Sunday, February 14, 2010

"New Scientist" becomes Non Scientist

In her article below, Joanne Nova appears to be unaware that "New Scientist" has always been Left-leaning and that their present bias is nothing new. It is not a peer-reviewed academic journal. Its editor has described it as "an ideas magazine". It would be more accurate to describe it as a "no idea" magazine. It is in fact neither new nor scientific

You might think journalists at a popular science magazine would be able to investigate and reason. In DenierGate, watch New Scientist closely as it does the unthinkable and tries to defend gross scientific malpractice by saying it’s okay because other people have done other things (that were not related) a little bit wrong and a long time ago. Move along ladies and gentlemen, there’s nothing to see…

The big problem for this formerly good publication is that it has decided already what the answer is to any question on climate change (and the answer could be warm or cold, but it’s always ALARMING). That leaves it clutching for sand-bags to prop up its position as the king-tide sweeps away any journalistic credibility it might have had. I’ve added my own helpful notes into the New Scientist article, just so you get the full picture.
NS (New Scientist): “Climategate” has put scientists on trial in the court of public opinion.

JN (Joanne Nova): Since there’s evidence of falsification, hiding data, artificially altering results, and deleting records, a trial sounds entirely appropriate. How about the Supreme Court kind?

NS: If you believe climate skeptics, a huge body of evidence* involving the work of tens of thousands of scientists over more than a century–

JN: I’d hate to exaggerate, but the IPCC can only name 60 scientists who reviewed the evidence on causation in the Fourth Assessment Report, and most of them were either reviewing their own work, had a vested interest, or are themselves caught up in the Climategate scandal …

NS: –should be thrown out on the basis of the alleged misconduct of a handful of researchers, even though nothing in the hacked emails has been shown to undermine any of the scientific conclusions*.

JN: Nothing? So for New Scientist, it is normal practice to refuse to provide data, refuse FOI’s, and then delete data? Maybe this is the normal practice for a religion, but it sure isn’t normal for science.

And spot the appearance of the mythical “HUGE body of evidence”. Can anyone at New Scientist find that one mystery paper with empirical evidence showing that carbon causes major warming? Just ONE? That’s major warming, not minor. And that’s empirical, i.e., by observation, not by simulation. This is the paragraph where New Scientist proves it has become Non Scientist:
“If we are going to judge the truth of claims on the behavior of those making them, it seems only fair to look at the behavior of a few of those questioning the scientific consensus. There are many similar examples we did not include. We leave readers to draw their own conclusions about who to trust.”

Alarm bells are ringing from Galileo’s grave. We’re trying to figure out if the world is warming due to man-made carbon right? New Scientist’s method is not to look at the evidence, but to look at the behavior of the sceptics. Did you see the black hole of ad hominem that this once esteemed journal just stepped into? Logic and reason were reduced in a flash to a naked singularity. Follow its reasoning through the black hole, and you don’t emerge on the other side.

Who to trust indeed? Let’s trust people who can reason, and scientists who don’t hide their data. It doesn’t matter how “sceptics behave”; it matters whether the data can be independently analyzed and interpreted; whether the conclusions are robust. But, since the data is g-o-n-e , no one can verify anything. So in a way, it does come down to “trust”: In the new quasi-religious form of science, you have to trust those who hold the global data. Isn’t postmodern “science” an awful lot like the old religions?

Did they make the right “adjustments”? Who the heck knows?

So does New Scientist publish the most significant e-mails to let readers make up their own minds, or does it hide the damning lines, and feed in some old distractions it found in a festering mess of bias called the New Scientist Archive? Choose B. Go for an eighteen-year old paper by people not mentioned in the hacked e-mails. Of course. Then have another go at a science documentary that didn’t mention the hacked e-mails, but got part of a graph wrong. (And don’t mention that Al Gore’s movie made nine significant errors as determined by a British Court.)

Then, take another swipe at the unpaid scientists who arranged a petition that attracted thousands of signatures. New Scientist briefly notes the latest version of this petition, but since it really can’t find any flaws with this new version, which has an astounding 31,000 signatures on it, New Scientist spends several paragraphs on the earlier version, which could have been done a bit better, but was obviously mainly right, as shown by the second round… Remember the petition was done by volunteers and done twice. It’s the largest grassroots movement of scientists on any topic anywhere in the world, and New Scientist is attacking the 31,000 volunteer scientists, while it defends the 60 corrupt paid ones.

It’s beyond silly. The mindless irrelevant attacks go on. New Scientist attacks Nigel Lawson for using a misleadingly short time–eight years–to argue that the world is not warming (which is exactly what the satellite data shows). Eight years is too short for New Scientist to announce a flat trend, but in every other article with a single flood, a single cyclone, or a single heat wave, one week is long enough for New Scientist to imply that global warming might be to blame. So a season of hurricanes is significant, but years of cooling is misleading. Righto. (And Amen!)

New Scientist attacks Christopher Monckton’s paper–not because it can summarize why it is in error, but because another group disagrees with it, and there are some technicalities about whether it jumped through the right hoops called peer review. Attack the man and not the message, eh? New Scientist stands up for the bureaucratic details of “peer review” (only certain peers count), but won’t stand up for the independent scientists, the whistleblowers, who want access to data just to make sure those “peer reviewed papers” don’t turn out to be baseless frauds like the Hockey Stick.


The Olympic Global Warming Onslaught is Starting

Snow elsewhere is just "weather" and signifies nothing but lack of snow in Vancouver shows global warming!

One of the low elevation Vancouver skiing venues (Cypress Mountain) is short on snow this year due to El Nino, and the Global Warming machine is soon going to saturate the news with this story. It has already started and is ramping up.
VANCOUVER, B.C. — One morning last week, environmentalist David Suzuki looked across English Bay from his Vancouver home to Cypress Mountain, usually covered in snow this time of year but now left all but bare by a warm winter.

“I’ve watched in horror as the snow has just melted away from Cypress Mountain,” Suzuki said, referring to the 2010 Olympic Games snowboarding and freestyle skiing venue. The view from Vancouver, Suzuki and others say, provides a glimpse into the future for the Winter Olympics.


Never mind that most of the ski areas in the world are having excellent seasons, including other Olympic venues like Whistler – which has already received over 1,000 cm of snow this winter. Arizona Snowbowl has received 238 inches of snow this winter! You read that correctly – Arizona.

Squaw Valley, California (site of the 1960 Winter Olympics) is reporting at least 10 feet of snow on the ground. Ski conditions around Salt Lake City (site of the 2002 Olympics) are excellent. Wolf Creek, Colorado is reporting close to ten feet on the ground. European ski areas are reporting excellent snow. Pajarito Mountain, New Mexico is reporting one of their best ski seasons ever. North Carolina ski areas are reporting some of their best conditions ever. Scotland is reporting the best ski conditions in 50 years. Washington DC is shut down due to snow.

Most of the ski areas in British Columbia have excellent snow, but be assured that the press will highlight the one area which doesn’t – and will not provide a sensible explanation for the cause. They will blame it on global warming, and will intentionally ignore ski conditions in most of the globe.

The glass is 10% empty, not 90% full.


First Time Ever -- Snow on Ground in All 50 States

The storm that just dumped enough snow on the Florida Panhandle to force the closing of the University of West Florida has brought the official count of states with the white-stuff on the ground to a full 50.

Patrick Marsh at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told USA Today that “he's unsure if such a weather phenomenon has ever occurred before.” Others, including Janice Dean at Fox News, have declared the literally nation-wide measurable snow to be unprecedented.

With snowfall records being rewritten around the country (even Dallas reached a single-day record of 12.5 inches falling within 24 hours yesterday), watch for alarmists and their MSM accomplices to join the entire country in its exhaustive shoveling.

Of course, as they desperately cling to their claim that recent ferocious snowstorms somehow prove rather than refute manmade global warming, what they’ll be shoveling will be neither cold nor white.


The Green Jobs Scam Unmasked

I wrote on this issue just last month, making the fundamental point that investing billions in “Green Jobs” had failed to stimulate the economy (or create jobs), and that Barack Obama’s pledge to invest billions more in “Green Jobs” was the wrong answer moving forward.

This month, we’re discovering in detail why that is true. According to a series of new reports, billions of dollars in “stimulus” money that was supposed to go toward creating “Green Jobs” here in America instead went to foreign-owned companies – who “created or saved” the vast majority of their jobs overseas. Obviously there is nothing wrong with America investing in foreign businesses, as protectionism is a recipe for disaster.

According to an ABC News report, though, almost $2 billion in “stimulus” funding has been spent so far on wind power, and yet 80% of that money has gone to foreign-owned companies. “Most of the jobs are going overseas,” researcher Russ Choma told ABC. “According to our estimates, about 6,000 jobs have been created overseas, and maybe a couple hundred have been created in the U.S.”

In fact, despite receiving this windfall of “stimulus” cash, the U.S. wind manufacturing sector actually lost jobs in 2009, according to a year-end report by its professional association. Also, most of the jobs “created or saved” in America have been temporary construction positions, or “management” hires.

The real job creation (or job salvation, to use Obama’s disingenuous math) has taken place beyond our borders. Consider these examples, courtesy of a recent report from The Watchdog Institute:

Eurus Energy America, a subsidiary of a Japanese-owned firm, received $91 million in “stimulus” funds and created only 300 to 400 temporary construction jobs. Permanent jobs created? Less than a dozen.

EnXco, a French-owned firm, received $69.5 million in “stimulus” funds and yet produced only 200 construction jobs and “about a dozen” permanent positions.

A-Power, a Chinese-owned firm, is in line to receive nearly $450 million in “stimulus” funds – for a project that will create thousands of Chinese jobs but only a few dozen American positions.

Cannon Power Group, an American-owned firm, received $19 million in “stimulus” funds but spend most of that on German-made turbines. So far they have created fewer than 300 construction jobs and “20 to 30” permanent positions. Cannon is in line to receive another $150 million in “stimulus” funds, by the way.

In case the trend isn’t clear, America’s massive investment in “Green Jobs” has been a colossal, costly failure – unless you’re looking for work overseas. For all the promises of the Obama administration, here at home these taxpayers billions have amounted to little more than a few thousand temporary construction positions and a few hundred management jobs.

In fact, there’s a good chance that the government employees hired to promote “Green Jobs” outnumber the actual permanent “Green Jobs” created. However you do the math, these positions are obviously a mere drop in the bucket compared to U.S. job losses in the wind manufacturing segment of the energy economy alone, to say nothing of the millions of lost jobs nationwide.

Worse still, the lunacy isn’t stopping. We are continuing to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed framework, which uses American sweat to create permanent positions (and profit) for foreign companies. Frankly, it’s time for Obama to come clean on the “Green Jobs” scam – and to explain why his so-called “transparent and accountable” administration didn’t catch it sooner.


Let’s pick apart this politics of doom

‘Climategate’ confirms what many of us already knew: that claims of future catastrophe are political, not scientific

A sixth of the world’s population – the billion or so people who live downstream of Himalayan glaciers and depend on them for water – must surely be relieved. Just a few months ago, ‘consensus science’ held that these vast tracts of ice would be gone in just a few decades. The implications were stark. Water wars and climate refugees would spread out from the region, consuming society in Gaia’s revenge. If the direct effects of climate change didn’t kill you, the social chaos they unleashed would.

Now that the death of the Himalayan glaciers has been deferred by some three centuries, we can take a sober look at the situation facing people living in the region. The truth is that they have more years ahead of them to find alternatives to relying on Himalayan meltwater than have passed since the Industrial Revolution began to transform our own landscape. That should be plenty of time.

For the furore around ‘Glaciergate’, we didn’t actually need to know that Himalayan glacial retreat was exaggerated to know that the disaster story it seemingly produced was pseudo-scientific bunk. The plots of such disaster stories are written well before any evidence of looming doom emerges from ‘science’. What really underpins the climate change panic is the way in which politicians have justified their own impotence by appealing to catastophe.

This helps to explain the reaction of the political establishment to the various scandals that have beset the IPCC and leading climate scientists in recent weeks. In response to the allegations levelled at individuals and institutions in the climate establishment, the UK climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, has declared war on climate sceptics on both Channel 4 News and in the Observer. But the ironic consequence of Miliband’s intervention has been to acknowledge that disagreement exists. Miliband now recognises an enemy that only a few months ago consisted of a tiny number of ‘flat-earthers’, according to his boss, Gordon Brown. Given that sceptics are not usually engaged, just ignored, a declaration of war is a sure sign that he is on the defensive.

Miliband says, ‘I think the science and the precautionary principle, which says that there’s at the very least a huge risk if we don’t act, mean that we should be acting’. This use of the precautionary principle puts the position of climate alarmists back by a decade. The argument for action on climate change once depended on just the possibility that changes in climate could cause devastating problems for humans. Scientists had not yet produced a consensus. The political stalemate seemingly ended after the infamous ‘Hockey Stick’ graph was published in the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report (TAR) in 2001. It was held to be, at last, the conclusive evidence that man indeed had altered the climate. Here was the fingerprint on the ‘smoking gun’ that pointed towards our imminent demise.

By retreating to the precautionary principle rather than simply defending the notion of scientific consensus, Miliband concedes a lot. The scientific consensus around climate change has stood as a powerful source of political authority in lieu of democratic legitimacy. In the light of events and arguments which undermine this authority, Miliband is fighting for his government’s credibility, not to save the planet.

He protests that, in spite of the new climate scandals, the ‘overwhelming majority’ of scientists nonetheless still hold with the idea that mankind has altered the climate. The recent revelations are just dents, caused by procedural oversight, in an otherwise robust case, he seems to say. But actually, this does not really get to the heart of the discussion about climate. A scientific consensus about the climate’s sensitivity to greenhouse gas emissions is not equivalent to a scientific consensus about human society’s sensitivity to climate. There is a huge difference between these two ideas, yet Miliband’s argument rests on the idea that they are equivalent. And it is on this point that sceptics have not yet made much progress. While banging away at the science of climate change, they have failed to tackle the wider argument about our capacity to deal with the unexpected. What sceptics need to explain is how climate and society have become so confused.

This confusion has other ramifications, for example in the familiar claim that Miliband makes, that ‘climate change will be worse for the poor’. This in turn depends on the reinvention of ‘social justice’ as ‘environmental justice’, as if inequality is a natural phenomenon as inevitable as wind or rain.

But poverty is not a natural phenomenon. It is a tragic conceit to believe that by not driving our cars we will somehow make life better for those who cannot even dream of owning a car – much less having a road to drive it on. The problem is that people are poor, not that their climate is slightly different. We can see this fact demonstrated in the horrific scale of devastation in Haiti. An event of similar magnitude in a more economically developed country would not have claimed so many lives. It is not enough to say that carbon emissions cost lives, or anything like it, because the principal factors that determine the outcome of natural phenomena relate to an area’s level of development.

However, as Miliband’s words reveal, world leaders have given up on the idea of development as the means through which people can enjoy better protected and more rewarding lives. This can only have the consequence of producing and sustaining poverty, making greater numbers of people vulnerable to nature’s indifferent whims. The way in which the political class has surrendered to climate panic is a comprehensive admission of our leaders’ own impotence. Only if we take their inability to produce domestic or international development for granted can we conceive of changes in weather patterns as inevitably catastrophic.

For example, over the next three centuries, the people living beneath Himalayan glaciers might construct dams to collect the rain or snow that falls there, but which does not remain as ice. It is not inconceivable that Asians might also provide a greater proportion of their water needs through desalination plants. The world has been reorganised around the tenets of environmentalism precisely because the notion of using development to provide protection from natural disaster is now deemed to be impossible.

World leaders have projected their catastrophic sense of impotence on to the world. Just to make sure that politics cannot intervene, they have brought forward the date of the ecopalypse, to render any alternative and any debate impossible. It can’t happen soon enough for them. A failure of imagination has been passed off as the conclusion of ‘climate science’ and as the opinion of ‘the overwhelming majority of scientists’, but as we can see, the premise of impotence and catastrophe is a presupposition that is political in its character and not a conclusion produced by science.

In turn, if the notion of catastrophic climate change is reduced to a mere article of (bad) faith, the institutions of climate politics – all of which have been constructed on the premise of catastrophe/impotence – cease to have a legitimate basis. The IPCC, the Stern Review, the Kyoto treaty, Copenhagen, the Climate Change Committee and the legislation and reorganisation of public life that have followed in their wake have not been created to save the planet from climate catastrophe, but to save politicians from the collapse of their own authority. That is what Miliband’s war is about.

The scandal is not really in the fraud, exaggeration, or deceit – if that is what they were – committed by particular researchers, or the failure of the IPCC process to identify that certain claims were false. The scandal is that politicians seek moral authority in crisis. It was not ‘science’ that produced stories of imminent catastrophe; it was the bleak doom-laden politics of this era. Scientists merely extrapolated from this scenario, into the future, taking the logic of the political premises to their conclusion. The politics exists prior to the science. In reply, sceptics, with a more positive vision, ought to demonstrate the gap that exists between the science and the story, and how it might end differently if we start from more positive ground.

If Miliband wants a war, he can have one. But the battle lines should recognise that the politics of catastrophe is prior to the science of catastophe, and that another outlook that emphasises our ability to control events is possible. Environmental problems will always occur, but it is how they are understood that counts. We cannot understand ‘what science says’ until we understand what it has been told, and what it has really been asked. Science has been put to use to turn the billion people living beneath Himalayan glaciers into political capital by the IPCC to prop up the likes of Ed Miliband. It is only now that he has been deprived of the authority that those billion lives – or deaths – gave him, that he wants a war.

Today’s politicians need catastrophes because they have no other way of creating authority for themselves. But the catastrophe is in politics, not in the atmosphere.


Australia: Greenie home-insulation policy burns houses down and kills workers

Misconceived and ill-thought out like most such schemes

PETER Garrett has admitted his troubled $2.5 billion insulation program has been linked to 86 house fires around the nation as the opposition stepped up calls for him to resign over his handling of the scheme. As opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt called for an investigation into the rise in house ceiling fires, it emerged that the government's program to give homes with foil insulation safety checks has stalled, despite fears 1000 roofs have been electrified by inept installers.

Standards Australia said it would review thermal insulation procedures, adding that the standard for installing insulation was not mandatory, and did not cover foil products.

The government undertook last February to insulate 2.7 million homes as part of its $42bn stimulus package, but the program has been dogged by claims of rorting and safety problems. The Environment Minister has been savaged for his handling of the $2.5bn program. Tony Abbott said Mr Garrett must pay with his job for the lives of four insulation installers lost in the program and resign, otherwise "the Prime Minister has to sack him".

But Kevin Rudd expressed confidence in Mr Garrett, saying safety had been his "No 1 priority". "I have absolute confidence in the minister," the Prime Minister said. "There have been tragedies for people's families. I understand that. But there are also tragedies with industrial accidents across the country in other areas."

A defiant Mr Garrett said: "I am here to do the job. "Let's be clear about the scale of the program. Over a million homes insulated, less than 1 per cent of complaints." The total number of approved suppliers is now 7300. Twenty have been removed for failure to comply with its terms.

Figures obtained by The Weekend Australian show 172 fires have been linked to insulation or reported in ceiling cavities since the start of last year, but Mr Garrett's spokesman said 86 fires had been linked to insulation installed under the program.

NSW Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan said the 67 insulation fires in the state last year and one this year were "concerning enough that an urgent public warning was immediately issued in November following advice from fire brigade statisticians". This compared with 16 insulation fires in 2008.

In Victoria, the number of fires involving insulation in a ceiling space doubled from 19 in 2008 to 38. Queensland reported 43 fires originating in the ceiling or roof space in the last six months of last year, compared with 35 for the 12 months to June 30 last year.

South Australia reported one such fire, down from two the year before, and in Canberra the ACT Coroner will investigate three house fires. Western Australia has reported 20 insulation fires since July.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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