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Alarmism at Scientific American (again)

February 24, 2015

Scientific American is such an embarrassment.  It’s sad, because I used to like that magazine.

Once again they are shills for the global warming alarmists, scaring people with wildly exaggerated claims about sea level rise.  This time Colin Sullivan writes that the sea level at New York City could increase by six feet by 2100.

Heat waves and floods caused by climate change could mean disaster for the Big Apple’s five boroughs by the end of the century, with sea levels now predicted by a new report to climb by as much as 6 feet by 2100.

Really?  6 feet by 2100????

First, lets start with a minor point.  Real scientists and science writers usually don’t use “feet,” they use meters.  So why does Scientific American use “feet?”  My guess is that it is some linear combination of the following two reasons: the Scientific America audience isn’t really scientifically literate these days, and “6 feet” sounds like more than “2 meters” (even though it is actually slightly less).

Now, lets get to the major point.  Any responsible journalist writing about sea level rise in at New York City would present the historical data.  There are nearly 150 years of sea level rise data available for The Battery (at the southern tip of Manhattan) from NOAA

8518750[1]

Do you notice that the sea level rise is less than 3 mm/year?  Can you detect an acceleration over the past 150 years?  The sea level at the Battery will go up about 22 cm by 2100 at the present rate.  To go up 6 feet (1.83 meters) by 2100 it would have to look something like this…

Battery sea level rise extended 4

There is a part of me that wants to heap invective on Colin Sullivan and Scientific American, but I realize that while that may make me feel better, it will not help the situation.  So I will simply ask them, “Why don’t you show the actual historic data?”  It seems like a no-brainer, and anything less is journalistic malpractice.

Deniers and Alarmists

People like me have been branded with the “denier” epithet.  Why this particular word?  We are called “deniers” an ugly attempt to link us with Holocaust deniers.  It is an inaccurate and unfair moniker.

But we tend to call those at the other end of the spectrum “alarmists.”  Is that an unfair accusation?  I don’t think so, and this Scientific American article demonstrates why.  They pretend to be an objective source, but leave out the most pertinent data.  I can only think of two possible reasons for this: they are just stupid, or they want to cause a state of alarm.  I may be charitable in assigning the second motive.  “Alarmist” is an accurate and fair epithet for them.

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Strategy for Protecting Freedom of Speech

January 17, 2015

The world is grappling with how to handle Islamist extremists.  The lynch pin of advanced civilizations is the freedom of speech, and the Islamist extremist now see this as one of our vulnerabilities.  By taking down this one pillar, the integrity of the entire structure trembles.

I propose what I will call the “expanding infidel group” strategy.  

The center of the infidel group will be those individuals or organizations who have already published ideas, including cartoons and satire, that the Islamic extremist condemn with threat of death.  

The outside part of the infidel group will be individuals or organizations who pledge support to the inside part.  Specifically, they will pledge to also publish ideas that the Islamic extremists object to if somebody from the inside of the infidel group is attacked.  

Attacks on our freedom of speech would then be guaranteed to expand the very thing they attack. 

Further, civilized societies will step up retribution against individuals who carry out attacks, as well as their social support groups and supporting organizations.  

We have seen this already happening in effect with the courageous groups that have defied the Islamic extremists by republishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons and the 50-fold increase in the sales of the Charlie Hebdo issue after the massacre, and the rapid advance of various European police forces on suspected terrorist groups.

I propose the above as an organizing principle.

I would say to US news organizations that have not published the offending cartoons: it is not too late to do so, or pledge to do so (or more) if further attacks occur.

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Seven IPCC Claims Refuted

December 8, 2014

Roger Andrews addresses seven claims of the IPCC Working Group 2.  I know that oil people are supposed to be automatically suspect, but open your mind and read what Andrews has to say as he handily addresses these points…

Claim 1: Glaciers continue to shrink almost worldwide due to climate change

Claim 2: Many terrestrial, freshwater, and marine species have shifted their geographic ranges ….. in response to ongoing climate change.

Claim 3: While only a few recent species extinctions have been attributed as yet to climate change, natural global climate change at rates slower than current anthropogenic climate change caused significant ecosystem shifts and species extinctions during the past millions of years.

Claim 4: Based on many studies covering a wide range of regions and crops, negative impacts of climate change on crop yields have been more common than positive impacts.

Claim 5: Impacts from recent climate-related extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires, reveal significant vulnerability and exposure of some ecosystems and many human systems to current climate variability.

Claim 6: At present the worldwide burden of human ill-health from climate change is relatively small … and is not well quantified. However, there has been increased heat-related mortality and decreased cold-related mortality in some regions as a result of warming.

Claim 7: Violent conflict increases vulnerability to climate change.

Here is a teaser.

Part of Andrews’ responses for claims 1 and 4…

Glacier length

World Grain Production

Read Roger Andrews’ Latest IPCC Findings Undermine Climate Change Claims at OilPrice.com.

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Victor Davis Hansen has his say about “climate change”

December 3, 2014

Hansen sums up the phenomena of global warming alarmism in two ripping paragraphs…

Take also global warming — for Secretary of State John Kerry, the world’s greatest challenge. Once the planet did not heat up in the last 18 years, and once the ice of the polar caps did not melt away, global warming begat climate change. The new nomenclature was a clever effort to link all occasional weather extremities to some underlying and fundamental climate disruption. Brilliant though the strategy was — the opposites of cold/hot, drought/deluges, and calm/storms could now all be used as proof of permanent climate change — global warming finally was hoist on its own petard: If it caused everything, then it caused nothing.

So, in the end, what was global warming? It seems to have grown up largely as a late-20th-century critique of global-market capitalism by elites who had done so well by it that they had won the luxury of caricaturing the very source of their privilege. Global warming proved a near secular religion that filled a deep psychological longing for some sort of transcendent meaning among mostly secular Western grandees. In reality, the global-warming creed had scant effect on the lifestyles of the high priests who promulgated it. Al Gore did not cut back on his jet-fueled and lucrative proselytizing. Obama did not become the first president who, on principle, traveled with a reduced and green entourage. Solyndra did not run a model transparent company as proof of the nobility of the cause. As in the case of illegal immigration, the losers from the global-warming fad are the working and middle classes, who do not have the capital to be unharmed by the restrictions on cheap, carbon-based fuels.

See Hansen’s comments on global warming alarmism and other topics in Liberalism in Ruins.

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Interstellar – Others agree with me

November 20, 2014

I never considered myself very informed about popular culture. I haven’t watched TV in years and my interests lean to the geeky. But I am pleased that my observations about the movie Interstellar are shared by others.

See
How Ken Burns’ surprise role in ‘Interstellar’ explains the movie

or
‘Interstellar’s’ Rejection of Climate Change Hysteria

It seems the the thought police and editors are getting a little sloppy.  The re-education camps may get a little crowded

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Interstellar – spoiler alert

November 16, 2014

InterstellarAll in all, a pretty good movie. Very creative in many respects. If you like science fiction, I recommend it.

Spoiler alert – The following observation about the movie “Interstellar” will give away part of the plot.

In the movie Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) flies through a wormhole to find several previous expeditions that have been exploring planets in another galaxy for colonization by humans trying to escape a dying Earth.  Each one of these planets has been visited by a single astronaut to collect data to determine its suitability.  The situation is desperate.  A series of mishaps reduces Cooper’s  resources and forces him and his crew to choose a single one of the planets to visit and to abandon the others. 

They make their decision based on the data they have already received from the competing planets.  The astronaut on one of the planets is a famous scientist named “Dr. Mann” (Matt Damon).  His data is compelling enough to cause Cooper to choose his planet.  Cooper uses his remaining resources to find Dr. Mann and his planet, only to find that Mann had fudged his data and that his planet is a wasteland.  Mann insists he fudged his data for the benefit of mankind – right up to the moment the liar gets sucked into the vacuum of space.

I wonder if the producers of this movie picked the nameMannfor some political reason.  I can dream can’t I?

Update 11/16/14 10:30pm:

Noah Gittell at The Atlantic is upset because global warming is surely the culprit for the Earth’s demise in Interstellar, it is never explicitly named.  He says…

Climate change is never mentioned by name in the film, but writer/director Christopher Nolan uses its imagery to define the terms of his story. Interstellar is set in a near-future Earth on the verge of total ecological collapse, with drastic changes in weather patterns and devastating food shortages driving human beings to the brink of extinction.

This upsets Gittell, so he says the movie is a “good space film, bad climate-change parable.”

Really?  Maybe that is because it is not a “climate-change parable” at all.

The movie explains the planet is being ravaged by crop blights. The drastic weather changes the The Atlantic refers to are depicted in large part by real interviews with elderly people who lived through the dust bowl (lifted from Ken Burns Dust Bowl documentary).  But in the movie these interviews are supposed to be from elderly people in the future looking back at their experiences during the demise of the planet.

Global warming, climate change, and CO2 are never mentioned.  However, the character Professor Brand (Michael Caine), vaguely explains something to the effect of decreasing Oxygen levels in the atmosphere due to the crop blights.

So, according to Gittell, Interstellar is describing global warming by using references to the dust bowl, which occurred in the 1930s before significant increases in CO2 and by referring to crop blights, which have been occurring since humans have cultivated crops.

Not too bright Gittell.

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Physics Envy

October 22, 2014

Heisenberg uncertainty principleI have marveled through the years as quacks and charlatans justify their nonsense with vague references to quantum mechanics.  But today I saw something that takes the cake.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  Where could you find more quacks and charlatans than in the present administration of the United States.

Today the embarrassing White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, was confronted by CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller about the The Most Transparent Administration In History’s  lack of transparency when it comes to President Obama’s fundraisers.  First, it is noteworthy that anybody from CBS would confront the White House about anything.

Knoller asked “Why doesn’t that transparency extend to the Q&A sessions with the donors which would be a great interest to all of us?”

Earnest babbled..

“…The goal of those Q&A sessions is to foster a more candid and open dialog where you have donors who are expressing their views, and, uh, the nature of…The Heisenberg principle. That’s the fact of someone observing something necessarily changes what is actually being observed. And I think that’s at play in a dynamic like this when you have a relatively small group of individuals who are seeking to have a conversation with the president of the United States.”

Josh, you are a smooth talking political hack, not a physicist.  I know you think bringing up Heisenberg in this context makes you sound smart.  And it probably does – to the empty-headed dolts that are still hypnotized by the administration’s claptrap.  But to anybody who knows what they are talking about, you just sound pretentious.

This is a classic case of Physics Envy.

See the entire exchange here.

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