“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
—Daniel J. Boorstin

Boston clinches snowiest season on record amid winter of superlatives

It’s official: Boston has set a new record for snowiest season. Through Sunday evening, the city had accumulated a total of 108.6 inches of snow, surpassing the old record of 107.6 inches set in the winter of 1995-96. Boston’s weather records date to 1872.

The myth of ‘settled science’

march 2015 national geographicNational Geographic’s latest cover story has generated lots of attention because it sneers at those close-minded Americans — mostly conservatives, of course — who do not accept scientific “facts.” Only 40 percent of Americans (according to Pew Research Center) “accept that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming,” and the magazine finds it “dispiriting” that so many “reasonable people doubt science.”

National Geographic compares global warming doubters to those disbelieve NASA’s moon landing and those who think water fluoridation is an evil plot. How could so many dismiss “established science?”

Well, here’s one reason: The public has come to distrust government warnings and the scientific experts; they are often wrong.

Gulf Stream Shut Down Caused By Geological Heat Flow

posterMovie poster from the B thriller, The Day After TomorrowIn May of 2010 the famous Gulf Stream, a major ocean current highway used by present day and ancient sailors for centuries, suddenly and unexpectedly shut down / stopped flowing. Why? Was the cause man-made global warming or a natural variation in deep ocean currents?

Most climate scientists were convinced that this shutdown was man-made. After all it fit their climate model predictions. Predictions which indicated that as human CO2 emissions increased the atmosphere would become much warmer and damage our oceans.

These climate models were purposely fashioned to mimic similar circumstances that led to the last Gulf Stream shutdown which occurred 11,000 years ago, which closely coincides with the end of the last glacial period, 10,500 years ago.

How the Royal Society is cherry-picking science, says 'Fellow' insider

royal digsIn an article posted yesterday in the Daily Mail, Professor Michael Kelly explains how he and 43 other Fellows wrote a letter to the Royal Society's then-president that its position on global warming was premature and not supported by facts. That was five years ago. Since then, things have only gotten worse for the august Society.

The Royal Society, which is considered the longest running, most prestigious scientific organization still in existence, is also the British government's scientific advisor, "receiving parliamentary grant-in aid." The Society also "acts as the UK's Academy of Sciences, and funds research fellowships and scientific start-up companies."

The five-year-old letter, penned by Kelly et al, was a reaction to a Society document that stated, in part, "If you don’t believe in climate change you are using one of the following [eight] misleading arguments."

Why my own Royal Society is wrong on climate change

Professor Michael KellyProfessor Michael KellyFive years ago, I was one of 43 Fellows of the Royal Society – the first and arguably still the most prestigious scientific organisation in the world – who wrote to our then-president about its approach to climate change. We warned that the Society was in danger of violating its founding principle, summed up in its famous motto ‘Nullius in verba’ – or ‘Don’t take another’s word for it; check it out for yourself’.

The reason for our warning was a Society document which stated breezily: ‘If you don’t believe in climate change you are using one of the following [eight] misleading arguments.’

The implication was clear: the Society seemed to be saying there was no longer room for meaningful debate about the claim that the world is warming dangerously because of human activity, because the science behind this was ‘settled’.

We hoped we would persuade the Society to rethink this position. That document was revised so that the uncertainty involved in trying to model the climate was admitted. But since then the Society has become more, not less dogmatic – despite the fact that since we sent that letter, it has become evident that there is even more uncertainty than previously thought. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have continued to rise, but since 1998 there has been no statistically significant rise in global temperatures at all.

Crony biofuel politics wag the dog

corn field 0Talk about the Norfolk terrier tail wagging the Great Dane. If they are to have any hope of winning their party’s nomination, Republican presidential hopefuls better support ethanol mandates, Hawkeye State politicos told potential candidates at the recent Iowa Agricultural Summit in Des Moines.

“Don’t mess with the RFS,” Republican Governor Terry Branstad warned, referring to Renewable Fuel Standards that require refiners to blend increasing amounts of ethanol into gasoline. “It is the Holy Grail, and I will defend it,” said Rep. Steve King, another Iowa Republican. It is vital for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and preventing dangerous climate change and weather extremes, said others.

Mainstream Global Warming Reporters Are Biased, Unteachable, Lazy, & Unethical

cartoon-media-gwThe left-wing Washington Post, stepping up its advocacy, issued a set of words yesterday teaching the global warming controversy and ignoring science. Typical.

The somehow aptly named E Wemple gave us “NPR attacks alleged ‘attacks’ on climate-change skeptic.”

Wemple begins “On the front page of its Sunday edition of Feb. 22, the New York Times pretty much blasted a hole in the climate-change denial movement.”

False. And childish. Blasted a hole? Pretty much? Climate-change denial movement? This is advocacy, as I said, and not reporting. It is also rotten writing, which is the greater sin.

WashPost Film Critic Applauds Film Charging Climate Deniers Just Like Tobacco Lobbyists

cigaretteLiberal Washington Post movie critic Ann Hornaday is a you-had-me-at-Hello date when it comes to “climate change” documentaries. The latest is called Merchants of Doubt, comparing global-warming denial to denying cigarettes are bad for you.

Merchants of Doubt, a documentary by Robert Kenner, takes up where the 2006 global warming tutorial An Inconvenient Truth left off, probing the dubious annals of climate-change denial and the unholy alliance between corporations, partisan politics, pseudo-science and marketing that has given it traction despite clear scientific evidence and consensus.

John Kerry lashes out at climate change skeptics, 'dirty energy'

JohnKerrySecretary of State John Kerry, speaking yesterday at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council, criticized Florida Governor Rick Scott's (R) administration for allegedly banning the term climate change from all communications. Scott has publicly denied claims that any phrases were forbidden by his administration.

Kerry said, "Now folks, we literally do not have the time to waste debating whether we can say ‘climate change.' Because no matter how much people want to bury their heads in the sand, it will not alter the fact that 97 percent of peer-reviewed climate studies confirm that climate change is happening and that human activity is largely responsible."

Electric Lemons

tesla roadsterFor years, the Obama administration has pumped billions into the development and subsidy of electric vehicles, but e-cars show little sign of catching on. Currently, just one in a thousand Americans own a plug-in electric car, and most of those reside in California, the epicenter of green energy boondoggles.

Now comes proof that many electric cars lose 70% of their value after just three years of ownership. According to a recent report, the resale value of the 2012 Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, the most popular plug-in electric cars, has fallen by 72% and 69%, respectively. Conventional vehicles do better. The resale value of the Chevy Cruze and Nissan Versa, similar sized, gasoline-powered cars, fall by an average of 54% and 50% after three years. Larger gasoline-powered cars hold even more of their value. After three years, the full-size 268-HP Toyota Avalon in good condition goes for $19,471, a loss of just 35%.

The U.S. Has Too Much Oil And Nowhere To Put It

oil 2As oil prices have crashed, from more than $100 a barrel last summer to below $50 now, big trading companies are storing their crude in hopes of selling it for higher prices down the road. With U.S. production continuing to expand, that’s led to the fastest increase in U.S. oil inventories on record. For most of this year, the U.S. has added almost 1 million barrels a day to its stash of crude supplies. As of March 11, nationwide stocks were at 449 million barrels, by far the most ever. Oil investors appear to be coming around to the notion that a lack of storage capacity could lead to another price crash. --Matthew Philips, Bloomberg, 12 March 2015

A recent rebound in oil prices is built on flimsy foundations, the International Energy Agency warned Friday, with another sharp fall possible and few signs that cheap fuel was giving growth a real boost. --AFP, 13 March 2015

President Obama's veto of Keystone XL pipeline only serves his political objectives

pipelinePresident Barack Obama vetoed legislation that would have greenlighted the Keystone XL pipeline, linking Canadian oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The Senate lacks the votes to override Obama’s veto. Yet Keystone isn’t dead. Both Democrats and Republicans have an interest in keeping this political football in play.

Someday, we hope, the pipeline will be built. But that day won’t come any time soon — and perhaps never during Obama’s dwindling presidency.

In his veto message, Obama asserted that he hasn’t decided whether Keystone should be built or not. Obama said he was using his veto pen — for only the third time — mainly to preserve the executive branch’s jurisdiction over cross-border projects such as Keystone.