Monday, April 26, 2010

CFP - Symposium on Peer Reviewing‏

An interesting conference invitation below from Although I have had much experience of peer review, both as a recipient and a dispenser, I will not be going to the conference as I no longer travel. But more lively readers may be interested. The topic is certainly an important one. I myself regard the open reviewing system used by some journals as much superior

As you know, only 8% members of the Scientific Research Society agreed that 'peer review works well as it is.' (Chubin and Hackett, 1990; p.192)

"A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision and an analysis of the peer review system substantiate complaints about this fundamental aspect of scientific research." (Horrobin, 2001)

Horrobin concludes that peer review "is a non-validated charade whose processes generate results little better than does chance." (Horrobin, 2001) This has been statistically proven and reported by an increasing number of journal editors.

But, "Peer Review is one of the sacred pillars of the scientific edifice" (Goodstein, 2000), it is a necessary condition in quality assurance for Scientific/Engineering publications, and "Peer Review is central to the organization of modern science…why not apply scientific [and engineering] methods to the peer review process" (Horrobin, 2001).

This is the purpose of The 2nd International Symposium on Peer Reviewing: ISPR 2010 ( being organized in the context of The SUMMER 4th International Conference on Knowledge Generation, Communication and Management: KGCM 2010 (, which will be held on June 29th - July 2nd, in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Deadlines for ISPR 2010
May 4th, 2010, for papers/abstracts submissions and Invited Sessions Proposals
May 18th, 2010: Authors Notification
June 1st, 2010: Camera ready, final version.

ISPR 2010 Organizing Committee is planning to include in the symposium program 1) sessions with formal presentations, and/or 2) informal conversational sessions, and/or 3) hybrid sessions, which will have formal presentations first and informal conversations later.

Submissions for Face-to-Face or for Virtual Participation are both accepted. Both kinds of submissions will have the same reviewing process and the accepted papers will be included in the same proceedings.

Pre-Conference and Post-conference Virtual sessions (via electronic forums) will be held for each session included in the conference program, so that sessions papers can be read before the conference, and authors presenting at the same session can interact during one week before and after the conference. Authors can also participate in peer-to-peer reviewing in virtual sessions.

All Submitted papers/abstracts will go through three reviewing processes: (1) double-blind (at least three reviewers), (2) non-blind, and (3) participative peer reviews. These three kinds of review will support the selection process of those papers/abstracts that will be accepted for their presentation at the conference, as well as those to be selected for their publication in JSCI Journal.

Authors of accepted papers who registered in the conference can have access to the evaluations and possible feedback provided by the reviewers who recommended the acceptance of their papers/abstracts, so they can accordingly improve the final version of their papers. Non-registered authors will not have access to the reviews of their respective submissions.

Authors of the best 10%-20% of the papers presented at the conference (included those virtually presented) will be invited to adapt their papers for their publication in the Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics.

Best regards,

ISPR 2010 Organizing Committee


Chubin, D. R. and Hackett E. J., 1990, Peerless Science, Peer Review and U.S. Science Policy; New York, State University of New York Press.

Horrobin, D., 2001, "Something Rotten at the Core of Science?" Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, Vol. 22, No. 2, February 2001. Also at and (both Web pages were accessed on February 1, 2010)

Goodstein, D., 2000, "How Science Works", U.S. Federal Judiciary Reference Manual on Evidence, pp. 66-72 (referenced in Hoorobin, 2000)

Open Letter: U.S. Climate Action Report 2010. 5th ed.

From Howard Hayden, Prof. Emeritus of Physics, UConn

Many states around the nation are trying to enact laws to restrict carbon emissions, and industries too numerous to mention have begun making changes hoping to be fully prepared to comply with laws they haven’t seen yet. Congress is considering laws in hopes that they can avoid having EPA impose its own version of CO2 restrictions.

Before jumping on this bandwagon, we should be certain that we understand the science. U.S. Climate Action Report 2010, 5th ed. might be understood by some Americans to be the definitive word; however nary a word in the report even pretends to establish a link between CO2 and putative global warming or show that the increase in CO2 concentration is due to human activity instead of natural causes (such as natural warming of the oceans) or show that either an increase in CO2 concentration or an increase in temperature is, on balance, bad (or worse than laws restricting CO2 emissions) or do any science whatsoever.

Despite screams to the contrary, a vast number of scientists dispute the findings of the IPCC. Perhaps the Department of State believes that “the science is settled.” If so, please let us know which of the two dozen models—see Fig. 1 showing a slight disagreement by a factor of 3000 among the models—settled the science so that all of the others can be thrown into the dustbin of failed science and de-funded.

Figure 1: Graph from IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, showing calculations by various models. Note that the range of values spans a factor of 3,000.

Like an ant crawling out an anthill and concluding that the world is made of 1-millimeter rocks, global-warming activists have looked at the last three-millionths of one percent of the earth’s climate history and made brash conclusions about climate, and especially their understanding of it. They wax eloquent about results from computer models. In the longer view---see Fig. 2—we see that the last million years or so are rather anomalous. The highest CO2 concentrations during the last many ice ages and interglacials are lower than at any other time for the last 300 million years. The dinosaurs lived when CO2 concentrations were 5 to 20 times as high as now. Indeed, such large creatures could not survive without the very verdant conditions afforded by adequate plant food known as carbon dioxide.

Figure 2: Carbon dioxide concentrations for the last 600 million years. Points represent actual measurements; lines represent computerized smoothings. The most recent million years is in a very narrow strip to the left of the graph, with concentrations less than 400 ppmv. The right-hand scale is in multiples of quaternary average.

That long history teaches us something else. We have all been in an auditorium when somebody was testing out the sound system and there was a sudden screech owing to a “tipping point” wherein the amplified sound at the microphone was loud enough to be picked up and made louder yet. If the people did not act immediately to cut the gain of the amplifier, and everybody just left the room and locked the door, the screech would persist forever if the power remained on. This behavior, often called “running to the rail” by electronics folks, is characteristic of all positive feedback systems. Once you reach the tipping point, there is no return. If high levels of CO2 were to cause the earth to reach a tipping point, it would have done so a long time ago, and we wouldn’t be here talking about it.

All in all, there is a best policy to direct toward climate change, and that is to have the courage to do nothing. We humans have precious little to do with climate. When and where did you read anything from climate alarmists that said that humans are responsible for about 3% of all CO2 emissions? When and where did you read anything from climate alarmists that said that warming oceans emit CO2? When and where did the climate alarmists tell you about CO2 levels that were up to 20 times current levels when dinosaurs roamed the earth? When and where did alarmists tell you that the conditions they openly worry about have repeatedly happened without turning the earth into an oven?

Nowhere and never, did you say? Perhaps you should consider that you have been deliberately misled.


The Greenhouse Effect: Origins, Falsification, & Replacement by Timothy Casey B.Sc. (Hons.)

This is a MAJOR paper that Hans Schreuder informed Alan Siddons about today. A few choice plums:

#Everyone knows what the greenhouse effect is. Well ... do they? Ask someone to explain how the greenhouse effect works. There is an extremely high probability that they have no idea.

#Beware of wheels within energy diagrams as these usually constitute the energy creation mechanism of perpetual motion machines. One such gem of clarity, used uncited by Plimer (2009, p. 370), was offered by Kiehl and Trenberth...

#The mechanism by which the addition of carbon dioxide warms the atmosphere has no empirical basis. Therefore the assertion that global warming is anthropogenic, may well be philosophical and perhaps political, but it is most certainly not scientific.

#Increasing visible radiation, even by quite a large amount, results in no measurable rise in temperature because no appreciable amount of visible radiation is converted into infrared when absorbed and re-emitted - contrary to Arrhenius' hypothesis.

#Tyndall's confusion of absorption and opacity is a major error that was propagated into Arrhenius' Greenhouse hypothesis, and constitutes a fact not accounted for in Arrhenius' calculation of "Climate Sensitivity" to carbon dioxide.

#Although the greenhouse effect died with the Wood experiment, the diverse multitude of radiation "budgets" shows that the greenhouse effect is far from buried. This is a classic case of shifting the goalposts, because the greenhouse effect is not a scientific hypothesis that can be buried when it dies from experimental causes; it is a political symbol that cannot be allowed a proper burial, and so remains forever on display at the funeral parlor; an eternal viewing just like Lenin's.

SOURCE. Original Site link. Tidied up PDF version here

Demonizing DDT — Challenging a scare campaign that has cost millions of lives

In The Excellent Powder: DDT's Political and Scientific History, Richard Tren and Donald Roberts argue that the infamous insecticide is the world's greatest public-health success stories, saving millions of lives by preventing insect-borne disease. Unfortunately for those in areas still infested with mosquitoes and other flying bugs, DDT is also the world's most-misunderstood substance, the target of a decades-long scientifically ignorant and ideologically motivated campaign that has vastly limited its use and applications.

From Rachel Carson in the 1960s to contemporary critics, DDT has been the object of what Roberts, a professor of tropical public health at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, calls "scare campaigns" that link DDT to "theoretical harms to wildlife and human life that simply don't exist."

Dubbed "the excellent powder" by Winston Churchill for its life-saving qualities, DDT has the potential to transform the developing world from a malarial hell into something else again. Yet as Tren, the winner of the 2009 Julian L. Simon Award, warns, under current international conventions, global DDT production is scheduled to be halted in 2017, thereby consigning much of the world to less-effective and more-expensive alternatives that will consign millions of poor people to living hell.'s Nick Gillespie sat down with Tren and Roberts, who are part of Africa Fighting Malaria, to talk about how DDT got such a bad rap and what can be done to set the record straight.

Approximately 9.15 minutes. Shot by Meredith Bragg and Dan Hayes; edited by Hayes and Josh Swain.

Go to for downloadable iPod, HD, and audio versions of all our videos. And subscribe to's YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live.


BBC lectures us incessantly on climate change. So why did their bosses make 68,000 domestic flights in two years?

Its viewers are frequently subjected to warnings about climate change. Yet the BBC has spent nearly £5million on tens of thousands of short-haul flights across Britain for its executives, staff and guests.

At a time when programmes regularly highlight the environmental impact of air travel, licence-fee payers have funded more than 68,000 internal trips over the past two years – an average of nearly 100 flights a day.

The BBC’s daily carbon footprint generated by the UK air trips is the equivalent of that produced by the average person in a year, say environmental experts.

Among the users of domestic flights was the BBC’s Deputy Director-General Mark Byford, who flew from Southampton to Edinburgh to watch an England-Scotland rugby match.

Mr Byford, who earns £471,000 a year, also took a flight from London to Manchester to attend the Open golf championship. The same journey would have taken three hours by train.

BBC Director-General Mark Thompson travelled on 16 internal flights. These included a flight to Newcastle from London to attend a Conservative Party reception, and a flight from London to Glasgow to attend a concert. The huge bill for internal flights came to light following a Freedom of Information request.

Critics are bound to question how the Corporation can justify spending such a large sum on short flights – especially in the light of the BBC’s most recent corporate responsibility report, which says: ‘Large organisations like the BBC are under increasing pressure to reduce environmental impacts, use resources more efficiently, and manage their operations in a more sustainable way. We are making progress in all of these areas.

‘We will continue to encourage staff to travel less, and use rail rather than air wherever that is feasible.’

Last night campaigners were also questioning why the BBC had lavished huge amounts on UK air travel at a time of job cuts and cutbacks in programme budgets.

The total cost to licence-fee payers of the 68,063 flights amounted to £4,686,850 between 2007 and 2009. Those who took the flights included BBC staff, freelance workers and guests.

A spokesman for Friends of the Earth said: ‘There’s no excuse for flying across the UK when there are greener alternatives such as travelling by train.

‘It’s vital that we slash carbon emissions from transport to meet the UK’s targets for tackling climate change, and this means changing the way we travel.’

Among the reasons cited for taking flights were attending training days, TV and radio festivals and travelling to meetings.

One of the biggest users of domestic flights among the corporation’s executive directors was Deputy Director-General Mark Byford, who has overall responsibility for journalism and sport.

In March 2008, Mr Byford flew from Southampton – the airport closest to his Winchester home – to Edinburgh to watch a Scotland-England rugby match. On the same trip he also incurred £26 worth of taxi fares to get to and from the airport, a bill picked up by the licence-fee payer. In July that year he flew from London to Manchester to attend the Open golf championship at Royal Birkdale. In September Mr Byford flew to Manchester again to attend the Labour Party Conference. He took 23 domestic flights over the two-year period.

Other top executives made dozens of short-haul flights, including director general Mark Thompson and finance chief Zarin Patel.

Mr Thompson, who earns £834,000 a year, took 16 internal flights, including flying to Newcastle for the Conservative Party reception and to Glasgow for the ‘opening of season for Scottish Symphony Orchestra’.

Ms Patel, who earns £429,000, took at least 10 domestic flights to attend meetings with finance and production staff in Glasgow.

And Timothy Davie, who as the director of audio and music earns £403,000, took 18 internal flights including to attend the Edinburgh Festival last year and a radio festival in Glasgow.

Last night Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said the flights were a needless waste of money. He said: ‘Some BBC staff seem to be accustomed to travelling five star, but this kind of luxury simply can’t go on.

‘Taking a train is almost always far more cost-effective than domestic flights, and a plane simply isn’t necessary to reach most parts of the country other than Northern Ireland.’

Last night a BBC spokeswoman defended its use of domestic air travel. She said the BBC was introducing video conference facilities to cut down on the need to travel to meetings and that rail travel was its ‘preferred mode of transport within England’.

‘We do consider our environmental impact, but obviously we also have to consider value for money for the licence-fee payer. It remains the case that domestic flights are sometimes the cheapest and most time-efficient means for transport.’

She defended Mr Byford’s use of flights to attend the rugby match, saying: ‘His diary is extremely busy and so if he got the train up [from Southampton] it would take eight hours. He could well have had other things to do for the BBC on that day.

‘Just because it was a Saturday it wouldn’t necessarily mean he didn’t have other things to do.’

The BBC executives took their flights even though they have the use of chauffeur-driven cars – funded by the licence fee.

Mr Thompson has a VW Phaeton 3.0TDi V6 which has cost the licence payer £143,000 during the past two years. Mr Byford has a Lexus GS which has cost £133,000 during the same period.

It has previously been revealed that Mr Byford gets his car to pick him up from Waterloo Station every day after he commutes from Winchester to London. The car then drives him the six miles to and from his office at White City in West London.


Climate bill placed on hold over Senate dispute

Long-awaited climate change legislation was put on hold by its authors Saturday when a dispute over immigration politics and Senate priorities threatened to unravel a bipartisan effort that took months of work.

Voicing regrets, Sen. John Kerry said Saturday he is postponing the much anticipated unveiling of comprehensive energy and climate change legislation scheduled for Monday. The Massachusetts Democrat made his announcement after a key partner in drafting the bill, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, threatened to withhold support if Senate Democratic leaders push ahead first with an immigration bill.

Graham is angry that Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is considering that. Legislation to overhaul immigration laws and grant legal status to millions of long term immigrants unlawfully in the country could create problems for Republicans in the midterm elections. It's a top priority for Hispanic voters -- and most Republicans are opposed. Reid's idea amounts to a "cynical political ploy," Graham asserted.

Kerry tried to assure environmentalists and other backers of the climate bill that the delay will be short. The legislation aims to cut emissions of pollution-causing greenhouse gases 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. It also likely will expand domestic production of oil, natural gas and nuclear power.

The bill would apply different carbon controls to different sectors of the economy, without a broad cap-and-trade approach.

"We all believe that this year is our best and perhaps last chance for Congress to pass a comprehensive approach," Kerry said in a statement. "Regrettably, external issues have arisen that force us to postpone only temporarily."

Kerry, Graham and Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman have spent more than six months working on the bill they had hoped to unveil Monday. White House energy adviser Carol Browner praised the three senators, reiterating that the Obama administration wants the energy and climate bill done this year.

Environmental groups said they were disappointed with the delay and they would push Democrats to follow through on their pledge to pass legislation.

Graham's threat to back away from the coalition came Saturday in a letter to groups that have supported his efforts on the climate bill.

He said putting immigration at the top of the legislative priority list would derail efforts to find common ground on climate change, a difficult issue involving critically important economic priorities. And he warned that Republican lawmakers would not take kindly to being put on the spot with Hispanics. Many in the Republican Party's political base are adamantly opposed to 'amnesty' for illegal immigrants.



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