View 735 Monday, July 30, 2012
I watched the London Olympics Opening Ceremony Friday night, and Saturday I got involved in other stuff. Saturday evening we went to see Brave, and we watched a lot of Olympics stuff Sunday, so in effect I took the weekend off.
I didn’t really want to comment on the Opening Ceremonies because what I would have had to say would be impolite. I’ve thought about it since, and I guess I don’t care. If the Brits can insult Mr. Romney for being both polite and honest when asked if Britain was “ready” for the Olympics – this just after they had to withdraw troops from Afghanistan because they suddenly noted a deficiency in their security arrangements – then I guess being polite isn’t in the cards.
The Opening Ceremony was four hours of the most pretentious taurocoprophogeny I have seen this year. It began with the picture of an idyllic countryside that depicted a nostalgia for a Malthusian existence for 90% of the human race, and went on from there. It included a great Shakespearian actor given about four lines of Shakespeare and dozens of skits in a goofy costume with cigar, interspersed with clever scenes involving the Queen, a paean to National Health Care and socialized medicine, and NBC commenters who made sure that no part of the ceremony was unaccompanied by mindless chatter. Parts of it were amusing, but none of them had much to do with athletic excellence. Mary Poppins vs. Valdemort was funny for a few minutes, and would have been more so if the NBC commenters hadn’t felt the need to explain the matters.
Finally came the parade of the nations, interspersed with the usual horror of stacked commercials which required that the actual events be truncated and hurried along so that there would be more time for advertisements.
After the Berlin Olympics the Games became national contests rather than exhibitions of individual prowess, a tendency exaggerated by the Cold War following WW II. The Los Angeles Olympics tried to reverse some of that trend but it was too late. We now have the idiocy of the gymnastics world champion not being allowed to compete in the individual events because – well because no ‘nation’ can send more than two competitors to an individual contest? I am sure I must be misunderstanding that rule, which seems to take the notion of affirmative action to an absurdity. Such is our modern world.
Roberta tells me it will be 100 degrees out there shortly and we have to take our morning walk. That seems an appropriate setting for thinking about global warming and the surprise defection of Muller from the ranks of the Deniers, accompanied by the cheers of his compadres at Berkeley.
I haven’t read his (unpublished but peer reviewed, but now said to be on line) papers yet, but the summaries I have seen says that he is now convinced that the world has been warming since 1800, and he can’t think of any reason for that other than human action; and he has a new computer model.
I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t know that the Hudson froze solid in 1776 and continued to do so into the 1800’s, the Thames had markets on the ice up into the 1830’s, the brackish canals of Holland froze solid enough for skating well into late Spring well into the 1800’s. And Arrhenius did back of the envelope calculations – ah well.
I will think on the matter and look at the papers, but I can’t see what Muller knows now than we didn’t all know many years ago. Perhaps he will convince me, but I keep remembering vines in Vinland and dairy farms in Greenland, which I learned about in 5th Grade. Perhaps before.
Back after our walk.
Latch on, New York City!!
NBC appears to be using the airlines and newspapers as role models. Airlines and newspapers seem to have learned their business philosophy from Chinese merchants: once you have made a sale, gradually reduce the quality of what you deliver until the customer threatens to leave, then go back to giving him the minimum quality that he can still stand.
Newspapers are still reducing their quality, and still losing customers. I already need brighter lights in my breakfast room. NBC is streaming the Americans playing basketball, but their live coverage is some people bicycling. I presume they are racing, but it’s hard to tell.
And the world champion gymnast won’t be allowed to compete in the individual gymnastics because she came in third among Americans, and we are spreading the wealth around: only two competitors per country. This in an event that is said to be related to the original Olympic Games, and supposedly promote individualism as opposed to nationalism – at least that is what they were supposed to be doing when I was growing up. Mr. Hitler tried to make the Games a nationalistic and racial contest, but Jesse Owens did not agree. The Olympic rules forbade ‘professional’ athletes, to the extent that Jim Thorpe’s medals were taken away from him when it was discovered he had played professional baseball before winning the gold) but the problem was that military athletes given the duty of training were permitted. Eventually those rules were abolished, and the Games became even more of a national contest. And now the silly rules say that someone who scores well below world champion Jordyn Wieber can compete, but she can’t. This is stupidity on broken stilts, but it’s good affirmative action I suppose.
Of course Mitt Romney was correct. The Brits were not entirely prepared for all this. It was pretty obvious to everyone, but the news media will use any stick to beat him with.
Romney has now in essence said that the US will not only recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (and thus reject Mr. Obama’s suggestion that the Arab-Israeli negotiations begin with the 1967 boundaries (before Israel’s victories in the 6-day and other wars). Sheldon Adelson was in the audience, and is raising money for Romney. There are a number of implications to this. One is that Romney and Newt Gingrich have a powerful mutual friend. What that means for Newt in the event of a Romney election is not clear, but it may indicate a larger place in space policy for Newt Gingrich – who remains a space cadet. I first met Newt after he read my A Step Farther Out (Kindle edition) and telephoned me because he wanted to discuss it.
Sheldon Adelson is a very astute man, and his ability to put together coalitions of enemies in order to advance causes and institutions he favors should not be underestimated. His wife, Dr. Miriam Ochshorn Adelson, is a graduate of Tel Aviv University.
And Mike Flynn, who knows more statistics than anyone I have ever known well other than John Tukey, has this comment:
Muller and BEST
A comment on Dr. Briggs’ "Statistician to the Stars" blog provides the following comments from Dr. Muller of the BEST study:
“I was never a skeptic” – Richard Muller, 2011 “If Al Gore reaches more people and convinces the world that global warming is real, even if he does it through exaggeration and distortion – which he does, but he’s very effective at it – then let him fly any plane he wants.” – Richard Muller, 2008 “There is a consensus that global warming is real. …it’s going to get much, much worse.” – Richard Muller, 2006 “Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate.” – Richard Muller, 2003″
Given these sentiments running back to AD 2003, it seems a bit disingenuous to advertise as a "denier" who has been "converted" by close study of the data. If you go to http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=5946 and search the site for "Muller" a number of interesting statistical critiques will reveal themselves.
The problem, as always, is in the homogenization procedures. Such procedures are necessary if one is to convert actual temperature measurements into adjusted measurements that "might have been seen" if only there were not a city where once there were meadows as bucolic as the opening act at the Olympics (or conversely, if the city had always been there). This is a bit like measuring a triangular plot of land and finding that the angles do not add up to 180 deg. The data must be adjusted. The question is how. By some amazing coincidence, in 67% of the cases, the adjusted data show a greater temperature increase than the actual data. In some cases, a declining trend in actual temperatures is, mirabile dictu, transformed into an increasing trend in adjusted temperatures. But given the homogenization procedures used, a stationary series of serially correlated random data will be adjusted into an increasing trend. http://itia.ntua.gr/getfile/1212/1/documents/2012EGU_homogenization_1.pdf
Apparently Muller wasn’t quite the Denier that the headlines said he was. As to the homogenization, I have written on that many times: I don’t trust any of the measures enough that I would bet trillions of dollars on them. We know it was warmer in Roman times, we know it was warmer in Viking times, and we know damned well that it was a lot colder during the Little Ice Age. We know that it was colder when England and Scandinavia and much of northern North America were under hundreds to thousands of meters of ice. We have some reliable data from the times of the voyage of the Beagle and more since 1900, and after satellites we began to get really accurate primary data, but there are still anomalies, outages, gaps, missing data…
I know it has warmed in North America since Colonial times. I know we were concerned about Cooling when I was science editor of Galaxy.
My morning paper headlines that 17,000 people have applied for 300 positions as LA City fire fighters. Is it possible that fire fighters are paid more than would be needed to attract qualified people to the job? But then the California board that governs the investment of pension funds has found itself lucky to make 1% return on those funds, but consistently gives the official estimate for future return at more than 7%. This is known as quality management.
I cheerfully acknowledge that I paid no attention to Muller until this incident, and I did pay attention to what appeared to be reasonable statements by mainstream media. That, it turns out, was an error. Here is a good summary:
Surprise defection of Muller?
The surprise is that anyone believes this is a defection.
First and foremost, look here http://mullerandassociates.com/government/ . This is a company with Richard Muller , President and Chief Scientist, Elizabeth Muller, CEO. They make the following statements (on a page formerly named GreenGov in Oct 2011) "Energy policy involves economics, energy security, and climate change." and "Coal, as one example, is abundant in some countries, but it is also a strong emitter of carbon dioxide." They made those same statements before this paper was first submitted (2011), and thus supposedly before Muller was "convinced" by the data that humans changed climate. They therefore state that they believe in climate change caused by human produced CO2, and so stated at the same time they were claiming to be "skeptics". They get business and money if climate change is true, and lose money if it is false. They therefore have a serious conflict of interest. Conclusion, they were not at that time and never have been, "skeptics".
Muller enlisted some skeptics and middle of the roaders such as Anthony Watts and Dr. Judith Curry (listed co author), and then released a paper that was different that these people were told it would be, not using their data or input in ways he stated that he would. This was then followed by a media blitz in Oct 2011 which drew criticism from these contributors and co authors since it was released before peer review. This looks like simply getting the "skeptics" on board, or at least getting their names on the paper, to make it look as if Muller is a skeptic or at least is addressing their concerns. It was this first media blitz that claimed that Muller was now no longer a "skeptic" and was convinced by the data that humans changed climate. With the discovery of the above Muller and Associates statement that climate change is true prior to and during his claim of being a "skeptic", it is obvious that that claim was and is false. It looks like a classic "Black Flag" operation, claim to be one thing while actually being another. It is the old tactic "Ally, Neutralize, Destroy", Ally = "I am a fellow skeptic, like you", Neutralize = "Oh look, that data says humans are causing warming", Destroy = "If even I, a fellow skeptic, can see this, you skeptics should give up your skepticism and join the consensus".
This paper has still NOT passed peer review, in fact, at least one of the reviewers, Ross McKitrick, has recommended it not be published, stating "I submitted my review just before the end of September 2011, outlining what I saw were serious shortcomings in their methods and arguing that their analysis does not establish valid grounds for the conclusions they assert. I suggested the authors be asked to undertake a major revision." and then " On March 8 2012 I was asked by JGR to review a revised version of the Wickham et al. paper. I submitted my review at the end of March. The authors had made very few changes and had not addressed any of the methodological problems, so I recommended the paper not be published. I do not know what the journal’s decision was, but it is 4 months later and I can find no evidence on the BEST website that this or any other BEST project paper has been accepted for publication." http://www.rossmckitrick.com/
Listed co author Dr. Judith Curry states "Muller bases his ‘conversion’ on the results of their recent paper. So, how convincing is the analysis in Rohde et al.’s new paper?" followed by "I have made public statements that I am unconvinced by their analysis". http://judithcurry.com/2012/07/30/observation-based-attribution/#more-9238
Meanwhile, there is now evidence that "the data used by Muller to draw these conclusions was unreliable to the point of utter uselessness" http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100173174/global-warming-yeah-right/ . This is based on new findings that half of the US temperature change in the last 30 years is caused by bad station siting http://www.examiner.com/article/new-study-dismantles-muller-s-best-claims-half-the-warming-trend-artificial . You can see actual photographs of this bad station siting here http://www.surfacestations.org/ , no need to just take their word for it (suggest you look there during off peak hours, traffic has become heavy). Basically, fully 80% of the sites used to take the "official" temperature in the US are stated by the NOAA to be too poorly sited to be used officially, but are used anyway. Most of these sites have serious Urban Heat Island effects causing an artificially high temperature to be registered, these bad readings are then used to "adjust" the data even on well sited stations upwards. The temperatures you have been told about are therefor simply false. The problem will be even worse in other countries where there is even less quality control, and often few stations with temperatures of huge areas of the earth being measured at only a few (usually urban) stations (Siberia for instance). Half of all "official" "world average" temperatures are measured at airports, covered in miles of concrete and of course of necessity being near urban areas, usually surrounded by them Actual paper on this here http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/watts-et-al_2012_discussion_paper_webrelease.pdf (PDF), powerpoint overview here http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/watts-et-al-station-siting-7-29-12.ppt .
Richard Muller is not now, and never was, a skeptic, as proven by his companies website.
His "defection" is therefor staged.
"Accompanied by the cheers of his compadres at Berkeley", mission accomplished.
His paper is stated to be flawed by it’s co author and some of it’s contributors, as well as others.
It has NOT been recommended for publication by peer review, nor has it been published.
Recent studies now show it to be based on flawed data anyway, in addition to the flawed methodology.
Even with all that, Mullers paper shows that over the last 15+ years, CO2 has increased but the temperature has not.
Which confirms what we have actually long known about the True Believers in the Global Warming program. Sorry to have wasted so much time on this, but I had mail from a number of you asking about it – apparently the ploy worked well, and got the attention that Muller wanted. No surprises there. And the example confirms what we have known about the Believers for some time.
My thanks to all of you who have taken the trouble to chase this down.
I meant to comment on this earlier.
The latest hyperventilating on the TV news is about the threat of rising food prices because of the drought, particularly grains and meat.
Perhaps right now isn’t the best time to be burning food (ethanol) in our cars? If Obama can suspend the welfare work requirements (in violation of the black letter of the law), maybe he can suspend the ethanol mandates for a legitimate crisis?
Needless to say, I’m not holding my breath.
That was the first thing I thought of after watching a news report on the drought and the coming corn shortage. Burning food is sinful, and a President who orders us to burn food in cars rather than drill for more oil does not have the best interests of the people who have to buy their food as his major goal. When the United States was booming, we could afford this kind of nonsense although I can think of more fun things to waste money on; but in this economy driving up the price of fuel by burning corn while preventing drilling is much worse than a blunder. Yet we continue to do it. As we continue to fund all kinds of nonsense that costs money.
The best thing one can do for giant corporations is to thicken the business environment with regulations requiring compliance specialists; the result is to prevent newcomers from entering the business, thus ensuring that the business will be dominated by the existing giants. We have always known this, and the Republicans know it as well as the Democrats. This regulatory environment has grown ever more complex under each party, but since the unionized public employees tend to vote Democrat it is harder for Democrat leaders to cut back regulations than it is for Republicans. The only remedy to these trends is for the American Middle Class to understand that self government requires that some citizens be willing to be part of the self government, and for others to become part of the governing structure of one of the major parties. Ideally both would be dominated by middle class citizens, as they were at one time. One problem is that we now live in an era in which fami9lies require two incomes. At one time one member of a family would work and the other might have the leisure to participate in politics, at least at a local level. Now that women are liberated and thus have to work it is much harder for the middle class to take part in self government. More on this another time.
We will see rising food prices and we will continue to see the Federal Government requiring us to convert food into automobile fuel at costs higher than the stuff can be sold for without subsidies. The subsidies keep the whole industry going – it would collapse without them, and food would be sold as food in the open market.
And they never catch wise…
I am not a regular reader of Slate and I know no more about this than having read it: but it is disturbing.
Nonetheless, the goal of the “stakeholder engagement event,” as the TPP “Welcome Stakeholders!” packet explained, was to provide an “open and productive forum.” Yet the public knows more about the aggregate numbers of nuclear warheads the United States and Russia have deployed on intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty than it does about U.S. negotiating positions in TPP. Thus, on “openness,” the TPP negotiators and USTR have failed.
© 2012, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.