Monday, February 08, 2016


Virginia Tech Student Accused in Teens Death


Nicole Lovell

(Virginia, Blacksburg) A seventh-grader Nicole Lovell, 19, was reportedly kidnapped and killed by a classmate named Natalie Keepers.
The similarities emerged in a Blacksburg courtroom Thursday as Keepers and her lawyer argued that she should be released on bail while she awaits trial for allegedly helping plan Lovell's slaying and then improperly dumping her body just across the state line in North Carolina, two hours south of Virginia Tech's campus, where she was a student. Bond was denied.
OK


"Mr 97%" wimps out


On 31 January, I put up a challenge to Warmist John Cook.  Cook runs a blog that purports to debunk skeptical challenges to Warmism and is the author of one of the famous "97% consensus" papers. He is much quoted by Warmists and could reasonably be regarded as one of the heavyweights of Warmism -- although he is in fact a young psychologist who has not even got his doctorate yet.

So my challenge stemmed from his claim that he can debunk all climate skepticism.  As it happens, I live only about a 15 minute drive from where he works.  So I invited him to visit me and give me the evidence that would prove imminent catastrophic global warming.

Somewhat to my surprise, he responded -- by email.  He agreed to chat with me over coffee.  I then emailed him asking if it would be OK if I recorded the conversation.  I have not heard from him since!  So we have the situation where a skeptic is not afraid to have his words recorded but a Warmist is.  What does that tell you about who has something to hide?  I think it speaks volumes.

But he is on to a good thing.  He will undoubtedly get rapid promotion to a senior position.  He knows on which side his bread is buttered:  Definitely a young man going places -- JR

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.)

Sunday, February 07, 2016


Johnny Cash and the Democrats

I rarely listen to Country & Western music but when I do my favorite singer is, unsurprisingly, Johnny Cash.  And I am far from alone in that.  He was very popular for most of his life.  And that is what I want to talk about.  But a few preliminary comments first:

I have no information on how he voted while he was alive but his close friendship with Jimmy Carter suggests at least some Democrat sympathies. Plus he was a Southerner and the South in his early days  mostly voted Democrat.

But if he was a Democrat he was a sincere one.  Leftist politicians are just parasites in compassionate clothing but in the general population, many Leftist voters probably do have some real compassion for various groups.  The Leftist appeal to compassion would not work otherwise.

Although he was himself never sent to jail, the group that Johnny Cash had compassion for was prisoners.  And, as most will know, he put his money where his mouth was, or, more precisely, he put his mouth where the money was not.  He did many jailhouse concerts and charged nothing for them, even though he could have got big money for them elsewhere. He used his talent to do whatever he could for prisoners.

So what was the secret of his popularity?  There are a number of possible reasons: His marvellous bass-baritone voice plus he was quite good looking in his youth.  He looked a lot like Elvis, in fact.  And the intense romanticism of his songs no doubt helped a lot.

My favorite two songs of his are "Walk the Line" and "ring of fire".  In the first he promises fidelity to his wife and in the second he compares being in love to being surrounded by fire.  Those two songs would probably have some claim to being the greatest love songs ever written, with only "My love is like a red, red rose" by Robert Burns being clearly more deserving of that title.

But the lesson I draw from his work is the great simplicity of his writing.   Each song has simple words that are repeated a lot.  I give the words of both below:

Ring Of Fire Lyrics

Love is a burnin' thing
And it makes a fiery ring
Bound by wild desire
I fell into a ring of fire

I fell into a burnin' ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire

I fell into a burnin' ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire

The taste of love is sweet
When hearts like ours meet
I fell for you like a child
Oh, but the fire went wild

I fell into a burnin' ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire

I fell into a burnin' ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire
And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire
The ring of fire, the ring of fire
The ring of fire

"I Walk The Line"

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line

I find it very, very easy to be true
I find myself alone when each day is through
Yes, I'll admit that I'm a fool for you
Because you're mine, I walk the line

As sure as night is dark and day is light
I keep you on my mind both day and night
And happiness I've known proves that it's right
Because you're mine, I walk the line

You've got a way to keep me on your side
You give me cause for love that I can't hide
For you I know I'd even try to turn the tide
Because you're mine, I walk the line

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line

And the "freight-train" rhythm of both songs is simple too.  So when extremely simple words and thoughts are immensely popular, can we learn something about politics from that?  I think we can but it is a hard lesson:  Simplicity is attractive.  And the Democrat message is simple indeed.  Listen to Bernie Sanders saying how bad many things are but without making any serious attempt at explaining why they are so or advancing any ideas to fix them that would in fact work.  The Leftist message is simple but wrong.  The conservative message is complex but right.  It's not a happy thought for conservatives.

What can we do about it?  I think we need a great communicator.  Reagan was one and Trump seems to be another.  His messages are simple too, way too simple for policy wonks, but maybe simple enough to win elections.  He is a smart man so if he does win he would almost certainly take well-argued advice and not do anything too foolish

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Saturday, February 06, 2016



If ifs and ans were pots and pans, there'd be no room for tinkers


My heading above is an old English proverb expressing skepticism about all sorts of theories, prophecies and maybes.  It dates from the time when the Middle English word "an" (meaning "if") was still understood in the Middle English sense.

Tinkers were itinerant handymen who fixed up damaged pots and pans -- as pots and pans were valuable household goods in those days. Few people reading this will have seen a saucepan with a hole in it -- but I have.  A couple of my mother's saucepans developed holes in them at one time when I was just a lad.  Being a handy kid, however I went to Woolworths and bought a set of "Mendets" -- which I used to fix the saucepans concerned.  So tinkering in its original sense existed within living memory.



I tell that little story because the article below immediately brought that old proverb to my mind.  Putting it in modern English, I might have said:  "More useless speculation".  All it tells us is what would happen IF one of the hot periods of the earth's past were to be repeated.  They assign no probability to that occurring, however.  I wonder why?

They do however pop in a little bit of deceit.  They talk of global warming "continuing".  But it is not ongoing so it cannot continue.



Warming stopped over 18 years ago so all that can continue is stasis. And they claim that Antarctica is losing mass, when it isn't.  It is gaining mass.  Even Warmist scientists such as Zwally admit that. See here and here

Just the usual Warmist claptrap but it will worry some people


If the West Antarctic ice sheet was to melt in response to increasing global temperatures, sea levels could swamp coastal towns and cities around the world.

That's the warning from Scottish researchers who have plotted how the ice sheet is expected to respond to global warming.

In particular, they claim that loss of ice in West Antarctica caused by a warming ocean could raise sea levels by a staggering 10ft (3 metres).

In the first study of its kind, researchers were able to gauge how levels of ice covering the land have changed over hundreds of thousands of years.

They did this by studying peaks protruding through ice in the Ellsworth Mountains, on the Atlantic flank of Antarctica.

The team assessed changes on slopes at various heights on the mountainside, which indicate levels previously reached by the ice sheet.

They also mapped the distribution of boulders on the mountainside, which were deposited by melting glaciers.

Chemical technology - known as exposure dating - showed how long rocks had been exposed to the atmosphere, and their age.

Their results indicate that during previous warm periods, a substantial amount of ice would have been lost from the West Antarctic ice sheet by ocean melting, but it would not have melted entirely.

This suggests ice would have been lost from areas below sea level, but not on upland areas.

The study shows that parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet have existed continuously for at least 1.4 million years.

However, if global temperatures continue to rise, causing the oceans to become warmer, the a substantial amount of ice could be lost from the sheet.

This could see sea levels rise by as much as 10ft (3 metres).

Dr Andrew Hein, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, joint leader of the study, said: 'Our findings narrow the margin of uncertainty around the likely impact of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet on sea level rise.

'This remains a troubling forecast since all signs suggest the ice from West Antarctica could disappear relatively quickly.'

Professor John Woodward of the University of Northumbria, who co-led the study, said: 'It is possible that the ice sheet has passed the point of no return and, if so, the big question is how much will go and how much will sea levels rise.'

The study, published in Nature Communications, was carried out by researchers at the University of Edinburgh with Northumbria University and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre.

SOURCE

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Thursday, February 04, 2016

An ABC Store on Every Corner




Hawai'i is a fun place to visit and one would think it's a law for each hotel in Waikiki to have an ABC Store next to it. There are so many!

These are not Alcoholic Beverage Control stores (although they do sell liquor); they were originally called "Mister K" for the company founder, Sidney Kosasa, and according to his son Paul, they pride themselves on giving great customer service and taking care of their employees. These are convenience stores that provide food, drinks, sundries, postcards, beach cover-ups, Aloha shirts, souvenirs, and just about anything a person would need while vacationing.

Each purchase is followed by "Mahalo" [thank you] and "Save your receipts for free gifts!"

They are nice places to shop. I got my free gift.

Posted by Note Taker

North Korea Sends Garbage



Tensions at the border between North and South Korea are rising after Pyongyang dropped nearly 300,000 propaganda leaflets south of the demilitarized zone, as well as trash that included hundreds of cigarette butts, according to South Korea police.

The airdrop of garbage is unprecedented and includes 600 cigarette butts, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

Police and Seoul's Defense Ministry, however, did not confirm an earlier news report that suggested used toilet paper was part of the Pyongyang package, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Local newspaper JoongAng Daily reported the garbage drop and its contents had placed officials on high alert and raised fears that North Korea was sending lethal biochemical agents to the South.

All material was dispatched from the North in balloons, timed to explode once they reached south of the border.
OK

Soldier Goes AWOL



(Knoxville, Tennessee)
The first woman in Tennessee to enlist as a combat engineer in the Army went AWOL according to a military spokesperson.

Local 8 News was first to tell you about Erika Lopez back in July of 2015. She made headlines when she enlisted for a job that could involve fighting on the front lines.

The U.S. Army had just lifted its ban on women in combat roles when she walked into a recruiting office in Knoxville and decided to enlist as a combat engineer.
So much for putting women in combat roles, eh?

Missing Refugees in Germany



(Frankfurt, Germany) Nearly 5,000 children and teens have been reported missing from refugee homes.
As of January 1st, 4,749 unaccompanied refugee children and teens had been reported missing, a German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) spokesperson told Frankfurter Rundschau (FR) on Tuesday.[…]

About 10 percent, or 431, of those children were under the age of 13 and 4,287 were between the ages of 14 and 17. The remaining 31 were over 18.

This is a sharp rise from six months ago in July when 1,637 were reported missing.
The Germans have a problem, actually many problems.

Some new/old findings about IQ

A paper titled "Top 10 Replicated Findings From Behavioral Genetics" has just come out with Robert Plomin as lead author.  The finding of the paper is an embarrassment to most psychologists.  We now know that most findings from psychological research are NOT replicable.  They are a flash in the pan with no generalizability.  They tell us nothing. So the fact that findings about the influence of genetics on behavior ARE replicable makes them stand out from other research.  It is putting it a little to strongly to say that it is the only sort of psychological research that it worth bothering with, but it gets close to that. I say here why I gave up on survey research after 20 years of doing it.

I have always noted that the heritability of IQ is by far the best replicated finding in psychology but Plomin shows that other effects of genetics on behaviour are highy replicable too.  Leftists hate all mention of genetics so on that issue, as on many others, they are on the wrong side of history.  And how ironic that is precisely the most well substantiated findings in psychology that are too politically incorrect for general mention.

So why are studies in the genetics of behaviour so robust?  Plomin suggests five sensible reasons but let me give a more impressionist reason:  It is because genetic effects on  behaviour are REAL.  There really is something going on there.  And, as Plomin's other findings show, what is going on is that genetics have a strong and pervasive effect on ALL behaviour.  As Plomin points out, even family environment is not an influence in its own right.  It too is affected by genetics.  I am reminded of something Hans Eysenck said to me around a quarter of a century ago:  "It's ALL genetics".  Already in his time, he had seen how pervasive genetic influences were.

My days as an active psychological researcher are long gone and I read very little in the psychological research literature these days.  I have however kept a watching brief on research on IQ.  So I was well aware of one of Plomin's more surprising findings:  The influence of IQ GROWS as the person grows up.  IQ is only a small influence of behaviour in early childhood but a large influence on the same person's behaviour in adulthood.  The genetic infuence in fact seems to keep growing until about age 30.  That can be seen as rather counterintuitive.  One would think that a small child had ONLY genetic influences to guide his behaviours but as he grew up he would come under all sorts of additional influences on his behaviour.

Plomin explores some possible reasons behind that finding but I think he misses the obvious:  A child is very heavily regulated whilst growing up.  He is pushed in all sorts of directions by parents, teachers and others.  It is only in adulthood that he is reasonably free to "be himself".  And that is exactly what happens.  He throws off most of his environmental influences and behaves in a way that feels good or right to himself.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


Is sugar good for you after all? 


Now that the accumulation of evidence has forced even myopic medical researchers and bureaucrats to abandon their demonization of salt and fat in the diet, the solons have reached back to an old scare popularized obsessively by Dr. Robert Lustig. Lustig claims that sugar is bad for you.  The health establishment ridiculed Lustig's "evidence" for many years but they were desperate when salt and fat were taken away from them so Lustig and his theories are suddenly now in good odor.  They particularly demonize a very simple sugar -- fructose -- because it is widely used in American fizzy drinks.  

But the evidence for the demonization of sugar is mostly just epidemiological speculation and it is an easy bet that sugar will one day be comprehensively exonerated too.

More importantly, however, fat was eventually found actually to be GOOD for you.  Will the same be found for sugar?  A straw in the wind below.  The article concerns fucose, not fructose but both are sugars.   Science has just recently figured out that fucose is one of the essential sugars that the body needs to function properly.  Below is one of several recent reports which find that fucose helps fight cancer!


Dietary Fucose Helps Attenuate Metastatic Melanoma in Mice

Tracy Hampton, PhD

Investigators have identified a mechanism that’s blocked during melanoma metastasis but can be restored in mice by adding the sugar fucose to the diet (Lau E et al. Sci Signal. 2015;8[406]:ra124).

Led by researchers at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, California, the team found that activating transcription factor 2 (ATF2), which is abundant in advanced stages of melanoma, blunts expression of the gene encoding fucokinase (FUK), an enzyme that attaches fucose to target molecules. The findings suggest FUK repression promotes melanoma motility and invasiveness in vitro.

JAMA. 2016;315(5):455. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.19343


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


Ted Cruz upsets the Greenies


I have a few comments on the article below at the foot of it

A few days after accusing “global warming alarmists” like California Governor Jerry Brown (D) of ridiculing and insulting “anyone who actually looks at the real data” around climate change, newly-declared presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) upped his rhetoric against those who care about the issue.
Speaking to the Texas Tribune on Tuesday, Cruz said that contemporary “global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers.”

“You know it used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier,” he said.

In Cruz’s opinion, when it comes to climate change, his denier position places him alongside 17th Century scientist Galileo Galilei, who was also considered to be denying the mainstream knowledge of his day. According to Cruz’s logic, he is taking the minority view that human-caused climate change is not happening, just as Galileo took the minority view that the scientific method should be trusted over the Catholic Church.

Galileo, who helped perpetuate the notion that the Earth rotates around the sun, was eventually excommunicated from the Church for his views. In the centuries since he has come to be known as the “father of modern physics” and “the father of modern science.”
Cruz mentioned in the interview that his parents were mathematicians; however he himself studied public policy before going to law school.

Cruz also said he had read a 1970s Newsweek article that morning about “global cooling.” He explained how all the people who believed in global cooling suddenly switched over to global warming when the evidence on cooling didn’t line up.

The solutions to both warming and cooling, Cruz said, involved “government control of the energy sector and every aspect of our lives.”

Either Cruz is suddenly interested in minor 1970s scientific theories or he is scrambling to find ways to push back against the overwhelming evidence that human-caused climate change is happening.

Cruz is not the first to compare Galileo to those who speak out against the accepted science of climate change. In 2011, former presidential candidate and Texas governor Rick Perry dropped Galileo’s name as justification for his anti-climate position.
As the website Skeptical Science points out, “the comparison is exactly backwards.”

“Modern scientists follow the evidence-based scientific method that Galileo pioneered,” the website reads. “Skeptics who oppose scientific findings that threaten their world view are far closer to Galileo’s belief-based critics in the Catholic Church.”
President Obama seems to have gotten the analogy correct when he said in 2013 that “we don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-Earth society” when it comes to doing something about climate change.

SOURCE  

The feeble claim that Warmists follow "the science" is amusing.  The author has probably never heard of statistical significance, an essential scientific tool in evaluating differences between two things.  It alerts you to differences that are too small to take seriously.  But scientists know of it  and they don't ignore it.  Yet Warmists regularly ignore it when they make their regular pronouncements about "warmest year", "third warmest year" etc.  Those year to year differences are statistically non-significant and when that occurs a scientist "accepts the null hypothesis"  -- i.e. says there is no difference between the things compared.  Warmists however proclaim the differences as real.  They're not a scientist's asshole.  Their own statistics show no warming

Monday, February 01, 2016



As the ‘blue Arctic’ expands thanks to global warming, an icebreaker finds no ice to break (?)

A large excerpt below from an article by Tom Yulsman, an old Warmist from wayback.  The climategate emails shook him for a while but he soon got back on track. And as is often the case with  Greenies, what he does not say is what you need to know.  Let's start with this graph from Cryosphere Today, the Polar Research Group at the University of Illinois. It's too big to be put up legibly on this blog but you can click on the link to see it. It shows no trend in global sea ice area from 1979 to today.

But what about Tom's pretty graphs showing ice area today being much below average?  The graphs seem to be right but they are not graphs of anything remotely global.  And we are supposed to be talking about GLOBAL warming, are we not?  The graph I link to is a graph of global sea ice but Tom ignores that and puts up a graph of Arctic ice only.  Are we now expecting catastrophic warming in the Arctic only?  That seems to be where Tom is going.

Do I need to say anything more about Tom's BS?  Probably not but just one point.  Nobody seems to know why but there is substantial subsurface vulcanism at both poles.  The earth is flattened at the poles so that may be it.  The magma could well be closer to the surface there.

And the volcanoes underneath the Arctic sea ice are huge, particularly along the Gakkel ridge.   And you would melt if you had a volcano under you too.  So the melting in the Arctic is just what is to be expected from  known volcanic activity.  In the Antarctic only a small part of the area is affected by volcanoes so the Antarctic is in fact now gaining ice overall -- which balances out the loss in the Arctic.

Warmists are such crooks!


During a recent mission off the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, a Norwegian Coast Guard icebreaker encountered unusual winter conditions for an area just 800 miles from the North Pole.

Open water.

At this time of year, sea ice usually closes in around Svalbard’s northern and eastern coasts. But not this year. The sturdy 340-foot-long, 6,375-ton KV Svalbard had no ice to break, reports Oddvar Larsen, the ship’s First Engineer.

I spoke with Larsen and other sailors on board the icebreaker during the kickoff event of the 10th Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø, Norway on Jan. 24, 2016. This is the first post of several I have planned based on reporting I did at the conference.

Larsen told me that he has observed “big changes” in the Arctic during his nearly 25 years at sea. In addition to shrinking in extent, “most of the ice we encounter now is young — just one year old.”

In the past, thicker, multi-year ice was dominant, including old ice greater than nine years of age. Today that oldest ice is almost gone.

The lack of sea ice that Oddvar Larsen and his crewmates experienced around Svalbard this winter wasn’t just a small geographical anomaly. At 301,000 square miles below the long-term average, Arctic sea ice extent in December was the fourth lowest for the month in the satellite record.

To give you a sense of just how much below average that extent was, consider that 301,000 square miles is almost the size of California, Oregon and Washington combined.

Since December, conditions have not improved. In fact, the extent of Arctic sea ice overall now is at record low levels for this time of year:

As Oddvar Larsen’s experience suggests, the lack of sea ice that his icebreaker recently encountered around Svalbard comprises just one data point in a broader, long-term trend. Since satellite monitoring began in 1979, Arctic sea ice extent in December has declined at a rate of 3.4 percent per decade.

That’s in winter, when the region is typically gripped by polar cold. In September, when Arctic sea ice reaches it’s lowest annual extent after the relatively warm months of summer, the decline has been much more rapid: 13.4% per decade.

The shrinking geographic extent of Arctic sea ice is just one measure of the impact of human activities on Earth’s climate. Its total volume is another — and that has been declining over the long run too.

If you pay too much attention to data cherrypickers looking to cast doubt on global warming, you’ll hear a different story. But the full data record, backed up by the personal experiences of sailors like Oddvar Larsen and others (keep reading; more to come below…), show conclusively that Arctic sea ice continues to decline.

Given the heat energy building up in Earth’s natural systems from greenhouse gas emissions, we shouldn’t expect anything different. In the end, it’s really just a matter of physics.

Moreover, fully 90 percent of the heat energy our activities are generating has been going into the oceans. How much energy are we talking about?

To help Arctic Frontiers’ conferees wrap their heads around that question, a geoscientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory offered a startling comparison. Citing recent research, Peter Schlosser noted that since 1997, the heat energy going into the oceans has been equivalent to “one Hiroshima-sized atom bomb being exploded every second for 75 years.”

The result: an increasingly “blue Arctic” whose relatively dark waters (compared to white sea ice) are helping to amplify warming in the high north even further. And this, in turn, is possibly contributing to extreme events like the brutal winter weather that parts of the United States have endured in recent years.

In her own talk at the conference, NASA’s chief scientist, Ellen Stofan, explained the process this way: “As we expose more ocean, the dark water absorbs more heat, and that heat is pumped back into the climate system as added energy.” This Arctic amplification process, she added, could be implicated in “a lot of the extreme weather events that have been occurring.”

A connection between shrinking Arctic sea ice, Arctic amplification, and extreme weather is supported by research conducted by Jennifer Francis at Rutgers University, including a paper published last June.  Here’s how the connection works, at least theoretically:

The disproportionate warming experienced in the Arctic has weakened the difference in temperature between the lower and higher latitudes, causing the jet stream to become wavier for longer periods of time. The result: deep meteorological ridges and troughs that tend to be more persistent.

“As emissions of greenhouse gases continue unabated, therefore, the continued amplification of Arctic warming should favor an increased occurrence of extreme events caused by prolonged weather conditions,” Francis and her colleague concluded in their recent paper.

It’s an intriguing theory. But it’s also still the subject of a robust scientific debate.

SOURCE  

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Home

eXTReMe Tracker