Friday, July 28, 2006

A Word from Big Oil - It's All In the Graph

Graph: Paleoclimatologist Michael Mann's "Hockey Stick" graph

The Oil, Coal, Auto, and Nuclear Industry lobby appears to control the House Sub Committee on Energy and Commerce. Joe Barton R-TX is the committee chairman, and if you visit the committee website you'll find all the anti-global warming propaganda you'd ever need to convince yourself that Global Warming is just the result of one giant misunderstanding.

The following article taken right off our tax dollar financed website is a reprint of an editorial published in The Wall Street Journal. The editorial was based on "studies" conducted by "independent statisticians", and submitted to the Sub Committee last week.

No attempt is made, by the editor, to refute the validity of the data used by paleoclimatologist Michael Mann. The world is getting warmer, and the evidence collected by scientist world wide is beyond the ability of a cadre of "independent statisticians", and congressmen to make go away. Instead the "independent statisticians" are used to refute a graph produced by Michael Mann!

Even more amazing is how these "independent statisticians" were employed to analyze the entire worldwide community of climatologist - using a statistical model! Through a statistical model they conclude that climatologist are politically committed to the idea of global warming, and that they won't expose errors they discover a peer has made if it refutes the global warming myth.

Amazing, I guess the Big Oil, and Big Coal were right all along!

Single handedly these "independent statisticians" manage to cast doubt upon the entire world community of climate scientist!

Conservative Reality teaches us that liberal scientist are to blame, and Global Warming is just a figment of well - those darned climatologist's imaginations!

The Wall Street Journal editorial:
Hockey Stick Hokum

July 14, 2006; Page A12

It is routine these days to read in newspapers or hear -- almost anywhere the subject of climate change comes up -- that the 1990s were the "warmest decade in a millennium" and that 1998 was the warmest year in the last 1,000.

This assertion has become so accepted that it is often recited without qualification, and even without giving a source for the "fact." But a report soon to be released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee by three independent statisticians underlines yet again just how shaky this "consensus" view is, and how recent its vintage.

The claim originates from a 1999 paper by paleoclimatologist Michael Mann. Prior to Mr. Mann's work, the accepted view, as embodied in the U.N.'s 1990 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was that the world had undergone a warming period in the Middle Ages, followed by a mid-millennium cold spell and a subsequent warming period -- the current one. That consensus, as shown in the first of the two IPCC-provided graphs nearby, held that the Medieval warm period was considerably warmer than the present day.

Mr. Mann's 1999 paper eliminated the Medieval warm period from the history books, with the result being the bottom graph you see here. It's a man-made global-warming evangelist's dream, with a nice, steady temperature oscillation that persists for centuries followed by a dramatic climb over the past century. In 2001, the IPCC replaced the first graph with the second in its third report on climate change, and since then it has cropped up all over the place. Al Gore uses it in his movie.

The trouble is that there's no reason to believe that Mr. Mann, or his "hockey stick" graph of global temperature changes, is right. Questions were raised about Mr. Mann's paper almost as soon as it was published. In 2003, two Canadians, Ross McKitrick and Steven McIntyre, published an article in a peer-reviewed journal showing that Mr. Mann's methodology could produce hockey sticks from even random, trendless data.

The report commissioned by the House Energy Committee, due to be released today, backs up and reinforces that conclusion. The three researchers -- Edward J. Wegman of George Mason University, David W. Scott of Rice University and Yasmin H. Said of Johns Hopkins University -- are not climatologists; they're statisticians. Their task was to look at Mr. Mann's methods from a statistical perspective and assess their validity. Their conclusion is that Mr. Mann's papers are plagued by basic statistical errors that call his conclusions into doubt. Further, Professor Wegman's report upholds the finding of Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick that Mr. Mann's methodology is biased toward producing "hockey stick" shaped graphs.

Mr. Wegman and his co-authors are careful to point out that doubts about temperatures in the early part of the millennium do not call into question more-recent temperature increases. But as you can see looking at these two charts, it's all about context. In the first, the present falls easily within a range of natural historical variation. The bottom chart looks alarming and discontinuous with the past, which is why global-warming alarmists have adopted it so eagerly.

In addition to debunking the hockey stick, Mr. Wegman goes a step further in his report, attempting to answer why Mr. Mann's mistakes were not exposed by his fellow climatologists. Instead, it fell to two outsiders, Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick, to uncover the errors.

Mr. Wegman brings to bear a technique called social-network analysis to examine the community of climate researchers. His conclusion is that the coterie of most frequently published climatologists is so insular and close-knit that no effective independent review of the work of Mr. Mann is likely. "As analyzed in our social network," Mr. Wegman writes, "there is a tightly knit group of individuals who passionately believe in their thesis." He continues: "However, our perception is that this group has a self-reinforcing feedback mechanism and, moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that they can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility."

In other words, climate research often more closely resembles a mutual-admiration society than a competitive and open-minded search for scientific knowledge. And Mr. Wegman's social-network graphs suggest that Mr. Mann himself -- and his hockey stick -- is at the center of that network.

Mr. Wegman's report was initially requested by the House Energy Committee because some lawmakers were concerned that major decisions about our economy could be made on the basis of the dubious research embodied in the hockey stick. Some of the more partisan scientists and journalists howled that this was an attempt at intimidation. But as Mr. Wegman's paper shows, Congress was right to worry; his conclusions make "consensus" look more like group-think. And the dismissive reaction of the climate-research establishment to the McIntyre-McKitrick critique of the hockey stick confirms that impression.

For an NPR audio report on the hearing click here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Adding Pam Furr Link To Blogroll

Tolerance of Diversity and Inclusion

I've added a link to Pam Furr's Blog on my blogroll. I have noticed over the last few days of checking that she's adding content.

Pam mentioned this blog Monday Morning on her radio talkshow. While we will never agree on everything that fact does not reduce my respect for her as a person.

Constructive Engagement

I've said it before, and I'll say it again I listen to Pam Furr's show every work day morning for at least part of her broadcast. I've tried turning the dial away from her show only to find myself falling asleep at the wheel. I guess you could say I'm a fan.

I'll continue to call em as I see em. From the President to Pam Furr this blog won't hold any punches. In the meantime I invite my readers to surf over to Pam Furr's blog for some interesting reading.

Note: If you're reading this Mr. Leach it is time to start posting to your long neglected blog again!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pride in the Service of the Fatherland?

Photo: Warsaw Ghetto Child

NAZI Germany was not a nation to love either then or now. There is no justification for what Germany did to the people of the world.

NAZI Germany no longer exist for a very good reason - like a mad dog it had to be destroyed. No one should feel pride for having served that nation.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Quick Read On Stem Cells

Image: One Week Old Embyro With Stem Cells

I'm using without permission some copyrighted material from the University of Wisconsin. It is for scientific purposes only, and would be allowable for reposting under copyright freeuse rules.

Embryonic Stem Cell Fact Sheet

November 5, 1998

by Terry Devitt

What are embryonic stem cells?
All embryonic stem cells are undifferentiated cells that are unlike any specific adult cell. However, they have the ability to form any adult cell. Because undifferentiated embryonic stem cells can proliferate indefinitely in culture, they could potentially provide an unlimited source of specific, clinically important adult cells such as bone, muscle, liver or blood cells.

Where do embryonic stem cells come from?
Human embryonic stem cells are derived from in vitro fertilized embryos less than a week old.
These embryos were produced for clinical purposes, but were no longer wanted for implantation by the couples who donated them. They were donated specially for this project with the informed consent of donors. In virtually every in vitro fertilization clinic in the world, surplus embryos are discarded if they are not donated to help other infertile couples or for research. The research protocols were reviewed and approved by a UW-Madison Institutional Review Board, a panel of scientists and medical ethicists who oversee such work.

Why are they important?
Embryonic stem cells are of great interest to medicine and science because of their ability to develop into virtually any other cell made by the human body. In theory, if stem cells can be grown and their development directed in culture, it would be possible to grow cells of medical importance such as bone marrow, neural tissue or muscle.

What, precisely, has the UW team accomplished?
Scientists have been attempting to isolate and culture human embryonic stem cells for more than a decade. Using 14 blastocysts obtained from donated, surplus embryos produced by in vitro fertilization, the Wisconsin group established five independent cell lines. The cell lines, derived from preimplantation stage embryos, were capable of prolonged, undifferentiated proliferation in culture and yet maintained the ability to develop into a variety of specific cell types, including neural, gut, muscle, bone and cartilage cells.

How might they be used to treat disease?
The ability to grow human tissue of all kinds opens the door to treating a range of cell-based diseases and to growing medically important tissues that can be used for transplantation purposes. For example, diseases like juvenile onset diabetes mellitus and Parkinson's disease occur because of defects in one of just a few cells types. Replacing faulty cells with healthy ones offers hope of lifelong treatment. Similarly, failing hearts and other organs, in theory, could be shored up by injecting healthy cells to replace damaged or diseased cells.

Are there other potential uses for these cells?
The first potential applications of human embryonic stem cell technology may be in the area of drug discovery. The ability to grow pure populations of specific cell types offers a proving ground for chemical compounds that may have medical importance. Treating specific cell types with chemicals and measuring their response offers a short-cut to sort out chemicals that can be used to treat the diseases that involve those specific cell types. Ramped up stem cell technology would permit the rapid screening of hundreds of thousands of chemicals that must now be tested through much more time-consuming processes.

What can these cells tell us about development?
The earliest stages of human development have been difficult or impossible to study. Human embryonic stem cells will offer insights into developmental events that cannot be studied directly in humans in utero or fully understood through the use of animal models. Understanding the events that occur at the first stages of development has potential clinical significance for preventing or treating birth defects, infertility and pregnancy loss. A thorough knowledge of normal development could ultimately allow the prevention or treatment of abnormal human development. For instance, screening drugs by testing them on cultured human embryonic stem cells could help reduce the risk of drug-related birth defects.

If a cluster of these cells was transferred to a woman, could a pregnancy result?
No. These cells are not the equivalent of an intact embryo. If a cluster of these cells was transferred to a uterus, they would fail to implant, and would fail to develop into a fetus.

Is stem cell research the same as cloning?
No. Stem cell research aims to develop new life-saving treatments, and cannot be used to develop a human being. Embryonic stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of an early-stage embryo cannot give rise to a placenta, so a human being could not develop, even if the stem cells were implanted into a woman's uterus.

Why not derive stem cells from adults?
There are several approaches now in human clinical trials that utilize mature stem cells (such as blood-forming cells, neuron-forming cells and cartilage-forming cells). However, because adult cells are already specialized, their potential to regenerate damaged tissue is very limited: skin cells will only become skin and cartilage cells will only become cartilage. Adults do not have stem cells in many vital organs, so when those tissues are damaged, scar tissue develops. Only embryonic stem cells, which have the capacity to become any kind of human tissue, have the potential to repair vital organs.

Studies of adult stem cells are important and will provide valuable insights into the use of stem cell in transplantation procedures. However, only through exploration of all types of stem cell research will scientists find the most efficient and effective ways to treat diseases.

What are the benefits of studying stem cells?
Pluripotent stem cells represent hope for millions of Americans. They have the potential to treat or cure a myriad of diseases, including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, spinal cord injuries and burns.

This extraordinary research is still in its infancy and practical application will only be possible with additional study. Scientists need to understand what leads cells to specialization in order to direct cells to become particular types of tissue. For example, islet cells control insulin production in the pancreas, which is disrupted in people with diabetes. If an individual with diabetes is to be cured, the stem cells used for treatment must develop into new insulin-producing islet cells, not heart tissue or other cells. Research is required to determine how to control the differentiation of stem cells so they will be therapeutically effective. Research is also necessary to study the potential of immune rejection of the Cells, and how to overcome that problem.

© 2005 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System

Image Credit: Microscopic 20x view of a colony of undifferentiated human embryonic stems cells. Photo used with permission, courtesy of University of Wisconsin Board of Regents.

email jp






Wired News: Top Stories