Archive for the 'Science' Category

Listen to the warm

Friday, May 29th, 2015

One side of our two realities. And here’s a little bit about statistical manipulation in scientific studies. It’s long past time to ridicule the ignoramuses in the media who ask the usual hectoring questions. Our suggestion is that before answering foolish and gotcha questions, the respondent takes out a little device that starts quacking like a duck for 5 seconds.

38 years from Dive Bomber to Kitty Hawk

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

Of course the remarkable movie Dive Bomber aired this weekend. Filmed in color at NAS San Diego just before Pearl Harbor, it shows vividly just how far aviation had come in the 38 years since Kitty Hawk, and just how much further the technology had to go. (Of course the quarter century after the end of WWII was even more spectacular, with Americans on the moon and supersonic passenger aircraft flying around.)

So, 38 years from Dive Bomber to Kitty Hawk. What’s the parallel story looking back 38 years from now? The B-1 bomber was cancelled. The space shuttle made its first flight. The ban on the Concorde landing at JFK was lifted. A Pan Am B747SP circumnavigated the earth over the poles. By far the most striking thing about aviation in 1977 is there were so many crashes, including Tenerife.

Has technological and other progress slowed down a lot from the first 38 years to the most recent? Probably not. Engines are much more efficient now. Major programs like the B757 and B767 had their entire life cycles. Airbus was born and created a global duopoly. Airline deregulation spurred greater price competition and the widespread development of frequent flier programs. The technology of long range aircraft is much more advanced now. However, the airport experience today is generally so awful that it negates many the improvements, since pre-flight security lead times are often 2-3x what they were back then.

What does the next 38 years hold in store?

Hopefully, merely a grifter

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Some guy:

the challenge I want to focus on today, the urgent need to combat and adapt to climate change. I know there are still some folks back in Washington who refuse to admit that climate change is real. They’ll say, “You know, I’m not a scientist.” the best scientists in the world know that climate change is happening. Our analysts in the intelligence community know climate change is happening. Our military leaders — generals and admirals, active duty and retired — know it’s happening. Our homeland security professionals know it is happening.

The science is indisputable. The fossil fuels we burn release carbon dioxide, which traps heat. And the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are now higher than they have been in 800,000 years. The planet is getting warmer. Fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have been in the past 15 years. Last year was the planet’s warmest year ever recorded.

Our scientists at NASA just reported that some of the sea ice around Antarctica is breaking up even faster than expected. The world’s glaciers are melting, pouring new water into the ocean. Over the past century, the world sea level rose by about eight inches. That was in the last century; by the end of this century, it’s projected to rise another one to four feet.

at the Academy, climate change — understanding the science and the consequences — is part of the curriculum, and rightly so, because it will affect everything that you do in your careers. Some of you have already served in Alaska and aboard icebreakers, and you know the effects. climate change is one of those most severe threats.

Climate change will impact every country on the planet. climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security. And make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act — and we need to act now. confronting climate change is now a key pillar of American global leadership. When I meet with leaders around the world, it’s often at the top of our agenda — a core element of our diplomacy.

climate change increases the risk of instability and conflict. Rising seas are already swallowing low-lying lands, from Bangladesh to Pacific islands, forcing people from their homes. Caribbean islands and Central American coasts are vulnerable, as well. Globally, we could see a rise in climate change refugees. And I guarantee you the Coast Guard will have to respond. Elsewhere, more intense droughts will exacerbate shortages of water and food, increase competition for resources, and create the potential for mass migrations and new tensions. All of which is why the Pentagon calls climate change a “threat multiplier.”

severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram. It’s now believed that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East.

climate change will mean more extreme storms. Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines gave us a possible glimpse of things to come — one of the worst cyclones ever recorded; thousands killed, many more displaced, billions of dollars in damage, and a massive international relief effort that included the United States military and its Coast Guard. So more extreme storms will mean more humanitarian missions to deliver lifesaving help. Our forces will have to be ready.

climate change means Arctic sea ice is vanishing faster than ever. By the middle of this century, Arctic summers could be essentially ice free.

One hopes these are simply the words of a grifter looking to make a few bucks. Otherwise, help! (For comparison, here’s a different graduation speech.)

Be afraid, be very afraid!!!!

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

HuffPo:

Average global levels of carbon dioxide stayed above 400 parts per million, or ppm, through all of March 2015 — the first time that has happened for an entire month since record keeping first began, according to data released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Scientists with NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory have called the news a “significant milestone” in the growing scourge of man-made climate change. “This marks the fact that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide concentrations to rise more than 120ppm since pre-industrial times,” Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s greenhouse gas network, told The Guardian on Wednesday. “Half of that rise has occurred since 1980.”…this week’s news stands as an irrefutable reminder that our planet is going through a process that could eventually cause harm to countless numbers of people.

OK class, please repeat; at the 400 ppm the Huff Po is screaming about, air is 1950 parts nitrogen, 524 parts oxygen, 23 parts argon, and one itsy-bitsy teeny-weenie part CO2. Yawn.

Paradigm shifts coming?

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

From Thomas Kuhn:

In a sense I am unable to explicate further, the proponents of competing paradigms practice their trades in different worlds…

The transfer of allegiance from paradigm to paradigm is a conversion experience that cannot be forced…

Darwin, in a particularly perceptive passage at the end of his Origin of Species, wrote: “Although I am fully convinced of the truth of the views given in this volume…I by no means expect to convince experienced naturalists whose minds are shocked with a multitude of facts all viewed, during a long course of years, from a point of view directly opposite to mine…but I look with confidence to the future, — to young and rising naturalists, who will be able to look at both sides of the question with impartiality.”

And Max Planck, surveying his own career in his Scientific Autobiography, sadly remarked that “a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

(1) There’s the expensive silliness of CAGW, which China, India and much of the rest of the world won’t buy into, and the West can destroy itself if it wants. Will the young continue to go along with the foolish oldsters or will they eventually rebel? (2) How will the crisis of victocracy be settled? As an attitude, you’re either on the Mosby side or you’re not. There’s no middle ground, only doubling down. (Clarice notes an amusing tweet from Joan Walsh in that regard.) Make no mistake, this has to get settled, because we’re nearing the end of doubling down, as this sad piece illustrates. (3) And then there’s the longest war in history, dating back to a few years after 632. Things seem to be coming to a head there as well. Note in all cases which side our self-styled elites are on.

Fantasy Islands

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

A piece from the Pope’s science academy (gotta love the reference to Galileo, who was condemned 13 years after joining the group):

Human culture as we know it emerged through two great transformations, namely the Neolithic and the Industrial Revolution. The former was decisively favored by the exceptionally stable climatic conditions in the Holocene after the end of the last glacial period some 11,000 years ago. The development of agriculture, in turn, laid the foundation for rapid mechanization after 1750 that would not have happened, however, without the fortunate accessibility of fossil resources of exquisite energy density – mined in England first and on all continents later on. The overwhelming historic process of world-wide carbonization, which may be documented as the “c-story of humankind”, resulted not only in large-scale industrialization, but also helped to tap the immense human potential for creativity, discovery and progress for a better living.

It appears like a sheer success story at a first glance, and yet it is not an untroubled narrative. For this carbonization of the world led to a multitude of negative externalities (as the economists would call them), not least the potential destabilization of the benign Holocene climate through the significant alteration of atmospheric greenhouse gas levels. As the latest IPCC Assessment Report demonstrates, the global mean surface temperature could rise above pre-industrial values by more than 4°C by 2100 under a business-as-usual scenario (RCP 8.5, Meinshausen et al., 2011). As a consequence, our planet could be pushed into an uncomfortable realm, where many natural and cultural systems would be at risk of heavy stress, if not collapse.

Human culture? Ha Ha. And as someone who learned Latin at age 7, only to see them throw the baby out and keep that bathwater in 1965, we also recommend this book to everyone concerned. Also, and somewhat related, from Stratfor:

the Venezuelan government is planning a takeover of distribution networks belonging to Empresas Polar, the country’s largest private food production and distribution firm. Polar CEO Lorenzo Mendoza sent an open letter to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on April 30 saying the company was open to discussing Venezuela’s food supply problems as well as possible solutions. According to one report, the Venezuelan Food Ministry may be planning to seize Polar’s distribution networks, intending to redirect flows of food products to state-owned supermarkets, where such products are becoming increasingly scarce…

The scarcity of food and other products seriously affects the poorest segments of Venezuelan society, which have historically voted for the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela. The current food shortages have lasted several years, persisting in part because of price controls in the thriving black market and impacted by smuggling operations to Colombia. Public stores selling food at heavily discounted prices have experienced major shortages, and many Venezuelans have turned to the black market to buy provisions…

A month’s worth of food bought on the black market can be several times more expensive than supplies bought at a state-owned store. Rampant inflation continues to drive that differential up, which strains the ability of poor Venezuelans to purchase certain food items. This could hurt Maduro’s already low approval rating, which hovers between approximately 20 and 25 percent

Confused? Wretchard explained recently.

50 years old and still young

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

Moore, 1965:

Integrated circuits will lead to such wonders as home computers — or at least terminals connected to a central computer — automatic controls for automobiles, and personal portable communications equipment. The electronic wristwatch needs only a display to be feasible today.

Intel: “If automobiles improved at the rate of Moore’s law, they would go nearly 300,000 miles per hour, get 2 million miles to the gallon, and cost only 4 cents. They’d also be the size of ants.”

Witness for the persecution

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Well, we took a look at the Steyn book on the plane, and the downside is it numbs the mind with numbers and equations and history lessons and so forth. The upside is that sales of popcorn should be up nicely for the Mann trial. Steyn’s list of defense and rebuttal witnesses will be impressive. There is no way he will go for any settlement now, since this should make a pretty good movie if handled correctly.

Once upon a time, there was a correlation

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

The early days of CAGW must have seemed magical. After all, there really was a correlation of CO2 increases on the one hand, and some modest temperature increases on the other. It’s not surprising that some would see correlation as causation, and it certainly didn’t hurt that there was a pot of gold at the end of that road. Moreover, causation fits in nicely with the West’s current need for self-flagellation as payment for the sin of prosperity. All well and good.

So it must have been panic and madness inducing when some of the data stopped fitting that which had been ordained from on high. Our favorite episode of the madness is when the Medieval Warm Period suddenly vanished, in order to make current results all the more dramatic. Freud had a nice phrase for it. Anyway, we’re on our way to Asia today, where India and China may say a little political blah-blah, but don’t participate in the West’s idiotic madness. We’ll take a look at Steyn’s new book on the flight and report back.

Good morning people, it’s a new dawn

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Kissinger, Shultz:

For 20 years, three presidents of both major parties proclaimed that an Iranian nuclear weapon was contrary to American and global interests—and that they were prepared to use force to prevent it. Yet negotiations that began 12 years ago as an international effort to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability…Iran has gradually turned the negotiation on its head. Iran’s centrifuges have multiplied from about 100 at the beginning of the negotiation to almost 20,000 today…the Iranian program has reached a point officially described as being within two to three months of building a nuclear weapon

Georgetown professor Kroenig:

From the beginning of the atomic era, American scientists understood that these sensitive nuclear technologies could be used to make fuel for nuclear energy or for nuclear weapons, and the United States immediately began working to close off this pathway to the bomb. The McMahon Act of 1946 made it illegal for the United States to share nuclear technologies with any country. Even countries like Britain and Canada that had helped America invent the bomb during the Manhattan Project were cut off. Later, under President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program, the United States loosened restrictions on nuclear cooperation somewhat, but it always drew a bright line at uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing because the risk of proliferation was simply too great…we gave up the game. Iran out-negotiated us. We abandoned a clear international standard we had established in order to meet Iran halfway in its unreasonable demands. What we have to show for it is not a historic deal, but the death of a 70-year-old bipartisan pillar of American foreign policy.

The title is from Woodstock.

2 Voices

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Thomas Sowell, who was born in 1930, and hence knows some things:

Clearing the way for Iran to get nuclear bombs may — probably will — be the most catastrophic decision in human history.

So there’s The Voice of Doom, and then again there’s The Voice. It’s a heckuva voice, and it’s almost like that well-rehearsed speech was sincere and everything. (How long ago was it written?)

Bonus unfun: just how bad a deal? This bad.

A-I say goodbye?

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

USA Today:

“I say robot, you say no-bot!” The chant reverberated through the air near the entrance to the SXSW tech and entertainment festival here. About two dozen protesters, led by a computer engineer, echoed that sentiment in their movement against artificial intelligence…Phil Libin, CEO of software firm Evernote, frames the protest and movement as the latest iteration of the man vs. machine debate. “People worry about robots taking over the world, but I assure you there are much more dangerous things (income inequality and global warming) in front of the line,” he said.

Once again, ban argon!!! BTW, Mr. Libin might be a little prejudiced, since he owns robots that run around and do work for him.

15 years that went by pretty fast

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

NYT:

entire industries have emerged and seized the dominant positions in the Nasdaq index even as their predecessors faltered. Apple, now the world’s largest company by market capitalization, barely registered in 2000, and the first iPhone was not announced until 2007. Over a billion smartphones were shipped in 2014.

Google, which now ranks third and dominates the market for Internet search advertising, went public in 2004 at $85 a share, giving the company a market value then of $23 billion. Today, its market capitalization is over $360 billion, and its shares were trading this week above $570.

Facebook, now No. 5 in Nasdaq’s ranking, dominates social networking, another industry that did not exist in 2000. It went public less than three years ago, and is already valued at over $180 billion.

Had the Nasdaq index itself not been transformed by innovation and competition, it would be nowhere near its previous peak. The stocks of many of the surviving companies, like Microsoft and Intel, have not come close to the levels they reached before 2000. That means investors who bought and held the stocks of individual companies in 2000, as opposed to broad mutual funds tied to the Nasdaq or index funds like the QQQs, are still underwater

Some things are going really well and some are going really badly. Hard to know where we’ll be in another 15 years.

The real environmental danger: pond scum

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Lindzen, yes that Lindzen:

the move from “global warming” to “climate change” indicated the silliness of this issue. The climate has been changing since the Earth was formed. This normal course is now taken to be evidence of doom.

Individuals and organizations highly vested in disaster scenarios have relentlessly attacked scientists and others who do not share their beliefs. The attacks have taken a threatening turn.

As to the science itself, it’s worth noting that all predictions of warming since the onset of the last warming episode of 1978-98—which is the only period that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) attempts to attribute to carbon-dioxide emissions—have greatly exceeded what has been observed. These observations support a much reduced and essentially harmless climate response to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.

In addition, there is experimental support for the increased importance of variations in solar radiation on climate and a renewed awareness of the importance of natural unforced climate variability that is largely absent in current climate models. There also is observational evidence from several independent studies that the so-called “water vapor feedback,” essential to amplifying the relatively weak impact of carbon dioxide alone on Earth temperatures, is canceled by cloud processes.

There are also claims that extreme weather—hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, you name it—may be due to global warming. The data show no increase in the number or intensity of such events. The IPCC itself acknowledges the lack of any evident relation between extreme weather and climate, though allowing that with sufficient effort some relation might be uncovered.

World leaders proclaim that climate change is our greatest problem, demonizing carbon dioxide. Yet atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have been vastly higher through most of Earth’s history. Climates both warmer and colder than the present have coexisted with these higher levels.

Currently elevated levels of carbon dioxide have contributed to increases in agricultural productivity. Indeed, climatologists before the recent global warming hysteria referred to warm periods as “climate optima.” Yet world leaders are embarking on costly policies that have no capacity to replace fossil fuels but enrich crony capitalists at public expense, increasing costs for all, and restricting access to energy to the world’s poorest populations that still lack access to electricity’s immense benefits.

Billions of dollars have been poured into studies supporting climate alarm, and trillions of dollars have been involved in overthrowing the energy economy. So it is unsurprising that great efforts have been made to ramp up hysteria, even as the case for climate alarm is disintegrating.

It would be comical if it weren’t so serious. Decades ago some guys noticed a correlation between a tiny increase in a gas and a tiny increase in a temperature and turned it into a trillion dollar industry. And the cover-up began when the correlation stopped.

As for the politicians cited or linked to above, they are either stupid or ignorant or lacking in common sense or too self-important or maybe con-men on the take — or maybe all of the above; hey, they’re politicians! You know our position on all of this: ban argon! HT: PL

It’s clearly blue, right?

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

See for yourself.

Super fun bonus: there’s a word for this and it is projection.

They blinded him with science

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Pielke:

Prof. Roger Pielke, Jr., at CU’s Center for Science and Technology Policy Research has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress on climate change and its economic impacts. His 2013 Senate testimony featured the claim, often repeated, that it is “incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.”

Powerline has more on this increasingly strange group of witch hunters. Ban argon!!

More chickens come home to roost

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Rajendra Pachauri’s hockey stick has a few problems, according to Mark Steyn. We noted some of the issues with this fine gentleman half a decade ago and more. Pull quote from 2007: “If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late, there is not time.” Evidently the “action” he was talking about then was seriously misunderstood.

One of these things might be true

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Guardian

By the end of the century, assuming current CO2 emissions trends continue until the end of the century, Helena, Mont, will see about 85 fewer freezing nights, which is comparable to Lubbock, Texas, today. Buffalo, NY, which currently experience about 124 freezing nights each year, will only see about 57 a year in 2100, making it more like Charlotte, NC. Ann Arbor, Mich, will see less than half its current number of nights below freezing (131), which is more like Huntsville, Ala(60). In fact, more than 80% of the cities we analyzed — 593 of the 697 — could see at least a 50% reduction in number of nights below freezing, and more than 20% — 145 of the 697 — could see at least a 75% reduction. There are even 28 cities, mostly those that currently experience between 10 and 20 nights below freezing, that may see at least a 90% reduction. For these cities, freezing nights will become a rare event that occurs about once a year, comparable to the current conditions in Brownsville at the southern tip of Texas.

Telegraph:

Homewood has now turned his attention to the weather stations across much of the Arctic, between Canada (51 degrees W) and the heart of Siberia (87 degrees E). Again, in nearly every case, the same one-way adjustments have been made, to show warming up to 1 degree C or more higher than was indicated by the data that was actually recorded. This has surprised no one more than Traust Jonsson, who was long in charge of climate research for the Iceland met office (and with whom Homewood has been in touch). Jonsson was amazed to see how the new version completely “disappears” Iceland’s “sea ice years” around 1970, when a period of extreme cooling almost devastated his country’s economy.

As we say, ban the argon. Charts here.

Mumps, measles, chicken pox, polio, and other diseases

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

LAT:

Gunmen shot and killed four health workers carrying out a polio vaccination drive Wednesday in the capital of Pakistan’s restive Baluchistan province, police officials said. The deadly shooting was the latest to target polio workers — whom Islamist militants accuse of conducting espionage in the guise of vaccination campaigns — in Pakistan, one of three countries where the disease has not been eradicated…Workers administering oral polio drops to the children are frequently attacked across Pakistan, particularly in Baluchistan, the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the port city of Karachi and the northeastern tribal areas. Gunmen shot at a polio worker outside Peshawar on Monday when he was visiting houses to administer the vaccine. Jamaat ul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group later released a “policy statement” on polio saying that the vaccine is “dangerous to health and against Islam.”

AS:

it is absolutely true that I reject a notion that somehow that creates a religious war because the overwhelming majority of Muslims reject that interpretation of Islam. They don’t even recognize it as being Islam, and I think that for us to be successful in fighting this scourge, it’s very important for us to align ourselves with the 99.9 percent of Muslims who are looking for the same thing we’re looking for — order, peace, prosperity.

So vaccines are now controversial in the US as well as Pakistan? People are freaking out over 100 cases of measles? What a world! As a veteran of mumps, measles, chicken pox, German measles and similar things, our recollection is that they were no big deal, a few days off from school. We understand that there are rare acute problems, but those are the exception. Contrast that with polio, a devastating disease all of the time. The quality of a society can be measured by how well it deals with deadly or debilitating diseases. So far the US is not doing well.

Bonus fun: the cheap (and highly profitable) correlation between CO2 increases and a couple of degrees F is having significant problems. We need more witch doctors for more new things to frighten the great unwashed.

Game changer?

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

In our view, Microsoft hasn’t had a good idea since Office 97. Now we hear from Leo Laporte that tech reviewers whom he trusts say that HoloLens is great. Here’s some more info from Vox and Forbes and HBR. We don’t get it quite yet, but give us time. More interesting to think about than the low lifes stinking up the country.