Friday, August 19, 2016

Risk, Hazard and Jill Stein

The difference between Hazard and Risk bedevils the public driven by journalists, politicians and grifters with agendas.  Combinations of the three are not uncommon in Eli's experience.  Cancer risk is the playground most populated.  A recent article in Science by Kai Kupferschmidt (go ahead, it is open) lays this out

Officially released at 3 p.m. EST on 15 June, the news immediately raced around the world, spread by hundreds of websites. Judging by reader comments, many found it reassuring, whereas others were spooked. The message: Coffee doesn't give you cancer after all, but very hot drinks might, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization.
But scientists grumbled that the hot drink verdict left the public none the wiser, because IARC couldn't say how big the risk is.  
So the IARC has now moved coffee from "possibly carcinogenic" to  "not classifiable as a carcinogen", which, of course in click bait country is taken as "maybe carcinogenic".  Proving something not something or other is about impossible, there is only a single material that the IARC classifies as "probably not carcinogenic", and not a few willing to say that "probably not" means maybe.

There are any number of folk willing to claim that all chemicals are carcinogenic.  This has lots of downsides because folk think that all chemicals, foods, what nots have the same risk profile, which means they avoid to their detriment many things that can benefit them, and indulge in many things that they should be using a ten foot pole to avoid.  Eli is not the only Rabett to have noticed
It has become a recurring pattern: an IARC announcement, followed by confusion, controversy, and criticism. In October 2015, IARC made headlines when it declared processed meat a carcinogen, putting it alongside plutonium and smoking in its classification scheme. Statisticians and risk communication experts, however, were quick to point out that the risk was very low. A few months earlier, IARC announced that glyphosate, the world's most widely used herbicide, was “probably carcinogenic,” a verdict that helped fuel efforts to ban the chemical in the European Union, but was at odds with that of many other agencies, including BfR and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Jill Stein is only an issue because of the remote possibility that she may tip the US election to Donald Trump in one state or another.  That and the annoyance that her Jill Boys (aka former Bernie Bros) cause in places where no sane bunny goes, AKA Twitter.  So Eli has been in a set two with a bunch of em who are leaning on Stein's tweet
Chris Mooney had a fine take down of this going into detail and ending
Any presidential candidate, from Trump to Clinton to Stein, has every right to dig in and explain all of this. Moreover, that candidate could easily justify the conclusion that we have good reason to worry that sea level rise by 2100 could be considerably worse than the IPCC suggests — if we don’t get our acts together. That is the way the sea level rise story is trending these days. br />

But what’s more questionable is to cite only a worst case scenario, without explaining the state of the evidence or scientific opinion overall.
Of course, the three meter by 2050 comes from the extreme estimate of Hansen et al, which has been well discussed pretty much everywhere, the operative paragraph being
We hypothesize that ice mass loss from the most vulnerable ice, sufficient to raise sea level several meters, is better approximated as exponential than by a more linear response. Doubling times of 10, 20 or 40 years yield multi-meter sea level rise in about 50, 100 or 200 years. Recent ice melt doubling times are near the lower end of the 10–40-year range, but the record is too short to confirm the nature of the response.
Everybunny else remotely suspected of having a clue thinks maybe 2 m at most by 2100 and much less by 2050, which is bad enough, but Stein cherry emphasizes a ten year doubling rate.  So, Eli is trying to arrange a bet with Steve Bloom and maybe Brad Johnson (nah, Brad is too clued in but he is not above confusing hazard with risk).
Oh yeah Jill Stein got into trouble trying the same finesse confusing hazard and risk on vaccination and homeopathy


Victor Venema said...

Maybe Hill boy Chris Mooney can fight it out with Eric Holthaus of Slate and Our Warm Regards who thinks the James Hansen study is part of the "scientific canon": "James Hansen’s Bombshell Climate Warning Is Now Part of the Scientific Canon". I thought that was a poor choice of words, but Stein may well see Slate as a reliable source.

What is an acceptable risk, which risks need to be emphasized is a political question, not a scientific question.

When people who claim to love science complain when Jill Stein says that that there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism because she should have said something non-scientific and stronger, you know you are in the middle of a smear campaign against the Green party. Fact checker Snopes on this vaccine claim, also mentions on the side that the Green party used to endorse homeopathy, but they do not have evidence that Stein does.

I completely understand that you guys do not want to live under president Trump. For me that is also the main priority. His thin-skinned utter incompetence could sink the global economy and start major wars.

I completely understand that you guys fear the Ralf Nader effect, but the smear campaign against Stein is at the level of the mitigation sceptical movement. Are you afraid you do not have the facts on your side? The aim-serves-the-means behavior of the Hill boys may well turn people away from Hillary Clinton.

Russell Seitz said...

It's been a grand year for fear,

At some risk of ending up on SNL, PNAS has shed its microaggression concerns, and endorsed the glorious new buzzword , " Femtorisk

Eli, Please make the following link work if the platform is in a snit:

Jeffrey Davis said...

The Hansen paper brings up the fact that current models of ice melt don't do a good job. Huge amounts of melt have occurred in the past and we don't understand the mechanism. Not only that but that the forcing which produced the melt was much less than our current forcings. The bulk of his paper is a hypothetical for what might produce such a result.

People seem to think that the paper is an assertion that he's found the mechanism, but the paper doesn't say that. But the paper does say worse. Namely that some mechanism did produce worse and from less provocation. So to speak.

EliRabett said...

Try this

EliRabett said...

Russ, seems to require that you put the link in as html, eg.

{a href=""} something {/a} where the {} are replaced by less than greater than.

Look at Also may require https rather than http

Russell Seitz said...

Eli , for reasons unfathomable, your platform often balks at the proper HTML with an erroneous ' no opening A' message, and refuses to post at all .

It seems to be a Safari issue that comes and goes

EliRabett said...

Victor, Eli suggests reading Greg Flato's comment

The authors provide no assessment of the likelihood of any of their scenarios, and do not cite most of the previous studies that have explored the response of the climate system to much less dramatic freshwater input (e.g. Swart and Fyfe, 2013; Bintanja et al., 2013; Aiken and England, 2008; Stouffer et al. 2007; Hellmer, 2004; Weaver et al., 2003). Indeed they state that: “We do not argue for this specific input function” (pg. 20078), and that “the critical issue is whether human-spurred ice sheet mass loss can be approximated as an exponential process during the next few decades“ (pg. 20092). They also do not justify the manner in which this freshwater is introduced into the ocean (as liquid water with a temperature of -15◦C, pg. 20079). There are apparently no negative feedbacks allowed between simulated climate and ice-sheet derived
freshwater flux, and so the freshwater discharge accelerates regardless of how rapidly the surface climate cools.

The result of a very large forcing perturbation is necessarily a very large response. For the most extreme scenario (5-year doubling time), simulated global temperature drops to roughly 1.4◦C below preindustrial levels by mid-century (then rapidly jumps back up when the freshwater forcing is abruptly terminated). This is in striking contrast to essentially all published projections of 21st century climate change, and so places a very large burden on the authors to provide evidence in support of rapid global cooling

and in conclusion

In summary, this paper’s projection of rapid, near-term global cooling is at odds with essentially all peer-reviewed literature on future climate projections and would suggest to most readers that the state of climate science is such that even the sign of future climate change is uncertain (let alone the magnitude). The suggestion of such fundamental uncertainty demands extraordinarily compelling evidence and a careful evaluation of plausibility and likelihood.

rather than Salon. Even Newsweek got the coming ice age wrong in the 1970s.

Victor Venema said...

Eli, Victor would likely not have accepted the Hansen manuscripts in its present form. I would have wanted it to be marked as a suggestion for future research and not yet as a result.

But it is published and Slate calls it part of the "scientific canon". Then it is no longer fair start a hate campaign against someone citing its results and putting them in the anti-science corner. I am reasonably sure no one would have done so without the fear for the Nader problem.

What kind of term do you then want to use for the much larger transgressions seen at WUWT?

EliRabett said...

Please Victor, the only hate campaign is Stein slagging Clinton, and indeed she is doing her best . The bit about Slate canonizing the Hansen paper is not even worth laughing about. When the NAS gets around to it drop Eli a line

Victor Venema said...

Eli, is Stein "slagging" Clinton with smears (like this fake anti-science campaign) or with facts (such as that Clinton supported the Iraq war)?

I presume you have some real reasons to prefer Clinton over Stein, I do, communicate those, rather than this fake campaign, which is unworthy of liberals.

Tom said...

It may be unworthy of liberals, VV, but to me it looks like the same ol', same ol. Why some here might say that you yourself created a classification, 'mitigation skeptics', in much the same manner as those used to marginalize Ms. Stein and have been contentedly busy dehumanizing your opponents ever since.

EliRabett said...

Remember Trump's chanting "lock her up" well Victor, Jilly has her own version, calling Hillary Clinton "too big to jail".

As things go, Clinton has a reasonably good record on telling the truth. She also has a bunch of piranha like Stein who go around calling her a liar at every whistle stop.

Sorry Victor, Clinton and the rest of us Dems have for too long taken crap from the special snowflakes on the left. It gets tiring and it is distracting from the business at hand. The Bernie Bros were the final straw, patience with small children has been exhausted.

Anonymous said...

You're right, Eli, Ms. Clinton is obviously the kind of person that can sort out the problems of soon to be 10 billion religious nuts on the planet, all armed to the teeth, a 0.7 Watt per square meter top of the atmosphere energy imbalance, and a 20 trillion dollar US national debt, and all the catastrophic environmental problems that go along with wealth creation and manipulation based upon carbon combustion and resource extraction, before breakfast, on her first day of work.

I am so pleased you have found your savior. One word - Ken Salazar.

That should do it.

Tom said...

Alphabet soup, some of us may be mature enough to recognize that we are not choosing a savior.

Anonymous said...

That's right, your're choosing a ponzi scheme growth manager.

How long to you think it will last at this rate of growth?

And FYI, there is no 'us'. There is you.

john Mruzik said...

While I an not a scientist, but a simple, drunk, country doctor, I might remind the Lagomorphs that the extreme left is not the Greens. We do not have to own them. However the extreme right..... How do I say natural progression?

David B. Benson said...

Eli, according to you there is a difference between hazard and risk. A simple dictionary search fails to find it.

Pls enlighten.

Anonymous said...

David Benson,
Hazard and risk are often used interchangeably in colloquial discourse, and this is reflected in the dictionary definitions, where risk is often given as a synonym for hazard.

However, more technically, hazard is defined as a potential source of harm. It is thus more synonymous with threat.

The hazard function is the conditional probability that a system will fail in some infinitesimal interval given that it has not already failed.

Mal Adapted said...

It's my understanding that America's framers considered government a necessary evil. They knew that power tended to accrue to those who wanted it the most, and they regarded anyone who wants power as untrustworthy. The best they could do for us was to force power seekers to let us choose whom we distrust the least. That means our votes for President will always be decisions on the margin. We'll never get to vote for a savior, but only the lesser of two weevils.

On November 9, we'll wake up to find that either HRC or he who should not be named is to be our next President. The only thing HRC can save us from is her opponent, but that's a good enough reason for me to vote for her, because he scares the beejeezus out of me.

EliRabett said...

Oh yeah, we are really smearing Jill Stein not.

Anonymous said...

Sure Eli, and what exactly are the critical national and global issues again? I must have missed them with all that smears and anti-smears. They annihilated and all I feel is a little heat, and that just got washed away with the cold front. I could list them for you again in case you can't keep your eye on the ball. And who is this 'we' you keep referring to?

Anonymous said...

First, gentle reminder to everyone that the Hansen, et al work was subjected to a very unusual review cycle atop standard peer review, so there was, in fact, lots of opportunity for everyone to comment.

Second, I've struggled to understand the nonlinearities associated with ice sheet dynamics, per Rignot, Alley, etc. I have no doubt I am simply ignorant of the broad physics of the problem. Nevertheless, I do know that ice sheet modelers achieved much better fidelity in reconstruction when, after applying greater computational assets, they were able to significantly drop their grid size down (no reference at hand, but can find if someone cares; write me; Science). Moreover, given the comparably broad range of uncertainties attending dynamical systems as, in this instance, represented by ice sheets, and especially in the absence of a concerted focus upon the international political community to fund a crash scientific investigation of this key scientific point, I don't think it is meaningful to even construct a (probability) distribution of likely outcomes, let alone judge its veracity.

I have respectfully asked many modelers about these matters and received answers from "physical systems at this just can't change that fast", to "I don't see why these should change slowly", to (the great) Manabe's comment, upon my asking, that including ice sheet dynamics in the next round of IPCC projections was "expected". When I remarked that these were very complicated, Professor Manabe replied, "Well, computers are getting very fast." I of course defer to him.

I agree that, at some point, there is something unsatisfying about using paleoclimatic inferences to make predictions. On the other hand, we should all expect that if an ab initio model were to make such projections, science deniers and their ilk would do what any cross-examiner does, and try to impugn their credibility.

Sometimes, y'know, I wonder if, despite the huge risks and costs in human suffering, we oughtn't just call their bluff.

Anonymous said...

Great to see some real mud-slinging on here for a change, so I'm gonna sling some more.

I just don't get it with this Bernie or Bust crowd. Like it or not, the U.S. has a first past the post election system (ignoring for the moment complications introduced by the Electoral College). What this means is that in close races, if there is a strong-ish independent candidate that is liberal-leaning (Jill Stein), then this candidate will take votes away from the Democratic candidate (Hills). This is exactly what happened in the year 2000. Ralph Nader only got about 2.75% of the popular vote, but votes going to him that were more likely to have gone to Gore rather than Bush were enough to give Bush a key state or two. Bush only won the popular vote in Florida by around 500 votes (ignoring some suspected ballot skullduggery), but that was enough to swing the entire election.

How many times do we have to explain this? In the U.S. you have to vote along party lines; it's always about choosing the lesser of two evils. A vote for Jill Stein or not voting at all out of spite is as good as a vote for Trump, understand? But no doubt the Bernie or Busters will manage to find a way not to understand, as they always do.

Anonymous said...

In the U.S. you have to vote along party lines

In Amurka, you are free to confess that you are a fascist and to hold fascist beliefs, as you have just done. Bravo. Have you completed the US citizenship process yet? What America needs is another revolution, not another ponzi scheme growth manager like Barack Obama. If that means the disputation of a Bush, oops, I mean Trump presidency, then so be it. Hillary Clinto stole the primary just like George Bush stole the election. Ralph Nader was just the fall guy. You get what your ponzi scheme growth manager pays for. Who knows, maybe they can keep the ponzi scheme running until after you die a natural death. Good for you.

All Bernie did was state the obvious. We don't need this ponzi scheme to pay our bills and grow our food. What we need is a real society. Your society and your culture is as sick as you are metzomagic.

And furthermore, your beliefs are shit. A huge stinking pile of smelly crap. Feces. Your beliefs. There is no god and there is no magic. There is just nature and hard science is how we understand it.

I just love throwing your shit into your face. You richly deserve it.

David B. Benson said...

Eli --- Do we have to put up with 8c?

Anonymous said...

Who is we David, you? I have to put up with carbon combustion, bad air, oil slicks, polluted water and horrific noises, so I don't see why not. What is your problem, chance and eternal inflation not working out for you? Are my beliefs too nutty for you?

Hank Roberts said...

Russell Seitz said...

Alas, David, 8c poses less of threat to Article 1 than Title IX

Anonymous said...

I know I can be a pain in the ass, but in a free America, living in fear and voting out of fear are definite options. I simply freely choose not to live that way. So I don't fear a Trump presidency, having lived through a Bush presidency. However, in my free America, my vote or my choice not to vote is nobody's business but my own, and I don't need anyone going by the nym of metzomagic to explain that to me. If I had my way, which I don't, I would make voting mandatory and then also make it a national holiday. That alone might solve a lot of these problems. I would also post comments here in my real name, but alas, the software no longer allows it. Check with the administrator.

Isn't that the way the civilized world handles voting? Anonymous but required? I don't see how that can avoid the problems of election fraud.

Mal Adapted said...

David, Rabett Run is the most tolerant of the climate-related blogs I frequent. I wouldn't have it any other way, myself. When 8c isn't railing at the world's inexplicable failure to acknowledge his superior intellect and foresight, he occasionally makes worthwhile comments. Like every arrogant and combative person, he can be infuriating, but all you have to do is scroll past his comments without reading them, and you're certainly under no obligation to engage him.

Anonymous said...

Your claim of my intellectual superiority seems to be in conflict with my long list of my failed hypotheses. Nevertheless, let's consider the claim of 9 feet by 2050. I believe Mr. Hansen's hypothesis was exponential sea level rise starting with the current era of acceleration and posited something like five meters by 2100. So Ms. Stein's claim seems to require some kind of catastrophic discontinuity. The only discontinuity that I can see on the near term horizon would be the catastrophic break up of West Antarctica, so really the question is will it be discontinuous and when will it occur, not whether it will occur. There are technical means in which to address this problem, since there is recent historical evidence of this kind of thing happening in the recent past. I suggest you start here. Good luck!

Gingerbaker said...

"Of course, the three meter by 2050 comes from the extreme estimate of Hansen... "

Actually, it seems to come from []:

"Margaret Davidson, NOAA’s senior advisor for coastal inundation and resilience science and services, and Michael Angelina, executive director of the Academy of Risk Management and Insurance, offered their take on climate change data in a conference session titled “Environmental Intelligence: Quantifying the Risks of Climate Change.”

Davidson said recent data that has been collected but has yet to be made official indicates sea levels could rise by roughly 3 meters or 9 feet by 2050-2060, far higher and quicker than current projections."

E. Swanson said...

Having become somewhat radicalized during the anti-Soviet action in Vietnam and then working on 4 Presidential elections, I must say that 8c--- sees things about the same as do I. For whatever reason, our republican political process has devolved into a 2 party state, a situation not mentioned in the Constitution. As things stand, no other party has much chance to end up with more votes than the two main parties, thus, any vote for an alternative party represents a vote removed from one of the two main parties. A so-called "Liberal" voting for Stein instead of Ms. Clinton is, in effect, a vote for Trump.

I think that a viable third party is possible, but such must be built from the ground up, not the top down. What's required is many people willing to run for offices in local county and state elections, thus providing a clearly defined alternative so the average voter can understand the world view of the third party before voting for President. Bernie's efforts may lead to that sort of campaign, which would likely require years of effort. Of course, this election is only now becoming nasty, so it's entirely possible that the losing side will implode and some new amalgam will appear, as has happened in years past. I'm afraid that we now find ourselves living in "interesting times"...

Kevin O'Neill said...

gingerbaker - the Davidson quote on the insurancejournal site leads directly back to Hansen et al.

I covered this at Stoat's a few months back.

Anonymous said...

I rest my case.

Anonymous said...

How many times do we have to explain this? In the U.S. you have to vote along party lines

That's your case. Not only is it offensive, it's wrong, and it's anti-American.

Thus, my comment. Now, do you have anything else to add?

You know, like a retraction or something?

Or maybe explain it one more time?

Anonymous said...

I don't think I'm obliged to explain anything to an uncivil shithead like you, 8c.

Out of curiosity though, does Eli think that discussing how to deal with the realities of a 2-party system is offensive, wrong, or anti-American?

Anonymous said...

uncivil shithead

See how easy that was? Thanks for playing.

Mal Adapted said...


Hoping to elicit a worthwhile comment rather than (or at least in addition to) an outburst of spleen from you, I humbly request your engagement with my first comment on this thread. Will you demand a retraction from me too 8^)?

Hank Roberts said...

I bet I know what she uses to sweeten her coffee -- "carbon free sugar"

Wow, I just had to go through seven sets of images to prove I'm not a robot.

Not a robot ... beep ... beep ...

Anonymous said...

I already responded to you. You are very afraid.

Having lived through Nixon, Reagan, Big Bush and Little Bush, Trump would be a breath of fresh air. There will be no more lying and coverups, the entire fraud of government will become transparent.

Be very afraid. You have nothing to retract. Fear is just not my way. The way I see it, a nuclear war would be the best thing that happened to this planet. Life will go on. And humanity will be taught a valuable lesson, if it survives. You aren't going to kill off all the plants, and you aren't going to win any drug wars. And humanity has already demonstrated to me that they are assholes without conscience. And Obama has demonstrated to me he is a fraud.

Clinton will just be the Great American Fraud 3.0.

Captcha - the trick is to copy and paste before you comment here and then clear your cache to reset the Captcha to a reasonable level.

EliRabett said...

Nuff. If you can't be clever don't be rude.

Mal Adapted said...

8c: "And humanity has already demonstrated to me that they are assholes without conscience."

"me"? "they"? Are you saying you're not human? That would explain much.

Anonymous said...

If you're going to quantify hazard and risk then you need to quantify rudeness as well. My rudeness is pretty low on the rude-o-meter scale, it hardly moves the needle, compared to say, living under the threat of nuclear weapons for decades, now under the threat of global warming, living with a war on plants and animals, wars on ourselves, and now the ever present threat of unjust laws, police brutality, mafia hood thuggery and the ever present specter of complete financial collapse as the end nears.

But hey, the lawn care and herbicide and pesticide business is doing great, no? So good it allows the low IQ voters to sit back and knock a few down before the games. Or cast their vote for their favorite fascist.

And of course even after all that, there are still all those nuclear weapons, North Korea and a whole lotta Kim Jung Il wannabees. And on top of all that, there are a bunch of other even more serious potentially catastrophic natural threats that have been neglected for decades now. But heck, NASA has got that all under control right? The new normal? Yes, the future looks bright for humanity.

So when you think of me, think of perspective.

I wish you well. I did what I could for you.

I won't be pushing the flashing red button.

Bernard J. said...

Topical, and vaguely related to the issues of hazard and risk.

At current levels of resolution, the ability to detect the anthropogenic signature on fossil carbon-forced climate change has been pinned as starting around the 1830s:

The paper itself:

It’s worth noting that the human influence on climate starts earlier than this, of course, through other agencies including forest destruction and ruminant domestication. For a background on this Bill Ruddiman’s Plows, Plagues and Petroleum, oft recommended by John Mashey, is definitely worth a look.

In the same issue of Nature, an apparently vaguely Earth-like planet in the next interstellar suburb across:

A reading of the paper indicates that even in the very best alignment of the (local) stars, our Little Blue Marble is still the only one we'll ever have. And his dreams of interplanetary survival aside, I have to say that however irascibly he puts forward his case I'm basically in the same ball-park as TLE with respect to the culpability arising from humanity's causation of and (poor) response to its ill-advised geo-engineering experiment. All the signs to date are that evolution will have the final say about the dalliance with talking, pyromanic, naked apes. It's all a bit of a Greek tragedy really.

Perhaps "Here lies Homo narcissus" would be a fitting epitaph.

EliRabett said...

8c: don't go special snowflake on us.

Anonymous said...

Are you saying I'm not unique? Everything is the same, but different?

David Benson might have something to say about that.

Tom said...

8 etc., your problem is not that you're rude. It's not that you are stupid. You are both, but that's not a problem, just a description.

Your problem is you are boring.

Anonymous said...

That seems more like your problem than my problem.

You have the entire rest of the discernible and observable universe plus all of mathematics to keep you excited, and you are free to ignore my comments or reflections on those things. So I guess I fail to see how that could be a problem, or even my problem. Since your problem of your boredom with me seems to be so dire compared to some of the other problems floating around in the universe and the minds of mathematicians, then of course I will stop commenting here and elsewhere, and stop committing my reflections on science and mathematics to print, as tortuous to me that activities happens for me. Doing that is a lot of work anyways. I mean, why bother?

So, problem solved. Good luck with your other problems!

Hank Roberts said...

You're boring because it's effective, right?

Russell Seitz said...

We all look forward to Swanson's account of his role in the evil empire's downfall

Susan Anderson said...

Hank Roberts, you made me laugh. Carbon free sugar, indeed.

Berniebusters, your Jill Stein is a fraud and is taking advantage. If we are to have a green candidate, I don't want an opportunist who is willing to hedge about vaccinations and weird about WiFi. I'd love a coalition system where I could vote green, but I would never vote for her. Her behavior at the convention was outrageous. And the 9 feet by 2050 is not OK either, unless considerable context is provided.

I don't like Salazar either, but I'm pinning my hopes on getting to Clinton once she's elected. The nasty stuff about her is even more false than all the things you complain about. The Clinton Foundation is an effective going charitable concern, for heaven's sake, that helps millions of people. She didn't support Iraq, she voted for it once, or possibly twice, as a lot of other people did, based on false information. Every one of those Republican opposition points should not be coming from my left. The ones repeating them should at least be paid for it, as repeating bought and paid for opposition work should at least get the going rate.

A closed mind is a closed mind.