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Science: Opinions and information about Science

The Midwestern mystery virus

Sep 9, 2014 8:15 AM PT

It looks like we've got a full-blown outbreak on our hands, spreading out from the Midwest, particularly Kansas City and Chicago.  Ten states have now requested assistance from the Centers for Disease Control for dealing with a surge in rare EV-D68 infections, including Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oklahoma.  

EV-D68 is, essentially, a very severe case of the common cold.  The tides of the usual summer-cold season are doubtless helping to spread it, particularly kids returning to school and passing it around to each other.  Normal safety practices are the only way to slow it down: wash your hands, disinfect commonly touched surfaces, don't share eating utensils, avoid close contact with infected people, etc.  

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Triumph of the bedbugs

Sep 4, 2014 11:57 AM PT

The Wall Street Journal brings us a nasty little postscript from the bloodiest chapter in the history of environmental radicalism.  It seems New York City is suffering from another of its periodic bedbug outbreaks. 

Hang on a second, I've got to update my list of reasons not to live in New York City.

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Ebola: No Big Deal, But Also a 'Threat to all Humanity'

Sep 3, 2014 11:51 AM PT

It's very good news that the stricken aid workers and doctors brought back to the United States for ebola treatment have responded well to the experimental drugs they were given.  But after weeks of assiduously downplaying the scale of the threat paused by the African ebola outbreak, it's a bit jarring to hear one of President Obama's special assistants - Gayle Smith, senior director at the National Security Council, no less - declare, "This is not an African disease.  This is a virus that is a threat to all humanity."

Wait, what?  The official line for the past two months is that it was strictly an African disease, no real chance it's going to spread, so quit worrying about it.  Anyone who fretted about the spread of ebola beyond Africa was dismissed as paranoid.

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Welcome to Earth! It has been 6935 days and counting since we had any global warming!

Sep 2, 2014 2:14 PM PT

If you've got children heading off to college this fall, congratulations - they have lived their entire lives in a world without global warming, a fact that stands in absolute and total defiance of the phony computer models that predicted we'd be watching penguins float through the flooded streets of Miami on melting ice floes by now.  

The Church of Global Warming originally pretended the "pause" didn't exist, then conjured up some new computer models that claimed it would end within a year or two.  According to a new paper by Dr. Ross McKittrick, courtesy of Watts Up With That?, we're now into Year 19 of the "pause" with no end in sight.  (It's probably been even longer since any warming was experienced in the lower atmosphere.)

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The Church of Global Warming burns another heretic

Jul 29, 2014 7:05 AM PT

Talking Points Memo relates the short and unhappy career of Roger Pielke Jr. at Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog, as inquisitors of the Church of Global Warming turned up with a wooden stake and plenty of kindling to burn the heretic for daring to question one of the more absurd extensions of their religious dogma:

Pielke, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, told Discover Magazine that after editors at the site "showed some reluctance" in publishing his work, he told FiveThirtyEight managing editor Mike Wilson that "it was probably best that we part ways."

Pielke's time at FiveThirtyEight got off to a stormy start shortly after the site went live in March. In his first piece for the site, Pielke wrote that the increased cost of natural disasters is not the result of a climate change — a premise that was heavily criticized.

Pielke wrote a follow-up to that article two days later, and Silver commissioned a rebuttal the following week. But Pielke only wrote three more pieces for the site after that, all of which focused on sports and not climate.

The fallout was compounded after two climate scientists who criticized the article, Michael Mann and Kevin Trenberth, said that Pielke responded to their criticism with what they considered to be threatening emails. Mann and Trenberth interpreted Pielke's emails as possible threats to take legal action.

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Study: Achieving Climate Goals Will Cost $45 Trillion by 2050

Jul 11, 2014 2:56 PM PT

An estimate of the cost of achieving climate change mitigation goals places the global total at approximately $45 trillion.

Science Daily published a story last week based on a study which was apparently made public last month. The study found that in order to maintain a temperature increase of no more than 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, the world would need to invest between $30 and $75 trillion in new energy technology between now and 2050.

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Junk Science Babe Goes After Beer

Jun 17, 2014 9:28 AM PT

Time and time again the Left falsely claims we're the ones who are "anti-science."  So, whenever I see a story about junk science, particularly, one pushed by the media I have to address it for its sheer stupidity. Unfortunately, the BuzzFeed-ification of science reporting is all too common.  

If you're familiar with Jenny McCarthy's war on vaccines, you may have also heard of the latest media darling, "The Food Babe."  She's described as:

She’s photogenic and also has a talent and penchant for making her utter ignorance of chemistry and science work for her as a powerful P.R. tool that has catapulted her from an obscure food blogger to a guest on television shows such as The Doctors and that repository of all medical crankery and quackery, The Dr. Oz Show, where The Great and Powerful Oz himself praised her activities as part of the “Oz effect.” 

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Lead author claims U.N. climate change report was rewritten for political reasons

Apr 27, 2014 3:01 PM PT

If the Church of Global Warming still had any real credibility, the bombshell revelations by Harvard professor Robert Stavins in an open letter published Friday would be devastating.  As it is, the fanatics will probably scream that Stavins has become a Nazi-like "climate denier" or tool of Big Oil or something.

It was already known that the summary of the latest U.N. climate report was substantially edited by political interests.  Very few media figures or politicians are going to read the full report - they generally make do with the summary.  In this case, the summary wasn't merely "sexed up" to fool gullible reporters and politicians; it actually direct contradicts the full U.N report in places.  For example, media reports of the summary yelled that global warming was going to cause more wars; the actual report summary says global warming might increase the chances of violent conflict; the report itself says there's no reason to believe climate change has much to do with violent conflict.  It's more likely that sustained conflict leads to poor environmental stewardship than the reverse.

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Astronomers find the first solid candidate for 'another Earth'

Apr 17, 2014 1:31 PM PT

The search for extraterrestrial life begins with the assumption that it would require a homeworld broadly similar to Earth in a few key characteristics.  One of these is temperature, so astronomers estimate a "habitable zone" radiating out from each star, based on how hot the star is.  If a planet orbits too close, it would fry; too far, and it would freeze.  Also, orbiting at the wrong distance could subject the surface to either an excess or shortage of radiation from its sun.

Another great unanswered question is the role played by the size of a planet upon its biosphere.  Gravity is an issue, as is the stability of the atmosphere - not much hope for life to evolve on a world racked by perpetual tornadoes, an atmosphere so thick or thin that no organism could breathe it, or a lack of water that isn't frozen solid.  This is especially true if one wishes to find complex organisms capable of returning any greeting we might send their way.

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'Citizens' Group Still Lobbying for Sugar with 'Read Your Labels' Day

Apr 11, 2014 8:45 AM PT

In their continued silliness, the stealth Citizens for Health (i.e. Citizens for Sugar) is advising that "High Fructose Corn Syrup Named the #1 Ingredient to Avoid for National 'Read Your Labels Day.'"  From their press release:

Consumer advocate group Citizens for Health, has named High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) the #1 food additive to avoid for this year's "Read Your Labels Day." The annual event held each April 11 (4/11) was created to help American families get the "411" on what's in packaged foods and beverages, and the controversial industrial sweetener was identified as the worst labeled ingredient on the non-profit group's Food Identity Theft website.

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GOP Seeks Resource Shift from Climate Change to Storm Prediction

Mar 28, 2014 7:03 PM PT

IN an age of ever expanding government spending, the House Republicans are proposing that  government scientists shift their focus to predicting storms, not on climate change.

The Weather Forecasting Improvement Act, H.R. 2413, could be voted upon as soon as Tuesday, based upon this report in The Hill..

The House will vote next week on a Republican bill to require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to focus its efforts on storm predictions instead of researching climate change.

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A Signal from the Dawn of Time

Mar 17, 2014 8:08 PM PT

The Big Bang must have been a hell of a show.  It's difficult for the human mind to comprehend the energies unleashed over an incredibly brief window of time.  Most pop-culture and educational film depictions of the event show a black void, a pinprick of light, a mighty BOOM!, and then stars whirling out into the darkness.  The problem with those depictions is that it happened much faster than that.  Not even our most powerful computers can process how quickly space and time took shape, not in the first hours or days after the cosmic clock began ticking, but in the first trillionth of a second.  

The universe went from nothingness - incredible mass compressed into virtually zero volume - to an envelope of space-time that could contain galaxies in a fraction of a picosecond.  Once upon a time, all that is, and ever will be, was compressed into a volume smaller than a single atom; in the next unbelievably tiny fraction of an instant, vast numbers of atoms were flowing outward, embracing each other and forming clumps of matter that would eventually resolve into stars.

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Major Discovery in Astrophysics To Be Announced Today

Mar 17, 2014 6:23 AM PT

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is hosting a live-streaming event today at 11:55 am during which it's expected to announce a discovery some believe may speak to our understanding of the beginning of the universe, though that's unconfirmed.

If speculation is correct, the discovery would involve the earliest known "evidence of primordial gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime that were produced in the early universe." The waves are believed to date back approximately 14 billion years ago and would offer a sense of what our universe was like at its beginning.

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The Food Police Are Back

Mar 12, 2014 12:17 PM PT

This Friday (3/14) the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) will hold it's third meeting.  The purpose?  To "encourage Americans to focus on eating a healthful diet — one that focuses on foods and beverages that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, promote health, and prevent disease. A healthy diet can reduce the risk of major chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers."

The guidelines also influence several government programs so this is not an issue of merely "educating" the public, but the guidelines determine food purchasing decisions for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (the Women Infants and Children program.)  Taxpayers are on the hook for decisions made by the DGAC. 

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Video: Mysterious Phenomenon Turns Pond in Wichita Blood Red

Feb 20, 2014 2:50 PM PT

A homeowner in Wichita, Kansas woke up to a strange phenomenon taking place in his pond, Tuesday morning. Freddy Fernandez says the pond initially took on a pinkish color, but within a few hours, it had turned blood red. 

KWCH-TV reported:

Fernandez says the pond is full of fish, and there's no indication any have died because of this.  There's also no odor.

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Over Two Thirds of Continental U.S. Covered in Snow

Feb 9, 2014 11:37 AM PT

More than two thirds of the continental United States is currently covered in snow, according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

With 67.4% of the contiguous United States now covered with snow, up from 48.1% last month, the so called Polar Vortex would appear to be leaving Global Warming fear mongers lost in a vortex all their own.

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Ezra Klein Hammered on Twitter For Making Weak Global Warming Analogy

Jan 7, 2014 10:57 AM PT

In response to The icy mailed fist of climate fascism:

Another acolyte of the Church of Global Warming weighed in on Twitter with what Twitchy calls the "weakest global warming analogy ever."

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The icy mailed fist of climate fascism

Jan 7, 2014 8:49 AM PT

In response to The Angry Sky Gods Shall Not Be Mocked:

That's hilarious!  These people are such jackbooted thugs that their idea of snide humor is to "joke" about physically assaulting people who disagree with them.  Hey, Al Gore says "climate deniers" are basically the same thing as Holocaust deniers, right?  And Holocaust deniers are basically Nazis.  We all know how to handle Nazis.

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The Angry Sky Gods Shall Not Be Mocked

Jan 7, 2014 8:37 AM PT

In response to Global warming and the polar vortex:

What the warmists don't seem to understand is that when skeptics make jokes about the cold weather and global warming - we are mocking them.  We are mocking their habit of  blaming every weather event on anthropogenic climate change -  which they don't appreciate in the least because they're the smart ones and we're the dolts who should be ridiculed for dismissing their junk science.

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Global warming and the polar vortex

Jan 6, 2014 8:47 PM PT

As a massive blanket of arctic air brings twenty-year record cold temperatures to the United States, it's not surprising to see the Church of Global Warming in full-on shrieking panic mode, screaming at the top of their lungs that a blast of cold weather doesn't disprove their theories.

Well, no, of course it doesn't.  A mountain of scientific data compiled over decades disproves their theories.  Nobody has to point to today's weather to demonstrate that global warming is a fraud.  Actual scientists have already done that, using years of climate observations that do not in any way, shape, or form match up with the climate models that cost the industrialized world billions of dollars over the past three decades.  The global warming cult has yet to be right about anything, so there's nothing left to disprove.

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Antarctic Expedition to Plant 'Thousands of Trees' to Off Set Carbon Footprint of Rescue

Jan 5, 2014 8:22 AM PT

Members of the Antarctic expedition trapped in the regions icy tundra have pledged to plant "thousands" of trees to "cover" the carbon footprint resulting from their rescue.  The Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy became lodged in ice on Christmas Eve during a research study on global warming.

Debate has heated up, no pun intended, over exactly how many trees will need to be planted to offset the rescue effort's "damage." 

The expedition had pledged to plant about 800 kauri trees in Northland to cover its carbon footprint. Environmentalists believe planting trees helps to offset the impact of burning fuels such as diesel.

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Ballad of the Global Warming Titanic

Jan 2, 2014 8:37 AM PT

Now that the crew of global warming alarmists that got stuck in Antarctic ice has been rescued (by a fossil-fuel-burning, carbon-spewing helicopter!) we can really settle in and make fun of them, especially since the mainstream media still largely refuses to report what they were doing in those frozen waters.  (Hint: the waters weren't supposed to be frozen.)

So here's the Ballad of the Global Warming Titanic, sung to the tune of "The Ballad of Gilligan's Island."  Note that one verse of the original song continues to fit perfectly.

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Scientists Confirm World's Oldest Creature...But Kill it Determining Its Age

Nov 14, 2013 6:09 AM PT

In 2006, climate change experts from Bangor University in north Wales found a very special clam while dredging the seabeds of Iceland. At that time scientists counted the rings on the inside shell to determine that the clam was the ripe old age of 405. Unfortunately, by opening the clam which scientists refer to as "Ming," they killed it instantly. 

Cut to 2013, researchers have determined that the original calculations of Ming's age were wrong, and that the now deceased clam was actually 102 years older than originally thought. Ming was 507 years old at the time of its demise. 

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Scientist Training Beagle Named Elvis To Detect Polar Bear Pregnancies

Nov 5, 2013 4:11 AM PT

CINCINNATI - After reading stories about dogs being used to detect cancer, an animal conservation scientist at the Cincinnati Zoo has enlisted the help of a Kansas handler to train a 2-year-old beagle named Elvis to help detect when polar bears are pregnant. The handler, who has taught dogs in the past to sniff out everything from explosives to bed bugs, has been training Elvis for a year - training that entails Elvis working through fecal samples of bears from 14 different zoos. 

Confirming pregnancies of polar bears has proven difficult and zoo officials say having this information early can help them make sure they and the mama bears are ready for birthing and raising cubs.

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Scientists Discover Gold Growing in Trees

Oct 24, 2013 3:40 AM PT

(CNN) - Australian scientists recently debunked the adage "money doesn't grow on trees" when they discovered gold deposits in eucalyptus trees. Although it's not new that plants and trees absorb minerals like gold through their leaves, this marks the first time scientists have been able to prove that those minerals came from deeper underground sources and not from surface soil deposits. 

The scientists are hoping their findings will lead to a trusted form of gold prospecting.  According to their research, eucalyptus and acacia trees were studied at the Freddo and Barnes Gold prospects and were found to have such extensive root systems that in times of drought, their roots go deeper in search of water...until they literally strike gold. 

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What Happened to the Hurricanes?

Oct 1, 2013 12:37 PM PT

Monday the Washington Post published a story on the conspicuous absence of major hurricanes this year. The reason this is surprising is that every group which predicts the strength of hurricane seasons, including NOAA, said this was going to be a particularly strong year.

"We're predicting an above normal Atlantic hurricane season this year" said NOAA's lead forecaster back in May. He was not alone. As the post reported, 8 independent groups had already made similar predictions. Here's the breakdown of what was predicted to happen this year:

Colorado State: 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes, 4 major hurricanes

WeatherBell (Joe Bastardi): 16 named storms, 12 hurricanes, 5 major hurricanes

NC State: 13-17 named storms, 7-10 hurricanes, 3-6 major hurricanes 15 named storms, 7.5 hurricanes, 3.4 major hurricanes

AccuWeather: 16 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 4 major hurricanes

Penn State: 16 named storms (range 12-20)

Institute of Meteorology, Cuba: 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes

UK Met Office: 14 named storms (range 10-18), 9 hurricanes

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Climatologists Can't Explain Pause In Alleged Global Warming

Sep 27, 2013 9:25 AM PT

UN scientists unable to explain why global temperatures have barely risen in the last 15 years despite claims that "greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased to levels that are unprecedented in at least 800,000 years" have been forced to resort to a lot of unscientific perhaps, maybe's and could be's to explain their most recent report.

But the landmark report conceded that world temperatures have barely risen in the past 15 years, despite growing amounts of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere.

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Al Gore: Climate Change Deniers Like Racists, Homophobes, Alcoholics, Smokers

Aug 22, 2013 2:51 AM PT

In an interview yesterday with Ezra Klein,  Al Gore compared the fight to have his "climate change" theories accepted to the civil rights, apartheid, and gay rights struggles. 

Well, I think the most important part of it is winning the conversation. I remember as a boy when the conversation on civil rights was won in the South. I remember a time when one of my friends made a racist joke and another said, hey man, we don’t go for that anymore. The same thing happened on apartheid. The same thing happened on the nuclear arms race with the freeze movement. The same thing happened in an earlier era with abolition. A few months ago, I saw an article about two gay men standing in line for pizza and some homophobe made an ugly comment about them holding hands and everyone else in line told them to shut up. We’re winning that conversation.

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