Thursday, September 30, 2010

And where does your place rate

While folk have been known to complain about the IPCC process, the US National Academy of Sciences evaluation of doctoral programs is in a world by itself. The 2006 National Academy of Sciences evaluation of research doctorate programs has appeared and the results are downloadable, although confusing. The evaluation was supposed to appear five years ago, but the methodology has been changed a couple of times, several of the panel have resigned, retired, and probably some have died. The elephant has indeed brought forward a mouse and the mouse is causing whining round the nation. Eli offers a prize to anyone who can explain their rating system.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rand Paul and deja vu all over again

Several have remarked about the all around denialism displayed by our good buddies, and indeed, Eli has in the past pointed to the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons and Tax Cheats, an organization basically dedicated to making sure that no quack pays his fair share as well as HIV, malaria, climate, vaccination denialism and other common delusions of the right.

Today he reads that the Republican running for the US Senate in Kentucky, Rand Paul, is a dues paying member of the AAPS since 1990. The Courier Journal got some great quotes from AAPS's executive director, Jane Orient (you can read all about her at Eli's)

Orient said the AAPS doesn’t generally take positions on medical issues and merely attempts to highlight views that are not widely accepted.“We just raise questions,” she said. “There is no settled science about anything. … If you are working on the wrong hypothesis, how are you ever going to get the right answer?”
but they add the he said, to the she said
Dr. George Nichols, Kentucky’s former longtime medical examiner, said the AAPS’ positions sound like a combination of “pseudo-science, public policy and mysticism.”

. . .“They don’t understand science at all?” Nichols asked. “To deny that is to not be in touch with reality.”
as Rudy Baum, editor of Chemical and Engineering News said
Why does any of this matter? Why not just ignore AAPS, JPANDS, and OISM and the noise emanating from them? For the same reason science can't ignore creationism and intelligent design: The goal of the antiscience movement is to endlessly cast doubt on legitimate science.
Chris Mooney is right. Details about AAPS here

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Now wouldn't that be fun

Matt Yglesias asks an interesting question

Every time I read an article about geoengineering, I think to myself “what would the reaction in the American press be if it came out that the Chinese government was investing vast sums of money in developing technology to manipulate global weather patterns?”
Perhaps one of the bunnies will wander over to usual suspects and put the question. Perhaps someone will write a post for young Anthony on why this might be a very bad thing.

The obvious problem is that delaying action on climate disruption will lead to intrusive, black helicopter type stuff later, something you would think the cone heads would not like. And, oh yes, climate disruption it is, because, although global in reach, the actual bad stuff will be local disruption. You can tell from the push back that climate disruption is a good description of what we will face.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Affordable Medicines for Malaria

Indur Goklany, representing, who knows what, perhaps the Cato Institute, perhaps AEI, let loose on Bill Gates for thinking climate change would be a problem. Indur, waiving a broad brush let no half truth languish, but, dear bunnies what brings us here is what the subsequent discussion let loose. As Ed Darrell put it, Anthony Watts Targets Millard Fillmore's Bathtub and Ends Up Getting Scrubbed

Watts gave his pedestal over to an engineer, Indur Goklany, for a diatribe against Bill Gates. . .

In comments, however, truth breaks out. Franklin’s adage about truth winning in a fair fight holds true, especially on a topic like malaria and DDT, where Watts and Goklany together, even were they the acme of broadcast meteorology and dissident engineering, can’t snuff out factual comments fast enough to keep up the tirade. [You fellows there on the side: Stop your betting about whether Goklany is a creationist! Gambling is not allowed here, especially when the fix is in. He confesses he is "an engineer," after all.]
Tim Lambert did his bit too. . . and Eli joined in on the comments at WUWT and Tim and Ed contributed, but, among other things, since this started with an attack on Bill Gates, it is important to understand at least some of the interesting things that the Gates Foundation is doing to help fight malaria.

Among these, Affordable Medicines for Malaria (AMFM), is one of the cleverest, and may even work. The idea is that AMFM will buy ACT (artemisinin combination therapy - something else the Wattoids didn't know about) drugs directly from the manufacturers in huge amounts at deep discount, and pass the drugs on to the distributors, public health agencies, private wholesale pharmacies, and NGOs at so far below cost that even counterfeit drugs cost more. The private wholesalers can take their profit.
This means that buyers will only pay approximately US$0.05 for each course of ACTs. For patients who currently pay for treatment, this is expected to result in a significant reduction in the price of ACTs from about US$6-10 per treatment to about US$0.20-0.50.
It's not quite that simple. Countries wishing to participate have to meet a number of conditions, but the ju-jitsu is splendid.
The AMFm was inspired by a landmark report, “Saving Lives, Buying Time”, published in 2004 by a Committee of the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. Professor Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Laureate in economics, chaired the Committee. Under the umbrella of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, and with financing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank convened and managed an initiative that developed the principles of the IOM report into a policy that was adopted by major institutions in malaria control, and endorsed in November 2008 by the Board of the Global Fund. Many institutions, working groups and individuals contributed to the development of the Affordable Medicines Facility – malaria, including the RBM Task Force for the AMFm, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands, UK-DFID, UNICEF, WHO, Ministers of Health and analysts from malaria-endemic countries, Resources For the Future, the William J. Clinton Foundation, scientists at think tanks, civil society groups, the private sector, academia, and others.
No good deed goes uncarped about

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In which Eli pisses off Roger Pielke Jr. and Michael Tobis.

Ethon flew in from Boulder. Poor dear had a few singed feathers from the Four Mile Canyon fire, but he was laughing anyhow, because Jr. has discovered that a bunch of political scientists don't like him because he wants to affect policy rather than publish papers. IEHE this is nuts. Most political scientists' wet dream is to affect policy, but that, dear bunnies is not why we are gathered here to piss off Eli's dear buddy, Michael Tobis, and his, well, whatever Roger thinks Eli is.

After picking himself off the floor, giggling, Eli remembered an Email he had received from a, hold on for it, a political scientist. It talks about Roger, but it really is also talking about Michael

. . . he has directed essentially all his critique at the science community, as if the science community were the basis of the problem. I take the position that the essential problem in the relationship between scientists and the political/policy process is clearly on the political side of the exchange. Say what you will about the shortcomings of scientists, by far the more significant need is for people to have a critique of politics. For this, Roger’s Ph.D. seems to be worthless. He is clueless about how to address the madness of the political process and how to come to grips with the disinformation campaign.
Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is not to change the IPCC, teach scientists how to communicate or the public to think, but to fix the political process. As always, you will get no credit for trying and the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions."

Excuse Eli, he has a date with a bottle of distilled eau de carotte .

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Climate Weirdness on NPR

NPR's Diane Rehm show has an hour on climate driven weather weirdness. Guests are

Captain Tim Gallaudet -Deputy Director of the Navy's Task Force Climate Change.

Heidi Cullen -senior research scientist with Climate Central, a nonprofit research organization through which she reports on climate change for news outlets, including PBS NewsHour, and the Weather Channel.

Gavin Smith - Executive Director, Center for the Study of Natural Hazards and Disasters and Associate Research Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Might pay to listen in and put some comments out there

Saturday, September 04, 2010

At the seashore

Although Earl caused only minimal physical damage, the economic damage to beach businesses will be huge. Dad Rabett owned a Coney Island arcade. He figured that the summer season paid the rent and he made his profit on three weekends, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day (Sept 1 in the US). Sea side businesses up and down the east coast are losing one of their most important weeks. It's gonna be a hard year.

Oh yeah, Eli got to play a lot of skee ball

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Taking it to a new level

As Eli has been pointing out, the INTERTUBES are an entirely different place. In conversation one can blow anyone (well almost everyone, Hank Roberts and Carrot Eater are fierce and Joe Romm is intergalactic) off, and your friends are polite. The net, OTOP provides lots of eyeballs, someone has access to the reference material and there is a ton of time, it is a 24/7 thing. If you get caught out the best thing is just to be quiet. Judith Curry is learning this at her cost, and yes, Saint Google will make sure that it's gonna be there for years. Eli took a shot, a friendly one, hardly anything but pointing out a few inconsistencies in her story. Lazar has followed up (he RTFR) on Stoat

JC writes;

"There is one statement in the Manabe paper that is relevant: " the reduction in surface salinity resulting from the increase of freshwater supply at the oceanic surface is mainly responsible for the weaker convective activity in the G integration." This statement is made in a paragraph discussing the deep ocean convection in the Southern Ocean. Manabe doesn't discuss the increasing sea ice extent in this context."

That is not true... on the next page (113)...

"In sharp contrast to the situation over the Arctic Ocean, the change of sea ice is relatively small in the circumpolar ocean of the Southern Hemisphere, with the exception of the Weddell and Ross seas, where it increases substantially from the S to G integrations (Figs. 11a and 11c; Figs. 11b and 11d) despite the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Because of the reduction of surface salinity due to the increased water supply at the oceanic surface, the convective mixing between the mixed layer and deeper ocean becomes less frequent, slightly lowering surface water temperature and increasing sea ice thickness in both the Weddell and Ross seas, as discussed in Part I of this study."

Part I says (795)...

"It is surprising, however, that the sea-ice thickness in the G integration increases significantly in the immediate vicinity of the Antarctic Continent despite the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide. This is consistent with the slight reduction of sea surface temperature mentioned earlier (Fig. 10a). It will be shown in section 9a that, owing to the intensification of the near-surface halocline caused by the increased supply of water at the oceanic surface, the convective mixing of cold near-surface water with warmer, underlying water becomes less frequent, resulting in the increase of sea ice and slight reduction of sea surface temperature."

Section 9a says (811)...

"Although the efficient vertical mixing may be the most important factor responsible for the smallness of sea surface temperature change in the Circumpolar Ocean of the Southern Hemisphere, it does not explain why the change is practically zero or sometimes reversed in sign. As noted by Manabe et al. (1990) based upon the detailed analysis of the heat budget of the Circumpolar Ocean of their model, the reduction of convective activity in the surface layer is responsible for this interesting phenomenon. For example, in response to the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the excess of precipitation over evaporation increases, and surface salinity is reduced in high latitudes as noted in section 8. Thus, the static stability of the near-surface water increases and the convective mixing of cold surface water with the relatively warm subsurface water is reduced, thereby contributing to the reduction of sea surface temperature in the Circumpolar Ocean. This is why sea surface temperature hardly changes and sea ice slightly increases near the Antarctic Continent in response to the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide."

... all of which information was placed front and center in Zwally et al. 2002, which was cited by Liu and Curry in 2004.


Manabe, S., R. J. Stouffer, M. J. Spelman, and K. Bryan (1991), Transient Responses of a Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Model to Gradual Changes of Atmospheric CO2. Part I. Annual Mean Response., Journal of Climate, 4(8), 785-818, doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1991)0042.0.CO;2.

Manabe, S., M. J. Spelman, and R. J. Stouffer (1992), Transient Responses of a Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Model to Gradual Changes of Atmospheric CO2. Part II: Seasonal Response., Journal of Climate, 5(2), 105-126, doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1992)0052.0.CO;2.

and William tries it dry

[Oh dear, what you can find if you actually read the paper :-) -W]

but the best is Mark B's version of the story as told by Steve
"Liu and Curry, defended by The Team, selected inappropriate data and time periods, ignored data that doesn't match the IPCC message, manipulated results, clearly engaged in misconduct, dismissed dissenting views, and ultimately pushed the notion that Antarctic Sea Ice will melt, based on fudged computer models, when data clearly shows otherwise. Read 'The Antarctic Ice Illusion: CurryGate and the Corruption of Science' by Montfork. It's one of the best books written on climate science, though I can't personally vouch for any of its conclusions."