Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fact and fantasy

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  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Islander,

    present tenth…

    microbiology & bacteriology

    As walking co-operatives it’s always good
    to know how the the other nine-tenths* lives,
    and what is good for their future, also…

    Maybe they’d like it all
    just a tad warmer
    and wetter?
    Outvoted on the body corporate!

    *maybe it's the other ten elevenths
    10 : 1 ratio any way
    teaser link


    I like Metrology, maybe as the study of cities
    and how they correlate to bodily functions
    and biomass population breakdown…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4225 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Islander,

    Great red herring/ ad hominem non- argument.
    The climate projection was from the UK Met office .
    Perhaps you could drop them a line and tell them how you know that they are talking bollocks.
    Leave the media out of it.

    Have you ever thought that all true sciences share the scientific method?
    Things like “no causation without correlation”, and “disproving the null hypothesis” : you know , that sort of basic stuff
    It seems that argumentum ad verecundiam is your preference.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    Just a faint hint of supercilious superiority there Sacha.
    That's not really you is it? :-)

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Farmer Green,

    I'm intolerant of fools, sadly.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    So definitive. Why the sorrow?

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Farmer Green,

    I'd like to be a bigger person than that

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    I’m ready to be enlightened: fire away.
    Hit me with the science that says the UK met office is wrong , wrong wrong that we should expect cooling in the short term.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Little Feat perhaps?

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Hit me with the science

    That the earth isn't flat? I'm sure you can read it for yourself.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Hit me with the science that says the UK met office is wrong , wrong wrong that we should expect cooling in the short term.

    OK, I will then, but just this once.
    I wouldn't call it science, but a simple observational fact - as at 24 Dec 2012 the UK Met Office is predicting an increase in mean global temperature over the next 5 years 2013-2017, not a cooling.

    Your link yesterday was to a comments thread, of extraordinary braying tone, on an Australian post that misrepresented the UK Met Office predictions as a "Skeptic win”. This is a bizarre fantasy . (Perhaps this really is on-topic here: “Fact and fantasy”)

    The actual Met Office statement and its graphical form – not the mis-read, mis-quoted and mis-represented distortions of it included or referenced in that post - was that its updated model prediction of the most likely global mean temperature for the 2013-2017 period would be 0.43 degrees above the observed mean for 1971-2000. As such, that 5-year mean would be 0.03 degrees higher than the global annual mean of the isolated warm year of 1998, and continue the trend (clearly visible through the ‘noise’) of substantially rising mean temperatures over recent decades that is apparent to anyone who can read a line-graph.

    It would indeed be foolish to read this as a win for the so-called 'skeptics'. I wouldn’t call you foolish based on what you have written on other subjects, but on this you appear to have allowed yourself to be mis-led by fools or worse, on a matter you appear to consider important, and on that last matter I agree with you.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 775 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to ChrisW,

    Farmer Green merely observes that the predicted temperature rise, (blue line in the graph) being, as it is, less than the margin of error , is scarcely the runaway warming (red line in the graph) that was previously predicted, and is, so far, in line with the warming experienced since the end of the Little Ice Age.
    You are right; FG thought that Fact and Fantasy was an entirely appropriate thread for this.

    From the comments on the Met office paper:

    Bjorn Lomborg talks of “humility”

    “This does not mean that there is no man-made global warming,” said Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish academic and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist.
    “But it does mean that we perhaps should not be quite as scared as some people might have been from the mid ’70s to about 2000, when temperatures rose dramatically, because they were probably at least partially rising dramatically because of natural variation, just like they are now stalling because of natural variation.”

    He called the revised prediction “a return to the humility that we probably should have had right from the start,” and a reminder that the climate is harder to predict than scientists once “naively” thought.[ The National Post]

    FG considers that decadal cycles , such as ENSO/PDO are of far greater importance than the predicted 1/100ths of a degree of possible increase. He has found the cool wet summers since 1999, attributed to the current phase of the ENSO/PDO (predominantly la Nina) , to be wholly agreeable, and infinitely preferable to the droughty summers between 1975 and 1999.
    The reality is that the dry , hot summers will inevitably return with a repeat of persistent el Ninos , expected to re-occur from some time around 2025-2030.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    I’d like to be a bigger person than that

    Best to put the effort into not becoming one of the useful idiots. FG sees that you seem to be in little danger of being so used.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    That the earth isn’t flat? I’m sure you can read it for yourself.

    That sort of vilification is unbecoming , but you are not alone :-

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/david-bellamy-i-was-shunned-they-didnt-want-to-hear-8449307.html?google_editors_picks=true

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Farmer Green , having been an organic farmer for 35 years, has long concerned himself with sustainability and environmental protection.
    Linked are some " hockey sticks " - "advances" that have been achieved at considerable cost to the environment.
    It is accepted that all organisms exploit their environments and that over-consumption can result in localised population collapses.

    Farmer Green invites any remaining [ :-0 ] readers of this thread to consider the effects (other than climate) that have resulted from these advances, and to consider which of those effects are most predictable , controllable , soundly established and most damaging to ongoing health and welfare of human populations.

    http://www.cornwallalliance.org/blog/item/standard-of-living-the-real-hockey-stick/

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    I’d like to be a bigger person than that

    Sacha , here is a role that you might consider :-
    The quote is from The SloG

    " just as the trade unions became arrogant and the bankers insolvent, so too the infowar technocrats and the globalists they support will stumble on the road to Dystopia.
    The reason is remarkably simple: their vision has no resolution. Ineluctably short-term greed-centric, it can’t work out how the pauperisation of the 93% can be squared with its desire to get richer and richer, more and more powerful, and ultimately unassailable; while equally, it can’t fathom how global mercantilism can avoid everything from siege economies and currency wars to nuclear conflict.

    The misanthropy of the info-élite is based on a near-total ignorance of species and social anthropology, the real pleasure centres it obeys, and its ability to desert techno-toys and inflating money when they can no longer be an effective balm poured on frustrated lack of fulfilment.

    It’s why their product manuals are impenetrable, the gadgets themselves idiotically over-specced, and the business model of never-ending replacement just another South Sea Bubble doomed to burst when currencies are destroyed alongside massive wealth and income write-downs.

    But for the time being, carpetbaggers are in. The job of ambitious politicians like [ ] and [ ] is to invent reasons why such fish-eyed sickos are quite nice really, and nothing to be frightened of.

    The job of online commentators, therefore, is to keep digging up the rich seams of evidence which show precisely what anarchic sociopaths the vast majority of them are.

    The MSM still has some pockets of resistance, but almost all the press titles and broadcasters are either hiding behind the sofa or collaborating with the Nazis.


    We are the maquis.
    That’s it. "

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    This little Testament popped into Farmer Green’s inbox today.
    Although it is factually incorrect in places , it may still provide cause for hope among the dispirited here:-


    Reply-To: OrgPastoralNZ@yahoogroups.com

    Following is an article written by our Chairman of the ODPG, Glenn Mead, and published in the Manawatu Standard.

    “Two divergent paths for the future of agriculture lie before our country. The choices we make now will have a crucial and long-lasting legacy.

    We can go forward and truly live up to our clean, green, 100% pure image, and make the most of being an agricultural leader, producing safe products of the highest quality, and being a country we can be proud of living in, or we can accept a darker path, being forced upon us by overseas interests and corporates bent on maximum profits , of being a commodity producer, with no point of difference and no advantages over competitors.

    The choice we must make is between sustainable agriculture and corporate agribusiness.

    Corporate agribusiness is about exploiting farmers, while sustainable farming is about farmers being profitable in perpetuity. Treat the environment well and it will treat you well. No need for artificial product A or magic bullet B to fix the problems caused by artificial product A.

    The lifeblood of our country is our agricultural exports and our exporters are driven by consumer demand and market forces. Our overseas markets are realising that the agricultural practices driven by corporate agribusiness are bad for the environment, produce tasteless, poor-quality, unsafe foods and are driven by unsustainable practices.

    The marketplace is demanding high-quality, safe products that New Zealand is uniquely positioned to produce, if we choose the right path.

    Corporate agricultural practices and technologies such as genetic engineering and agrichemical use are being shown to be unsafe practices and are being rejected by consumers.

    Heavy use of artificial fertilisers has been shown to be damaging to the environment, and an unsustainable future resource.

    The claim that such techniques are needed to grow huge amounts of food has been shown to be untrue.

    Scientists working on the International Assessment of Agriculture Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report for the United Nations clearly say that the way to feed the world is sustainable, climate-smart agriculture, not GE crops and oil-dependent chemicals.

    While research into sustainable farming practices has always been underfunded in New Zealand, public and corporate money is being lavished on experimenting with GE technologies , both here and in field trials conducted on behalf of New Zealand in overseas locations.

    GE pine trees are being trialled, and ryegrass, one of the most fundamental elements of our primary agriculture, is being genetically engineered to withstand drought overseas.

    Recently, AgResearch unveiled a tail-less dairy cow genetically engineered to reduce a particular allergen in milk. Our international reputation for safe, natural milk is being quietly undermined by imported supplementary feeds containing GE crops, and by waste from palm-oil production, which global consumers link to deforestation.

    All of the supposed benefits of these modified plants and animals and short-sighted practices can be achieved at a lower cost with currently available technologies, different varieties of plants or animals, or different management techniques.

    Most of the GE plants currently grown are engineered to resist herbicides, and consequently, more herbicides are used to grow them. This is another reason consumers are rejecting food from GE crops.

    Agrichemicals have been shown to be detrimental to the environment and human health, which is why consumers want clean, safe food products they can trust.

    The environmental effects of artificial fertilisers, such as superphosphate and urea, are also a talking point in this country, and have been shown to be detrimental to our soil biology – the basis of any sustainable agricultural future.

    Agribusiness technologies and practices decrease rather than increase the chances of being able to feed a global population that is predicted to rise to 12 billion.

    The world currently wastes enough food through poor utilisation to feed the predicted future population.

    Better management of these resources is far more sustainable and profitable than scrambling to find more production area, or using unsafe technologies at the cost of the environment and human health.

    Sustainable (organic, biological, biodynamic) farmers have amply demonstrated that we can deliver the quality produce our markets desire without the need for artificial product A or magic bullet B.

    Different management techniques and thought processes are required, but with a bit of thought and patience, sustainable farming is achievable and rewarding.

    We can farm successfully, care for the land well, enhance the natural environment and be profitable.

    However, we need to make sure that our ability to guide our destiny is not destroyed.

    To do this, it is vitally important not only that there be much better support for research and education with relevance to sustainable agriculture, but also that New Zealand stay out of any international agreements that favour the corporate agribusiness path, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) currently being negotiated in secrecy.

    The corporate agribusiness interests of pro-GE activists and agrichemical advocates pervade the governmental institutions of the United States and other countries involved and dominate the US president’s trade advisory committees.

    US agribusinesses don’t have the interests of the American people at heart and they certainly don’t care about New Zealand, except as a potential source of profit.

    The TPP, if imposed on New Zealand, would further deprive us of a say over what we eat and what is in it – a right already eroded by the food-trade treaty acceded to by the cabinets (but not the parliaments) of Australia and New Zealand in 1991, which set up the current Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) bureaucracy.

    Our elected representatives no longer have direct control over what is in our food. Decision-making at FSANZ is subservient to food-industry representatives, who win every time.

    We cannot keep allowing the very basis of our country’s prosperity – our agriculture – to be controlled by the agendas of overseas agencies and corporate vested interests.

    Global corporate agribusiness is threatened by our ability to supply the consumers of the world with the quality products they really want.

    The only way they can sell their unwanted products is to take away consumer choice. We must ensure that consumer choice is not legislated or traded away.

    New Zealand cannot produce enough food to feed the whole world, but we can produce top-quality clean, safe and ethical foods that command a premium with discerning consumers.

    The IAASTD shows that corporate agribusiness will neither sustainably feed the world nor produce safe, quality, desirable produce.

    On the global stage, we are a small player.
    Let’s concentrate on being the best of the very best – the top 1 per cent of food quality and safety.
    Let’s make better products, not more.

    An opportunity lies before our country and we must stand up and let our agricultural and political leaders know that it is too good an opportunity to be missed. We must seize the opportunities that truly sustainable agriculture presents us as farmers and as a country. ”



    Glenn Mead is chairman of the Organic Dairy and Pastoral Group New Zealand Inc.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Farmer Green,

    "Daily Mail" eh?
    Such an unbiased scientifically-based organ...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Better links:
    The well written skeptical science explanation
    and the rather more constrained official British Met Service response (but there are some useful links off it on the detail of how the five year series is calculated).
    Either way the Daily Mail got it wrong.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 824 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Deary deary me ; when will it stop?

    some are asking that here as well

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    It’s a reasonable bet that there will be another 15 years or so of this :-)

    Seriously we have far too short a period of good data from which to validate the climate models.

    But clearly something is going on . If the media is getting it wrong then we can expect corrections to be published in short order. Perhaps not.
    Or is that what we are seeing?
    It also raises the question of whether the media portrayal of the science has been wrong all along.

    The famous NZ Listener cover showing the planet Earth entirely in flames is a case in point. Absolutely hysterical unscientific nonsense.
    Why would the Listener do that? Impresssionable minds and all that?

    It is also clear that uncertainty around the output of unvalidated computer models will continue for some time- until the models are accurately predicting observed reality. That will not happen overnight.

    And a re-assessment of the basic physics incorporated into the GCMs continues .

    What is fascinating, from a psychological point of view , or ethological if you like, is the way people on the extremes are behaving.
    There has to be a decades worth of PhD s in this phenomenon.

    FG thinks that Bjorn Lomborg is on the money here:-

    “But it does mean that we perhaps should not be quite as scared as some people might have been from the mid ’70s to about 2000, when temperatures rose dramatically, because they were probably at least partially rising dramatically because of natural variation, just like they are now stalling because of natural variation.”

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    It’s a reasonable bet that there will be another 15 years or so of this

    15 years might be your threshold to be convinced, but the Daily Mail will go on printing bollocks for many more years than that. To put it in perspective the research for the Daily Mail's article comes from a blogger who has said that global warming is a conspiracy between the European Union, the Obama government, the New Zealand Government, Marks and Spencer's, Boots Chemists, wind farms , primary schools (and a list of others). I see no reasons to believe he is likely to ever be convinced by the science, so will continue to be a source for "reporting the debate" for a long time to come. I have deliberately not named him as, in my opinion, he is known for googling himself and taking offence, and I would ask everyone else to observe this (in the interests of maintaining polite dialog).
    FG if you are genuinely interested in the way science is distorted by media and politicisation, I suggest watching the Horizon documentary "Science under attack". It is normally fairly easy to find on YouTube.

    “no causation without correlation”

    The convential formation of this saying is "Correlation does not imply causation." The formation you used is occasionally used by fringe sites to say because we do not know something for certain (for values of certain always greater than today's knowledge and often involving a magical perfect consensus among everyone commentating) we cannot assume it to be the case so should not do anything. In it's standard form it has been misused from time to time, but what it is getting at is that just because you have a correlation, it may not be a genuine relationship, you also need a causative mechanism to explain the relationship (it most often used for demonstrating the importance of third interconnected factors that are actually the underlining ones). Now in the case of global warming, we have a correlation (temperature/ time) and we have a causative mechanism (it has been known for hundreds of years what adding Carbon to the atmosphere and oceans does) so really, at this point it is up to skeptics to explain how our basic understanding of chemistry is wrong. The correlations have been repeatedly tested (science!) over the past decade with different data sets, all of which have confirmed the initial hypothesis (failing to confirm the initial hypothesis leads to modifying or rejecting it, that is how science works).
    Now there is debate about the exact, precise rate of warming- some of the detail about the exact finer detail of the relationship between climate and weather, and the exact, precise rate at which atmospheric carbon is acidifying the oceans, but the overal trends have been repeatedly tested, and when the global warming deniers say "but it is never been tested in this way", and when it is then demand more tests, it does start to look like they are wasting everyone's time. Particularly when it is coupled with legal political moves to suppress climate research (like NZ deniers trying to have the NZ climate data banned or the U.S. republican state North Carolina banning any projections that sea levels will rise).

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 824 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to David Hood,

    Now there is debate about the exact, precise rate of warming- some of the detail about the exact finer detail of the relationship between climate and weather, and the exact, precise rate at which atmospheric carbon is acidifying the oceans,

    That seems to Farmer Green to be entirely proper; certainly it is important to establish the degree of change to be expected, and to make policy changes as required by the degree of risk that is presented.
    One must ask also whether the hysterical alarmist approach (such as the infamous NZ Listener cover depicting an incinerating planet) has been efficacious in bringing about enhanced environmental protection , let alone restoration.
    It seems to farmer green that the Rio Earth Summit and the Kyoto protocols have been spectacular failures in halting over-exploitation of the environment, so was blatant exaggeration and hysteria a good way to go?
    This matters because it appears to FG that the problems have barely begun to be addressed, even the most obvious and proximate ones of water degradation, topsoil loss and contamination , and waste disposal.

    Is an alternative "PR" strategy now requiring to be considered?

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Here is another example of the exaggeration:

    For example, the July 2012 SOTC report, issued in early August, announced that a new record had been set with the average July temperature for the contiguous United States at 77.6 degrees, one-fifth of a degree higher than in July 1936. However, the NCDC now says the July 2012 average was actually about 76.9 degrees, nearly 0.7 degrees less. This is almost 0.5 degrees cooler than the 77.4 degrees claimed as the previous monthly record in 1936. What is going on?
    It turns out that the NCDC does not wait for all the data to be received before computing and very publicly announcing the U.S. average temperature and its rank compared to other months and years. While some stations, such as those at airports, send the data quickly via radio links and the Internet, other stations use old paper forms that arrive by mail considerably later.
    When the printed data finally arrive, the NCDC updates its temperature database, typically “cooling” the country when all the data are used.
    Neither the NCDC nor NOAA tells the public and the press that the temperature announcements in previous SOTCs are no longer correct when the complete data set is analyzed.


    Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/11/2012-probably-not-the-hottest-on-record-after-all/#ixzz2I54t5msB
    Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Deniers bore me.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

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