Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pesky new study of malaria; scare debunked

Anybody who knows anything about the natural sciences knows how improbable are straight-line projections from known data.  Future changes will usually either approach an asymptote or even be parabolic.  But Greenie "scientists" love their straight-line projections.  It's so much easier to create a panic that way.

And a favorite linear projection is that as world temperatures get warmer so will malaria become more frequent.  They derive that theory from the fact that malaria is best known as a tropical disease. That its prevalence there might be due to poor public health measures in many tropical countries they do not consider.  I was born and bred in the middle of the tropics but malaria is unknown there because Australia is a modern Western country with modern Western public health measures.  There are a lot of blue eyes there too, if that helps you to get the picture.

Some researchers have however had a closer look at the actual facts about malaria prevalence and fitted a distressingly non-linear function to them.  They find that malaria actually FALLS as the temperature gets hot

The downside is that the most favorable temperature for malaria transmission is 25 degrees Celsius  -- about the average July temperature of NYC!  Clearly,  public health measures matter a lot more than temperature.  Wotta laugh the whole scare is!  Note that French malaria expert Paul Reiter has been pointing out the facts for years  -- JR.
Optimal temperature for malaria transmission is dramatically lower than previously predicted

Erin A. Mordecai et al.


The ecology of mosquito vectors and malaria parasites affect the incidence, seasonal transmission and geographical range of malaria. Most malaria models to date assume constant or linear responses of mosquito and parasite life-history traits to temperature, predicting optimal transmission at 31 °C. These models are at odds with field observations of transmission dating back nearly a century. We build a model with more realistic ecological assumptions about the thermal physiology of insects. Our model, which includes empirically derived nonlinear thermal responses, predicts optimal malaria transmission at 25 °C (6 °C lower than previous models). Moreover, the model predicts that transmission decreases dramatically at temperatures > 28 °C, altering predictions about how climate change will affect malaria. A large data set on malaria transmission risk in Africa validates both the 25 °C optimum and the decline above 28 °C. Using these more accurate nonlinear thermal-response models will aid in understanding the effects of current and future temperature regimes on disease transmission.

Ecology Letters

Global cooling hits Britain!

Don't like the logic of the heading above?  It's more logical than saying that drought in parts of America proves global warming  -- though that's not saying much

Northern counties yesterday saw the first snow of winter and tonight temperatures in southern England are expected to fall to a chilly -3C.  Hundreds of gritters were on standby to treat roads around the country last night as forecasters warned some areas were as cold as Moscow.

As temperatures plummet towards freezing, the first snow fell in Northumberland today.  Milder temperatures will move in tomorrow, but widespread persistent rain and high winds means it will still be a day best spent in front of the fire.

There was snow on the ground in Scotland and Northumberland yesterday, leaving a dusting on fields and pavements as temperatures dipped below zero.

A Met Office spokesman said the snow was falling much earlier than last year, when snowflakes were not reported until December.

Charlie Powell, a spokesman for the Met Office said: 'Some parts of the country are as cold as Moscow today. Those in Northumberland are experiencing temperatures between 3 and 4C.


Mike’s Nobel Trick

By Mark Steyn

Last Monday, hockey-stick progenitor Michael Mann filed suit in DC Superior Court against me, NR, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Rand Simberg. I noticed on the press release (published on his Facebook page) that Dr Mann claimed to have been “awarded the Nobel Peace Prize“, and that on the complaint itself we are accused of the hitherto unknown crime of “defamation of a Nobel prize recipient“.

So my colleague Charles C W Cooke decided to call up the Nobel chaps in Oslo and ask them if Dr Mann was, in fact, a Nobel laureate:

*    Cooke: I was wondering, has Dr. Michael Mann ever won the Nobel Peace Prize?

*    Nobel Committee: No, no. He has never won the Nobel prize.

Thomas Richard also contacted the Norwegians and asked, “Was Prof Michael Mann ‘awarded’ a Nobel Prize of any sort at any time? Is he a Nobel Laureate as implied elsewhere in his legal brief?” He received the following email from Geir Lundestad, Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute:

*    Michael Mann has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In public, Dr Mann is a-huffin’ an’ a-puffin’ that this is just more smears from Koch-funded climate deniers. But, behind the scenes, a lot of quiet airbrushing of the record seems to be going on. Two days ago, his Penn State bio said he had been “co-awarded” the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, now merely that he “contributed… to the award” (whatever that means).

Over at Wikipedia, they’re arguing over ever more unwieldy rewrites. Editing a false legal complaint is trickier but by now someone may have snuck into the DC court clerk’s office with a gallon of White-Out and amended “defamation of a Nobel prize recipient” to “defamation of a man who received one of two thousand photocopies of a commemorative thank-you certificate run off at the IPCC branch of Kinko’s”.

So let’s see: A week ago, Michael Mann accused us of damaging his reputation – and seems to have made it a self-fulfilling prophecy. A week ago, he was a “Nobel prize recipient”. Now he’s not. Great work, Mike!


Obama War On Coal Key To Mitt Romney's Ohio Hopes                                              

Mitt Romney's battle for Ohio may come down to President Obama's "War on Coal."  Romney has gained on Obama in the crucial state. Before the Oct. 3 presidential debate, the RealClearPolitics average had Obama up 5.5 points in Ohio. It's now down to 2.1 points, with the most recent survey showing a tie.

The GOP hopeful could win without Ohio and its 18 electoral votes. Assuming he wins Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, which seems likely, he could reach 271 by taking New Hampshire, Colorado and Wisconsin.

But Romney would be bucking history. No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. With it, he only needs New Hampshire, where he has led some recent polls, to reach the minimum 270 electoral votes.

Romney's biggest liability is his opposition to the administration's auto bailout, a big issue to the car industry's heavy northeast portion of the Buckeye State. The Obama campaign has been hitting Romney with ads on that issue nonstop.

Romney's ace in the hole might be the 18 counties in Ohio that still produce coal. Obama's Environmental Protection Agency regulations targeting coal are not popular in those areas.

Thousands of signs in southeast Ohio read, "Stop The War On Coal. Fire Obama," according to Mark Weaver, a GOP strategist and part of Romney's legal team in the state.

The 18 coal counties gave Obama a margin of about 41,000 votes in 2008. If Romney could produce a five-point swing, he would win the region by roughly 10,000 votes.

The other advantage Romney may have is a lack of enthusiasm among 18- to 29-year-olds. In Ohio they voted 61%-36% in favor of Obama in 2008, a margin of 238,000 votes.

But polls show that the enthusiasm has faded. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that only 48% of those 18-29 had given quite a lot of thought to the 2012 election this year vs. 65% in 2008. Seventy-two percent said in 2008 that they were definitely voting vs. 63% this year, a drop of nine points. In 2004, Kerry won the Ohio youth vote over Bush by a smaller 56%-44%.

A drop of nine points in youth voter turnout with 2004 margins would reduce Obama's edge among Ohio millennials to about 104,000 votes.

"One piece of evidence for the decline in youth enthusiasm is that in the last several trips Obama has made to Ohio, most have been to a college town, trying to drum up support," said Weaver. "There just isn't the same fervor among millennials as there was four years ago."

Another challenge Obama faces is in Cuyahoga County, which contains Cleveland. Cuyahoga gave Obama his biggest vote margin in Ohio last time.

But voter registration is down 182,000 since 2008, a drop of more than 16%. That could cost Obama more than 40,000 votes if he wins Cuyahoga by the same percentage.

Nevertheless, there are still more than 74,000 people who work in the auto and related industries in Ohio. Romney's support for a bankruptcy reorganization instead of a bailout could hurt him with that demographic.

"The auto bailout creates an interesting dynamic because it puts in play some blue collar people who haven't supported Obama but may do so this time," said Matt Mayer, president of Opportunity Ohio, a conservative think tank.


Important Energy Questions Remain After Presidential Debates

The sparring over energy issues in the Presidential debates, particularly the first one at the University of Denver, underscored divergent viewpoints between the two candidates. The differences are particularly important here in Colorado, where we are home to ten of America’s 100 largest natural gas fields, and three of the 100 largest oil fields.

President Obama correctly noted that oil and natural gas production are higher than they’ve been in years, but Governor Romney countered that “all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land.” He took the president to task for cutting the number of permits and licenses in half. In Colorado more than a third of the land is controlled by the federal government, so we found it alarming that the president did not answer to the fact that oil and gas production on federal lands dropped to record low levels.

When the president proposed new taxes on gas and oil that would ultimately be borne by consumers and cost job losses, Romney correctly took him to task for wasting tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on expensive and unreliable energy sources, whose failed corporate leaders were Obama campaign donors.

The debate spelled out clear differences, yet voters still deserve answers to questions that were not asked during the debates.

The Interior Department is expected to issue new regulations on hydraulic fracturing, a process that extracts oil and gas from shale rock deposits. Colorado’s shale oil deposits contain as much as 1 trillion barrels of recoverable oil – nearly as much as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. The federal rule will cost the industry an estimated $1.5 billion dollars while vesting authority to the federal government that had been reserved to the states for more than 60 years without a single instance of groundwater contamination.

Will Obama approve the new rules? Almost certainly since they are being drafted by his Administration. Romney has indicated he prefers leaving regulation to the various states as it has historically been administered.

Federal energy regulations have a direct impact on the lives of the 570 employees who work at Colorado’s two refineries, and earn more than $150,000 a year, on average. Significantly more workers are employed in the large gulf coast refinery regions and elsewhere, but a plethora of new government regulations are threatening their jobs as well as driving energy costs even higher.

For example, under new EPA rules, refiners must buy costly "waiver credits" if they don’t blend gasoline and diesel with a mandated amount of cellulosic biofuel. Yet no cellulosic ethanol even exists outside of a research laboratory.

It is expected that the EPA will move forward with its so-called Tier 3 rule, which would require even steeper cuts to sulfur levels in gasoline. The rule is coming despite the fact that refineries spent nearly $10 billion to reduce sulfur levels by 90 percent just since 2004, and despite the fact that steeper cuts could result in a 9 to 25 cents per gallon increase in the cost of manufacturing gasoline and lead to as many as seven additional refinery closures. Tier 3 is an excellent example of why both candidates should have been asked whether or not the costs of regulations should be taken into consideration along with the potential benefit.

The Obama Administration has been criticized for "the most anti-oil-and-gas record in U.S. history." On the other hand, Mitt Romney has made North American Energy Independence by 2020 the number one objective of his 5-point economic plan. Under Obama, permitting, leasing and production on federal lands declined.  Romney would streamline regulation restrictions and open more federal reserves both on and off shore to energy development.

Obama has exerted continually more federal control over energy resources. Romney’s plan would return authority to the states for federal lands within their borders as well as reaffirm that states have primacy when it comes to the regulation of production on private land.

Colorado’s future economic health and that of our nation is linked to our ability to safely develop our abundant energy resources. Ultimately, much of that ability depends on White House policies that balance costs with the benefits produced by corresponding regulations. Among the many stark contrasts between Obama and Romney, energy policy is one of the most obvious and significant to every American.


Australia:  Black politician  lashes Greenie protesters

THE first indigenous woman elected to an Australian parliament has come out swinging against Browse gas hub opponents, saying the Broome community is not divided over the proposal and it's only a small but vocal group causing all the fuss.

Outgoing Kimberley MLA Carol Martin has told the West Australian parliament that she supported a bill underpinning the Woodside-led Browse project because many indigenous people in the Kimberley region believed it would benefit them, not just state revenues.

Premier Colin Barnett has long argued that a land agreement signed with native title claimant groups, which included a substantial benefits package, was "the most significant act of self-determination by an Aboriginal group in Australian history".

Ms Martin agreed, saying Aboriginal people needed to take control of their own destiny.

The Kimberley's indigenous communities were still mired in abject poverty, she said, and they did not want to keep living with a welfare model that was not only humiliating and demoralising, but made some young people feel as if they did not have a future, leaving them contemplating suicide.

After being colonised by "the British", "do-gooders", "missionaries" and "industry", indigenous people were now being colonised by "the bloody greenies" who opposed the hub, who should "go and check the headstones".

"They have loud voices, they have the media on their side and they have bands," she said, referring to a recent, free John Butler concert in Broome that anti-hub activists said had been watched online by "tens of thousands in over 65 countries".

The organisers of the event did not ask the shire for a permit and interfered with an annual surf competition at Cable Beach, Ms Martin said.  "How disrespectful is that?" she asked.  "These people stuffed it up."

Those who attended the concert were not necessarily opponents of the gas hub, she said.

Ms Martin said she thought it was wrong that some activists had threatened Browse staff and police had been criticised for sending officers to Broome to protect them.

"The public has a right to know what is happening; these people are being assaulted on their way to work and at work.  "It is disgraceful. I do not support people who break the law, get arrested, and then stand as if they are some sort of martyr."

Ms Martin said the "200 people on the news" were not the 17,000 people who lived in the area.

Mr Barnett on Thursday said Ms Martin's speech was one of the most moving and passionate he'd heard in parliament.

It "might not suit the politically correct media that we have" and "an essentially urban, middle-class Australia".

"She talked about the famous, the rich and famous who would come to the Kimberly in a self-righteous way as if only they cared about the environment or only they cared about the whales or only they cared about the dinosaur footprints," he told parliament.

"And implicit in that is an attitude that we see too often ... that somehow this state is a redneck environment, that we don't care about heritage, that we don't care about the environment, and somehow we're not capable enough to look after marine life in the Kimberley."


Big fadeout for Greens in ACT

ACT is Australia's DC equivalent

The ACT Greens slipped into deeper electoral trouble last night with updated vote counting showing for the second night running that their leader Meredith Hunter is heading for defeat.

And history is against Ms Hunter in her Ginninderra electorate, where no independent or minor party MLA has ever lasted more than one term.

Last night's updated interim preference figures show the Greens heading for a near wipeout, losing three of the four seats they won in their historic 2008 showing.

Last night's update has Labor challenger Yvette Berry in front of Ms Hunter for the fifth seat in the northern electorate in a result that would see the new assembly made up of eight Labor MLAs, eight Liberals and the Greens still hanging on to balance-of-power with one member in the chamber.

In Molonglo, senior Labor frontbencher Simon Corbell was ahead, for the second night running, of fellow ALP challenger Meegan Fitzharris but the Liberals' education spokesman Steve Doszpot has fallen behind his party colleague, newcomer Elizabeth Lee.

Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury remains ahead of his colleague Caroline Le Couteur for the seventh Molonglo seat, and in Brindabella the Liberals' Andrew Wall still leads Green Amanda Bresnan for the fifth seat in the southern electorate.

Labor also nudged back into a narrow lead over the Canberra Liberals in the popular vote yesterday by just 55 votes across the territory, with 85,532 votes to the Liberals' 85,477.

Both Labor leader Katy Gallagher and her Liberals opponent Zed Seselja have claimed success in the popular vote as they have sought since Saturday's election to bolster their chances of forming government.

Vote counting will resume this morning and is not expected to be finished before tomorrow night, and it could even be Sunday before Ms Hunter and the other candidates in tight races know their fates.

But Ms Hunter's task in holding her seat is made more complex by the electoral history of the Ginninderra electorate.

Since its creation before the 1995 election, no independent or minor party MLA has managed to hold a seat in the Belconnen-based electorate for more than one term.

The first election, in 1995, established a pattern with the ALP and the Liberals each winning two seats and the final seat going to the Greens' Lucy Horodny.

Ms Horodny did not contest the 1998 election and independent Dave Rugendyke was elected in Ginninderra on a social conservative ticket.

In 2001 Mr Rugendyke was replaced by Australian Democrat Roslyn Dundas, who in turn was beaten in 2004 when Labor managed to get three MLAs elected in Ginninderra.

But in 2008, the ALP failed to retain their third spot and the final seat went to Ms Hunter, who now looks in grave danger of becoming another one-term MLA.

But Ms Dundas, now director of the ACT Council of Social Service, says she believes it is simply changing times that lie behind the inability of smaller players to last in Ginninderra.

"My election in 2001 was at a time when there was a real feel for a need to change and a focus on supporting women to get elected and a focus on big social issues that hadn't been treated in step with what the community was feeling," Ms Dundas said.

"But then in 2004, Jon Stanhope as chief minister did what party leaders do in seats, gathering more than 30 per cent of the votes, which made it hard for prefer-ences to flow to small parties.

"Then in 2008, we saw a reaction to [Labor] majority government which was then a swing back to the non-old parties … That's the great thing about democracy, new ideas will come forward and people will respond to those new ideas."

Ms Dundas says she believes the Greens now find themselves in such deep trouble because they failed to promote themselves as a party that had been in the Legislative Assembly for 17 years.

"There's been a Green in the ACT Parliament since 1995 … but the campaign they ran this year was much more short-term than that," she said.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


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