Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Anti-Engineering Crowd

by Steven Goddard

Engineers have to get things right. They design things which have to work in the real world. When bridges fall down, there are consequences. If your computer doesn’t work, there are consequences. If a rocket crashes, there are consequences.

By contrast, many scientists have the luxury of living in the world of thought. They can toy around with ideas and models and concepts, normally without consequence for being wrong. You would not want a scientist designing a bridge, or performing surgery. They generally don’t have the necessary skills.

We see the disconnect between climate science and reality constantly. One of my favorite examples is the idea of the “ice shelf collapse” due to “global warming.”

An engineer looks at this picture and sees stress fractures in a thick piece of ice. A polar scientist with global warming on his mind, might see CO2. There is no evidence of melt in this picture. None, zip, nada, nil. The idea that this clean, smooth crack is due to melt is ludicrous.

Another example is the idea of “ice sheet collapse” where the bulk of the Greenland Ice Sheet quickly slides off into the ocean. Again, we know that the ice sheet over Greenland has depressed the land underneath by several thousand feet. There are also mountains underneath the ice. Ice can not slide out of a 3,000 foot deep bowl. Again, the idea is ludicrous.

The idea that winter storms and winter snow extent are increasing due to “excess heat” defies any rational thought. Yet the idea is bandied around effortlessly by some in the climate science community.

The fact that GCMs do not verify would cause an engineer to be concerned. Yet some climate scientists march forwards with the blinders on. Because the anti-engineering crowd doesn’t believe there are consequences for being wrong.

We need both scientists and engineers. Scientists are the dreamers. Engineers are the boring, practical people. Any government daft enough to accede policy decisions to scientists will get exactly what they deserve.

BTW – I have degrees in both science and engineering …..


The original moonbat admits he was wrong -- grudgingly

He once claimed that Veganism was the only ethical behaviour -- but is now promoting meat! Do I hear the rustle of currency somewhere in the background?

George Monbiot, the original Moonbat Liberal, confessed in a column in the Guardian that going vegan will not save the planet from global cooling, global warming or whatever they are calling it today.

From George Monbiot: “In the Guardian in 2002 I discussed the sharp rise in the number of the world’s livestock, and the connection between their consumption of grain and human malnutrition. After reviewing the figures, I concluded that veganism ‘is the only ethical response to what is arguably the world’s most urgent social justice issue.’

I still believe that the diversion of ever wider tracts of arable land from feeding people to feeding livestock is iniquitous and grotesque. So does the book I’m about to discuss. I no longer believe that the only ethical response is to stop eating meat.”

Then he went on to plug a book about meat.

There is another religion that recently reversed itself on meat. The Catholic church in the 1960s decided eating meat on non-Lenten Fridays was OK.

Then there is this bit from George Monbiot: “Feeding meat and bone meal to cows was insane. Feeding it to pigs, whose natural diet incorporates a fair bit of meat, makes sense, as long as it is rendered properly. The same goes for swill. Giving sterilized scraps to pigs solves two problems at once: waste disposal and the diversion of grain.

Instead we now dump or incinerate millions of tonnes of possible pig food and replace it with soya whose production trashes the Amazon. Waste food in the UK, Fairlie calculates, could make 800,000 tonnes of pork, or one sixth of our total meat consumption.”

You control what people eat, you control people. This has been done with every religion. Monbiot’s pagan Gaia religion is only the latest.

Apparently going Vegan was a deal breaker for many and so like Saint Paul kicking circumcision to the curb goes Monbiot’s vegetarianism.


Warmist exaggerations exposed

So the claim that 'Warming patterns are consistent with model predictions' stands refuted

In 2008, there were two papers published in Nature which received quite a bit of attention. The papers are

Robert J. Allen & Steven C. Sherwood, 2008: Warming maximum in the tropical upper troposphere deduced from thermal winds Published online: 25 May 2008; | doi:10.1038/ngeo208

P. W. Thorne, 2008: “Atmospheric science: The answer is blowing in the wind; Published online: 25 May 2008; | doi:10.1038/ngeo209

I posted on these two papers in: "Use Of Winds To Diagnose Long Term Temperature Trends – Two New Papers"

Comments On The Science In The Nature Paper By Allen and Sherwood

It has taken over two years but in our paper:

Christy, J.R., Herman, B., Pielke, R., Sr., Klotzbach, P., McNider, R.T., Hnilo, J.J., Spencer, R.W., Chase, T., and Douglass, D. What Do Observational Datasets Say about Modeled Tropospheric Temperature Trends since 1979?. Remote Sens. 2010, 2, 2148-2169

we refute the findings in the Allen and Sherwood (2008) and Thorne (2008) papers. In our paper in Section 3.1.3, we write

“The temperature trends derived from the thermal wind equation (TWE) (AS08 and C10) are indirect estimates and their magnitudes are significantly higher than the other products which measure the temperature directly.” [AS(08) = Allen and Sherwood (2008) and C10 = Christy et al (2010)]


“[W]e conclude that these trends calculated from the TWE, as applied for AS08 and here (C10), using the current radiosonde coverage and observational limitations (consistency, accuracy, etc.) do not produce results reliable enough for studies such as ours. In particular, AS08 and C10, with TLT trends of +0.29 and +0.28 °C decade−1 are almost three times that of the mean of the directly measured systems, and are values that are, in our view, simply not consistent with the countervailing, directly-measured evidence.”

In other words, The Allen and Sherwood (2008) finding that:

“Over the period of observations, we find a maximum warming trend of 0.650.47 K per decade near the 200 hPa pressure level, below the tropical tropopause. Warming patterns are consistent with model predictions except for small discrepancies close to the tropopause…… The agreement with models increases confidence in current model-based predictions of future climate change”

has been refuted as reported in the Christy et al 2010 paper.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The Deadly War against DDT

In its two decades of widespread use, DDT saved more lives than any other man-made chemical

Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan

A remarkable new documentary tells the story of how political and ideological forces combined to ban a widely and safely used chemical, DDT, leading to a surge of malaria deaths in developing countries like Kenya, Indonesia, and India.

3 Billion and Counting, which premieres this Friday in Manhattan, was produced by Dr. Rutledge Taylor, a California physician who specializes in preventive medicine. His film will both shock and anger you.

DDT was first synthesized in 1877, but it was not until 1940 that a Swiss chemist demonstrated that it could kill insects without any harm to humans. It was introduced into widespread use during World War II and became the single most important pesticide in maintaining human health for the next two decades. The scientist who discovered the insecticidal properties of DDT, Dr. Paul Mueller, was awarded the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on DDT. (In the 1940s and 1950s the chemical was the "secret" ingredient in a popular new cocktail, the Mickey Slim: gin, with a pinch of DDT.)

In 1962, Rachel Carson's lyrical but scientifically flawed book, Silent Spring, argued eloquently, but erroneously, that pesticides, especially DDT, were poisoning both wildlife and the environment - and also endangering human health. The National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and the U.S. surgeon general were among those who dismissed these charges and came out in support of continuing to use DDT to fight disease and protect crops. A federal hearing was held on the safety of DDT, and in April 1972 Judge Edmund Sweeney concluded that not only was DDT safe, but it was an essential chemical.

Two months later, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, William Ruckelshaus - who had never attended a single day's session of the EPA's hearings and admitted that he had not read the transcripts - overturned the judge's decision, declaring, without evidence, that DDT was "a potential human carcinogen" and banned it for virtually all uses. The ban on DDT was considered to be the first major victory for the environmentalist movement in the United States, and countries around the world followed America's lead.

In Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), DDT spraying had reduced malaria cases from 2.8 million in 1948 to 17 in 1963. After spraying stopped, malaria cases rose sharply, reaching 2.5 million over the next decade.

Scientists have never found an effective substitute for DDT - and so the malaria death rate has kept on soaring.

In his dissection of the rise of the environmental movement and the fall of science, Dr. Taylor not only educates us, but he also sparks outrage about the unforeseen consequences of a scientifically ignorant chemical witchhunt, one that has caused untold human suffering and billions of deaths, primarily among children. While any man-on-the-street interview will yield an overwhelming majority of negative comments about DDT - a "highly toxic, killer chemical" - the reality is that DDT has saved more lives than any other man-made chemical.


Get excited about recycling? Not me

Jeff Jacoby is NOT excited about environmental tyranny in the home

"GET EXCITED about Single Stream!" trills the flyer that comes in the mail from Town Hall. A letter from the commissioner of public works hails the "exciting change" beginning next month, when town residents will no longer be required to sort their recyclable trash into separate blue bins -- one for paper, the other for cans, bottles, and plastic containers. Instead recyclables will all go into 64-gallon "toters," which will be emptied at curbside on trash day into "single compartment trucks" using "automated equipment."

But for some reason the excitement of this eludes me, so I turn to the enclosed information sheet. A list of "frequently asked questions" and a letter from the town's Solid Waste Advisory Committee -- and what would town life be without one of those? -- assures me that single stream does away with "guesswork," making trash-disposal easier than ever. "By eliminating sorting," it reports, the new system may boost recycling rates by 30 percent or more. In large boldface print, it urges: "Get Excited!"

I gaze at the brightly-colored "Single-Stream Recycling Guide," with its illustrated array of trash items that can all go in the "toter" without sorting. There are pictures of bottle caps and egg cartons, books and tin cans, plastic jugs and newspapers. "All Together Now!" the leaflet proclaims. Hmm, I think, maybe this will be an improvement.

Then I start reading the fine print. It turns out that when the town says it is "eliminating sorting," what it means is that glass bottles and jars can be recycled, but not drinking glasses or window glass. It means plastic tubs are OK to toss in the toter, but plastic bags aren't. It means that while cardboard boxes must be flattened, milk and juice cartons must not be flattened. Reams of office paper are fine, but not the wrappers they came in. Tinfoil should be crushed into balls of 2" or larger; tin cans shouldn't be crushed at all.

"Please follow these guidelines carefully," the recycling guide directs. I don't think the Green Police will haul me off in handcuffs if I try to recycle an ice cream carton or a pizza box, but the town has warned that "there will be fines" for residents whose "recycling protocols" don't measure up to "basic community standards." Excited? Not.

To be fair, things could be worse. Clevelanders will soon have to use recycling carts equipped with radio-frequency ID chips and bar codes, the Plain Dealer reported last month. These will enable the city to remotely monitor residents' compliance with recycling regulations. "If a chip shows a recyclable cart hasn't been brought to the curb in weeks, a trash supervisor will sort through the trash for recyclables. Trash carts containing more than 10 percent recyclable material could lead to a $100 fine." In Britain, where a similar system is already in place, fines can reach as high as $1,500.

San Franciscans, meanwhile, must sort their garbage into three color-coded bins -- blue for recycling, green for compost, and black for trash -- and scofflaws who pitch teabags or coffee grounds into the wrong bin can be fined. In other cities, residents must bag their trash in clear plastic, lest they be tempted to toss recyclables out with the garbage.

Does any of this make sense? It certainly isn't economically rational. Unlike commercial and industrial recycling -- a thriving voluntary market that annually salvages tens of millions of tons of metal, paper, glass, and plastic -- mandatory household recycling is a money loser. Cost studies show that curbside recycling can cost, on average, 60 percent more per ton than conventional garbage disposal. In 2004, an analysis by New York's Independent Budget Office concluded, according to The New York Times, that "it cost anywhere from $34 to $48 a ton more to recycle material, than to send it off to landfills or incinerators"

"There is not a community curbside recycling program in the United States that covers its cost," says Jay Lehr, science director at the Heartland Institute and author of a handbook on environmental science and technology. They exist primarily to make people "feel warm and fuzzy about what they are doing for the environment."

But if recycling household trash makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy, why does it have to be compulsory? Why the fines and computer chips? Mandatory recycling programs "force people to squander valuable resources in a quixotic quest to save what they would sensibly discard," writes Clemson University economist Daniel K. Benjamin. "On balance, recycling programs lower our wealth." Now whose idea of exciting is that?


Climatism: Redoubling Misguided Efforts

Undaunted by Climategate disclosures and the failure to pursue climate legislation in the Senate, the climate movement is stepping up the attack. At an August 10 virtual town hall held by Repower America, former Vice President Al Gore stated, "We are not defeated. We are redoubling our efforts ...We need to solve the climate crisis." Thousands of supporters listened to the call. Inspired by Mr. Gore, they intend to "roll up their sleeves" and "turn their attention to the future." Unfortunately, the climate movement is long on enthusiasm and ideology, but short on science and economic sense.

Climatism, the theory that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth's climate, is increasingly in doubt. It appears that the world jumped to conclusions in 1992 at the Rio de Janiero Earth Summit, when 41 nations signed a treaty pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For the last eighteen years, political leaders have been arguing about how much to reduce such emissions. But more and more science shows our climate to be dominated by natural cycles of Earth, driven by solar activity. Man-made carbon dioxide emissions play only an insignificant role in global warming.

On September 3, the BlueGreen Alliance completed a 17-state, 30-city bus tour, urging Senate action on comprehensive climate legislation. The BlueGreen Alliance was formed in 2006 by the Sierra Club and the United Steelworkers as a national partnership to work for "expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean energy economy." Eight U.S. trade unions, comprising 8.5 million workers, have joined the Alliance and bought into the myth that Cap and Trade legislation will create a green jobs economy. Steel is an energy-intensive industry that would be harmed by legislation to restrict carbon emissions. It's a mystery why any steel worker would support Cap and Trade.

Economist Milton Friedman, as an advisor to a developing nation, reportedly visited a construction site and asked why laborers were using shovels instead of earth-moving equipment. When told that tractors would eliminate jobs, he said, "Why not give them spoons?" Real economic growth is achieved only by improving the productivity of the work force, not by artificial creation of jobs.

According to analysis from the Institute of Energy Research and the U.K. House of Lords, wind turbines and solar fields are less reliable and two to four times as expensive as traditional hydrocarbon fuels for producing electricity. An even greater deficiency is that wind and solar energy are intermittently generated. In 2009, the 33,000 U.S. wind turbine towers on average delivered only 23% of their rated power. Would you buy a car that starts only one-quarter of the time? Yet government subsidies and mandates are forcing substitution of these green "solutions." These policies are reducing the productivity of our energy industry, thereby hindering U.S. economic growth and resulting in net job losses. Expensive energy creates jobs only in the energy sector while resulting in greater job losses in the rest of the economy.

Sunday, October 10 will be a big day for the climate movement. The grassroots group 350.org is planning international demonstrations against man-made climate change. Tens of thousands of starry-eyed young people will take to the streets around the globe. Not one in ten will know that water vapor, not carbon dioxide, is Earth's primary greenhouse gas, but they'll be shouting for change just the same. These demonstrations are timed to call attention to the Cancun Climate Summit beginning at the end of November.

The United Nations 16th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change will convene in Cancun, Mexico on November 29. A year after the failed negotiations in Copenhagen, 193 nations and thousands of delegates will meet again to try to find a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and save the environment. Yet such a meeting is ironic on a massive scale.

As pointed out by geologist Leighton Steward, carbon dioxide is green! Carbon dioxide is plant food. Hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies document that increased atmospheric CO2 causes plants and trees to grow faster and larger, increase their root systems, and improve their resistance to drought. Coincidentally, carbon dioxide emissions from our industries have probably done more for greening the Earth than every tree ever planted by a well-meaning environmentalist. Yet, it's damn the science and economics, full speed ahead.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


1 comment:

John A said...

"I still believe that the diversion of ever wider tracts of arable land from feeding people to feeding livestock is iniquitous and grotesque."

But diverting it from animals and humans to burn instead of coal (or nuclear) is just fine, nothing to see here, please move along...