Saturday, October 30, 2010

"You guys are the devil's gift to the Tea Party and other climate-change wackos"

I think yet another journalist has had the scales fall off his eyes about the disturbing nature of the extreme wing of activist climate scientists.

Just remember, we aren't dealing with a climate "denier" here. Greenberg is no climate sceptic.

And yet he has felt the full force of the academic alarmists in all its viciousness and nastiness, including the usual false claims that he is the paid tool of dark right-wing sectional interests. But that's a pretty common green tactic these days.

As Roger Pielke Jr comments at the end of his post (reproduced below), people like Michael Mann and Paul Ehrlich would make anybody suspicious of Motherhood and apple pie.
Daniel Greenberg, the widely respected journalist and author who focuses on science policy and politics, was invited by Nature to review my book, The Climate Fix.  Little did he know that review would bring him up close and personal with the activist wing of the climate science community.  After writing a positive review of my book, Greenberg found himself under attack by Michael Mann, Paul Ehrlich and Stefan Rahmstorf on the pages on Nature.

What followed was an email exchange that provides some insight into the mindset of the activist wing of the climate science community.  Greenberg shared this exchange with me with the following message, published here with his permission:

Roger, Re my stirring experience of jousting with Mann, Ehrlich, and Rahmstorf: What a scurrilous bunch. My sympathy to you and anyone else who has to deal with them. They're gravediggers of science. Nature will soon publish my riposte and, I think, a disclaimer of any ties to me by the Marshall Institute. Below, my further exchanges with the low-life trio. Best regards, Dan
Here is Greenberg's email to Michael Mann that concludes the exchange, reproduced with his permisison:
Dear Professors Mann, Ehrlich, and Rahmstorf,

Your correspondence concerning my review of Roger Pielke's book "Climate Fix" has provided me with a deeper understanding of the widespread public skepticism toward climate science. In your hands, apple pie and motherhood would come under public suspicion. Have you considered taking a remedial reading course? Can you comprehend the difference between a book reviewer's own beliefs and the reviewer's presentation of the beliefs expressed by the author of the book under review? Apparently not. Furthermore, your insinuation of an undisclosed relationship between me and a conservative think tank is preposterous. In 2006, I participated in a panel discussion sponsored by the Marshall Institute---as I have done with numerous other organizations, including the Brookings Institution, RAND, AAAS, and various academic societies and universities. Common practice for journalists. Nor did I, as you allege, write a report, or anything, for the Marshall Institute. The panel's words were transcribed and published by the Institute. I wrote nothing for them. You guys are the devil's gift to the Tea Party and other climate-change wackos.

Sincerely, Dan Greenberg

If Michael Mann thinks that he has been treated unfairly by my decision not to publish his side of the exchange, I will be happy to post up his emails with his permission.  Somehow I doubt that he will be as forthcoming as Greenberg.  The repeated character assassination and behind-the-scenes attacks of a small segment of the climate science community gives the entire field a black eye, and it continues unabated.  Greenberg is right, these guys could make apple pie and motherhood come under public suspicion.

Friday, October 29, 2010

You know when Howard made that "non-core" promise excuse?...

...except, as it turns out, HE NEVER DID!

I am absolutely gobsmacked about this.

How many years now has this been an uncontested part of Australia's political landscape and memory?

How many times, especially in out "world class" media, has it been repeated as fact?

And yet, buried away in The Australian's Cut & Paste section today is the truth.

It started as a comment by Peter Costello that got twisted and then put into the mouth of John Howard by a Labour senator.
Peter Costello's budget statement, August 20, 1996:

BUDGET measures have focused on reducing waste and duplication, targeting expenditure on those activities that deliver the greatest benefit to the community and eliminating or scaling back non-core activities.

The next day Labor's John Faulkner takes Costello's words and puts them in Howard's mouth:

COULD Senator [Robert] Hill explain to the Senate why Mr Howard redefined the election promises that he did not intend to keep as "non-core" election commitments?

Hartcher in The Sydney Morning Herald, November 8, 2007:

HOWARD invented a new concept in evasiveness yesterday to add to his other creations, the "non-core" promise and the "two-night" promise.

Indeed, what part did our "world class" media play is propagating and spreading the meme?

Follow the link, there's more.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

There's no such thing as junk food, only junk diets - at last, someone gets it!

Because right now I have to say, sorry Holly, but you’re full of crap. First of all, every cigarette is bad for you. That’s why the economic costs of tobacco are massive. But junk food? If you were hungry, why couldn’t you eat a hamburger? After all, isn’t it just bread, meat, lettuce, tomato and sauce? Which one of those perfectly normal everyday food items is “junk”? Could it be that every expert that looks down their nose at a Big Mac would regard having a focaccia (containing basically the same ingredients) at a hip café as a cultural experience.

Which brings me back to Junior Masterchef. Of course I’m kidding, it shouldn’t be banned. My point is just that the way we look at food has a strong class-based bias to it. In a nutshell it goes like this – Ronald McDonald, evil; Alain Ducasse, genius.

And finally, once and for all, there is no such thing as “junk food”. There are, however, junk diets. Sure there are some people who don’t have the education and life skills to know the difference between a junk diet and a good diet. So here’s a thought – instead of taxing “junk food” (and remember there’s no way to define what that means) why don’t we work with those people in raising their social capital?

Or is that too much like hard work?

Full article here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

WikiLeaks nails the wild Lancet Iraq death toll scare

I’m not sure it’s what WikiLeaks intended, but its latest leaks reveal that the infamous Lancet paper which claimed the US-led liberation of Iraq cost the lives of 655,000 Iraqis in fact exaggerated the death toll by at least 600 per cent:

The reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq (over six years). These include 66,081 “civilians,” 23,984 “enemy” insurgents, 15,196 “host nation” (Iraqi government forces), and 3,771 “friendly” (coalition) forces. Some 60 percent of the total is civilian deaths.
And that’s leaving aside the argument about who actually killed the Iraqis, and whether more would have died under Saddam. Note also that this death toll is less than the number of people murdered in South Africa over the same period, and that even allowing for population differences, Iraq’s death toll is now lower.

Settle back and see if that’s how the ABC and Fairfax report these latest leaks.

Scientific American admits that sceptics might be right and they invite discussion on their website!

The first article, page 8 entitled "Fudge Factor" tells of a scientist who always found the results which fitted theory when they did not, how this sort of thing happens all too frequently and includes a sentence questioning whether proxy temperatures measured from tree rings are not an example.

The second article, page 58 has a full page photograph of Judith Curry, Climate Heretic who has been consorting with the likes of Chris Landsea, Roger Pielke Sr, Steven McIntyre and Pat Michaels, who has doubts about the entire IPCC process. I had noticed her intelligent letters on the various blogs.

There is a diagram showing how ridiculous the Hockey Stick becomes when you put in the uncertainties.


Read it all here.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Dr Aly is, of course, an academic

On News Breakfast last Monday, co-presenter Waleed Aly suggested that Kevin Rudd was “the one who started the whole campaign” to have Mary MacKillop canonised as a saint of the Catholic Church.  It had to be pointed out to the Monash University lecturer that Saint Mary of the Cross’ cause for sainthood was taken up soon after her death in 1909.  Dr Aly is an academic.

I was at Guantanamo and know Hicks lies

Yesterday I blogged on the attack launched on convicted terrorism supporter David Hicks and his self-serving book Guantanamo: My Journey by retired US Army Reserve major Montgomery Granger.

Granger served in Guantanamo and said Hicks was infamous there for “threatening to kill an American”:
David Hicks was there when I was there - he threatened and abused guards, and this is in my book...He’s an al-Qaida-trained terrorist mercenary, and will try and pose himself as an innocent victim of circumstance. His book will be lies.
He now writes to us in response to readers’ comments yesterday:
To be clear, my book, “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” was published in April, 2010.  Second, it is a journal I kept while at Gitmo in 2002, framed by some of my opinions and some facts.  As a journal, it is full of very personal thoughts and feelings never intended for public eyes when written. 

Am I proud of everthing I thought and felt while at Gitmo?  No. 

Am I proud of the way I and 99.9% of my colleagues performed our duties for the care and treatment of the detainees?  Absolutely. 

In it for the money?  Not hardly. 

They say your first book is a book of passion, and your second book is the one that makes money.  I get about .50 cents per copy sold.

I wrote the book because I became angry and finally fed up with distorted depictions of what goes on at Gitmo.  I knew better and wanted to get the real story out there for those who might benefit from it, namely, U.S. military and their families, who are the target audience for the book.

Although I have only read excerpts from David Hicks’ book, they were enough to remind me that the resistance and disruption training Hicks received as an al Qaeda fighter, including the mantra: “tell lies about how you are treated,” is still alive and well in his psyche.  The things he tells in the excerpts about how he was treated are untrue.  One of my main jobs at Gitmo was to ensure U.S. Army, Department of Defense, and Geneva Convention procedures, regulations, and laws were upheld to the very highest standard, and indeed they were, with very few minor exceptions.

I don’t know how much David Hicks might make on the book, but I assure you that Random House, AUS will make the lion’s share, and I think all of it should go to victims of terror, and to the Australian and U.S. governments to cover the cost of David Hicks incarceration.

Spectacularly stupid ideas #378 - cancer is a disease of modern life

This is utter rubbish. People in ancient times died much younger and most cancers emerge relatively late in life. The findings below are exactly what you would expect from that. The author recognizes that problem but her rebuttal is weak. It depends on her small sample of old-age mummies being representative. Yet it was basically only the top stratum of Egyptian society that was mummified and upper class people are much healthier than lower class people. And ANYONE who survived to old age in that society would have to have been unusually healthy.
Article here.

Jeez Al, what happened to all the hurricanes?

Worldwide hurricane activity hasn't just slowed since Katrina, it's dropped off a cliff. The Warmists thought they were pretty safe in predicting "extreme weather events" -- as that meant that both drought and floods could be used as support for their prophecies. But once again Mother nature has mocked them. If I were not an atheist, I would say that God is showing the Warmists what he thinks of them.
To date, no Category 3 or stronger hurricane has hit the United States since 2005. Ike in 2008 was close, but not quite. This is the longest stretch of time that we have not had a Category 3 or greater hurricane hit the U.S. since the period of 1911 to 1914!

The great hurricane flameout that has dominated the seasons since 2005 is just part of the natural variability of weather. Those that said global warming caused 2005, and Katrina, and that our future was doomed to get stormier and stormier were completely wrong, as usual.

Interestingly, the great hurricane flameout has been a worldwide phenomenon. The ACE index measures the energy of all tropical storms and hurricanes around the globe: currently the ACE index is at its lowest level in 30 years. Worldwide hurricane activity has been not only lower since 2005, it’s much lower.

This won’t last forever. The active phase of hurricanes has not gone away. However, it is very unlikely we will see a season like 2005 for a very, very long time.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Video of an Australian F/A-18F Super Hornet conducting live trials of the AGM-154C JSOW

Tumescence all round.

President Václav Klaus: Inaugural Annual GWPF Lecture

Britain is wasting billions of pounds on wind turbines and solar panels because politicians dare not challenge the exaggerated claims about global warming made by scientists, according to the world’s highest-ranking climate sceptic. Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, said many world leaders had privately told him they shared his scepticism about the dangers of climate change but feared it would be political suicide to admit their doubts publicly.

President Klaus was speaking to The Times on a visit to London to deliver the inaugural annual lecture of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the sceptic think-tank founded by Lord Lawson of Blaby.

Full lecture here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Green Subsidies: Price Shock For German Electricity Customers

Next year, German households are in for a big price shock: the renewable energies levy, which every household in Germany has to pay as part of their electricity bills, will increase by over 70 per cent to 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour. This was announced by the German network operator on Friday. For an average household this will mean additional costs of around 10 € a month, according to the Federal Environment Ministry.

An end to the price spiral, which is caused by the subsidies for green electricity, is not in sight.

Full article here.

Renewables will add £880 a year to bills

"Trying to meet our EU renewable energy target would cost more than we currently spend on our entire electricity production, says Christopher Booker."

Spain's Solar Deals on Edge of Bankruptcy as Subsidies Founder

Zapatero introduced the subsidies three years ago as part of an effort to cut his country’s dependence on fossil fuels. At the time, he promised that the investment in renewable energy would create manufacturing jobs and that Spain could sell its panels to nations seeking to reduce carbon emissions.


Yet by failing to control the program’s cost, Zapatero saddled Spain with at least 126 billion euros of obligations to renewable-energy investors. The spending didn’t achieve the government’s aim of creating green jobs, because Spanish investors imported most of their panels from overseas when domestic manufacturers couldn’t meet short-term demand.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Germany's attempt to create a multicultural society has "utterly failed," Chancellor Angela Merkel

The problem with such social engineering is that a “sorry” won’t fix it and a change of policy can’t reverse it:
Germany’s attempt to create a multicultural society has “utterly failed,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, adding fuel to a debate over immigration and Islam polarising her conservative camp.

Speaking to a meeting of young members of her Christian Democrats (CDU), Merkel said allowing people of different cultural backgrounds to live side by side without integrating had not worked in a country that is home to some four million Muslims.

“This (multicultural) approach has failed, utterly failed,” Merkel told the meeting in Potsdam, south of Berlin.
More here:
Mrs Merkel told a gathering of younger members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party on Saturday that at “the beginning of the 60s our country called the foreign workers to come to Germany and now they live in our country… We kidded ourselves a while, we said: ‘They won’t stay, sometime they will be gone’, but this isn’t reality.

“And of course, the approach [to build] a multicultural [society] and to live side-by-side and to enjoy each other… has failed, utterly failed."…

Mrs Merkel stressed that immigrants living in Germany needed to do more to integrate, including learning to speak German.

“Anyone who does not immediately speak German”, she said, “is not welcome”.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Canada succumbs to the hysterics on Bisphenol A

The Food & Health Skeptic comments:

Of course BPA is toxic. So is water if you drink enough of it. As always, the toxicity is in the dose. And with BPA, very few people get more than a few molecules of it at a time.

The rest here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Normblog profile

Still a little surprised that the good professor extended the honour to me, and an honour I do consider it. Here, if you are interested.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

We all died 10 years ago according to Obama's chief "scientist"

Trust emptyhead Obama to pick a cloth-headed fool -- prone to drawing the most sweeping conclusions from the most superficial of knowledge. In a rational universe he would be a laughing stock.

Turns out we have all been dead for over a decade. So what are we arguing about? Holdren wrote this in 1969:

"World food production must double in the period 1965-2000 to stay even; it must triple if nutrition is to be brought up to minimum requirements. That there is insufficient additional, good quality agricultural land available in the world to meet these needs is so well documented (Borgstrom, 1965) that we will not belabor the point here."
Then he went into a long diatribe about how we are going to run out of water, energy, food, land – and that the heat from nuclear power plants is going to destroy the climate.
A more easily evaluated problem is the tremendous quantity of waste heat generated at nuclear installations (to say nothing of the usable power output, which, as with power from whatever source, must also ultimately be dissipated as heat). Both have potentially disastrous effects on the local and world ecological and climatological balance.

The rest here.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Labor's stunt exposed: Abbott visits Afghanistan

Tony Abbott has just left Afghanistan, where he talked to our troops on a visit he arranged weeks ago.

Abbott had been forbidden to discuss his plans for security reasons. So what does this say about the cynical and irresponsible attempts by Labor and the media last week to make it seem that feckless Abbott was refusing to go - when Julia Gillard knew full well of his plans?

Study this case and learn how despicably politics is now played, and how seeming trumps doing.

Readers in comments below wonder if this was a lie:
JULIA Gillard has denied deliberately leaking word that Tony Abbott passed up an invitation to accompany her on a visit to Afghanistan… Ms Gillard said she was unaware of how word got out about Mr Abbott’s non-attendance, and that she was not aware herself that he had a solo visit to Afghanistan, already locked in.

Fish oil strongly linked to increased incidence of colon cancer

Fish oil – long encouraged by doctors as a supplement to support heart and joint health, among other benefits – induced severe colitis and colon cancer in mice in research led by Michigan State University and published this month in the journal Cancer Research.

Jenifer Fenton, a food science and human nutrition researcher at MSU, led the research that supports establishing a dose limit for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), one of the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil, particularly in people suffering from chronic conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases.


Hit the link for the full article.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Canadian governor-general's coat of arms incorporates binary code

From the National Post. How come our governor-general doesn't get a coat of arms too?

The new Governor-General touched off a firestorm of controversy with his new coat of arms, which contained a pattern of binary numbers that some figured could be a coded message. OK, maybe not a firestorm. More like a brush fire. Not even that, really. A nice little fire, like in a chimenea. Anyway, Rideau Hall has since confirmed that David Johnston is not signalling aliens or cyborg overlords or giving the Prime Minister a thumbs-up for prorogation-on-demand. They are just some 1s and 0s. But it got us to thinking: Just what is with these G-G coats of arms, anyway? Scott Stinson reviews some of them.

The numbers are kind of a subtle way to evoke the digital age, actually. It beats sticking an iPhone or a BlackBerry on there. The books and well-used candle, which suggest hard study, are a nice touch. Not crazy about the unicorns, though. They should appear on merry-go-rounds and My Little Pony books, and that’s about it.

The armorial bearings of several other Canadian viceroy's here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The trial of Andrew Bolt - the REAL threat to freedom of speech in Australia

While the political left in Australia continues to promote its absurd and pointless cause celebre - the identifying of the man behind the Grog's Gamut blog - as somehow a threat to the freedom of the media in this country, it continues to ignore the real threats:
The trial of Andrew Bolt begins on December 13 with Justice Finkelstein of the Federal Court presiding. Bolt has been charged under the Racial Discrimination Act for two articles he wrote last year. [See here and here] One of the articles was headed “MEET the white face of a new black race— the political Aborigine”. Like Nicholas Shakespeare, who “looked away, frustrated by my [his] inability to understand”, Bolt has been charged for telling his readers of his inability to understand what is going on when the mind is apparently expected to defy what the eye sees— and questions that conflict. 

Many Australians have also questioned (to themselves or to those who they feel confident in trusting their politically incorrect thoughts) the apparent enigma of people with obvious European features claiming to be Aboriginal. But only Andrew Bolt has had the courage to go public with his doubts and to have questioned the notion that certain “indigenous Australians” have the right to select from a smorgasbord of ethnic ancestors, and expect the public to accept this proposition without asking serious questions.

It is a bit like the science of human-induced climate change—we all are expected to follow the line that the “science” of picking your ethnic background is “settled”. Well fortunately, thanks to Andrew Bolt the issue isn’t settled, and the Federal Court is now having to answer this question. Like the Oscar Wilde trial though, the nine “Aboriginal claimants” might regret that they have taken the legal advice from Joel Zyngier of Holding Redlich. If they don’t win, what is the standing of “designer ethnicity”?

Four Corners reduces the independents to a joke

Also from Mr Bolt:
Yeah, right:
Tony Abbott promised to redirect education and health spending and use mining tax revenue to pay for a $1 billion-a-year regional infrastructure fund to woo country independents to back him to form government.

But the two ‘’kingmaker’’ independents say the size of the package - coming on top of Treasury’s revelation of a ‘’hole’’ in the Coalition costings - actually pushed them towards supporting Labor.

The independent Tony Windsor told the Herald the fund was ‘’essentially uncosted...”
Windsor baulks at an “uncosted” $1 billion the Liberals promise for rural voters, but swallows whole the largely uncosted $43 billion Labor is promising for broadband.

Come off it. Last night’s Four Corners’ program on the two weeks the independents spent haggling over which party they’d backed revealed several unflattering truths:

One pompous windbag gets tired of another pompous windbag

Even David Marr has had enough:
“LET me start,” said Geoffrey Robertson about 10 minutes into his pitch at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, “by saying this.” The London QC of Sydney extraction was having problems with the clock as he called for the Pope to be arraigned for crimes against humanity. The chairman tried warning gestures, civil glances and banged his glass on an empty Schweppes bottle. Nothing worked. Robertson had things to say and could not be stopped. His adversary, Alan Dershowitz, provoked warm applause with his first words: “What I want to do in the time I’ve been allotted for my remarks.”
Robertson tried the same windbaggery last night on Q&A, treating his fellow panelists as mere listening posts, and had to be stopped mid-lecture at least twice by Tony Jones.

Brendan O’Neill in Spiked online asks:
HAS there ever been a man as arrogant as Geoffrey Robertson, otherwise known as Mr Kathy Lette, the British-Australian celebrity QC and floppy-haired hero of the Islington-inhabiting, human rightsy crowd?
Well, actually the Marxist Tariq Ali, also on Q&A, ran Robertson mighty close.

This foul-mouthed, abusive Leftist is the Sydney correspondent for Agence France Presse & a Walkley Award judge?

My God. This foul-mouthed, abusive Leftist is the Sydney correspondent for Agence France Presse? A Walkley Award judge of good journalism?

Naturally, despite having the manners of particularly vicious harridan, she adopts all the causes that a Leftist subscribes to in order to seem - despite appearances - more moral than thou:
Such sentiments towards abstract causes excuse her barbarity towards specific individuals.

It is one of those interesting things that you see so often on the political Left - people who espouse all the "right" progressive and humanitarian causes but, in their dealings with real people, are consistently vile and vicious.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Manne blind to the "racists" of the Left

His article is avalailable to subscribers only [available generally now - see below], but Andrew McIntyre sums it up:
According to Hal Colebatch in the latest Quadrant, Manne writes about the South Vietnamese refugee policy in Australia between 1976 and 1982, making the extraordinary claim that “With the boat arrivals, the Labor Opposition under Whitlam, and then Hayden, resisted the temptation to exploit underlying racist or anti-refugee sentiment for party political gain.”

Colebatch rightly wonders if Manne was on another planet. He quotes the infamous comment by Whitlam ,"I’m not having hundreds of fucking Vietnamese Balts coming into this country with their political and religious hatreds against us” … He then goes on to list the many examples of ALP bloodymindedness; Clyde Cameron himself advocating in the 1977 election campaign that “the only effective means of dealing with illegal immigrants would be to have them arrested and deported as soon as they land”, Hawke wanting the return of the bogus refugees, and Darwin waterside workers striking over the ship Entalina that rescued Vietnamese boat people, threatening any further shipping that was prepared to rescue boat people. The litany of racist and inhumane bigotry by the Left is documented in detail. The article thus reveals Manne’s strange delusional rewrite of history.

Colebatch concludes:
I could continue these quotes at considerable length (my PhD thesis on this subject occupies 489 pages exclusive of bibliography and appendices), but this is probably enough to make the point.

Far from being the beneficiaries of a bipartisan approach, Vietnamese refugees were attacked by virtually every group on the Left. I find it baffling that someone occupying Mr Manne’s position is either unaware of the well-documented history of the ALP and the Left regarding Vietnamese refugees or, if he is aware of it, that he should apparently seek to radically rewrite these facts.
But surely Colebatch should understand that history today is what you would prefer to have happened, rather than what actually did:
Believe it. When Professor Lyndall Ryan, head of Humanities at Newcastle University, was outed for writing about massacres that hadn’t happened. Citing death tolls from sources that didn’t exist, she had a perfect postmodernist excuse. Two, in fact.

Excuse one: ”Historians are always making up figures.” Excuse two: “Two truths are told. Is only one ‘truth’ correct?”
Quadrant has now freed access to Colebatch’s excellent article. Read it here.

Think Saturated Fat Contributes to Heart Disease? Think Again…

Good to see that another scientific "consensus" that had more to do with the loudest voices taking over a debate, and not the evidence, finally starting to crumble.

I'm sure there is much work to be done before a properly understood and nuanced view of diet and health takes its place.

For the past three decades, saturated fat has been considered a major culprit of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and as a result dietary advice persists in recommending reduced consumption of this macronutrient.  However, new evidence shows that saturated fat intake has only a very limited impact on CVD risk -- causing many to rethink the “saturated fat is bad” paradigm. 

A series of research articles published in the October issue of Lipids[1] provides a snapshot of recent advances in saturated fat and health research, based on science presented at the 100th American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) annual meeting in Orlando, Florida (May 2009).  During a symposium entitled “Saturated Fats and Health: Facts and Feelings,” world-renowned scientists specializing in fat research analyzed the evidence between saturated fat intake and health, and overall agreed upon the need to reduce over-simplification when it came to saturated fat dietary advice.

And if you haven't already done so, I'd highly recommend this piece from The New York Times: Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus

This gives you a good explanation of why you don't need foul conspiracy for bad ideas to prosper and take over scientific discourse, becoming an orthodoxy that must be protected from heresy.

And while it does not mention climate change, I defy anyone to read it and not be struck by the disturbing similarities between the two issues, especially in how the 'fat is bad' meme became taken up by the political and bureaucratic elites as an item of faith and those who dared to criticise it were denounced as the stooges of industry in terms that effectively painted them as morally deficient sinners.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The 97% "Consensus" is only 75 Self-Selected Climatologists

From The Hockey Schtick:

The graphic below comes via our friends at [un]skepticalscience, assuring us that while 97% of "climate scientists think  that global warming is 'significantly' due to human activity," a shocking 72% of news coverage does not reflect this "consensus" and similarly 74% of the public are not convinced.

However, close examination of the source of the claimed 97% consensus reveals that it comes from a non-peer reviewed article describing an online poll in which a total of only 79 climate scientists chose to participate. Of the 79 self-selected climate scientists, 75 agreed with the notion of AGW. Thus, we find climate scientists once again using dubious statistical techniques to deceive the public that there is a 97% scientific consensus on man-made global warming; fortunately they clearly aren't buying it. 
The rest here.

Mammal-like crocodile fossil found in East Africa

ATHENS, Ohio (August 4, 2010)—Fossils of an ancient crocodile with mammal-like teeth have been discovered in the Rukwa Rift Basin of Tanzania, scientists report in this week’s issue of the journal Nature. The unusual creature is changing the picture of animal life at 100 million years ago in what is now sub-Saharan Africa.

“If you only looked at the teeth, you wouldn’t think this was a crocodile. You would wonder what kind of strange mammal or mammal-like reptile it is,” said study lead author Patrick O’Connor, associate professor of anatomy in the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The scientists describe the new species of notosuchian crocodyliform as a small animal—“its head would fit in the palm of your hand,” O’Connor said—that wasn’t as heavily armored as other crocodiles, except along the tail. Other aspects of its anatomy suggest it was a land-dwelling creature that likely feasted on insects and other small animals to survive.

Based on other fossils discovered as part of the Rukwa Rift Basin Project, Pakasuchus lived alongside large, plant-eating sauropod and predatory theropod dinosaurs, other types of crocodiles, turtles and various kinds of fishes. Illustration credit: Mark Witton, University of Portsmouth.
Full story here.

More than any individual, Joe Romm is responsible for creating a poisonous, negative atmosphere in the climate debate

Roger Pielke Jr:

Joe Romm is going after Clive Crook, a senior editor of The Atlantic, a columnist for National Journal, and a commentator for the Financial Times.  In a venting that is extreme even for Romm, he demands that Crook be sued and fired -- and calls for an email campaign to the Atlantic.  I've never met Crook, but I have long found his political arguments to be cogent and well worth reading.  I have also had my experiences with Joe Romm.  So, I am not surprised at what I found when I looked into this issue.

Here are Crook's two "libelous" offenses according to Romm:

The rest here.

I copped some flack on Twitter recently for likening the Left's habit of trying to bully opponents into submission and silence to a 'pack rape,' but yet again we see Romm calling for exactly that.

Solar-thermal power plant works at night, but...

For a lousy potential 5 megawatts of output: requires 30,000 square meters of special parabolic mirrors and 5,400 meters of high heat-resistant pipe to collect the sun's rays in the molten salts, even in Syracuse. All that adds up to a building cost of roughly $80 million for just 5 megawatts of electricity.

I do believe that at some point in the future solar power will make sense, but this is just rubbish.

Let me get this right, this plant prucing not really very much power is covering 30 square kilometres?!

The making of Peter Beattie

A protester telling porkies about police brutality? Ah, for the old days when such tales were instantly believed, and stamped the accuser as a man of the future:
A PREVIOUSLY unseen Queensland police dossier has finally shed new light on the now legendary political baptism of former premier Peter Beattie.

In 1971 Beattie, an 18-year-old university student, was arrested and bashed by police during the city’s wild anti-apartheid protests against a visiting South African rugby team.

He has always claimed he was persecuted for his beliefs and that the incident sent him on the road to politics. The incident cast Beattie as Labor hero.

But the 40-year-old dossier, including police reports, witness statements and medical assessments, alleges that it was Beattie himself who taunted police and sparked the melee outside Brisbane’s Trades Hall.

And doctors who assessed Beattie in hospital after his supposed bashing declared he showed no signs of having been subject to undue force by the arresting officers.

Friday, October 1, 2010

If We Are Not Free to Disagree, We Are Not Free - More Fallout From THAT Video

Donna Laframboise from No Frakking Consensus notes that while those responsible for the appalling 10:10 No Pressure video, where people (including children) who dared to express a different opinion on climate change were blown up in torrents of blood and gore, have apologised for it, they clearly remain clueless as to why it was just so disturbing and offensive.
[It] suggests that the undersigned “Franny, Lizzie, Eugenie and the whole 10:10 team” still don’t get it. They’re clueless about how deeply offensive it is, in a free society, to suggest that people with alternative points-of-view deserve to be liquidated. If we are not free to disagree, we are not free. Period.

Though she makes the equally important point that the proper reaction to this video is not to ban it or restrict the free speech of those responsible.
Offensive speech needs to be met with alternative speech. Those of us who are alarmed and offended need to use our own voices. We need to explain to all of those individuals and organizations who have publicly aligned themselves with the 10:10 Campaign that the world is now watching them.

This is their moment. They need to disassociate themselves from this video. They also need to convince the 10:10 Campaign‘s leadership that a more persuasive apology is required – an apology that demonstrates that this organization actually has learned from this debacle.

How to Restore the Florida Panther: Add a Little Texas Cougar [Slide Show]

A relatively small stretch of swamp between Miami and Naples in south Florida was the only place on Earth where the Florida panther lived 20 years ago. In fact, scientists estimate that only roughly 26 of the animals that once roamed the entire Southeast remained in that swamp, many stunted by genetic defects brought on by inbreeding. In a bid to stave off the same kind of extinction that had wiped out all other mountain lion subspecies (also known as cougars, panthers or pumas) east of the Mississippi, wildlife managers imported eight female cougars from Texas in 1995. It worked. Today, the vigor of the Florida panther is back, according to a new genetic survey published September 23 in Science.
The rest here.

Even New Scientist admits extra CO2 is good for plants

The New Scientist today saysCarbon dioxide may be bad for the climate, but it’s good for the roses. Perhaps it’s time we rehabilitated this gaseous villain”.

Full post here.

And I suspect we have here one of the Earth's natural ways of responding to increased CO2 in the atmosphere - plants generally will grow more and help remove it from the atmosphere.