Sunday, February 14, 2016
Does the Church of England have any regard for basic justice?
Peter Hitchens writes on the matter below. It's another case from Britain where the uncorroborated words of an accuser will be automatically believed if the accusation is of a sexual nature. Such an odious practice has in recent times led to the to the hounding of many innocent and distinguished men by the British police.
Fortunately for the accused in this case, he was was dead. When the accuser came forward maligning the saintly Bishop Bell, however, the Church of England promptly paid up, without any judicial process. Is it any wonder that the British police don't accept innocence until proven guilty when the Church of England doesn't accept it either?
The deep injustice done to the late Bishop George Bell, publicly pilloried on the basis of unproven abuse charges, continues. This great and saintly man has been robbed of his name and reputation by the Church that ought to treasure him. Instead, it has sparked a Stalinist campaign to erase his memory.
When criticised, its bishops seek (rather revoltingly) to hide behind the anonymous accuser, who of course must be treated with kindness and sympathy. This fails to conceal their own confusion. Today I can reveal that a very senior figure in the Church, involved in the actions that have done so much damage to George Bell’s good name, has written to a complainant: ‘You will note that at no point have I stated that Bishop Bell was guilty.’ This follows a similar statement in the House of Lords by the Bishop of Durham, which I reported last week.
How strange, then, that several newspapers and the BBC have somehow got the idea that he is guilty. Who told or briefed them that this was so?
Lambeth Palace has clumsily tried to unsay the Bishop of Durham’s words, issuing a garbled mass of piffle in his name, in which he appears to contradict himself.
Odd that this happened only after I publicised his speech here. These flapping prelates should not think this matter is anywhere near finished.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Marijuana Use in Colorado
In most states, smoking a joint at work would land you in the unemployment line, but the legalization of marijuana in Colorado has given birth to group of businesses that tolerate and even encourage employees to consume weed.OK
They include Denver-based MassRoots, a tech startup that likes to refer to itself as the Facebook for pot users, which allows its 30 employees to use cannabis as a way to stimulate creativity and boost productivity.
One way MassRoots co-founder Isaac Dietrich does that is by scheduling weekly rooftop smoke sessions (smoking isn't allowed inside the building that houses the company's downtown headquarters), where employees bond and strategize.
Ozone layer holier than ever!
So the Arctic has developed an ozone hole too. And it's a big one. It was the Antarctic hole that triggered the Greenie campaign against refrigerant gases but the logic behind the ban meant that the Arctic should have been protected too. It wasn't. So now that the ban has been in force for many years, we have got a holier ozone layer than ever. The science behind the ozone nonsense has long ago been shown to be mistaken and reality too has now caught up. Greenies hailed the antiozone Montreal protocol as their biggest achievement. But it was as poorly founded as all the rest of the Greenie scares
A huge hole in the ozone layer over the Arctic is set to grow even larger this spring as a blast of cold weather combines with returning sunshine and lingering air pollutants.
The hole over the Canadian Arctic is already thought to be around 770,000 square miles (two million square kilometres) or around the size of Greenland.
But environmental scientists are predicting the gap in the Earth's protective atmospheric layer could grow even larger this spring when the sunshine returns to the region after the long, dark winter.
According to Science magazine, a record low temperature in the Earth's upper atmosphere could release chemicals which destroy the layer.
Ozone is a gas composed of three oxygen molecules which can be hazardous to our health on the ground, but in the upper atmosphere it protects us by soaking up ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Without it, the planet's surface would be exposed to dangerous levels of UV-B rays which can shred DNA, leading to mutations that cause cancers.
Towards the end of the 20th Century, the ozone was found to have been depleted by the now banned chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which react with the ozone as they break down.
The extent of the hole above Canada was revealed in 2011. In extended cold periods, like the Arctic winter, the hole can become enlarged.
Dr Markus Rex, an atmospheric chemist at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Germany explained that by next week as much as a quarter of the Arctic's ozone will be destroyed.
Ozone is constantly replenished in the atmosphere but if the rate of destruction outstrips this then the hole can enlarge.
Scientists warn that if this year's polar vortex – the wintry weather pattern which traps circulating cold air in the upper atmosphere – continues longer than usual into the spring, the returning sunlight could set off a chemical chain reaction widening the hole even further.
Dr Markus Rex, an atmospheric chemist at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Potsdam, Germany explained that by next week as much as a quarter of the Arctic's ozone could be destroyed.
'Should the vortex persist until well into March, the formation of a deep ozone minimum over the Arctic has to be expected,' said Dr Rex.
He added: 'However, if the vortex breaks up before then, the air masses will sufficiently mix with fresh air from lower latitudes and the Arctic will narrowly avoid a new record of ozone depletion.'
The team at the AWI say that the while they are unable to accurately predict the fate of the vortex, and if it will break up before spring returns, the researchers say that there is a chance that a hole in the layer – or 'ozone minimum' – could even drift over central Europe.
The scientists are continuing to monitor the atmosphere closely and releasing weather balloons from a number of stations dotted throughout the Arctic.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Friday, February 12, 2016
Ted Nugent Replies to Critics
Ted Nugent's Facebook post features Israeli flags on a collage of the faces of 12 prominent Jewish Americans, and asks, "So who is really behind gun control?"OK
Thousands shared Nugent's Feb. 8 post that calls those pictured, former U.S. Senator Carl Levin among them, "punks" and says "they hate freedom."
In another post, Nugent described Jews killed by the Nazi regime as "soulless sheep to slaughter."
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Webcam on Utility Pole
(Tennessee Rural Farm)
A federal appeals court is upholding the firearms conviction of a Tennessee man whose brother's rural farm was monitored for 10 weeks straight by a remote-controlled camera the authorities installed on a utility pole 200 yards away—without a warrant.OK
The decision (PDF) by the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the nine-year sentence of a man named Rocky Houston, who was caught by the camera as being a felon in possession of a gun. The man was on a Roane County Sheriff's Office watch list after he was cleared of murder charges following a gun battle that left a Roane County law enforcement official dead in 2006.
"There is no Fourth Amendment violation, because Houston had no reasonable expectation of privacy in video footage recorded by a camera that was located on top of a public utility pole and that captured the same views enjoyed by passersby on public roads," Judge John Rogers wrote for the unanimous court, which ruled 3-0 to uphold Houston's 2014 conviction.
Shopping While Drinking
(Canton Township, Michigan)
An expanding southeast Michigan grocery chain is looking to start a new concept in its stores by turning to by-the-glass beer and wine sales so that customers can drink during a shopping trip.OK
Busch's Fresh Food Market is seeking a Class C liquor license for the store it plans to open in Canton Township, west of Detroit.
That store would mark Busch's first foray into setting up an in-store 'bistro' with beer and wine sales for customers.
"It will allow guests to walk through the store and let them drink alcohol while they're shopping," said John Hunter, director of marketing for the Ann Arbor-based, 15-store chain.
The record year 2015 and what helped
Below is just a machine translation from the German of Frank Bosse und Fritz Vahrenholt. I didn't feel like tidying it up as I think the messages get through anyway. They note that 2015 officially was thirteen hundredths of a degree warmer than 2014 and ask why. They make the obvious point that El Nino was a big contributor but what I think is of particular interest is their attack on the retrospective and controversial "adjustments" to ocean temperature by Tom Karl -- adjustments that wiped out the "pause".
Bosse and Vahrenholt below use the Argo floats to test the changes. They find that for the period covered by the Argo floats, the "old" temperature statistics match the Argo record better than did Tom Karl's adjusted statistics. Since the Argo floats provide the best ocean temperature record by far, it is clear that Karl's adjustments are not validated. The "old" measurements are the best and the "pause" is back!
The last sentence below is also very interesting. The entire terrestrial record may by now be too corrupt for any reliance to be placed on it
The 2015 ended with a record: The temperature range GISS recorded +0.87 ° C anomaly compared to the reference period 1951-1981. These were further 0.13° C was observed over the previous year in 2014 globally. They rose strongly on ocean temperatures. A look back at a few months earlier record GISS of May 2015 shows that the global mean temperatures were 2014 then still appear lower by 0.06 ° C than in January 2016.
How can that be? In summer 2015, a correction of ocean temperatures was introduced, we had, among other things here reported. The trigger: The measurement methods for detecting the surface temperatures of the oceans (SST Sea Surface Temperature) changed from 1998. Whereas previously the SST determined from ships, often by the water temperature was measured in buckets or the sucked cooling water, you went to later precise measurements over buoys. This transition was, according to the scientists to T. Karl. By NOAA, a negative distortion, which is minimized (for obvious to warm measurements of the past down to the precise measurements of the presence of upward) with corrections This measure was taken very quickly for the global soil temperature series.
We want to assess the validity of the corrections by T. Karl shortly. As a reference, we use the most homogenous temperature range that is available for sea surface temperatures: The buoy measurements of the Argo program , which since 2004 provides fairly accurate and closely defined data error. We consider the temperatures of the upper 100m globally and comparing the uncorrected series ERSSTv3b and the realigned series ERSSTv4 (NOAA).
Figure 3: The annual mean SST for ERSSTv3b (v3b- black) and ERSStv4 (NOAA red) and the reference of Argo measurements (NODC- blue) with the resulting linear trend of global SST.
It is striking that the trends for the unadjusted series (black) and for very precise reference number of the buoys measurements (blue) are virtually indistinguishable, the adjusted series (red) but provides a stronger by about 50% rising trend since of 2004. The difference is caused by lower values in the past, and slightly higher in the present. The comparison with the most modern and authentic data on sea temperatures in any case does not justify the correction of the SST by T. Karl. To record in 2015 was the introduction of the new SST-series at about 0.04 ° C.......
Moreover, the satellite measurements of the troposphere show no record increase: both series of measurements, both UAH and RSS, enter 2015 just as the third warmest year since 1979. That the troposphere temperatures rise more slowly than soil temperatures is a state of affairs that does not reproduce the climate models. You expect it the other way around.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Obama Climate Plan Stalled
President Barack Obama's plans to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide from US power plants have been stalled by the US Supreme Court.OK
The court ruled that the president's Clean Power Plan could not go forward until all legal challenges were heard.
Designed to cut US emissions by 32% by 2030, the scheme put huge emphasis on a shift to renewable energy.
It formed the key element of the US pledge at UN climate negotiations held in Paris in December last year.
Introduced by the president last August, the plan set carbon reduction goals for each state and it was up to the states themselves to come up with proposals to meet those goals.
California Teacher Accused of Sex with Student
(San Diego, California)
Toni Nicole Sutton, 37, a Spanish teacher and volleyball coach, was arrested Jan. 28 at her school.OK
The investigation into Sutton’s alleged sexual relationship with a minor student began when a parent contacted police about communications between the youth and the unmarried teacher, said San Diego police Lt. Sandra Rapalee-Albrektsen.
Warmists are not the only secretive scientists
Obama: "The only people who don't want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide"
Warmists have always been rock-solid in refusing to follow the general scientific practice of making their raw data available to others for analysis. And on the big occasion when Warmist data did leak out we saw why. In constructing his hockeystick Michael Mann simply left out proxy data that did not suit him: Totally crooked. Tom Karl's controversial "adjustments" to sea-surface temperatures are also now under attack -- even requests from Congressional committees have not been sucessful in getting the data released.
So a failure to release data shouts loudly that the secretive scientists have something to hide. It shows that they have no confidence in their own conclusions. They fear that a re-analysis will arrive at conclusions different from theirs.
But these days Warmists are not the only unscientific ones. There is a lot at stake in today's "publish or perish" academic climate and it seems that people in lots of disciplines have been taking "shortcuts" to get their stuff published. The example below concerns a controversial medical study. Because of the great disbelief in the study's conclusions, it was a prime candidate for data release -- so that doubts could be set at rest for once and for all.
The authors have however dug their heels in so that really tells you all you need to know. There will now be no-one who trusts their conclusions.
What I find most pathetic is the shallow reasons given for refusing to release the data. Requests for the data are described as "harassment". Michael Mann does that too. A request for normal scientific courtesy is harassment? It may indeed be harassment if people keep asking for the data and the authors keep resisting but if they had released the data straight away there would have been no reason for multiple requests
The integrity of science as a whole now seems uncertain and faith in it is probably badly damaged.
Data sharing is all over academic news now. We had Research Parasites, a noxious species of scientists who want to analyse others’ published data without granting its “owners” co-authorships and a certain control over the interpretations. Then there is a major battle between patients and clinicians about the release of the original data from the so-called PACE trial, originally published in The Lancet, which analysed medical efficiency and economic costs of different therapies for chronic fatigue syndrome/ myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). Since the PACE study came out in 2011, the patients, but also a number of academic scientists, remained unconvinced of the published therapy recommendations and suspected a misinterpretation of data. The authors felt harassed and even threatened by the patients’ incessant demands. The relevant research institutions, the Queen Mary University London and the King’s College London, took the side of their clinicians and refused the release of data, using as argument the allegedly inappropriate nature of such requests and the privacy rights of trial participants.
Importantly, the data sharing requests always concerned anonymised patient data, where names and any other personal information of the trial participants was specifically deleted, to avoid any even approximate identification and breach of privacy. Yet even then, several attempts of patients as well as academics, to obtain the anonymised PACE trial data were converted by the universities from academic inquiries into the bureaucratic Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, which were then repeatedly rejected. At the same time, some of the original PACE authors have been apparently somewhat critical of their original interpretations.
In 2012, a cost-effectiveness analysis of the PACE trial therapies was published in the open access journal PLOS One, where the authors by default had to agree “to make freely available any materials and information described in their publication that may be reasonably requested by others for the purpose of academic, non-commercial research”. James Coyne, professor of Health Psychology at the Dutch University Medical Center in Groningen, has since used this clause to demand the release of the published PACE data (Coyne is also an academic editor at PLOS One and writes a PLOS blog). His request was once again converted into a FOIA and turned down by King’s College London as being “vexatious” (just as Queen Mary University did before). The official letter to Coyne read:
“The university considers that there is a lack of value or serious purpose to your request. The university also considers that there is improper motive behind the request. The university considers that this request has caused and could further cause harassment and distress to staff”.
Nevertheless, PLOS One has issued an editorial notification saying:
“we are seeking further expert advice on the analyses reported in the article, and we will evaluate how the request for the data from this study relates to the policy that applies to the publication”.
Coyne, it seems, brings it in his blog post to the point:
“No one forced Peter White [lead author of PACE study,- LS] and colleagues to publish in an open access journal committed to data sharing, but by doing so they incurred an obligation. So, they should simply turn over the data”.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Teacher Accused of Sex with Boy
Jamee Hiatt, 31, was arraigned on Monday, Jan. 25, on one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with multiple variables, as well as one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person at least 13, but younger than 16.Hiatt was placed on paid administrative leave.
She was arrested on Friday, Jan. 22, and remains lodged in the Jackson County jail on a $250,000 bond.
Kansas Teacher Guilty of Sex with Student
(Olathe, Kansas) Former teacher at Olathe High School, Jeana Marie Fleming, has pleaded guilty to engaging in sex with a 16-year-old male student.
Reportedly, Fleming will be sentenced on April 12.
Wot! No hockeystick?
When Mike Mann's proxy-based "hockeystick" picture of the earth's climate history over the last 1,000 years came out, it was greeted with wild acclaim by Warmists. It even featured at the front of an IPCC report or two. It showed an unchanging temperature until the late 20th century, when the temperature suddenly shot up -- exactly the Warmist dream. It was however soon shown as a botch and the IPCC no longer mentions it.
But Mann and some others still find hockeysticks wherever they look so I thought a careful proxy study of the last 1,000 years would be useful. The one below is from 2011 but is notable for its careful assembly of all available proxies. Following the abstract, I present one of their graphs, which shows most clearly what they found. You will see that our climate history is one of ups and downs and we are just at an end of an up
Northern Hemisphere temperature patterns in the last 12 centuries
F. C. Ljungqvist et al.
We analyze the spatio-temporal patterns of temperature variability over Northern Hemisphere land areas, on centennial time-scales, for the last 12 centuries using an unprecedentedly large network of temperature-sensitive proxy records.
Geographically widespread positive temperature anomalies are observed from the 9th to 11th centuries, similar in extent and magnitude to the 20th century mean.
A dominance of widespread negative anomalies is observed from the 16th to 18th centuries. Though we find the amplitude and spatial extent of the 20th century warming is within the range of natural variability over the last 12 centuries, we also find that the rate of warming from the 19th to the 20th century is unprecedented. [More warming in the 19th century!]
The positive Northern Hemisphere temperature change from the 19th to the 20th century is clearly the largest between any two consecutive centuries in the past 12 centuries. [Reflecting recovery from the Little Ice Age]
Clim. Past Discuss., 7, 3349–3397, 2011
Monday, February 08, 2016
Virginia Tech Student Accused in Teens Death
(Virginia, Blacksburg) A seventh-grader Nicole Lovell was reportedly kidnapped and killed by a college student named Natalie Keepers.
Keepers and her lawyer argued that she should be released on bail while she awaits trial for allegedly helping plan Lovell's slaying and then improperly dumping her body just across the state line in North Carolina, two hours south of Virginia Tech's campus, where she was a student. Bond was denied.OK
"Mr 97%" wimps out
On 31 January, I put up a challenge to Warmist John Cook. Cook runs a blog that purports to debunk skeptical challenges to Warmism and is the author of one of the famous "97% consensus" papers. He is much quoted by Warmists and could reasonably be regarded as one of the heavyweights of Warmism -- although he is in fact a young psychologist who has not even got his doctorate yet.
So my challenge stemmed from his claim that he can debunk all climate skepticism. As it happens, I live only about a 15 minute drive from where he works. So I invited him to visit me and give me the evidence that would prove imminent catastrophic global warming.
Somewhat to my surprise, he responded -- by email. He agreed to chat with me over coffee. I then emailed him asking if it would be OK if I recorded the conversation. I have not heard from him since! So we have the situation where a skeptic is not afraid to have his words recorded but a Warmist is. What does that tell you about who has something to hide? I think it speaks volumes.
But he is on to a good thing. He will undoubtedly get rapid promotion to a senior position. He knows on which side his bread is buttered: Definitely a young man going places -- JR
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.)