Thursday, October 08, 2015

Total ignorance from the Sierra club

Sierra Club President Aaron Mair has a deep voice but a remarkably empty head.  All he could do is deny the accepted evidence when Senator Ted Cruz tested his global warming certainties. It is astonishing how little he knows and how much help he needs from staff. Warmists really are not comfortable in debates, as we have often noticed.  Clearly, however, Mair is an affirmative action appointee.  I wonder if the Sierra Club are still happy about that in the light of the debacle below.  Do they stand behind his totally uninformed and wrong comments?  They invite ridicule if they do

Texas senator and Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz questioned Sierra Club President Aaron Mair in a contentious testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday.

But on one question in particular, Mair would not deviate from his rehearsed answer.

When asked about the 18 year pause in global warming, as documented by satellite data, Mr. Mair denied it exists. “So if the data are contrary to your testimony, would the Sierra Club issue a retraction?” Cruz asked.

“Sir, we concur with the 97 percent scientific consensus with regards to global warming,” Mair responded.

When Senator Cruz pressed the environmentalist on whether he would change his testimony should the Sierra Club obtain the publicly available data showing the “pause,” Mair would only respond, “We concur with 97 percent of the scientists that believe the anthropogenic impact of mankind with regards to global warming are true.”

Cruz then asked again if Mair was unwilling to answer the question. The Sierra Club chief replied, “We concur with the preponderance of the evidence — you’re asking me if we’ll take 3 percent over the 97 percent? Of course not.”

After a repeated back-and-forth, an exasperated Cruz concluded, “You know, Mr. Mair, I find it striking that for a policy organization that purports to focus exclusively on environmental issues, that you are not willing to tell this committee that you would issue a retraction if your testimony is objectively false under scientific data. That undermines the credibility of any organization.”


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Ohio Teacher Gets Prison for Sex with Students - Update

Shannon Pavlansky-Wojtowicz

(Campbell, Ohio)
A former Campbell Memorial High School teacher who is due to give birth in four months has been sentenced to four years in prison for having sex with three students.

The sentence was handed up Tuesday to 31-year-old Shannon Pavlansky-Wojtowicz who pleaded guilty earlier to three counts of sexual battery, one count of illegally using minors in nude performances, and one count of disseminating material harmful to juveniles.

Pavlansky-Wojtowicz, who is five months pregnant, asked that her sentence begin in January after she gives birth. Judge R. Scott Krichbaum denied that request.
In prison and pregnant, sounds miserable.

* * * * *

Ohio Teacher Gets Prison for Sex with Students - Update
[Previous 8/7/15 post]
(Campbell, Ohio) Shannon Pavlansky-Wojtowicz, 31, has pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual battery, one count of illegally using minors in nude performances, and one count of disseminating material harmful to juveniles.

Sentencing is scheduled for October.

* * * * *

Ohio Teacher Accused of Inappropriate Relations with Student
[Previous 2/15/15 post]
(Campbell, Ohio) A 30-year-old teacher formerly at Campbell Memorial High School, Shannon Pavlansky-Wojtowicz, has been accused of an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Pavlansky-Wojtowicz was arrested on a felony charge of sexual battery.
Agents with DeWine’s Crimes Against Children Unit, which is a division of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, began investigating Pavlansky-Wojtowicz in January after the Campbell Police Department received a tip regarding the alleged inappropriate relationship.
Details on booking not provided.

* * * * *

Ohio Teacher Guilty of Sex with Students - Update
[Previous 8/7/15 post]
(Campbell, Ohio) Shannon Pavlansky-Wojtowicz, 31, has pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual battery, one count of illegally using minors in nude performances, and one count of disseminating material harmful to juveniles.

Sentencing is scheduled for October.

Carolina Teacher Charged for Student Sex

Victoria Kosciuszko

(Raleigh, North Carolina)
A teacher's assistant at a Wake County school for students with behavior issues was arrested Monday and charged with having sex with a student.

Victoria Kosciuszko, 25, worked at Longview School in Raleigh from August 2013 until she resigned in January 2015, a schools spokeswoman said.

According to the warrant for her arrest, Kosciuszko's alleged sex acts took place between December 2013 and January 2015.
Kosciuszko is being held on $35,000 secured bond.

Global warming can alter shape of the planet, as melting glaciers erode the land (?)

Howzat for a big and dramatic heading? The article is however almost entirely speculation.  It is allegedly based on a recent research report about glacier-caused erosion but what did the research report actually find?  I quote:  

"We find that basin-averaged erosion rates vary by three orders of magnitude over this latitudinal transect"

That's it! All the rest is speculation.  Jo Nova also had some laughs at these drama queens.  See her comments at the link below

Climate change is causing more than just warmer oceans and erratic weather. According to scientists, it also has the capacity to alter the shape of the planet.

In a five-year study published today in Nature, lead author Michele Koppes, assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia, compared glaciers in Patagonia and in the Antarctic Peninsula. She and her team found that glaciers in warmer Patagonia moved faster and caused more erosion than those in Antarctica, as warmer temperatures and melting ice helped lubricate the bed of the glaciers.

“We found that glaciers erode 100 to 1,000 times faster in Patagonia than they do in Antarctica,” said Koppes. “Antarctica is warming up, and as it moves to temperatures above 0 degrees Celsius, the glaciers are all going to start moving faster. We are already seeing that the ice sheets are starting to move faster and should become more erosive, digging deeper valleys and shedding more sediment into the oceans.”

The repercussions of this erosion add to the already complex effects of climate change in the polar regions. Faster moving glaciers deposit more sediment in downstream basins and on the continental shelves, potentially impacting fisheries, dams and access to clean freshwater in mountain communities. “The polar continental margins in particular are hotspots of biodiversity,” notes Koppes. “If you’re pumping out that much more sediment into the water, you’re changing the aquatic habitat.”

The Canadian Arctic, one of the most rapidly warming regions of the world, will feel these effects acutely. With more than four degrees Celsius of warming over the last 50 years, the glaciers are on the brink of a major shift that will see them flowing up to 100 times faster if the climate shifts above zero degrees Celsius.

The findings by Koppes and coauthors also settle a scientific debate about when glaciers have the greatest impact on shaping landscapes and creating relief, suggesting that they do the most erosive work near the end of each cycle of glaciation, rather than at the peak of ice cover. The last major glacial cycles in the Vancouver region ended approximately 12,500 years ago.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

That evil radiation again 

To the Green/Left any level of ionizing radiation is reason for panic.  A level of radiation that is perfectly normal and untroublesome in some places on earth (e.g. Aberdeen, Scotland) will evoke shrieks if human activity can somehow be invoked as causing it.

The huge body of evidence about hormesis shows that low to medium levels of radiation are in fact beneficial rather than harmful but that is totally ignored by the panic merchants.  The findings below are therefore just more evidence that ionizing radiation has to reach much higher levels than is conventionally understood before it becomes harmful.  Zero tolerance of radiation is absurd.

Not mentioned below is that some older people have returned to their original homes in the area.  They remembered how well their gardens fed them in the Soviet era (yummy potatoes and onions!) and they have found that their gardens can still do that.  And they too remain alive and kicking

Wildlife including wolves, elk and wild boar are thriving around Chernobyl since the area was deserted by humans after the world's worst nuclear accident, a study shows.

Populations of large mammals show no evidence of being affected by the continuing radiation in the exclusion zone around the nuclear power plant in Ukraine, close to the Belarus border, which was hit by an explosion and fire in 1986.

Around 116,000 people were permanently evacuated from the 1,600 square miles (4,200 sq km) exclusion zone around the power plant, with villages and towns left to go to ruin.

Three decades on, a scientific study published in the journal Current Biology has found abundant populations of mammals - the most sensitive creatures to the impacts of radiation - in the area.

Using helicopter surveys, researchers in Belarus found that elk, roe deer, red deer and wild boar populations within the exclusion zone are similar to those in four uncontaminated nature reserves in the region, while wolf numbers are seven times higher.

And studies involving assessing tracks in new-fallen snow of roe deer, fox, wild boar and other animals including lynx, pine marten and European hare, found numbers were not reduced in areas with higher radiation.

The study found said while the extremely high dose rates of radiation in the immediate aftermath of the accident significantly hit animal health and reproduction, they recovered quickly and there was no evidence of long term effects on mammal populations.

While individual animals may be affected by radiation, overall populations have benefitted from the absence of people and hunting, forestry and farming which are likely to have kept wildlife numbers low before the accident, the researchers said.

Lynx have returned to the area, having previously been absent, while wild boar are taking advantage of abandoned farm buildings and orchards for shelter and food.

One of the study's authors, Professor Jim Smith of Portsmouth University, said that the nuclear accident had very severe social, psychological and economic consequences for the local communities which had to be evacuated.

But he said: 'In purely environmental terms, if you take the terrible things that happened to the human population out of the equation, as far as we can see at this stage, the accident hasn't done serious environmental damage.

'Indeed by accident it's created this kind of nature reserve.'


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Monday, October 05, 2015

Ohio Teacher Guilty of Child Sex

Lori Anderson

(Columbus, Ohio) First-grade teacher Lori Anderson pleaded guilty to sex charges involving a child today.
Anderson, 51, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual battery, each a third-degree felony, and one count of misdemeanor obstructing official business. In exchange for the plea, 20 other criminal charges were dropped, including 12 counts of rape.
Sentencing is scheduled for November 12.

Nobel Prize in Medicine

Three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering “therapies that have revolutionized the treatment of some of the most devastating parasitic diseases,” the Nobel committee announced on Monday.

William C. Campbell and Satoshi Omura won for developing a new drug, Avermectin. A derivative of that drug, Ivermectin, has nearly eradicated river blindness and radically reduced the incidence of filariasis, which causes the disfiguring swelling of the lymph system in the legs and lower body known as elephantiasis. They shared the $900,000 award with Youyou Tu, who discovered Artemisinin, a drug that has significantly reduced death rates from malaria.

Wildfires: Another wild-eyed prophecy

Caution: Evangelists at work.  These prophecies come and go.  Just about everything either causes or is caused by global warming -- if we take such pronouncements seriously

It may however be worth noting what HAS made wildfires worse in recent years:  Greenie interference in forest management.  One particularly pernicious type of interference is Greenie opposition to precautionary burnoffs in winter.  Such burnoffs are easy to keep within bounds and reduce fuel load for later fires.  So any fires that eventuate in warm seasons are much tamer and spread less.

Why Greenies oppose such burnoffs I am not sure -- some feeling that it "unnatural" would be my guess. They say it is to protect forest critters but the big burns are actually the ones that kill most forest critters.  Many of the critters can escape a small controlled burn and a controlled burn can in fact make some provision for that

A spate of wildfires in Alaska has since quieted down after an active summer, but the environmental impact of the blazes may stretch for years.

Roughly 9 million acres of forest burned in the US so far this year, up from a 6,250,000 acre average over the last ten years.

The increase in acreage, however, is coming from a smaller number of fires, with each incident engulfing more and more trees before being put out.

A team of scientists says that the land left in the wake of the flames could carry scars long after trees grow back, with the intensity of the fires permanently changing the Arctic, and global, climate.

This year marks the seventh time that more than 8million acres have burned, in the years after 2000. Almost 10million acres, 9,873,745, burned in 2006, the most destructive year.

Alaska's particularly active wildfire season has helped make this year's outsized total, with more than 5million acres burning this summer.

Scott Goetz, a scientist at Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, told PRI that the increase in fire activity has come from climate change and warmer, drier air that leads to more intense fires.

The Woods Hole website says that 'if trends continue as predicted, [warming and drying] are likely to induce feedbacks that may further influence the global climate'.

The fires may have the more acute effect of speeding up changes in the Arctic climate as well, with the scientist saying that fires may unleash large amounts of carbon contained in permafrost areas.

Wildfires burn away layers of soil and peat that insulate the permafrost.

Goetz said that degrading the permafrost and severe wildfires could unleash 'enough emissions to the atmosphere that it's equivalent to another United States in terms of total emissions from fossil fuels'.

Woods Holes' Max Holmes said that the greenhouse gas release could have 'catastrophic global consequences'.

Beyond increasing the intensity of fires, the warmer conditions in the Far North may be leading to decreased 'productivity' in the forests that don't grow as well in the heat.

Satellite images show 'browning' over belts of the interior Alaskan and Canadian boreal forests, or taiga, meaning few trees are growing there.

While browning is seen in some southern parts of the North American taiga, there has been an increase in trees in more northern regions that usually see less vegetation.

Goetz told PRI that while more trees in tropical areas are probably a good thing, increased presence in the Arctic will not take a large amount of carbon out of the air and change the 'energy balance' of the northern climates.

He said that the new trees are 'much darker than the other vegetation there, and they absorb a lot more solar energy, and they retain that energy, so it warms the surface'. 'It sets the system on a whole new course,' Goetz previously told CBS.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Long-term climate history shows that changes in CO2 levels do not significantly affect earth's temperature

The academic journal article below goes much further into the past than Warmists usually do, so it has a better chance of sorting out how events in climate history are associated.  And they find that past fluctuations in CO2 did essentially nothing to temperature.  It was changes in the sun that led temperature change on earth.  They sourced both their temperature and CO2 data from readings of Antarctic ice cores -- as is common in paleoclimate studies

Correlation between solar activity and the local temperature of Antarctica during the past 11,000 years

By X.H. Zhao,  X.S. Feng


*  SSN [sunspots] and Vostok temperature (T) had common periodicities in past 11,000 years.

*  The millennial variations of SSN and T had a strong and stable correlation.

*  The millennial variation of SSN led that of T by 30–40 years.

*  Correlations between CO2 and T were neither strong nor stable.


The solar impact on the Earth's climate change is a long topic with intense debates. Based on the reconstructed data of solar sunspot number (SSN), the local temperature in Vostok (T), and the atmospheric CO2 concentration data of Dome Concordia, we investigate the periodicities of solar activity, the atmospheric CO2 and local temperature in the inland Antarctica as well as their correlations during the past 11,000 years before AD 1895. We find that the variations of SSN and T have some common periodicities, such as the 208 year (yr), 521 yr, and ~1000 yr cycles. The correlations between SSN and T are strong for some intermittent periodicities. However, the wavelet analysis demonstrates that the relative phase relations between them usually do not hold stable except for the millennium-cycle component. The millennial variation of SSN leads that of T by 30–40 years, and the anti-phase relation between them keeps stable nearly over the whole 11,000 years of the past. As a contrast, the correlations between CO2 and T are neither strong nor stable. These results indicate that solar activity might have potential influences on the long-term change of Vostok's local climate during the past 11,000 years before modern industry.

Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Volume 122, January 2015, Pages 26–33

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Kansas Teacher Accused of Sex with Student

Katie Rufener

(Garden City, Kansas)
The Finney County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday arrested a former Holcomb High School teacher on allegations that she had unlawful sexual relations with a male student on multiple occasions during the spring 2015 semester.

Katie Rufener, 26, who was a science teacher, a head cheerleading coach and assistant dance team coach for the school, was arrested on two counts of having unlawful sexual relations with a student older than 16.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Stored solar power in Spain -- at huge expense

Part of the reason Spain's Greenie schemes sent their government broke -- and caused it to renege on many of their subsidy promises. Just the first stage (there have been 3 stages) of the plant cost around €300 million (US$380 million) to build and it has big maintenance costs as well. Even after the big initial cost it still requires a subsidy to keep it going.  And it uses up vast amounts of water for cooling  -- which is not good in a desert region, where most such plants are located

On a barren, sun-baked plateau in southern Spain, row upon row of gleaming mirrors form one of the world's biggest solar power plants and harness the sun's power - even after dark.

The Andasol plant near Granada, provides electricity for up to about 500,000 people using about 620,000 curved mirrors.

While it’s not the world’s largest solar farm, it is incredibly powerful, with the mirrors tracking the sun as the Earth turns, to harness as much solar power as possible.

It gets round the main drawback for solar power – that the sun does not always shine – by storing energy to drive turbines after sundown, making it very different to rooftop solar panels, which sunlight directly into electricity.

The main sound at the site, near the town of Guadix, is a whirring of motors to swivel the huge mirrors mounted on giant steel frames, Reuters reported.

The glass alone would cover 0.6 square miles (1.5 square km) which is the size of about 210 football pitches.

The plant, named after the local region of AndalucĂ­a and ‘sol’, meaning sun, can generate around 150 megawatts of electricity, making it among the world's largest.

But in comparison, Ivanpah Solar Power Facility in San Bernadino County, Caifornia, is over twice as large as Andasol in terms of capacity and is able to generate 392 megawatts of electricity.

Like Ivanpah, the Andasol plant uses parabolic troughs, which are a type of solar thermal collector that is straight in one dimension and curved as a parabola in the other two, lined with a polished metal mirror.

Sunlight bounces off the mirrors to heat a synthetic oil in a tube to a blazing 400°C (752°F).

That energy is in turn used to drive a turbine, generating electricity.

At Andasol, some energy also goes into two heat reservoirs, which are tanks containing thousands of tonnes of molten salt that can drive the turbines after sundown, or when it is overcast, for about seven-and-a-half hours.

This process almost doubles the number of operational hours at the solar thermal power plant per year.

There is little sign of life at the semi-desert site of Andasol, which lies at an altitude of 3,600 feet (1,100 metres) near the snow-capped Sierra Nevada range.

Some hardy red and yellow flowers grow around the fringes, a few pigeons flap past and workers say that the odd fox lopes by at night.

The environmental benefits of clean energy are judged to outweigh the scar to the landscape from the mirrors, which are visible from space.

The land is infertile, there is little wildlife and few people live nearby. The biggest regional city, Granada, with about 240,000 people, is 70 km (45 miles) away.


Friday, October 02, 2015

Florida Woman Stabs Husband During Sex

Christina Balazi

(West Palm Beach, Florida) A 39-year-old local woman, Christina Balazi, has been accused of trying to kill her husband.

Balazi faces a charge of first-degree-attempted murder.
West Palm Beach police responded to the couple's home on Palmbrooke Circle Thursday evening.

Police found a man who had been stabbed multiple times and Balazi trying to get away in her car, the report said.

According to the report, police chased Balazi through the neighborhood before they arrested her.

Christina Balazi's huband, Chrsitopher Balazi, told detectives the problem began when he and his wife were about to have sex.
Reportedly, Balazi stabbed her husband seven times with a kitchen knife.

Montana School Worker Gets Prison in Sex Case

Jennifer Gillock

(Miles City, Montana) A local school cafeteria worker, Jennifer Gillock, has been sentenced to two years in prison for engaging in sex with a 15-year-old runaway boy.
Gillock, 37, pleaded guilty in July to two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and was recently sentenced in Rosebud County District Court to 15 years at the Montana Women’s Prison, with 13 years suspended.

Worms Eat Plastic

(Stanford University and Beihang University)
Even with so many of us doing our bit to help out with recycling, the amount of unrecyclable and discarded plastics in the US alone comes close to 30 million tonnes annually, thanks to things like disposable coffee cups (2.5 billion of which are thrown away by Americans every year).[…]

Researchers led by Stanford University in US and Beihang University in China found that the mealworm – the larval form of the darkling beetle – can safely subsist on a diet of Styrofoam and other kinds of polystyrene, with bacteria in the worm’s gut biodegrading the plastic as part of its digestive process.
Previously, Styrofoam and other plastics were considered non-biodegradable.

Texas Woman Accused of Spitting on Officers' Faces

Stephanie Rivera

(Harlingen, Texas) A 23-year-old local woman, Stephanie Rivera, has been accused of spitting on two officers' faces after being involved in a crash this week.
Rivera was arrested and charged with two counts of assault on a public servant and several misdemeanors on Monday.
Rivera faces multiple charges including assault on a public servant.

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