the picture, taken by the NuSTAR telescope:
X-rays stream off the sun in this image showing observations from by NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, overlaid on a picture taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). This is the first picture of the sun taken by NuSTAR.
The field of view covers the west limb of the sun. The NuSTAR data, seen in green and blue, reveal solar high-energy emission (green shows energies between 2 and 3 kiloelectron volts, and blue shows energies between 3 and 5 kiloelectron volts). The high-energy X-rays come from gas heated to above 3 million degrees.
The red channel represents ultraviolet light captured by SDO at wavelengths of 171 angstroms, and shows the presence of lower-temperature material in the solar atmosphere at 1 million degrees.
This image shows that some of the hotter emission tracked by NuSTAR is coming from different locations in the active regions and the coronal loops than the cooler emission shown in the SDO image.
On Reddit, commenters reacted to the picture with amazement.
“This picture is absolutely stunning,” wrote one, while another commented, “Never once in my lifetime have [I] actually dropped my jaw from seeing a picture, this was the first time. This photo is absolutely breathtaking.”
Others remarked how the picture was both beautiful and frightening.
“For some reason all these hi-res picture of the cosmos scare me to death,” one commenter wrote. “To see in such great details the sun, or the surface of Mars, it makes them look so fragile and transient…”
Quipped yet another: “Stuff like this just reminds me how insignificant our world is in the scale of things but then reassures me from all the vast size and scope of the universe a thing so small as our planet can produce so much wonder.”

Al Gore Un Stop Madness

Embedded image permalink

Monday, December 22, 2014

New EPA Regs Issued Under Obama Are 43 Times as Long as Bible

Barack Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued 3,120 new final regulations, equaling 27,854 pages in the Federal Register, totaling approximately 27,854,000 words.
regulations, epa
Using the website and data from the Federal Register, found 3,120 final rules published by the EPA since January 2009 covering  greenhouse gases, air quality, emissions, and hazardous substances, to name a few. The Federal Register publishes documents, including proposed rules, notices, interim rules, corrections, drafts of final rules and final rules but the tabulation included only the final rules from the EPA.
For comparison with those final rules, the Gutenberg Bible is 1,282 pageslong and contains 646,128 words.This means that the new EPA regulations issued by the Obama Administration now contain 21 times as many pages as the Bible and 43 times as many words.
Also, the EPA regulations have 25 times as many words as the entire Harry Potter series, which includes seven books with 1,084,170 words.
gutenberg bible
One volume of the Gutenberg Bible, which was published as a two-volume set in 1455.
To get an approximate word count for each EPA rule in the Federal Register, evaluated a few random rules from the 3,120 EPA regulations published since Obama took office, and calculated an approximate average of 1,000 words per page. From this, calculated that the 3,120 final EPA rules that have been published in the Federal Register so far take up 27,854,000 words.
This is only an approximation because some pages in the Federal Register carry more words than others, and some regulations end in the beginning or middle of a page. For example, one of the regulations was five-pages long and totaled 5,586 words, an average of 1,117 words per page.
Another regulation was three-pages long and 3,150 words, which averaged to 1,050 words per page. Another rule was four-pages long and 4,426 words, or an average 1,106 words per page.
harry potter
The 7 volumes of the Harry Potter book series. (AP)
“The broader question of whether the Obama Administration’s EPA is ‘overreaching’ in its regulatory effects has not gone away. Critics both in Congress and outside of it regularly accuse the agency of overkill,” states a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?
“EPA’s actions, both individually and in sum, have generated controversy,” the CRS report states. “Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have expressed concerns, through bipartisan letters commenting on proposed regulations and through introduced legislation that would delay, limit, or prevent certain EPA actions.”
Yet, EPA proponents are fighting for more rules. “Environmental groups and other supporters of the agency disagree that EPA has overreached,” said CRS. “Many of them believe that the agency is, in fact, moving in the right direction, including taking action on significant issues that had been long delayed or ignored in the past. In several cases, environmental advocates would like the regulatory actions to be stronger.”

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Arkansas Global Warming Emergency Broadcast System.?

Infectious diseases are disorders caused by organisms — such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Many organisms live in and on our bodies. They're normally harmless or even helpful, but under certain conditions, some organisms may cause disease.
Some infectious diseases can be passed from person to person. Some are transmitted by bites from insects or animals. And others are acquired by ingesting contaminated food or water or being exposed to organisms in the environment.
Signs and symptoms vary depending on the organism causing the infection, but often include fever and fatigue. Mild complaints may respond to rest and home remedies, while some life-threatening infections may require hospitalization.
Many infectious diseases, such as measles and chickenpox, can be prevented by vaccines. Frequent and thorough hand-washing also helps protect you from infectious diseases.

In an article at NWAOnline (that would be Northwest Arkansas Online, not the other NWA), we learn that "Report: Arkansas not disease-ready."
Arkansas is the least prepared state in the nation for an infectious disease outbreak, according to a report released Thursday by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ... Some information in the report should be of interest to Arkansans, [Dirk] Haselow [Arkansas Department of Health epidemiologist] said, including the lack of a climate change adaptation plan. The report says the plans can help states prepare for possible increases in infectious diseases because of climate change. 'We do need to start putting this on our radar,' Haselow said.
Here is what Arkansas should put on their climate change and disease radar: since records began in 1895, there has been no significant trend in the state's average temperature, maximum temperature, minimum temperature, precipitation, cooling degree days, heating degree days, Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), Palmer Hydrological Drought Index (PHDI), Palmer Modified Drought Index (PMDI), or the ominously named "Palmer Z-Index."  This constitutes all climate indicators in the NOAA National Climatic Center Database.
This concludes this test of the Climate Emergency Broadcast System.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hot 2014 Doesn’t Prove Manmade Global Warming Hysteria Right

The data may show Earth experienced its hottest year on record in 2014, but that would not be proof humans are causing global warming. It wouldn’t even prove the year was the hottest on record, or even particularly hot.

As early as September, global warming alarmists were claiming 2014 would set the record for highest average global temperature.

While cities and regions in the United States have been breaking record after record for cold temperatures and snowfall, most of the rest of the globe, including the oceans that make up most of Earth’s surface, has been warmer than average. Looking only at the badly flawed land-based temperature measurements, 2014 may be the “hottest year on record.”
But it may not be, since much more accurate satellite temperature measurements indicate 2014 will be a year with only slightly above average temperatures at best.

Assuming for the sake of argument the satellite measurements are wrong, record high temperatures in 2014 would be consistent with climate models, but any good scientist will point out a single record-setting year, just as a single climate catastrophe like a bad hurricane or an anomalous drought, cannot be definitively linked to human activities.

Indeed, when climate realists like myself point out the fact that Earth experienced below-average temperatures during the 1940s through the 1970s, alarmists regularly respond, “two or three decades is too short a time to make general claims about climate.” If three decades of records is too short a time period to leap to conclusions about human-caused climate change, a single year, even a record-setting year, provides far too little data to come to any firm conclusions.

To believe humans are causing global warming, one must blindly embrace admittedly incomplete climate models to the exclusion of all evidence to the contrary.

Climate model temperature projections have consistently been much higher than actual temperatures, and each year the gap between model temperature predictions and actual measured temperatures grows. In addition, whereas climate models have projected steadily rising temperatures over the past two decades, global temperatures have in fact stagnated for 18 years despite a significant increase in greenhouse gases.

Some climate scientists, citing the models, claim we should be experiencing more severe hurricanes, but only one of the top ten deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history has occurred since 1957, with eight of the ten deadliest hurricanes having hit the United States before 1935. In fact, although greenhouse gas levels have risen dramatically since the 1950s, the average number of hurricanes and the number of strong hurricanes have declined substantially.

Biologists have predicted species will go extinct due to human-induced global warming, yet they can’t point to a single species that has. The iconic polar bear, the poster child for species endangered by a warming planet, is thriving. At more than 25,000 bears, the polar bear population increased substantially during the warming of the past half-century. In fact, polar bears numbers are growing in regions of their habitat experiencing higher-than-normal temperatures and lower-than-average sea ice thickness and extent.

Speaking of sea ice, the Arctic experienced dramatic declines in sea ice over the past decade, declines projected by climate models. In the past couple of years, however, Arctic ice has recovered to its average levels for the past decade; the decline has frozen (pardon the pun), as have global temperatures.

In addition, contrary to model projections, Antarctic sea ice has been growing to record levels year after year, setting new records multiple times in 2014 alone. Even climate modelers admit they can’t explain why Antarctica has been growing. Once again, the facts confound the models.
Climate models indicate global warming should be causing more and more-prolonged droughts and increased episodes of extreme rainfall, yet studies show recent droughts fall well within the historical average for frequency, length, and severity, and frequency of flooding events has not increased.
Despite the reported recent warming, deaths related to temperatures or extreme weather events have declined dramatically during the past century, a trend that shows no indication of abating.

The real bugaboo raised by environmental radicals is that sea levels are rising and will rise even more dramatically if global warming is not halted or at least slowed. Sea levels are rising, as they always do between ice ages, but the current rate of rise is well below the average for the past 18,000 years. The rate of rise has not increased over the past two centuries, and a recent study found the rate of sea-level rise has slowed 31 percent since 2002, and by 44 percent since 2004. At this pace, scientists expect sea-level rise of less than seven inches per century.

Whereas none of the climate disaster scenarios spun out by environmental alarmists and faithfully publicized by the mainstream media is being borne out in reality, one significant climate benefit is proving true. Globally, Earth is greening, as increased CO2 levels have proved to be a powerful steroid enhancing plant growth. Farmland and farm yields are both increasing.
How would climate alarmists have world leaders respond to all this good news? By killing fossil fuels.

As author Alex Epstein argues, instead of taking a safe climate and making it dangerous through the use of fossil fuels, we have been transforming a dangerous climate into a safer, more manageable one for human flourishing. This has particular benefits for people in developing countries, for whom additional fossil fuel energy is an economic godsend.

Humans have long fought a war with climate, and to the extent we’ve won, it has been through the use of technology, most recently including fossil fuels. I say let’s keep taking the battle to the climate on behalf of the millions of people still living in poverty.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gruber Thinking in Climate Science: Disconnect Between Academia And The Real World.

There are many parallels between the Jonathan Gruber story and what has occurred in climate science. Gruber used a computer model to produce justification for a US national healthcare system. This parallels the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) use of computer models produced to justify the need for international climate control. They both claim their models are accurate and solid as the basis for draconian policy changes. They both fail to understand that playing with models in a university requires they satisfy research and scientific standards. We don’t know if they do, because so much of what they produce that is critical to proper analysis, such as computer codes, is proprietary. Gruber’s models are proprietary, even if the taxpayer pays him and they are the basis for public policy. They both fail to understand that a different set of standards and responsibilities are applied when you take your lab work in to the public forum.

From The University To the Real World
There are social consequences, as Gruber discovered when he appeared before Congress on December 9, 2014. Paul Driessen has written on the consequences often on WUWT. Gruber’s appearance underscored the distance between academia and the real world. It is a distance I have experienced and confronted during my 25-year academic career. A distance demonstrated by Gruber and throughout the 6000 emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia and countless other horror stories that never reach the public.

I was aware of this distance as a mature student going back to university after military service. I experienced the distance as a faculty member and did many things to bring the world into the university for students. It is a gap academia wants to exist, because if people knew how little they do and what is actually going on, funding would be mostly withdrawn. Faculty does very little teaching. They produce very little research, most of which is to further their career. Other faculty members judge their performance, in a truly incestuous, backbiting system. I could fill a book with my personal knowledge of faculty and academic horror stories.

A colleague (?) at the university where I taught said, in a discussion about teaching, that he was a professor, not a teacher. If the students didn’t understand what he professed, that was their problem, not his. Faculty is hired on the basis of university qualifications, which is usually a doctorate in a very specialized area of research. They are not required to have any training in teaching and may only have a smattering of experience after being graduate students. It appears politicians are the only group in society less qualified for a major part of their job, than university professors. The Department chair told me I was an entertainer, to which I replied, if the students don’t attend or fall asleep, the lecture is a waste of time. Gruber implies he was forced to deceive because the public is stupid and wouldn’t understand. No Sir, the failure is your ability to communicate the truth. Worse, your argument is designed to cover a deliberate deception and that you did well. The IPCC achieved the same deceptions with their Summary for Policymakers (SPM).

Universities abhor the demand for relevance and accountability. Look at the cover-ups they participated in with regard to information exposed by the leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU). What they fear is exposure to the real world of how little is actually going on. Most of what they do is perpetuate the secrecy and thus maintain their unique and bizarre world.

I fought this darkness through my time in the university. I hung a picture frame with no picture on my office window with a label that said, The Real World”. I never gave a lecture without starting with a news item that related to what we were studying in the course. I gave all my own lectures and set and marked all my own exams and papers. I served on many committees at all levels of government for real world experience. I apologized to one class about not having as many office hours as I would like because of these commitments. The students said they appreciated that their professor had credibility in the real world. Besides, they appreciated the real world examples I brought into the classroom. For example, in a water resources class, the class project involved participation in a commission of inquiry over conflict about a real lake. The students were divided into small groups representing different segments of those affected. In the last week of the course they made presentations to me as the Commission. I also organized a Toastmasters group on campus because most students would need these skills in their careers in the real world. I visited schools and invited high school classes to sit in on my university classes. My department told me that all these activities were a waste of my time, yet I produced more research most years than for the entire department.

Universities Are Self–created, Self-perpetuating, Anachronistic Systems.

The reality is that university education is not for everybody. Despite that society makes the assumption that every child entering kindergarten will end up in university. This, by default, makes failures of a majority of society. Even for those who get in, most students just passing with a C average, are simply getting grades 13, 14, and 15, in what is really only a socially acceptable form of unemployment. Meanwhile the majority, with a multitude of other talents needed in society, is denigrated and made to feel inferior by the academic community. Consider Gruber’s arrogance. Besides, most faculty members only tolerate students in order to maintain funding to protect their jobs. Using graduate students to do their teaching is an abrogation of their teaching responsibility, but they get away with it. I heard one faculty member say, if we could just get rid of the students this would be a great place to work. But it is academics who set up and maintain the system. They decide on what is a valuable type of intelligence and impose that on society. To my knowledge there is no university or college that offers a course in common sense. If they did they would have to bring a person from outside to teach it.

There are few better examples of academic arrogance and their belief that the end justifies the means than in a series of recorded presentations featuring Jonathan Gruber. In one of the academic presentations, the audience laughed in sympathy with Gruber’s portrayal of the people as stupid. The end was establishment of the Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) plan. He was recorded on many occasions referring to the deceptions taken to fool a stupid public, who were incapable of understanding economics that were simple for his superior brain and abilities. In Congressional testimony, forced by public and political reaction, he apologized for his remarks, but insisted the end was still worth it. No it isn’t! If it were, it wouldn’t need the deception.

In his article Give Gruber a Break”, Charles Battig describes Economist Gruber’s views and statements as being normal in the academic world. After 25 years of grappling with that world, I agree, but know that most people don’t know what is “normal” in the so – called Ivory Tower. Remember, the communications within the leaked emails was defined as normal scientific banter. As Clive Crook explained,

The closed-mindedness of these supposed men of science, their willingness to go to any lengths to defend a preconceived message, is surprising even to me. The stink of intellectual corruption is overpowering. And, as Christopher Booker said, this scandal is not at the margins of the politicised IPCC process. It is not tangential to the policy prescriptions emanating from what David Henderson called the environmental policy milieu. It goes to the core of that process.

This and my experiences support the Wikipedia definition of the Ivory Tower.

From the 19th century, it has been used to designate a world or atmosphere where intellectuals engage in pursuits that are disconnected from the practical concerns of everyday life. It usually carries pejorative connotations of a willful disconnect from the everyday world: esoteric, over-specialized, or even useless research, and academic elitism.

It fits my experience as a student, graduate student and faculty member. The phrase that an idea is, “purely academic” means it is irrelevant to the real world. I can make these judgments because of work experience in government, private business, industry, and the military. I joked about retiring from academia because there was so much scar tissue on my back, there was no place left to put a knife. Academics want the scars they inflict to remain visible. Many have written for centuries about the vicious and nasty politics of universities as Battig identified.

Overall universities are a fraud. How much longer before a student at Harvard sues for false advertising? They go, expecting courses from professors, but end up with graduate students giving the class. These graduate students are indentured servants working for very low wages and little different from serfs, which is appropriate, because universities are mediaeval institutions being dragged kicking and screaming into the 18th century. If you want to see vestiges of the medieval, witness the Elizabethan gowns and hats they wear at convocations. I am no fan of Prince Philip, but maybe as a vestige of medievalism himself, he recognizes what is going on when he said universities are the only true incestuous system in our society. Almost everybody who is working there is a product. Most executives, presidents, vice presidents and Deans and middle management positions, such as department chairs, are academics. How many are given the welcoming lecture that this is not job training, other than in professional schools like law and medicine, but then never told what it is doing.
Economist John Maynard Keynes said,

Education: The inculcation of the incomprehensible into the indifferent by the incompetent.

He should know because he is the economist who convinced politicians that you get out of debt by going further in to debt. Gruber says people are too stupid to understand economics. Maybe, but they know better than Gruber or Keynes, that economics is purely and simply the balance between money coming in and going out – nothing more. What is even more galling about Gruber is, he knows the public understand this. It is why he admitted hiding the truth that with Obamacare generally more goes out than comes in for individuals and for government.

Failed Predictions; A Measure Of Disconnect.
There is a basic reason why economic predictions fail and it relates to Gruber’s assumption that people are stupid. He thinks they will react in a certain way because he, in his brilliance, has designed a system that forces their reaction. A scientific prediction is either right or wrong. When an economic prediction is made, people, especially the influential, react and modify their behavior, almost always invalidating the prediction. Welcome to the real world, Mr. Gruber. IPCC has done the same. They assumed nature and people would function and react in a certain way. Increased CO2 would result in increasing temperatures. Both were assuming ceteris paribus, but it never is because of feedbacks in nature and human behavior.
Gruber accused people of not understanding economics. He should consider that it has long been known as “the dismal science”, so-named by Thomas Carlyle, because of the failed predictions of Thomas Malthus. This provides a connection to the current failed climate predictions of the IPCC, which are neo-Malthusian. The Club of Rome expanded the idea that overpopulation would exhaust food resources and all resources. Maurice Strong, in Agenda 21, at the 1992 Rio Conference, narrowed the focus to the industrial nations. Reducing their impact was achieved by “scientifically” identifying CO2 as their exhaust and falsely claiming it was causing run away global warming.
This identification of a single variable, as almost the sole cause, also aligns climate science with economics. It is said that economic predictions fail because they try to predict the tide by measuring one wave. The IPCC have done the same thing by using the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) to oversimplify, exaggerate and misrepresent what the science actually shows.
My presentations at three Heartland Climate Conferences all spoke to the failure to communicate the skeptical side of global warming. At the first Heartland in New York, only a few in the audience came up after and acknowledged what I actually said. They were all non-scientists, but also communicators. One in particular, Marita Noon, was also in attendance at the 2014 Heartland in Las Vegas; we spent considerable time discussing the issue of helping the public understand. Marita has focused on and done a very good job with the energy sector, who often know the science is bad, but is in no position to voice or act on that. In New York, I pointed out that Al Gore’s movie was a superb piece of propaganda that would likely make Leni Riefenstahl proud. Gore employed Hollywood to produce, because they know how to manipulate people’s emotions. Gore’s Oscar was justified, based on Hollywood values.

The Enemy Within
Judith Curry wrote a revealing summary of reflections on the fifth anniversary of Climategate. It references an early Curry commentary on Steve Mcintyre’s site titled, “On the credibility of climate research.” In that article Curry provides examples of Ivory Tower thinking.

Climate tribalism. Tribalism is defined here as a strong identity that separates one’s group from members of another group, characterized by strong in-group loyalty and regarding other groups differing from the tribe’s defining characteristics as inferior. In the context of scientific research, tribes differ from groups of colleagues that collaborate and otherwise associate with each other professionally.

After becoming more knowledgeable about the politics of climate change (both the external politics and the internal politics within the climate field), I became concerned about some of the tribes pointing their guns inward at other climate researchers who question their research or don’t pass various loyalty tests.

I am grateful for Judith Curry’s experience and explanation of them. It illustrates the Ivory Tower situation well, and how those within can’t or don’t want to see what is going on. It all seems “normal”. It is another carry over of the medieval situation in universities, when they effectively won the “town and gown” battle and generally, only go to town if funding is threatened. Curry appears to have stumbled on the realities of academia and what was going on in the outside world in climate science. In the true spirit of open debate Curry commendably welcomed Steve McIntyre to her university, Georgia Tech, in 2008. Ms. Curry knew the debate wasn’t over and the science wasn’t settled. It appears the reactions Ms. Curry experienced were a surprise and a revelation. As McIntyre explained,
Readers of this blog should realize that Judy Curry has been (undeservedly) criticized within the climate science community for inviting me to Georgia Tech.

Until you push back against the tribe, you have no idea how hard and nasty they react. Often the worst reactions come from within academia. The false information on the web about me came from a former colleague. Another wrote a three-page letter, that a lawyer said was libelous, saying I had no right to be on radio, television or speaking in public.

Beyond that, it appears that I am a challenge for alarmists because they couldn’t say I wasn’t qualified, although they tried, and I was able to explain complex climate science in ways the public understood. The latter ability was honed by teaching a science credit for arts students, making a multitude of public presentations, co-authoring a climate textbook, publishing peer-reviewed articles, and teaching climatology to large (300+) classes for 25 years. I knew my colleagues saw my teaching ability as a handicap. They assume teaching and research are mutually exclusive.
I am not surprised by the inability of climate skeptics to communicate with the real world. They are, for the most part, products of the Ivory Tower. They have all the problems associated, further complicated by an inability to compete, because the climate claims of the IPCC are political, not scientific.

It is time to close most universities, or better still convert them to trade training. If society really wants more equity and an education that meets its needs, then society must consider a tradesperson of more value than an economist or most other university graduates. Most societies, that the academics would call “primitive”, prepare their children for the real world. For the most part, we don’t.

A professor is a man whose job is to tell students how to solve problems of life, which he himself has tried to avoid by becoming a professor.

A professor is one who talks in someone else’s sleep.

Education: that which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.

Ambrose Bierce
You can always tell a Harvard man – but you can’t tell him much.
Elbert Hubbard.

The reason universities are so full of knowledge is that students come with so much and leave with so little.
Marshall McLuhan

You Can't make this stuff Up ? Global warming 56 million years ago holds lessons for climate change today

Taking samples from Wyoming sediment cores, the researchers concluded that a global warming episode, probably caused by two massive increases of carbon, (55.5 million to 55.3 million years ago) -- a period known as the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) -- involved the average annual release of at least 0.9 petagrams (1.98 trillion pounds) of carbon to the atmosphere.?

There may be hope for the planet after all.

A new study has found that atmospheric conditions on Earth about 56 million years ago were similar in many ways to increasing warming that is seen today. The good news is that most species back then survived the hotter conditions, when temperatures rose by 5 to 8 degrees Celsius (9 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit). The bad news? It took the planet millennia to recover.
"There is a positive note in that the world persisted, it did not go down in flames, it has a way of self-correcting and righting itself," said University of Utah geochemist Gabe Bowen, the lead author of the study published today in the journal Nature Geoscience. "However, in this event it took almost 200,000 years before things got back to normal."

Bowen said the releases may have approached the levels seen in modern times, which are about 9.5 petagrams (20.9 trillion pounds ) per year. Since 1900, human burning of fossil fuels emitted an average of 3 petagrams per year -- even closer to the rate 55.5 million years ago.

Scott Wing, a co-author on the study and a paleobiologist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, said this "study gives us the best idea yet of how quickly this vast amount of carbon was released at the beginning of the global warming event we call the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum."

It happened within "a few thousands of years or less," he said. "That's important because it means the ancient event happened at a rate more like human-caused global warming than we ever realized."
Bowen said the new findings strengthen the significance of what many scientists had previously suspected about the period.

"The Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum has stood out as a striking, but contested, example of how 21st-century-style atmospheric carbon dioxide buildup can affect climate, environments and ecosystems worldwide," said Bowen, an associate professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah.

"This new study tightens the link," he added. "Carbon release back then looked a lot like human fossil-fuel emissions today, so we might learn a lot about the future from changes in climate, plants, and animal communities 55.5 million years ago."

Paul Olsen, Columbia University's Arthur Storke Memorial Professor who studies the environmental controls on mass extinction and climate cycles, said the researchers have presented a "very convincing argument about how fast the change in climate occurred during the PETM."

But while they calculate the amount of methane released into the atmosphere, Olson said they still don't have a record of carbon dioxide. That would give them "a bullet-proof argument" in using PETM as a comparison to what is happening today.

"They can argue there was distinct warming associated with that, and there is evidence of warming," Olsen said. "But they don't have a record of carbon dioxide. That is not their fault. It's just the way the record is. I'm pretty strongly persuaded that they are seeing carbon dioxide increase rapidly. But since it's not a direct record itself, there are some questions about how you interpret that data."

The Nature study shows that in the PETM, atmospheric carbon levels returned to normal within a few thousand years after the first pulse, probably as carbon dissolved in the ocean. It took up to 200,000 years for conditions to normalize after the second one.

Bowen said the warmer temperatures back then led to enhanced storminess in some areas and much drier conditions in others, and while there seemed to be some effect on animal migrations, he contended that it led to "only a little bit of extinction" -- of some groups of one-celled deep sea organisms.
Some researchers argue the impacts were bigger than he suggests.

A study last month in Nature Communications found that climate change affected the growth and skeleton structure of ancient algae during this period, which has potential significance for equivalent microscopic organisms that play an important role in the world's oceans today.

"Our results show that climate change significantly altered coccolithophore calcification rates at the PETM and has the potential to be just as significant, perhaps even more so, today," Sarah O'Dea, from Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton and lead author of the study, said in a statement.

Bowen acknowledged there are limits to comparing climate change some 55 million years ago to the present day. The global climate already was much warmer when the Paleocene-Eocene warming began, and there were no icecaps, "so this played out on a different playing field than what we have today."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Michael Mann, Author of Debunked Hockey Stick Graph, Presents Lecture on Scientific Ethics




In a moment of supreme irony, Michael Mann, the climatologist who constructed the now debunked hockey stick graph designed to make the case for global warming, has today delivered a lecture on “professional ethics for climate scientists”, Watts Up With That has reported.

Mann took to the stage alongside colleague Kent Peacock to “suggest that ethical training could be regularly incorporated into graduate curricula in fields such as climate science and geology,” at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting, currently taking place in San Francisco.
According to the lecture’s blurb on the AGU’s website, this is necessary as “several authors have warned that climate scientists sometimes exhibit a tendency to “err on the side of least drama” in reporting the risks associated with fossil fuel emissions.

“Scientists are often reluctant to comment on the implications of their work for public policy, despite the fact that because of their expertise they may be among those best placed to make recommendations about such matters as mitigation and preparedness.

“Scientists often have little or no training in ethics or philosophy, and consequently they may feel that they lack clear guidelines for balancing the imperative to avoid error against the need to speak out when it may be ethically required to do so.”

This argument has been made previously, most notably by climatologist Stephen Schneider in 1989, who, in an interview with Discover magazine, said “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but—which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts.
“On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change.

“To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula.
“Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”

More recently, much the same argument was made by two Chinese economists, Fuhai Hong and Xiaojian Zhao, in a paper entitled Information Manipulation and Climate Agreements  published by the American Journal of Agricultural Economics in February of this year.

They noted that “It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change.” However, they found that “the information manipulation has an instrumental value, as it ex post induces more countries to participate in an IEA (International Environmental Agreement), which will eventually enhance global welfare.”

In other words, climate change ethics stipulates that it’s ok to exaggerate and perhaps even lie, as long as you’re doing so to protect the planet.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lima climate summit extended as poor countries demand more from rich

Climate talks in Lima ran into extra time amid rising frustration from developing countries at the “ridiculously low” commitments from rich countries to help pay for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The talks – originally scheduled to wrap up at 12pm after 10 days – are now expected to run well into Saturday , as negotiators huddle over a new draft text many glimpsed for the first time only morning.
The Lima negotiations began on a buoyant note after the US, China and the EU came forward with new commitments to cut carbon pollution. But they were soon brought back down to earth over the perennial divide between rich and poor countries in the negotiations: how should countries share the burden for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and who should pay?

The talks were designed to draft a blueprint for a global deal to fight climate change, due to be adopted in Paris late next year. But developing countries argued that before signing on they needed to see greater commitments that the industrialised countries would keep to their end of a bargain to provide the money needed to fight climate change. After 10 days of talks, developing countries argued that those assurances were not strong enough.

By midweek, a little over $10bn had been raised for a green climate fund, intended to help poor countries invest in clean energy technology. That was below the initial target of $15bn and many of those funds will be distributed over several years.

It was also unclear how industrialised countries could be held to an earlier promise to mobilise $100bn a year for climate finance by 2020, negotiators from developing countries said. “We are disappointed,” said India’s Prakash Javadekar. “It is ridiculous. It is ridiculously low.” Javadekar said the pledges to the green climate fund amounted to backsliding. “We are upset that 2011, 2012, 2013 – three consecutive years – the developed world provided $10bn each year for climate action support to the developing world, but now they have reduced it. Now they are saying $10bn is for four years, so it is $2.5bn,” he said.

he frustration – with the lack of climate finance as well as other aspects of the draft text – was widespread among developing countries, especially those in the gravest danger from climate change.
There have been more than 20 years of Conference of the Parties (CoP) meetings, such as those at Lima, with little in the way of concrete outcomes, said Ahmed Sareer, the Maldivian negotiator who is about to take over the leadership of the Alliance of Small Island States.

“How many CoPs will it take for us to really see any tangible results? We have been going from CoP to CoP and every time we are given so many assurances, and expectations are raised, but the gaps are getting wider,” he said.

“There has been a clear commitment of $100bn a year but how are we really being offered? Even when they make those pledges how do we know how much is going to materialise? There is no point of knowing that behind the wall there is a big source of funds available unless we can reach it,” he said.

“We are told it is there in a nice show case, but we don’t get to meet it. We don’t get to access it. These are difficult issues for us.”

The seven-page draft text under discussion so far remains in a very raw state, with negotiators asked to choose between three options on virtually every major issue of contention.
But the multiple-choice format makes it evident that the old fault lines between rich and poor countries remain.

In addition to finance, one of the biggest areas of contentious is “differentiation” in UN parlance – which countries should bear the burden of cutting emissions that cause climate change.
The US and other industrialised countries require all countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
That would be a departure from the original UN classification of the 1990s – which absolved China, India and other developing countries which are now major carbon polluters – of cutting their emissions.

Developing countries are suspicious that the text being developed in Lima is an attempt to rewrite those old guidelines.

“I am certain that developing countries the majority of them will have a problem with the way they framed responsibility. Most developing countries will be concerned about that,” said Tasneem Essop, head of strategy for WWF.

Countries are also divided over the initial commitments countries are expected to make on fighting climate change – known as “intended nationally determined contributions”.

Rich countries, including the US, only want to commit to carbon cuts. Developing countries want those commitments to include finance for climate adaptation.

The rich-poor divide also holds over the issue of monitoring the scale of those commitments – with China, India and other countries opposed to outside review.

John Global Warming Armageddon Kerry



As Rainstorm Pummels West Coast, Kerry Links Extreme Weather to Climate Change?

A major storm in California and the Pacific Northwest has caused hurricane-force winds and dumped more than seven inches of rain in the worst-hit areas. The storm knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes and canceled several hundred flights. It moved southward overnight, prompting new evacuations. Speaking at the U.N. climate summit in Lima, Peru, Secretary of State John Kerry linked the storm to worsening extreme weather under climate change, which he said poses a major threat 22 years after the Earth Summit in Rio.
Secretary of State John Kerry: "This morning, I woke up in Washington to the television news of a super-storm rainfall in California and Washington state –-torrential, record-breaking rain in record-breaking short time. It’s become commonplace now to hear of record-breaking climate events. But this is 2014, 22 years later, and we’re still on a course leading to tragedy."
Kerry spoke on the eve of the climate summit’s last scheduled day of talks.

Friday, December 12, 2014

King Obama EPA uses Jonathan Gruber tactic to impose harmful regulations

“Lack of transparency was really critical to getting it passed,” former Obamacare consultant Jonathan Gruber explained. The Democrats cleverly exploited the American voters’ “lack of economic understanding.”

Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is using secretive, duplicitous science, and exploiting people’s lack of scientific understanding, to impose punitive regulations cleverly labeled the “clean power plan.”
The agency claims the clean power plan will prevent “dangerous manmade climate change” by reducing carbon dioxide and “encouraging” greater use of renewable energy. Its real goal is forcing coal-fired power plants to reduce operations significantly or shut down entirely.
The EPA also claims that eliminating coal in electricity generation will bring major health benefits. The benefits are illusory, and the agency ignores the harmful effects its regulations are having on people’s livelihoods, living standards, health and well-being.
The clean power plan augments numerous other anti-coal regulations. Their imaginary benefits include reduced mercury risks for hypothetical American women who eat 296 pounds of fish a year that they catch themselves, and a “0.00209 point” improvement in IQ test scores.

he Environmental Protection Agency’s particulates standard is equivalent to having 1 ounce of superfine soot dispersed in a volume of air one-half mile long, one-half mile wide and one story tall.
America’s air is already clean, thanks to emission control systems that remove the vast majority of pollutants. Remaining pollutants pose few actual health problems.
Moreover, even if plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide plays more than a tiny role in climate change, China and India will keep burning fossil fuels to lift people out of abject poverty. Even eliminating all U.S. coal and natural gas use will not make an iota of global difference.
To get the results it wants, the EPA cherry-picks often questionable research that supports its agenda and disregards all others. It low-balls costs, pays its “independent” scientific advisers and outside pressure groups such as the American Lung Association millions of dollars annually to rubber-stamp its decisions, and dismisses the cumulative effects its regulations have on energy costs, businesses, jobs and families.
Energy Ventures Analysis Inc. recently conducted the first tally of snowballing costs for the electric power industry and residential, industrial and other energy customers, overall and state by state.
Energy Ventures Analysis found that EPA rules will inflict $284 billion per year in extra electricity and natural gas costs in 2020 compared with its 2012 baseline year. The typical household’s annual electricity and natural gas bills will rise 35 percent during that period and climb every year afterward, as standards become more stringent.
For manufacturing and other businesses, electricity and natural gas costs will almost double from 2012 to 2020, increasing nearly $200 billion annually. Energy-intensive industries such as aluminum, steel and chemical manufacturing will find it increasingly hard to compete in global markets.
Imagine running a factory, school district or hospital and having to factor in such skyrocketing costs. Where will the extra money come from? How many workers or teachers will get laid off, or patients turned away? Can you stay open?
The clean power plan also will force utility companies to spend billions of dollars building replacement gas and wind generators and new gas and transmission lines. The EPA does not consider those costs, either.

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