Saturday, April 30, 2016

I know the poor

Poverty is a shortage of money, right?  It is not.  In our society, poverty is an effect of foolish decisions.  It is a behaviour problem, not a money problem.

I have seen it many times but I saw it most frequently when I was the proprietor of a 22-room boarding house located in a poor area. Many of the residents would buy basic groceries etc from a nearby service station, where the prices were about 50% dearer that at the supermarket.  And there was a branch of a large supermarket chain only ten minutes walk away.

And on "payday" (the day when government welfare money was paid into their accounts) it was a wonder to see the casks of "goon" (Sweet white wine in a cardboard box) coming into the place.  There was always money for alcohol.

And I had to be on the ball on "payday" too.  I had to get my rent before the money was all spent.  I even knew where some of them drank and would go in and collect my money from them at the bar.

And they would often have fights, usually over women.  And that often left me with property damage. I always had a glazier ready on call to fix broken windows.  I could have tried to claim that cost back off them but that would have been in vain. By the end of the week most had nothing left in their pockets.

And the fighting was not limited to my place.  They would also get into fights in bars and elsewhere.  And the loser in a fight generally had his money stolen off him, often on the night of "payday".  So, sometimes, if I had not got his money that day, he would have nothing left by the time I got to him.

But not all welfare clients are like that.  Many are prudent enough to have money left over at the end of the week and accumulate some savings.  One such was a tall black Melanesian man -- named Apu if I remember rightly.  When I approached him for his rent he said:  "I got into a fight last night and lost my money ... so I went to the bank and got some out".  He was the only man ever to say that to me.

So he was not poor. He had money for his needs and could put something aside as well.  He got the same "pay" as everyone else but he was more prudent in his behaviour.

I spent many years endeavouring to provide respectable accommodation for the poor but the poor did not make it easy for me.  Many are their own worst enemies.

And in my younger days I lived on Australia's student dole for a couple of years -- and led a perfectly comfortable life.  The student dole was actually a bit below what the unemployed got.  So I was not poor either.

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

Friday, April 29, 2016

English has a big lack of  words for "State"

Is it perhaps an Anglo-Saxon dislike of government that makes it difficult for us to make immediately clear statements about government?  The old Sapir-Whorf codability hypothesis would certainly suggest that.

For instance, we don't have a separate word for an intermediate level of government, a State government. In the English-speaking world -- The USA, Canada, Australia  -- such forms of government are common and important: Governments running Texas, California, Alberta, Ontario, Queensland and Victoria, for instance.

So a self-governing nation can be called a state but so can one part of that nation.

Germans are much better off.  They can use Staat, Reich, Land and Nation.  A State government, for instance is a "Land" government in Germany, while the nation is a "Reich".

And "Reich" is both an extremely useful German word and one   that CANNOT adequately be translated into English.  That deficit gets a bit embarrassing when we try to translate what the people of China call their nation.  The best we can do is to translate it as:  "Middle Kingdom".  But that is absurd.  China is NOT a kingdom.  In German, by contrast, "Mittelreich" is a perfectly adequate translation.

I use German words quite a bit.  It would probably help if more German words became better known.  We use heaps of French words, so why not?

Germans of course don't have it all their way.  They don't, for instance, have a good word for "pink".  They usually translate it as "rosa" or "nelke".  But both those words are names for flowers and both flowers can of course have a variety of colors.  Who can forget the yellow rose of Texas, for instance? So Germans should probably adopt our word. Maybe some do.

But A BIG gap in German is that they have no word for "happy".  Does that tell us something?  Maybe.  The nearest word to happy that they have is "gluecklich", but that just means "lucky.  Many years ago I was talking to an old German Jewish refugee who had narrowly escaped Hitler.   I asked him if he was happy.  He knew I understood a bit of German so he said: "Gluecklich I am but happy I am not".  He knew he was lucky to escape but missed the high culture of Germany.  And he needed two languages to say that concisely

So let us have more linguistic borrowing! -- JR

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

Thursday, April 28, 2016


I am totally out of touch with Mike Pechar, owner of this blog.  He has not answered emails from me, which is most unlike him.  Last I heard he was having big problems with his eyes.  So for all I know he may now be blind or deceased.

So if anyone reading this is in a position to contact him either over the phone or by knocking on his door, I would be grateful for any information

My email is:

John Ray

Munshi nails it again

Jamal Munshi is a very bright and very skeptical climate scientist.  He must have tenure or wouldn't get away with it. His latest paper is a new study of radiocarbon levels -- which shows that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is NOT the result of human activity.  Beat that!

Dilution of Atmospheric Radiocarbon Co2 by Fossil Fuel Emissions

Jamal Munshi


Post bomb period data for 14C in atmospheric carbon dioxide from seven measurement stations are available in small samples up to and including the year 2007. They do not support the theory that dilution by 14C-free fossil fuel emissions is responsible for falling levels of 14C in atmospheric CO2. We find instead that the observed decline of 14C in atmospheric CO2 is consistent with the exponential decay of bomb 14C. We also find that the attribution to fossil fuel emissions of the pre-bomb dilution of 14C in atmospheric CO2 in the period 1900-1950 found by Stuiver and Quay in tree-ring data is inconsistent with total emissions and changes in atmospheric CO2 during that period. We conclude that the data for 14C in atmospheric CO2 do not serve as empirical evidence that the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 since the Industrial Revolution is attributable to fossil fuel emissions.


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

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mother, 47, pleads guilty to sending nude photos and videos to her daughter's 14-year-old ex-boyfriend and asking him to have sex with her

A mother has pleaded guilty to sending nude photos and videos of herself to her daughter's 14-year-old ex-boyfriend.

Dodi Wade, 47, admitted sending the lewd messages to the boy's cellphone and asking him to reply with naked pictures of himself.

She also asked the teenager to have sex with her several times during the explicit text message conversations.

Wade, from Akron, Ohio, sent the graphic videos to the boy between November 22 and December 25 last year.

The teenager's mother trawled through the boy's old phone on January 5 and found the sexually explicit messages and videos.  She reported the texts and footage to the police and gave the cell phone to investigators.

Wade was arrested in January and yesterday pleaded guilty to four counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and one count of importuning, reported.

She will be sentenced on May 31 and could face up to three-and-a-half years in prison. Wade will have to register as Tier I sex offender, which means she will have to annually report her address to a county sheriff for the next 15 year


The poor die sooner and that's not because of anything in their environment

So, by default it's genetic.  No amount of opportunity, information or education would help them.  The author below doesn't want to draw that conclusion (too politically incorrect) but that is what the findings of the very soundly-based research by Chetty et al show.  The excerpt below is presented as a convenient summary of the Chetty et al. findings.  The environmental factors considered and dismissed as causes of early mortality were described by Chetty et al. as: "access to medical care, physical environmental factors, income inequality, or labor market conditions"

Income, Life Expectancy, and Community Health. Underscoring the Opportunity

J. Michael McGinnis

In an impressive analysis based on mortality data and deidentified tax records with more than 1.4 billion person-year observations and nearly 7 million deaths among individuals living in the United States during the 15 years between 1999 and 2014, Chetty et al confirm the long-observed association between higher income and longer life expectancy, as well as the recent increase in the gap in life expectancy between the richest and poorest 5% of the US population.1 Looking specifically at the lowest income quartile, Chetty et al also found little association between life expectancy and various measures of access to medical care, physical environments, employment conditions, or levels of income inequality.


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

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

British woman on trial

A 46-year-old woman who had sex with a 14-year-old boy has told the Old Bailey she believed he was 17.

Amanda Lockhart is accused of grooming the 'reluctant' boy for sex before forcing him to rub her breasts and have sex.

The court heard the youngster, who Lockhart allowed to take naked photos of her, felt he could not refuse her demands.

Lockhart, of Croydon, south London, claims she was duped into sex after the boy said he was 17 years old, even showing her his passport to prove his age.

She claims he then tried to blackmail her for £500 by threatening to show the naked photos he took to others.

Prosecutor Jose Olivares-Chandler said that, in a police interview, Lockhart 'asserted it was him not her that encouraged sexual activity’.

'The defendant admitted having sexual intercourse with (the boy) but denied knowing his true age’, the prosecutor added.

She claimed that the boy turned 'aggressive' after the tryst but she refused to give in to his alleged blackmail attempt.

Mr Olivares-Chandler said Lockhart initially got the boy to touch her legs when the grooming began.

‘He said he didn’t want to but she asked him again and he complied with her demands’, Mr Olivares-Chandler said.

She then convinced him to have sex with her in January last year, the court heard.

Mr Olivares-Chandler said: ‘She told him to go to the bathroom with her. He didn’t do so but she repeated her demand and once again he did as he was told.’

Mr Olivares-Chandler said the boy refused to take his clothes off so Lockhart undressed him while kissing and touching him.

‘He didn’t feel like there was anything he could do to stop the defendant’s sexual advances’, he said.

‘During the sexual activity in the bathroom, he took photos of the defendant who was naked on his mobile phone’, said the prosecutor.

‘He did so because he was afraid the defendant would engage in sexual activity in the future and he did so to prove to his family that it had taken place.’

The boy sent the pictures to his cousin, who then reported Lockhart to the police.


Words, words

There is far too much weight given these days to using exactly the "right" form of words.  I suppose it is a hopeless case but I think we should instead just look at the basic meaning and think about that

Let me give an example of the difference that the "right" word can make these days.  I once said: "All Jews should get back to Israel.  They don't belong here".  Did I get condemned for that? Was I immediately fingered as an antisemite? Not at all.  How come?  Because I didn't actually say that.  I said it in Hebrew instead. What I said was: "I think all Jews should make Aliyah".  Both of those forms of words mean the same thing but one was phrased in a way that bore on a great Jewish controversy.

"Aliyah" literally mean "rising up"  -- rising up to Eretz Israel.  And many Jews acknowledge that as a holy duty and feel guilty and apologetic that they have chosen to live in the fleshpots of NYC instead.  So what I said was actually holy from a Jewish viewpoint. And some of my Jewish readers wrote to agree with me.

But isn't that crazy?  Why do we pay so much attention to superficialities? I may be wrong but I do genuinely believe that Israel, despite the attacks on it, is ultimately the safest place for Jewry -- but I was fortunate that I could put that thought in the "right" way.  If I had not been so able, I might have attracted much opprobrium for saying exactly the same thing.

So I hope that conservatives at least will sometimes look at and think about the underlying intention of an utterance and overlook or forgive less felicitous forms of expression.

FOOTNOTE:  My reason for thinking that all Jews should make Aliyah

The Ayatollahs have made clear that America is the great Satan.  Israel is only the little Satan.  And the 9/11 attacks were on NYC, not Israel.  So, if the Obama-enabled Ayatollahs are suicidal enough to unleash a nuclear strike, it will most likely be on NYC, not Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is, after all, holy to them too

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

Monday, April 25, 2016

Organic Fertilizer Is Great at Killing Bees

There have been huge Greenie panics about recurrent deaths among bees. They are all sure that modern insecticide and fertilizer usage is the cause.  But could it be that "organic" farming is the real culprit?

A given of the organic agriculture movement is that organic growers don’t use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, like organophosphates and glyphosate (RoundUp). All that fear-mongering about pesticides is only possible because environmental groups only test for the synthetic kind, they don’t test for the pesticides and fertilizers used by organic growers.

Because those are safer? Absolutely not.

In the Journal of Economic Entomology, Brazilian scientists studied the effects of copper sulfate, a fertilizer and pesticide that is approved in the U.S. for use in organic agriculture and applied to the leaves of crop plants. Obviously the smarter approach is to treat seeds instead of using a broad spectrum pesticide, and that is the premise behind neonicotinoids, which environmental groups also protest — by treating seeds, which bees have no interest in, rather than plants, which bees do have an interest in, farmers get better yields with less environmental impact.

So why do organic farmers insist on carpet-bombing plants with chemicals instead? The science is clearly against them, so it’s for psychologists to figure out. The new paper adds to the literature showing that a targeted approach is just better, not just for honeybees, but also for stingless bees (Friesella schrottkyi), which are native to the Americas and not an introduced species like the honeybee. They are known to pollinate crop plants.

What did they find? The organic pesticide approach is incredibly toxic for bees.

The investigators compared the effects of copper sulfate and another leaf fertilizer mixture, as well as a commonly used insecticide (spinosad) on the stingless bees. They found that the copper sulfate was more lethal to the bees than the insecticide when the insects ingested it in a sugar solution.

They wrote: “[L]eaf fertilizers seem to deserve attention and concern regarding their potential impact on native pollinators, notably Neotropical stingless bees such as F. schrottkyi. Their heavy metal content is above the safety threshold for the stingless bee species studied, which may also be the case for related species. Furthermore, the mix of heavy metals in some leaf fertilizers and the presence of S[ulfur] and sometimes B[oron] may increase their risks. In sum, leaf fertilizers deserve proper risk assessment because of the isolated and mixed use of heavy metals in such fertilizers.”

So, the next time you read organic marketing claims about how synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are dangerous, be a little more skeptical. When they are applied by spray, there’s really no reason to distinguish between the two types.


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

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Huge coral reef discovered at Amazon river mouth

More evidence of how poorly understood coral reefs are.  Warmists are dogmatic that recent bleaching on the Northern part of Australia's GBR is due to global warming but who knows? This recent discovery was apparently a huge surprise.  There were not supposed to be corals in that location.  So it shows how little we actually know about how corals work

What it does show is that corals are highly adaptable and can survive a lot of challenges.  It might also be noted that there are benthic corals in Icelandic waters that get no sunlight at all.  They have become filter feeders.  Some of the South American corals may be that too

Yup. Science is settled.

Scientists astonished to find 600-mile long reef under the muddy water in a site already marked for oil exploration
Scientists were ‘flabbergasted’ to discover the Amazon reef as coral usually thrives in clear, sunlit tropical waters.
A huge 3,600 sq mile (9,300 sq km) coral reef system has been found below the muddy waters off the mouth of the river Amazon, astonishing scientists, governments and oil companies who have started to explore on top of it.

The existence of the 600-mile long reef, which ranges from about 30-120m deep and stretches from French Guiana to Brazil’s Maranhão state, was not suspected because many of the world’s great rivers produce major gaps in reef systems where no corals grow.

In addition, there was little previous evidence because corals mostly thrive in clear, sunlit, salt water, and the equatorial waters near the mouth of the Amazon are some of the muddiest in the world, with vast quantities of sediment washed thousands of miles down the river and swept hundreds of miles out to sea.
But the reef appears to be thriving below the freshwater “plume”, or outflow, of the Amazon. Compared to many other reefs, the scientists say in a paper in Science Advances on Friday, it is is relatively “impoverished”. Nevertheless, they found over 60 species of sponges, 73 species of fish, spiny lobsters, stars and much other reef life.


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

Wife, 26, of former Tennessee high school coach is busted after having sex with an underage football player  

The wife of a former Tennessee high school assistant football coach allegedly had sex with an underage player on the school's football team, according to police.

Kelsey McCarter, 26, was charged with six counts of statutory rape by an authority figure and one count of exploitation of a minor by electronic means, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

The sexual encounters with the sophomore football player took place between February 2015, and December 2015.

Her husband, Justin McCarter, who coached at South-Doyle High School, resigned earlier this year from his position.

South Doyle students told Local 8 News that they saw sexual pictures of the wife and a student who was living with McCarter and her husband at the time.

The sex allegations led to an investigation into the school's principal, Tim Berry and football coach Clark Duncan, who were suspended in February.

Both men were under investigation for failure to immediately report the allegations of child sexual abuse to the state Department of Children's Services or law enforcement, according to the News Sentinel.

But neither Berry, Duncan or Justin McCarter were charged in the case.

Duncan, who also serves as the athletic director at the school and head football coach, has been with the school system since August 1981.  His attorney Jeff Hagood, said he would be 'very disappointed' and 'surprised' if Duncan did not return.

Hagood told the News Sentinel that he was 'not surprised' but instead 'pleased and excited for coach Duncan and his future', after the judge ruled that no charges would be filed against him

He added that Duncan 'is and has been one of the most respected high school coaches in our state and a leader in our community'.

Kelsey McCarter was released on $30,000 bond early Friday and is awaiting arraignment in Knox County Criminal Court.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

The kids really ARE all right: There are no differences between children of same-sex parents and heterosexual couples, study finds

What complete and utter garbage.  There was no objective gauge of child wellbeing at all.  They took the parents' word for it.  And it was all done over the phone.  The researchers did not even see the children concerned.  Anybody see a problem with that?  The journal article is "Same-Sex and Different-Sex Parent Households and Child Health Outcomes: Findings from the National Survey of Children's Health"  It's a vivid demonstration that you can get the most rubbishy "research" published if it validates current political correctness

Traditionalists may worry about the impact of same-sex parenting on children, but a new study adds to a growing body of evidence that there's no problem at all.

Researchers say the children of same-sex parents are just as healthy - both mentally and physically - as those of heterosexual parents. The only difference noted was that lesbian parents found raising their children more stressful.

It's estimated there are 690,000 same-sex couples living in the United States and that 19 per cent of such couples and lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals are raising children under the age of 18.

There is growing acceptance of different-sex parents, as portrayed in the 2010 film The Kids are All Right, in which Julianne Moore and Annette Bening play committed lesbian parents.

Child development experts from the universities of Amsterdam, Columbia and UCLA, used the US' National Survey of Children's Health and matches 95 same-sex female households to 95 different-sex parent households with children between the ages of six and 17.

They took the parents' age, education and location into account, as well as their child's age, race and gender to get the best matches possible.

One parent from each couple was interviewed by telephone about their experience, such as whether raising a child is stressful.

To gauge their child's wellbeing, parents were asked questions such as: 'How often during the past month was your child unhappy, sad, or depressed?' and 'Does he or she do all required homework?'

They were asked to plot their answers on a scale of one to five, with one meaning 'never' and five meaning 'always'. The results were then weighted and analysed.

Nanette Gartrell at UCLA told CNN: 'It is the only study to compare same-sex and different-sex parent households with stable, continuously coupled parents and their biological offspring.'

The experts wrote in the study published in the journal Cell Press: 'Children with female same-sex parents and different-sex parents demonstrated no differences in outcomes.


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

Friday, April 22, 2016

Woman, 38, arrested for having sex with a 16-year-old boy who was the son of her friend

Authorities in Louisiana have arrested a woman from Marrero accused of carrying on a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy for several weeks.

December Hebert, 38, was booked into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna. Bond with her bail set at $5,000.

She is charged with carnal knowledge of a juvenile and indecent behavior of a juvenile.

Hebert apparently met the victim through acquaintances and allegedly persuaded the teen to participate in a sexual relationship for about three weeks in April 2015.

The sexual encounters took place at a home where she was living.

According to, the boy told deputies he did not reveal the relationship to authorities because Hebert threatened him.

In the end, it was a friend of Hebert's who contacted the police in May of last year upon discovering the relationship.

It took detectives several months to investigate the case. When investigators obtained a warrant for Hebert's arrest in 2015, she was nowhere to be found.

The Sheriff's Office took her into custody on Wednesday from her home in Marrero.

The arrest wasn't planned. Deputies were at the property on an unrelated matter, but while cops were at the home they determined she had an outstanding warrant and arrested her.


The kid sounds lucky to me -- JR

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Leftist view of patriotism

The Left can't help it.  They just cannot see straight.  The academic article below by Israeli academic Gal Ariely starts out by standing reality on its head.  He is perfectly right in saying that in recent years in America there has been a "more pronounced tendency towards suppressing civil liberties and critical voices".  But who is responsible for that?  

America has been undergoing quite spectacular attempts by Leftists endeavouring to squash Christianity in general and rejection of homosexuality in particular so is  Dr. Ariely blaming the Left for speech suppression?  Far from it.  He says the guilty ones are patriots!  Patriots these days are usually conservatives so Dr Arielya has got the boot on precisely the wrong foot!  For a HUGE chronology of Leftist censorship activities, see here

The whole aim of his article is to discredit patriotism. But there is nothing wrong with patriotism.  It is the Leftist distortion of patriotism -- nationalism -- that is the problem. Orwell understood the distinction between the two:

"There is a habit of mind which is now so widespread that it affects our thinking on nearly every subject, but which has not yet been given a name. As the nearest existing equivalent I have chosen the word ‘nationalism’, but it will be seen in a moment that I am not using it in quite the ordinary sense, if only because the emotion I am speaking about does not always attach itself to what is called a nation — that is, a single race or a geographical area. It can attach itself to a church or a class, or it may work in a merely negative sense, against something or other and without the need for any positive object of loyalty.

By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’(1). But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests.

Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality"

So how does Dr Ariely demonize patriotism?   He shows that in economically advanced societies, patriotism tends to be low but in impoverished and strife-ridden societies it tends to be high.  In a cautious academic way, he draws from that the entirely perverse conclusion that patriotism is in general a bad thing EVEN IN COUNTRIES WHERE IT IS LOW.  He does not consider that patriotism in affluent countries might be the unproblematic residuum of an often mixed phenomenon.

So the final sentence of his article makes no distinctions about patriotism:  "This study suggests that national pride is related to a less attractive environment than its advocates tend to assume".  He clearly thinks patriotism is all the same, wherever it is found.  No nuance there.  I suppose all men are equal as well.

The Israeli Left are certainly a poisonous lot.  Excerpt only below

Why does patriotism prevail? Contextual explanations of patriotism across countries


Addressing the normative and empirical debate regarding the nature of patriotism, this paper examines the social contexts in which patriotism – defined here as an expression of national pride – thrives. Combining diverse theoretical explanations, it investigates whether expressions of patriotism are related to globalization, state function, social fractionalization and conflict. A multilevel regression analysis of data from 93 countries led to three principal findings. First, citizens of more developed and globalized countries are less likely to be proud of their country. Second, citizens are more likely to be patriotic in countries characterized by higher levels of income inequality and religiously homogeneity. Third, citizens of countries exposed to direct conflict – that is, suffering terror and causalities from external conflict – tend to exhibit higher levels of national pride. Patriotism frequently being identified as a mandatory political commodity, these results suggest that, overall, patriotism forms part of a less attractive matrix than its advocates tend to assume.


The rise in patriotism in the United States following 9/11 has led to two trends – a stronger sense of solidarity and civic engagement, the ‘we’ becoming more important than the ‘me’ (Skocpol 2002; Sander and Putnam 2010), on the one hand, and a more pronounced tendency towards suppressing civil liberties and critical voices on the other. These different outcomes reflect the long-standing debate concerning the nature of patriotism, conventionally defined as love for and attachment to one’s nation (Bar Tal and Staub 1997; Kosterman and Feshbach 1989).


An overall pattern nonetheless emerges. By and large, higher levels of patriotism occur in countries whose citizens are worse off. In societies that form part of the globalized community, enjoy more income equality and are not subject to the threat of terror or external conflict, patriotism levels appear to be lower. Taking into account the fact that politicians, pundits and philosophers frequently describe patriotism as a mandatory political commodity, this study suggests that national pride is related to a less attractive environment than its advocates tend to assume.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

UK: Female teacher, 27, who had sex with a 16-year-old boy faces jail

A female teacher who had sex with a 16-year-old schoolboy was warned today that she faces jail after a court heard she had been in a six-month relationship with the teenager.

Lauren Cox, 27, was teaching at a school in south London, when she embarked on the relationship with the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

She appeared at Croydon Crown Court today, where she admitted five charges of sexual activity with a boy aged between 13 and 17 while in a position of trust.

These included sexual touching on March 9th and March 16th last year as well as sexual intercourse between April and September 2015 when she was 26 and the boy was just 16.

Cox was arrested on September 16, 2015 after the pupil told his parents about what had been going on between the pair.

They then contacted the head teacher of the school, who in turn alerted social services.

Cox had first met the child when he was 13, and the victim said they formed a close relationship. According to police, she begin a sexual relationship with the boy in January 2015.

Brian Reece, prosecuting, told the court: 'The age gap is just 10 years so this is a school teacher-pupil relationship. 'It is the Crown's case there was a build up to this relationship ahead of the victim's 16th birthday in February last year.'

Cox and the boy would meet after school and during school holidays. She would also send explicit pictures and videos of herself to the boy.

Business studies teacher Cox, who appeared in court wearing black trousers, a jacket, and thick rimmed glasses spoke quietly in the dock as she pleaded guilty to all five charges put to her.

Judge Nicholas Ainley warned Cox she could go to jail for more than a year.  He said: 'Obviously she has to be aware there is a custodial penalty for these offences.  'I'm ordering a pre-sentence report, but that does not mean that because I'm granting that application there will be no custodial penalty.

Cox, from Oxted in Surrey, was bailed to return to Croydon Crown Court next month to be sentenced.

The officer investigating the case, PC Laura Davies of the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command (SOECA), said: 'Cox abused her position of trust as a teacher and groomed the boy which went on to sexual abuse. The abuse has had an extremely adverse effect on the boy with his studies suffering as a result.


Camera traps show animals have reclaimed Chernobyl's radioactive wasteland 30 years after the disaster -- and are in good health

Thus showing as completely wrong the Greenie claim that even tiny amounts of radioactivity are harmful.  Chernobyl shows that even quite high levels are not harmful.  Radioactivity has been much demonized for political reasons. Radioactive leaks from nuclear power plants will not do harm unless you are very close to them.

In other evidence of low harm from radioactivity, Tsutomu Yamaguchi was one of a small number of Japanese to live through  both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear detonations.

He was only only 3 km away from the epicenter on both occasions. He was badly burned by the heat but he recovered from that and lived to 93.  

Exactly 30 years and one week ago, a small town in the former Soviet Union witnessed the worst nuclear disaster the world has seen.

Following a fire in one of its reactors, an explosion at the Chernobyl power plant in the former Soviet Union town of Pripyat leaked radioactive material into the environment and saw the surrounding area evacuated.

But while radiation levels in the region is still considered too high for humans to return, wildlife has moved back into the area and is flourishing.

Studies of the animals and plants in the area around Chernobyl are now providing clues as to what the world would be like should humans suddenly disappear.

The exclusion zone is still in effect around the site of the disaster in what is now Ukraine to protect people from the high levels of radiation which persist in the environment.

But in the absence of human activity, wildlife has flourished ­– making the site a unique habitat for biologists to study.

Scientists are monitoring the health of plants and animals in the exclusion area to see how they react to chronic radiation exposure.

Camera traps set up by researchers have captured a stunning array of local wildlife, including wolves, lynx, mouse, boars, deer, horses, and many others, as they wander through the area.

It shows that three decades on from the disaster, the area is far from being a wasteland. Instead life is thriving there.

Using the motion-activated traps to get snapshots of wildlife at a number of sites throughout the exclusion zone, researchers at the University of Georgia have recorded 14 species of mammal.

In a study published this week in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the Georgia group reports it found no evidence to suggest that the areas with the highest levels of radiation were keeping their numbers down, and that populations inside the exclusion zone are doing well.

Sarah Webster, a graduate student working on the project and first author of the study, told UGA Today: 'Carnivores are often in higher trophic levels of ecosystem food webs, so they are susceptible to bioaccumulation of contaminants.'

'Few studies in Chernobyl have investigated effects of contamination level on populations of species in high trophic levels.'

The exclusion zone, which covers a substantial area in Ukraine and some of bordering Belarus, will remain in effect for generations to come, until radiation levels fall to safe enough levels.

The region is called a 'dead zone' due to the extensive radiation which persists. However, the proliferation of wildlife in the area contradicts this and many argue that the region should be given over to the animals which have become established in the area - creating a radioactive protected wildlife reserve.

It would be expected that carnivores would receive extensive radioactive exposure, both directly from the environment and water sources as well as ingesting it through eating contaminated animals.

In the long-term, this accumulation of radioactive material would be expected to be harmful to the top predators and would restrict their number, but findings from the latest study don't seem to support this.

'We didn't find any evidence to support the idea that populations are suppressed in highly contaminated areas,' said Dr James Beasley, a biologist at Georgia and senior author of the paper.

'What we did find was these animals were more likely to be found in areas of preferred habitat that have the things they need – food and water.'

Other research groups working within the area, including the TREE consortium, have found that endangered Przewalski's horses – released into the exclusion zone in the 1990s – are breeding successfully.

In addition, the camera studies have identified a number of protected bird species, including golden eagles and white tailed eagles.


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

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Rich eccentric takes on a racist university

The pro-Jewish and anti-Asian admission policies of Harvard are grotesque and Ron Unz has done good work in exposing them.  As Harvard was pro-Nazi in the '30s it is perhaps some justice that Jews are now favoured there.  But there is NO justice in keeping a low cap on Asian student numbers.

Ron Unz's attempt now to get on the Harvard Board of Overseers is an obvious next step towards pushing Harvard towards racial justice so the powers that be are very keen to block him.  And the opposition to him is very "ad hominem".  His character has been attacked at length.  As it happens, he really is an odd character so points to pick at have been found.  His replies to his critics are here.

He seems to have made big bikkies when he sold his stock-picking application to Moody's so he now has millions to burn.  And he uses it in an unusually pro-social way.  Instead of spending in it in the usual moron way -- on big yachts and private planes and such things -- he uses it to expand intellectual diversity in the USA.  Leftists talk diversity but  all they mean by it is "black".  Unz really DOES promote diversity.  He funds all sorts of marginal voices on both the Left and the Right.  He even gives money to people he disagrees with!

Why does he do that?  Probably because of his high IQ.  The higher your IQ the more likely you are to see the world differently and when you act on that perception, the rest of the world can only dismiss you as "eccentric".   To Unz's eyes intellectual diversity is clearly very valuable.  He can see many ways in which it could prove beneficial. So he fosters it.

And his unusual mind also makes him neither Leftist nor Rightist.  Although he perhaps is slightly Right-leaning on balance, he favours some iconic leftist positions too --  rejecting a major genetic influence on IQ, for instance.

I have had some correspondence with him in the past about IQ and illegal immigration which I found interesting but in the end both too glib and surprisingly defensive. See e.g. here and here. He has great virtues but I don't think he is a particularly good academic. One notes that he did not finish his doctorate at Stanford

The election of Harvard’s Board of Overseers is usually a quiet affair. Five new members, who must be alumni, are chosen annually by paper ballot for six-year terms. The board meets five times annually and has little power beyond helping the school set long-term goals.

But this year, the election is causing a stir on campus, among alumni, and beyond.

Conservative software engineer Ron Unz, who led a successful 2002 ballot initiative that severely limited bilingual education in Massachusetts, has rounded up four other candidates — including Ralph Nader — on a platform of making Harvard tuition free for undergraduates and questioning its use of race in admissions.

The race veered into new territory last week, after opponents of Unz brought to light his funding of some authors and researchers with views critics brand as white supremacist, including several who write for a website that professes “diversity per se is not strength, but a vulnerability.”

Unz, a member of the Harvard class of 1983, defended his donations to writers and others, including $600,000 to Gregory Cochran, who posited in an article that a “gay germ” causes homosexuality, and $24,000 to Steven Sailer, who wrote that combining economic populism with “white party” issues would win the presidency.

Unz, who is also running for US Senate in California, said he does not agree with or support the positions taken by all the writers, including Cochran and Sailer, he supports financially but wants to provide an assist to “alternative media.”

“I most certainly do NOT stand behind everything said or written by everyone with whom I’m friendly, whose writings I publish, or even who have been the recipient of my financial support over the years,” Unz said in an e-mail last week.

As part of his Free Harvard/Fair Harvard campaign, Unz is also pushing for more information about the university admissions process, which prior analyses, he said, found tilted against Asians in favor of less-qualified minorities.

Meanwhile, Harvard is facing a lawsuit from a coalition of Asian-American groups, also claiming it discriminates against Asians in admissions. The groups seek the same information Unz wants, about how Harvard chooses whom to admit.

The university has defended its practices. Harvard spokesman Jeff Neal said a free tuition program would become a subsidy for families who can afford to pay the $63,000 cost of attendance, noting that the college has a generous financial aid program already. Families that make less than $65,000 pay nothing.

On admissions, Neal said Harvard’s undergraduate college performs a “whole-person” review of applicants that includes their racial and ethnic background, in order to admit a broadly diverse freshman class.

A group of alumni has coalesced to try to quash Unz’s Board of Overseers slate and to question his claim that he simply wants more information about the admissions process.

“It just seems clear that this is an agenda beyond the slogan, an agenda to end race as a factor that can be considered in the admissions process,” said Jeannie Park, founder of the group, Coalition for a Diverse Harvard.

Park called the revelations about Unz’s funding of the controversial writings “disturbing” at a time when the university is grappling with many issues involving gender and race, including the campus’ historical ties to slavery.

“The fact that Unz sprinkles money around to a range of viewpoints doesn’t make it OK to finance hate speech,” Park said.

The other slate members are Stuart Taylor Jr., a journalist who wrote “Mismatch,” a 2012 book that argues against affirmative action; Stephen Hsu, a theoretical physics professor at Michigan State University, and Lee C. Cheng, chief legal officer at online electronics retailer Newegg and secretary of the Asian American Legal Foundation, which has advocated against race-based affirmative action in an ongoing Supreme Court case.

Taylor said in an e-mail that “while I deplore the views of some of the people and organizations that [Unz] has funded, I don’t see them as very relevant to assessing Ron — let alone the rest of our slate.”

Taylor said he joined the slate because he believes socioeconomic diversity is a more important factor to consider in admissions and he has “grave concerns” about the use of racial preferences and quotas. Taylor also said making Harvard College free would attract a more diverse pool of applicants.

Nader, a five-time presidential candidate, said Thursday that he supports race-based affirmative action and agrees with the other petition candidates only in that Harvard should tap its $37.6 billion endowment to provide free tuition.

The VDare website editor, Peter Brimelow, rejected claims that the site is “white nationalist or white supremacist.” He said it publishes writers of all ideologies “who are united in their belief that America’s post-1965 immigration policies have been a disaster.”

Nader said he knows Unz from their work together on raising the minimum wage, when Unz was able to galvanize conservatives in support.

He distanced himself from the articles Unz has funded.

To appear on the ballot, the petitioners collected 201 signatures. They join eight other candidates nominated by the Harvard Alumni Association.

Ballots are due May 20, and winners will be announced at commencement.

The last time there were this many petition candidates for the 30-member board was 1990, according to Harvard.


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

Monday, April 18, 2016

Socialism at work in Venezuela

First no toilet paper, now no phones and TV: Cash-strapped Venezuela faces yet more shortages in day-to-day basics. Other countries with little or no oil provide well for their people so blaming Venezuela's problems on the oil price is just an evasion. It is brainless government attempts to keep prices low that have caused the shortages. When you are forced to sell your product or service for less than it cost you to make or provide it, you stop making or providing it!

Venezuela faces yet more shortages in day-to-day basics as the global drop in oil prices causes a cash crisis in the country.

People in the South American nation have already suffered daily, unscheduled water and electricity cuts and now many are going without the use of television and phone-lines.

Venezuela is heavily dependent on the sale of petrol and the negative change in the market has drastically effected its debt-ridden government.

Ministers say oil revenue went from $37.2bn in 2014 to $12.6bn this year, while President Nicolas Maduro owes private telecoms and cable firms $700million.

The mammoth debt means companies cannot pay their international suppliers, resulting in services in certain parts of the country being cut.

To make things worse, Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica has announced it will temporarily suspend its long distance phone service for calls to countries such as the United States, Spain, Mexico, Italy, Brazil, Colombia and Panama, this week.

Mobile phone company Digitel, which is privately owned, has also halted long distance calling services and international roaming since April 9, because it cannot reach an agreement with providers on new payment timetables.

While the idea of not being able to make calls is bad enough, other Venezuelans have also been unable to watch their favourite shows.

State-run television company, Cantv, has stopped broadcasting as it says it must review contracts with providers of both local and international content.

Subscriber Isael Gonzalez, 46, said: 'For two weeks now, I have lost six of my favorite channels.

'They were the ones showing movies and cartoons - so I decided to unplug the whole thing. What use is it if the channels I like are off air?'

Drisley Petaquero, 36, also said several channels had been cut from her father's Directv pay-TV service. She said: 'Especially the ones showing comics - there used to be five and now there are just two'  'He complained to the company and they told him they were performing maintenance work.'

The state regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission, admits there is a problem blames the country's financial crisis.

Phone firms are desperate to raise their rates in order to recoup cash and industry sources say Telefonica's mobile branch Movistar won a 35 percent rise, with inflation at 181 percent, last year.

While phone and TV firms are in chaos, Maduro said that from May 1, he planned to change Venezuela's time scheme in a bid to save the country's energy. In a further effort to save electricity, he also decreed Monday a holiday, on top of a Tuesday national anniversary.

The president had already given public workers Fridays off, and raised eyebrows by urging women to cut usage of hair dryers.

The power problems have added to suffering from the world's highest inflation, shortages of basic goods such as toilet paper, and lengthy lines at shops around the nation.

One opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, said the president was giving holidays not because of the power situation but to delay the formal steps needed to trigger a referendum.

'He will end in the rubbish-bin of political history,' Capriles scoffed on Twitter. 'As he has never liked working, he wants the whole country to be like that.'


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

CA woman convicted of having sexual relationship with young boy gets sentencing delay

Defense attorneys for a Vacaville woman facing a lifetime prison sentence upon being convicted of having a sexual relationship with a young family member will argue for a new trial.

Michelle V. Souza appeared for sentencing Monday in Solano County Superior Court where her court-appointed defense counsel asked for additional time to file some post-trial motions. Souza was convicted by a jury in January of having sexual intercourse with a child 10 or younger and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child.

An undisclosed issue concerning a juror in the case had arisen, according to courtroom discussions. Defense attorneys sought more time to investigate the issue and prepare a motion for a new trial.

According to testimony at her trial, Souza began having a sexual relationship with a 10-year-old family member in 2014.

The victim testified for the jury how Souza would direct him on what to do, after summoning him to her bedroom.

After having sex with the child, she would tell him "good job," and instruct him not to tell anyone, according to testimony.

Souza, who testified in her own defense, tearfully denied the allegations.

The sexual abuse continued after Souza moved into a Raven Drive home, where she eventually began a dating relationship with co-defendant Ricky A. Groseclose.

It was during this time Groseclose began to exchange cellular telephone text messages with the victim, according to testimony. Under the watchful eye of Souza, the victim would send a text message to Groseclose when the alleged sexual acts took place.

Groseclose would encourage the activity to continue, the victim testified.

Souza did not deny the claim that she engaged in inappropriate touching with the victim after moving in with Groseclose.

Under further questioning, she added that the touching was not sexual in nature when directed to do so by Groseclose.

Souza told jurors that Groseclose told her to let the boy touch her and made repeated threats toward her and her family.

Groseclose has been charged with five counts of lewd acts on a minor under 14.

Prosecutors have charged Groseclose under an aiding and abetting theory as he is alleged to have already had knowledge of the sexual abuse and encouraged it to continue through the text messages to the victim.

During a recent court appearance, defense attorneys for Groseclose indicated they were considering a plea agreement.

Groseclose is expected back in court March 16 for the setting of a trial date. He has pleaded not guilty and remains free upon posting $180,000 bail


Sunday, April 17, 2016

NASA lies and tergiversations

All the things denied by NASA below have been documented many times -- including on this blog.  Amusing, though, when they said "There is far too much focus on surface temperatures".  I wonder why they said that?  It wouldn't be because they haven't been rising, would it?  And what shows warming if global temperatures don't?

In many online forums involving climate change science, the discussions are frequently hijacked by  doubters making the same tired, debunked arguments. On Tuesday, NASA was having none of it.

When doubters began polluting a thread started by Bill Nye “The Science Guy" about his rejected attempt to place a bet about global warming, the Facebook account “NASA Climate Change" decided to pounce.

When one doubter claimed NASA had confirmed fossil fuels “were actually cooling the planet," NASA Climate Change fired back: “Do not misrepresent NASA. Fossil fuels are not cooling the planet."

NASA Climate Change also took on the doubter talking point that because global warming is happening on other planets, what’s happening on Earth isn’t anything special. “Other planets in the solar system are not warming," it countered. “There is a small amount of evidence of seasonal changes in parts of the solar system, but there is no evidence of global warming anywhere — except on Earth."

When it was accused of “fudging numbers" in producing global warming data, it retorted: “NASA does not ‘fudge’ numbers. All data requires statistical adjustments to remove bias."  NASA Climate Change then directed commenters to multiple independent analyses of temperature data which show global warming while reminding readers: "There is far too much focus on surface temperatures. They are but one measure of warming. All other measures . . . continue unabated."


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

Former Los Angeles substitute teacher, 28, had sex with underage boys

This case is from  August 18, 2015

A former Los Angeles substitute high school teacher had sex with two underage boys and took one teen to Disneyland to reel him in, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Michelle Yeh, 28, was arrested July 17 on suspicion that she sexually abused one 15-year-old student at San Pedro High School, where she taught science this past year.

But prosecutors now allege that she had unlawful sex with two male minors and molested two other boys, according to the L.A. County District Attorney’s office.

The former teacher took one boy on the Disneyland trip, met another at a hotel and bought several boys gifts in order to pursue relationships with them, prosecutors said.

Authorities charged Yeh on Tuesday with unlawful sex with two minors. She faces four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor under 16, two counts of oral copulation of a minor under 16, and two counts of a lewd act on a child 15 years of age in the alleged targeting of the two victims.

She’s also charged with three misdemeanor counts of child molesting or sexual annoyance against two other alleged victims, both males, KTLA-TV reported.

Prosecutors will ask the judge to set a $250,000 bail at Yeh’s arraignment on Wednesday, according to the DA’s office. If she’s convicted, she’ll face a maximum of nine years and eight months in prison.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

They're finally listening!

Skeptics have been pointing out for years that the ice cores from past geological eras show CO2 increases lagging BEHIND  temperature rises, disproving the alleged link to global warming.  Heretofore the Warmists have just ignored that in their high and mighty way.  But as the temperature "hiatus" gets longer and longer -- broken only by El Nino -- they are definitely getting more defensive.  So in the latest edition of "New Scientist" (the Warmist house magazine) Catherine Brahic and Michael Le Page try  to wriggle out of the pesky timing of past CO2 spikes.  See below.

Their argument is not totally illogical, just very implausible.  They say that past temperature rises were caused by "other things", not by CO2.  It is only recent temperature rises that were caused by CO2.  They realize however that a lot of people are going to say "Hee Haw" to that profoundly silly argument so end up saying:

"To repeat, the evidence that CO2 is a greenhouse gas depends mainly on physics, not on the correlation with past temperature, which tells us nothing about cause and effect"

But the physics is a weak reed to lean on as well.  Their theories regularly seem to overlook that a heated atmospheric molecule will radiate its heat in all directions -- so only a small percentage of the emitted radiation will hit the earth.  But CO2 is also small percentage of the atmosphere so only a small percentage of a small percentage of radiation will impact the earth.  So on theory as well as on observed fact, CO2 will have negligible effect on terrestrial temperature.

So every point of their argument is feeble and improbable -- far too feeble and improbable to support policy prescriptions

And their claim that "the correlation with past temperature tells us nothing about cause and effect" is very contentious.  David Hume held that regular temporal priority was the WHOLE of cause.  So there are respectable philosophical grounds for saying that warming DOES cause CO2 emissions, not vice versa.

Over to Catherine Brahic and Michael Le Page

That's Catherine, a New Scientist editor. Her research background is in neuroanatomy

And that's Michael Le Page.  Isn't he a handsome devil?

Sometimes a house gets warmer even when the central heating is turned off. Does this prove that its central heating does not work? Of course not. Perhaps it’s a hot day outside, or the oven’s been left on for hours.

Just as there’s more than one way to heat a house, so there’s more than one way to heat a planet.

Ice cores from Antarctica show that at the end of recent ice ages, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere usually started to rise only after temperatures had begun to climb. There is uncertainty about the timings, partly because the air trapped in the cores is younger than the ice, but it appears the lags might sometimes have been 800 years or more.

Initial warming

This proves that rising CO2 was not the trigger that caused the initial warming at the end of these ice ages – but no climate scientist has ever made this claim. It certainly does not challenge the idea that more CO2 heats the planet.

We know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas because it absorbs and emits certain frequencies of infrared radiation. Basic physics tells us that gases with this property trap heat radiating from the Earth, that the planet would be a lot colder if this effect was not real and that adding more CO2 to the atmosphere will trap even more heat.

What is more, CO2 is just one of several greenhouses gases, and greenhouse gases are just one of many factors affecting the climate. There is no reason to expect a perfect correlation between CO2 levels and temperature in the past: if there is a big change in another climate "forcing", the correlation will be obscured.

Orbital variations

So why has Earth regularly switched between ice ages and warmer interglacial periods in the past million years? It has long been thought that this is due to variations in Earth’s orbit, known as Milankovitch cycles. These change the amount and location of solar energy reaching Earth. However, the correlation is not perfect and the heating or cooling effect of these orbital variations is small. It has also long been recognised that they cannot fully explain the dramatic temperature switches between ice ages and interglacials.

So if orbital changes did cause the recent ice ages to come and go, there must also have been some kind of feedback effect that amplified the changes in temperatures they produced. Ice is one contender: as the great ice sheets that covered large areas of the planet during the ice ages melted, less of the Sun’s energy would have been reflected back into space, accelerating the warming. But the melting of ice lags behind the beginning of interglacial periods by far more than the rises in CO2.

Another feedback contender, suggested over a century ago, is CO2. In the past decade, detailed studies of ice cores have shown there is a remarkable correlation between CO2 levels and temperature over the past half million years (see Vostok ice cores show constant CO2 as temperatures fell).

Rising together

It takes about 5000 years for an ice age to end and, after the initial 800 year lag, temperature and CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere rise together for a further 4200 years.

What seems to have happened at the end of the recent ice ages is that some factor – most probably orbital changes – caused a rise in temperature. This led to an increase in CO2, resulting in further warming that caused more CO2 to be released and so on: a positive feedback that amplified a small change in temperature. At some point, the shrinking of the ice sheets further amplified the warming.

Models suggest that rising greenhouse gases, including CO2, explain about 40% of the warming as the ice ages ended. The figure is uncertain because it depends on how the extent of ice coverage changed over time, and there is no way to pin this down precisely.

Biological activity

The source of this extra carbon was the oceans, but why did they release CO2 as the planet began to warm? Many factors played a role and the details are still far from clear.

CO2 is less soluble in warmer water, but its release as a result of warming seawater can explain only part of the increase in CO2. And the reduction in salinity as ice melted would have partly counteracted this effect.

A reduction in biological activity may have played a bigger role. Tropical oceans tend to release CO2, while cooler seas soak up CO2 from the atmosphere as phytoplankton grow and fall to the ocean floor. Changes in factors such as winds, ice cover and salinity would have cut productivity, leading to a rise in CO2.

Runaway prevention

The ice ages show that temperature can determine CO2 as well as CO2 driving temperature. Some sceptics – not scientists – have seized upon this idea and are claiming that the relation is one way, that temperature determines CO2 levels but CO2 levels do not affect temperature.

To repeat, the evidence that CO2 is a greenhouse gas depends mainly on physics, not on the correlation with past temperature, which tells us nothing about cause and effect. And while the rises in CO2 a few hundred years after the start of interglacials can only be explained by rising temperatures, the full extent of the temperature increases over the following 4000 years can only be explained by the rise in CO2 levels.

What is more, further back in past there are examples of warmings triggered by rises in greenhouse gases, such as the Palaeo-Eocene Thermal Maximum 55 millions years ago (see Climate myths: It’s been far warmer in the past, what’s the big deal?).

Finally, if higher temperatures lead to more CO2 and more CO2 leads to higher temperatures, why doesn’t this positive feedback lead to a runaway greenhouse effect? There are various limiting factors that kick in, the most important being that infrared radiation emitted by Earth increases exponentially with temperature, so as long as some infrared can escape from the atmosphere, at some point heat loss catches up with heat retention.


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

North Dakota woman sentenced for soliciting minor for sex

A 28-year-old Fargo woman who was charged last fall with gross sexual imposition after she was accused of having sex with a 14-year-old boy was sentenced Monday, April 11, to 167 days in jail after earlier pleading guilty to a lesser charge of soliciting a minor to have sex.

Chelsea J. Leonard was given credit for having already served 167 days and was ordered to pay fees totalling more than $500.

Cass County District Court Judge Wade Webb stressed to Leonard that she will be on supervised probation for five years and that a violation of her probation could subject her to a prison sentence of up to five years.

According to court documents, Leonard asked a 14-year-old boy to have sex with her in a Fargo hotel room last October.

Later, Leonard shared information about the incident with the boy's mother, who was in a different room in the hotel, and police were contacted.

Leonard's attorney, Laura Reynolds, told Webb Monday that her client struggles with severe alcohol problems, but stressed that Leonard had "taken responsibility from day one of this."

Webb acknowledged Leonard's repeated apologies, but he said in the given situation apologies were insufficient and he warned Leonard more than once that the felony she pleaded guilty to will carry additional consequences if she violates the terms of her probation.


Friday, April 15, 2016

Fat woman pleads guilty to sexual abuse of a minor

A North Dakota woman has pleaded guilty to having sex with a minor.

Raelynn Thiefoe, of Dunseith, is charged in federal court with sexual abuse of a minor. Authorities say she engaged in a sexual act with a boy between the ages of 12 and 16.

The 25-year-old Thiefoe told a judge during her plea hearing that she has been using methamphetamine for the last six years.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for July 12.

A federal public defender could not be reached for comment.


Ex-teacher accused of sex with students says one boy’s grades improved

SALT LAKE CITY (WCMH)–A former teacher in Utah who pleaded guilty to sexual abuse charges defended herself in a written response filed Tuesday in federal court.

Brianne Altice is in prison for having sexual contact with three boys aged 16 and 17. She filed a two-page response last month after one of the victim’s parents filed a lawsuit against her and the school district. The parents claim the school did nothing when employees complained about Altice’s behavior with students.

Altice, a former English teacher, said the then-16-year-old boy whose parents are suing her would “thwart inappropriate comments directed at her.”

Altice wrote that the teen would come to her for advice on his relationship with his parents. She said she told him “to communicate with his parents and continue to do his best in school.”  She added that during the school year in which she taught him, his grades improved.

KTSU reported that Altice wrote that she “had no evil or malicious intent to cause harm.”

The three boys involved in the case testified in a preliminary hearing that they had sex with Altice.

She pleaded guilty in 2013 to touching three students’ genitals between January and September 2013, and is serving a 2-to-30-year sentence.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

El Nino Collapses - Global Sea Ice Makes A Strong Comeback

North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperatures Back To 1980s Levels

Daily global sea ice anomalies versus 1979-2008 mean; data courtesy University of Illinois "cryosphere"

Global temperatures spiked during the last half of 2015 as a result of the strong El Nino and were still at very high levels relative-to-normal as recently as last month. In addition, global sea ice appeared to be impacted by El Nino as it took a steep dive during much of 2015 and remained at well below-normal levels going into this year. In the past couple of months, however, El Nino has begun to collapse and will likely flip to a moderate or strong La Nina (colder-than-normal water) by later this year.  In rather quick fashion, global temperatures have seemingly responded to the unfolding collapse of El Nino and global sea ice has actually rebounded in recent weeks to near normal levels. --Paul Dorian, Vencor Weather, 11 April 2016


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

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Would global warming increase both  flooding AND drought?

That is the prediction that Warmists are attached to.  But it runs counter to basic physics.  Warming should cause more evaporation off the oceans which will in turn fall as rain.  So more flooding would be a reasonable expectation during warming.  So how is warming supposed to cause drought too?

The short answer is "models" but leaning on them is leaning on a  broken reed.  A more substantial answer is that warmer weather will not only evaporate water off the seas but also off the land.  So you may have an initial drying effect on the land.  But wherever the evaporation comes from, it will end up as rain.  So there can be no net loss to the land.  The clouds will give its moisture back plus more moisture from the oceans.  And the earth surface is two thirds ocean so we are looking at a LOT more rain.

So a recent paper (below) has caused heartburn among Warmists.  It says that the slight warming of the 20th century did NOT cause drought -- which is what one would on basic principles expect and which is borne out by other studies -- e.g. "the proportion of Europe experiencing extreme and/or moderate drought conditions has changed insignificantly during the 20th century". And another finding for a dry region during C20:  "We found no evidence for a decrease either in mean annual rainfall or in the incidence of drought".

Note also the greening of the Sahel in late C20 and early C21.  Instead of getting drier, the semi-desert Sahel got greener.

So professional Warmist Joe Romm has rubbished the paper.  He says the paper is discredited and shows that it's conclusions are contradicted by "findings" from Warmist studies.  That contradiction should bother us not at all so let us look at the academic criticisms of the paper:

ANY scientific paper is open to criticism,  No study is perfect.  So the issue is whether the criticisms discover a fatal error or make an improbable generaliztion.  The criticisms Romm refers to are here.  And they are far from totally dismissive.  A few quotes:

In a recent study (Donat et al., 2016, Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate2941) we found that, when aggregating over the dry and wet regions of the world, precipitation changes are consistent between models and observations over the past 60 years. Nevertheless, it is true that modelling and analysis of precipitation changes are still related to a number of uncertainties, especially when it comes to regional changes in precipitation. This is partly related to the large temporal variability in local precipitation time series, but also shortcomings in the models with simulating processes related to precipitation."


I am not too surprised that there is disagreement for the 20th century as there is a strong component of random variability evident in the observational record. The picture of the “wet getting wetter and the dry getting drier” is one that is very likely to emerge over the course of this century but has not been evident, or expected, during the 20th century.


If this paper’s conclusion about model overprediction holds up to further scrutiny it will be extremely interesting; my own work focuses on model-data discrepancies so I am particularly interested.  But due to the above aspects of the study, I am not convinced that this particular conclusion will hold up.  We shall see, as I am sure this result will attract lots of attention."

So the study is not at all as risible as Romm claims.  It is just one indication of what is going on.

Northern Hemisphere hydroclimate variability over the past twelve centuries

Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist et al.

Accurate modelling and prediction of the local to continental-scale hydroclimate response to global warming is essential given the strong impact of hydroclimate on ecosystem functioning, crop yields, water resources, and economic security1, 2, 3, 4. However, uncertainty in hydroclimate projections remains large5, 6, 7, in part due to the short length of instrumental measurements available with which to assess climate models. Here we present a spatial reconstruction of hydroclimate variability over the past twelve centuries across the Northern Hemisphere derived from a network of 196 at least millennium-long proxy records. We use this reconstruction to place recent hydrological changes8, 9 and future precipitation scenarios7, 10, 11 in a long-term context of spatially resolved and temporally persistent hydroclimate patterns. We find a larger percentage of land area with relatively wetter conditions in the ninth to eleventh and the twentieth centuries, whereas drier conditions are more widespread between the twelfth and nineteenth centuries. Our reconstruction reveals that prominent seesaw patterns of alternating moisture regimes observed in instrumental data12, 13, 14 across the Mediterranean, western USA, and China have operated consistently over the past twelve centuries. Using an updated compilation of 128 temperature proxy records15, we assess the relationship between the reconstructed centennial-scale Northern Hemisphere hydroclimate and temperature variability. Even though dry and wet conditions occurred over extensive areas under both warm and cold climate regimes, a statistically significant co-variability of hydroclimate and temperature is evident for particular regions. We compare the reconstructed hydroclimate anomalies with coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model simulations and find reasonable agreement during pre-industrial times. However, the intensification of the twentieth-century-mean hydroclimate anomalies in the simulations, as compared to previous centuries, is not supported by our new multi-proxy reconstruction. This finding suggests that much work remains before we can model hydroclimate variability accurately, and highlights the importance of using palaeoclimate data to place recent and predicted hydroclimate changes in a millennium-long context16, 17.


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

Newlywed High School Teacher Victimized 16-Year-Old Male

The latest female teacher busted for allegedly traumatizing a teenage male student with sex is Sara Domres.

Domres, 28, faces criminal charges for having sex with a 16-year-old male student in a room at a Motel 6 — on the very same day her husband was having his bachelor party — and, on another occasion, in her car in a Park ‘n Ride lot.

The former English teacher paid $56.54 — cash — for the Motel 6 room, according to Milwaukee ABC affiliate WISN-TV.

Police determined that the teen had connected his mobile phone to the wireless connection at the “bare bones,” “no frills” Motel 6 while Domres was registered.

Domres, who was recently sacked from her job at New Berlin West High School in the suburbs of Milwaukee, also sent her young paramour selfies while she and her husband were enjoying their honeymoon, reports Milwaukee Fox affiliate WITI-TV.

The teen had been a student in one of Domres’s classes during the 2014-2015 school year.

The fling between Domres and her unidentified 16-year-old beau began — as such flings often do these days — with a series of increasingly passionate texts, investigators say.

Investigators collected a slew of texts from the teacher’s phone. The texts indicate that Domres and the student called each other “baby boo.” A sampling of texts excitedly reads “You’re extremely attractive to me!!!” and “I love you!”

The teen told police that the doomed romance also included a scene in a local restaurant parking lot when Domres’s husband found the teacher and the student together.

School officials caught wind of the illicit affair in January and placed Domres on administrative leave. The same month, Domres was fired, according to WITI-TV.

Domres, who has held a Wisconsin teaching license since 2011, pleaded not guilty this week to two counts of sexual assault of a student. She faces a maximum of 6 years in prison for each count as well as total fines of up to $20,000. A judge set her bond at $1,000.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

 The psychology of prejudice

At least since 1950, psychologists have been associating prejudice with mental problems.  You are allegedly maladjusted if you are prejudiced about anything.  Although I sometimes do, I have a strong prejudice against driving through a red light.  Does that make me prejudiced?  I think it is apparent that not all pre-judging is bad and may even be wise on occasions.  So their psychologizing of prejudice has always been uphill for them and mostly now seems to have been abandoned.  For some decades now, many psychologists have accepted it as normal.

So I was interested to look at an encyclopedic account of what we now know about prejudice -- one published in a book called The Encyclopedia of Peace Psychology, in 2012.

The article was written by two very experienced researchers in the field --  Cohrs and Duckitt  -- and is generally moderate and cautious, as an encyclopedic article should be.

But because there is clearly "good" prejudice (such as opposition to the KKK) as well as "bad" prejudice, the authors soon hit a rock.  They recognize that value judgments intrude at that point.  Rather heroically, however, they avoid value judgments and define prejudice simply as a "negative attitude".  I hate to do this to two earnest people but my background in analytical philosophy immediately makes me get critical about that.  The definition overlooks the time element in prejudice.  It is something you do before you do something else.  For instance, I certainly have a negative attitude to ill health but does that mean I am prejudiced against ill health?  We are in deep waters there, I think.

But let me be indulgent and overlook that. I am pleased that they agree with something that has repeatedly emerged in my own research:  "Thus, while tendencies to favor and identify with one’s  own group may be universal, intergroup prejudice is not a universal consequence".  In other words, you can be patriotic without being a racist.

So is there a prejudiced personality?  Is the prejudiced person rigid, intolerant of ambiguity, lacking in openness and all that old guff?  Cohrs and Duckitt reject all that and say that there are only two real predictors of prejudice:  SDO and RWA.  Which is quite hilarious.

The SDO scale CONTAINS expressions of group prejudice so it is no wonder that it predicts it!  In statistician's terms, the correlations are artifactual.  I am disappointed in John Duckitt for not knowing that.  I am pretty sure I have pointed that out to him in the past.   In 2003 I put online  some fuller comments on the SDO scale.  It is a mess.

And as for the RWA (Right-wing Authoritarianism) scale, who knows what it measures?  In Russia the people who get the highest scores on it are former Communists, so it certainly is not a measure of anything Right-wing.  Our present authors describe it as measuring "a combination of traditionalism, support for authorities, and favoring coercive social control".

That's probably as good a description as any but it makes the RWA scale sound very Leftish.  Who are they who ignore the obvious facts and rely on appeals to authority to justify their belief in global warming?  It sure isn't conservatives.  And if you want to hear the conservative attitude to authority, just listen to GOP hero Donald Trump.  He rubbishes all the main authorities: The Congress, the political party organizations, the Supreme Court, the President, big business.  He trusts only the people, which is exactly right in a democracy.

Marxists have often talked about "the people" but have never represented them.  Trump does.  From Marx and Engels on, Marxists have always been low wattage bourgeois intellectuals  -- confirmed ivory tower denizens.

And as for coercive social control, who is it who wanted to "fundamentally transform" America?  Hint: His surname begins with an O.   So it is a type of Leftism  that engenders racism?  It fits.  Aside from the Muslims, all the antisemitism in both Britain and America today is coming from the Left -- particularly in Britain.  And Hitler was a socialist.

Cohrs & Duckitt did not draw that inference, however, perhaps due to a general political naivety.  There also seems to be an underlying political naivety in this statement:

"Simply categorizing people as members of one’s own social category or as members of another social category seems to automatically generate identiļ¬cation with one’s group and a motivational tendency to positively differentiate it from other groups"

So you are always positive towards your own group?  Hardly. Many  American Leftists HATE America and lots of Jews are very negative about Israel.  Even Leftist Israelis are very critical of Israel.

I think Cohrs and Duckitt need to get out into the fresh air a lot more.  There's a different world out there

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

Middle School Teacher Traumatized 14-Year-Old Male Student With Naked Selfies

This week’s female teacher busted for using Snapchat to send nude selfies to a 14-year-old male teenager is Kylie Rexann Modisette. Modisette, 28, is an English teacher in the single middle school in the small town of Huntington, Texas, reports area ABC affiliate KTRE.

The flurry of raunchy sexting occurred back in December, law enforcement officials say. Modisette knows the unidentified 14-year-old boy because he was previously a student in one of her classes at Huntington Middle School.

The teenager told Texas Ranger Travis Brazil that he had successfully deleted the nude photos of Modisette from his mobile phone.

However, the teen swore, someone else had taken a screenshot of a photo of Modisette posing in her birthday suit. That image was subsequently distributed widely among youngsters in Huntington

An arrest affidavit says that school district officials contacted the Texas Ranger Division earlier this month with information about the Snapchat photos.

School officials have not fired Modisette. Huntington school district superintendent David Flowers told the New York Daily News that the English teacher is currently on administrative leave pending further investigation. Typically, administrative leave is paid.

Modisette, who has been employed by the school district for a little over 3 years, faces a misdemeanor charge of distributing harmful material to a minor. She was arrested on Thursday and then released after posting $1,500 bail.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Ohio woman posts bond after unlawful sexual conduct with a minor charges

A judge ordered bond for a Licking County woman to be set at $75,000 cash surety Wednesday on a charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.  Michelle Lynn Moore, 37, of Etna was arrested Tuesday by Licking County Sheriff’s deputies. She has since posted bond.

According to a report from the Sheriff’s Office, a 14-year-old boy made a complaint on January 31.

Moore appeared via video Wednesday as she was arraigned in a Licking County courtroom. In addition to setting bond, the judge ordered her to have no contact with the alleged victim, or unsupervised contact with anyone younger than 18 years old.

NBC4 obtained Moore’s personnel record from Southwest Licking Local School District, where she worked part-time as a substitute teacher’s aide and in other substitute positions.

Superintendent Bob Jennell said Moore’s background check came back clean when she was hired. She worked for the district for a little more than a year. Jennell said she last worked for the district in January.

“When somebody is out on leave for a particular reason—vacation, sick day, something like that—[she] among others in the sub pool are contacted to fill a position for a particular day,” Jennell said.

Jennell said Moore’s contract would not be renewed and that she would no longer work for the district. “It’s frustrating that we’re here for kids and something like this would happen,” Jennell said.

Christopher Reamer, first assistant prosecutor for Licking County, said Wednesday that none of the alleged incidents happened on school property.

The Licking County Sheriff’s Office said Moore admitted to having sexual intercourse with the juvenile in several different locations.  NBC4 reached out to Moore Tuesday, but she did not want to be interviewed.

Reamer said more charges could be filed against Moore, in connection with the same alleged victim.

“There was a relationship between the two families,” Reamer said. “The children were acquaintances and that was how they grew to know each other.”

Reamer said unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is a third-degree felony, punishable by a maximum of five years in prison.



eXTReMe Tracker