The eery silence that is ClimateGate

This is a discussion on The eery silence that is ClimateGate within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Originally Posted by brewbuck Yes, but data can be erroneous. This is why repeatability is also a requirement of science. ...

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewbuck View Post
    Yes, but data can be erroneous. This is why repeatability is also a requirement of science.
    Of course. But in my mind, stating that you can't draw a conclusion from a single example implies that the validity of the single example is not in question. If there is a question about the accuracy of the example, then that is what should be challenged.

    Looking at abachler's original statement, it appears that he embedded a link that more clearly hints at his actual opinion. Now that I can see that link, it makes more sense what his argument is.

  2. #17
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    - Realizing that never before in recorded human history, the scientific community behaved in such a fashion as to gather a general feeling of discredit, doubt or confusion as they have been doing for the past decade. This saddens me greatly.
    And not just the climatologists. I don't trust physicists since 1940s (particularly in light of their Black Hole Machine), brain scientists, geneticists, etc etc.
    I might be wrong.

    Thank you, anon. You sure know how to recognize different types of trees from quite a long way away.
    Quoted more than 1000 times (I hope).

  3. #18
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    You think scientists were better before?

    Scientists are and have always been people, not robots. Outside influence and subjectivity are always an issue. I'd be shocked if there was ever a time in history when science was more trustworthy than it is right now.
    Last edited by Daved; 12-02-2009 at 03:50 PM. Reason: damn triple negatives

  4. #19
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewbuck View Post
    Yes, but data can be erroneous. This is why repeatability is also a requirement of science.
    I think the controversy over Climate Change among credited scientists (not the general populace who spends most of their time repeating what they hear from their walk of life) has not been much about the validity of the data which can be easily verified, but instead the interpretation of said data.

    The problem has been mostly tied to the prediction models being used to support either positions. One cannot support either claim without running the data over prediction models. How else can you say all will be alright in the future or everything will be bad?

    And prediction models are... well, 'nough said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daved View Post
    You think scientists were better before?

    Scientists are and have always been people, not robots. Outside influence and subjectivity are always an issue. I'd be shocked if there was ever a time in history when science was less trustworthy than it is right now.
    Maybe you mean to change the last sentence to "more trustworthy"?

    In any case I got your meaning. But I don't agree. Science benefited from very serious people doing serious science over the years. What we are witnessing now is serious people doing bad science, which is what worries me.

    Examples like the Black Hole Machine are not good. That always happened in science. Pseudo-scientists, wannabe-scientists and bad-scientists being given media time (or being badly interpreted by the media). You always got that. I could go as back as Percival Lowell to give an example of the archetypal wannabe-scientist that gets media attention. But he was never a scientist... he obviously failed right on one of the most fundamental cannons of modern science (the Scientific Method).

    I only wished we were more observant of our scientists, their names and their practices. It would a lot easier to dismiss all the "Martian Cannals" and "Black Hole Machines" as not really representative of the scientific community.

    But on the case of the Climate Change we have been seeing something new. Well, not new, it always happened in some measure, I would have to agree. But it's a lot more prevalent now. When I see so many top scientists so assured of the results of their models and studies on either side of the fence and them too politicizing their findings, I fear they are forgetting all about... Science, the systematic practice of being in doubt.

    No post of mine can address the problem better than how it is discussed here. I strongly suggest a study of the article along with its references. In here you will get a short list of some of the top names involved. Some unknown to me, others well known to many of us.

    Global Warming has indeed provoked a divide among the scientific community between a large group who defends it and a small but important group who denies it. I honestly don't care anymore with who is right. The issue in unsolved. It is now a political problem down to the fact in Europe you get all pro-global warming and in USA mostly anti. And until these scientists get their act together and remove politics from the equation, the issue will never be solved.

    If you can name me a period in human history where science misbehaved so badly, tell me.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 12-02-2009 at 03:40 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  5. #20
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    If you can name me a period in human history where science misbehaved so badly, tell me.
    Depends on how you define science.

    I though I was somewhat jokingly drawing attention to the IMO rather real issue that a) many sciences have reached a point where people just don't get it and have to take the specialists by the word; b) the power and results of scientific knowledge tend to scare people (e.g what could come of genetic engineering, hadron (?) collisions, implanting micro- or nanochips etc), oftentimes not completely without a reason (nuclear armament etc).

    As to climate change, humans are capable of completely reshaping the landscape (look out of the window), changing complete ecosystems (mostly destroying) etc. What's so incredible in their ability to affect climate?

    Also arguments like "volcanos pollute more than we ever could": so basically we should completely stop caring, since life on Earth could at any time be wiped out by an asteroid collision (which all our nuclear armament might be incapable of avoiding)?

    do you suggest we stop using fertilizer and let half the world population starve to death? Because the US and Russia wont be the ones starving, it will be Europe, China, India, South America, Africa.
    In nature, I think, population sizes indeed seem to fluctuate. Among animals, if you deplete the energy resources (food), the population size goes down. What makes you think it is natural that there should be so numerous top-level consumers in the ecosystem, and that it should stay like that for ever (until other energy resource is discovered and the numbers rocket again). Also, big polluter == not starving? Indefinitely?
    Last edited by anon; 12-02-2009 at 05:01 PM.
    I might be wrong.

    Thank you, anon. You sure know how to recognize different types of trees from quite a long way away.
    Quoted more than 1000 times (I hope).

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Maybe you mean to change the last sentence to "more trustworthy"?
    I did, thanks.

    As to a period where science (or scientists) misbehaved so badly, I would say that I disagree with you on the charge that scientists are misbehaving that badly at all right now. There has always been political influence in science. I can't (and shouldn't need to) recite the many examples of the government or the church requesting specific results to justify an agenda or doctrine. It is the same thing happening here. There is a debate about which side is primarily guilty of this in regards to global warming, and it is almost certain that there is one side more guilty than the other, but even if one side is completely right in their conclusions there will be instances of politics affecting the science itself. It just has to be that way because that's human nature.

    That's why I don't consider these emails to be that big of a deal. It's just people being people. In fact, the whole point of the scientific method is to account for human nature and try to, as much as possible, remove that subjectivity and bias from the equation. It's why we use peer-reviewed journals and why we double and triple test studies with interesting conclusions. In fact, it is the rigor with which findings are scrutinized which is big reason why I think science is more trustworthy now. Forget the politics, just looking at the science and the scientific advances we're making right now in human history, and I have to believe that overall things are better, not worse.

  7. #22
    Just Lurking Dave_Sinkula's Avatar
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    Apologies if I've missed some things already discussed -- I have a terrible skimming habit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    We haven't found yet one single source of alternative energy that can beat fossil fuels in their output vs. cost capacity.
    Nuclear?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daved View Post
    However, that's not really news. There was no real proof that any of the mountain of evidence that climate scientists have amassed was faked.
    Well, the "hockey stick" was certainly an "embellishment".

    Here are some items that have passed my view of late, merely cherry-picked from ESR as more middle-of-the-road.


    As he mentions, open source it.

    (And I'd prefer some of these questions be answered before trillion dollar economies are turned upside down.)


    [edit]As long as I'm at it on ESR's blog, let's throw this one in too:
    Why Alternative Energy Isn’t
    Last edited by Dave_Sinkula; 12-02-2009 at 09:11 PM. Reason: Added link and prettied up linky text.
    7. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
    40. There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.*

  8. #23
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daved View Post
    The whole climate change debate is off topic in this thread, which is about the hacked emails and the media's coverage of them. But since we're there, I'd like to point out that this quote above is pretty silly. If a theory states that something never happens, and you have a single example of it happening, then you can fairly draw the conclusion that the theory is wrong. So of course you can draw conclusions from singular examples.
    A single data point can refute a theory, but you cannot build a logical theory based on one data point unless your 'theory' is merely that someone else's theory is incorrect, which isn't a theory in the scientific sense, but a conjecture.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by anon View Post
    In nature, I think, population sizes indeed seem to fluctuate. Among animals, if you deplete the energy resources (food), the population size goes down. What makes you think it is natural that there should be so numerous top-level consumers in the ecosystem, and that it should stay like that for ever (until other energy resource is discovered and the numbers rocket again). Also, big polluter == not starving? Indefinitely?
    I suppose you will be the first one in line volunteering to starve to death when food shortages become a reality.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  10. #25
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    - We haven't found yet one single source of alternative energy that can beat fossil fuels in their output vs. cost capacity. Not one.
    Nuclear and solar. Nuclear emits less radiation into the atmosphere per megawatt than coal or petroleum even if you nuked the plant.

    Solar can compete with nuclear in production costs, you just need a lot of land to make it work, and places where there is a lot of land don't tend to be near the places where electricity is consumed. The problem with solar isn't the cost, it's the intentional lack of availability of the panels. There's something like a 24 month waiting period on large wholesale orders from e.g. BP, and yet noone is building new plants to make them more available. The world shortage of polycrystalline silicon wafers doesn't help matters, although again,noone is in vesting in increasing production. Largely because its impossible to get the environmentalists to shut up.

    Real catch 22 that one, you cant decrease the use of fossil fuels because the environmentalists protest any new nuclear plant or silicon foundry.
    Last edited by abachler; 12-02-2009 at 09:00 PM.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  11. #26
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    I thought another problem with solar was the cost per kilowatt produced. However I do recall that some lab produced solar panels that could essentially be 'printed' on a machine and reduce the overall cost to nearly overcome the cost per kilowatt issue. But they do take up a lot of real-estate, aren't all that pleasing to the eye, and do not maintain the same efficiency year round.

    Wind power is pretty much a commercial joke. They can plaster all the cool wind power commercials on the tube and internet and whatever else they may find but fact is they cannot hope to produce the amount of power required to replace our current power production. Plus they are a huge eye sore, take up a ton of real estate, are extremely annoying to live around, and are not all that safe when they malfunction. There is also the argument that they affect birds but I'm not sure how sound that is since there is a gigantic wind farm back in my home state and having been there I didn't see a mass birdie graveyard anywhere.

    I'm all for nuclear and I believe we have found a way to nearly remove the radiation from the waste by bombarding it with x-rays. I'm not sure if this is being looked into or if the hope is we will discover how to mass produce fusion power plants. Perhaps the push is for fusion which would explain why no new nuclear power plants have been built in the United States in the past ten years. My home state had 3 nuclear plants and one of them was in my own backyard, per se. We had several field trips to visit it (pre- 9/11) and I used to deliver pizza to the guys that worked there. It was a very cool facility at the time and most of the power produced there was sold to Commonwealth Edison for Chicago b/c there was so much left over after it fulfilled the needs of it's primary power grid. I know that in Illinois the only times we ever experienced widespread blackouts and brownouts were during severe storms, tornadoes, and ice storms. Other than that I cannot recall a single major power shortage in the area. Refueling was a lengthy one-month shutdown process but it was not all bad b/c the time was used to inspect and do maintenance on the other parts of the plant and the reactor. The reactor and plant did not affect the local wildlife and in fact it is built on a small peninsula surrounding a lake which has some of the biggest deer you will ever see in the state. At times they would open it up for hunters (pre-9/11) and there were some big bucks brought out of there and many more that are still there. There was talk that an unsafe amoeba did thrive in the warm waters around the plant but I pulled many fish out of that lake and ate them and did not have any issues. Excellent bass, trout, and bluegill fishing area. And abachler is correct in saying that nuclear power's footprint on the atmosphere and land is next to nil. Overall it's a great source of power as long as the nuclear waste problem can be solved and dealt with. The spent rods are the worst problem but I hear that new designs have all but eliminated this issue but since we have not built any new plants in a long time these designs have not yet been implemented commercially. I'm totally sold on nuclear power and it fits right into the ecosystem. It is not uncommon to drive by the plant I'm talking about and see fishermen on the bridges fishing, boats in the water with fisherman fishing all day long, and deer running to and fro across the property as well as many of the roads and highways in the area. The only issue has been that post 9/11 the plant has been essentially locked down, security tightened to look more like Fort Knox than a power plant, and covered in a veil of secrecy. It certainly does not appear to be a domestic power plant but in fact it is. Unfortunate since it once sported a visitor's center complete with movies about the construction, design, and operation of the plant as well as playgrounds for kids and picnic areas for families. The plant was a big part of my childhood and that plant alone produced many many jobs for the area which improved the local and county economies, strengthened and helped finance the educational system (one of the richest in the state), kept the roads paved, etc., etc.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 12-02-2009 at 09:27 PM.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    I thought another problem with solar was the cost per kilowatt produced. However I do recall that some lab produced solar panels that could essentially be 'printed' on a machine and reduce the overall cost to nearly overcome the cost per kilowatt issue. But they do take up a lot of real-estate, aren't all that pleasing to the eye, and do not maintain the same efficiency year round.
    CSIRO is developing printable solar cells that require a much lower active surface (many current cells require >80% exposed to work).

    This is a problem in remote arid areas where 'washing' them is an issue. (my trackside systems are mostly solar powered so I understand the real world issues involved).

    Plenty of vacant land and sun shine in the outback, right next to heavy industry in many cases.

    http://www.csiro.au/news/Trials-for-...lar-cells.html

    Quote Originally Posted by abachler View Post
    A single data point can refute a theory, but you cannot build a logical theory based on one data point unless your 'theory' is merely that someone else's theory is incorrect, which isn't a theory in the scientific sense, but a conjecture.
    You stated;

    Quote Originally Posted by abachler View Post
    The effect of human activity on the global climate is so negligible that anyone claiming otherwise is either a crackpot or a Luddite.
    I provided an example to refute this claim.

    You then said a ‘single point’ was not acceptable.

    How many examples do you need before you consider revising your opinion?

    BTW if discussing semantics, a ‘climate change denier’ would be the Luddite, as they oppose the introduction of new technology/methods (ie renewable, clean energy sources) in favor of the status quo.

    Quote Originally Posted by abachler View Post
    I never stated that increased radiation is responsible. I stated that increased temperatures are partly responsible for increases in CO2, and that increased volcanism is also a contributing factor.
    An increase in sun spot activity IS an increase in solar radiation.

    Quote Originally Posted by abachler View Post
    Other sources are increased biological activity due to the increased temperatures caused by increased sunspot activity.
    I then posted a graph showing sun spots have actually decreased while CO2 and temps increased.

    Another ‘single point’ that is not valid?


    EDIT: As to volcanic activity increasing and being responsible for the 38% increase in CO2, not according to this site.
    http://www.volcano.si.edu/faq/index.cfm?faq=06
    Last edited by novacain; 12-02-2009 at 11:12 PM.
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  13. #28
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Solar energy cost is still too high compared to the same amount of energy produced through fossil fuels or energy produced at dams. There's has been some interesting developments though; I recall just recently learning of a solution to store energy during the day and release it at night through the use of something as simple as salt. It's not surreal to expect more developments in this field. After all, the combined energetic input from our sun as it reaches the earth is higher than that of all the rivers and oceans times 10 or so I seem to recall.

    As for nuclear...

    Hmm... that's where we get political again. I must confess I have been slowly shifting my opinion about it. But I base that on what I hear about the developments on the field in terms of safety. But the question can then be posed to you exactly the same way as some of you pose it in terms of Global Warming: How much of that is merely propaganda, fake, false or unverified claims?

    You can produce all sorts of references. But like with the Global Warming I'd be free to ignore or defy their validity with as many bad arguments as most of the debate around Global Warming. And all because Nuclear Energy is still a political issue open to all sorts of passionate opinions.

    And this is what I think has been stopping the development of this energy source in many countries. I'm however curious too as to why countries that opened themselves to nuclear energy don't build more nuclear plants. I mean it's no secret USA has energetic deficiencies, or that France is very dependent on Russia energy. Why, if it is so miraculous, don't these countries solve their problems with a resource they have easy access to?
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  14. #29
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    I'm however curious too as to why countries that opened themselves to nuclear energy don't build more nuclear plants.
    Because it is irresponsible to build an energy source that has waste we cannot safely deal with. We aren't talking about increasing a trace gas like CO2 here we are talking about radiation that without a doubt kills living cells in high doses. I'll take an increase in CO2 over high lethal doses of radiation any day.

    My point is that if we do pursue this energy source that more discoveries can be made that will effectively eliminate or reduce the problem of the waste. As I pointed out there have been small advances in the technology but if it became the frontrunner the advances would come more quickly.

    There are many possibilities but only a few that are actually real-world solutions. It is my estimation that we should be attempting to pick one or the other real-world solutions instead of focusing our efforts on definite lost causes. Nuclear produces enough power. Solar produces enough power. Advances in either of these could make the technology even more feasable. At the very least it could be small progression where nuclear and solar augment our current power supply and gradually could replace the current coal and/or natural gas power plants. Instead we see waffling about wind, geothermal, and every other type of source that just does not produce enough power. Geothermal is a lost cause b/c it also harms the environment and is a limited resource. It siuffers from land substinence just like oil does (I think that is the term). As heat and pressure are removed from the crust the land above the pockets begins to sag. This is one way that the maturity of oil wells is determined via sattelites. If an oil field has high substinence it is usually a very mature well or one that is about to run dry. Same goes for geothermal energy. We need to pick some valid solutions and stop wasting our time on ACME Road Runner solutions that simply won't work.

    And sorry the Prius is not going to save anything. As abachler mentioned fuel is actually one of the smallest sectors of the so-called fossil fuel market. Yet we hear so much focus placed on the sector of the market that has the least impact on the overall so-called fossil fuel economy.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 12-02-2009 at 11:14 PM.

  15. #30
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    Nuclear power plants take time to build, require special, limited locations and have a limited supply of fuel (~85 years depending on price of Uranium).
    I have read that the Chineese are developing a graphite based nuclear plant, making them much safer (as no radioactive steam under pressure), cheaper to build and efficient.

    Then we come to waste. Politically you can only lose votes by allowing a nuclear waste dump to be built in your constituency.

    We could always shoot the waste into space....(at a mill per kilo?)

    Fuel is a issue as much of our food in now transported long distances to allow consistent supply (rather than seasonal availability).

    So transport cost is can be a fair percentage of the actual cost of food. This is very noticeable here (where transporting food 100s of Kms by truck is common) and food has increased inline with fuel.
    Last edited by novacain; 12-02-2009 at 11:41 PM.
    "Man alone suffers so excruciatingly in the world that he was compelled to invent laughter."
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    "If you are going through hell....keep going."
    Winston Churchill

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