By JR on Sunday, April 23, 2017
Donald Trump has 'dangerous mental illness', say psychiatry experts
Psychiatrists will usually not hazard a diagnosis of someone they have not personally interviewed -- but for Trump that basic precaution flies out the window. And their "diagnosis" is very loose. He is a narcissist, a paranoid, and prone to grandiose thinking. It's a catalog of abuse rather than any serious attempt at a diagnosis.
There is no doubt that Trump is a most unusual man in all sorts of ways. That makes any attempt at diagnosis difficult and unlikely to fit. You can show that certain unusual behaviors fit one category but where does that leave you with all the other unusual behaviors? Diagnosis is extraordinarily risky in such cases and most unlikely to be accurate.
Nonetheless, I think Trump's pattern can be reduced to a single obvious syndrome -- one that the psychologists below clearly avoid. But I am not going to offer my thoughts on that in case they are twisted by the totally unscrupulous Left. It's Trump's policies that matter, not his personal idiosyncrasies
Donald Trump has a “dangerous mental illness” and is not fit to lead the US, a group of psychiatrists have warned during a conference at Yale University.
Mental health experts claimed the President was “paranoid and delusional”, and said it was their “ethical responsibility” to warn the American public about the “dangers” Mr Trump’s psychological state poses to the country.
Speaking at the conference at Yale’s School of Medicine on Thursday, one of the mental health professionals, Dr John Gartner, a practising psychotherapist who advised psychiatric residents at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, said: “We have an ethical responsibility to warn the public about Donald Trump's dangerous mental illness.”
Dr Gartner, who is also a founding member of Duty to Warn, an organisation of several dozen mental health professionals who think Mr Trump is mentally unfit to be president, said the President's statement about having the largest crowd at an inauguration was just one of many that served as warnings of a larger problem.
“Worse than just being a liar or a narcissist, in addition he is paranoid, delusional and grandiose thinking and he proved that to the country the first day he was President. If Donald Trump really believes he had the largest crowd size in history, that’s delusional,” he added.
Chairing the event, Dr Bandy Lee, assistant clinical professor in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, said: “As some prominent psychiatrists have noted, [Trump’s mental health] is the elephant in the room. I think the public is really starting to catch on and widely talk about this now.”
James Gilligan, a psychiatrist and professor at New York University, told the conference he had worked some of the “most dangerous people in society”, including murderers and rapists — but that he was convinced by the “dangerousness” of Mr Trump.
“I’ve worked with some of the most dangerous people our society produces, directing mental health programmes in prisons,” he said.
“I’ve worked with murderers and rapists. I can recognise dangerousness from a mile away. You don’t have to be an expert on dangerousness or spend fifty years studying it like I have in order to know how dangerous this man is.”
Dr Gartner started an online petition earlier this year on calling for Mr Trump to be removed from office, which claims that he is “psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President”. The petition has so far garnered more than 41,000 signatures.
It states: “We, the undersigned mental health professionals (please state your degree), believe in our professional judgment that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States.
“And we respectfully request he be removed from office, according to article 4 of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is 'unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office'."
The claims made in the conference have drawn criticism from some in the psychiatric establishment, who say they violate the American Psychiatric Association’s “Goldwater rule,” which states psychiatrists are not to give professional opinions on people they have not personally examined.
They have also been condemned by Republicans, including Connecticut Republican Party Chairman JR Romano, who accused the group of “throwing ethical standards out the window because they cannot accept the election results.”
Responding to the criticism, Dr Gartner said: “This notion that you need to personally interview someone to form a diagnosis actually doesn’t make a whole lotta sense. For one thing, research shows that the psychiatric interview is the least statistical reliable way to make a diagnosis.”
The doctors have said that even if it is in breach of tradition ethical standards of psychiatry, it was necessary to break their silence on the matter because they feared “too much is at stake”.
It is not the first time Mr Trump's mental health has been called into question. In February, Duty to Warn, which consists of psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, signed an open letter warning that his mental state “makes him incapable of serving safely as president”.
The letter warned that the President’s tendency to “distort reality” to fit his “personal myth of greatness” and attack those who challenge him with facts was likely to increase in a position of power.
By JR on Saturday, April 22, 2017
The Other Poison Gas Killing Syrians: Carbon Dioxide Emissions
"If Trump and his cronies really cared about children killed by noxious gases, they wouldn’t be trying to spew ever more CO2 into the atmosphere"
Prof. Juan Cole goofs again below. The Leftist "expert" on the Middle East (a professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History in the History Department at the University of Michigan), Juan Cole, gets shown up for the know-nothing he is here. And there is another scathing takedown of him here. For more on that see Mark Kleiman. We also read here that Cole thinks Iraq is on the Mediterranean! And if you read here you will see that the wacky Prof. Cole does not even know that a large part of what is the USA today was taken from Mexico!
But his identification of CO2 below as a noxious or deadly gas is a low point even for him. Does he realize that he himself breathes out a noxious gas every minute? Cole calls his blog Informed Comment, in the fine old Leftist tradition of calling a thing by its opposite
And it's just guesswork that attributes the severity of the Syrian drought to global warming. The Sahara was once lush but went into drought. Was that because of all those ancient Egyptians running around in SUVs when they weren't building pyramids? Climates certainly change but nobody so far has been able to predict it
And drought usually goes with cooling, not warming. Warm oceans give off more water vapour which brings rain. So are we saying that the Middle East has been really cool in recent years? Could be
The gas attack in Syria on April 4 consumed the world’s attention and galvanized the Trump White House, leading to the launch of 59 cruise missiles on a small airport from which the regime of Bashar al-Assad has been bombing the fundamentalist rebels in Idlib province. The pictures of suffering children, Trump said, had touched him. Yet the president and most of his party are committed to increasing the daily release of hundreds of thousands of tons of a far more deadly gas—carbon dioxide. Climate scientist James Hansen has described our current emissions as like setting off 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs each day, every day of the year.
The Syrian civil war has left more than 400,000 people dead, among them graveyards full of children and innocent noncombatants. About half the country’s 23 million people have been left homeless, and of those, 4 million have been driven abroad (some of them contributing to Europe’s refugee crisis and its consequent rightward political shift). The war occurred for many complex reasons, including social and political ones. The severest drought in recorded modern Syrian history in 2007–10, however, made its contribution.
The mega-drought drove 1.5 million farmers and farmworkers off the land to the seedy bidonvilles ringing cities such as Homs and Hama. In the northeast, 70 percent of the farm livestock died in those years. These displaced and dispossessed day laborers, who seldom found remunerative new work in Syria’s stagnant urban economy, joined in the demonstrations against the regime. Some were later drawn into the civil war as militiamen. Others in the end fled their country.
A team of scientists found no natural explanation for how rapidly Syria has been drying out over the past century.
Of course, Syria has had milder periodic droughts all through history. Moreover, some countries in the region, such as Israel, have been much better at water management than the decrepit Baath state in Syria. It matters how such crises are handled. A team of scientists writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year, however, found no natural explanation for how rapidly Syria has been drying out over the past century or for the withering severity of the latest drought. Human-caused climate change, which has raised the temperature of the planet 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, they concluded, made this Frankendrought as much as three times more likely to happen than if our coal plants, factories, and automobiles had left Mother Nature alone.
By JR on Friday, April 21, 2017
Leftists never learn
I reproduce below an article by some VERY uncritical thinkers. What they write reveals their thinking to be just about the same as the thinking of Adorno et al. in 1950. The great mass of criticism and refutation thrown at the Adorno work (See for instance the first half of Altemeyer's first book) has had no impact on them at all.
But there is a reason for that. In the minds of most psychologists, the Adorno work is impervious to criticism. No matter how aware they are of the criticisms and refutations of it: Its conclusions are just too delicious to let it go. In the best projective style, it accuses conservatives of all the faults that liberals themselves have, such as authoritarianism. Its conclusions are emotionally irresistible. So the authors below are not alone in continuing to produce "research" that repeats the old catnip. They quote many others who have not learned from the criticisms either.
But it takes only a moment of inspection to show that the latest study, like most before it, is entirely reliant on value judgments. What seem like sober empirical findings are in fact all "spin". As is so common among psychologists, they take some highly detailed laboratory task and draw huge conclusions about all humanity from it. They do not rest at saying that liberals and conservatives respond differently to a particular experimental task but rather claim with great expansiveness that this shows how conservatives think generally.
And they do it all on the basis of responses from an available group of university students -- and students have often been shown as responding very differently from the population at large. The authors conclude that "liberals" behave in a certain way rather than "A non-random selection of 44 students from Northwestern university" behaved in a certain way. In the absence of representative sampling the latter is the only conclusion they are entitled to draw from their data but they are far more expansive than that.
But two can play at their silly game. Where they conclude that:
"Liberals solved significantly more problems via insight instead of in a step-by-step analytic fashion"
I would conclude from the same set of results that liberals leap to conclusions whereas conservatives are more careful. Broadly, "conservatism=caution" so that is hardly a startling conclusion.
An amusing feature of the article is that they accept that liberals have a need for novelty. They are sensation seekers. I reported the same many years ago -- and my sample was a random one. I interpreted the finding as showing that liberals are impulsive airheads but the authors below seem to see it as a good thing. "De gustibus non disputandum est", I guess.
Adorno,T.W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D.J. & Sanford, R.N. (1950) The authoritarian personality. New York: Harper.
Altemeyer, R. (1981). Right-wing authoritarianism. Winnipeg: University Manitoba Press.
The politics of insight
Carola Salvi et al.
Previous studies showed that liberals and conservatives differ in cognitive style. Liberals are more flexible, and tolerant of complexity and novelty, whereas conservatives are more rigid, are more resistant to change, and prefer clear answers. We administered a set of compound remote associate problems, a task extensively used to differentiate problem-solving styles (via insight or analysis). Using this task, several researches have proven that self-reports, which differentiate between insight and analytic problem-solving, are reliable and are associated with two different neural circuits. In our research we found that participants self-identifying with distinct political orientations demonstrated differences in problem-solving strategy. Liberals solved significantly more problems via insight instead of in a step-by-step analytic fashion. Our findings extend previous observations that self-identified political orientations reflect differences in cognitive styles. More specifically, we show that type of political orientation is associated with problem-solving strategy. The data converge with previous neurobehavioural and cognitive studies indicating a link between cognitive style and the psychological mechanisms that mediate political beliefs.
Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2016 Jun; 69(6): 1064–1072. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2015.1136338
By JR on Thursday, April 20, 2017
Scientific proof that Trump voters are racist?
Excerpt below from Thomas Wood, an assistant professor of political science at Ohio State University. Tom may know a lot about political science but he knows nothing about psychometrics. Both his measure of authoritarianism and his measure of racism have no known validity at predicting actual behaviour in the general population.
Rather hilariously, The Stenner scale of "authoritarianism" is embarassingly INVALID. That may be because it is in a "forced-choice" format that makes it difficult for many people to report their views accurately. It has been PROCLAIMED as a measure of authoritarianism but there is no proof that it is. More on that here
And the Symbolic Racism scale is problematic in what it defines as racism. Its items could in fact be seen as simply true or false hypotheses. Take, for instance the item:
"Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class".
That is a Leftist credo but where is the evidence for it? That it is a false statement could reasonably be concluded from the fact that many other initially disadvantaged minorities have in fact worked their way up to prosperity.
So is it racist to acknowledge reality? Leftists seem to think it is but everything they disagree with is racist to them so that tells us nothing. The scale results could in fact tell us that Trump voters are more open to reality.
One also wonders why results from only 4 out of the 8 items of the Symbolic Racism scale were presented. Were results from the other four less congenial to the beliefs of the writer?
But in any case the scale is known only to predict other attitudes, not any aspect of actual behaviour. The results below therefore tell us nothing firm
During the 2016 presidential campaign, many observers wondered exactly what motivated voters most: Was it income? Authoritarianism? Racial attitudes?
Let the analyses begin. Last week, the widely respected 2016 American National Election Study was released, sending political scientists into a flurry of data modeling and chart making.
The ANES has been conducted since 1948, at first through in-person surveys, and now also online, with about 1,200 nationally representative respondents answering some questions for about 80 minutes. This incredibly rich, publicly funded data source allows us to put elections into historical perspective, examining how much each factor affected the vote in 2016 compared with other recent elections.
Below, I’ll examine three narratives that became widely accepted about the 2016 election and see how they stack up against the ANES data.
The rich, the poor, and the in-between
The first narrative was about how income affected vote choice. Trump was said to be unusually appealing to low-income voters, especially in the Midwest, compared with recent Republican presidential nominees. True or false?
The ANES provides us data on income and presidential vote choice going back to 1948. To remove the effects of inflation and rising prosperity, I plot the percentage voting for the Republican presidential candidate relative to the overall sample, by where they rank in U.S. income, from the top to the bottom fifth. To most directly test the Donald Trump income hypothesis, I’ve restricted this analysis to white voters.
2016 was plainly an anomaly. While the wealthy are usually most likely to vote for the Republican, they didn’t this time; and while the poor are usually less likely to vote for the Republican, they were unusually supportive of Trump. And the degree to which the wealthy disdained the 2016 Republican candidate was without recent historical precedent.
Authoritarians or not?
Many commentators and social scientists wrote about how much about authoritarianism influenced voters. Authoritarianism, as used by political scientists, isn’t the same as fascism; it’s a psychological disposition in which voters have an aversion to social change and threats to social order. Since respondents might not want to say they fear chaos or are drawn to strong leadership, this disposition is measured by asking voters about the right way to rear children.
The next chart shows how white GOP presidential voters have answered these questions since 2000. As we can see, Trump’s voters appear a little less authoritarian than recent white Republican voters.
Did racism affect the voting?
Many observers debated how important Trump’s racial appeals were to his voters. During the campaign, Trump made overt racial comments, with seemingly little electoral penalty. Could the unusual 2016 race have further affected Americans’ racial attitudes?
To test this, I use what is called the “symbolic racism scale” to compare whites who voted for the Democratic presidential candidate with those who voted for the Republican. This scale measures racial attitudes among respondents who know that it’s socially unacceptable to say things perceived as racially prejudiced. Rather than asking overtly prejudiced questions — “do you believe blacks are lazy” — we ask whether racial inequalities today are a result of social bias or personal lack of effort and irresponsibility.....
Finally, the statistical tool of regression can tease apart which had more influence on the 2016 vote: authoritarianism or symbolic racism, after controlling for education, race, ideology, and age. Moving from the 50th to the 75th percentile in the authoritarian scale made someone about 3 percent more likely to vote for Trump. The same jump on the SRS scale made someone 20 percent more likely to vote for Trump.
Racial attitudes made a bigger difference in electing Trump than authoritarianism.
By JR on Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Liberalism and Low Self Esteem
The article below from late last year by Sean Last makes points that I have been making for many years -- though I allow that he expresses it better than I have. I think it was first in 2002 that I pointed out that Leftism is clearly motivated by ego needs. Leftism makes Leftists feel good -- as being wise and caring, whether or not they actually are, and mostly they are not. And Leftists are shallow enough to NEED that boost -- which is why they run away from any information that might undermine their half-baked policy preferences of the day.
But there is more than one source for Leftism and I have outlined many here. I actually think that the needy egos have hopped onto a train that had already been got rolling by others: The haters. As the huge demonstrations against Trump show, Leftists are huge haters. And their hate is primarily directed at the society in which they live. They want to destroy it, in the delusion that they can create a better society. So anybody who wants to make America great is anathema to them.
A better society can indeed be created. From the industrial revolution on, society has become richer and kinder and more capable of improving human lives. But none of that was done by Leftist policies of expropriation and destruction. It was done by the steady accumulation of human wisdom and ingenuity that a capitalist society enabled and produced. Other societies did well only insofar as they copied capitalist societies.
So the hatred that Leftists have for the society in which they live is at best impatient and at worst blind. There is much to criticize about modern society but Leftists want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. They fail to see that a better society is steadily evolving out of our existing society and that attacks on existing society are therefore attacks on the only hope for the future.
When Leftists do get the opportunity to mould a whole society into what they think is desirable, all we get are ghastly tyrannies like the Soviets, Mao's China, Pol Pot in Cambodia and the dead hand of Castro's Cuba.
But the hate thrives nonetheless. Why? It can have many causes. It can be a traditional hate for "the bosses" that we see in places like Scotland, it could come from some personal deprivation, like being born into a very poor family, or it could be the expression of a pathological personality. Karl Marx hated just about everyone and that is said to be because for most of his life he had painful boils on his butt.
But by far the most obvious source for a personality that is full of hate from birth onwards is psychopathy. I have in fact had academic journal articles published which report research into psychopathy so I have enough knowledge of psychopathy to see how startling are the parallels between psychopathy and Leftism. I go into details here
To summarize briefly, Psychopaths love only themselves and hate anyone who does not take them at their own high valuation of themselves and have no real morality or ethics whatsoever. They are masters of "faking good" -- of saying things that they think will make them look and sound good regardless of any truth in it. They lie at the drop of a hat. So they are very shallow thinkers. Only the here and now exists to them. I think that is a pretty good description of most prominent Leftists. Getting principles or even consistency out of a Leftist is a mug's game. They will say one thing one day and something else the next day. He/she will say anything that makes him/her look good on the given occasion. Obama's 180 degree turn on homosexual marriage is a good example of that. Or Bill Clinton's claim that Hillary was named after Sir Edmund, the Everest hero.
So that is where the needful ego guy comes in. He is not necessarily fully psychopathic but he shares the psychopath's need for praise and ego boosting. He jumps onto the psychopathic train being run by prominent Leftists. I set out here the reasons why the Clintons, Barack Obama and John Kerry are clear cases of psychopathy -- JR
In this post I am going to argue that one important reason why many people adopt a liberal political ideology is that it boosts their self esteem by allowing liberals to view themselves as noble warriors in a great battle against evil. There is a good deal of empirical data which is consistent with this theory. But I will also be making use of some evidence which is purely anecdotal. I fully recognize the limitations of such data. But I am still going to talk about it because it adds something meaningful to this theory.
The first question that needs answering is why liberals would need to increase their self-esteem in a way that conservatives do not. The answer is simple: liberals have less self esteem than conservatives to begin with. This is the conclusion of a 2012 paper published in the Journal of Research on Personality. The paper included two studies that found that liberals had lower self esteem than conservatives. The first study’s sample was moderate in size and consisted of college students. The second study made use of decades of data from the General Social Survey. The GSS is a large and highly representative survey that has been administered in the United States for over 40 years. Another paper published in 2014 replicated this finding in two more samples. Thus, the finding that liberals have low self esteem has been replicated several times, including one replication with an extremely high quality sample.
There is also experimental evidence showing that self esteem has a causal relation to liberalism. Researchers from Stanford have shown that causing people to feel especially good, or bad, about their looks influences their political beliefs and behavior. The researchers manipulated how people felt about themselves by asking them to recall incidents in which they felt either very attractive or very unattractive. When participants were made to feel good about themselves they became more likely to believe that social inequality was caused by individual differences in talent rather than by systemic forces outside of the individuals control. That is, they became more likely to endorse the conservative view on inequality. They also became less likely to donate to organizations aimed at lessening social inequality. When participants were made to feel poorly about themselves the opposite happened: they adopted a more liberal worldview and were more likely to donate to liberal groups.
So far we know that liberals have low self esteem and that having low self esteem causes people to be more liberal. There are at least two ways of looking at this. One way is to say that having low self esteem causes someone to be liberal because it makes it rational for them to favor equality. Equality helps everyone on the bottom half and that’s probably where you think you are if you have low self esteem. There’s clearly some truth to this narrative. But I believe that people with low self esteem will also be attracted to liberalism because being a liberal helps your self esteem a little bit. In particular, being a liberal lets you view yourself as a kind of moral hero waging a battle against dark and evil forces. Who doesn’t feel good about themselves while playing super hero?
The thing that initially caused me to think that liberalism boosts self esteem is the fact that liberals seem to be very proud of their political ideology. They want everyone to know about it. You can tell someone is liberal by the car they drive, the clothes they wear, and the food they eat. Non-liberals aren’t normally like this. I can’t look at someone and know whether they are a moderate, a conservative, a libertarian, etc. It’s only liberals that I can reliably spot on sight.
It also seems clear to me that morality is involved. Liberals are always crusading against something immoral. It’s never a simple factual disagreement. Conservatives are sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. And they hate the poor. Of course, many of these charges are ridiculous. For example, conservatives advocate the economic policies they do because they think that everyone will benefit from them. It has nothing to do with hating the poor. Notice that conservatives don’t respond in kind: conservatives don’t normally argue that liberals hate the poor, women, straight people or minorities, even though they think that liberal policies will negatively effect these groups.
Research by the moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt lends support to this theory. Haidt has developed surveys that ask people about their moral values. Early in his research Haidt found that liberals and conservatives tended to fill out these surveys differently. After replicating this finding several times Haidt did something pretty cool: he had liberals fill out the surveys as they imagined conservatives would and vice versa. Haidt found that conservatives were fairly accurate in their depictions of the moral values of liberals. But liberals were widely inaccurate in their view of conservative morality: they drastically underestimated how much conservatives cared about moral values like fairness and kindness. Haidt also had liberals fill out the surveys as if they were the average liberal and conservatives fill out the surveys as if they were the average conservative. Once again, conservatives were far more accurate than liberals. Liberals consistently over-estimated how much the average liberal cared about various moral values. And thus, Haidt showed that liberals irrationally view conservatives as immoral and view themselves as far more righteous than they actually are.
The behavior of liberals is also consistent with viewing them as moral crusaders. Pew polling shows that liberals are far more likely than conservatives to end a friendship with someone due to a political dispute. This is what we would expect from people who view the opposition as evil. Who wants to be friends with evil people?
I think this explains why liberals care so much about things that are offensive and don’t matter. If you want to feel morally superior to everyone around you, you can’t agree with them. And so you have to find things wrong with society which society won’t admit to. And so as time has gone on, liberals have had to invent increasingly ridiculous complaints about society. Consider transsexuals and people with autism. By even the most liberal estimates of transsexual prevalence, autism is about five times as common as trannies are. And no one could argue with the fact that autistic people have hard lives. But the left doesn’t generally care about people with autism because supporting autistic people isn’t offensive to most people. If the left launched a campaign to help autistic people most people would probably feel sorry for the mentally ill and agree with them. And then there would be no bogey men to wage war with. So the left concentrates on trannies instead. There are basically no trannies. And most of the few that do exist are clearly insane. So they are the perfect group for the left to champion. A lesser but similar case can be made about gay marriage. Being gay is rare, and almost no gays actually want to marry. But gay marriage is offensive to many people. So it is a great issue for the left. It creates lots of bogeymen.
I’ve found that this theory helps to explain a lot about how liberals debate. In my experience, liberals are more concerned with proving that I am evil than proving that I am wrong. (“The races differ in mean IQ scores.” … “You’re racist!”) I now think that this is because they can only grandstand by showing that I am evil. Showing that I am wrong won’t boost their self esteem the way that showing to the world that they are battling evil does.
In summary, studies show that liberals have low self esteem and that causing low self esteem causes people to be more liberal. Research also shows that liberals have unrealistically negative views of the morals of conservatives and unrealistically positive views of the morals of liberals. And polling shows that liberals are far more likely to break social ties with people over politics. They are moral crusaders. The fact that liberals want everyone to know that they are liberal, that they seem to purposefully pick offensive views, their debate style, and the fact that being morally superior normally feels pretty good, suggests to me that the moral crusading and the low self esteem are connected. Liberals are liberal so that they can say that society sucks, so that they can say that they are better than everyone else, so that they can feel a little less shitty about themselves.
By JR on Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Apex crime gang declared a 'non-entity' by Victoria Police
So all the people who reported being robbed and assaulted by Africans were colour-blind? Give us a break! Victoria police are notorious for cover-ups so the report below should be taken with a shaker full of salt. But you can to some extent read between the lines. Take this neat little utterance:
"Predominantly, a large cohort of that gang was in fact Australian-born offenders," Deputy Commissioner Patton said
Maybe they were. But who were their parents? Africans?
In any case, the problem is African crime, not one particular gang. And African crime is huge in Melbourne, as it is wherever there are Africans
Victoria Police have declared the Apex crime gang a "non-entity" saying it is no longer and never was predominantly African.
Giving evidence to a Parliamentary Inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said at its peak the gang consisted of about 130 people who loosely claimed to be members.
He said it was now in recession and was not made up of one or two ethnicities, but from people from a range of backgrounds. "Predominantly, a large cohort of that gang was in fact Australian-born offenders," Deputy Commissioner Patton said
Police said they now believed they had "broken the back" of the gang. "We have charged the leaders of that gang and imprisoned them," he said. "We would call them a non-entity in terms of a gang."
The spectre of Apex came to prominence at the Moomba riots in 2016, when youths ran amok in the CBD and thrust the idea of migrant crime to the forefront.
In its first incarnation, the gang was named after a Dandenong Street and was made up of South Sudanese and Pacific Islanders.
The inquiry is being chaired by Liberal MP, and former police officer, Jason Wood who has been outspoken about the so-called threat of Apex and migrant crime gangs in Melbourne and called for the Federal Government to crack down.
However, the inquiry heard after the Moomba riots it morphed into an all encompassing group loosely linked through social media.
Deputy Commissioner Patton said the carjackings, home invasions and jewellery store robberies that have plagued Melbourne are being carried out by criminals from all backgrounds. "Over 50 per cent of them are Australians," he repeated when questioned by Mr Wood.
Commander of Victoria Police's anti-gangs division, Peter De Santo, said there may be "some remnants" of the Apex gang but they have morphed into "networked offending" linked by social media.
He added that Middle Eastern crime gangs had recruited some "disadvantaged youth" but it was the exception to the rule.
By JR on Monday, April 17, 2017
Arctic meltdown: Sea and land ice are cracking up at a record pace (!)
I imagine that the figures below are all carefully cherrypicked in the usual Green/Left way but whether they are or not they are no disaster. As Archimdes discovered over 2,000 years ago, melting sea ice does NOT raise the water level. And the only substantial land mass in the Arctic is Greenland. And while there is some melting of Greenland coastal ice the interior icecap is and always has been stable. So it is only the coastal ice that could have some effect. But in a recent study it was projected to raise global sea levels by a whole 1.5 inches by 2100! So the shrieks of horror below are entirely without justification
The images from the Arctic ice death spiral are haunting. The impacts will be terrifying.
Driven by warming air and water temperatures, Arctic sea ice continues its death spiral. A big new crack has been found in a major outlet glacier of the Greenland ice sheet, whose disintegration is speeding up.
Last month set records for the lowest Arctic sea ice extent ever in March, as well as the lowest sea ice volume and lowest sea ice thickness.
The Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) at the University of Washington’s Polar Science Center provides monthly updates of Arctic sea ice volume. They using numerical modeling based on “observations from satellites, Navy submarines, moorings, and field measurements.”
Ice volume is determined by figuring out sea ice extent or surface area — and then factoring in the ice thickness.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) tracks sea ice extent with satellites, and this year has seen record lows set every month. Indeed, as this figure shows, sea ice extent has been unusually flat over the last three months, which is normally a time of significant refreezing.
But not only has sea ice extent been setting records for months, so has sea ice thickness.
Arctic sea ice is in a state of meltdown, and at some point soon will simply become too thin and fragmented to be called an “ice cap.”
Significantly, what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. Arctic amplification drives more extreme weather in North America, while accelerating the defrosting of carbon-rich permafrost, which releases CO2 and methane that each cause faster warming — a dangerous amplifying feedback.
Earth’s melting permafrost threatens to unleash a dangerous climate feedback loop
In addition, as the sea ice disappears and Arctic warming speeds up, that causes faster melting of the land-based Greenland ice sheet, which in turn causes faster sea level rise. A recent study found that Greenland ice mass loss has tripled since 1997.
So perhaps it’s not totally surprising that, as the Washington Post reported, “Scientists just found a strange and worrying crack in one of Greenland’s biggest glaciers.”
The implications of the ice cracking up at an accelerating rate are terrifying for humanity. The images created by it are haunting.
By JR on Sunday, April 16, 2017
Donald Trump and the Nature of Victory
Sean Gabb is an English libertarian/conservative but there are notoriously as many versions of libertarianism as there are libertarians. So I do not wholly agree with his points below. But the strength of Libertarianism is its ability to generate fresh pespectives -- and Gabb certainly provides that below. He thinks that Trump may go off the rails in some ways but his rise to power shows the way for future liberty-oriented politicians. Pure libertarianism will not do. You need to combine libertarianism with an appeal to national pride, national self-interest and anti-elitism. I think he is right
Since I am pushing myself into a debate between foreigners, I must begin by explaining myself. I am not an American, and do not wish to be one. I do not live in America, and do not wish to live there. The only country I love and know well is England. This being said, I have an obvious right of audience in the debate on Donald Trump. England and America share a language. Any impartial observer looking at the two countries will see two ruling classes, almost joined at the hip, facing two subject peoples whose assumptions about the good life and how it may be promoted largely overlap. If the relationship is unbalanced by an inequality of size and wealth, what happens in either country has an inescapable effect on what happens in the other. Rules of politeness that hold me from commenting on affairs in France or Germany do not apply to America. Here, then, are my thoughts on what has happened in America during the past week.
I am disturbed my Mr Trump’s apparent breaking of his election promises. He promised no more interventions in the Middle East. He has attacked Government forces in Syria, and on grounds that seem dubious in themselves. He promised better relations with Russia. These relations now seem lower than they were when Mr Obama was the American President. He denounced NATO as “obsolete.” He is now happy with NATO. American healthcare is not my proper concern. But it is worth observing, in the light of his foreign policy, that he seemed to promise his working class supporters a system less dominated by entrenched special interests. It is a mercy, I am told by friends whose judgement I trust, that his only attempt at reform was frustrated.
It may be that he has no intention of keeping his promises. Perhaps he never had any intention of keeping them. Perhaps he has seen the scale of resistance to what he promised, and has given up. Or it may be that he is playing some clever game, and will, once more, come out unexpectedly triumphant. I think it will take a year to know the truth beyond reasonable doubt. For the moment, however, I will assume the former possibility. I first voted in a general election in 1979, and paid close attention, over the next decade, to a woman [Margaret Thatcher] who, in breach of every actual or implied promise, made my country more regulated, more heavily taxed, more diverse, more subservient to foreign interests, and generally more enslaved than she found it. Ronald Reagan followed roughly the same course. It strikes me as more likely than not that Mr Trump is now doing the same.
If so, this would be a disappointment. But it is no cause for despair. 2017 is not the early 1980s. The differences go far beyond changes of fashion and an updating of lies. They are roughly as follows:
First, Mrs Thatcher and Mr Reagan took up the rhetoric of market liberalism. Many of us looked at the chapter headings, and assumed the promise was of radical deregulation and a general penumbra of changes that seemed to follow from this. We ignored the main text, or the alternative meanings that could be placed on words. I realised what was happening earlier than most. Even I took till after the 1983 general election to understand that the real agenda was one of corporatism and the beginnings of a police state. It took me longer still to see that this would be a politically correct police state.
The rhetoric that Donald Trump took up in his campaign was of populism – and a populism that took account of all that had been done to his country since about 1980 or before. There is no unread text in the promises he made. His words have no alternative meanings. He promised an end to foreign intervention, and an end to political correctness, and an end to domination by special interests. After a very short time – and, I grant again, that this short time may not yet be over – broken promises stand out as plainly as a wrong in arithmetic.
Second, in the 1980s, we faced a narrative constructed and maintained from the centre. There was a centralised media that allowed only certain issues to be discussed, and that ensured they were discussed only in certain ways. This is not to say that control of the media was monolithic. Debates were lively, and even acrimonious. But important facts were often withheld, and the public was encouraged to look at those facts that were published through various kinds of partisan lens that kept the truth from being perceived. Of equal and associated importance, the media in those days were organised to broadcast from the centre to the periphery. They did little to enable a conversation between the centre and the periphery, and conversations within the periphery were localised and compartmentalised. What has happened since then is too obvious to need describing. When Mr Trump ordered those missiles to be launched, Facebook and Twitter and the blogs began an unmanaged and unmanageable debate in which ordinary people could discuss in public whether and to what extent they had been lied to.
Third, and following from the above, Mr Trump’s supporters have the advantage of hindsight. I will boast again that I rumbled Mrs Thatcher earlier than most. Even so, it took years for it to dawn on me fully that she was fronting an elaborate fraud – or, at least, a mistake. Here, I speak from English experience, though I believe it was much the same in America. The Enemy she and her friends pointed us toward was a coalition of pro-Soviet union leaders and alleged degenerates. The remedy involved vast military spending, and an attack on the working class, and things like the prepublication censorship of video recordings. The actual enemy was a coalition of university graduates who wore suits, had at best a lingering taste for Marxism-Leninism, were not hostile to certain kinds of corporate enterprise, were out of love with the social liberalism of the 1960s, and whose own agenda can be summarised as political correctness plus the constable. Whether or not they noticed these people until it was too late, the Thatcherites did nothing to stop them, and tended to promote them. The rest of us were encouraged to laugh now and again at their linguistic tricks – and then go back to fretting over Arthur Scargill’s plan to make England into a copy of East Germany.
Nowadays, we know exactly who the Enemy is. These people run education and the media, and criminal justice and the administration, and most of big business. If they are not perfectly united, they stand together in a project to make the rest of us into denatured tax serf-consumers. Just because some of them work in the formally private sector does not make them into friends of private enterprise. Just because some of them want to make pornography illegal does not make them into social conservatives.
Fourth, and again following from the above, the Enemy is getting old. When I was a student, these people were in their thirties or my own age. They had a messianic belief in their own self-righteousness, and considerable networking abilities. Most of us, on the other hand, were old farts, pining for the 1950s, or semi-autistic libertarians, prepared to shun each other for taking a wrong view of the non-aggression principle. Those who were neither were chancers or shills. Hardly surprising if we were shoved aside or simply ignored.
The Enemy is now old and discredited. The successor generation is stuffed with mediocrities. The new generation of dissidents is young and not particularly bound by considerations of ideological purity. Open borders? Shut them! Socialised healthcare? If our own working classes want it, let it be! Trade policy? Whatever is politically useful! The managerial state? Shut down what we cannot take over; what we can take over use before we shut it down! Though I wrote one of its early texts, I am not sure if I qualify for membership of the Alternative Right. But I recognise quality when I see it. None of my old friends ever made the Enemy hysterical with fright. None of us ever reduced the Enemy to a laughing stock. I doubt if we ever did much, beyond voting for them, to help our clay-footed idols get elected.
The two big events of 2016 were the British Referendum and the election of Donald Trump. For a moment, it looked as if with a bound, we were free. We are now finding that not all may be as it then seemed. At the same time, those elections were won. They were won explicitly as rejections of the present order of things. Unlike in the 1980s, the correlation of forces is on our side. If Donald Trump sells out, that is unfortunate. But there will be other chances.
By JR on Saturday, April 15, 2017
More on politics and IQ
Further to my recent comments on IQ, someone has drawn my attention to a 2014 article by Noah Carl. Carl recently came to attention for his articles on Leftism among academics. I had some comments on that on March 5 and on March 17. Carl is clearly something of a bad boy from a Leftist perspective. The 2014 journal article is as follows:
Cognitive ability and party identity in the United States (2014)
Carl (2014) analysed data from the U.S. General Social Survey (GSS), and found that individuals who identify as Republican have slightly higher verbal intelligence than those who identify as Democrat. An important qualification was that the measure of verbal intelligence used was relatively crude, namely a 10-word vocabulary test. This study examines three other measures of cognitive ability from the GSS: a test of probability knowledge, a test of verbal reasoning, and an assessment by the interviewer of how well the respondent understood the survey questions. In all three cases, individuals who identify as Republican score slightly higher than those who identify as Democrat; the unadjusted differences are 1-3 IQ points, 2-4 IQ points and 2-3 IQ points, respectively. Path analyses indicate that the associations between cognitive ability and party identity are largely but not totally accounted for by socio-economic position: individuals with higher cognitive ability tend to have better socio-economic positions, and individuals with better socio-economic positions are more likely to identify as Republican. These results are consistent with Carl's (2014) hypothesis that higher intelligence among classically liberal Republicans compensates for lower intelligence among socially conservative Republicans.
So what are we to make of it? Let us first compare it with two papers by the indefatigable Ian Deary. Deary has access to some very well sampled British databases so is in a position to report highly generalizable results:
Childhood intelligence predicts voter turnout, voting preferences, and political involvement in adulthood: The 1970 British Cohort Study (2008)
Ian J. Deary
Little is known about the association between measured intelligence and how people participate in democratic processes. In the 1970 British Cohort Study, we examined the association between childhood intelligence and, at age 34: whether and how people voted in the 2001 UK general election; how they intended to vote; and whether they had taken part in other political activities. People with higher childhood intelligence were more likely to vote in the 2001 election (38% increased prevalence per SD increase in intelligence), and were more likely to vote for the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats (49% and 47% increased prevalence per SD increase in intelligence, respectively). The intelligence-Green party voting association was largely accounted for by occupational social class, the intelligence-Liberal Democrat voting association was not. Similar associations between intelligence and preference for the Green Party or Liberal Democrats were found as regards voting intentions, but neither of these associations was accounted for by occupational social class. People with higher childhood intelligence were more likely to take part in rallies and demonstrations, and to sign petitions, and expressed a greater interest in politics (40%, 65%, 33%, and 58% increased prevalence per SD increase in intelligence, respectively).
Bright Children Become Enlightened Adults (2008)
Ian J. Deary
We examined the prospective association between general intelligence (g) at age 10 and liberal and antitraditional social attitudes at age 30 in a large (N = 7,070), representative sample of the British population born in 1970. Statistical analyses identified a general latent trait underlying attitudes that are antiracist, proworking women, socially liberal, and trusting in the democratic political system. There was a strong association between higher g at age 10 and more liberal and antitraditional attitudes at age 30; this association was mediated partly via educational qualifications, but not at all via occupational social class. Very similar results were obtained for men and women. People in less professional occupations-and whose parents had been in less professional occupations-were less trusting of the democratic political system. This study confirms social attitudes as a major, novel field of adult human activity that is related to childhood intelligence differences.
So in the first Deary study above we find that high IQ British voters did lean Left but they leant towards minority Leftist parties, not the major Leftist party, the Labour party. The Labour party has some repellent union associations so may have been seen as unattractive for that reason. The two minor parties, however, come across as high-minded.
The second study looked at the correlates of attitudes rather than vote. And ever since LaPiere in the 1930s we have known that attitudes are at best only weakly related to behaviour. Deary found greater social liberalism among high IQ people.
And so we come to Carl's 2014 American study. GOP identifiers were found to be slightly brighter on average than Democrat identifiers.
It is of course perfectly possible and reasonable that trends in Britain might not be reflected in the USA -- and vice versa. That would seem to be the case here. But note that in no case is the major Leftist party favoured. But the association between vote and IQ was in any case weak so IQ is clearly a very minor factor in determining vote. As I have often argued, it is a miserable personality that makes you Leftist. See, for instance, here
By JR on Friday, April 14, 2017
Will N.E. Asia eclipse Caucasians by the end of this century?
It seems obvious that they will. Japan and S. Korea are already rich and influential countries and China is just getting into its stride -- while economic growth rates in Europe and America are very sluggish.
And something I notice because I read a lot of academic journal articles across several disciplines is that there always seems to be an East Asian among the list of authors. There are very few single-author papers these days. So East Asians are already there at the heart of Western science. How soon will it be before the corresponding (main) author usually has an Asian name?
Prophecy is a mug's game unless it is based on clear extrapolations from the past and present and even then "Black Swan" events can upset the applecart. But we are all interested in the future so at least we can attempt informed opinions. My opinion is that China will once again be the centre of the world by the end of this century. So I want to look at why I might be wrong. No Leftist ever seems to do that but it is certainly in line with conservative caution.
An obvious factor is the law of diminishing returns and the ogive curve that seems to describe most variations in biological phenomena. Apologies for that bit of academic-speak but it will become VERY clear if we look at Japan. For about 4 decades after WWII, Japan astonished the world by it huge economic growth rates. It leapt to some sort of parity with European countries very rapidly and European countries were growing richer at that time too.
But it did not continue. It just about hit a brick wall. Japan has had negligible growth for around a couple of decades now. A statistician might say that Japanese economic growth has approached an asymptote. And lots of things do approach an asymptote. It is normal for natural processes to have limits on how far they can change. So Japan will almost certainly never again see high rates of economic growth. It will probably stay on some sort of parity with Western countries but may never get further than that. Could that happen to China too? It is clearly possible.
It is also possible that the USA could get steam up again. Under Obama, huge numbers of Americans left the workforce, middle incomes stagnated and business was ever more tightly strangled by regulations. But that already seems to be going into reverse under Trump. And it's early days yet. The more Uncle Sam gets his fingers out of business, the more the economy is likely to grow. And in my reading we are in fact due for a boom under Trump.
It would be too much of a diversion to tackle the arguments of economists against Trumpenomics but let me just note that Trump does have an economics degree and America thrived mightily behind high tariff walls in the 19th century.
So if America booms again, it might be very difficult for N.E. Asia to keep up, let alone excel.
A standard criticism of E. Asians is that they are not creative. They just use well what others have invented. That might seem like stupid old racism but some recent work in genetics gives it some substance. And it is in part the work of that intrepid outspeaker, Edward Dutton -- a Briton who has been "exiled" to Northern Finland. Maybe he just likes cold climates. His latest paper that I know of (2015) is below:
Why do Northeast Asians win so few Nobel Prizes?
Kenya Kura, Jan te Nijenhuis & Edward Dutton
Most scientific discoveries have originated from Europe, and Europeans have won 20 times more Nobel Prizes than have Northeast Asians. We argue that this is explained not by IQ, but by interracial personality differences, underpinned by differences in gene distribution. In particular, the variance in scientific achievement is explained by differences in inquisitiveness (DRD4 7-repeat), psychological stability (5HTTLPR long form), and individualism (mu-opioid receptor gene; OPRM1 G allele ). Northeast Asians tend to be lower in these psychological traits, which we argue are necessary for exceptional scientific accomplishments. Since these traits comprise a positive matrix, we constructed a q index (measuring curiosity) from these gene frequencies among world populations. It is found that both IQ scores and q index contribute significantly to the number of per capita Nobel Prizes.
Linking Nobel prizes to genetics is undoubtedly clever and impressive so my objections to their conclusions are rather weak. My objections may however be right. The key statistic in their results is the variance explained by their q factor and IQ combined. It is only 19%. Many other factors could be at work.
And an obvious factor is history. Nobel prizes are normally awarded late in the Nobelist's life. And for something like 98% of the time over which Nobels have been awarded, China had not even got its boots on academically. Among those Asian co-authors of academic papers today may be a majority of the Nobelists of tomorrow. In other words, the criterion for achievement -- a Nobel -- may be too narrow. I believe it is.
So where does that leave us? All things considered, I suppose the future will be a lot like the present, with the new ideas coming mainly from people of N.W. European ancestry (including Russians, Britons and Americans) and Asia implementing those ideas even more effectively than we do.
I am still vastly impressed by China, however. My only visit to China was many years ago but my son has been to China a couple of times on problem-solving missions and I have Sinophilic friends. All tell me that China already dazzles in many ways. My son is a software engineer and his verdict from contact with them is that the Chinese are unbeatable. I am inclined to agree. I am inclined to think that China will eventually pull ahead of the USA in most ways. But I am also of the view that the USA will remain an indispensable second place-getter in many ways.
By JR on Thursday, April 13, 2017
Study offers a dire warning on climate change
They're getting cautious: New prophecy tells of the 23rd century, so is unfalsifiable to us.
There is much to amuse in it in addition to the postponed disaster date. For many years, Warmists claimed that it would be the clap of doom when we reached 400ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere We have now arrived there and nothing has happened. Thor/Zeus/Jehovah seems to have put away his thunderbolts. So now 900ppm is the new arbitrarily chosen level of doom.
And the whole article depends for its estimates of the levels of CO2 and the effect of CO2 on what other Warmists have written. The authors get their estimate of climate sensitivity by using that given in previous studies. So there is no new data in the paper at all. It is just an exercise in climate theology
But they makes some pesky admissions along the way. They say that the historical trend is for CO2 levels to FALL. See their graph below. So if CO2 is a danger, we have got history on our side
I add the journal abstract to the summary article below
Continuing to burn fossil fuels at the current rate could bring atmospheric carbon dioxide to its highest concentration in 50 million years, jumping from about 400 parts per million now to more than 900 parts per million by the end of this century, a study warns.
And if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated beyond that point, the climate could reach a warming state that hasn’t been seen in the past 420 million years.
Some research suggests that, if humans burned through all fossil fuels on Earth, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations could hit 5,000 parts per million by the year 2400.
The new study speaks to the power of human influence over the climate. It suggests that after millions of years of relative stability in the absence of human activity, just a few hundred years of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are on track to cause unprecedented warming.
To come to these grim conclusions, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers constructed a continuous record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations spanning the last 420 million years. They created the record by compiling more than 1,500 estimates of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations drawn from 112 published studies.
According to lead author Gavin Foster, a geochemistry professor at the University of Southampton, those estimates were constructed mainly using the carbon isotope composition of ancient soil samples or examining the abundance of pores on the leaves of fossilized plants, an indicator of how much carbon dioxide was available for them to draw from the air while they were alive.
The findings suggest that, until humans started rapidly burning fossil fuels with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, Earth’s climate had been relatively stable for millions of years, and carbon dioxide concentrations were declining. Thanks to the human emission of greenhouse gases, though, that’s all changing at a record-breaking pace.
Current concentrations of CO2 emissions are at their highest in human history, hovering around 400 parts per million and continuing to rise. Before the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide concentrations had settled into an average of about 280 parts per million.
On a business-as-usual pathway — in which greenhouse gas emissions would continue at their current rate — carbon dioxide concentrations would hit a level that hasn’t been seen in 50 million years, according to the research.
The warming that will be brought on by the continued emission of greenhouse gases will only be compounded by an increase in solar radiation as the sun continues to grow brighter, the researchers said.
A business-as-usual trajectory suggests that carbon dioxide levels could exceed 2,000 parts per million by the year 2250, concentrations that were last seen about 200 million years ago. But thanks to the combined influence of a hotter future sun, the planet’s resulting warming will probably be greater than at almost any point in the past 420 million years.
Additionally, at least one study has suggested that concentrations could be as high as 5,000 parts per million by 2400 if humans were to burn through all the fossil fuels on Earth, and that would result in both the highest carbon dioxide levels and the highest temperatures seen in the study period.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has presented estimates of how much the Earth might warm under a business-as-usual trajectory over certain time periods. It suggests that by 2300, the Earth could warm by nearly 48 degrees Fahrenheit. But there are many factors that could affect temperature trends in the long-term that remain uncertain, Foster suggested, such as changes in terrestrial vegetation or the amount of carbon dioxide the ocean has room to absorb in the coming centuries.
As a result, he said, long-term warming could end up being even more intense than we estimate now.
The study helps address a kind of paradox in the Earth’s climate history. Based on our knowledge of the way stars generate energy, scientists know that our solar system’s young sun would have been much dimmer millions of years ago. Over time, its intensity has increased, and is likely to continue doing so for millions or even billions of years.
If the sun has been getting hotter for millions of years, though, then one would expect the planet’s climate to have steadily warmed during that time, as well, Foster noted. But there is ample evidence from the fossil record to suggest the planet’s climate actually remained mostly stable for millions of years before humans began burning fossil fuels. Scientists have hypothesized that this stability came from a long-term reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, which offset the warming caused by a brightening sun.
The new study supports this idea. The researchers’ record suggests that, while there have been fluctuations throughout history, the long-term average carbon dioxide concentration generally declined until the Industrial Revolution as a result of natural processes related to the formation of Earth. Thanks to human activity, carbon dioxide levels are rising again, on track to break millennial-scale records if mitigation efforts aren’t undertaken, the study says.
Foster emphasizes the new historical record is not perfect. But as far as we know, future warming “is going to be unprecedented.’’
Future climate forcing potentially without precedent in the last 420 million years
Gavin L. Foster et al.
The evolution of Earth’s climate on geological timescales is largely driven by variations in the magnitude of total solar irradiance (TSI) and changes in the greenhouse gas content of the atmosphere. Here we show that the slow ∼50 Wm−2 increase in TSI over the last ∼420 million years (an increase of ∼9 Wm−2 of radiative forcing) was almost completely negated by a long-term decline in atmospheric CO2. This was likely due to the silicate weathering-negative feedback and the expansion of land plants that together ensured Earth’s long-term habitability. Humanity’s fossil-fuel use, if unabated, risks taking us, by the middle of the twenty-first century, to values of CO2 not seen since the early Eocene (50 million years ago). If CO2 continues to rise further into the twenty-third century, then the associated large increase in radiative forcing, and how the Earth system would respond, would likely be without geological precedent in the last half a billion years.
Nature Communications 8, Article number: 14845 (2017)doi:10.1038/ncomms14845
By JR on Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Falling Sea Level was the Critical Factor in 2015/2016 Great Barrier Reef Coral Bleaching!
That sea levels could fall is of course be unthinkable to a Warmist. In their religion sea levels only rise. In fact sea levels both rise and fall all over the place worldwide. There has even been a fall in recent decades in Moreton Bay, near where I live.
And are we allowed to mention the remarkable sea-level testimony of Tasmania's Isle of the Dead? Read the late John Daly on the matter. He knew where all the skeletons are buried. There's a whole graveyard of them.
It is only highly theoretical isostatic "rebound" adjustments to the raw tide gauge data that enable Warmists to produce any picture of global sea level rise.
Sad below that it took Indonesian scientists to face what was actually going on
It is puzzling why the recent 2017 publication in Nature, Global Warming And Recurrent Mass Bleaching Of Corals by Hughes et al. ignored the most critical factor affecting the 2016 severe bleaching along the northern Great Barrier Reef – the regional fall in sea level amplified by El Niño. Instead Hughes 2017 suggested the extensive bleaching was due to increased water temperatures induced by CO2 warming.
In contrast, corals at wave exposed sites were largely unaffected (<1% of the corals were bleached), as periodic washing of any exposed coral by waves prevented desiccation. Surveys along a 1–9 m depth gradient indicated that high coral mortality was confined to the tidal zone.”
As discussed by Ampou 2017, the drop in sea level had likely been experienced throughout much of the Coral Triangle including the northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), and then accelerated during the El Niño. They speculated sea level fall also contributed to the bleaching during the 1998 El Niño.
Consistent with the effects of sea level fall, other researchers reported bleaching in the GBR was greatest near the surface then declined rapidly with depth. Indeed if falling sea level was the main driver in 2016’s reef mortalities, and this can be tested, then most catastrophic assertions made by Hughes 2017 would be invalid.
Indeed the Great Barrier Reef had also experienced falling sea levels similar to those experienced by Indonesian reefs. Visitors to Lizard Island had reported more extreme low tides and more exposed reefs as revealed in the photograph above, which is consistent with the extremely high mortality in the Lizard Island region during the 2016 El Niño.
Of course reefs are often exposed to the air at low tide, but manage to survive if the exposure is short or during the night. However as seen in tide gauge data from Cairns just south of Lizard Island, since 2010 the average low tide had dropped by ~10 to 15 cm. After previous decades of increasing sea level had permitted vertical coral growth and colonization of newly submerged coastline, that new growth was now being left high and dry during low tide. As a result shallow coral were increasingly vulnerable to deadly desiccation during more extreme sea level drops when warm waters slosh toward the Americas during an El Niño.
Furthermore, an El Niño in the Coral Triangle not only causes a sudden sea level fall, but it also generates a drier high-pressure system with clear skies, so that this region is exposed to more intense solar irradiance. In addition, El Niño conditions reduce regional winds that drive reef-flushing currents and produce greater wave washing that could minimize desiccation during extreme low tides. And as one would predict, these conditions were exactly what were observed during El Niño 2016 around Lizard Island and throughout the northern GBR.
Aerial surveys, on which Hughes 2017 based their analyses, cannot discriminate between the various causes of bleaching. To determine the cause of coral mortality, careful examination of bleached coral by divers is required to distinguish whether bleached coral were the result of storms, crown-of-thorns attacks, disease, aerial exposure during low tides, or anomalously warmer ocean waters. Crown-of-thorns leave diagnostic gnawing marks, while storms produce anomalous rubble.
Furthermore aerial surveys only measure the areal extent of bleaching, but cannot determine the depth to which most bleaching was restricted due to sea level fall. To distinguish bleaching and mortality caused by low tide exposure, divers must measure the extent of tissue mortality and compare it with changes in sea level. For example, the Indonesian researchers found the extent of dead coral tissue was mostly relegated to the upper 15 cm of coral, which correlated with the degree of increased aerial exposure by recent low tides.
Unfortunately Hughes et al never carried out, or never reported, such critical measurements.
However a before-and-after photograph presented in Hughes 2017 suggested the severe GBR bleaching they attributed to global warming primarily happened between February and late April. Their aerial surveys occurred between March 22 and April 17, 2016. And consistent with low tide bleaching, that is exactly the time frame that tide tables reveal reefs experienced two bouts of extreme low tides coinciding with the heat of the afternoon (March 7-11 & April 5-10). And such a combination of sun and low tide are known to be deadly.
A study of a September 2005 bleaching event on Pelorous and Orpheus Islands in the central GBR by Anthony 2007, Coral Mortality Following Extreme Low Tides And High Solar Radiation, had reported extreme deadly effects when extreme low tides coincided with high solar irradiance periods around midday. As in Indonesia, they also reported bleaching and mortality had occurred despite water temperatures that were “significantly lower than the threshold temperature for coral bleaching in this region (Berkelmans 2002), and therefore unlikely to represent a significant stress factor.” Along the reef crests and flats, “40 and 75% of colonies in the major coral taxa were either bleached or suffered partial mortality.
In contrast, corals at wave exposed sites were largely unaffected (<1% of the corals were bleached), as periodic washing of any exposed coral by waves prevented desiccation. Surveys along a 1–9 m depth gradient indicated that high coral mortality was confined to the tidal zone.”
The fortuitous timing of Ampou’s coral habitat mapping from 2014 to 2016 in Bunaken National Park (located at the northwest tip of Sulawesi, Indonesia) allowed researchers to estimate the time of coral mortality relative to sea level and temperature changes. Ampou reported that in “September 2015, altimetry data show that sea level was at its lowest in the past 12 years, affecting corals living in the bathymetric range exposed to unusual emersion. By March 2016, Bunaken Island (North Sulawesi) displayed up to 85% mortality on reef flats” and that almost “all reef flats showed evidence of mortality, representing 30% of Bunaken reefs.” Based on the timing of reef deaths and changes in temperature they concluded, “the wide mortality we observed can not be simply explained by ocean warming due to El Niño.” They concluded, “The clear link between mortality and sea level fall, also calls for a refinement of the hierarchy of El Niño impacts and their consequences on coral reefs.”
And the fraud goes on: 2016/2017 bleaching on GBR
It seems that the 2015/2016 summer bleaching was repeated in summer this year (2016/2017). Since water levels change only slowly, that is to be expected.
But note the dishonesty below. They are still attributing the bleaching to global warming -- while giving not a single number for either the global water temperature or the North Queensland water temperature.
So let me supply some numbers: NASA/GISS Tell us that the global December 2016 temperature (mid-summer) was .77, which was DOWN on December 2015 (1.10)and even slightly down on 2014 (.79). So in the period at issue, there was NO global warming. So the guys below are lying through their teeth. They say that the bleaching was caused by global warming but there WAS no global warming in the period concerned.
And they also don't give numbers for sea levels in the area. They are zealously hiding the real cause of the bleaching
BACK-to-back bleaching is killing huge tracts of the Great Barrier Reef, with almost none of the coral effected in 2016 expected to recover.
Recent aerial surveys by the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies have revealed only the southern third of the reef is unscathed from the bleaching events.
Researcher Terry Hughes said mass bleaching happened in 2017 even without the assistance of El Nino, which normally brings warmer sea surface temperatures.
“The bleaching is caused by record-breaking temperatures driven by global warming,” Professor Hughes said.
“Ultimately, we need to cut carbon emissions, and the window to do so is rapidly closing.” Warmer water temperatures cause coral to expel their algae, turning them bright fluorescent colours and eventually bone white.
Marine biologist James Kerry said bleached corals were not necessarily dead but it was anticipated high levels of coral would be lost in the central region of the reef, which experienced the most intense bleaching this year.
“It takes at least a decade for a full recovery of even the fastest growing corals, so mass bleaching events 12 months apart offers zero prospect of recovery for reefs that were damaged in 2016,” Dr Kelly said.
Tropical Cyclone Debbie also destroyed parts of the reef around the Whitsundays, a popular tourist destination that had largely escaped the worst of the bleaching so far.
While cyclones normally cause the water temperature to drop, Prof Hughes said any cooling effects were likely to be negligible in relation to the damage caused by the slow-moving Category 4 system.
“Clearly the reef is struggling with multiple impacts,” he said. The Great Barrier Reef is known to have experienced four bleaching events in 1998, 2002, 2016 and 2017.
By JR on Tuesday, April 11, 2017
COMPASSION AND POLITICS
Nathan J. Robinson, a leftist writer with an apparently substantial educational background (He quotes Schopenhauer) has a recent article under the heading above. I offer below some excerpts from it. He comes across as someone who is genuinely concerned about the poor. He also writes that many prominent Democrats don't give a fig for the poor and in fact look down on the poor. And he is right to say that this is the opposite of the historic Leftist claim.
It is a article worth reading in full but, like most Leftist writing, leaves out half the story. So maybe I should briefly allude to some of that other half.
He appears to think that Leftist elitism is a new thing. He seems to see it as something that came into the light only with the advent of Trump. That is hilariously wrong. Leftism has always been elitist. Karl Marx, for instance, was born into a middle class German Jewish family and was homeschooled by his father, the gentlemanly and rather admirable Heinrich Marx. He later studied at the universities of Bonn, Berlin, and Jena. He was fascinated by the ponderous writings of the near-incomprehensible German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel, regarded by many as the founder of modern Leftism. Marx was also a parasite, living off the generosity of his rich businessman admirer, Friedrich Engels. So Marx was not a man of the people in any sense.
The Bolsheviks too were overwhelmingly middle class. And the prominent Leftists in prewar Britain were almost entirely prominent literary and intellectual figures, such as the Bloomsberries, the Webbs, J.M. Keynes, H.G. Wells, G.B. Shaw, Bertrand Russell etc. They were also -- most amusingly but also most revealingly -- great believers in eugenics. And that's as elitist as you can get: Wipe out the dummies!
And elitism on the American Left is not new to the era of Trump. Expressions of disdain for the masses were equally prominent at the onset of the G.W. Bush presidency in 2004. I in fact set up a blog to preserve such expressions for posterity. Google has however taken most of that blog down for reasons unknown to me. Never fear, however! I have kept exact copies of all the posts Google has censored and have now uploaded them to a new site here. So the whole gruesome episode is once again online for all to see.
Something else that comrade Robinson fails to remember is that G.W. Bush ran on a platform of "compassionate conservatism". It may have been no more sincere than similar protestations from Leftists but it is the platform he ran on and which got him elected. And if it is deeds not words that count, who was it who sent in the troops to break the racial segregation maintained by the Southern Democrats? It was Ike, a Republican President. And who was it that enlisted Chappaquiddick Ted to help set up the "No child left behind" attempt to improve black educational outcomes? It was G.W. Bush. The Republican record on helping the underdog is at least as good as the Democrat record. I won't mention Woodrow Wilson's segregationist policies or FDR's antisemitism.
So comrade Robinson is pissing into the wind if he thinks it is possible for the Left to become genuinely egalitarian and compassionate. Elitism is an integral part of what they are. See here for more details of that. Leftists are as compassionate as their most famous exponents: Robespierre, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot
Instead of heeding suggestions that greater amounts of empathy for working-class Trump constituencies might make Democrats less likely to lose these people’s votes, lately some liberals have doubled down. As Clio Chang pointed out recently in Jacobin, figures including Paul Krugman (“I try to be charitable, but when you read about Trump voters now worried about losing Obamacare it’s kind of hard”) and Markos Moulitsas (“Be happy for coal miners losing their health insurance; they’re getting exactly what they voted for”) have reacted to stories about hardships and deprivation in Trump-leaning communities with unqualified disdain. Ex-New York Times theater critic Frank Rich recently declared he had “no sympathy for the hillbilly,” and suggested that:
“Liberals looking for a way to empathize with conservatives should endorse the core conservative belief in the importance of personal responsibility. Let Trump’s white working-class base take responsibility for its own votes — or in some cases failure to vote — and live with the election’s consequences… Let them reap the consequences for voting against their own interests.”
This kind of thinking isn’t limited to media commentators. It seems to be a strand in liberal thinking more broadly. Matthew Stoller collected a series of Huffington Post comments on an article about poor whites dying from ill-health and opiate addiction:
“Sorry, not sorry. These people are not worthy of any sympathy. They have run around for decades bitching about poor minorities not “working hard enough,” or that their situation is “their own fault.” Well guess what? It’s not so great when it’s you now, is it? Bunch of deplorables, and if they die quicker than the rest of us that just means the country will be better off in the long run.”
“Karma is a bitch and if these people choose to continue to vote Republican and try to deny other [sic] from attaining the American dream, they deserve no better than what they are getting!”
“I for one have little sympathy for these despairing whites. If they can’t compete against people of color when everything has been rigged in their favor, then there’s really no help for them. Trump and his G(r)OPers will do little to elevate their lot. If anything, these poor whites will be hired to dig grave pits and assemble their own coffins.”
By JR on Monday, April 10, 2017
New study links carbon pollution to extreme weather
This is more Pablum from that old Warmist apparatchik John Abraham, a professor of engineering whose arguments were notably torn apart by Lord Monckton. He has so often been refuted that one wonders why he still bothers. I guess he wants to feel that he is a prophet who can save the world.
The stuff below is just another set of models and assumptions with no known predictive power. And it depends on false premises such as "As humans emit greenhouse gases, the planet warms". Except that it doesn't. What happened in the long hiatus from 1945 to 1975? It is central to Warmist theory that CO2 levels rose steadily at that time. But there was NO warming to go with it. Abraham simply ignores what doesn't suit him
It was only a few weeks ago that I wrote about changes to extreme weather in a warming world. That prior article dealt with the increase of extreme precipitation events as the Earth warms. I termed the relationship a thermodynamic one; it was driven by local thermodynamic processes. But extreme weather can also occur because of large-scale changes to the atmosphere and oceans. This issue is the topic of another just-published paper that makes a convincing case for a whole new type of influence of humans on extreme weather. In a certain sense, this study confirms what was previously reported here and here. With the march of science, the tools, methods, and evidence get better each year.
Before getting into the study, a little background. The jet stream(s) are high-speed rivers of air that flow in the upper atmosphere. There’s more than one jet stream; they blow west to east and they mark the separation of zones of different temperatures. A good primer on jet streams is available here.
If you were to stand at the northern pole and travel southwards, you would experience a gradual increase in temperature. However, when you reached the first jet stream (the Polar Jet), temperatures would rapidly become warmer. That is, the Polar Jet separates two different temperature air regions. Typically, if you are north of the jet stream, you are in a colder zone whereas if you are south of the stream, it is warmer. Sometimes, the jet streams undulate as they encircle the planet and these undulations move. So, sometimes you happen to be in a position north and sometimes south of the stream, even though your location is fixed.
The interface between warm and cold temperatures creates a lot of weather-pattern changes. In addition, if the undulations of the streams become fixed, it means your weather patterns will get stuck. For instance, you could find yourself in an upward undulation for weeks or longer and experience warm and potentially dry weather. Alternatively, if your location is north of a stuck jet undulation, you may experience persistent cold weather. Perhaps even more importantly, these stuck waves can become larger in their magnitude.
So, scientists really want to know what affects these undulations – both their magnitudes and their persistence. We also want to know whether these undulations will change in a warming planet. This is precisely where the new study comes in. The researchers used both weather observations and climate models to answer these questions. What they found was very interesting.
Using measurements, the authors documented what conditions led to extreme weather patterns that persisted for extended durations. They found that many occur when the jet stream becomes stationary with the undulations stuck in place. They also saw that under certain situations, the jet stream undulations do not dissipate in time; they become trapped in a wave guide.
Interestingly, this pattern of a stuck jet stream would occur when the number of undulations was between six and eight. When these circumstances all lined up, according to study co-author Stefan Rahmstorf:
"the same weather persists for weeks on end in one region, then sunny days can turn into a serious heat wave and drought, and lasting rains can lead to flooding"
And this is also how humans come into the story. As humans emit greenhouse gases, the planet warms. We know that, we predicted it, and it is occurring. However, the warming is not uniform. The Arctic, for instance, is warming more rapidly than the rest of the planet. As a result, the temperature difference between the Arctic and the rest of the world is reducing. It is this temperature difference that maintains the jet stream patterns. As stated by lead author, Michael Mann:
The warming of the Arctic, the polar amplification of warming, plays a key role here. The surface and lower atmosphere are warming more in the arctic than anywhere else on the globe. That pattern projects onto the very temperature gradient profile that we identify as supporting atmospheric waveguide conditions.
The authors compared the observations to computer models and they found similar patterns. The authors went on to say in a press release:
Using the simulations, we demonstrate that rising greenhouse gases are responsible for the increase ... We are now able to connect the dots when it comes to human-caused global warming and an array of extreme recent weather events.
This is really where the science is. We know humans are causing climate change and we know that weather will change as this process evolves. What we really want to know is how human-caused climate change will influence extreme weather. It’s extreme weather like droughts, floods, heat waves, etc. that cause high social and economic costs. These authors have concluded a convincing study that connects the dots. Perhaps the study is best summarized by Michael Mann, who said:
We came as close as one can to demonstrating a direct link between climate change and a large family of extreme recent weather events.
By JR on Sunday, April 09, 2017
Cyclone Debbie snookers reef panic merchants
There had been daily predictions of doom for the GBR from the usual suspects. It turns out that the cyclone was actually GOOD for the reef. But false prophecies are a dime a dozen from the Green/Left so that is just a minor thing. Far more interesting is what current tourist divers on the reef are saying. It turns out that the Greenies declare a stretch of reef as bleached even if the bleaching is confined to a few small patches. When have you ever heard mention of patchwork bleaching from Greenies? And what is left once you stop obsessing about those patches is still magnificent: "A million times better than the Mediterranean."
CYCLONE Debbie has been a breath of fresh air for coral bleaching on the hardest-hit parts of the Great Barrier Reef.
As the category-four storm wreaked havoc on Australia’s east coast, it also brought blessed relief to a mass coral die-off on prime tourist dive sites in the Coral Sea.
Surveys of the Ribbon reefs off Lizard Island this week show a dramatic drop of up to 3C in coral-killing sea surface temperatures off the state’s remote far-north.
“Cyclone Debbie looks like the turning point to allow the Reef to bounce back from this mass coral bleaching event,’’ marine biologist Jess Walker said. “With water temperatures down to about 28C, there will be less stress on the coral, less chance of bleaching, and less chance of coral mortality.’’
Free-diver Audrey Buchholzer, of France, on a three-day dive expedition aboard the Spirit of Freedom in the Coral Sea, said she was stunned by the “flashy” colours and kaleidoscope of marine life on the outer reef.
“I had to see it with my own eyes,’’ the 24-year-old said. “I’d heard negative reports the Reef was dead. That’s not true. There are patches of dead and bleached coral, but so much of it is alive and thriving. “It is an underwater wonderland,” she said.
Fellow diver Jennifer Petrie 31, of London, was disappointed to see the Great Barrier Reef is not like it was depicted in Finding Nemo.
“There was lots of dead bits, but still a lot of beauty,’’ she said. “It’s a million times better than the Mediterranean.”