Skeptical Thoughts on Energy, Science and Global Warming

Disfiguring Science

As 2013 draws to a close two new Nobel laureates have spoken out about the state of science, and their conclusions are not encouraging. One describes how science is damaged by journals like Nature, Cell and Science. These premier journals distort scientific inquiry and create false competition among authors that lead to sensational or controversial papers. Add to this peer pressure and group think and the result is crap science like the global warming scam. The second laureate believes that emphasis on publishing volume has created an academic climate where no university would employ him today because he would not be considered “productive” enough. The publish or perish philosophy has expanded to the point that researchers are doing fast science, not good science. If scientists were not forced to rapidly publish their results perhaps the quality of the research would rise.

Damaging GM Food Study Withdrawn

In 2012, a research group led by Gilles-Eric Séralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen, France, published a controversial paper that claimed genetically modified (GM) maize (corn) causes serious disease in rats. But analysis by the scientific community concluded that the study was fatally flawed. Critics asserted that the small number and type of animals used in the study meant that “no definitive conclusions can be reached.” Regardless, many anti-GM activists touted the paper as proof that GM crops were dangerous and called for a ban on all GM crops. Now, the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology has withdrawn the disputed paper over the authors' objection—sometimes science does work.

The Tyranny Of Climate Change

The current interglacial warm period, the Holocene, started ∼11,500 years ago. At its start, among the dramatic changes in climate was a notable increase in rainfall, triggered by summer insolation values higher than those of today. This caused what is called the African Humid Period in North Africa—a time when the Sahara was dotted with large and small lakes, savannah grasslands, and in some regions, humid tropical forests and shrubs. The African Humid Period ended abruptly ∼5000 ybp (years before present) in many locations, such as western North Africa and northern Kenya. In other places, such as the central Sahara and the southern Arabian Peninsula, change occurred more gradually, taking several millennia. Regardless of the pace of change, those areas are tracts of arid desert today, and the animals and humans who had previously thrived in those formerly verdant regions have either moved or had to adapt to much harsher conditions. This is but one example of nature at its most capricious—the tyranny of climate change.

The Super Storm Meme

Unless you have been living in one of the few truly remote areas of the planet, you have been exposed to them. Climate change memes that pass from person to person and are repeated without thought or critical examination. They range from the subtle—bad weather is being increased by global warming—to the banal—over 97% of scientists agree about climate change. We are bombarded with these unsubstantiated ideas over and over again, from talking heads on TV, newspaper headlines, our friends and even the president of the United States. They are blatant untruths that have become legitimized by repetition, until school children and adults alike patriot them to each other. The recent tropical cyclone, Haiyan, has triggered another round of meme infection: it was the worst storm in history, tropical storms are getting bigger every year, there are more storms every year, and, of course, they are all caused by global warming. Trouble is, these “facts” are all false.

Asteroid Risk Rising

The asteroid that exploded on 15 February, 2013, near the city of Chelyabinsk in the Urals region of Russia was the largest to fall to Earth since 1908. That was the year of the famed Tunguska blast in Siberia. This latest fireball exploded with the energy of a half megaton nuclear bomb, seven times the blast that leveled Hiroshima. Using updated information, new reports in both Science and Nature reassess the risk of Earth being impacted by a large object. The researchers found that risk of similar objects hitting our planet may be ten times larger than previously thought. It is time we stop wasting time and government money on stupid measures like windmills, solar panels and a carbon tax and do something about a very real threat to our planet.

Problems With The Pliocene

Climate alarmists are constantly warning that Earth is going to warm up, driven they say by the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. To bolster their claims they point to the Pliocene, a time 4-5 million years ago, when the planet was 4-8°C hotter and CO2 levels were 400ppm or higher. This is the climate we are heading for, the global warming supporters say—but it that really true? Superficially it seems a plausible assertion, but as it turns out there is much more here than CO2 and temperature. It is not just the average temperature but the distribution of temperature at different latitudes, both over land and sea, that controls the climate. It is the temperature gradient that drives storms and affects weather patterns and it was much different during the Pliocene. Moreover, climate models do not generate a Pliocene like climate when run with higher CO2 levels, which means climate scientists are missing something important about the way Earth's climate system works.

24 Hours of Unreality

You may have heard that Al Gore, the self anointed Prophet of climate doom, is holding a twenty four hour propaganda fest trying to frighten the public into wasting even more money on bogus climate change measures. “Join us as we go around the world, identifying the costs of carbon pollution and the solution that can change the course of our future,” the associated web site proclaims. Why are we telling you about this? Because highlighting the half truths and outright lies perpetrated by climate miscreants is the best way to expose the farce that is the radical green movement.

M'tak Ka'fek, Doug Hoffman's Latest SF Novel Released

Resilient Earth Press is pleased to announce that M'tak Ka'fek, the third book in Doug Hoffman's science fiction trilogy, the T'aafhal Inheritance, is now available for purchase online. Book three follows the adventures of the captain and crew of Parker's Folly, aka Peggy Sue, as they fight to rescue humanity and all Earth life from extinction. To do so they must defeat the minions of the Dark Lords, strange beings who inhabit rogue planets adrift in interstellar space. Part of the crew, led by Dr. Ludmilla Tropsha and Capt. Gretchen Curtis, hurriedly build defenses for Farside base on the Moon and a fleet of space ships to fight the coming invaders. At the same time Capt. Jack Sutton and a skeleton crew are 1,500 light years from home, desperately hunting for a supply of antimatter that will allow the 4 million year old T'aafhal battle cruiser, M'tak Ka'fek, to take them home to defend the ones they love.

Naomi's Fantasy Consensus

Nothing associated with the global warming scam has been more insidiously deceptive than the constant trumpeting of consensus regarding the cause and expected impact of climate change. In a cleverly disguised piece in the journal Nature, Harvard historian Naomi Oreskes has attempted to use the story of plate tectonics as an analog for anthropogenic global warming (AGW). The article is a blend of historical fact and illogic, aimed at giving the consensus science view a sheen of validity, when nothing could be further from the truth. Consensus has its place, primarily in politics, and by extension in history. It is unsurprising that Professor Oreskes embraces consensus while missing the fundamental concepts of science and the scientific method. She is an historian, not a scientist, and that difference can not be covered over by taking a poll.

Fifth IPCC Climate Change Report Released

The long awaited full text report is finally available. The Final Draft Report, dated 7 June 2013, of the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis was accepted but not approved in detail by the Twelfth Session of Working Group I and the Thirty-Sixth Session of the IPCC on 26 September 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden. This report consists of the full scientific and technical assessment undertaken by Working Group I. While the final draft of the underlying Working Group I report is still subject to copy-editing and corrections in proof as normally applied to scientific reports the fundamental tone and content of the report has been set. No screaming warnings; no predictions of impending doom. The most shocking thing is that our knowledge of climate change has not advanced in almost a decade. Simply put, climate scientists are puzzled by the way nature is acting.

Not Significantly Different From Zero

There was a time when climate change alarmists stood confident in the approaching global warming apocalypse. Even a few years pause in the upward march of temperatures was shrugged off, the catastrophists smugly stating that it would take ten or more years without warming to throw a spanner into their disaster predictions. It has now been fifteen years without the promised meteoric rise in global temperatures predicted by the warmongering climatologists' computer models. Unsurprisingly, some of the anthropogenic global warming faithful have started to question current climate change dogma. In commentary in a journal dedicated to climate change, scientists have admitted that they've overestimated climate change for 20 years. What is more, they do not really know why their predictions have turned out so wrong.

Chicken Little Climate Science

Climate change has become the go to excuse for anything bad happening in the environment. Legions of climate scientists have issued dire warnings regarding the consequences of man's profligate use of fossil fuels. So common have these pronouncements become that news reporters and politicians have taken to blaming all things judged out of the ordinary on global warming. This fits the agendas of many, since global warming is supposedly caused by human activity and human activity is linked to greed, avarice and big business. But the doomsayers should take care, for there have been other times when experts have warned humanity that its evil ways have brought the world to the edge of perdition. Does anyone these days remember over population?

Sentinel: A Plan to Save Earth

A 17-meter-wide asteroid that no one saw coming exploded in February near Chelyabinsk, Russia, blazing across the sky and television screens world wide. Efforts have been made to identify asteroids larger than a kilometer—objects large enough to threaten life on Earth. Hollywood has cranked out dozens of cheesy asteroid collision movies, some bad and others worse, but none capture the magnitude of the actual threat from near Earth objects (NEOs). There may be a million asteroids with masses greater than ocean liners in Earth-approaching orbits, nearly all of which remain undiscovered and their courses uncharted. Now, a private foundation wants to build Sentinel, a satellite containing an infrared telescope that would be able to detect a half-million orbiting objects from a vantage point near Venus. Is this a project too important to trust to government agencies like NASA and the ESA?

Forget Global Warming, The Ice Age Is Coming!

Scientists have long suspected that the orbital cycles of our planet are responsible for the periodic climate variation that causes alternating glacial and interglacial periods. Milankovitch's theory of orbital cycles suggests that summer insolation at high northern latitudes drives the glacial cycles. Moreover, statistical analyses have demonstrated that the glacial cycles are indeed linked to eccentricity, obliquity and precession. Now, researchers have confirmed that a combination of two of the Milankovitch cycles conspire to start and stop ice ages. The 100,000-year eccentricity cycle amplifies the influence of the 23,000-year wobble of Earth's spin axis called precession. The new modeling also suggests that the great accumulation of mass by the North American ice sheet causes the abrupt end of glacial periods. CO2 is involved, but is not determinative, in the evolution of the 100,000-year glacial cycles say the scientists.

Slanting Science

Science is supposed to be unbiased, seeking to understand the workings of nature untainted by the personal beliefs or prejudices of its practitioners. Nature alone is the arbiter of truth—when science and nature disagree it is science that is wrong. But science is practiced by human beings, who cannot keep their beliefs, whether engendered by religious, philosophical, or political leanings, from skewing any result that is equivocal or highly complex. Presented here are two examples taken from the pages of Nature, perhaps the world's primer scientific journal. One is a rehash of temperature history in northern latitudes with a new statistical twist, the other a report on a study regarding fracking. One shows how what scientists leave out of their studies may be more important than what they put in. The other shows how a headline can spin the results of a report even when its authors are carefully neutral in their conclusions.

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