Monday, November 12, 2012

Another Framing Debacle

Eli was in Barnes and Noble, just hangin' waiting for Ms. Rabett to complete her Suduko collection (she does Suduko in 20 languages, clever bunny) when the Rabett came across the Stanford Social Innovation Review the cover of which, well, it's over there on the right, featuring an article by Andrew J. Hoffman.  Hoffman is a much more important guy than Eli, a big name in sustainable development but Eli will explain later how reading this article brought clarity to many things that are frequently discussed on Rabett Run, and how there is a fundamental disagreement with Hoffman and his framing of the what to do issue and how Hoffman's framing is self defeating  The article starts with
In May 2009, a development officer at the University of Michigan asked me to meet with a potential donor—a former football player and now successful businessman who had an interest in environmental issues and business, my interdisciplinary area of expertise. The meeting began at 7 a.m., and while I was still nursing my first cup of coffee, the potential donor began the conversation with “I think the scientific review process is corrupt.” I asked what he thought of a university based on that system, and he said that he thought that the university was then corrupt, too. He went on to describe the science of climate change as a hoax, using all the familiar lines of attack—sunspots and solar flares, the unscientific and politically flawed consensus model, and the environmental benefits of carbon dioxide.

As we debated each point, he turned his attack on me, asking why I hated capitalism and why I wanted to destroy the economy by teaching environmental issues in a business school. Eventually, he asked if I knew why Earth Day was on April 22. I sighed as he explained, “Because it is Karl Marx’s birthday.” (I suspect he meant to say Vladimir Lenin, whose birthday is April 22, also Earth Day. This linkage has been made by some on the far right who believe that Earth Day is a communist plot, even though Lenin never promoted environmentalism and communism does not have a strong environmental legacy.)
At this point Hoffman had backed the "potential donor" into the ten impossible and contradictory things position characteristic of human climate change denial, but rather than directly confronting the fellow he
. .turned to the development officer and asked, “What’s our agenda here this morning?” The donor interrupted to say that he wanted to buy me a ticket to the Heartland Institute’s Fourth Annual Conference on Climate Change, the leading climate skeptics conference. I checked my calendar and, citing prior commitments, politely declined. The meeting soon ended.
As the Rabett discussed yesterday, what the "potential donor" people are looking for is affirmation and engaging with them on their terms is a fools errand.  Rejection is what they need and deserve, maybe polite rejection, but rejection none the less and it is what is needed for the public discussion.  Giving affirmation and understanding only prolongs the denial..

Yet, as bunnies know, fools are everywhere, and rejection is a strenuous task.  Walking away is much easier and it is hard for academics to simply reject idiocy without looking inward to find some excuse for the idiot, especially, Eli guesses, for rich idiots who might donate to the University.

You then get the feel sorry for the Republicans and Mitt Romney trope from Hoffman,
The more I thought about it, the more I began to see that he was speaking from a coherent and consistent worldview—one I did not agree with, but which was a coherent viewpoint nonetheless. Plus, he had come to evangelize me. The more I thought about it, the more I became eager to learn about where he was coming from, where I was coming from, and why our two worldviews clashed so strongly in the present social debate over climate science. Ironically, in his desire to challenge my research, he stimulated a new research stream, one that fit perfectly with my broader research agenda on social, institutional, and cultural change.
Which is kind of worrying because there is such a literature, even Eli knows about it, and this guy thinks he has something new?  OTOH, Eli has to wonder even more about Hoffman who says that
Although the US Supreme Court decided in 2007 that greenhouse gases were legally an air pollutant, in a cultural sense, they are something far different. The reduction of greenhouse gases is not the same as the reduction of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, or particulates. 
which is just wrong.  There ARE major natural sources of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide and certainly particulates.  Still this is just a chemists niggle.  By his ignorance Hoffman destroys one of the strengths of his argument, perhaps in an attempt to bring over those in denial or sitting on the fence, or just not paying attention.  The article then degenerates into the usual framing nonsense, but what caught Eli's eye was the analogy with tobacco
The first obstacle is the powerful lobby of industrial forces that can resist a social and political consensus. In the case of the cigarette debate, powerful economic interests mounted a campaign to obfuscate the scientific evidence and to block a social and political consensus. Tobacco companies created their own pro-tobacco science, but eventually the public health community overcame pro-tobacco scientists.
This was not at all what happened.  What happened was that several states and a bunch of plaintiff's lawyers hauled the tobacco companies into court and cleaned their clock and wallets.  
The second obstacle to convincing a skeptical public is the lack of a definitive statement by the scientific community about the future implications of climate change. The 2007 IPCC report states that “Human activities … are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents … that absorb or scatter radiant energy. … [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is very likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions.” Some point to the word “likely” to argue that scientists still don’t know and action in unwarranted. But science is not designed to provide a definitive smoking gun.
Hoffman proceeds into never never Sandy land, e.g. you can't prove that every case of lung cancer is caused by tobacco smoke, therefore there is no proof.
Remember that the 1964 surgeon general’s report about the dangers of smoking was equally conditional. And even today, we cannot state with scientific certainty that smoking causes lung cancer. Like the global climate, the human body is too complex a system for absolute certainty. We can explain epidemiologically why a person could get cancer from cigarette smoking and statistically how that person will likely get cancer, but, as the surgeon general report explains, “statistical methods cannot establish proof of a causal relationship in an association [between cigarette smoking and lung cancer]. The causal significance of an association is a matter of judgment, which goes beyond any statement of statistical probability.” Yet the general public now accepts this causal linkage.
BECAUSE THE TOBACCO COMPANIES WERE FORCED TO ADMIT THIS IN COURT AS THE PRICE FOR BEING ALLOWED TO STAY IN BUSINESS and even then, aided by Fred Singer, they held off smoking bans in restaurants and offices for a decade with the same obfustication tactics.

Let us close with Occupy Sandy, a working relief effort in NYC and now New Jersey which is directly bringing help to those most affected by the storm.  By throwing a large volunteer effort at the problem they have surmounted the hurdles limiting the Red Cross to asking only for monetary donations.  They have set up an Amazon wedding registry web page which allows people to donate just about anything that is needed.  Those who derided Occupy Wall Street (out of which Occupy Sandy grew) asking what is next, owe some apologies.

65 comments:

David B. Benson said...

Clean their clocks.

Where does this strange phrase originate?

Russell said...

Could Eli please prevail on Ms Rabbett to review Sudoku X Book 1,? I have long wondered if the author, ( full disclosure, he is also my shirtmaker) is any better at puzzle editing than climate modeling.

Eli can then return to explaining where his commitment to the second hand precautionary principle puts him in the campaign for candle, cajun pan-blackened redfish, frankincense, myrrh, diesel engine, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, crepes suzette and barbecue prohibition ?

Anonymous said...

"but which was a coherent viewpoint nonetheless"

coherent (logically related; of an argument, discourse, reasoning, etc.: consistent, non-contradictory, logical, in the relation of its parts)
viewpoint (a mental standpoint from which a matter is considered)

Well... a viewpoint, yes. I'll concede that. But coherent, with regard to climate science?!

Oy vey!

A Grimm viewpoint is still a fairytale.

Cymraeg llygoden

Hank Roberts said...

Why quote the Surgeon General when there's the Tobacco Archive? The tobacco companies knew far more about health effects than the Surgeon General did, decades earlier. This "causal linkage" language reminds me of the "virtual risks" idea that attempts to devalue statistical and epidemiological work.

He's fallen for the argument that if you don't see bodies stacked on _your_ block then the risk isn't really a risk to _you_, only to somebody else.

-------------
"... How would you feel if the world was falling apart around you

Pieces of the sky were falling in your neighbors yard
But not on you
Wouldn't you feel just a little bit funny
Think maybe there's something you oughta do ...."
-----------
"Before Believing" (Danny Flowers)

http://www.lyricsfreak.com/e/emmylou+harris/before+believing_20050148.html

Anonymous said...

Where does this strange phrase originate?

clock -> boat race :-)... -> face

cleaned -> rubbed -> wiped -> smacked -> hit -> (another) clock!

As to origin...? I can recall (from more years than I can care to remember now), in my youth, standing on railway platforms watching the trains coming and going and platform staff from time to time wiping the platform clocks with a wet chamois leather... So perhaps the metaphor was born of the Victorian/Edwardian era.

Cymraeg llygoden

Anonymous said...

Sorry, missed the end smiley there.

No. Not even I'm that old! :-)

Cymraeg llygoden

Robin Johnson's Economics Web Page said...

Good call, Eli. This guy, "The Hoff", I am surprised he didn't go all "post-normal science" on us.
Here in the Antipodes we have a so-called Prime Minister's science adviser who peppers his speeches with "good science should be values-free" and declares that climate science is "value-laden", and it is also "complex", and therefore it is "post normal". ARghhhh!

bluegrue said...

I tried to look up the cleaning someone's clock idiom and came across this site:

http://www.word-detective.com/092403.html#cleanclock

EliRabett said...

Russell, if you burn your crepes you are indeed due for a remedial cooking course and, of course, it is often painful.

Anonymous said...

It's not just those who "derided" Occupy Wall Street who owe "apologies".

It's the political leaders (including the Constitutional law professor at the top) who basically remained silent (or worse) while "ordinary" Americans (who are, in reality, quite extra-ordinary) were deprived of their first amendment rights to assemble and speak -- and in some cases brutalized with police batons and pepper spray -- thereby implicitly (if not explicitly) supporting the harsh (sometimes brutal) push-back against the Occupy movement.

Can't have "ordinary" Americans "deriding" the behavior of corporate America during a multi-billion dollar corporate-funded election campaign, now can we?

Of course, the probability that the "Silentcers" will ever "apologize" is basically zero.


~@:>

John said...

Eli mentioned that the tobacco industry was sued by smokers, and by states who had pay the healthcare costs of smokers. Individual plaintiffs had a difficult time in court, because the companies stonewalled them, and the tobacco companies had deeper pockets than the plaintiffs or their lawyers. State governments had more ability to persevere compared with individual plaintiffs. The ultimate bill for the tobacco companies was $250 billion.

The Sandy disaster has created a lot of people whose houses and finances are wrecked. Maybe they could line up some lawyers and sue the deniers and/or the oil companies. Maybe they could get some state governments on board also.

J Bowers said...

Good timing:

'Your opinion on climate change might not be as common as you think'. Leviston et al (2012). Nature Climate Change. doi:10.1038/nclimate1743.

J Bowers said...

Good timing of this metaphor, too:

‘Drunk’ businessman walks the wrong way down Tube escalator

david lewis said...

"Sustainable Development" as conceived by the Brundtland Commission in the mid 1980s was a UN plan for civilization to cope with the clearly evident problems caused by too much human impact on the biosphere. Because the basis of the plan involved increasing the size of civilization by a factor of ten, many found it not credible. As more credible plans involved believing the developed world would accept that it had to live at a lower living standard, the more credible plans were taken to be even less credible.

"Sustainable development" as a plan, is as good as if a doctor who just diagnosed you as having lung cancer told you to up your cigarette consumption from one pack a day to ten.

It is no wonder that a "big name in sustainable development" writes something self-defeating that Eli fundamentally disagrees with.

A bit o background for doubting bunnies who otherwise might want to believe sustainable development is possible and reasonable: at the time "sustainable development" was conceived there were about one billion people living at developed world standards. It was obvious the the human population must stabilize if any solution was to be found for the many problems caused by too much human impact on the biosphere. A way to stabilize human population was thought to be to raise living standards to those prevalent in the then developed world, as it had been observed that in general, developed world populations were stable or decreasing. Demographers supplied estimates that there was no way to avoid 10 billion people by 2050, but economists noted that given the fastest conceivable rates of economic growth, if most of the growth was channeled into the developing world somehow, ta da, those 10 billion people would be living at the standard 1 billion in the 1980s developed world, and hence, at last, global population could be stable in 2050. If all these people conducted themselves properly, somehow, everything would be fine.

The planetary life support systems were blowing out as 1 billion people used 80% of the Earth's resources back in the 1980s, but, ten times as many people were going to find a way, and that way was to be called "sustainable development".

Climate change and ozone depletion, i.e. planetary problems caused by the wastes of civilization hadn't started to seep into the collective consciousness as problems when all this was conceived, but were hitting the news at the time "sustainable development" was unveiled when "Our Common Future", the book promoting it, was published.

The concept briefly hit big time debate, but it lacked a certain credibility, as I have explained, which is why the word "sustainability" quickly entered the lexicon, as something everyone could be in favor of, because no one knew what it was. You could promote something as part of sustainable development, and critics would say but that plan means certain destruction for the biosphere and probably civilization. If you said what you were doing promoted "sustainability", no one could nail you with anything.

A few diehards kept up the "sustainable development" line, such as Andrew J. Hoffman.


Russell said...

If Eli stops burning diesel fuel and converts his car to hydrogen, I'll get a catalytic converter for his professorial pipe.

Jack Ripper said...

William Safire wrote "Clean Your Clock" for the NY Times in 2006 under a heading "On Language".

J. Robert Oppenheimer, atomic and nuclear physicist, director of the Manhattan Project, was born on April 22.

Earth Day was conceived by pro nuclear types who wanted the Greenies, broccoli snorters and planet huggers to all gather in one spot every year so they could take them out with hydrogen bombs. Its obvious. There is no possible doubt.

EliRabett said...

Eli converts carrot tops to clean burning biodiesel. Eli chews a large bunch of carrots.

EliRabett said...

Where did clean your clock come from? Eli suspects from the same place that clocking someone came from, the latter being a metaphor for punching someone out, perhaps via punching the clock. thus clean your clock, e.g. emptying someones head by force.

Aaron said...

It was a "teaching moment" and Hoffman failed to communicate.

If a "professor" cannot teach, he should find another line of work.

Starting at age 2, every "student" says "No!" to something. The teacher's job is to sell skills and ideas. A professor's job is to sell complex ideas to big babies.

Jeffrey Davis said...

His comments read like someone whose paycheck depends upon his making comnments like that.

chek said...

Another idiom uses 'clocking' in the sense 'to take notice of', i.e. 'did you clock that girl in the red dress?'. Thus 'clean their clocks' interprets as refreshing someone's ability to take notice of something. Possibly by 'clocking' (striklng) them, as used to be done unjudgementally to all hysterics in movies of a certain age.

kai said...

evil rabbit, conoly is not worth my comments, what about you!

Alastair said...

I would like to defend Hoffman! He is not saying that the sceptic was correct. He was saying that from the sceptics POV he was as sure that he was correct as Hoffman was of his position. There was no point in Hoffman trying to correct him because it is impossible, just as it would be impossible to persuade Hoffman that scepticism is correct.

It's about the difference between objective and subjective truth. We all believe our subjective truth is objective.

Another way of putting it is that AGW is a paradigm, and climate scepticism is anther paradigm. The question is how to you get the climate sceptics to make that paradigm shift. Well, first you have to recognise, as Hoffman did, that the sceptics have got their own paradigm!

EliRabett said...

While nothing is going to change the "potential donors" POV (Eli agrees with Alastair) doing anything but telling him that he should be taken seriously is the affirmation he needs.

A good example is the recent series of "unskewed" polling experts in the US. Everyone in the media including Fox knew they were smoking stuff that was going to be made legal in a few days, but the affirmation they got in the he said she said media, let alone the red sheets, was not a cool thing.

EliRabett said...

Well Kai, here we simply point out that the bunnies have no interest in talking to you or giving the appearance that we think anything you say or write has worth. In other words, what being told such a load of crap from a bullshit shill like you is not our idea of time profitably spent.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Alastair, we get that the donor thinks he is right. We simply know he is not. What is more, since his opinion is based entirely on ideology, lacking even a decent figleaf of evidence, his opinion is not even worthy of respect. It deserves ridicule. Period. And there is no point in trying to be "nice". The kind thing is to correct and educate the poor dumb SOB.

David B. Benson said...

bluegrue & others --- Thank you.

The Editor said...

Carrot top pyrolysis !

We're all gonna die -- what more barbarous benzopyran precursor than carotene?

As my hasenpfeffer and daube du bambi ingredient harvest is propelled entirely by smokeless powder,hey I am deeply shocked.

Alastair said...

Ray,

You wrote "Alastair, we get that the donor thinks he is right. We simply know he is not."

The donor does not think he is right. He knows he is right. Like you, he wanted to educate that "poor damn SOB" Hoffman by sending him to the Heartland Institute.

The bottom line is that you are not going to convince the sceptics by educating them or treating them as SOBs. They believe in what they are saying just as much as you do.

The Climate War is not going to be won by educational might. The next three thousand page report by the IPCC will have no effect. What we need to do is win over the hearts and minds of the general public. Now where did I hear that before?

Cheers, Alastair.

Anonymous said...

The longer our society tolerates the idea that it is OK to simply believe whatever ignorant cockeyed ideas one has about scientific matters, the more difficult it will be to eventually dig ourselves out of the hole we have created by tolerating such BS for as long as we have.

"Coherent, consistent world views" that completely ignore the real world (!!) are should be called what they are: crap.

They are certainly not worthy of "study" (especially not with NSF dollars!)


~@:>

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Alastair,
Fuck hearts and minds. What is needed is for the average American to become sufficiently literate in science that they are not a threat to the survival of the species.

Ideology is NOT an acceptable alternative to science when it comes to beliefs about the natural world, and the sooner these folks are dismissed for the ridiculous asses they are, the better.

John Mashey said...

As is often the case, once an argument is mis-framed, it's hard to recover. I think Hoffman over-simplified the tobacco story, but I don't think Eli's version is as crisp as it needs to be either.

1) One of the definitive histories is Robert Proctor's Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition.

Part Two is ~100 pages that covers the history of the science around tobacco, i.e., when did the tobacco companies know the cancer problem was real and wasn't going away. Indeed, they hid a lot of real science, obfuscated more, and generated a lot of diversions.

Public health scientists kept doing research, which helped, because the lawyers needed that as part of their efforts.

The tobacco guys used every extra-science tactic, especially as even the slightest doubts of the epidemiology got vanquished.

2) Then, indeed, it was teams of public health folks and lawyers who finally start winning the legal fights.

Those include, for example, Stanton Glantz at UCSF, and some dedicated lawyers, such as Roberta Walburn (Minnesota) and Sharon Eubanks (D.C.).

See Sharon & Stan's Bad Acts: The Racketeering Case Against the Tobacco Industry.

p.72 offers interesting info:
'Bush Arrives
George W. Bush's reputation for coddling the tobacco industry when he was governor of Texas worried us all. ...
We all knew that Bush's allies had close ties to Philip Morris. Karl Rove, long before he became known as "Bush's Brain," was on Philip Morris' payroll for five years as a political intelligence operative. Rove opposed the lawsuit that the Texas Attorney General filed against the industry. (Bush publicly backed it after it was settled, bringing $17 billion to the state's treasury.'

This interlocks with Fakery 2, p.40, where NCPA offers to help PM by "access to GW Bush."

Via this search, one may find 140 hits on "Karl Rove" in the tobacco archives. ~1991-1995, he was a $3K/month consultant for PM.

Put another way, the real scientific argument was long over, but the tobacco companies knew well how to fight via political capture of key politicians.

While there is always uncertainty, the health scientists had to do it with epidemiology, without having any strong physics theory to help them. Hence, in certain respects, the theory+evidence for AGW is even stronger than for smoking-disease. (For instance, more people actually die of other tobacco-related diseases other than lung cancer, but that was focused on because most lung cancer deaths are caused by cigarette smoke.

EliRabett said...

Sorry John, crisp is 140 letters or less. Eli was pretty crisp. FWIW the public health information was pretty damn good long before the lawyers got to it. The one thing that took some time was to establish an animal model because humans are about the only animal that addicts to nicotine. The others would rather not.

Jeffrey Davis said...

Sorry. Solipsism has no place in a scientific discussion.

Anonymous said...

It's worth mentioning the asbestos industry and its denial of the ætiology of mesothelioma, which mirrors the tobacco industry's and the climate denial industry's tactics.

Humans have metaphorically given the Earth a lungful of asbestos.


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

Anonymous said...

Bah.

...climate change denial industry's...


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

John Mashey said...

Eli:
'FWIW the public health information was pretty damn good long before the lawyers got to it.'
Yes, we agree: my point was that the lawyers needed that as one component.


Google: rat addiction nicotine
I don't know offhand if they've tried rabbits much, but rats were easy.

See Proctor p.529 on baboons.
Reynolds was studying uses for its Premier device.

'Critics charged that the only reason it contained tobacco at all was to exempt it from regulation as a new kind of drug delivery device - to which Reynolds responded by launching a series of investigations forcing baboons to smoke crack cocaine.'

'baboons were taught to smoke cigarettes laced with crack cocaine.'

'Reynolds in 1989 had at least none baboons smoking crack (or controls) ...'

'Southwest Research by the mid-1970s already had thirty-five baboons hooked cigarettes: Walter Rogers had trained them to smoke by depriving them of water and then allowing them to drink only through a tube through which smoke was also introduced.'

Search archives for baboon yields 3,783 documents, such as the paper "CARCINOGEN METABOLISM IN THE CIGARETTE SMOKING BABOON"

Advertising likely does not work as well on baboons as humans, but thirst apparently works.


J Bowers said...

Interesting stuff kicking off in Blighty, and Delingpole's bang in the centre of it all.
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/energygate

EliRabett said...

Eli is not so sure about that and after furious googling the bunny found what he remembered, e.g. Hecht 2005

"Introduction

The first study to show a robust increase in lung cancer in an animal model of cigarette smoke inhalation appears in this
issue of Carcinogenesis (1), more than 50 years after the initial epidemiologic studies linking smoking and lung cancer in humans (2,3). Why has this been so difficult to achieve? One reason is that humans actively and religiously inhale cigarette smoke to satisfy their extraordinary craving for nicotine, while animals are affronted by this toxic mixture and will do what they can to avoid it. This commentary will attempt to put the results of the new study in perspective with other inhalation studies of cigarette smoke, discuss the rationale for animal models of cigarette smoke exposure, the strengths and limitations of currently available models, and the need for integration of carcinogen biomarker data in future studies."

bill said...

Re: wind-bashing windbags in Blighty - more on the Tory/Telegraph extremist alliance.

John Mashey said...

Eli:
'The one thing that took some time was to establish an animal model because humans are about the only animal that addicts to nicotine. The others would rather not.'

I didn't say the animals *wanted* to get addicted. Obviously if one can only addict baboons by requiring them to smoke to get water, Joe Camel ads are not enough to convince them. Apparently, there are no baboon marketeers whose skill matches the tobacco guys.

Here's Animal taught smoking habit in 1965.

One thing is clear (from Proctor): the tobacco guys sponsored a *lot* of research that never got published, except via the tobacco archives.




The Editor said...

If social engineering were not the aim of tobacco prohibitionists, one would expect the bulk of the $250 billion to go towards

1. Rendering tobacco products less carcinogenic and reducing their respiratory impact.

2. Research aimed at curing lung cancer and emphysema

AIDS research does not focus on public awareness of Leviticus or the risks of second hand HIV

Anonymous said...

"Research aimed at curing lung cancer..."

Ah, but... Hasn't the research largely been done... and largely been ignored?


The "cure" for lung cancer is relatively simple in most cases. Prevention! And prevention is always better than cure, isn't it?

The numbers have been available for a long time, in some cases on the order of 50 years. We know the causes of most lung cancers: inhalation of carcinogens (usually over prolonged periods). These inhaled carcinogens are, amongst other sources, largely to be found in tobacco smoke (and the smoke of it's wacky "herbal" alternatives), in high radon-source localities, most forms of respirable asbestos (and other respirable particulates), and vehicle fumes.

What's difficult about tackling most of those? Ah, that would be vested interests... and plain ol' human stoopidity.

Once those "confounding" factors are removed, then instead of about 140 million premature deaths from lung cancer per century** you'd be largely left with those with a genetic predisposition (which ain't very many in the scheme of things -- my guesstimate would be on the order of 0.1% of that figure, maybe 1% tops).

Then it would be easier, perhaps, to find the "real cure" for those who, genetically speaking, have no choice in the matter of whether they are likely to get lung cancer or not (as opposed to those who have no choice in the matter but to put up with carcinogens in their local environment, that is).

The worst scenario I can imagine is finding a surefire way of curing lung cancer so that I might have to take medication I ordinarily wouldn't need to protect me from others' stoopidness and filthy habit. Hmmm. But I suppose that might be more preferable than to have to undergo chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and/or surgery because of someone else's kindly meant second-hand smoke donation to my possible future unwellbeing.


**OK, that's a very large number that some might consider fanciful, so we can use the WHO figure instead, which is just shy of 1.4 million per year :-J

Cymraeg llygoden

willard said...

Why has Kai turned so sour? I seem to recall a nice chat with him.

Wait, it seems that I can't find it at Judy's this morning.

Holly Stick said...

Yes, what's happened to Curry's blog? Legal problems, payment problems, technical glitch, sudden return to sanity?

Anonymous said...

Holly, for Judy's "return to sanity" see the new blog climatedialogue. I'm still trying to find any sanity from Curry there. Let me know if *you* can find it...

Marco

John Mashey said...

Cym:
Where did you get your nubmers?
WHO says this, and the numbers are rather higher.

Michael Tobis said...

Re J Bowers:

+1 "false consensus bias"

J Bowers said...

@ MT

I don't even bother with "97% of climate scientists" anymore, whereas the only argument against the glaring implications in THIS WIKI PAGE is to claim a conspiracy on a Dan Brown scale.

John Mashey said...

See Why Climate Deniers Have No Scientific Credibility - In One Pie Chart by James Powell.

Anonymous said...

JM, see here and search for 1.37:

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and accounted for 7.6 million deaths (around 13% of all deaths) in 2008. The main types of cancer are:

lung (1.37 million deaths)


I didn't search any deeper, as it was meant to be order of magnitude correct only and it tied in nicely (given the percentage usually ascribed to tobacco) with an estimate which I just happened to read about a couple of days earlier in a BBC article about Jordan Goodman's Tobacco in History that touches on James Duke's part in all this (yes, he of Duke University philanthropy) and James Bonsack's equipment design for mechanisation of rolling the evil weed into little white cancer sticks.

Perhaps I'll delve a bit deeper if I have time.

Cymraeg llygoden

John Mashey said...

cym
Sorry, I was in a hurry.
Of course, you'd said deaths from lung cancer, whereas I was thinking of total deaths attributable to smoking.

Aaron said...

The car companies spend a lot money producing technical engineering documents to design cars.

Then, the automakers spend a lot more money designing glossy showroom brochures. Why don't they use use the technical documents that they created to build the cars?

(Because technical documents do not sell! )

We need to be as smart about teaching science and math as the automakers are about selling cars.

Russell said...

I look forward to the Kindle editions of

Go Fish: The Racketeering Case Against The Finnan Haddie Industry

Cinnabar Holocaust: the Carcinogenic Cantonese Condiment Catastrophe & the Case for the Abolition of Lapsang Souchong Tea, Nitrosamine Pickles, Szechuan peppercorns, and Mercury Sulfide Feng Shui Paint


Brian said...

"more people actually die of other tobacco-related diseases other than lung cancer, but that was focused on because most lung cancer deaths are caused by cigarette smoke."

For a similar reason I think sea level rise, even the relatively modest amount seen to date, is the key legal tool, because it's mostly attributable to GHG emissions.

Hank Roberts said...

> One thing is clear (from
> Proctor): the tobacco guys
> sponsored a *lot* of research
> that never got published,
> except via the tobacco
> archives.

As a little kid with big ears ("faculty brat") often wandering around the Duke Biology Dep't in the 1950s, I recall hearing from the relatively impoverished faculty we knew that there was another group -- tenured older professors -- whose well supported and longstanding research programs never published in the journals, because their work was all done for the tobacco companies and that's where their grad students found employment.

I recall someone at RC pointing out years ago that the energy companies have long done climate modeling -- paleoclimate modeling -- to figure out where basins formed that would have accumulated sediment that became petrochemicals (and where continental drift would have moved them). Also not published.

J Bowers said...

@ Brian

I think this little lot is also why there should be more framing of the climate debate within the context of whether you're pro-Holocene or anti-Holocene, i.e. whether you're pro-agriculture or anti-agriculture.

* Carbon Dioxide Enrichment Inhibits Nitrate Assimilation in Wheat and Arabidopsis. Bloom et al (2010).
* Grassland Responses to Global Environmental Changes Suppressed by Elevated CO2. (Shaw 2007)
* Photosynthetic inhibition after long-term exposure to elevated levels of carbon dioxide.(DeLucia 1985)
* Insects Take A Bigger Bite Out Of Plants In A Higher Carbon Dioxide World.
* Food for Thought: Lower-Than-Expected Crop Yield Stimulation with Rising CO2 Concentrations
* Temperature dependence of growth, development, and photosynthesis in maize under elevated CO2 (PDF)
* Nitrate assimilation in plant shoots depends on photorespiration
* Grassland Responses to Global Environmental Changes Suppressed by Elevated CO2

Life was much harder before the Neolitihic Revolution.

John Mashey said...

Hank:
can you say more about
' energy companies have long done climate modeling -- paleoclimate modeling'?

because I think someone was confused by the terminology, because this doesn't make sense.

1) Cigarette companies, faced with strong scientific evidence of cigarette/disease links, did a lot of internal research either to disprove that, or else somehow find that disease was caused by things they could change without affecting nicotine addiction, such as paper or additives. No credible research ever gave them the results they wanted, so it never got published.

2) People run existing climate models versus paleoclimate date typically for last 1,000-2,000 years, and maybe use data from the Holocene, and the last few million years, when the CO2 levels reached the knife-edge range that allows Milankovitch to drive glacial cycles.

3) Oil folks spend many compute cycles on seismic analysis and reservoir modeling. Anything they do with modeling of reservoir formation would have been for geological-timescale processes hundreds of millions of years ago.

Russell said...

" I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs."

EliRabett said...

Yes

Russell said...

"If you cannot send Money, send Tobacco."

Russell said...

This concludes the day's quotations from Albert Einstein and George Washington.

dhogaza said...

Hey, Russell, does the fact that Washington employed slaves mean that you support slavery, too?

Russell said...

Washington employed slaves?



dhogaza said...

For certain definitions of "employed", yes. One synonym of which is "to use".