Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hate to do this, but...

More news on AGW... From Science Daily, it seems that only 20% of the world's actual climate data is accessible even to the climatologists. SAY WHAT?

Well, according to the lead author, Manola Brunet of the URV's Centre for Climate Change, published July 20 2011 in Climate Research, "Some climate data in Europe go back to the 17th Century, but not even 20% of the information recorded in the past is available to the scientific community." Now, what does that mean?

It means to me that the climatologists and computer geeks who program the climate change computer models that all this AGW Bru-Ha-Ha is based on only have about 20% of the data to use... I'd never accept a LAB report in Fizzix or Astro class from one of my students who only used 20% of the available data. DUH!

"If we had access to all the historical data recorded, we would be able to evaluate the frequency with which these phenomena are likely to occur in the future with a higher degree of certainty," the expert explains.

Dramatic Climate Change is Unpredictable...


Just to back up two recent posts so you don't think I'm that whacky, this study from Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen shows climate change is due to a series of chaotic parameters and as such is almost impossible to predict. It was published in Geophysical Research Letters in October 2010.
Two interesting statements from the study:

"For millions of years the Earth's climate has alternated between about 100,000 years of ice age and approximately 10-15,000 years of a warm climate like we have today." Hmm. So, do you think that the stuff that happened 100,000 years ago has anything to do with what is happening today? If you don't, you are ignoring a Bajillion years of paleoclimatology. Most folks just don't get it that the earth is "old" and it has done this heating and cooling thing way before we were even little splotches of gooey slime on a beach front somewhere. There are astronomical factors (Milankovitch Cycles and Hale (Sun) Cycles to name two big ones), localized earth based cycles (El Nino/Nina/Nota Oscillations, Pacific decadal oscillation, Arctic Oscillation, and both the North Atlantic & North Pacific Oscillations) and plenty of positive/negative feedbacks that the climatologists themselves argue about which comes first.

"The most pronounced climate shifts besides the end of the ice age is a series of climate changes during the ice age where the temperature suddenly rose 10-15 degrees in less than 10 years. The climate change lasted perhaps 1000 years, then -- bang -- the temperature fell drastically and the climate changed again. This happened several times during the ice age and these climate shifts are called the Dansgaard-Oeschger events after the researchers who discovered and described them. Such a sudden, dramatic shift in climate from one state to another is called a tipping point. However, the cause of the rapid climate change is not known and researchers have been unable to reproduce them in modern climate models."
Wow. Nice summary of real paleoclimatology. Let me emphasize a few individual points from this one paragraph...
1. The most pronounced climate shifts besides the end of the ice age is a series of climate changes during the ice age where the temperature suddenly rose 10-15 degrees in less than 10 years. So, in the past, temps suddenly rose 10-15 whole degrees within 10 years! And the AGW alarmists have been hand-waving and pounding their fists on the floor in tantrums over the mere 0.7 (+-0.4) degrees since 1880! C'mon. When are we going to stop blindly believing these 22 or so computer models that can't even fit the CURRENT climate data. It is to weep. 10-15 degrees within 10 years is a drastic life-altering change, to be sure. However, we really shouldn't get our panties in a bind over this current questionable 0.7 degrees in 130 years...
2. "...the cause of the rapid climate change is not known and researchers have been unable to reproduce them in modern climate models." What did I say in the preceding paragraph? These past dramatic climate change shifts are caused by something and the 22 or so computer models can't shed any light on them! One reason? ALL, let me repeat that just in case you went to the bathroom for a minute, ALL the computer models are stuck on inputs of man-made CO2 as the culprit and they won't even LOOK in other places... sigh...

The researchers, via he image above, explained the two scenarios they investigated. One was the "tipping point" scenario where some external factor (Yes, like increased CO2) would cause the climate to seesaw back and forth and finally tip over into a different climate. The other scenario - the climate is like a ball in a trench, which represents one climate state. The ball will be continuously pushed by chaos-dynamical fluctuations such as storms, heat waves, heavy rainfall and the melting of ice sheets, which affect ocean currents and so on. The turmoil in the climate system may finally push the ball over into the other trench, which represents a different climate state. What was their conclusion?

"Peter Ditlevsen's (a climate researcher at the Niels Bohr Institute) research shows that you can actually distinguish between the two scenarios and it was the chaos-dynamical fluctuations that were the triggering cause of the dramatic climate changes during the ice age. This means that they are very difficult to predict."

Ta Da...

Absolutely Gorgeous ALL Sky Photo Mosaic


From APOD (Astronomy Picture Of the Day). This is a great composite image of both the northern and southern skies. Cool stuff!

Friday, July 29, 2011

AMATEUR Astronomy Finds a New Nebula!


I saw this image of a newly discovered nebula a week or so ago. What I didn't know was that it was discovered back in January by an AMATEUR, not a PRO! That is SO KEWL!

According to Space.com and Sky & Telescope Mag, this "Soccer Ball" nebula "Kronberger 61, 'Kn 61' for short, is named after its discoverer, Austrian amateur astronomer Matthias Kronberger, who found the object after poring over data provided by the Digital Sky Survey. Kronberger and other amateur skywatchers were encouraged by professional astronomers to look specifically in the star field covered by Kepler [NASA's planet-seeking satellite]." It was found near Cygnus, The Swan, if that's interesting to you.

Ain't Astronomy grand!

Another Body Blow To AGW Alarmists

Oh, wait! You mean we need real observable DATA when we make a scientific claim? What a novel approach to science! In still another gaping hole blown into the Global Warming Machine, NASA's own data shows the computer models that all the AGW hype is based on and keep screaming doom and gloom and we're all gonna die are... well... how should I say?... terribly wrong!

Roy Spencer, principal research scientist in the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, and colleague Dr. Danny Braswell "...oompared what a half dozen climate models say the atmosphere should do to real honest-ta-goodness NASA satellite data showing what the atmosphere actually did during the 18 months before and after warming events between 2000 and 2011." [Quote from Science Daily] Emphasis added mine. Notice this scientific paper dares actually compare the computer model predicted "what should happen" to actual NASA satellite "what really happens". How dare anyone question the powerful computer models? Well, I've been screaming of this for years...

Spencer's original paper (a good read is you have nothing to do with a few billion neurons today), available here, points to a much more efficient heat release mechanism our atmosphere has than the mechanism proposed and predicted by the computer models. Why such a huge difference? Well, according to Spencer, the computer models treat the atmosphere as a closed system where the Ideal Gas Law (PV=nRT, beloved equation for all high school Chem kids) holds dominion. As any high school Chem kid knows, the atmosphere first is NOT A CLOSED SYSTEM and the Ideal Gas Law is ONLY TRUE for... ready?... IDEAL gases! The atmosphere is anything but 'ideal'.

Along with the aerosol problem research I posted earlier this weak, AGW has a couple black eyes and a few cracked ribs now... What's missing in the computer models? Aerosols, cloud formation, THE SUN, real science data, and the LAWS of Thermodynamics. Yeah, good model...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Yet Another Cellphone Study Says "NO"!

When Will People Get It? Cellphone use DOES NOT cause any physical harm to humans or any other known carboniferous life form! In yet another of a Bajillion real scientific studies, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel reports, "We did not find that young mobile phone users have an increased risk for brain tumors when regularly using mobile phones..." and "We did not see that the risk increased after five years or more since the first use of mobile phones."
The study is published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.


There have been no, let me repeat that for the slow readers, NO scientific link found between cellphone use and cancer. None. Nota. Zilch. Goose Egg. Empty Set. There's a huge difference between 12 idiots on a jury awarding BIG $$$ to a grieving widow of a guy who dies from brain cancer who just happened to also use a cellphone and having a real scientific conclusion. A jury decision is usually not indicative of scientific thought; as seen recently in the Casey Anthony trial. Sheeze! Remember what the forman of the OJ trial said after they let him go? "I never heard of this DNA stuff before and I'm not sure I believe in it." BELIEVE in DNA?

Meanwhile, back on planet earth...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Aerosols & Anthropogenic Global Warming




Paper in Science Magazine finally addresses the atmospheric aerosol problem in global warming, GW. It's been known for a long time that the predictions made by the GW alarmists are based solely on computer models and not on any reliable scientific data. This is the primary reason I'm a semi=proud AGW skeptic. Not "denier". Skeptic. These computer models do not include parameters like aerosols (dust and large molecules) and cloud formation and have minimal sun effects.

According to the authors, "Climate model projections neglecting these changes would continue to overestimate the radiative forcing and global warming in coming decades if these aerosols remain present at current values or increase."

So, paraphrasing, the computer models have been and will continue to exaggerate any AGW effects because they simply do not include enough parameters. Climate change, yes, climate changes, is so complex it simply cannot be accounted for yet. Paper is a nice read if you want your head to hurt.

Hubble Bubble Popped!




According to PhysicsWorld.com, cosmologists from US and China have dispelled the Hubble Bubble alternative to Dark Energy.

This "Hubble Bubble" was proposed to explain away the strange teeth-grinding hair-pulling Tums-popping world of Dark Energy, DE. DE is the mysterious force that is causing the Universe to expand at an accelerated rate, beating up on the better understood gravity. The Bubble was a supposed large "area" around the earth that was proposed to be expanding at a constant rate, but slightly slower than the rest of the Universe was expanding. This would give the appearance that the far away parts of the U were moving away faster thus the illusion of an accelerating expansion overall.

So, RIP Hubble Bubble.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Taxing the "wealthy" more


I just took an online "poll" at my local ABC TV affiliate, WTNH Ch8. I usually don't participate in these mindless "polls". Especially when there's usually 100 folks who participate. Question: "Do you think the wealthy should be taxed more to help balance the current budget"?

First, it's what I call a "stacked" question. It's actually leading a typical person to the answer they apparently want and then will report on at 11PM; long after I'm involved in a silly DTV movie or am long asleep, just waiting for my bladder to wake me up for the first time of three or four. A better question would be, "Are the wealthy, who constitute a mere 2% of the population yet pay 58% of personal tax revenue, paying enough"?

I voted "No" to the original TV question, but would vote "Yes" to my 'better' question. Here in CT, 45% of all state income tax comes from the county I teach in, Fairfield. Even though it constitutes 13% by land area (625/4845 sq mi) and 25% by state population (916K/3575K). So, roughly 1/4 of CT's population are paying 1/2 CT's tax revenue. Doesn't seem mathematically fair to me. However, wait till you see the National numbers! Oh, what a ride this is!

Before you attack me, I don't live in Fairfield County. I can't afford it. I'm only a retired teacher, not a businessman or a debutanter, the male version of debutante. I always WANTED to grow up to be an astronaut or a Debutanter, but the military had other ideas in the early 70's... sigh...

If we look at anecdotes, I have a good one for you. Tax year 2010, we (Mrs Daryl & I) paid over $26,000 just in Fed/State taxes. This does not count SS and Medicare and other 'mandatory deductions' (bringing total tax liability to $31,000) and this on a salary of under $100,000. We are hardly "wealthy". A neighbor, a nice guy for sure, boasted more than once that he paid less than $1000 in Fed/State taxes and got back a whopping $4500.00. What? Huh? Eh? Err...? Yet, they makes about the same as we do. Why? He works in a union trade where he is paid cash under the table and his wife is on long-term unemployment benefits. Inequitable? Yep. (If he ever ticks me off enough, I'm calling my friendly local IRS guy...)

If we look at the pure numbers (Who needs numbers? We don't have no numbers! We don't need to show you no stinking numbers!) it's the same old story. In my tax bracket, ~28%, I paid more taxes and claimed less deductions than the others in my bracket, according to Intuit.com, the makers of TurboTax. Average taxes paid by couples who made between 85K and 110K was a mere $11,000. Now, why are they paying less than 1/2 of the amount I pay? No clue. Better accountants, I guess.

You don't subscribe to anecdotes as scientific proof? Good! How 'bout some numbers from the actual IRS:(http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html#table8)
1. Folks who make more than 250K (top 5%) per year pay an AVERAGE of 23% of their income in Fed taxes alone. Roughly, each pays $58,000 in Fed taxes!!! That's a full 59% of the TOTAL IRS REVENUE!
2. Folks who make less than 33K (bottom 50%, YES 50%, not 5%) per year pay an AVERAGE of 2% of their income in Fed taxes. Roughly $660 each. That's a full 2% of the TOTAL IRS REVENUE!
3. Notice, the Top 5% are paying more than 1/2 the personal taxes while the Bottom 50% are paying less than 2%. Can you say "WTF?"
If these numbers don't scare you, I'll have to write an post on Advanced Calculus For Engineers and Astrophysicists.



Summary: What the hell ever happened to the American Dream where you study hard, you work hard, and you earn hard. Hard work is supposed to pay off! Not being lazy and entitled. We've worked hard our entire frakkin' life. We've finally reached a point where our income is enough where we don't have to worry about our bank balance before paying for something while away on vacation or in Philly at Citizen's Park. We've finally reached the point where all that hard work is supposed to have paid off; all those extra club advisorships and coaching jobs, all those college courses to earn 4 advanced degrees, all those workshops attended and given in order to step to the front of the teacher "class", all those long hours sitting in the basement "office" (breathing mold and watching mice have sex... YUCK!) trying to perfect lessons and make a better connection with students, all those long overtime hours as a retail manager (at least that's what Mrs T said she was doing...). All that. Now what?

So, what's fair? Each of us pays our fair share. Period. Let's say a fair share is 20%. I'm OK with that. It actually saves me a few $$$. For me, that's about $20,000 a year. For someone making $33K, it's about $6600. Yes, the bottom pays more in $$$. I'm sorry, but that's the way percentages work! Someone making $2 MILLION would pay $400,000. It's a percentage, Kids. This ain't Rocket Surgery... Can you even calculate what Bill Gates would pay? The debt ceiling would be a crap-load easier to figure out!

By the way, the original TV poll is currently 87% agree that the "wealthy" should be taxed more... Of course, 87% of the people in USA don't understand percentages, so I could say anything...

Why do scientists do what we do?

This guy is nuts! Watch till the end... YIKES!



Stolen from Phil Plait's BadAstronomy Blog.

Legal Irritations...

Nafissatou Diallo, the chambermaid who accused the ex-IMF head of sexual assault, has made a move that convinces me she's a schemer instead of a victim. ABC News has hit a new low, in my humble correct opinion, by even entertaining an interview with her. Since when does the news machine publicly interview either side of a criminal case before the authorities even finalize their actions? Talk about the cart before the horseshit...

Ms. Diallo, in my view, started weeks ago as a sad victim of yet another man in power thinking he was above the rest of us; it happens all too often. She accused a powerful world leader of a heinous crime.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF Chair and shoe-in for the French Presidency, was arrested and held in jail on the accusations. However, over the next few days, it became apparent to the investigators that the accuser was less than forthcoming with the truth. Her "inconsistencies" quickly became outright lies. She lied about a previous rape in Guinea, West Africa. She lied about what she did after the alleged assault; changing her story no less than four times. She lied to the Grand Jury. It now seems that, upon entering the USA, she lived in a Bronx housing project exclusively for people with HIV/AIDS and has a history of prostitution [NY Post]. New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who has not yet officially dropped the case, he let DSK go. The most troubling accusation in all this is, according to her lawyers, prosecutors said they had found a recorded telephone conversation after the incident between her and a man detained in an Arizona jail in which she said that "this guy has a lot of money. I know what I am doing."

Someone near and dear to me is a survivor of a violent rape. When these stories come out, I'm always inclined to shed a tear or two toward the victim knowing the consequences this cowardly act can wreak on the victim for the rest of her life. However, when the preponderance of evidence points to a false or misleading accusation, my anger gland explodes. It's a serious slap in the face of all the valiant rape victims out there; using this as an excuse to profit. How much has she made already? Don't know. She's not believable to me. Reminds me a little of Casey Anthony. Lie so many times about so many things and change your story one too many times and NOTHING you say can be deemed credible.

Hmm... Makes one think twice about being rich and famous and allowing maids into the room, eh? OK, I thought about it twice...

Like Dennis Miller states, "This is just my opinion. I may be wrong."

1st Rant - 07/26/2011

I'm bothered by a few things and, surprisingly, gladdened by a few other things lately. Some are science-related, some not. Most of them, however, are stupidity-related. Legally, Casey Anthony & Nafissatou Diallo head my list of "Things I Know About But Wish I Didn't". Politically, Obama & Congress are starting to tick me off. Scientifically, however, it's been a good couple weeks for "reality".

I'll address just the science in this post; other topics listed above will be attacked later after I have a few beers and calm down... The Texas State Board of Education has been in the news these past few years. If you recall, back in April '09, the Texas STATE Board, 15 members, actually VOTED the age of the Universe out of existence in textbooks for their state. Yes, I typed that correctly. They VOTED on the age of the Universe! Quoting Board President Don McLeroy, about the scientific experts who argued the age is well-known to be approx 13.7 BILLION +-0.12 Billion yrs , "I disagree with these experts. Someone has got to stand up to experts." WTFFF? This is the PRESIDENT of the State Bd of ED! He wants to stand up to the astronomers, astrophysicists, physicists, and cosmologists who base their statements on observations and years and years of study? Why not? Why let facts and experts stand in the way when you have Intelligent Design on your side. Jeez... See http://io9.com/5192678/texas-officially-makes-the-universe-ageless

This was all caused by an actual vote, which was brought by Board member Barbara Cargill, on whether the age of the Universe was 14 Billion or 6000 yrs! Yep, the 15 members voted that one 11-3 approving that the Universe is a mere 6000 years old! That shows there were only 3 of them who had any concept of reality whatsoever! See further info and video at Phil Plait's fabulous blog:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/05/06/texas-is-only-6000-years-old/
They had already voted evolution, the cornerstone of modern bio, out of the textbooks unless equal time was spent on ID.

Well, last week, thank Einstein, the Bd voted "unanimously" to NOT include creationist supplements to the state science textbooks. Sounds like a great victory for science literacy. Not that good. The unanimous vote, as pointed out by a Plait poster, was 8-0; the Board has 15 members. As this poster claims, the 7 creationists (referred to as "creationtards") abstained to vote; 6 were in attendance at the meeting.

Small victories. I'll take them.

Why this Blog?

Based on the conditions of the scientific community and society's understanding of it, I'm here to help. Well, at least in my mind, I am...

I'll take a look at Science & Society as topics pop up and either just share my meager info or actually rant and rave about something I find exceptionally stupid and harmful; for the herd-IQ.

See you next time. Same Bat-Time. Same Bat-Channel. (Aging myself there...)