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Posted by Bryan Erickson (Member # 1135) on :
 
“Global Cooling” Article, Linked To from Ornery.org, Revealed As Fraud

Bryan Erickson – March 20, 2004

I discovered that the Ridenour “Global Cooling” article, linked to from Ornery.org, is a fraud, as I demonstrate below. The scientists upon whose work Ms. Ridenour bases her claims, actually flatly contradict her. It’s apparent however that Ms. Ridenour based all her conclusions on second and third hand reportage of these findings, without ever reading for herself what the scientists themselves actually wrote. I am not going to debate global warming or recite rhetoric here, only show that the Ridenour site is full of distortions and is completely unreliable. I hope anyone who is interested will look up the cites I provide. There was in fact a genuine scientific study that showed cooling in Antarctica, cited below, but the Ridenour article bears almost no relation to it.

Ornery.org doesn’t just link to this Ridenour article, but seems to endorse it. I hope Ornery.org sees this examination as an attempt to address an aspect that reflects poorly on the site (which I have enjoyed for years) in a cooperative effort to improve the site in the future.

Skepticism is the backbone of science, and the “global cooling” link stoked my curiosity to see and evaluate for myself a worthwhile skeptical review of global warming. So I clicked on the Ornery.org link, under “Links of Interest”, marked “Amy Ridenour’s report on Antarctic research showing a strong likelihood of global cooling” (http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA388.html). The linked page, at nationalcenter.org, has a banner reading “National Policy Analysis: A Publication of the National Center for Public Policy Research”, and the title “New Research Indicates the Earth May Be Cooling.”

The article bases this indication on the findings of three scientists, and includes four footnotes among the sections purporting to convey these findings. The remaining footnotes relate to commentary after the claimed scientific findings have been discussed. I’ll include the four relevant footnoted sections made in the article, and an analysis of the cited reference for each.

Footnote 1 appears at the end of this statement: “The mammoth west Antarctic ice sheet, which contains enough water to lift the world's sea levels by 20 feet, isn't melting after all. Instead, it's actually thickening and Antarctica itself is getting cooler.1” This footnote cites, not an actual science article from a professional, refereed science journal, but another page on the nationalcenter.org website (http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR11502.html), which itself has no citations, and to an article by a journalist on techcentralstation.com, without the actual web address. (I googled it: http://www.techcentralstation.com/011502A.html). The techcentralstation.com article is based on an article in Nature, which I’ll get to in a minute, as the only apparent primary source behind the references of footnote 1.

Footnote 2 appears at the end of this statement: “A new study by researchers from the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California at Santa Cruz, published in the respected journal Science, found that the ice sheets of Antarctica, far from melting, actually are expanding by some 26.8 billion tons of ice a year.2” So, the footnote appears at the end of a sentence in which Ridenour has described two scientists, described their findings, and named the professional journal in which these findings appear, the prestigious journal Science. The footnote naturally cites the article in the journal Science, one would assume.

No. Instead, the footnote cites two newspaper articles. Ms. Ridenour apparently never bothered to look up the actual scientific article upon which she bases her report.

But I looked up the article in the journal Science. I’ll get to it in just a minute, after looking at the last two citations Ms. Ridenour provides for the supposed factual basis of her global cooling claims.

Footnote 3 appears at the end of the next statement in Ms. Ridenour’s essay: “The scientists, Ian Joughlin [sic], a geologist at CIT [a.k.a. Cal Tech], and Slawek Tulaczyk, a professor of earth sciences at UC Santa Cruz, speculate the thickening ice sheets are repeating a pattern that occurred from 1650 -1850 when the Earth went through what became known as the Little Ice Age.3” Here Ms. Ridenour specifically names the two scientists and further describes their purported findings. Again, you’d think the citation would be to the actual refereed journal publication. Instead, this citation is inexplicably to another article on her own nationalcenter.org website, this one without any citations, and with no mention at all of the two scientists Ms. Ridenour mentions (http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA203.html).

Then follow the next few sentences, followed by footnote 4: “The study's lead author, limnologist Peter Doran, an expert on the study of fresh water at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is worried about the cooling's impact on the environment.

“Doran says cooling temperature not only is reducing the amount of fresh water feeding into Antarctica's lakes, but it's also making the surface ice thicker so plankton that use sunlight for energy are getting less sunlight. And that, he says, is bad news for the life forms that depend on plankton for food.

“‘The ecosystem would continue to diminish, and eventually it would essentially go into a deep sleep - like a freeze-dried ecosystem,’ Doran said in a January 21 interview with Richard Harris, a science reporter for National Public Radio.4”

Once again, rather than citing an actual first-hand source, this footnote cites a radio show: “Richard Harris, reporting, National Public Radio Morning Edition, January 21, 2002.” Since Ms. Ridenour didn’t bother to look up a published reference, I searched and found a web page on npr.org corresponding to the broadcast (http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2002/jan/antarctica/020118.antarctica.html). The interview is with scientist Peter Doran, based on the then-recent publication he co-authored in the prestigious journal Nature.

There’s another problem though. Immediately following the citation to footnote 3, Ms. Ridenour referred to “The study’s lead author… Peter Doran…” Which study’s lead author? In the previous two sentences, Ms. Ridenour introduced “a new study by researchers from…” Cal Tech and U.C. Santa Cruz, then named them as the “scientists, Ian Joughlin, a geologist at CIT [a.k.a. Cal Tech], and Slawek Tulaczyk, a professor of earth sciences at UC Santa Cruz…” The problem is, these are the only two authors of this study in the journal Science; Peter Doran’s publication was entirely separate, in the journal Nature.

Since Ms. Ridenour never bothered to look at the actual report in the journal Science, I decided to look it up. After discovering that Ms. Ridenour had also misspelled the lead author’s name (it’s Joughin, not “Joughlin”), I was able to locate the article, “Positive Mass Balance of the Ross Ice Streams, West Antarctica”, Science vol. 295 pages 476-480, January 18, 2002. The abstract is available for free at

link to abstract , and the full article can be accessed there with a subscription to Science or for a fee.

Here’s the abstract: “We have used ice-flow velocity measurements from synthetic aperture radar to reassess the mass balance of the Ross Ice Streams, West Antarctica. We find strong evidence for ice-sheet growth (+26.8 gigatons per year), in contrast to earlier estimates indicating a mass deficit (-20.9 gigatons per year). Average thickening is equal to ~25% of the accumulation rate, with most of this growth occurring on Ice Stream C. Whillans Ice Stream, which was thought to have a significantly negative mass balance, is close to balance, reflecting its continuing slowdown. The overall positive mass balance may signal an end to the Holocene retreat of these ice streams.”

Does that ice-sheet growth indicate global cooling? Here’s what the authors say (p. 477): “Stagnant Ice Stream C has a strongly positive mass balance because of its negligible outflow, and it is the major contributor to the overall positive mass balance for the region. Thus, the positive mass imbalance is driven not by climate-related changes in accumulation or melt, but rather by the internal ice-stream dynamics that led to the stoppage of Ice Stream C.”

So: the ice growth has nothing to do with climate, according to these scientists.

It’s also worth looking at the numbers they provide in Table 1 for the total differences and uncertainties in these ice sheet mass change estimates. Each estimate of the rate of mass change per year, in gigatons, is accompanied by the two-sigma uncertainty of the estimate. Using three different maps, the authors come up with 26.8 with an uncertainty of 14.9; 30.8 with an uncertainty of 15.4; and 22.7 with an uncertainty of 14.2. So, within the range of uncertainty using all three of their maps, their estimate of the mass imbalance is anywhere from 8.5 to 46.2 (i.e. 22.7-14.2=8.5, and 30.8+15.4=46.2). This can be compared to the previous scientific study to which they compare their own results: it gave the rate of mass change in gigatons as -20.9 with an uncertainty of 13.7, i.e. anywhere from -7.2 to -34.6.

In other words, the results are all over the place, for both teams of scientists that have investigated this.

How did these results get to be so different? One illustrative factor is explained on p. 478: “An additional difference of 3.5 Gton/year can be accounted for by the inclusion of basal melt beneath the grounded ice in the S&B [Shabtaie and Bentley, the previous study showing ice loss] estimate. We believe basal melt to be about an order of magnitude smaller than this amount and exclude it from our calculations…” So, much of the difference between the two studies arises because these numbers are based largely on theoretical assumptions, rather than strictly data.

Later on p. 478, the authors discuss more theory behind the ice-stream mass changes: “Thermodynamic models of ice-stream evolution show that ice streams may be inherently cyclic in their behavior, with switches between active (“purge”) and inactive (“binge”) phases occurring with a periodicity of several thousand years…” In other words, following the assumptions of these scientists, drawing ultimate conclusions about the climate from selected reference to ice-streams that happen to be in their binge phases makes as much sense as only looking at a clock pendulum when it happens to be swinging to the left and saying that its “true” motion is leftward.

Now, this study at least did estimate statistically significant rise of ice mass on some of the ice streams studied, though only Ice Stream C “is the major contributor to the overall positive mass balance for the region.” Remember, the Ridenour article claimed these scientists “found that the ice sheets of Antarctica, far from melting, actually are expanding by some 26.8 billion tons of ice a year.” Do the scientists claim their result applies to “the ice sheets of Antarctica”? Their answer is on p. 479: “This analysis covers only the Ross Sea sector of the ice sheet, and negative imbalances are observed in other areas of West Antarctica such as Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers…”

So, this study is based on the temporary positive mass imbalance of a single ice-stream in a single sector of the West Antarctic ice sheet. They continue on the same page: “Such a reduction in discharge could cause the ice shelf to thin and could trigger a retreat and/or break-up [of the Ross Ice Shelf]. Additional impetus for retreat and/or break-up may come from future climatic warming that appears to have helped to destabilize some smaller ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula (27). Over time scales on the order of decades to centuries, ice shelves may represent the most vulnerable element of the West Antarctic ice sheet/shelf system.”

From this, Ms. Ridenour claims that Mr. Joughin and Mr. Tulaczyk “found that the ice sheets of Antarctica, far from melting, actually are expanding by some 26.8 billion tons of ice a year.” Instead, they estimated, within a vast degree of uncertainty, and incorporating substantial theoretical assumptions, that Ice Stream C of the Ross Sea sector of West Antarctica is expanding; while they also taught that other sectors are indeed melting, and that the Ross Ice Shelf overall may be subject to “retreat and/or break-up” and “climatic warming”. Ms. Ridenour either knew, or should have known, by actually going to the source of the information she claimed to represent instead of relying on hearsay, that her claim is an unrecognizable distortion of the publication.

As a bonus, I also tracked down the publication in Nature by Peter Doran and coauthors, which was not cited in the Ridenour article, which identified Mr. Doran as “The study’s lead author” immediately after discussing the Joughin and Tulaczyk article, but which proved the ultimate source of the techcentralstation.com citation and the NPR radio show citation. Nature also ran a critical response by another team of scientists, and a rebuttal by Doran and company. The URLs for the abstracts for all three are presented here; the full versions require a subscription to Nature or a fee:

http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v415/n6871/abs /nature710_fs.html

http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v418/n6895/abs/4 18291b_fs.html

http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v418/n6895/abs/4 18292a_fs.html

The original publication reports a net cooling in parts of Antarctica over the past few decades, although it also says the overall temperature of the Earth has risen during the same period; while the critical review argues that the conclusion of overall cooling of the continent is based on too few data.

In other words, different scientists are reaching different conclusions about a complex and still poorly understood field.

The Ridenour article, on the other hand, unlike the scientists it cites, demonstrates a certainty of its conclusions. What’s the difference between it and those scientists?

In the 1974 Commencement Address at Ian Joughin’s employer, Cal Tech, the great Nobel laureate Richard Feynman described the Cargo Cults of the south Pacific, who tried building runways and radio towers out of bamboo in imitation of how they saw westerners, apparently magically, summon airplanes out of the sky filled with amazing cargo. (See Richard P. Feynman, “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”, Perseus 1999, pp. 208-216.) Feynman then identified what he saw as the difference between Cargo Cult science and real science.

“But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in Cargo Cult Science… It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty – a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid – not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked – to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

“Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can – if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong – to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. …

“In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.” (Feynman, 209-210.)

Science is based on this absolute honesty, objectivity, and open-mindedness in following where the data lead you. The method opposite to science is to begin with a position of dogma, and then subject all data to confirmation bias, wherein you leap on and emphasize every datum that supports your dogma, and refuse even to consider any datum that detracts from your dogma. This is anti-science, since any dogma imaginable by the human mind can be supported by 100% of the data, when the data is pre-filtered to match the dogma.

[ March 23, 2004, 01:24 PM: Message edited by: Ornery ]
 
Posted by Anonymous24 (Member # 1468) on :
 
Summarize.
 
Posted by potemkyn (Member # 1040) on :
 
Good catch. That was some serious work you did there.
 
Posted by WmLambert (Member # 604) on :
 
Yes, well presented. However Confusion corner: Antarctica from the GeoTimes sums up your post quite well: Antarctica is both heating and cooling simultaneously in different places. 58% is cooling, but the warming parts are warming faster than the cooling places are cooling. The Ice dams on frozen lakes and rivers have been in place for 200 years causing thickening - with little temperature relevance. The whole earth may be warming slightly, but more research is needed to make anything out of that - it may all be normal cyclical activity.

As hard as your post was on Ridenour, she was correct in reporting that objective observation says Antarctica is cooling - she just neglected to note that 42% of it is also warming. I think the GeoTimes article balanced out Ridenour's lack of scholastic objectivity well.
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
" I think the GeoTimes article balanced out Ridenour's lack of scholastic objectivity well."

I don't. Its actually the "neutral" position, whereas, to balance out someone screwing up as badly as Ridenour did, you need to point out the specific flaws. That article did not, as it did not even mention her name.
 
Posted by LetterRip (Member # 310) on :
 
Could you edit the link name so it is shorter? It is making the page difficult to read.

Thanks,

LetterRip
 
Posted by LetterRip (Member # 310) on :
 
Also,

where is the link to the 'global cooling' article,

I haven't been reading the site for awhile ...

LR
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
Its on the "front page" in the box off to the left
 
Posted by KnightEnder (Member # 992) on :
 
Who at Ornery wrote that blurb and linked to the article? They should have read what OSC has to say on the subject first.
quote:
The quality of science reporting in this country is so wretched that whenever you hear any report on TV or read one in the newspaper that claims that scientists have proven something, you ought to assume, automatically, that there is something ridiculously false in the conclusions that are being reported. Most of the time, closer examination will reveal that the report is even more bogus than you suspected.
JE
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
Thats why people need a science education in America [Smile] You can't function in the modern world without a basic ability to sift through the crap in scientific reporting, and actually get a grasp on the science.
 
Posted by FIJC (Member # 1092) on :
 
quote:
"Summarize."
Read.
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
Nice one [Smile]
 
Posted by potemkyn (Member # 1040) on :
 
Anon,

It actually is summarized in the title. The Global Cooling is inaccurate and poorly cites its works. But I can say that and it might not be true. Bryan takes the time to PROVE it. It's worth reading.
 
Posted by Anonymous24 (Member # 1468) on :
 
Thank you Potemkyn. FJIC, you dont need to make any rude comments.
 
Posted by Bryan Erickson (Member # 1135) on :
 
I sent notice of this critique to both Amy Ridenour and Orson Scott Card, and they've both responded.

Amy Ridenour tried to squirm out of taking responsibility for what she had written: "I think you're taking things a bit over-seriously, or perhaps my writing skills need a refresher course. That piece was not meant to demonstrate that the Earth truly is cooling..." She went on for several paragraphs along these lines.

Orson Scott Card thanked me for "checking up on" ornery.org and said he will have my links added so people can "think things through for themselves", which of course is fitting for a website distinguished for its intellectual honesty.
 
Posted by AmyRidenour (Member # 1651) on :
 
Mr. Erickson sent me an e-mail March 22 inviting me to respond to his opinion of the introductory paragraphs posted in my op/ed length essay posted at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA388.html. I did send him a note of response. He has not replied to me, but I see here that he did post a less-than-flattering characterization of my response in this public forum.

Since Mr. Erickson chose to respond only in public forum and not to me personally, and has not made an effort to present my reply to him in an objective manner, I think it is appropriate for me to simply post our e-mail exchange here and let others draw their own conclusions.

Before I sign off, however, I invite anyone who wishes to do so to visit our website at http://www.nationalcenter.org and draw their own conclusions about that as well. In writing to me, Mr. Erickson volunteered that he "enjoyed and agreed with" much of the other content on our website. I suppose I can take comfort in the fact that the rest of what he saw in our multi-thousand document website did not attract his ire.

Mr. Erickson's e-mail to me of March 22:

Ms. Ridenour,

I have voted for mostly Republicans and exactly one Democrat in my life, and I agree with you that there needs to be more skepticism leveled at the discussion of global warming. I learned of your site through a link to your article entitled "New Research Indicates the Earth May Be Cooling" (http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA388.html). I enjoyed and agreed with much of the other content on the site.

Having said that, this "global cooling" article is filled with shoddy scholarship, mischaracterization and fabrication, and does a disservice to public dialogue.

For a detailed account of your article's failures, see
http://www.ornery.org/forums/essays/cgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=003 381 (It is on this site that I discovered a link to your article and website.)

If you still think your article is defensible, I'd love to hear how. But please, for the sake of reputable conservative and skeptical advocacy, do your homework before you put your arguments in front of the world.

Bryan Erickson

My reply that evening:

I think you're taking things a bit over-seriously, or perhaps my writing skills need a refresher course. That piece was not meant to demonstrate that the Earth truly is cooling -- the title was intentionally overstated to demonstrate how silly it is to draw massive conclusions about the global climate based on weather or temperature trends in one spot or another. I was merely commenting upon reports in the popular media at the time about Antarctica. I did not pretend to be providing an exhaustive scholarly review of studies of Antarctic temperature trends or ice sheets. I've actually never studied Antarctica's temperature trends.

One merely gets tired of hearing about global warming being the cause of nearly every widely-reported hurricane, flood, or flea-infestation in someone's pooch. I figured I'd illustrate the absurdity of this in the opposite direction. That folks would say, now wait, you can't say that about the Earth based on what a couple of guys say about Antarctica -- to which I say, yes, you are right, you can't! I suspect, at least in your case, I failed to illustrate absurdity but instead provided some. Perhaps it is dangerous to ever write something tongue-in-cheek. People have written me since expecting that I really believe I can prove the Earth is cooling. Of course I can't. Regardless of what is happening in Antarctica, it wouldn't be enough to prove anything conclusively about the future of the planet.

If you have read other articles on our site, you may well have seen me say that one can't predict the planet's future weather from past temperature (or other isolated weather events) in any one place. That's my real view. If that isn't sufficiently clear in this particular piece, I certainly hope it is in my entire body of work.

Ms. Ridenour,

I have voted for mostly Republicans and exactly one Democrat in my life, and I agree with you that there needs to be more skepticism leveled at the discussion of global warming. I learned of your site through a link to your article entitled "New Research Indicates the Earth May Be Cooling" (http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA388.html). I enjoyed and agreed with much of the other content on the site.

Having said that, this "global cooling" article is filled with shoddy scholarship, mischaracterization and fabrication, and does a disservice to public dialogue.

For a detailed account of your article's failures, see
http://www.ornery.org/forums/essays/cgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=003 381 (It is on this site that I discovered a link to your article and website.)

If you still think your article is defensible, I'd love to hear how. But please, for the sake of reputable conservative and skeptical advocacy, do your homework before you put your arguments in front of the world.

Bryan Erickson
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
For what it's worth, I think you're both being rather silly. [Smile]

Brian's clearly taking an unscientific opinion piece too seriously -- for reasons I can only speculate.

And you, of course, have written an unscientific opinion piece about something you only barely understand, and drenched it in your own political biases.

Either way, I think it's safe to say that very few of the regulars on this site care, so your reputation is, I assure you, unsullied. [Smile]
 
Posted by drewmie (Member # 1179) on :
 
I second Tom.
 
Posted by Bryan Erickson (Member # 1135) on :
 
I replied here instead of directly to Ms. Ridenour because there would be no point; she refused to take responsibility for publishing false material to the world on an important issue.

I am taking this seriously because Ms. Ridenour and her National Center have an avowed purpose of influencing public debate and public policy; and this purpose has been effective to significant degree, as witnessed by Mr. Card posting it on ornery.org and by the Center's endorsements - assuming they were published with more attention to truth-telling than was applied in the global cooling article - by current House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, and talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Michael Reagan, all of whom are in the position to spread the influence of this site into public dialogue and policymaking.

(The endorsements are found here: http://www.nationalcenter.org/NCPPRHist.html)

Michael Reagan's endorsement is revealing (about his own standards as well as the likelihood for Ms. Ridenour's work to be understood quite seriously):

"As a national talk show host, I need reliable sources of information. The National Center gets me the facts I need, professionally and quickly."

Now Ms. Ridenour dismisses her article - if this one, why not her whole website? - as merely "tongue-in-cheek", a big joke, something surely no one would ever take seriously.

Ornery.org didn't convey any sense it had understood it as other than seriously, before it removed its endorsement of the article in response to the critique above. Michael Reagan doesn't indicate he understands it as tongue-in-cheek; he indicates he understands it as "the facts" he needs to spread to the nation on his radio show. Dick Armey doesn't indicate he understands it as tongue-in-cheek when he characterizes it as "articulating the conservative and free market message."

So when Ms. Ridenour admits "Perhaps it is dangerous to ever write [sic] something tongue-in-cheek", she is hiding behind a flimsy excuse for being too lazy in her research even to be honestly wrong, though she is all too correct to admit, "Perhaps it is dangerous..."

And I was perfectly frank in saying I enjoyed and agreed with much of the sentiments reflected in other material on the nationalcenter.org website, which is also part of why I am interested in exposing its shoddiness: one of my great sources of chagrin in modern politics is the hijacking of the Republican party, of which I was a registered member until recently, by intellectually dishonest right-wing extremists.

It is ignorant dogma of the sort provided by nationalcenter.org that diverts otherwise sensible but insufficiently skeptical conservatives into ignorant and extremist views that can only drive public dialogue away from intelligent debate and toward mindless rancor.

That is something to take seriously.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
"and this purpose has been effective to significant degree, as witnessed by Mr. Card posting it on ornery.org"

Ah. While I of course agree that misinformed punditry is one of the great curses of the age, I think you overestimate the effect of Scott's webpage on the political process. Perhaps you should start with the Drudge Report or something? I mention it only because going after reports merely linked to on an obscure political forum founded by a moderately popular science fiction author doesn't seem like the most efficient way to influence public opinion.
 
Posted by Bryan Erickson (Member # 1135) on :
 
Ornery.org might not be an influential enough forum for "Locke" and "Demosthenes" to use to shape world opinion, although it's influential enough to draw Ms. Ridenour's participation. Exposing her work here may not exert much influence, but her article is more than just a link from Ornery.org; the influence of her work is more considerable than you may think.

Here's an "Earth Day 2002" report on global warming and the environment that House of Representatives Resources Committee chair Richard Pombo put his name on top of, and that is posted in a Republican Study Committee (RSC) directory:

http://www.house.gov/burton/RSC/word/Pombo.PDF

Here is what appears to be the exact same document, published by Ms. Ridenour's National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) and copied wholesale by Congressman Pombo:

http://www.nationalcenter.org/EarthDay02Myths.html

The RSC lists 85 members from among the House of Representatives, who presumably are getting their "information" on the environment from NCPPR:

http://johnshadegg.house.gov/rsc/about.htm

Here's another report by House member Jo Ann Emerson on the environment, attributing its factual source as a report by NCPPR:

http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/mo08_emerson/end_of_endangered_people.html

Ms. Emerson is not a member of the Republican Study Committee, so it's safe to assume the NCPPR's audience among the House is not limited to the 85 representatives listed on the RSC's membership roster.

Other examples of NCPPR's influence on our national government can be found at these dot-gov websites:

http://www.house.gov/budget/FY00Budget/coalitionsupport.pdf
http://www.house.gov/resources/108cong/energy/2003sep25/cohen.htm
http://www.house.gov/resources/Press/reports/esa/esalitigation_ncppr.pdf

How many of these congressional representatives are looking up back issues of the journals Science and Nature, rather than merely relying on what Ms. Ridenour and her colleagues are delivering to them?

Still, at least Ms. Ridenour is simply motivated by the selfless desire to promote what she sees as the right political choices, even if she's too busy to check any facts.

Then again, maybe it's the $155,000 salary she draws from the NCPPR's six million dollar budget, according to Charity Navigator: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm/bay/search.summary/orgid/5416.htm

But she deserves the compensation, considering all the hard work it takes to look up a few journal articles to make sure she gets her facts correct... or not.

Where on Earth does all this money come from? Largely from the big right-wing philanthropies, as well as from Big Oil and Big Tobacco:

http://www.mediatransparency.org/search_results/info_on_any_recipient.php?recipientID=682

http://www2.exxonmobil.com/files/corporate/public_policy1.pdf

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/cgi/getdoc?tid=zoo67c00&fmt=pdf&ref=results

I wonder how much these congressional representatives or donors would care to learn more about NCPPR's standards of scholarship and truth-telling. Then again, these donors are probably more interested in the effect than the means.

The last link, to Ms. Ridenour's solicitation for money from Frank Gomez at Philip Morris is particularly enlightening, especially considering the pro-tobacco propaganda Ms. Ridenour published on the NCCPR website, such as this winner posted a month before asking Philip Morris for more money:

http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA198.html

Notice Ms. Ridenour's avowed commitment to provide, not "tongue-in-cheek" "absurdity" as she assured me, but "hard data and well-reasoned arguments... an appreciation for sound science... well-researched arguments and data..." But apparently that does not include "an exhaustive scholarly review" of any sources, where an "exhaustive scholarly review" is her code word for "look up the one journal article I'm citing."

Mr. Gomez of Philip Morris had long been an admirer of Ms. Ridenour's "exhaustive scholarly review" of the benefits of tobacco, according to this note from three years earlier (referring to Ms. Ridenour by her maiden name, Amy Moritz):

http://www.prwatch.org/prwissues/2000Q3/ncppr.pdf

Notice Mr. Gomez's confidence in NCPPR's ability, nine years ago, to affect public discourse.

So much for influence. Ornery.org may not change any minds in Congress, but I enjoy it; and it served well enough as a forum in which the president of NCPPR could take enough time out of providing publications to our lawmakers, which they are reading and using to argue policy, to recharacterize publicly those publications from "hard data and... well-researched arguments" to "intentionally overstated" and "tongue-in-cheek", that "illustrate absurdity" and shouldn't be taken "over-seriously".
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
*nod* I must say, Brian, that the leaden weight of your citations has impressed upon me the seriousness of your effort. [Smile]

While I still say you've chosen entirely the wrong battleground for what you clearly consider an important fight -- it's like Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker in an all-night kosher deli -- you've managed to persuade me that it is, in fact, important.

So, given that, why start with Ornery?
 
Posted by Bryan Erickson (Member # 1135) on :
 
A) because Ornery is where I found out about this "national center",

B) because I admire Mr. Card enough that I felt compelled to show him why I didn't agree with something he was endorsing, and

C) because I'd pay good money to watch Darth Vader fight Luke Skywalker in a late-night kosher deli (that would be cooler than the last two SW films).
 
Posted by Morton (Member # 1702) on :
 
Out of curiousity, why does Ornery continue to post such a link as the Anne Ridenour article after seeing it's sources and arguments so well torn appart in this topic? I just found these links on the front page of the site and while I applaud the forum for posting the rebuttal to Ms. Ridenour's biased piece, why keep it on the front page when so many more important and accurate informational links can be posted there?
 
Posted by LetterRip (Member # 310) on :
 
You might email the Moderator and he can forward a mention to the Cards. In all likelyhood OSC is unaware that the rebuttal has occured.

LetterRip
 
Posted by DonaldD (Member # 1052) on :
 
quote:
Orson Scott Card thanked me for "checking up on" ornery.org and said he will have my links added so people can "think things through for themselves", which of course is fitting for a website distinguished for its intellectual honesty. - Bryan Erickson

 
Posted by WarrsawPact (Member # 1275) on :
 
Yes, Bryan (and GOOD NAME! Bryan spelled with a Y, you have two guesses why I like that [Wink] ), you've certainly contributed. Thanks.
 
Posted by LetterRip (Member # 310) on :
 
Oops, sorry had overlooked that...

LetterRip
 
Posted by J (Member # 1791) on :
 
Bryan, good work; please post and publish your work elsewhere (as well, not instead of). This site needs fact checkers (evermore desperately), and deserves them.
Thanks.
 
Posted by Bryan Erickson (Member # 1135) on :
 
due to popular demand (no more fretting, Amy), here is a link to the original page for this bryanerickson.com investigative report...

http://www.bryanerickson.com/index_mar04.html

and for anyone who cares, i will be speaking (alongside the principal investigator of the NASA Mars rovers, the NASA associate administrator for exploration systems, and filmmaker James Cameron) at the Mars Society convention in Chicago next month - it will be a hot time...

http://www.marssociety.org/
 
Posted by Nrp (Member # 2652) on :
 
Bryan,

These are wonderful reports, and among the most disturbing i've ever read. You did a great job showing the links between politics, corporate money, and science. This whole exchange shows vividly how "facts" can be fabricated that are entirely misleading and fraudulent, and how from these "facts", profoundly and deliberately misleading conclusions become part of commonly accepted policy and opinion.

I am amazed that the link to Ridenour's article remains in the 'Links of Interest' section of the site, but am glad because the link to your critique is there also which gives people a chance to find this tremendously valuable discussion. Thanks for your research and citations. I very highly recommend a close reading of this whole discussion, if there is anyone who has made it so far as to read this without reading all that it refers to. It is far quicker than reading an entire book on the links between industry, politics, public relations firms and media, and is just superbly done.

Thanks,
Nathan
 
Posted by javelin (Member # 1284) on :
 
No! The ZOMBIES HAVE ESCAPED AGAIN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

*runs off screaming, hands waving in the air*
 
Posted by The Drake (Member # 2128) on :
 
That was an inauspicious first post.
 
Posted by Tezcatlipoca (Member # 1312) on :
 
quote:
*runs off screaming, hands waving in the air*
Acting like that while there is a zombie pandempic is a pretty sure way to get yourself shot in the head.
 
Posted by 0Megabyte (Member # 1217) on :
 
No, Tez, that wouldn't at all! For you see, contrary to new movies such as the Dawn of the Dead remake, zombies are slow and mindless. Seeing someone running off screaming, hands waving in the air is a pretty clear way to show that you ARE a human.

Of course, this indicates such to both humans and zombies... so someone stupid enough to act that way in the middle of a zombie pandemic and get close to ME is gonna get shot in the head... but that's just me.
 
Posted by jadeitejewel (Member # 2701) on :
 
This is my first time to this site, following a link from the Orson Scott Card website to Ms Ridenour's article.

I find myself forced to comment: why is it so impossible for us to separate science from politics? Mr Erickson's letter to Ms Ridenour opened with a statement concerning his VOTING HISTORY, for goodness' sake! What on earth does it matter who he voted for? We are discussing a matter of accuracy in reportage and in science!

How on earth have we managed to become so ideologically-bound, so absolutely nuts, as to think that the accuracy of our science has anything to do with our political alignment? I think this shows that anyone who defines themselves by a party preference is liable to be closed to an objective evaluation of the facts.

For what it's worth, based on my non-political (I'm an Australian so even if it mattered I couldn't boast a vote for a Republican or a Democrat) assessment of the various scientific research coming out over the past five years or so, I think global warming is certainly happening, and that the effects are likely to have wide-ranging effects. I also believe that, while we have every right to be on the planet, when we're talking about such potentially enormous repercussions, we should err on the side of caution in our behaviour. You insure your house against fire, don't you, even if you believe the risk of fire is low? That's because any potential loss is catastrophic. Same for climate. If you don't understand, better to mess with it as little as possible.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
It's fascinating to me how every few months we get a "new member" to bump this thread who never posts again.
 
Posted by roper66 (Member # 2694) on :
 
Bryan, I appreciate your scientific rigor. Thank you.
 
Posted by TS Elliot (Member # 736) on :
 
Tom,
Your comments on this breathe an air of disdain, which is unbecoming of you. You apologized, but acompanied those with a 'insignificant'-label.
You said to B.E. 'You were right, I'm wrong, but you are irrelevant, so ne ne ne'
I feel this is unkind, especially given the extensive sifting and sieving BE has done.

Mr. Erickson, you remind me of university friend of mine, who, at his internship, went to 25 kilos of computer printouts to find some accounting error in the salary dept. Once he found the pattern, it was easy to find where said error occured in the remaining 50 kilos.

For the rest, I'd like to agree with all the positive statements made by the rest on this page. It's nice to notice that there are some honest Republicans left. And I'm dismayed to find you to subject of glee and dismissal by those who otherwise take global warming as a serious threat.

Hey TomD, am I a sufficiently new member enough for you?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
quote:

You were right, I'm wrong, but you are irrelevant, so ne ne ne

I don't recall saying ANYWHERE that I was wrong. [Smile] But yeah, I DO think he's tilting at windmills.

[ December 23, 2005, 04:42 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]
 
Posted by Koner (Member # 1390) on :
 
Its 15 degrees outside today and the snow is 2 feet deep. I'll believe in global warming when there is a palm tree in my back yard.
 
Posted by javelin (Member # 1284) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Koner:
Its 15 degrees outside today and the snow is 2 feet deep. I'll believe in global warming when there is a palm tree in my back yard.

Might be a little late at that point. Sorry you are cold [Smile]
 
Posted by canadian (Member # 1809) on :
 
you mean giants...

Sancho Panza! My lance!
 
Posted by LetterRip (Member # 310) on :
 
TomD,

you do make an interesting inference - would be interesting to have OrneryMod check the IPs of the bumpers [Smile]

LetterRip
 
Posted by Koner (Member # 1390) on :
 
oops sorry. I didn't look at the date. this is an OLD topic. LOL who bumped it up?
 
Posted by Bryan Erickson (Member # 1135) on :
 
Our old friend Amy Ridenour is in the news again, in this piece entitled "Think Tanks for Sale: Amy Ridenour, Abramoff Fellow".

Let the record show, I was exposing Ridenour before it was cool. [Wink]

jadeitejewel, I couldn't agree more with everything you wrote - but you seemed to take my mention of voting history in my letter to Ridenour as evidence of entanglement of politics with science, which is precisely what I am trying to criticize, as the thread makes clear. Quite the contrary, I mentioned that to try to make the point that despite what she and I did have in common, my politics did not influence my investigation of scientific truth, whereas her characterization of science is apparently determined from the beginning by her political axioms. Sadly that kind of thinking has been institutionalized by today's Republican party, which has now firmly entrenched itself as the party of anti-science.

What I don't understand is why Card still graces the front page of this website with the caption, "It looks like the global warming doubters may have the facts on their side", to link to Ridenour's blurb, when consulting the sources I listed plainly shows that Ridenour's blurb is a ludicrous parody of the only actual research on which it claims to be based. Or better yet, why he still writes about global warming as if it were a PC conspiracy, though he has never over the years been able to come up with a better reference to support that idea. Many of the Washington Post's investigative articles on Abramoff have previously noted Ridenour's shady role as an empty propagandist and as a slush financier for Abramoff's massive fraud machine; and now we have this material from Slate. How many more revelations do we need that Card's only cited authority for the purported baselessness of global warming is nothing but a well-kept tool for fraud, before he decides to have a fresh look at the objective evidence?

Bryan Erickson
 
Posted by Rallan (Member # 1936) on :
 
I'd say it'll happen when hell freezes over, but if hell froze over Card would talk about how its proof that global warming was wrong [Smile]
 
Posted by Omega M. (Member # 1392) on :
 
The global warming article on the cover of this week's Time scared the hell out of me. Apparently many symptoms of global warming are getting worse much faster than people thought they would, because it turns out that once it gets hot enough certain ecosystems get caught in a feedback loop that makes the heat increase faster and faster. (For instance, as glaciers melt, the nearby temperature increases because ocean water stores much more heat than ice, which causes glaciers to melt faster, which causes ...)

I'd like to see OSC do another column on global warming soon, since he was definitely one of the people that encouraged me not to worry too much about it.
 
Posted by Wayward Son (Member # 210) on :
 
Unfortunately, OSC is unlikely to revisit his stance on global warming, because he often does not gather further information on subjects once he has formed an opinion on them.

At least, that seems to be the pattern in his ID stance, where he apparently read Behe's book years ago and showed no signs of having read any criticism of it since.

I suspect any article on global warming would be the same--reheated arguments from years ago, without even a nod to acknowledge any new data.
 
Posted by Omega M. (Member # 1392) on :
 
I just did a Google Image search for Amy Ridenour, and man! I didn't know someone so slick could be so ugly.
 
Posted by lanik (Member # 386) on :
 
I would just like to jump in with a couple of comments. First, I know Amy. She's a saint of a woman and is as honest as the day is long.

Second, the article is clearly a bit of a spoof. It's written in the same breathless style as the pro-global warming articles we read over and over again in the mainstream press, which cites all kinds of regional weather occurrences, some record-setting temperature in some random part of the world, a hurricane, a tornado, a heavy rainfall, etc., as proof-positive of catastrophic global warming.

To the best of my knowledge Amy has never denied that the Earth is warming, though it is my own personal opinion that we simply don't know whether the Earth is warming, cooling, or doing nothing at all. We simply do not have the measurement systems in place to make such a bold pronouncement. It's basically a statement of faith, not science.

Given the above, I think Mr. Erickson is making much ado about nothing.
 
Posted by DonaldD (Member # 1052) on :
 
Wow, isn't Bryan usually the one to bump this thread?

BTW, Ianik, if that's the case, Amy really needs to work on her spoofing talents, 'cause they even (seemingly) fooled Mr. card, our host with the posts [Smile]
 
Posted by Wayward Son (Member # 210) on :
 
Also let Amy know she needs to work on using original sources.

Her article is filled with secondary sources, and ones that were disputed when they were written, too (such as Joseph Perkins, whose editorials received letters telling him that he misinterpreted the results of the studies--by the authors of the studies!)
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
" though it is my own personal opinion that we simply don't know whether the Earth is warming, cooling, or doing nothing at all. We simply do not have the measurement systems in place to make such a bold pronouncement. It's basically a statement of faith, not science."

Well, no. There's a whole slew of data that the earth is warming, and most of it corrects for known problems. That means its a statement of science to say that the earth is warming.
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
Global warming is probably occuring right now. I say "probably" because there is so much misinformation being spread about it right now that its damn near impossible to seperate the hyperbole from the facts. The famous "Hockey Stick" graph created by Dr. Michael Mann and released by the IPCC in 1995 (you know, the one that shows a rapid spike in the last few decades) has been widely discredited due to a significantly flawed methodology in the statistical analysis of the results. I think there are also some issues with his correlation of tree rings to surface temperatures that create rather significant issues for the data he used. We have no idea what factors may only correlate to temperature fluctuations, cause them or are merely coincidental.

There is, as of right now, scant evidence that global warming is caused by human activity. Using paleoclimate data for the last 500 million years Veizer et al. (2000, Nature 408, pp. 698-701) concluded that long-term temperature variations are only weakly related to carbon dioxide variations. The planet was both warmer and cooler than today before humans began to populate the earth. CO2 levels have also been higher and lower as well with little relation to global temperature. The last report I've seen came from the IPCC where they found that some 90 billion tons of carbon as carbon dioxide annually circulate between the earth's ocean and the atmosphere, and another 60 billion tons exchange between the vegetation and the atmosphere. Man-made emissions create only about 5 to 6 billion tons per year; that's less that 5% of all atmospheric CO2. With the relatively insignificant amount humans are pumping into the atmosphere, I find it hard to accept that we are solely responsible for global warming or that there is anything we can do to mitigate it.

Global warming computer models are error prone because they are trying to model something that is still poorly understood. Most models do not account for the effects of planetary phenomena such cloud cover, hurricanes, etc. which will have an effect, nobody really knows how much though.

Solar variation is routinely underestimated in these models as well (although I think that's changing) and is currently thought to account for somewhere between 16% and 36% of global temperature fluctations. Given that we are at a peak in the solar cycle, these underestimates could be significant. The solar cycle is at it's peak now (or just past it) if it continues to follow previous cyclic patterns. Perhaps in a few years, we'll begin hearing about global cooling again as we did in the early 1970's?

Most paleoclimatologists believe other factors, such as continental drift and mountain building have very long term effects on the climate. However, Shaviv and Veizer (research here ) proposed that the biggest long-term influence on temperature is actually the solar system's motion around the galaxy and the ways in which this influences the atmosphere by altering the flux of cosmic rays received by the earth. I think these particular fluctuations occur on geologic time scales though so they may not reflect on the last few thousand years but we, as yet, have no handle on the role they actually do play.

[ July 21, 2006, 06:40 PM: Message edited by: G2 ]
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
" The famous "Hockey Stick" graph created by Dr. Michael Mann and released by the IPCC in 1995 (you know, the one that shows a rapid spike in the last few decades) has been widely discredited due to a significantly flawed methodology"

No it hasn't. The national academy of science, after reviewing the data and methodology, basically endorse the graph.

http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060626/full/4411032a.html

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/06/national-academies-synthesis-report/

"significantly flawed methodology"

Again according to the NAS, "signficantly" in this case means "not enough to effect the graph in meaningful way, post 1600 CE."

More coming on this.

[ July 21, 2006, 07:00 PM: Message edited by: Everard ]
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
Following the links you provide, it's not exactly a vote of confidence by the national academy of science.
quote:
In its report, released on 22 June, the NAS committee more-or-less endorses the work behind the graph.
More-or-less? What does that mean?
quote:
"...the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium.
The IPCC uses probability terms like 'likely' (66-90% probable) and 'medium likelihood' (33-66% probable) with plausible maybe coming in somewhere around 'likely' - meaning slightly better than even odds of being accurate. I say probably because there is no correlation between IPCC probablity terms and NAS probability terms. The discussion on the article at RealClimate says 'plausible' ranks up there with 'likely'. I think that's generous since plausible seems so vague.

I suppose it is plausible that everything Mann came up with is accurate. Could it also be plausible that his conclusions were wrong?

A lot of things are plausible, more-or-less, I can't come to any conclusions based on 'plausible'.
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
By the way, here is the repsonse by Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick (who initially criticized the 'hockey stick' graph by Mann.
quote:

At the NAS panel, we said that Mann's principal components were biased toward producing hockey stick-shaped series; the NAS agreed. We said that bristlecones were not a reliable temperature proxy; the NAS agreed and said they should be "avoided." We said that Mann's reconstruction failed important verification tests; the NAS agreed. We said that more than one test statistic should be reported when assessing statistical validity; the NAS agreed. We said that current methods underestimated the inherent uncertainty; the NAS agreed. On and on. On no occasion was any claim of ours refuted.

Our original articles argued that Mann's data and methodology did not permit him to claim with confidence that 1998 was the "warmest year" of the millennium or that the 1990s were the warmest decade. The NAS panel even agreed with this. After observing that little confidence could be placed in reconstructions before 1600, they stated: Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that "the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium ..."

Based on some other studies, they conceded that Mann's reconstruction was still "plausible" but, contrary to the IPCC, they said it was impossible to put confidence intervals on this opinion.

"On no occasion was any claim of ours [McIntyre and McKitrick] refuted." I have to wonder how none of the claims critical of Mann's methodologies and conclusions were refuted and still the NAS found Mann's results 'plausible'.
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
"There is, as of right now, scant evidence that global warming is caused by human activity"

http://darwin.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11676&page=94

Chapter ten of the NAS report details the forcings for warming. Its particularly worth reading pages 102-103.

I think its a mischaracterization to say there is "Scant evidence that global warming is caused by human activity." Rather, it should be "There is scant evidence that global warming is not contributed to by human activity,"

In addition to the NAS report,

http://spotlight.siu.edu/08032005/Globalwarmingstudy.html

http://www.polymath-systems.com/pubpol/globwarm.html

One of the interesting things pointed out on the polymath site is that all the natural cycling factors pointed out by Landscheidt in his paper claiming that humans don't contribute to warming, especially solar variations, the correlation between those cycles and warming break down over the last two deconds. I.E, they don't explain climate variation after the most significant build-ups of warming gases. This goes hand in hand with the growing consensus that we are reaching a "tipping point" in the warming vs gases graph. The idea is that as the atmosphere changes, we reach a point in the warming trend where the natural cycles of the earth are disrupted significantly. Think of an exponential curve... at a certain point, the curve explodes.

Particularly dealing with the Veizer research, from 2005

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=153

Again more coming
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
One of the reasons the NAS panel found Mann's conclusions to still be plausible is that they found it to be only one of many chains of research leading to the same conclusion.
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Everard:
One of the reasons the NAS panel found Mann's conclusions to still be plausible is that they found it to be only one of many chains of research leading to the same conclusion.

So despite agreeing with everything McIntyre and McKitrick proved about Mann's hockey stick graph (i.e. fatally flawed statistical analysis, poor data collection sources, failure of vital verification tests, etc.) the National Academy of Science agreed with Mann's conclusions and gave a stamp of approval to the work that resulted in the graph because there are other areas of research leading to the same conclusion. This is known as " consensus science" and is little more than a variation of the logical fallacy appeal to the majority. It's a very dangerous and poor way to conduct science.
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
"So despite agreeing with everything McIntyre and McKitrick proved about Mann's hockey stick graph (i.e. fatally flawed statistical analysis, poor data collection sources, failure of vital verification tests, etc.) the National Academy of Science agreed with Mann's conclusions and gave a stamp of approval to the work that resulted in the graph because there are other areas of research leading to the same conclusion."

No.
a) They did not agree the statistical analysis was fatally flawed. The conclusion they reached vis a vis Mcintyre's contention about the analysis was that choices had to be made and the choices mann made were not optimum, but at the time the choices were made they were reasonable, and the analysis only alters the conclusions in minimal ways.
b)The academy did not agree the data collection sources were bad,
c) etc

McIntyre in the link you posted says what he thinks happened during deliberations, but its not what shows up in any reports put out by the IPCC or the NAS.


" This is known as " consensus science" and is little more than a variation of the logical fallacy appeal to the majority."

No. What the NAS is saying is that the conclusions reached by Mann are reached in a variety of ways, thus his conclusions are stronger then if they had only been reached via one method. This is not "consensus science". A conclusion is always stronger if its reached in multiple ways then if its only reached in one way.

[ July 24, 2006, 07:02 PM: Message edited by: Everard ]
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Everard:


No.
a) They did not agree the statistical analysis was fatally flawed. The conclusion they reached vis a vis Mcintyre's contention about the analysis was that choices had to be made and the choices mann made were not optimum, but at the time the choices were made they were reasonable, and the analysis only alters the conclusions in minimal ways.
b)The academy did not agree the data collection sources were bad,
c) etc

a) From the article: "At the NAS panel, we said that Mann's principal components were biased toward producing hockey stick-shaped series; the NAS agreed." McIntyre and McKitrick showed that even random data produces the hockey stick graph when Mann's alogorithm is applied to it.

b) From the article: "We said that bristlecones were not a reliable temperature proxy; the NAS agreed and said they should be 'avoided.'" Using an unreliable data source is bad data collection.

c) From the article: "On no occasion was any claim of ours refuted."

quote:
Originally posted by Everard:
McIntyre in the link you posted says what he thinks happened during deliberations, but its not what shows up in any reports put out by the IPCC or the NAS.

What McIntyre and McKitrick wrote is "At the panel ..." implying they had some interaction with the panel. They clearly claim that the panel agreed with McIntyre's and McKitrick's critiques of Mann's work. If you have something you can point to that indicates they're falsifying this, I'd be interested in seeing it. If you don't, I will accept McIntyre's and McKitrick's report - as well as anyone else should.
quote:
Originally posted by Everard:
What the NAS is saying is that the conclusions reached by Mann are reached in a variety of ways, thus his conclusions are stronger then if they had only been reached via one method. This is not "consensus science"

The NAS is saying is that the conclusions reached by Mann are valid despite the fatal flaws only because similar conclusions are reached by others whose theories are believed correct. In other words, the prevailing wisdom is that Mann should be correct, therefore he is despite the significant shortcomings in his research. This is consensus science.

That the hockey stick graph by Mann is invalid (the NAS panel said it was impossible to put confidence intervals on Mann's results - how does a statistical ananlysis not have confidence intervals?) does not invalidate that global warming is occuring. It only proves that Mann was out to get evidence to fit his theory instead of letting the evidence refine (or even disprove) his theory.
 
Posted by Wayward Son (Member # 210) on :
 
Although I have not read this link (I don't have time to get deeply into global warming right now), it should add some fire to the debate. [Smile]
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
Here's a little more to confuse the global warming faithful. One of the bigger claims is that global warming is causing a rise is sea surface temperatures which will, in turn, result in larger and more devastating hurricanes. I believe this is one of the major points in Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" (I read that in a review, perhaps someone that has seen it can verify it for me).

The problem with the theory is that it's falling apart this year. For tropical storms, this year (statistically speaking) is just below normal. We should have seen an average of 1.5 hurricanes by now but we've seen none. Current predictions are that there will be only 12 to 15 named storms by December, only half of what we saw last year. Based on what we're seeing now, things are really going to have to pick up to hit even those reduced numbers.

Why is this happening? Part of it is because tropical western Atlantic sea surface temperatures are running about normal, if not slightly below normal. But that's not all, in a research paper being published next month in Geophysical Research Letters, scientists will show that between 2003 and 2005, globally averaged temperatures in the upper ocean cooled rather dramatically, effectively erasing 20% of the warming that occurred over the previous 48 years. That's a global decline, not just western Atlantic.

Here's another part of the story, the atmosphere is more stable because of clouds of Saharan dust that have swept across the Atlantic. I wonder how many computer models predicting hurricanes (or global warming for that matter) this year took Saharan dust into account?
 
Posted by kenmeer livermaile (Member # 2243) on :
 
FJIC, you dont need to make any rude comments.

Read: just another 4-letter word?
 
Posted by hobsen (Member # 2923) on :
 
Climate trends are in principle impossible to determine in the present; we can only know what happened fifty years later. In fairly recent history we had a warm spell around the near 900, when the Vikings reached North America, and a cold one about the time of Henry VIII - has anyone theorized that the Little Ice Age was why he needed six wives? Anyway the explosion of Tambora in 1815 made 1816 the year without a summer, in which an unfortunate in I believe Rhode Island froze to death in a blizzard on the 4th of July. But that year, and probably several after, were a glitch in a general warming trend which has endured to the present.

So we never can know. The cooling you report is probably just a wiggle, but it may be the beginning of a new ice age. Wait fifty years and see. What is clear is that we have released huge volumes of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, which should tend to make the planet warmer. But other things may be going on as well.
 
Posted by Jon Camp (Member # 192) on :
 
Source with some interesting comments (scroll down)

quote:
A very important new Geophysical Research Letters Paper has been accepted for publication. It is entitled “Recent Cooling of the Upper Ocean” by J.M. Lyman, J.K. Willis, and G. C. Johnson.

...

The Climate Science weblog will discuss the importance of this paper in more detail in a later weblog. However, the reported over 20% loss of upper ocean heat content between 2003 and 2005, which had accumulated between 1955 and 2003, is a very important observational finding. According to the paper, this cooling corresponds to -1.0 (+/- 0.3) W/meter squared global radiative imbalance over this time period.

This is a significant observation, which has important climate science implications as has been discussed in the Climate Science weblog of August 8, 2006. None of the multi-decadal global climate models predicted such a cooling.

The explanation of the cooling will be the focus intense research (and speculation) in the coming months.

(emphasis mine)

Yes -- NONE of the global climate model predicted this cooling. Not. One.

But we're supposed to accept on faith that these models can accurately predict events 20, 50, or 100 years out?

Edit to add: Here's a PDF Document of the draft of the paper.

[ August 21, 2006, 05:33 AM: Message edited by: Jon Camp ]
 
Posted by philnotfil (Member # 1881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jon Camp:

But we're supposed to accept on faith that these models can accurately predict events 20, 50, or 100 years out?

[/QB]

Yes, as long as they support what you want people to believe [Smile]
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
Well, what effect are global anomolies having? And can we count on global anomolies to continue to happen in such a way as to offset the extra heat we are keeping in the atmosphere?

If the cooling in the upper regions of the atlantic ocean is really because of large quantities of excess dust in the atmosphere blocking out heat from reaching the ocean, that doesn't tell us that other forcings in the climate models are wrong... it tells us that a forcing was left out.
 
Posted by javelin (Member # 1284) on :
 
And perhaps even more forcing were left out, making the whole model suspect? No duh.
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
The model might be wrong, (although several climate models have been pretty darn accurate over the last 15 years) but the whole model isn't suspect if the models use correct forcings. Just the predictions won't be accurate, which is different then saying the model is suspect. But I think the question is really "are humans causing the climate to change in ways that might be very destructive." The first part of that is a forcing, and the second part of it is in part going to be dependent on freak things happening.
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Everard:
Well, what effect are global anomolies having? And can we count on global anomolies to continue to happen in such a way as to offset the extra heat we are keeping in the atmosphere?

Good questions, I don't think anyone, anywhere has those answers yet. Can we even call these anomolies? How often over the past 1000 years has Saharan dust affected tropical storm formation? how often have the oceans cooled so dramatically over the last millenia? I would be astonished if anyone has accurate data on the first and mildly suprised on the latter.
quote:
Originally posted by Everard:

If the cooling in the upper regions of the atlantic ocean is really because of large quantities of excess dust in the atmosphere blocking out heat from reaching the ocean, that doesn't tell us that other forcings in the climate models are wrong... it tells us that a forcing was left out.

I don't think the dust caused the ocean cooling but was responsible for the atmospheric stability that has inhibited storm formation this hurricane season. If significant factors like these are left out, then the models are not correct.
 
Posted by javelin (Member # 1284) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Everard:
The model might be wrong, (although several climate models have been pretty darn accurate over the last 15 years) but the whole model isn't suspect if the models use correct forcings. Just the predictions won't be accurate, which is different then saying the model is suspect. But I think the question is really "are humans causing the climate to change in ways that might be very destructive." The first part of that is a forcing, and the second part of it is in part going to be dependent on freak things happening.

I don't have the answer. I'd rather be safe then sorry. But surely you see that when the predictions fail, then people are going to view the conclusions with even greater skepticism, and it's going to make people less interested in pursuing expensive solutions?
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
"I don't think the dust caused the ocean cooling but was responsible for the atmospheric stability that has inhibited storm formation this hurricane season."

Dust in the atmosphere does have a known cooling effect on the planet.

We'll likely never be able to predict very far in advance when big volcanic explosions will happen, nor other anomolies, and by anomoly here, I mean something that happens regularly but not periodically, and with less frequency then once a decade. These sorts of events are always going to screw up climate models, because they have an effect on climate, but can't be put into a model because it would only be guesswork.

What we can do is try to understand the predictable forcings, insert some anomolous events that are likely to happen, and look at the predicted results.

If we are getting fewer hurricanes this year because of extra dust in the atmosphere, thats good. Its also good if its offsetting some of the warming that is taking place in the oceans. Stable ocean temperatures are fun for everyone. But if the long term forcings are still towards continual growth in surface ocean temperatures, that will mean more storms of a severe nature, and we shouldn't ignore that because we get lucky with anomolous events that effect the earth's atmosphere.
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
" But surely you see that when the predictions fail, then people are going to view the conclusions with even greater skepticism, and it's going to make people less interested in pursuing expensive solutions?"

Yup, and its my job as a scientist to understand and explain why the predictions failed. And if the explanation is "Well, we got lucky," to try to make other people understand that even if the results of the model do not match the results in nature, that the basic nature of the model is still correct.

If we really do come across evidence that the models are systematically wrong, then its also my job to communicate that.
 
Posted by javelin (Member # 1284) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Everard:
" But surely you see that when the predictions fail, then people are going to view the conclusions with even greater skepticism, and it's going to make people less interested in pursuing expensive solutions?"

Yup, and its my job as a scientist to understand and explain why the predictions failed. And if the explanation is "Well, we got lucky," to try to make other people understand that even if the results of the model do not match the results in nature, that the basic nature of the model is still correct.

If we really do come across evidence that the models are systematically wrong, then its also my job to communicate that.

Well done, then. [Smile] I assume, by the way, that this will end up effecting the predictions in the model, and that the model will be updated, right?

[ August 21, 2006, 11:24 AM: Message edited by: javelin ]
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
I would assume so, if the dust really is doing something. The more accurate models tend to randomly put in volcanic erruptions and such.
 
Posted by flydye45 (Member # 2004) on :
 
Ev, at what point does the selection of the forcings input into the model to "predict" past conditions leave the realm of purely predictive and go into "creating" the results you already know?

For example, we know (reasonably well) what the weather was in the Fifties. I assume the programing used to predict the future are fine tuned to determine how well it predicted the past. But with a near infinite number of variables, or forcings (I assume), how do we know that we are no longer selecting variables by their predictive nature and just trying to get the right results from the Fifties?
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
We know very specifically what a lot of different forcings do. Models are generally created using the factors that we know exist, not based on past results, but on what we know about how those factors interact within the climate system. For example, some of the good models have volcanic erruptions in them, because we know that an erruption of sufficient size creates a cooling effect by reflecting solar energy that would otherwise enter the system. We more or less know how this works, so when volcanic erruptions appear in models, we can accurately predict what the effect will be.
 
Posted by Redskullvw (Member # 188) on :
 
Here is my take.

30 years ago when I was still in grade shool, when we went over climate, the #1 problem was "GLOBAL COOLING"and by the time Sagan came up with the Nuclear Winter senario, everyone was convinced that we would freeze to death either slowly, or in a fast manner after the nuclear war between the east and west. One reason why Sagan's view on nuclear winter was so shocking was, that prior to his theory that a nuclear event could signifigantly cool the climate, several scientists were actually proposing that Global Cooling could be corrected by setting off nuclear bombs in stategic eco-zones that would also allow for sudden flowering of regons like Antartica and the African Sahara.

That was 30 years ago. Back when all the data seemed to indicate that we were headed into a new mini Ice Age.

Fact is we may, and possibly do have an effect on global climate. But when a single volcanic erruption releases more sulfates and complex carbon compounds in 1 minute than all the automobiles on Earth do in an entire year, you have to begin wondering exactly how important we are to the equation.We should behave as boyscouts, tread as lightly as possible, and leave the land as we came upon it originally. But having spent the first 30 years of my life being told by the most informed scientists that we faced Global Cooling, pardon me if I am just a bit skepticle that they now believe we face Global Warming.
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 2763) on :
 
I'd thought that the volcano aspect was debunked long ago.

quote:
Volcanic activity has the ability to affect global climate on still longer time scales. Over periods of millions or even tens of millions of
years, increased volcanic activity can emit enormous volumes of greenhouse gases, with the potential of substantial global warming (Pickering & Owen, 1994; Rampino & Volk, 1988). However, the global cooling effects of sulphur dioxide emissions (Officer & Drake, 1983) will act to counter the greenhouse warming, and the resultant climate changes remain uncertain.

http://www.gaspig.com/volcano.htm
 
Posted by vulture (Member # 84) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by flydye45:
Ev, at what point does the selection of the forcings input into the model to "predict" past conditions leave the realm of purely predictive and go into "creating" the results you already know?

For example, we know (reasonably well) what the weather was in the Fifties. I assume the programing used to predict the future are fine tuned to determine how well it predicted the past. But with a near infinite number of variables, or forcings (I assume), how do we know that we are no longer selecting variables by their predictive nature and just trying to get the right results from the Fifties?

Any half-way competent modeller would calibrate their model on one set of data (say the fifties), and then test its validity by comparing the same model on other sets of data (the sixties and seventies). Just 'cos the past is known, does't mean you use all the data to calibrate the model. Obviously if you do that you have no way to check whether the model actually has any predictive power, without waiting for another few decades.

quote:
Everard wrote:

We know very specifically what a lot of different forcings do. Models are generally created using the factors that we know exist, not based on past results, but on what we know about how those factors interact within the climate system. For example, some of the good models have volcanic erruptions in them, because we know that an erruption of sufficient size creates a cooling effect by reflecting solar energy that would otherwise enter the system. We more or less know how this works, so when volcanic erruptions appear in models, we can accurately predict what the effect will be.

If you can model volcanoes accurately (note the conditional) then you have several options for making predictions about the future. One is to put in a random, historically reasonable rate of volcanic activity. Another is to fix volcanic activity at various levels and test out different scenarios. The aim isn't always to predict the future exactly (obviously not possible with random events like volcanoes anyway), but to see which ranges of possibilities are acceptable and which aren't.

To take a completely fictional and hopelessly-unrepresentative-of-reality example, suppose that chemical X in concentration C1 in the atmosphere in simulations shows that while everything is stable and happy in normal conditions, one eruption is enough to kick the system into a new and rather fatal equilibrium. Meanwhile simulations with concentration C2 (lower than C1) show that the system is stable no matter the level of volcanic activity (at least until way past the point where avoiding death by pyroclastic flow and lava is more of a problem than climate change). You can use that as a tool to determine what concentrations of X are safe given various levels of volcanic activity, and make policy accordingly. Nothing in this actually requires you to know the future of volcanoes with any reliability.

Now I imagine that the state of climate modelling bears almost no resemblance to that, but the point is that even when there are random events we can't predict, we can still use models to determine the sensitivity of the system to a number of factors given a range of possible scenarios, which can (in theory) allow you to determine the level of risk for a given policy. Which would be useful.
 
Posted by Redskullvw (Member # 188) on :
 
Proving my comment's validity. 30 years ago, volcanic emissions were seen as being not very important to causing Global Cooling, yet the sulpher dioxide emissions from all our automobiles was going to cause the entire Canadian forrests to turn into dead twigs. Now of course we "know" that volcanic emissions can do nothing to the climate patterns, but we also "know" that even though the annual total emissions from our vehicles, though drawfed by even a single volcanic event, are the single most important cause of Global Warming.

Odd isn't it that current research debunks the ammounts of volcanic emissions because they are balanced out in the long term by the sulpher based emissions. Yet now we operate vehicles without sulpher additives to prevent sulpher dioxide getting into the atmosphere.

WAIT!

To have the same net effect as a volcano, all we need do is restore sulpher additives to our fossil fueled automobiles and switch all our coal powered plants back to high sulpher coals.
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 2763) on :
 
quote:
...the annual total emissions from our vehicles, though drawfed by even a single volcanic event...
Source?

quote:
Gerlach (1991) estimated a total global release of 3-4 x 10E12 mol/yr from volcanoes. This is a conservative estimate. Man-made (anthropogenic) CO2 emissions overwhelm this estimate by at least 150 times.
quote:
In an average year, volcanoes release only 13% of the sulfur added to the atmosphere compared to anthropogenic sources. Andres and Kasgnoc (1997) noted that the bulk of the anthropogenic flux is located in the northern hemisphere while volcanic fluxes occur in much more focused belts around the world.
http://volcano.und.edu/vwdocs/Gases/man.html
 
Posted by Redskullvw (Member # 188) on :
 
That is my point Matt. Depending on what you choose to source, can make the volcanic activity responsibile for 99% of all greenhouse gas emissions, or only responsible for 1%. And the same gets bandied about by human causality estimates. According to some scientists and studdieds, man accounts for 99% of the Greenhouse gases. While others state it only accounts for 1%.

In the time I have been on Ornery I have seen so many referenced sources by the opposing views to have left me with the rather clear perception that neither side has anywhere near the data needed to even begin supporting their theories, yet neither side wants to give an inch. Someone will cite a study that says solar activity is to blame, and immediately the other side has just as conclusive a study to reference that solar activity has absolutely nothing to do with anyhing climate related at all.

I used to get real into this argument. Back when Kyoto was being ratified and or debated, I suddenly realized that the issue cannot be debated. Common sense tells you we imact the environment. Common sense tells me we cannot control solar radiation and geologic activity that also must have some sort of climatic effect. Common sense tells me, we should be as environmentally neutral as possible simply because we don't yet have a clue as to how little or how much we impact the climatic process. Both tsides of the argument either absolutely hold that we have no impact at all that can be negated or that we have such an impact even if we act to negate it our fate is already sealed.

Fact is both sides have maybe 20% of the data needed and never bother to attempt to correlate the data or actually conduct studies designed to simply get unbiased data so that some clear cut answers can come about.

My personal perspective is that in 40 years we have gone from;

A. thinking we had no impact,
B. to we need to pass all the environmental laws we can or else we all die by Y2K,
C. Further troubled by Skylab providing proof that solar output is crashing and we are going to all feeze in 20 years,
D. to let's set off strategicly placed nuclear explosives in deserts and seabeds to counter-act Global Cooling,
E. to Gee the environment is already quatitatively and qualitatively better after 20 years of clean air and water acts,
F. to if we detonate a single above ground nuclear device we would possibly create Global Warming,
G. to my god the sun is going to essentially evaporate everything but the oceans during the next Solar Max,
H. The climate is doomed to become so wet that Holland will disappear,
I. to My god all the evidence seems to indicate all of Africa will be a dessert by 2010,
J. to my god it must be Global Warming caused by CFC's depleting the Ozone and causing all the glacial ices to melt,
K. to gee we cut all the gases we thought produced climate change and see no result,
L. to ah its not the gasses we emitted but El Nino that has caused the problem which we have indirectly caused by altering global wind patterns due to massive cities creating their own micro climates,
M. to Oh wait the water isn't going to rise sinking holland, rather more H2O is being trapped above the troposhpere which results in La Nina'
N. to OMG if the industrialized would doesnt cut all its greenhouse gasses by 75% to compensate for the developing world, the globalen vironment will raise by 1 degree average temperature per year until we all die of heat exposure by 2020.

ETC

And I have seen these arguments played out over and over until I get to the point that I want to go to my windo, open it and shout as loud as I can "I'm MAD as Hell and I'm not going totake it anymore!"

Common sense we have to have an impact. Common sense we should do as much as we can to minimize our impact. Common sense also states that we shouldn't cut off our noses to spite our face to eliminate every conceivable impact we might have. The evidence seems to be completely inconclusive because current data can either seem to point to humans having no/negligable/absolute total impact on the climate.

Do so real, unbaised study. Look at solar activity in depth. Look as Mars and Venus as predictors. Measure emissions, study local micro climates. Get better tools out into the feild. Study the problem enough so that it can become clear enough to define in a predictive manner and see if what it predicts will happen does happen.

That is my point. 40 years of data and no one, has yet to state the argument well enough to have been even proven right in the short term. Remeber, according to the best scientists of my day, right now I should be either roasting to death, drowning in melted glacial water, freezing to death in an atmosphere devoid of humidity, or stricken with total body skin cancer due to a vanished ozone layer. Everyone of those things was championed as absoultely factual as the current Global warming theory is, and some of them were thought to be totally proven as factual for decades. Now according to Al Gore by the turn of the century everything predicted by each of the climate models of the past 4 deacades will come true at the same time unless we suddenly stop using any fuels of any type at all.

So frankly this thread's mountains of citations for either side, as well as the 20 odd threads from the last 4 years on Ornery pretty much coninces me of one thing.

ABSOLUTELY NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THE HELL THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT!

So providing citations that meet an argument's criterea is pointless because someone else will surely provide the exact opposite data with just as many scientific dedentials as your source had.
 
Posted by Kent (Member # 832) on :
 
I love you Red! (In a very brotherly way of course.) You make me want to read all your posts.
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
"That is my point Matt. Depending on what you choose to source, can make the volcanic activity responsibile for 99% of all greenhouse gas emissions, or only responsible for 1%"

Again, can you please source your claim here?
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 2763) on :
 
Red, I don't disagree with your philosophy, I just took issue with the volcano statement and asked for clarification which you have not provided. If you believe the effect of volcanos is ambiguous, you certainly didn't give that impression in your first post.
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 2763) on :
 
And since when did the fact that authorities disagree become an excuse for not providing sources? That seems more like an excuse for not HAVING sources.
 
Posted by Redskullvw (Member # 188) on :
 
Paul

dont get so trite. go look at old threads if you want. I have seen it argued both ways by people here on this fourum. And again that is my point. How the heck do you expect your audience to have a clue as to what side is even being scientific if both of them seem to be providing equally valid proof.

Eg last thread this came up had one side attributing solar output was a cyclic process that accounts for the observable rise and fall of average historical temperatures, meaning all currently observed temerature rises was due to solar activity not mhuman activity. The source cited was a NASA solar flare and solar max study. The other side countered that the same exact data from the same exact frigging web page at NASA also could be used to prove that solar output had absoulely nothing to do with historical temperature trends, meaning the currently observed historical temperature trends must be the result of human activity.

And that was one source with the same data simultaneously proving and disproving human causality in global warming.

So I as a read of these stupid global climate change threads get people essentially being parisan hacks, and when I question them on it I am automaticlly some sort of sourcesless idiot.

I am not the one with the problem of sourcing data here. Its the rest of you people who have spent the last 4 years sourcing and counter sourcing the same data, often from the same authors and the same reports and studies, and NOT ONE OF YOU HAS EVER STOPPED AND SAID "GEE THIS SCIENTIST SEEMS TO BE TALKING OUT BOTH SIDES OF HIS MOUTH"

I am telling you as a simple reader, and non-participant in this debate for 4 years, none of you have ever stopped to look and see why it is all your data seems to point to wildly different conclusions. N ormally hen that happens someone asks the question why does all the data conflict? Instead evryone is debating via source vs counter-source my data is better than your data. But none of you has come to any relization that the data doesn't support any of you whether it comes from a polar weather station or a Nasa probe in the solar wind.

It is not I who have argued that volcanoes do or dont have an effect. I have seen many of you on this site argue with complete certitudet that your sources conclusively prove volcano emmissions to be either 1005 causal or 100% non-causal with the same data and often the same researchers. That cannot logically be valid.

The data may be 100% correct. But none of you seem to notice that the conclusions have been really ambiguous every time you cite and counter cite different reports using the same data.

Frankly neither side has offered a shred of believable proof of concept either way. Four years ago I was pretty much someone who thought gobal warming wasn't a true climatic issue. Then I saw no one could offer any reasonable and logical proof either way/ What's more each poster seemed to depend upon citing data from friendly intermediaries. And not a single one of you could even convince me what the issue is or what the theory of environmental change/stasis could be developed to even test it on a computer model.

I have a baby hanging off my hip right now.

All I am saying is that for 40 years the theory has pretty much changed each decade, like a scientific fashion show. And in the nearly 6 years I have been here each time this debate pops up, I become even less convinced anyone has a clue as to how to even identify if there is a problem.

I guess what I was trying to point at at the top of this thread is that whether it is solar output, human action, butterfly migration, or the priice of tea in China, the argument over global warming has gone nowhere because the dataset availible simply sucks, yet you all seem to think it completely proves your personal point of veiw. Thats not science, or even scientific debate.

anyway I get to change a diaper and wonder if infant sourced methan is dooming me to either global cooling or warming. And yes someone, Cedrios I think , onnce posted a source providing data that the largest single component of human produced greenhouse gases was infant rectums and degrading diapers.

I remain unconvinced and will continue allowing my kid to fart and use a diaper.
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 2763) on :
 
Red,

1) I don't believe I've participated in any previous climate-related threads on Ornery.

2) You did, in fact, state "a single volcanic erruption releases more sulfates and complex carbon compounds in 1 minute than all the automobiles on Earth do in an entire year"

3) Believing that the preponderance of scientific evidence contradicts this claim, I asked for a source.

4) You... um, I don't know what you did. Went off on a tangent about what really matters, or something.

If you made an error in your initial post, just say so. I don't see how all this handwaving about past threads and such is relevant.
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
"dont get so trite. go look at old threads if you want."

I haven't seen the data you are talking about, red. That doesn't mean it wasn't, but with my memory and the quantity of these threads, I may have missed it.

"Eg last thread this came up had one side attributing solar output was a cyclic process that accounts for the observable rise and fall of average historical temperatures, meaning all currently observed temerature rises was due to solar activity not mhuman activity."

Yes, and then links were provided demonstrating that this process can't account for the last 50 years or so ( I forget the exact number of years).

"And that was one source with the same data simultaneously proving and disproving human causality in global warming."

Nope. That data conclusively demonstrated that solar output couldn't account for the global temperature change in recent years, although it was a strong predictor for the previous 1000.

"and when I question them on it I am automaticlly some sort of sourcesless idiot."

Well, when you make a numerical claim, and someone asks you to source it, it does help to have the source handy or be able to find it quickly. That isn't to say your argument is less valid, but that its less persuassive.

"I am not the one with the problem of sourcing data here. Its the rest of you people who have spent the last 4 years sourcing and counter sourcing the same data, often from the same authors and the same reports and studies, and NOT ONE OF YOU HAS EVER STOPPED AND SAID "GEE THIS SCIENTIST SEEMS TO BE TALKING OUT BOTH SIDES OF HIS MOUTH""

Because they aren't. Some scientists have changed their position over the last decade, but they aren't saying two contradictory things in the same time frame. Again, can you please provide an example?

"I am telling you as a simple reader, and non-participant in this debate for 4 years, none of you have ever stopped to look and see why it is all your data seems to point to wildly different conclusions."

You've been participating. Mostly making this same claim over and over again, and its a claim that I find to be problematic because it rests on the assumption that our understanding of data, 30 years ago, is as good as our understanding of hundreds of times more data, with 30 years more experience.

I also disagree that the data points to wildly different conclusions. Taken aggregetely, there is only one scientific conclusion. Thats why you don't see scientific articles published in peer reviewed journals by people in the relevent fields claiming that humans don't have an impact.

Thats a highly qualified statement, but relevent... if you don't have all the data in front of you, your analysis is not as good as someone who has all the data in front of him.
 
Posted by Redskullvw (Member # 188) on :
 
Paul
The point is that the datat cannot support both ends of the idea at once. I got out of threads pretty quick when I realized that the nature of these threads took a doctorate often to even understand. My point is that when there is a discrepency and its so obvious even I can see it, neither side even questions it.

Thats the point.

What the heck are you guys even debating about? It should be a foregone conclusion we develop our economies, cultures, and technologies to be as productive and environmentally freindly/neutral as possible. If there is indeed global warming, then we would be best served to behave in this sane manner. If there isn't global warming, it would still be the fundamentally sne way to conduct our business as well.

I just dont get the argument, or rather any reason for an argument either way as to global warming, global nothing, or global cooling. It seems to make sense to me to act like sane humans and use resources as efficiently as possible. Kyoto sucks in my oppinion because it basiclly says to America "You do all the counter polution stuff, while the rest of us keep behaving like we always have" But certainly i wouldnt be too hard to convince the world more efficient is better even if the earth never changes a single degree in temperature?

I knew this would be a tar baby thread for me.
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
"The point is that the datat cannot support both ends of the idea at once."

Yup. It doesn't. But a lot of republicans would have you believe it does, and they pay people a lot of money to write that the data supports non-scientific conclusions.

"What the heck are you guys even debating about?"

Well, a lot of scientists see a tipping point coming. That if we dont do something really soon, there'll be too much damage coming that we can't do anything to prevent.

" Kyoto sucks in my oppinion because it basiclly says to America "You do all the counter polution stuff, while the rest of us keep behaving like we always have""

Didn't say that. Kyoto was flawed, but it wasnt targeted at just the US. Also hit all of europe, for example.

[ August 25, 2006, 04:49 PM: Message edited by: Everard ]
 
Posted by javelin (Member # 1284) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
And since when did the fact that authorities disagree become an excuse for not providing sources? That seems more like an excuse for not HAVING sources.

I'm with you Matt. Red generally, however, doesn't provide sources.
 
Posted by Redskullvw (Member # 188) on :
 
Jav
because most of the time I am either expressing my own viewpoint, or offering a viewpoint based upon my expertise as an historian or anthropologist. I dont post brief blurbs about a link or source saying "neato look what I found" Moreover, when I do say something like say "Stalingrad was a crucible for the Gs links. We simply were more interested in what you thought personally or what you thought should be debated.

To be honest, if you really want to check facts there is more than enough ersorces for anyone to do it. It is simply understood by me that when people make what appears to be a factual statement anyone can dispute it if they want. And if hey feel so compelled to demand a source they can. But read the fourm rules prety carefully, this site was never intended to see who could link the most sources. Rather it was intended to be a place where we discussour own unique oppinions and support those oppinions with logical, valid and as informed an argument as was needed to get the point accross so that others could either agree, disagree, or offer counter arguments.

I'll be real honest if your idea is simply links to someone elses works, it really isn't that interesting. And if the facs of an issue are really unclear an appeal to Letterip's search expertise is usually all that is needed to provide multile unbiased sources.

You really did not get my original post so let me rephrase it.

"You all seem to post conflicting data and sources, seemingly talk over each other, and simply obscure what is even being debated or why. So badly that those of us reading these Global Warming threads can pick and choose dozens of conflicting datsets from the same sources, and support or disprove your point of view at the same time. It reduces even the participants in these threads to claiming that any data descrepencies are directly attributable to evil republicans and evil democrats who want to hoodwink science and common community alike for political gain. That leaves those of us in the middle of the argument without a single shred of logical basis upon which to even make an educated guess as to what is or is not happening"

That I think reduces my point of view to a degree of clarity originally not obtained by me simply because my kid was cutting teeth at almost 1 in the morning and I was too distracted to even review my post.

Or shoud I send you a photograph of his new teeth proving my distraction?
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 2763) on :
 
"a single volcanic erruption releases more sulfates and complex carbon compounds in 1 minute than all the automobiles on Earth do in an entire year" is not presented as a statement of opinion.

I just want to understand where that sentence came from. You heard it somewhere? Read it somewhere? Made it up? What?

Why are you dodging this very simple question?
 
Posted by Redskullvw (Member # 188) on :
 
Matt

Look a couple of years back, maybe longer and quite possibly on the one of the first threads on this topic, the debate raged over whether volcanos were even a factor; whether they were the primary natural cause of greenhouse gasses; whether they were to be discounted because they were simply natural background events that had always occurred meaning that their emissions should be baseline data; whether even a volcano would even have an impact; and what some modern data suggests between a volcanic eruption and automobile emissions.

After the debate you could have factually supported the argument that they had absolutely zero causality for greenhouse gasses.

You could have also supported that aside from animals like cattle fartting, volcanic emission was the number one green house gas source.

You could have also supported with data the view that although they can cause temporary greenhouse emissions, since much of it went into the highest reaches of the atmosphere it could only have a temporary effect, if any at all, even though an eruption might expel the equivalent of an entire years worth of man made automobile emissions.

You could also have supported with the data the idea that volcanic eruptions accounted for not even 1% of all green house gasses because natural agents almost immediately neutralize the danger, and that automobiles accounted for the main sources of all greenhouse gasses.

And you even could have supported with the data presented that almost the entire greenhouse gas sourcing was the result of man made activities and of those activities, automobiles accounted for 90% of the gasses.

To which I posed the question that if that were true, then how could volcanic eruptions account for only 1% of all greenhouse gasses, yet automobiles account for 90% of not only all greenhouse gases but also 90% of all man made sources, and still have room for the agribusiness sourcing of all greenhouse gases at at least 25% of all known sources man made or otherwise.

To which everyone suddenly stuck to their favorite theory and re adjusted the percentages of source origins for the gases.

To which I quipped the situation that according to half of you, volcanos contribute 1% of gasses vs 90% from cars. Half of you claim a single volcano emits an entire years worth of all the automobile emissions and as such completely dwarfs any impact we might have on green house gases. And half of the rest of the people claimed not only was the issue that volcanos and automobiles were a problem, but that farming practices were going to send us past the tipping point because so many animals were sitting around farting.

Thats right, 3 halves, three theories, and every single party thought the data backed their view up exclusively.

And it lead to my changing of my view that global warming wasn't happening. It changed to not only is global warming a complete crack-pot question, but also absolutely no one knows what the sources are, may be, or even if anything can possibly be done. If a single volcano can erupt and pump a years worth of automobile emissions into the air, what frigging difference would driving exclusively solar cars make? That is right people nothing. So since we apparently could not do anything to even control the natural sources, I personally decided the best thing to do is act like a responsible human and reduce, re-use, recycle, buy the most efficient mechanical appliances and cars, seek out technologies that reduce my personal impact on the planet, and hope for the best. Mostly because when even a bunch of very skilled Ornery posters can't agree on even the basic data, the issue is probably so complex even most scientists couldn't understand it.

So the first post on page 3 made by me was an oblique reference to a thread that didn't survive the first switch, is probably remembered by only a few currently active posters, and was this poster's way of alluding to the thread and the fact that even though a few years have gone by, absolutely nothing is even agreed upon where this topic is concerned and that maybe my attitude of "You can't do a damn thing about the macro system anyway" was possibly still the best answer to everything that has been discussed. As had been pointed out by someone long ago, <and possibly in error>, if mother nature can spew out more greenhouse gasses in a single volcanic eruption, what difference would it make if all we used was solar powered cars instead of gasoline power cars?

Ultimately nothing.

AND NOW I AM GOING INTO THE BRIAR PATCH---DO NOT FOLLOW.
 
Posted by LetterRip (Member # 310) on :
 
Red,

I'd typed quite a bit of response and then canned it. You've repeated claims about the data supporting any claim, that various concerns have been trumpeted by the scientific community over the past 40 years and that those claims have been cries of wolf.

I don't think you have the knowledge to claim anything about what scientists believed, were concerned about or reported over the past 40 years. At best you have a collection of memories about what newspapers or environmentalists claimed scientists said.

quote:
That is my point. 40 years of data and no one, has yet to state the argument well enough to have been even proven right in the short term. Remeber, according to the best scientists of my day, right now I should be either roasting to death, drowning in melted glacial water, freezing to death in an atmosphere devoid of humidity, or stricken with total body skin cancer due to a vanished ozone layer.
Your memories mislead you, even the nonhyperbolic version is a false representation. The only one that appears to have actually been supported by the 'best scientists of the day' in the nonhyperbolic form is the concern over ozone depletion which, had CFCs not been regulated out of usage would have had a drastic increase.

quote:

After the debate you could have factually supported the argument that they had absolutely zero causality for greenhouse gasses.

There has never been any support of a claim that volcanoes have no climatic impact on this website, and it certainly could not have been 'factually supported'. Heck I don't even think you could find a cracked pot theory web page to make a claim such as that.

quote:
o which I posed the question that if that were true, then how could volcanic eruptions account for only 1% of all greenhouse gasses, yet automobiles account for 90% of not only all greenhouse gases but also 90% of all man made sources, and still have room for the agribusiness sourcing of all greenhouse gases at at least 25% of all known sources man made or otherwise.
Unless you actually link to a thread that has that, I'm going to have to go with the theory you are confusing your imagination with reality. I certainly have never seen a thread on Ornery with utterly bizarre claims about the environmental contributions.

LetterRip
 
Posted by Redskullvw (Member # 188) on :
 
Lr thats my point I remeber what was talked about at the time. When I was really little it was global cooling. Then the CFC crap and all the rest. My point is that this is one debate topic where I pretty much had to bow out because the argument went beyond the ecsoteric resulting in a lot of posters over the year being able to make so many counter claims AND seemingly support them with scientific data that I frankly came to the conclusion that either I can't read or am simply to stupid to see the obvious arguments all of you have collectively made.

All I can compare it to is being in grade school and having Skylab astronauts come to my science class and explain how skylab's experiments had supported the theory that the earth was in danger of Global Cooling. That was maybe 25 years ago, so maybe you can understand my sketicism.

And you know the actual specifc % points may be off LR but thats the central point of why these damn threads have moved beyond the ridiculous. I remeber people making those very arguments and reading them and saying WTF?

So of course it was probably some contrarian like GlobalD/Cedrios posting such stuff but the issue remains that aside form being commonsensical and acting like a good boyscout camper, the data in these threads has been all over the place. Hell this very thread alone great place to start in the debnk department. I can firmly say I am convinced both sides of the argument are a hoax.

Somehow I think I am really not making myself clear.

its pointless. Anyone have a block by block extractor for a damaged hardrive they can let me borrow for a couple of weeks so I can get some really old threads off a dead drive?
 
Posted by Wayward Son (Member # 210) on :
 
quote:
Fact is both sides have maybe 20% of the data needed and never bother to attempt to correlate the data or actually conduct studies designed to simply get unbiased data so that some clear cut answers can come about.
Except there is a side that does this: they're called the working scientists.

It seems that your problem, Red, is that you've been listening to secondary sources. The primary sources in the scientific journals are the ones which analyze the data and try to make good predictions. Sure, there is some disagreement, but when a majority of those studying a subject agree on results, it is fairly certain that the current data backs up those conclusions.

So ignore the politicos on the left and right. Find out what the working climatologists actually say, and what they are actually arguing about/studying/gathering more data on. Those are the people you are looking for, Red.

And ignore the partisan sites, because they will only tend to twist the data to confuse you.
 
Posted by G2 (Member # 2942) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
"a single volcanic erruption releases more sulfates and complex carbon compounds in 1 minute than all the automobiles on Earth do in an entire year" is not presented as a statement of opinion.

I just want to understand where that sentence came from. You heard it somewhere? Read it somewhere? Made it up? What?

I googled volcano global warming and this is what I came up with:

Volcanoes contribute about 110 million tons/year [CO2], whereas other sources contribute about 10 billion tons/year. I think the 10 billion is all other sources combined but other sites claim this is from only man made sources. source


The 1991 eruption of Mt Pinatubo in the Philippines shot 14-26 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere which led to a global surface cooling of 0.5°C a year after the eruption. The climatic impact of the Pinatubo aerosol was stronger than the warming effects of either El Niño or human-induced greenhouse gas changes during 1991-93. To paraphrase, Pinatubo, in one instant, had more effect than all human activity for a 2 year period after the eruption. Source

In April of 1815 we had the cataclysmic eruption of Tambora Volcano in Indonesia, the most powerful eruption in recorded history. Tambora's volcanic cloud lowered global temperatures by as much as 3 degrees C. Even a year after the eruption, most of the northern hemisphere experienced sharply cooler temperatures during the summer months. In parts of Europe and in North America, 1816 was known as "the year without a summer." In New England, for example, frost occurred during each of the summer months in 1816. source

I don't know about the comparison to autombile exhaust although I do recall that somehere myself just as Red does. however, it is quite obvious that volcanic eruptions can cause sigificant, dramatic effects for a few years after the eruption. I think the jury is still out on those long term effects though.
 
Posted by LetterRip (Member # 310) on :
 
See realclimates paper on the climatic impact of volcanic eruptions, and what determines whether they will have significant impact on climate.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/05/current-volcanic-activity-and-climate/

LetterRip
 
Posted by Omega M. (Member # 1392) on :
 
Hey, OSC's going off against global warming again in his latest review column. It speaks for itself:
quote:
Ann Coulter's new book (which I haven't read) has a grossly inaccurate title: Godless: The Church of Liberalism. It may be true that liberalism does not accept the same God as religious conservatives. But they are certainly not godless.

How can you tell who someone's god is? You look to see whose name they invoke as the cause of all things, good or bad. By that standard, the god of the devout Left is Global Warming; here is the Psalm of Al, from which the faithful constantly quote (King James Version):

1. Great storms ravage our cities, and the wise man saith: Global Warming hath done this.

2. Drought keepeth all storms at bay, and the wise man saith: This also hath Global Warming done.

3. Global Warming maketh the oceans rise; it maketh deep snow to fall;

4. Flood and fire, feast and famine, typhoon and tornado, hail and lightning, all things good and bad that come from sky or sea, Global Warming hath made them all.

5. And when our homes are beneath the waves, we shall know that Global Warming in its wrath hath seen our sins.

6. For our vehicles that glut themselves on oil, for the trees we cut and land we clear,

7. For the cooling and heating of our houses, for the plowing and harvesting of our fields, we are punished.

8. Whenever we burn carbon and release it into the air, we shall know that Global Warming seeth it, and is wroth.

9. O man! Thou hast flouted the great god of the sky, and by three degrees of temperature we shall be burned,

10. For Global Warming is a jealous god, and small and annoying is man.

I wonder if he even saw Al Gore's movie.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
You know, that article of his commits pretty much every sin in the Ornery charter. And I'm not just talking about the global warming bit; even his review of Step Up indulges in the same nasty speculation.
 
Posted by javelin (Member # 1284) on :
 
Well, I'm sure the Mods would send him a nasty little email if he posted without following the rules here on Ornery. Maybe that's why he never visits his living room? [Wink]

[ August 30, 2006, 10:48 AM: Message edited by: javelin ]
 
Posted by Wayward Son (Member # 210) on :
 
Perhaps he is taking his cue from our Commander-in-Chief. He gladly agrees to the rules and laws; he just quietly adds a short paragraph exempting himself from them. [Smile]
 
Posted by joelaarhus (Member # 3076) on :
 
My thought is that if there is global warming. "which unfortunately not everyone agrees" what exactly can we do about it [url = http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html]water vapor[/url] even if it is possible to fix it basic nothing that we are currently doing will have much of an effect tell me if you know anything wrong with this article

headline of the article

Just how much of the "Greenhouse Effect" is caused by human activity?

It is about 0.28%, if water vapor is taken into account-- about 5.53%, if not.
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 2763) on :
 
Water vapor tends to amplify the effects of increases in other greenhouse gases, as small increases in heat cause the formation of more water vapor, causing a greater increase in heat.
 
Posted by Tom Curtis (Member # 2730) on :
 
Joel, from memory, without the natural greenhouse effect, the average global temperature would be around -15 degrees centigrade. Even the tropics would have the warm sunny climate of Greenland. So the 1 or 2 degree effect of human caused green house is only a small percentage of the total green house effect. BUT, that 1 or 2 degrees has a major, certainly harmfull and potentially disastrous, effect on climate. Afterall, the global temperature difference between rainforest at the south pole (which has happened) and sea level glaciers at the equator (which has also happened) is in the order of 10 to 20 degrees.

In the meantime, thinking we can ignore human caused greenhouse because its cumulative effect is small relative to the natural green house effect is as sensible as not turning of a heater in a small room in the tropics because its cumulative effect of 5 degrees on temperatures is pitifull compared to the cumulative natural effect of 300 degrees at the same location. (And believe me from experience, on a 35 degree centigrade day, you don't want to be 5 degrees warmer.)
 
Posted by veritasnoctis (Member # 3298) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Omega M.:
I wonder if he even saw Al Gore's movie.

Note that it's labelled a movie, not a documentary. I once had a fellow grad student defend Al Gore's exaggeration with the following: "Can't you at least appreciate Al Gore's flare for the dramatic? He has to get in the news somehow!"

[ December 07, 2006, 02:50 PM: Message edited by: veritasnoctis ]
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 2763) on :
 
quote:
Note that it's labelled a movie, not a documentary.
Um, yeah, because it can't be a movie and a documentary, or a movie and a comedy, or a movie and a drama...
 
Posted by veritasnoctis (Member # 3298) on :
 
Ah but documentary would be wildly inaccurate according to this definition of the term:


Movies, Television. based on or re-creating an actual event, era, life story, etc., that purports to be factually accurate and contains no fictional elements: a documentary life of Gandhi. (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=documentary)

Much of the "documentary" is irresponsible hyperbole masquerading as sound science.
 
Posted by MattP (Member # 2763) on :
 
A documentary can be wrong and even contain hyperbolic language and still be a documentary just as a movie can be a comedy but not be very funny or a drama that does not evoke any emotion. You might say it's not a very good documentary, but it's still a documentary.

The distinction you originally made between "movie" and "documentary" is a false one.
 
Posted by seekingprometheus (Member # 3043) on :
 
By the way, veritas--welcome to ornery, where you are (as Matt has so obligingly pointed out) wrong.
 
Posted by KnightEnder (Member # 992) on :
 
Yeah, welcome to OA truth. What's noctis?

KE
 
Posted by seekingprometheus (Member # 3043) on :
 
It means "of the night," Knight. As in nocturnal.
 
Posted by The Drake (Member # 2128) on :
 
Zombie Thread!

One pitchfork and one torch each, please. No shoving, there are plenty for everyone.
 
Posted by Tom Curtis (Member # 2730) on :
 
Veritas, would you care to list the inaccuraccies in Al Gore's lecture?

Or is it just an item of faith with you that it is inaccurate?
 
Posted by h jacob buller (Member # 3458) on :
 
Old thread pile, and everyone's throwing their own load on it. I may as well add mine.

I think that there is too much intellect going towards determinations and pontifications. Global Warming has replaced Bush as the intellectual's masturbatory discussion. What's the real problem? Society as a whole has become complacent, seduced and lulled to sleep by media Sirens. We are wrong to think that it is going to stay like it is. How it changes, well now, that's the real question isn't it?

Rather than espouse personal considerations and debate what is fact and what isn't, start thinking about survival for those you care for, for the next hundred years.

Trying to explain global warming is like trying to explain god. Stop trying to wrap your head around it and think about long term safety.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
I have absolutely no idea what you're going on about.
 
Posted by h jacob buller (Member # 3458) on :
 
I read about people debating fact and fiction and it just turns me off. Extracting what is real from these discussions becomes an impossible task and everyone wants to add their own opinion. It's intellectual energy going towards ultimately self pleasure. I wish people would start standing back and look at the big picture. The mess we're in is a lot bigger than just global warming. We can't trust our news sources, and a comedy show called The Daily Show becomes the most reliable source of news. We get our information from media, and we can no longer determine what is real and what is farce.

A question I'd like to see answered is what's all this confusion leading towards? Do you really think our economoy can last another hundred years? I consider myself more than an optimist, and I hope for the best, but do my best to plan for the worst.

Most people just wait for retirement to come. Well, given current ideas of when to retire, if I plan to retire at that point, there may not be any arctic ice left (2040). When things change, they happen quickly. And that's not just Al Gore's speech, but very real in the current technology advancement with the Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns. Time is not linear, only perceived as such.

Am I the only one who sees dramatic changes within thirty years?
 
Posted by TommySama (Member # 2780) on :
 
Stop arguing and believe ME!!!!!
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 99) on :
 
Predicting dramatic changes within thirty years doesn't make you Nostradamus. [Wink] I'd be more impressed if you put your money where your mouth was and, confident of rising temperatures and sea levels, started buying up cheap inland property in Maine. *grin*
 


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