Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The world has never seen such freezing heat

I know this is just over a week old but its the first time I've seen it. It deserves mention wherever possible since you won't see it in the MSM. Notice that the Glow Bull Warming fascist, James Hanson is involved. No surprise there. Anything to prove his point. If you get a chance, pass this on so we can balance the notion of consensus on AGW. Courtesy of the UK Telegraph.

By Christopher Booker
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 16/11/2008

A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore's chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

A sudden cold snap brought snow to London in October
  • Read more from Christopher Booker
  • This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasona and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.

    So what explained the anomaly? GISS's computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.

    The error was so glaring that when it was reported on the two blogs - run by the US meteorologist Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre, the Canadian computer analyst who won fame for his expert debunking of the notorious "hockey stick" graph - GISS began hastily revising its figures. This only made the confusion worse because, to compensate for the lowered temperatures in Russia, GISS claimed to have discovered a new "hotspot" in the Arctic - in a month when satellite images were showing Arctic sea-ice recovering so fast from its summer melt that three weeks ago it was 30 per cent more extensive than at the same time last year.

    A GISS spokesman lamely explained that the reason for the error in the Russian figures was that they were obtained from another body, and that GISS did not have resources to exercise proper quality control over the data it was supplied with. This is an astonishing admission: the figures published by Dr Hansen's institute are not only one of the four data sets that the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relies on to promote its case for global warming, but they are the most widely quoted, since they consistently show higher temperatures than the others.

    If there is one scientist more responsible than any other for the alarm over global warming it is Dr Hansen, who set the whole scare in train back in 1988 with his testimony to a US Senate committee chaired by Al Gore. Again and again, Dr Hansen has been to the fore in making extreme claims over the dangers of climate change. (He was recently in the news here for supporting the Greenpeace activists acquitted of criminally damaging a coal-fired power station in Kent, on the grounds that the harm done to the planet by a new power station would far outweigh any damage they had done themselves.)

    Yet last week's latest episode is far from the first time Dr Hansen's methodology has been called in question. In 2007 he was forced by Mr Watts and Mr McIntyre to revise his published figures for US surface temperatures, to show that the hottest decade of the 20th century was not the 1990s, as he had claimed, but the 1930s.

    Another of his close allies is Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, who recently startled a university audience in Australia by claiming that global temperatures have recently been rising "very much faster" than ever, in front of a graph showing them rising sharply in the past decade. In fact, as many of his audience were aware, they have not been rising in recent years and since 2007 have dropped.

    Dr Pachauri, a former railway engineer with no qualifications in climate science, may believe what Dr Hansen tells him. But whether, on the basis of such evidence, it is wise for the world's governments to embark on some of the most costly economic measures ever proposed, to remedy a problem which may actually not exist, is a question which should give us all pause for thought.

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    From Shock & Awe. Keeping us safe. Ever vigilant. This is why we can celebrate Turkey Day in peace with our loved ones. I'm grateful.

    See the video here.

    Humans may have prevented super ice age

    Lifted from New Scientist, this should be taken with a grain of salt. It is however an alternate theory that does deserve consideration. You decide.

    Our impact on Earth's climate might be even more profound than we realise. Before we started pumping massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the planet was on the brink of entering a semi-permanent ice age, two researchers have proposed.

    Had we not radically altered the atmosphere, say Thomas Crowley of the University of Edinburgh, UK, and William Hyde of the University of Toronto in Canada, the current cycle of ice ages and interglacials would have given way in the not-too-distant future to an ice age lasting millions of years.

    "It's not proven but it's more than just an interesting idea," says Crowley.

    For much of the 500 million years or so since complex life evolved, Earth's climate has been much hotter than it is now, with no ice at the poles. During the last of these "hothouse Earth" phases, from around 100 to 50 million years ago, the Antarctic was covered by lush forests and shallow seas submerged vast areas of America, Europe and Africa.

    Oscillating wildly

    Since that time, though, CO2 levels have slowly fallen, possibly due to the rise of the Himalayas. As a result Earth has gradually cooled, with permanent ice sheets starting to form in Antarctica around 30 million years ago and later in the Arctic.

    Then, 2.5 million years ago, the climate entered a curious new phase: it started oscillating wildly, see-sawing between interglacial periods with conditions similar to today's and ice ages during which the amount of permanent ice in the northern hemisphere expanded hugely.

    At the peaks of these transient ice ages, much of northern Europe, northern Asia and North America were covered in ice sheets up to 4 kilometres thick, and sea levels were 120 metres lower than today.

    From a "deep time" perspective, this ice age-interglacial cycle may be just another brief transitional phase. It has been becoming ever more variable, Crowley says.

    Bigger swings

    When the cycle began, the climate went from ice age to interglacial and back roughly every 41,000 years. More recently, it has been happening every 100,000 years.

    The temperature swings have also become greater: the interglacials have been no warmer but the ice ages have become much colder. So the overall cooling trend was continuing - until the arrival of the Anthropocene, the period in which humans have started to have a major affect on Earth's climate and ecosystems.

    According to a simple climate model developed by Crowley and Hyde, this increasing variability was a sign that the climate was about to flip into a new stable state - a semi-permanent ice age. This ice age might well have lasted for tens of millions of years or more, Crowley says.

    In the model runs best resembling actual climate history, the switch to a long-lasting ice age happened as early as 10,000 to 100,000 years from now. However, Crowley stresses that not too much confidence can be placed on the results of single runs out of many.

    Hello snowball

    The idea of the world becoming locked in an ice age is certainly plausible, says James Zachos of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who studies past climate. It's not that rare for the climate to switch from one state into another, he says.

    And there were extensive and long-lived ice ages during the Carboniferous period, around 300 million years, points out climate modeller Andy Ridgwell of the University of Bristol, UK.

    Further back, around 700 million years ago, there was an even colder period known as "Snowball Earth", when the planet froze over nearly completely.

    However, Crowley and Hyde are going to have to do a lot more work to convince their peers. Because of the vast lengths of time involved, they used a very basic model to simplify calculations. "It is not as complex as everyone wants it to be, but you can run it for a very long time," says Crowley.

    Handle with care

    None of the researchers contacted by New Scientist thought the model's predictions are worth taking seriously. It appears to have a bias to forming large and stable ice sheets, says Ridgwell. "So it does not come as a shock that they find a transition point to an even greater ice mass state."

    Still, everyone agrees that it is an intriguing idea. "It is worth delving into deeper," says Ridgwell.

    The idea that humans have averted an ice age may ring a bell with regular New Scientist readers. Climatologist Bill Ruddiman has suggested that Stone Age farmers prevented an ice age by releasing greenhouse gases.

    However, the two ideas are quite distinct: Ruddiman thinks that without human intervention we would now be entering another transient ice age like all the previous ones, while Crowley thinks that at some time in the future the whole ice age-interglacial cycle would have ended.

    It's possible they could both be right - or wrong - but we will never know for sure. We have pumped so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in little more than a century that levels are higher now than they have been for at least 800,000 years. This will have delayed any switch to a long-lasting ice age indefinitely. "We are probably very comfortably away from it happening now," Crowley stresses.

    Instead, we are putting the planet's climate on the opposite trajectory, back towards "hothouse Earth" conditions.

    Journal reference: Nature (DOI: 10.1038/nature07365)

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Happy Veterans Day

    I saw this over at Flopping Aces. I just had to pass it on. Hope Flopping Aces doesn't mind. It struck a chord with me. Hope it does the same for you.

    Serving a Cause Greater than Self

    Posted by: Wordsmith @ 10:24 pm in Military
    Viewed 187 times, 187 so far today


    U.S. Air Force Capt. Joshua Tyler, left, re-enlists Staff Sgt. Andrew Petrulis, Explosive Ordnance Division craftsman, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Oct. 27, 2008. Petrulis’ teammates took advantage of a training opportunity to time the “fireball” detonation at a safe distance to make the re-enlistment a more memorable event for their comrade. Tyler and Petrulis are assigned to the 755th Air Expeditionary Group Explosive Ordnance Disposal Operating Location.
    U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Morse

    This is courtesy of Islamic Jihad. Just one more example of the one sided debate when it comes to offending Muslims. So what if we're offended by something. Tough shit for us.

    2010 World Cup ads "offend" Muslims

    Some soccer balls carry the flags of nations like Saudi Arabia---the latter depicting the words "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah," with a sword to stress the point, which, incidentally, non-Muslims may find "offensive." But who cares about that?

    "2010 ads offend Muslims," from The Times, November 11:

    Muslims have taken offence at the use of sacred Islamic texts in advertising for the 2010 World Cup.

    2010 Special Report

    "In particular, as advertising for the 2010 Fifa World Cup gathers momentum, there have been soccer balls bearing the national flags of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq in circulation," the Jumiatul Ulama (Council of Muslim Theologians) said in a statement today.

    "These flags carry Islamic proclamations considered sacred by Muslims.

    "Usage in this manner has the potential of offending adherents of the Islamic faith."

    The Jumiatul Ulama said it had observed an increasing trend in the use of sacred Islamic texts in print advertising and promotional merchandise.

    "Muslims handle and dispose of such sacred texts with utmost respect. We would therefore like to bring to the attention of publishers, advertisers, printers, publicists and all concerned about the sensitivities the Muslim community has about the use of any type of media with sacred Islamic text."

    The council has offered its guidance to agencies involved in all kinds of advertising on the "appropriateness" of the use of Arabic texts, arabesque art and calligraphy "which may have subtly embedded sacred text".

    The World Cup Local Organising Committee was not immediately available for comment.

    The UN is at it Again - Attack Israel but ignore Radical Islam

    Okay. Here we go again. The corrupt criminals at the UN are having another conference on racism in the world, one which the US boycotted the last time around. Since this will take place during the reign of the "One", what are the chances that we'll be ringside for this one?

    I look for the Obama administration to be all over this like a cheap suit. He loves the UN and will not hesitate to throw Israel under the bus. He threw his pastor and his aunt under the bus so what chance does Israel have? No chance. What about the Islamo-Nazis? No doubt we will embrace them so they can feel like we care about them. (I don't!) God, I hate to think what we're in for as we try to improve our image in the world. Its gonna be a rough ride the next 4 (8?) years.

    Apartheid’ Israel, Islamophobia on the Agenda for U.N. Racism Meeting

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008
    By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor

    Critics are urging governments to boycott next April's UN conference on racism in Geneva, dubbed "Durban II."

    ( – Seven years after the United States and Israel withdrew in protest from a United Nations racism gathering, the drafters of the primary document for a follow-up conference next spring have included sentiments that prompted the earlier walkout.

    Most glaringly, the draft text declares that Israeli policies and practices in territories claimed by the Palestinians constitute “a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity [and] a form of genocide.”

    Critics of the U.N. process are urging European governments in particular to announce that they will boycott the conference that some are calling “Durban II.” It is planned for five days next April in Geneva. Earlier this year Canada and Israel said they would not take part.

    The United States voiced disquiet and has not taken part in preparatory meetings, but has made no announcement about attending or not. A senior State Department official told lawmakers early this year it would be the next administration’s decision.

    The 2009 conference aims to review the progress made since the U.N. World Conference on Racism (WCAR) in Durban, South Africa in 2001, which critics said was so focused on Israel that other issues of serious racial discrimination around the globe were all but ignored.

    Despite the controversy that dogged that event, the Israeli-Palestinian issue is once again looming, while another topic promising to make waves at the event is “defamation” of religion – primarily Islam.

    Both are being promoted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the bloc of Islamic states that accounts for one-third of the members of the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, the body overseeing preparations for the racism conference.

    A 20-country preparatory committee is chaired by Libya, and members include Iran and Pakistan.

    The Bush administration has sat out of the Human Rights Council since its establishment in 2006, accusing it of disproportionately targeting Israel and of protecting rights-violating regimes. But the Obama administration is expected to seek membership next May.

    Anne Bayefsky of Eye on the U.N., a project of the Hudson Institute, believes the next administration probably will also decide to attend the racism conference.

    “President-elect Obama has a grossly naive attitude towards the U.N. and its ability to foster American interests,” she said Tuesday.

    “He is therefore likely to want to run for election to the morally bankrupt U.N. Human Rights Council, and participation at Durban II will be a means of pandering for votes for the Council election which will take place shortly thereafter.”

    Bayefsky highlighted four main areas of concern in the latest version of a draft “outcome document,” being prepared for the conference next spring.

    She identified them as “the demonization of Israel,” attacks on freedom of expression, attempts to thwart counterterrorism measures, and “alleged discrimination against Muslims.”

    Israel attacked, other situations ignored

    On Israel, the clearest attack is the one labeling its policies “a serious violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity, a form of genocide and a serious threat to international peace and security.”

    A number of further references are made to the “plight of the Palestinian people,” and Israel is accused of “unlawful collective punishment, torture, economic blockade, severe restriction on movement and arbitrary closure of [Palestinian] territories.”

    The document “expresses deep regret the practices of racial discrimination against the Palestinians … and renew[s] the call for the cessation of all the practices of racial discrimination to which the Palestinians and the other inhabitants of the Arab territories occupied by Israel are subjected.”

    And it asserts that Israel’s administration of Jerusalem and its sacred sites also entails “racial practices.”

    Meanwhile other conflict situations around the world – including those where race is arguably a major element, such as Darfur – do not feature in the text.

    This year, more than 1,100 people were killed in post-election violence in Kenya that largely pitted tribe against tribe. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo this month, a rebel Tutsi leader says he is fighting to protect his people from Hutus – the tribe notorious for the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The Great Lakes region has been torn for years by violence with a strong ethnic character.

    Although the key U.N. racism instrument – the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination – does not differentiate between discrimination based on color and discrimination based on ethnicity, neither the Kenyan nor the DRC situations are touched on in the draft racism conference “outcome document.”

    ‘Binding standards needed on Islamophobia’

    One area that does feature strongly in the document is that of religious “defamation” – a phenomenon proponents say primarily targets Muslims and has grown significantly since 9/11.

    “The most serious manifestations of defamation of religions are the increase in Islamophobia and the worsening of the situation of Muslim minorities around the world,” say the drafters.

    Three elements are noted – the association of Islam and Muslims with terrorism; restrictions on symbols of Islam such as the construction of mosques and minarets; and the monitoring and surveillance of Islamic places of worship, culture and teaching.

    The drafters say Durban II “must look into this contemporary manifestation of racism and seek proscription of this practice through legal and administrative measures. As the existing national laws and courts have failed to address the issue, internationally binding normative standards need to be devised.”

    Because national laws “cannot deal with the rising tide of defamation and hatred against Muslims,” the document says, a single, universal document is needed.

    This is in line with the OIC’s ongoing campaigning at the U.N. for religious defamation to be outlawed – a move opponents say is designed not to protect Muslims but to protect Islam from scrutiny and criticism. A petition organized by the American Center for Law and Justice, urging U.N. officials to block the OIC move, has been signed by more than 91,000 people.

    Those concerns will be strengthened by another reference in the draft document: governments are urged “to take necessary measures against incitement” in the media, including the Internet.

    Countries should “take firm action against negative stereotyping of religions and defamation of religious personalities, holy books, scriptures and symbols,” it says, citing ”offensive caricatures” and “hate documentaries.”

    A related concern of the drafters is what they refer to as “the potentially discriminatory effects of legislation and practices to combat terrorism.”

    States are urged to ensure that their anti-terror policies “do not discriminate in purpose or effect on grounds of race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin as well as on the grounds of culture, religion and language and that non-citizens are not subjected to racial or ethnic profiling or stereotyping.”

    Other likely contentious issues include a proposal to set affirmative action quotas for national parliaments; and reparation for “victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”

    ‘Red lines’

    Although neither the U.S. nor Canada are taking part in the planning process for Durban II, three members of the European Union – Belgium, Estonia and Greece – are members of the 20-country preparatory committee.

    France currently holds the E.U.’s rotating presidency, and critics of the U.N. process are urging action.

    Last February, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told a Jewish audience in Paris that the WCAR in 2001 had been marked by “intolerable excesses” and said France would “not allow a repetition.”

    Noting that France would preside over the E.U. during the latter part of the preparatory process – the second half of 2008 – he pledged that the E.U. would withdraw from the process if its “legitimate demands are not taken into account.”

    In a statement to the Human Rights Council in September, France said the E.U. wanted all states to address the racism issue without politicizing it, without singling out any region of the world, and “without trying to draw up an order of priority among victims.”

    It also said the declaration negotiated at the WCAR should not be re-opened for discussion – a reference to the OIC’s drive to insert references to religious defamation.

    U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental organization affiliated with the American Jewish Committee, views the September statement as having set out the E.U.’s “red lines” for participation.

    The organization’s executive director, Hillel Neuer, said the dominant theme of the draft outcome document “is that the United States, Western Europe, Israel and the other liberal democracies – their principles, institutions, policies, respective histories and national identities – are singularly racist and discriminatory against Islam.”

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Burgers are "Unsustaninable"

    Leave it to the socialists in Europe to figure out how we should straighten out our lives. Now, not only are burgers bad for you but they're bad for the world too! Oh well, I went to Jack in the Box today for lunch and enjoyed a double with bacon. Yum.

    What the hell are the livestock supposed to eat? Grass? If it still tastes good then I'm okay with that. What do we do with all that corn though?

    Corn-fed animals fuel America

    Biofuel demand is not the only market pressure being felt by US corn farmers. Much of the fast food that powers Americans - a $100 billion annual market - is indirectly made from corn as well, according to researchers in Hawaii.

    Hope Jahren and Rebecca Kraft of the University of Hawaii purchased 486 servings of hamburgers, fries and chicken sandwiches from McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Detroit, Boston and Baltimore.

    Back in the lab, they analysed the carbon isotope content of each serving. Previous research has shown that it is possible to determine whether an animal ate predominantly corn feed or grass from the ratio of C13 to C12 in its body tissue.

    The pair found that 100% of the chicken in these three fast-food chains had been reared on corn alone. Some 93% of the beef came from cows that had been fed a corn-only diet. Just 12 burgers - all from west-coast Burger Kings - came from beef that had eaten something else.

    The team was even able to determine what type of oil the fries had been cooked in - a mixture of vegetable oils at McDonald's and Burger King, corn oil at Wendy's. In fact, of 160 products purchased at Wendy's, the researchers did not find a single one without some corn component.


    "The trend over the past few decades has been to push for cheap animal protein," says Vicki Hird of environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth. She notes that government subsidies that favour corn have encouraged pesticide- and fertiliser-intensive monoculture farming in the US. "We are using corn in ways that are completely unsustainable," says Hird.

    Friends of the Earth is compiling a report on the effects of intensive farming on the demand for soy, and the environmental consequences for South America. The growth of soy farming in countries such as Brazil has driven deforestation and the destruction of grasslands. Much of the soy, says Hird, is used to feed cattle and chickens around the world.

    Hird warns that the US and European push for corn-based biofuels could mean that intensive cattle and chicken farmers in the US will also turn to soy-based feeds.

    Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0809870105)