Archive

Archive for February, 2012

Perspective Amiss At @AmSciMag

Summary of the latest email edition of “Science In The News Weekly“, “a digest of science news stories appearing in the mainstream media. It is delivered every Monday afternoon (or Tuesday afternoon in the case of a Monday holiday) as part of Sigma Xi’s public understanding of science program area, in conjunction with American Scientist magazine

Science-y news

Another science-y news

Yet another science-y news

World to end(*)

More science-y news

More more science-y news

In particular the (*) bit is of the form:

Scientists say that if carbon dioxide emissions don’t begin to decline soon, the complex fabric of marine ecosystems will begin fraying–and eventually unravel completely.

Evidently reason takes a momentary leave of absence at American Scientist like in many other places, whenever carbon dioxide is mentioned.

BTW the link is to the study that used naturally-occurring CO2 seeps to try to figure out what might happen in 2100, an impressive collection of “might’s” if you ask me.

A Crickey Mystery About #Gleickgate

2012/02/26 7 comments

On Feb 20 Crikey.com came out with an interesting announcement:

Frozen version

Crikey understands The New York Times will tomorrow reveal the identity of Heartland’s “Anonymous Donor”, an individual who has donated $13.7 million to the Heartland Institute since 2007 and at times has provided 60% of the institute’s funding.

The page says (in the code) it’s been published 2012-02-20T13:11:12+1100

Now as we know, the NYT has published nothing of the sort…actually, Gleick confessed sometimes around midnight GMT between Feb 20 and Feb 21, a little less than 24 hours later.

I wonder if this missed announcement has anything to do with Gleick being forced to reveal himself as the Gleickgate perp. BTW make sure you don’t miss out this thread at Climate Audit.

Is Thickness of Mind Mandatory To Become A Distinguished Climate Scientist?

2012/02/20 4 comments

Nothing New About Fudging – Mass Delusions Among Scientists

2012/02/18 2 comments

I’m sure nowadays the NYT would not even mention such a book as Alexander Kohn’s “FALSE PROPHETS“, if it said anything about climate science:

BOOKS OF THE TIMES
By John Gross
Published: December 30, 1986

[…] Deceptions as blatant as this are -as far as anyone can tell – rare in the annals of science, but they represent only one end of a broad spectrum of possible scientific cheating. At the other extreme are errors that are at least partly the product of wishful thinking or a failure to guard against bias; in between come numerous gradations of what the Victorian scientist Charles Babbage classified as ”trimming” and ”cooking” (manipulating the data, suppressing inconvenient facts), along with plagiarism, making bogus claims about the probable course of research and the more subtle varieties of Babbage’s third category of misconduct, outright ”forging.”

[…] here are errors, as Mr. Kohn says, that ”are nothing to be ashamed of,” and he begins by considering some examples – in particular, those cases of collective error where a scientist’s initial mistake has been taken up and repeated by other scientists until it assumes the proportions of a mass delusion.

During the 1920’s and 1930’s, for instance, some 500 publications in reputable quarters were devoted to the phenomenon of ”mitogenetic rays” – ultraviolet rays that were erroneously thought to be emitted by plant or animal cells while they were dividing. Mr. Kohn observes that ”mythogenetic rays” might have been a better name; but he also tries to account for what it was that predisposed so many scientists to believe in them, and in subsequent mirages such as ”polywater” (a supposedly anomalous form of water – one eminent authority, J. D. Bernal, referred to it as ”the most important physical chemical discovery of the century”) and ”scotophobin” (a substance said to induce fear of darkness in rats). […]

As I already said, this stuff should be mandatory reading in all science schools.

Open Letter To Heartland From The Don’t-Do-As-We-Do Climate Team

I’ll believe the sincerity of the Open Letter to the Heartland Institute when, say,

After all, these are climate scientists that keep writing the patently-untrue, such as passing as “fact” this total fantasy

Climate change is already disrupting many human and natural systems.

that is contrary to the latest IPCC assessment.

No surprise there.

Venus: Stranger Than We Thought

2012/02/11 1 comment

Until now, there were many strange things already about Venus. Now, there is one more, with possible climate implications. From ESA’s Venus Express: Could Venus be shifting gear?

[…] ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft has discovered that our cloud-covered neighbour spins a little slower than previously measured. […]  Over its four-year mission, Magellan was able to watch features rotate under the spacecraft, allowing scientists to determine the length of the day on Venus as being equal to 243.0185 Earth days. . However, surface features seen by Venus Express some 16 years later could only be lined up with those observed by Magellan if the length of the Venus day is on average 6.5 minutes longer than Magellan measured. […]

A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation indicates that 6.5 minutes in 16 years translates in 1.56 watt per hour on each square meter of Venus’ surface, if all the rotational energy is converted into heat (I couldn’t double-check the results though). If this process is cumulative, it will certainly have huge consequences.

The First Ever Climate Change Reporter (And Skeptic)

2012/02/09 2 comments

Who was the first one to write about climate change? For a while I thought I had found the most ancient reference in world literature: Lorenzo Magalotti in 1683 (referred to by Giacomo Leopardi in 1832)

[One and a half centuries ago Magalotti wrote] in the Family Letters: “It is certain that seasons’ natural order is worsening. Here in Italy it is common saying and lamentation that the half-seasons have disappeared; and in this confusion, it’s without doubt that the cold is advancing. I have heard my father that in his youth, in Rome, on the morning of Easter Sunday, everybody would change into summer clothes. Nowadays whoever can afford not to sell his shirt, I can tell you he’s very careful not to abandon any winter piece of clothing”. This is what Magalotti wrote in 1683.

Then Tony Brown and WUWT found something even more remote: Saint “Cyrian” (actually, Saint Cyprian) from around 250AD

The world has grown old and does not remain in its former vigour. It bears witness to its own decline. The rainfall and the suns warmth are both diminishing. The metals are nearly exhausted the husbandman is failing in his fields. Springs which once gushed forth liberally now barely give a trickle of water.’

I can happily report we can push the date a couple of centuries further back, by referring to “De re rustica” (“Agriculture“) by Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella (around AD40-50). From Book 1, 1:4-5:

[…] I have found that many authorities now worthy of remembrance were convinced that with the long wasting of the ages, weather and climate undergo a change; and that among them the most learned professional astronomer, Hipparchus, has put it on record that the time will come when the poles will change position, a statement to which Saserna, no mean authority on husbandry, seems to have given credence. For in that book on agriculture which he has left behind he concludes that the position of the heavens had changed from this evidence: that regions which formerly, because of the unremitting severity of winter, could not safeguard any shoot of the vine or the olive planted in them, now that the earlier coldness has abated and the weather is becoming more clement, produce olive harvests and the vintages of Bacchus in the greatest abundance. But whether this theory be true or false, we must leave it to the writings on astronomy […]

Note how little has changed, with Authorities convinced the climate is changing, and the unconvinced agriculture expert…

(h/t Fabio Spina and Climatemonitor.it – Google English translation)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 85 other followers

%d bloggers like this: