By JR on Thursday, June 30, 2016
Are spuds bad for you?
Medical researchers would love to point the skinger of forn at the humble spud. It would be another arrow in the heart of those despised McDonald's "fries". And the latest study by Borgi et al. did indeed find a slight bad effect from eating them -- but only among women.
Lea Borgi. Isn't she gorgeous? But don't fancy her too much. She is engaged to another woman
I was going to have a shot at the Borgi study but a Kiwi researcher has beaten me too it. David R Thomas, another old timer from a social science background like me, has pointed out that men and women tend to have different diets and the fact that men were immune from the menaces of the good ol' spud should suggest that it was something other than spuds in the female diet that had the bad effect. And he offers a specific suggestion about what the pattern difference might be. And he has a point.
But I have another shot to fire into the body of the unfortunate Dr Borgi. She did an heroic job of adjusting for all sorts of possible confounding factors but she left out the politically incorrect one, one that sabotages a lot of medical research. She failed to look at differences according to social class. And, horrific though it might be for me to mention it, social class does influence diet.
And that matters on this occasion because the 3 samples analysed were of medical personnel. And the females would have been mostly nurses and the males would include a lot of doctors. And, agonising though it must be to hear this, doctors tend to be of higher status than nurses. I'll now take 5 minutes to wash my mouth out.
So the male sample would be of a higher class overall and would eat differently. Upper class people are more careful about their health generally and their diet in particular. So all the unfortunate Dr Borgi has shown is something that we knew already: Upper class people are healthier than lower class people.
David Thomas actually said the same but in a more polite way. He spoke of two dietary patters which for brevity we might call the careful pattern and the careless pattern. He said the male doctors probably followed the careful pattern. What he didn't mention is that the careful pattern is more upper class while the careless pattern is mostly working class.
Sad when political correctness completely undermines the conclusions of very laborious medical research. NB: For those who did not get it. "skinger of forn" is a Spoonerism -- JR
By JR on Wednesday, June 29, 2016
The Brexit hysteria continues
The anti-democratic thinking of many of the establishment people behind the "Remain" vote is now clear. Many of these miserable elitists are agitating for the exit not to be implemented. Parliament could do that but it would create an unprecedented constitutional crisis. The Brexit MPs would simply not allow it. They could bring parliament to a standstil by voting "No" to every government bill until the referendum is honoured. So it's all just big talk from little people. If they persist with their agitation it will only brand them permanently as the worms they are.
The EU mandarins are clearly furious and are suggesting that Britain will not get a good trade deal when it exits. But in the end they are just public servants and it is the national governments that will have the final say.
France is once again making highly sympathetic noises: 'We must put an end to this sad and finicky Europe. Too often it is intrusive on details and desperately absent on what's essential,' [Prime Minister] Valls said. 'We must break away from the dogma of ever more Europe. Europe must act not by principle but when it is useful and pertinent.'"
And the German motor vehicle manufacturers are arguing emphatically for free trade arrangements to continue. They sell 800,000 cars into the British market every year so you can understand why: "German manufacturers last night demanded that Britain be allowed to continue trading with the EU without any barriers. The car-making industry said punishing Britain makes no sense – and it called on the German chancellor to give the UK a favourable trade deal
It is clearly in the best financial interests of both Britian and the EU to continue free trade arrangements so it will happen. Britain buys quite a lot more from Europe than it sells into Europe so a collapse of free trade would actually hit the EU the hardest
There is an extraordinarily pessimistic article here in which a Brussels-based journalist argues that Britain will get a very harsh deal on exit -- but he is obviously listening to the EU mandarins only, not the national leaders.
He draws on the Greek experience to argue that the EU will be very demanding. But I think he draws exactly the wrong conclusion from the Greek experience. Greece had many billions of its debts written off -- and the EU got very little in return. The EU can clearly be very forgiving if it thinks it is worthwhile -- and free trade was the very foundation of the EU.
It's amusing that the Brexit vote has spooked sharemarket investors worldwide. British shares were down a bit on the most recent reports but the losses in other countries were mostly much bigger. It's just nervousness on the part of shareholders who don't understand what is going on. The businesses underlying the shares are still there much as before so the "losses" will mostly be reversed in the not too distant future --JR.
Chancellor George Osborne says robust contingency plans are in place for the immediate financial aftermath of #Brexit
Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching could cost $1b in lost tourism, research suggests
This is research about what people have been told, not research about the reef or actual tourist numbers. Far from tourism dying off amid the present state of the reef, we read
It comes as tourism booms in the region with Cairns leading the growth of hotels in Australia with demand strong and no new major hotel opening in the past two years. Hotel data benchmarking group STR Global has reported city hotel occupancies are up 6.6 per cent and revenues per available room have jumped nearly 14 per cent in the year to April 2016. Sales of hotels in the region have been strong on the back of the rise in tourism with five hotels selling for nearly $150m in the past 18 months
Cairns is of course the main jumping off point for reef tourism.
And why is tourism flourishing there? Because the situation is not as Greenies describe it. Tourism operators have no difficulty in taking people to flourishing reefs. There is bleaching in some parts but there are plenty of parts that are fine. There is nothing to disrupt the tourist experience
If there are problems with the reef they lie in what Greenies say about it. They do not lie with the reef itself. It is deceitful Greenies that are the problem
Continued coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef could see international and domestic visitors to the region plummet by more than a million people a year, research by the Australia Institute warns.
The institute surveyed more than 3,000 Chinese, US and UK visitors, as well as 1,400 domestic tourists.
The Great Barrier Reef and the Sydney Harbour Bridge were selected by international respondents as being their top Australian tourist attractions.
But the natural wonder is experiencing its most severe bleaching event on record, with an estimated 22 per cent of its coral, mostly in its northern sections, having died.
One of the survey questions in the Australia Institute research asked respondents: "If the Great Barrier Reef continues to experience severe bleaching and some of the reef dies completely, would you be more likely to choose an alternative holiday destination?"
More than one-third of Americans answered yes, as did 27 per cent of UK tourists and 55 per cent of Chinese.
"Across those three countries there are 175,000 tourists who risk not coming to Australia at all if the reef continues to be bleached," the Australia Institute's executive director Ben Oquist said.
The research states that nearly 900,000 Australian tourists would most likely choose somewhere else to visit if the reef continues to experience bleaching.
"Along with visitor numbers, the potential loss of tourism revenue represents almost one-third of the $3.3 billion spent by holiday visitors to reef regions each year, which supports between 39,000 and 45,000 jobs," the Australia Institute's report states.
"Around 10,000 jobs are at risk from decreased visitation and spending if severe coral bleaching of the reef continues."
"I definitely agree with [the research findings]," said John Rumney, who's been running reef tours off far north Queensland for 40 years.
"As soon as the reef passes that critical point, that tipping point, and we don't have something nice to show people, they'll stop coming."
According to The Guardian, some Cairns operators have reportedly refused to take journalists out on the reef for fear of feeding more negative publicity.
Mr Rumney said it was time his industry openly debated the future of the Great Barrier Reef.
"Everyone in the reef business knows in their hearts that their business is related to a healthy reef. It's just they're afraid to say anything about it because it will be construed as 'oh it's bad now, it's too late'. No, if we don't take any action it will be too late."
The Australia Institute research singles out coal as a leading contributor to climate change, which scientists in turn blame for rising sea temperatures and coral bleaching.
"Four in five people work in service industries, while only 1 per cent work in the coal industry," the report said. "Policies such as a moratorium on new coal mines can be implemented with a minimal effect on the Queensland economy."
Two-thirds of Australian respondents in the survey said there would be a negative impact on the reef if Australia continues to build new coal mines.
"If we're going to save the Barrier Reef and if we're going to address climate change it's clear the world has got to start burning less coal and using less coal and to start that we've got to start approving less mines," Mr Oquist said.
New crop varieties 'can't keep up with global warming'
How ridiculous can you get? Do the BBC have no pride to publish this excreta? For a start, global warming has been so slight in C21 that there is debate over whether it exists at all. It is certainly not racing ahead in the way the article below implies.
Secondly, we don't need new crop varieties. We just use ones we already have. There are heaps of areas on the earth that are both very hot and which grow crops. A warming world would simply see them more widely used. Just as a minor example of heat-adaptation, the tropical Australian city of Townsville produces grapes, normally a cool temperature crop, And what is the effect of growing grapes there? They are bigger and juicier and reach the table up to a month before most other table grapes. We ALREADY have heat adapted crops if we need them.
A large muscadine grape native to sub-tropical Florida
Some very tasty Chambourcin grapes from Townsville
Warmer temperatures tend to suit crops in fact, which is why the greatest biodiversity is in the tropics. And maize is just such a plant. It is it is "cold-intolerant". It likes warmth. It is already grown in temperatures up to 35C in India. The most usual limitation on maize crops is drought. But warming oceans should give off more water vapor -- which comes down as rain -- so maize should get more water and yield very well in a warming world.
And I suppose I should mention the obvious: According to Warmist theory, there will be lots more CO2 in the atmosphere of a warming world. And plants LOVE CO2. They suck it up. It's the raw material that they use to build themselves. So again, a warmer world would be a CO2-rich world in which plants would flourish as never before
So a bit of global warming would IMPROVE maize crops. The picture below of the sad lady holding maize ears is just another example of Warmists lying with pictures
Crop yields around the world could fall within a decade unless action is taken to speed up the introduction of new varieties. A study says temperatures are rising faster than the development of crop varieties that can cope with a warmer world.
In Africa, researchers found that it can take 10-30 years before farmers can grow a new breed of maize. By the time these new crops are planted, they face a warmer environment than they were developed in.
The scientists behind the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, looked closely at the impact of temperature rises on crop duration - that's the length of time between planting and harvesting.
They found that in a warmer world durations will be shorter meaning these varieties will have less time to accumulate biomass and yields could be affected.
Out of date
In their paper, the researchers write that crop duration will become significantly shorter as early as 2018 in some regions but by 2031, the majority of maize-growing areas of Africa will be affected.
"The actual changes in yield may be different but this effect is there, the impact of this change in duration will occur unless breeding changes," said lead author Prof Andy Challinor from the University of Leeds.
"The durations will be shorter than what they were bred for - by the time they are in the field they are, in terms of temperature, out of date."
The scientists say the lag is down to a combination of factors including the limited number of crops you can grow in a season, the need for government approved testing and there are also a number of problems of access to markets that can increase the time it takes before the farmers have the new seeds to plant.
"We can use the climate models to tell us what the temperatures are going to be," he told BBC News, "We can then put those temperature elevations into the greenhouses and then we can breed the crops at those temperatures. People are beginning to do this, but this paper provides the hard evidence of the necessity of it."
Researchers are also working on the impact of heat stress on crops at sites in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Ethiopia. Data from these trials is being used to identify species that could cope with warmer conditions.
But would the use of genetic modification (GM) help speed up this type of work? "GM does some things faster, so you would get a new variety of crop faster," said Prof Challinor.
"But it doesn't get you out of the testing requirement in fact the testing may in fact be greater and it doesn't help it all with farmers accessing seeds and markets - the problem will remain even for a magic GM crop."
Better techniques and more money for research are the keys according to others in this field, familiar with the study.
"Investment in agricultural research to develop and disseminate new seed technologies is one of the best investments we can make for climate adaptation," said Dr Andy Jarvis, from the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture,
"Climate funds could be used to help the world's farmers stay several steps ahead of climate change, with major benefits for global food security."
The researchers believe that the study also has implications beyond Africa, especially in the maize growing regions of the tropics.
By JR on Monday, June 27, 2016
Reflections on Brexit
The most extraordinary thing about Brexit was the immediate and unreasoning hysteria it provoked. A lot of very foolish people acted as if their lives had immediately changed -- when NOTHING will happen for at least a year. For anything to happen, laws have to be changed -- and I am sure that we all know what a glacial process that can be. Still, the dishonest predictions of disaster put out by the establishment in the lead-up to the vote must bear some responsibility for the panic.
And the very first indicator of disaster has already reversed itself. The stockmarket plunged, only to bounce back to end up on the week. Though some shares are still down of course. The stockmarket is like that. If you think there's anything simple about it, you are headed for a fall. I have seen people who had all the answers lose big money.
So people will have plenty of warning about changes before they change and will be able to make any adjustments to their affairs that they may see as needed.
So what are the likely changes? Not much. Some money now going to Brussels will probably be diverted to to where it is desperately needed -- the public hospitals -- so the hospitals might not bump off grandma as quickly as they have been doing -- but that is probably about it. The new Prime Minister will almost certainly be the popular Boris Johnson and party politics will return to their accustomed ways. Everyone from David Cameron down has been promising that, though there will undoubtedly be a few sore-heads.
A threat that some people have made much of is that Scotland might secede. Scotland voted solidly to stay in the EU. But that is nonsense. If Scotland were to become an independent country with different immigration arrangements, the border between England and Scotland would become an international border to be marked by a fence and passport controls. Free movement between the two countries would be halted for the first time in hundreds of years.
And Scotland would no longer be able to use the British pound as its currency so would probably have to adopt the troubled Euro -- possibly leading to an overnight drop in the value of Scottish savings. If Nicola Sturgeon thinks she can get Scots to agree to that she has haggis for brains.
The big threat that hung over the whole campaign was the possibility of British industry losing markets for its goods and services. When Britain leaves the EU, will the EU abandon free trade between itself and Britain and start putting tariffs and other import restrictions on British goods headed for Europe? It's most unlikely. Trade wars almost always provoke retaliation. And Britain has plenty to retaliate with: a market of 60 million people, to be precise.
As I have said previously, If Britain's tariff-free access to Europe were cut off by some big-bottomed bureaucrats in Brussels, Britain could very rapidly and very effectively retaliate. A Prime Minister, Boris Johnson could and probably would announce a complete embargo on the importation of European farm products into Britain.
That would be particularly disruptive to France, including the already-stressed French wine industry. The Brits now buy twice as much Australian wine as French wine but Britain is still a major market for French wine. And one cannot imagine the French farmers taking that lying down. And French farmers always get their way. One imagines them getting into their tractors and blockading the Berlaymont building, the primary seat of the EU Commission in Brussels. And when cut off from their supply of beer, chocolate and stinky cheese, the Brussels bureaucrats would undoubtedly cave in. "Temporary" or "transitional" arrangements would be made.
In short the EU will, as far a Britain is concerned, revert to being what it originally was: A free trade area with Britain inside it. Norway already has a free-trade-only agreement with the EU so a model for such arrangements already exists.
What about visa-free travel? That's less certain. There have always been visa-free travel arrangements between some countries and it would certainly be highly desirable to retain such arrangements between Britain and the countries of Europe. Hundreds of thousands of French and Italians have moved to London to find work and hundreds of thousands of Brits -- mostly retirees -- have moved to France and Spain for the better climate there. So both of those groups would be inconvenienced by a cessation of the existing travel arrangements.
So why might there NOT be visa-free travel arrangements? That takes us right to the whole heart of Brexit. I put up yesterday on POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH four lengthy essays that attempted to explain why the British people voted to leave the EU. And they all did a reasonable job of it -- "unresponsive elites" and all that. But in fact there was really only one standout issue between the people and their establishment: Immigration.
Let me summarize the whole issue in the language of the people: "The politicians are letting too many bloody wogs into the country". In formal English: "The politicians are letting too many accursed foreigners into the country". And most of those "wogs" got in under EU rules. Brexit was about giving England back to the English.
So, given that aim, any new immigration arrangements will have to be restrictive -- and that will almost certainly include at a minimum passports and visas for everyone entering Britain.
So is that racist? You would have to define racism very broadly to say so. But Leftists do define it extremely broadly. Any awareness of group loyalty at all can attract cries of racism from them. They use the ghastly memory of the socialist Hitler to imply that any degree of racial or ethnic consciousness is only a hairsbreadth away from genocide. So something as simple as patriotism becomes racism in their unending outpouring of hate for normal people.
They fail to take into account that it was patriotism, Russian patriotism, that defeated Hitler. Something like 80% of German military casualties in WWII were incurred on the Eastern front. And Russians to this day refer to that war as "The Great Patriotic War".
So the resentment that many Britons feel towards the influx of foreigners might in part be due to a love of England as it was but there are also huge practical reasons behind the resentment. The millions of foreigners who have arrived in recent years have put a strain on basic services -- hospitals, housing and transport facilities -- that the British government has done little to address -- because of the large costs involved.
So parents find that they cannot get their kid into a nearby school, they constantly get stuck in traffic jams, they can find standing room only on commuter trains and rushed hospital staff make errors that lead to serious harm and even death. And the price of housing has become unaffordable to many would-be buyers. There is no irrationality in wanting to stop further deterioration of that already dire situation
Finally, what are we to make of the age difference between "Remain" and "Leave" voters? The older the voter was, the more likely they were to vote "Leave". The cause is fairly straightforward. Older voters remember a time when Britain did quite well on its own, thank you very much, and could see no reason why Britain could not do so again. Younger voters, on the other hand have known nothing but the EU and accept it as normal, warts and all. They were afraid of what was to them the unknown.
There is however some anger among young people about not getting their way and that will hopefully be a good lesson to a spoiled generation. -- JR.
By JR on Sunday, June 26, 2016
Eastern Australian flood events: a 'significant' rise in frequency, says study
The BOM is getting cautious. They must have learnt from their very cautious junior researcher, Acacia Pepler.
Below they report an increase in floods but say only that it was "possibly" influenced by human-induced climate change. Though Leftist readers will no doubt fail to to notice the "possibly".
But they are right to use "possibly". They start their record from 1860 and a gentle sea-level rise has been going on since then, long before the alleged era of "human-induced climate change". So more coastal flooding could be expected to show up over that long period.
Secondly, why don't we look at the period of alleged human influence, the post WWI era? Let's look from 1950 on. Looking at their graph I can see NO trend in that period. There is one anomalous spike around 1990 but the histogram overall looks pretty square starting in 1950. I haven't got the raw data to do a precise test but by eye there has been NO trend from 1950 on. At most I see a downward trend. How disappointing for them!
And finally, they got a lot of their data, not from official meteorology records but from "newspaper reports". I hope I do not need to say why that is a very shaky data source. Warmists can be amusing!
The academic journal article underlying the report below is "Major coastal flooding in southeastern Australia 1860–2012, associated deaths and weather systems". I note with amusement the second last sentence of the Abstract: "Some of the most extreme events identified occurred in the 19th century and early-to-mid 20th century". So their findings UNDERMINE global warming theory, if anything. Pesky of me to notice that, isn't it? You are not supposed to question the Gods
But this mob are not Gods. Racketeers and confidence men, more like it. And this article is a good example of their "modus operandi". They can't lie too much or they would risk getting caught with their pants down. So they just slant what they put out
The frequency of major flood events along Australia's eastern seaboard is increasing, with climate change one of the possible factors, senior Bureau of Meteorology researchers say.
The report, published in the bureau's inaugural edition of the Journal of Southern Hemisphere Earth Systems Science, comes as eastern Australia braces for the second east coast low in as many weeks, with the potential for localised flooding including in the Sydney region.
Researchers, such as Acacia Pepler from the University of NSW, predict east coast lows may become less common during the winter months as the planet warms. However, those that form near the coast, which bring the most damage from heavy rain and coastal erosion, may increase in frequency.
The new research from Scott Power and Jeff Callaghan indicates that major flood events are already on the increase.
Taking a 1500-kilometre stretch of eastern Australia from Brisbane down to Bega on the south coast of NSW, the two bureau researchers examined all the major floods since 1860.
Major floods were defined as those events which caused extensive flooding within 50 kilometres of the coast, or inundation that extended 20 kilometres along the coast, with at least two catchment areas involved.
As the chart below shows, the frequency of such events has roughly doubled to two a year over the past 150 years, with about half the increase since the end of the 19th century.
"There is a statistically significant increasing trend in major flood frequency over the full period," the authors wrote in their paper.
The range was also widespread, with "the overwhelming majority of sites in the study region [showing] increasing trends", including all but one of the sites closest to the coast.
The majority of the sites also revealed that the largest amount of daily rain received each year was increasing.
The researchers relied on rainfall and stream-flow data and also local newspaper reports to compile what they said was the most complete record of the region over time.
They attributed the trend to natural climate variability and "possibly" from human-induced climate change, adding that the anthropogenic influence was expected to be greater on the more extreme events.
Further research, though, would be needed to determine the extent of the human influence, the paper noted.
By JR on Saturday, June 25, 2016
Brexit has won! Britain is Britain again and not just an appendage of a disgusting bureaucratic State. To many Australians, Britain is still "Home" in the sense that all our ancestry is from there. So despite minor rivalries in cricket etc., we still wish Britain well and hope for her flourishing. We can now resume hope of that. Britain's last best hope has been seized despite a torrent of lies against it. As so often in the past, Britain has left her fightback to the last moment, but, as in the past, she has triumphed over those who wished to subdue her
And particular kudos to Nigel Farage, who fought a long and often lonely battle for this. And great credit to the Mackems and Geordies -- who delivered a massive 22-point win for Leave in Sunderland -- JR
British PM David Cameron resigns after Brexit vote
A very good speech. A very correct speech. A very British speech. Worth listening to in full
David Cameron has resigned as Prime Minister after the UK public voted to leave the European Union in the referendum. Excerpts from his speech:
A tearful Mr Cameron - with his wife by his side - said he had already spoken to the Queen about his decision.
The PM campaigned to remain in the EU but the public rejected his arguments and chose to leave the EU by 51.9% to 48.1%.
Speaking to masses of reporters outside Downing Street, the PM said a new leader would be in place by the Tory party conference in October.
'The British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected,' Mr Cameron said.
'The country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction,' added the PM.
'I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months, but I don't think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.'
Mr Cameron said he had fought 'head, heart and soul' to stay in the EU but that voters had chosen a different path.
Tears in his eyes and his voice cracking slightly, Mr Cameron's final words were: 'I love this country, and I feel honoured to have served it, and I will do everything I can in the future to help this great country succeed.'
By JR on Friday, June 24, 2016
The great ozone embarrassment
Do you ever wonder why we don't hear much about the ozone hole these days? There's a reason. I made some mocking comments about the messed-up talk from Greenies about stratospheric ozone yesterday. I now want to tell more of the story.
When I searched the net for the numbers about CO2 levels and global temperature, I very rapidly found the numbers nicely set out for both. So I initially expected that I would have no trouble finding the numbers for atmospheric ozone levels. I found quite a lot of sites that gave information about that but none of them gave the underlying numbers. The information was always presented in pretty multi-colored pictures.
That is very strange. Numbers are food and drink to scientists. Pictures just cannot give you precision. So what is going on? Is there a reason for the imprecision?
I think I have eventually found out. The numbers are pretty embarrassing. Ozone levels are at least not rising and may be FALLING. Yet, according to the Ozone-hole enthusiasts, the levels should be rising. When the very expensive Montreal protocol of 1989 was imposed on us, we were told that CFC's were destroying ozone at a dangerous rate (ALL change is dangerous according to Greenies) so if we stopped producing CFCs, the ozone would bounce back and the "hole" in Antarctica would shrink away. So ozone levels should have been RISING for quite a while now.
But the opposite may have happened. I eventually found an official New Zealand statistics site which informed me that: "From 1978 to 2013, median monthly ozone concentrations decreased slightly, about 4 percent", And I found another source which put the loss to the year 2000 at 7%.
And the cooling trend in the stratosphere can only reasonably be explained by falling ozone levels. It's absorption of UV by ozone that keeps the stratosphere warm. I showed yesterday that the cooling trend cannot be explained by CO2 levels.
Greenies are always cautious about when they expect the ozone hole to close, generally putting it quite a few years in the future. They say, reasonably, that these things oscillate so the process of ozone recovery must be a gradual one and you need a long series to see a trend. But for the level to be DECLINING looks very much like proof of failure.
But I needed those elusive numbers to be certain of what was going on. And I did eventually find them at Mauna Loa. They give almost daily readings up to this year. I looked at the readings for three years, 1996, 2010 and this year. I noted that the readings in all three years varied between around 230 to 270 Dobson units, according to the time of the year. I saw no point in calculating exact averages as it was clear that, at this late stage when the effects of the CFC ban should long ago have cut in, essentially nothing was happening. The ozone level may not have fallen in recent years but it is not dropping either. The predicted rise was not there. The levels just bob up and down in the same old way within the same old range year after year
So it looks like the Montreal protocol did nothing. The whole thing seems to have been wholly misconceived. The "science" behind it was apparently wrong.
Yet it was the "success" of the Montreal protocol that inspired the Greenie assault on CO2. We have paid a big price for that hasty bit of scientific speculation.
By JR on Thursday, June 23, 2016
That pesky stratospheric cooling
We all live in the troposphere -- that part of the atmosphere that stretches from the sea surface upwards for about 10 miles. The next big "sphere" as we go upward is the stratosphere. And even Warmists agree that the stratosphere is COOLING. And "spheres" above the stratosphere are cooling too.
So does that not upset global warming theory? No, say the Warmists. Their whole theory is that various gases in the troposphere "trap" heat rising off the earth. So that heat rising off the earth never reaches the stratosphere or higher. So the more the troposphere traps the rising heat, so the stratosphere will cool. It's a reasonable enough theory given Warmist assumptions.
And the big assumption is to conceive CO2 as forming some sort of blanket around the earth. A blanket would indeed keep the heat in and deny it to the stratosphere. But CO2 is NOT a blanket. It is just lots of separate molecules jiggling away doing their own thing. And ANY heated atmospheric molecule will emanate its radiation in ALL directions -- not just downward towards earth. CO2 molecules don't have little compasses in them telling them in which direction to focus their radiations.
So CO2 is not a blanket at all. It will be just as likely to radiate upwards as downwards. It will be just as likely to warm the stratosphere as the troposphere. So once again Warmism is fundamentally flawed. Their explanations are bunk. One could argue that upward radiation is blocked by that peculiar layer called the tropopause but if we argue that way, what do we need CO2 for? The tropopause already does the blocking job that CO2 is supposed to do. CO2 blocking becomes a surplus explanation that is put to death by Occam's razor.
It is true that stratospheric cooling could be due to the fact that most of the ozone is in the stratosphere. Ozone is that great stuff that soaks up most of the nasty UV radiation put out by the sun. I quote Dr. Jeffrey Masters, Director of Meteorology at Weather Underground: "The main reason for the recent stratospheric cooling is due to the destruction of ozone by human-emitted CFC gases. Ozone absorbs solar UV radiation, which heats the surrounding air in the stratosphere. Loss of ozone means that less UV light gets absorbed, resulting in cooling of the stratosphere"
That seems precisely backwards to me. It implies that CFC levels are rising, when the proud boast of the Greenies is to have cut them back. He is talking about a steady process -- cooling -- and explains it by another steady process -- decreasing ozone. But thanks to the heroic framers of the Montreal protocol, ozone levels should be RISING, not decreasing.
An explanation of cooling in terms of a recovery of ozone might make some sense: CFC chemicals had destroyed a lot of the ozone so less of the UV was being blocked. The stratosphere got warmer than it should be. It wasn't blocking as much UV as it once did. So heroic environmentalists created the Montreal protocol which stopped human beings from manufacturing any more of the evil CFC stuff. So the stratosphere has been cooling down from an abnormal high as CFCs diminish and ozone increases.
I don't like that explanation either but let's concede that some way or another ozone explains stratospheric cooling. The big problem is that if we go further up in the atmosphere, the ozone more or less vanishes but we still find cooling.
So what is the explanation for stratospheric cooling?
Can I say that I don't know? What I do know is that the role of CO2 has been misconceived. CO2 is a red herring. It explains neither tropospheric warming nor stratospheric cooling.
Is a confession of not having all the answers troubling? It shouldn't be. Such a confession is the starting point of all research. I was amused by something Carl Mears said on his RSS site: "Climate models cannot explain this warming if human-caused increases in greenhouse gases are not included as input to the model simulation."
He seemed to think that was a decisive argument. Unexplained warming was anathema to him. We MUST have an explanation, he seems to say. But there is no such must. Chemists once had an explanation for combustion that they thought was pretty good. They thought that it consisted of the release of phlogiston. Problem: There is no such thing as phlogiston. So I think Carl Mears is full of phlogiston
In fact, I think I do know what is happening with ozone and the stratosphere. The key is to leave CFCs out of the picture. But I will leave that for tomorrow -- JR.
By JR on Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Brexit vote could liberate the world
With the vote for or against Britain leaving the EU due at the end of this week, the look at what it implies from economic historian and retired merchant banker Martin Hutchinson below is valuable. A British exit could have a similar effect to the Trump revolt: Rejection of a tired and oppressive consensus. As such, Martin rightly sees global implications for the British vote
One point that everyone seems to be overlooking is that British trade arrangements are unlikely to be much disrupted by a Brexit -- for the excellent reason that the British market is an important one for Europe. If Britain's tariff-free access to Europe were cut off by some big-bottomed bureaucrats in Brussels, Britain could very rapidly and very effectively retaliate. A Prime Minister Boris Johnson could and probably would announce a complete embargo on the importation of European farm products into Britain.
That would be particularly disruptive to France, including the already-stressed French wine industry. The Brits now buy twice as much Australian wine as French wine but Britain is still a major market for French wine. And one cannot imagine the French farmers taking that lying down. And French farmers always get their way. One imagines them getting into their tractors and blockading the relevant building in Brussels. And when cut off from their supply of beer, chocolate and stinky cheese, the Brussels bureaucrats would undoubtedly cave in. "Temporary" or "transitional" arrangements would be made.
And there is of course NAFTA. NAFTA would be a much better fit for Britain than the EU. Blood is thicker than water and the legal and cultural similarities between the UK and the USA are still large -- not to mention the ease of a common language. And an influential group of 11 U.S. congressmen have already made moves toward opening trade negotiations with Britain. The signatories to the letter include Devin Nunes and Pat Tiberi, two former chairmen of Congress’s Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade.
Sadly, however, I doubt that there will be any change. Australia and Britain are demographically and culturally very similar so the Australian experience with referenda is instructive. We have had rather a lot of them and they are always lost unless there is a broad consensus about their desirability. There is no such consensus in Britain at the moment. I would however love to be surprised.
The purely economic costs and benefits of a British vote next Thursday to exit the EU are quite finely balanced. There are undoubted advantages to membership of a large free trade area, which it will be a pity to lose. While the EU leaders are pushing the union in a direction Britain does not and should not want to go, politically or economically, they could probably mostly be resisted. The short-term costs of Brexit could be considerable, if only in a “menu-changing” sense. Yet for Britain and for the world as a whole a vote for Brexit will constitute a fightback against a global consensus that badly need to be fought, for the sake of all our futures.
A year ago, this column published a piece headlined “Brexit divorce needs a good lawyer, hot new girlfriend.” It never got either. There is no assurance whatever that a British exit from the EU will be negotiated in an atmosphere of goodwill on both sides – indeed part of the Remain campaign’s “Project Fear” has been dire threats from various EU functionaries about how Britain’s departure must be made as unpleasant as possible to deter other countries from trying to follow the same path. Add to this indication that the negotiation will be a tough one the likelihood that Britain’s smoothest negotiator, David Cameron, will rule himself out of the exit negotiation by resigning (or will be ruled out by Brexiters’ distrust) and you can see that the “lawyer” problem is nowhere near being solved.
As for the “hot new girlfriend,” that has manifestly failed to appear – although if Donald Trump wins the Presidency a Trump-led United States, raising barriers against others but trusting a Brexiting Britain, would certainly qualify. Indeed, a United States that had poor relations with the politically correct EU, raised trade barriers against much of Asia, but regarded Britain as an old and valued ally, might be the hottest of all possible new girlfriends, a gigantic market suddenly cut off from many of its other trading partners to which Britain now had preferred access.
However, that possibility is currently no more than a gleam in the eye, with at most a 50-50 chance of appearing. Meanwhile the Brexit campaigners’ have failed to open discussions with plausible resource economies in Latin America or Africa, or with fast-growing Asian economies with a thirst for British exports. Thus there is no glorious prospect to dangle before the voters’ eyes, and a likelihood that the exit negotiations will be tortuous and the exit terms unpleasant. In those circumstances, one could entirely forgive the notoriously timid British electorate for wimping out of Brexit, and clinging to the skirts of the hag-like EU nanny they know.
Economically, the Brexit decision is quite a close one. While a Brexit would be economically advantageous in the long run (because Britain would be able to eliminate excess regulation and reorient its economy towards supplying countries with decent growth) it would unquestionably have substantial costs of renegotiating treaties and re-making economic arrangements, just as the entry into the EU did in the 1970s. While it is very clear that entry into the EU was a major economic error on the part of some especially feeble British prime ministers, the balance of economic factors for exit is much closer.
Politically and strategically, however, the arguments for Brexit are much stronger. Britain had a moderate amount of influence in EU councils in the years leading up to the Single European Act, which established a continent-wide market coming into effect in 1992. However ever since the Presidency of Jacques Delors (1985-95) and the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, Britain has been the odd man out, occasionally joined by one or other of the tiny East European states but otherwise dragged unwillingly down a road that the vast majority of Britons do not want to travel.
There is a minority of opinion formers in London that wishes to welcome their new insect overlords in Brussels, but that minority is both tiny and unrepresentative. It does however wield a considerable amount of influence and is not open to argument, whether from British democratic traditions or otherwise. Thus the extraordinary editorial in Reuters Breakingviews, generally reflective of “enlightened” London opinion, which advocated cancelling the Brexit referendum at the last minute. Throwing away 800 years of British political freedoms is just one of the sacrifices the pro-EU fanatics are prepared to make in the interests of their perverted ideology.
For the great majority of Britons, free trade with the EU is attractive, though there are doubts about the “free movement of labor” in EU treaties, especially as continental countries seem incapable of or unwilling to control their borders. But the feeling that the EU project has a huge hidden agenda, that is to be imposed on the British people without their democratic consent, has propelled the Brexit campaign to a level far in excess of that justified by simple economic considerations.
If the Brexit decision were a purely economic one, based only on the marginal advantages or disadvantages of membership of a trade area that was not especially suited to British needs, then Thursday’s vote would not be especially significant, except for the British themselves, and even then, the losers could console themselves that life would go on very much as before whichever way the vote went. But the hidden agenda of the EU’s leaders and the contempt for democracy evident in the more extreme of its supporters, indicate that the Brexit vote has a meaning far beyond the relatively limited confined of the European Union.
Over the past 20 years, an economic consensus has arisen among the world’s policymakers, that appears impervious either to argument or to democratic rejection. It involves extreme monetary policies, forcing interest rates far below their natural levels, to negative real rates and now even now negative nominal rates. It also involves running massive budget deficits, apparently without end – who could have imagined even a decade ago that a Republican Congress, in a period when the economy was running close to full employment, would do nothing whatever to bring down a budget deficit that runs year after year at around $500 billion, with every prospect of rising above $1 trillion in the next decade, without any recession intervening. It involves unlimited immigration, of both skilled and unskilled, so that domestic wage rates even in rich countries are forced down to global subsistence levels. Finally, it involves massive environmental and other over-regulation in the interests of crony capitalists who enjoy political favor, so that the playing field is no longer level but is tilted sharply towards those with political connections — crony capitalism at its most insidious level.
The result has been the slowest sustained period of rich country growth since the 1930s, with only the politically connected and those with access to massive amounts of cheap leverage doing well. The consensus policy is imposed by all major “respectable” parties, so that the electorate has no chance of getting it reversed, even if it had the economic understanding to want to do so.
The globalist consensus project is meeting increasing voter resistance, partly because of its manifest failure (which the consensus-globalist media does everything to conceal from voters.) The best chance to oust it was in this year’s Republican primaries (or, by all means in the Democratic primaries – Bernie Sanders represented an alternative to it, albeit an even worse one.) The Republican primary electorate rejected the globalist-consensus policy, as represented by every Republican candidate back to the first George Bush, but unfortunately replaced the consensus with Donald Trump, a man who having made his fortune in real estate, is uniquely blinkered against the need to replace funny-money Fed policies.
There will thus be no further chance to replace globalist-consensus policies until 2021 in the United States. In Britain, the globalist-consensus David Cameron is apparently in place until 2020. In Japan, nobody is advocating better policies than Shinzo Abe’s, merely worse ones. As for the EU, that polity is so undemocratic that even victory after victory for anti-consensus nationalists in individual countries merely causes it to dig in harder and demonize the assault.
The Brexit vote offers the one chance we have in 2016 to prize off the dead hand of global consensus that is holding the world economy by the throat. Should Britain vote to leave the EU, it will be a massive blow to consensus supporters both in Britain and the EU. It will also encourage separatist and nationalist movements elsewhere in Europe. If David Cameron feels the need to resign from Number 10 on a Brexit vote, Britain may have a chance to get rid of the expensive and useless Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who has held down the British economy by persisting in ultra-low interest rate policies, thereby killing British productivity growth. A Brexit vote would also encourage the supporters of Donald Trump in the United States, who will get rid of many of the globalist consensus policies even if he is unsound on the central question of interest rates.
Economic trends, in particular a rise in inflation, may dislodge the global consensus before 2020, even if the British electorate fails to take the chance offered to it. However, if the British vote for Brexit, it will represent one fairly modest step for Britain in regaining its freedom, but has the potential to represent one great leap for mankind as a whole.
Could $200 Billion Tobacco-Type Settlement Be Coming Over ‘Climate Change?’
The Left hate disagreement with their fads so much that they cannot admit that opposing arguments have any merit. From that comes their regular habit of saying that those who disagree with them are either evil or conspirators or both. Proving that is hard, however. In their desperation they seize on old boogeymen time and time again. And there are no greater boogeymen than oil companies. So it follows that oil companies must be responsible for opposition to their climate panic.
And another great boogeyman is BIG TOBACCO! And the fact that they have an actual court success against the tobacco companies makes them think they can have a similar success against big oil.
They overlook a big difference. There was scientific evidence that tobacco was harmful so tobacco customers were selling a harmful product, which does create some liability. The companies were successfully prosecuted because they were held to be part responsible for tobacco-related disease. But oil companies did NOT cause global warming. The whole Warmist claim is that industrial civilization as a whole did.
It is nonetheless possible that a lawsuit will be brought. But its prospect of success is so slight that it will just be a big financial loss to those who bring it
At the Big Law Business Summit last week, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ripped into Exxon Mobil for its stance on climate change.
Schneiderman accused Exxon of glossing over the risks that climate change poses to its core businesses in its public securities statements, and then couching its disclosure as first amendment protected.
“The first amendment doesn’t protect fraud – it doesn’t protect fraudulent speech,” he said.
This weekend, the Houston Chronicle published its investigation of the brewing legal threats that energy companies face as a result of their disclosures on climate change, comparing it to the situation tobacco companies faced in the late 1990s over their disclosures about the dangers of smoking.
In 1998, attorneys general from 46 states struck a $200 billion settlement with tobacco companies, ending years of litigation about whether they mislead smokers about the health risks of their products.
Now, there are 17 state attorneys general including Schneiderman investigating whether fossil fuel companies mislead investors in public disclosures about the risks associated with climate change.
Big law firms have been sending client alerts to energy companies, warning that a storm is brewing, according to the Chron, which quoted an email sent by lawyers at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman: “There is escalating effort to bring pressure to bear on companies with respect to their public securities statements on the effects of climate change.”
It noted the alerts picked up in April after a federal judge in Oregon allowed the environmental advocacy group Our Children’s Trust to proceed with a case against the U.S. government, arguing future generations are at risk as long as burning fossil fuels is permitted. It is but one of a handful of legal strategies that environmentalists are pursuing: Other suits have targeted energy firms for ignoring the potential effects on climate change in developing company policy.
The article quotes Bracewell’s Kevin Ewing as a skeptic about such lawsuits, saying it’s impossible to connect an individual company’s conduct with specific harm. Exxon was not immediately available to provide comment.
Racism as a convenient but flawed index of evil
Leftists are so suffused by hatred that serious thought is mostly beyond them. So their doctrines and claims are usually extremely simplistic. A prime example of that is the way they use cries of racism to answer any argument that is put up against them
And in so doing they make any discussion of race virtually impossible. And yet the importance of race is as clear as crystal. A major example of that is the fact that African Americans commit crimes of violence at a rate 9 times higher than whites. So the idea that there is only one race, the human race is only trivially true.
The whole of America knows that blacks are in general dangerous neighbors and takes active steps to deal with that: By "white flight". But that is often a difficult and costly process -- and one from which poor whites are excluded. An ability to actually discuss black crime and remedies for it would probably do a lot to make whites safer.
Making selected residential areas "no go" places for blacks would at present be greeted by unbelievably noisy opposition from the Left but a more positive version of that could work. Settling blacks in areas known for their liberal politics could well work magic.
But black crime is only one instance where race has visible effects. I am a keen fan of Austro/Hungarian operetta and have, I think, all available DVDs of it. In most of the world it is a forgotten form of musical entertainment but it lives on in the German lands, particularly in Austria, its old heartland. So a lot of the DVDs I have are of performances in Austria, particularly from Moerbisch.
And something I note in the Austrian performances is that all the performers and "extras" in a show look just like the people I see walking down the street in my hometown of Brisbane, Australia, so I can relate to them easily. Yet Austria is the most Southerly of the German lands, with Italy to its immediate South -- and I live half a world away from there.
So what improbable thing makes inhabitants of the two countries look so similar? Race. Anglo-Saxons have been separated from Germany for over a thousand years but we remain members of the same race. It's only a trivial example of no political importance but it is another reminder that race does exist and that it can have powerful and long-lasting effects.
In my observation, most alleged racial, ethnic or national differences are either imaginary or temporary -- but some are not -- JR.
WHAAT? Premature babies are brighter??
When I first saw the findings below I thought I was looking at another example of researchers getting their statistics back to front. The logical and conventional view is that premature birth harms the baby to some degree. And that is the official medical view too. The authors of the study below were obviously pretty perturbed by their results too and turned themselves inside out trying to think of ways in which their very strong study got it wrong. And I think that they went close to isolating the problem, but did not have the psychometric background needed to get it exactly right
The thing that told me what was going on was the Dutch Famine Study. In the closing phase of WW2, Nederland experienced a severe food shortage. The mothers of babies born at that time did the best for their infants but a lot still went very hungry. But a food shortage at that early age could be expected to handicap the infant to some degree, with brain damage being probable. So when that birth cohort came up for conscription into the Dutch army 18 years later, there was great interest in what their average IQs would be. Most armies do carry out ability testing as an aid to weeding out soldiers who would be more dangerous to their companions than to the enemy. Putting lethal weapons into the hands of dummies is not recommended.
So what did the Dutch psychologists discover? Did they find that the average IQ for that year was low? No. To the contrary, they found that the average IQ was unusually HIGH for that year.
So what had happened? It was a eugenic effect. As has repeatedly been shown, high IQ is a marker of general biological fitness -- and only the fit babies survived the famine. The less fit were weeded out -- died. So only the fit survived and they had higher IQs than average.
So you might by now see the strong analogy with the results below. Less fit babies did not survive pre-term birth. Those who did survive were generally more fit biologically and hence of higher IQ. It's actually interesting confirmation of the Dutch findings. The other finding below, of a slight probability of physical impairment probably shows that even a selection effect cannot cancel out all the stresses and disadvantages that pre-term birth must be expected to impose
Long-term Cognitive and Health Outcomes of School-Aged Children Who Were Born Late-Term vs Full-Term
David N. Figlio et al.
Importance: Late-term gestation (defined as the 41st week of pregnancy) is associated with increased risk of perinatal health complications. It is not known to what extent late-term gestation is associated with long-term cognitive and physical outcomes. Information about long-term outcomes may influence physician and patient decisions regarding optimal pregnancy length.
Objective: To compare the cognitive and physical outcomes of school-aged children who were born full term or late term.
Design, Setting, and Participants: We analyzed Florida birth certificates from 1994 to 2002 linked to Florida public school records from 1998 to 2013 and found 1?442?590 singleton births with 37 to 41 weeks' gestation in the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics. Of these, 1?153?716 children (80.0%) were subsequently located in Florida public schools. Linear and logistic regression models were used to assess the association of gestational age with cognitive and physical outcomes at school age. Data analysis took place between April 2013 and January 2016.
Exposures: Late-term (born at 41 weeks) vs full-term (born at 39 or 40 weeks) gestation.
Main Outcomes and Measures: There were a number of measures used, including the average Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test mathematics and reading scores at ages 8 through 15 years; whether a child was classified as gifted, defined as a student with superior intellectual development and capable of high performance; poor cognitive outcome, defined as a child scoring in the fifth percentile of test takers or having a disability that exempted him or her from taking the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test; and Exceptional Student Education placement owing to orthopedic, speech, or sensory impairment or being hospitalbound or homebound.
Results: Of 1 536 482 children born in Florida from singleton births from 1994 to 2002 with complete demographic information, 787 105 (51.2%) were male; 338 894 (22.1%) of mothers were black and 999 684 (65.1%) were married at time of birth, and the mean (SD) age for mothers at time of birth was 27.2 (6.2) years. Late-term infants had 0.7% of an SD (95% CI, 0.001-0.013; P = .02) higher average test scores in elementary and middle school, 2.8% (95% CI, 0.4-5.2; P = .02) higher probability of being gifted, and 3.1% (95% CI, 0.0-6.1; P = .05) reduced probability of poor cognitive outcomes compared with full-term infants. These cognitive benefits appeared strongest for children with disadvantaged family background characteristics. Late-term infants were also 2.1% (95% CI, −0.3 to 4.5; P = .08) more likely to be physically impaired.
Conclusions and Relevance: There appears to be a tradeoff between cognitive and physical outcomes associated with late-term gestation. Children born late-term performed better on 3 measures of school-based cognitive functioning but worse on 1 measure of physical functioning relative to children born full term. Our findings provide longer-run information for expectant parents and physicians who are considering delivery at full term vs late term. These findings are most relevant to uncomplicated, low-risk pregnancies.
Warmists have no shame
The May global temperature has just been released and the article below is headlined: "Month Of May 2016 Continues Trend Of Record Heat, Possibly Proves Global Warming Is Happening". So warming is still going on alarmingly, you would conclude from that.
That word "possibly" is wise, though. Because the writer has ignored the really BIG feature of the May average global temperature. According to the latest (revised) figures from GISS, here are the temps for this year:
Jan Feb Mar Apr May
112 133 128 109 93
El Nino peaked in February, March dropped a bit and April and May dropped like a stone. You would never guess it from the article briefly excerpted below but COOLING has begun. So much for the deceitful claim that May "Continues Trend Of Record Heat". It doesn't continue anything.
The May temperature was actually less than one degree above the 1951-1980 base period -- just about back to the C21 norm. And with a La Nina in the wings, the cooling is likely to go on.
This May temperature is not a seasonal effect. This is a global figure so the Northern hemisphere summer will be balanced out by winter in the Southern hemisphere, and vice versa
The month of May 2016 is not only the beginning of Summer for many around the world. It is now officially the warmest May in recorded history. This may not seem like such bad news after such a chilly winter, but it could be an indication that former Vice President Al Gore was right.
By JR on Sunday, June 19, 2016
Global warming is causing a 'fundamental change' in the world's weather UN warns
The article below is founded on a lie. It is true that the world has experienced unusually warm weather lately but how much of it was caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions and how much was caused by El Nino? The authors below pooh pooh El Nino and assert that it was mostly caused by CO2. But how much? Real scientists use numbers. But we note with great surprise that no number is given for the percentage of the warming that was due to CO2. How come? Because NONE of it was caused by CO2.
The Mauna Loa CO2 record seems to be the one most referred to by Warmists so I have for some time been greatly amused by what it shows for 2015, that "record" year for warming, according to Warmists. So I have decided to take a screen capture of it. See below.
The 4th column is the actual average CO2 level in ppm. As you can see, the actual CO2 levels just bobbed up and down around 400ppm, showing that CO2 levels plateaued during that year. There was no overall change. There were slight increases but also slight decreases.
So it is perfectly clear that this "warmest" year was NOT caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions rising -- because total CO2 levels did not rise. ALL the warming was due to natural factors, principally El Nino.
Instead of crowing that it proved their theory, Warmists should be in deep despond that this "warmest" year was TOTALLY natural. CO2 levels did nothing. Once again, there was no linkage between temperature and CO2 levels. The facts are totally at odds with Warmism
But what about 2016, the tail end of the El Nino event? It was just as amusing, though in an opposite sort of way
The NOAA figures from Mauna Loa, showed a LEAP in CO2 levels this year. Where December 2015 ended up on an average of 401.85 ppm, April averaged 407.42. That's twice as big as most annual increases.
So, on Warmist theory, temperatures should have leaped too over that same period. In fact they remained absolutely flat. GISS shows a January temperature anomaly of 1.11 degrees Celsius and April shows an anomaly of exactly the same! You couldn't make it up! When the temperature rose in 2015, CO2 levels did not. And when CO2 levels did rise in 2016, temperature did not. There was a complete disconnect between CO2 and temperature in both records
The U.N. weather agency is warning of 'fundamental change' afoot in the global climate and continued warming, accompanied recently by unusually high rainfall in parts of the US and Europe.
The World Meteorological Organization cited data released by Nasa showing that this May was the hottest on record, and the Northern Hemisphere spring has been the hottest spring ever.
WMO global climate director Dr. David Carlson said the new data showed 370 straight months of warm or warmer-than-average temperatures worldwide.
'The state of the climate so far this year gives us much cause for alarm,' said Carlson. The first four months of 2016 were the warmest globally in 136 years.
'Exceptionally high temperatures. Ice melt rates in March and May that we don't normally see until July. Once-in-a-generation rainfall events. The super El Niño is only partly to blame. Abnormal is the new normal.'
Now dissipated, the El Nino weather pattern factored into 2016's record-setting heat, but meteorologists say greenhouse gases emitted from human activities remain the underlying cause.
The Arctic in particular experienced abnormal heat, causing Arctic sea ice and the Greenland ice sheet to start melting unusually early, said Nasa.
Alaska recorded its warmest spring on record by a wide margin, and in Finland the average May temperature was between three and five degrees warmer than usual in most regions, according to data from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
'The rapid changes in the Arctic are of particular concern.
May's exceptional warmth was accompanied by extreme weather events including abnormally heavy rains throughout Europe and the southern United States.
From 28 to 31 May, France witnessed exceptional rainfall. For instance, the department of Loiret saw 92.9 mm in 3 days which is without precedent in the past 30 years. Such amounts are only seen once every 10-50 years according to Météo-France. Paris received 3 months worth of rainfall in a month and May was the wettest month since 1960.
Southeast Texas had record flooding. An additional 2-5 inches of rain in the last 24 hours in Southeast Texas where intense storms in the previous 24 hours had totals exceeding 10 inches is causing record floods.
Australia had its warmest autumn on record at 1.86 °C above average, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
More than 53% of the country experienced highest on record mean temperatures, because of strong El Niño Water temperatures to the north and northwest of Australia.
Strong El Nino temperatures did cause more than 53 percent of Australia to experience its warmest autumn on record.
May's exceptional warmth was accompanied by extreme weather events including abnormally heavy rains throughout Europe and the southern United States, as well as 'widespread and severe' coral reef bleaching.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is expected to announce complete global May temperature records in the coming days.
Recent predictions by US scientists anticipate that 2016 will go down as Earth's hottest year on record—on the heels of record-setting years in 2014 and 2015.
By JR on Saturday, June 18, 2016
Ya gotta hand it to the man: A far-Left Australian Jew claims to understand Islam better than Islamic scholars do
As it is enormously long-winded, in a typical Leftist style, I won't try to reproduce Michael Brull's article here. Below, however, are a couple of his opening sentences. He is discussing the Orlando massacre:
"Right-wing politicians and commentators have hurried to link the attack to Islam and Muslims generally, using the massacre to promote goals like banning Muslim immigration.
While others have responded with critiques of the overt racism of some of these voices, in this article, I want to explain why these claims about the responsibility of Islam for this massacre are substantively wrong"
Brull's basic point is that both in the past and today, many Muslims condone homosexuality -- which is true. With the exception of a few Western Imams, however, Islamic scholars today universally condemn homosexuality.
So what do the Koran and the Hadiths say? The Koran re-tells the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, which teaches divine vengeance upon homosexuality. But the Koran is not specific about how faithful Muslims should treat homosexuals. For that, we have to go to the Hadiths, which are treated by all Muslim scholars as the authentic teachings of Mohammed. And in the Hadiths we find not only an instruction to kill homosexuals but precise instructions about how: They are to be thrown off the top of a tall building, which is exactly what the devout Muslims of ISIS do regularly.
So how come many Muslims condone or have condoned homosexuality? How come the Orlando shooter himself appears to have been homosexual? Easy: Homosexuality is rife among Muslims. Their religion makes their relationship with women very difficult to start with and the toleration of polygamy creates an even bigger stress. Under polygamy, the rich old men get most of the women, leaving lots of young men high and dry.
So sexual frustration among Muslim young men is HUGE and tends to break out in all directions. It's why they clothe their sisters in Burkas, Niqabs and the like. And why many Muslim societies restrict the movements of women -- with some going to the extreme of requiring women to go out only in the company of a male family member. It's all to protect their female family members from other Muslim young men. Their women have to be made as untempting to Muslim young men as possible. Otherwise the women would be sexually harassed. In more liberal Muslim countries such as Lebanon, Muslim women are very frequently harassed and assaulted by Muslim men.
But if women are not available, what is the next best thing? Homosexuality and pedophilia. And in some countries, such as Afghanistan, that's institutionalized -- as with the Afghan "dancing boys". They do more than dance.
So there is HUGE tension between the Muslim religion and what Muslims do. And that dissonance can sometimes be resolved by various sorts of tolerance of homosexuality -- usually silent tolerance.
Brull makes much of some times in the distant past when Muslim societies have tolerated homosexuality fairly openly, but we have to relate that to something that he himself stresses: The diversity in Islam. Muslims are notorious for their sectarian wars. Islam is not unlike Christianity in that it has within it many sects which all think they are right and the other sects are wrong. There was a time when Anglican bishops were burnt at the stake for their beliefs -- a rather hilarious thought when we contemplate Anglican spinelessness today.
The important point is, however, that Christians no longer attack one-another physically, whereas Muslims still do. Religions change and evolve over time and Islam has done some of that too. So what some Muslims have done in the past is no guide to what Islam is today. The past roasting of Anglican bishops is no guide to modern Christianity and nor are episodes of liberalism among some Muslims of the past any guide to Islam today. Islam today treads an enormously difficult path of sexual inhibition, made more difficult by an awareness that infidels have a lot more fun.
As I said, Brull makes much of the fact that Islam is not a monolithic entity. It is split into a large number of mutually hostile sects. He seems to think that the divisiveness of Islam makes it unreasonable to talk of a single monolithic entity called "Islam". But that is only trivially true. There is much more that unites Muslims than there are things that divide them. And open hostility to homosexuality is something virtually all of them have in common. Homophobia is Muslim.
Some Muslim organizations in the West did condemn the Orlando massacre but that is a type of deceptive PR allowed by the Koran: "taqiyya". In some Muslim countries, such as Turkey, the massacre was celebrated -- JR
By JR on Friday, June 17, 2016
After Orlando, The Danger Of Pauline Hanson Becomes Apparent
So says Max Chalmers, without offering any comment on the problems she is addressing. His whole diatribe (large excerpt below) could be reduced to the old chestnut that most Muslims are not terrorists so we can do nothing about Muslim terror. He certainly suggests nothing we could do. Just let them go on murdering is his apparent preference.
And what she says is of course "racist" according to young Max. I will bypass the usual retort that Muslims are a religion not a race and point to the real issue that he ignores. It is neither a religion nor a race that is being objected to but mass murder. Not that mass murder has ever bothered Leftists, of course. Think Stalin, Mao, Castro etc.
Muslims never stop murderinjg. Mostly, as in Syria, they murder one another but their murderous tendencies do sometimes come out in Western countries too. Islam is clearly a religion that encourages murder and as long as we accomodate hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Australia, some Muslims will act out their murderous tendencies and attack us.
So it is the Muslim community that is the problem. As long as we have that community in our countries we will be subjected to repeated acts of terrorism. So, as Pauline rightly sees, the only way of protecting ourselves from the Muslim fanatics is to cease hosting that community. The first step is obviously to block any further additions to that community and the time may also come when we ask the whole of that community to avail themselves of the Muslim obligation of hospitality in one of the 30 or so Muslim countries in the world. There are a couple of large ones just to the North of us.
It is NOT racist to object to terrorism and to look towards the source of it.
Late yesterday evening, the former MP released a video that serves as a warning for what is at stake should that campaign succeed. It’s hardly a revelation that Pauline Hanson is running as a racist, but the manner in which she is doing so is cause for alarm, both because of what it says about the levels of racism still acceptable in mainstream Australian politics, and the broad threat it poses to Australian Muslims, as well as democratic and liberal ideals.
It starts with Hanson standing in a driveway, a microphone pinned to her rose coloured blazer.
“Let’s have a serious chat about the latest terrorist attack that’s happened in America,” she says, looking directly down the barrel of the camera.
In the next two minutes, Hanson delivers a typically meandering dialogue which tries to reap political capital from the horrible massacre in Orlando, something other conservative candidates have also attempted to do. Insidiously, she refuses to acknowledge the fact the attack targeted LGBTI people, and offers not a single word of solidarity for a global community in mourning.
Bigotry and opportunism are no surprise coming from Hanson, the women whose anti-Asian migration stance has had its absurdity exposed the passage of time. But there is something particularly chilling about this video, an extremity of racism that goes beyond even the rhetoric of Reclaim Australia.
At one point she pauses dramatically, and then delivers the most important line of the video and, perhaps, of her campaign.
“We have to take a strong stance against Muslims,” she says.
Hanson mentions Islam next, but the reducing of ‘Muslims’ to a single cohesive entity – a group of 1.6 billion people who are Sunni and Shi’a, Pakistani and American, radical and moderate, men, women, white, black, brown, gay, straight, and otherwise – helps explain the more obviously shocking statements that follow.
All pretence of ideological criticism or religious critique have been dropped. Being Muslim is adjudicated as a crime in and of itself. Regardless of their actual views, convictions, or actions, Muslims are demonised as inherently bad people.
Except to Hanson, they’re actually less than that. Muslims are nothing more than dangerous animals.
On the tails of the ‘strong stance’ comment, Hanson goes on to compare these 1.6 billion people to dogs. We don’t let Pit Bull Terriers into the country, or certain dangerous toys, she says. The obvious, odious punchline follows: Muslims, like pit-bulls, are dangerous. They must not be allowed to exist here either.
Whether Hanson, Smith, and co end up involved in the Senate balance of power or not, a position in parliament will allow them to open new ground for major party players to tread. The radicalism of their racism will stretch political possibility, emboldening the likes of Bernardi and Abbott while making them appear more moderate in comparison.
These are the kind of shifts that don’t just nudge individual pieces of legislation over the line: they can fundamentally rebalance a nation.
Pauline Hanson has been radicalised. A seat in parliament would allow her to radicalise many more.
Australian rodent the first mammal driven to extinction by climate change, researchers say
This is just speculation from beginning to end. If people used to shoot them for sport, how do we know that someone did not do that recently? It's an isolated area with no record of comings and goings
And if inundations were the cause, how do we know that global warming caused them? Sea levels have been rising steadily ever since the Little Ice Age.
And if the factor was more extreme weather events in the area concerned there is no way global warming can be responsible because extreme weather events have in fact been declining on average world wide. And even the IPCC declined to make a link between warming and extreme weather
And there have been many instances of species being declared extinct only for specimens suddenly to pop up again. This is just opportunistic propaganda
CLIMATE change is believed to have caused the extinction of a rodent found on a small island in the Great Barrier Reef.
According to Queensland researchers, the species is the first mammal declared extinct due to the worrying global phenomenon.
Extensive searches for the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rat-like animal, have failed to find a single specimen from its only known habitat on a small coral cay, just 340m long and 150m wide in the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef and the edge of the Torres Strait Islands.
In a newly published report, scientists at the University of Queensland detailed how a comprehensive survey in 2014 failed to find any trace of the rodent.
Researchers said the key factor behind the extinction was “almost certainly” ocean inundation of the low-lying cay, likely on several occasions, over the last decade which resulted in dramatic habitat loss.
“Because a limited survey in March 2014 failed to detect the species, Bramble Cay was revisited from August to September 2014, with the explicit aims of establishing whether the Bramble Cay melomys still persisted on the island and to enact emergency measures to conserve any remaining individuals,” researcher Luke Leung said.
Dr Leung is from the University of Queensland’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences and said the team went to great lengths in hopes of recovering signs of the species.
“A thorough survey effort involving 900 small animal trap-nights, 60 camera trap-nights and two hours of active daytime searches produced no records of the species, confirming that the only known population of this rodent is now extinct,” he said.
This species of Melomys is related to one that scientists say has gone extinct in the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: Auscape/UIG via Getty Images
This species of Melomys is related to one that scientists say has gone extinct in the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: Auscape/UIG via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Bramble Cay is the only known location of the rodent and the island sits just three metres above sea level.
Available data on sea-level rise and weather events in the Torres Strait region “point to human-induced climate change being the root cause of the loss of the Bramble Cay melomys”, added the study.
Anthony D. Barnosky, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley who is a leading expert on climate change’s effects on the natural world said the claim seems “right on target to me.”
“I think this is significant because it illustrates how the human-caused extinction process works in real time,” he told the New York Times.
The Bramble Cay melomy, considered the Great Barrier Reef’s only endemic (found nowhere else) mammal species, was first discovered on the cay in 1845 by Europeans who shot them for sport. They considered them large rats at the time.
But the last known sighting, by a professional fisherman, was in 2009.
The 2015 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species implicated climate change in the extinction of another mammal, the Little Swan Island hutia (Geocapromys thoracatus), a rodent previously found on a coral atoll in Honduras. But it found the main driver of its demise was an introduced cat, the report said.
Dr Leung said in the case of the Bramble Cay melomy, all signs pointed to the culpability of climate change.
“Available information about sea-level rise and the increased frequency and intensity of weather events producing extreme high water levels and damaging storm surges in the Torres Strait region over this period point to human-induced climate change being the root cause of the loss of the Bramble Cay melomys,” he said.
The study added that the main hope for the species was that another population existed in neighbouring Papua New Guinea.
Environment group WWF-Australia said the fate of the species was a sad reminder of the nation’s extinction crisis.
“Australia officially has the worst rate of mammal extinction in the world,” WWF spokesman Darren Grover said.
Unless governments commit significant funding towards protecting Australia’s threatened species, “we can expect to see more native critters go extinct on our watch”, he added.
Multinational tax dodging costs the government billions
It is undoubtedly true that profit-shifting reduces government tax revenues but one has to ask if that is good or bad. Leftists don't even think about that. To them, nothing is too much for government. Once the money is in government hands they have an opportunity to influence its spending.
But for anyone who asks the unmentionable, the answer is not so clear. Is it best for funds to be wasted by an incompetent government or is it best for resources to be carefully saved for future investment? And that is not just rhetoric. The Rudd/Gillard government showed how colossal government waste can be. They added half a trillion to Australia's national debt and what did we get for it? More bureaucrats mostly.
So any money that can be kept out of government hands should be. It will be much more usefully employed by those who earned it
I might also mention that the poll commissioned by Oxfam should not be taken seriously. Oxfam are anything but impartial and will be sure to have designed the poll to get the answers they want
Nearly $AU9 billion that could be spent on schools, hospitals and critical infrastructure in Australia and in poor countries is instead being hidden by Australian-based multinationals in tax havens, according to an Oxfam report released today.
According to The Hidden Billions – How tax havens impact lives at home and abroad, and based on the latest available data, tax haven use by Australian-based multinationals cost Australia around USD $5 billion (AUD $6 billion) in lost tax revenue annually, and cost developing countries an estimated USD $2.3 billion (AUD $2.8 billion) every year.
The report is being launched with an online poll that shows 90 per cent of Australians polled think the Government should do more to stop multinational corporations avoiding paying tax in Australia and in every country in which they operate.
Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said the report showed how much the public lose out when big companies do the wrong thing and governments don’t step in and stop them.
“The Oxfam report, for the first time, puts dollar figures on what Australians and poor people in our region are missing out on because Australian-based multinational companies aren’t paying their fair share of tax like the rest of us,” Dr Szoke said.
The Oxfam-commissioned poll also found:
* 60 per cent of Australians polled believe the main thing the Federal Government should do to raise revenue is crackdown on tax avoidance by multinationals;
* 90 per cent of Australians polled believe the Federal Government should legislate to prevent all multinationals operating in this country from moving their profits to tax havens to avoid paying tax here;
* 87 per cent think that those Australian companies who operate in developing countries and in Australia should publicly report their earnings and how much tax they pay everywhere.
Globally, tax-dodging is rampant in developing countries, with big companies ripping USD $172 billion (AUD $209 billion) of tax revenue out of their economies in 2014, money that could have been used to fight poverty and generate equality and prosperity.
Dr Szoke also said The Hidden Billions report found that use of tax havens overseas by big businesses based in Australia would cost developing countries USD $4.1 billion (AUD $5.6 billion) in desperately needed revenue for essential public services over the next five years, including many of Australia’s poorest neighbours.
“Over the next five years, it’s estimated that Indonesia will be deprived of around USD $360 million (AUD $493 million) that could have gone towards education, and PNG stands to lose around USD $17 million (AUD $23 million) in expenditure on essential services such as hospitals, schools and sanitation,” Dr Szoke said.
“This is shocking, given in PNG, 60 per cent of the population don’t have access to clean water.
“In Ghana, funding lost due to the use of tax havens by Australian-based multinationals could pay for an estimated additional 1,400 primary school teachers, and nearly 600 nurses, a year. In The Philippines, an estimated 1,700 new classrooms per year could be built.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. Australia should show that it’s tackling this issue by making the tax affairs of Australian-based multinationals public – not only for their operations in Australia, but for every country in which they operate.
“Our research relies on IMF data, which shows the flow of money from Australian-based multinationals. Unfortunately, there is no way to find out which individual companies are dodging tax, as they’re not required to publish their tax affairs on a country-by-country basis.”
Dr Szoke said this lack of public reporting enabled big companies to hide billions of dollars they should be paying in tax.
“Other countries, including the US, France and Canada, have made tax reporting public for high-risk sectors in big business, such as for mining companies and big banks; it’s time Australia caught up,” she said.
Dr Szoke said the report showed that Australia was a major part of this global problem that affected so many lives here and overseas.
“With inequality worsening around the world, making the fight against poverty even harder, companies must pay their fair share of taxes, so that the revenue can be used to improve people’s lives, both here and for the world’s poorest people,” Dr Szoke said.