Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

18 August 2019

The Washington Post Again Falsely Trumpets Global Warming Alarm

The August 14, 2019 Washington Post had a front page, above the fold article which continues to fill the entirety of pages A10 and A11:


This article is also posted on-line here:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/national/climate-environment/climate-change-america/?noredirect=on

There is a salient bias exhibited here.  The temperature change is measured from 1895 to 2018.  Why is 1895 the starting time for that measurement?  Because 1895 was a very cold year.  Let us examine the average US temperature plot below by Statistica:


The average temperature in 1895 was 50.34⁰F and in 2018 it was 53.53⁰F, so the temperature difference was 3.19⁰F or 1.77⁰C.  Had the Washington Post chosen to start the comparison in 1900 when the average US temperature was 52.77⁰F, then the increase in average temperature from then to 2018 would be 0.76⁰F or 0.42⁰C.  Now no one seriously believes that man-made global warming caused 1900 to be 2.43⁰F or 1.35⁰C warmer than 1895.  So, a change of weather, not a change of climate was the likely cause of this substantial difference in temperature over a 5 year period.  But this 5-year change is 67.5% of the 2⁰C temperature change that the Washington Post, on the authority of the UN, is claiming is a critically disastrous temperature increase.  The choice of a particularly cold starting point for a comparison of temperatures is a common trick of the alarmist game-plan.

The warmest spots on the map from the Washington Post article are about 3⁰C warmer relative to 1895.  Subtract the 1.35⁰C difference in the average temperatures to shift to a 1900 starting point in time and there are no spots in the U.S. with a 2⁰C increase relative to 1900.

There is a second interesting problem which is revealed by the map itself.  Carbon dioxide is always said to be a well-mixed atmospheric gas by the catastrophic man-made global warming crowd.  While it actually is not as well-mixed as they represent it to be, its variations are nonetheless gradual and spread over large areas.  Yet, the hot spots in the Washington Post U.S. map are in very much smaller sized areas.  If the warmer areas are warmer due to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, then those areas should be of much larger dimensions than those of the map.  The strong temperature differences in the map are much too localized and suggest that they are due to chaotic weather differences, not real climate differences.

Further examination of the U.S. temperature change map shows a large area in the Southeastern U.S. where the temperature has actually cooled since 1895 as shown in the light green color.  If one maintains that the warming of 3⁰C in some small areas is due to an increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere since 1895, then isn't the near 1⁰C cooling in the Southeastern U.S. also due to that same increase in carbon dioxide?  The larger area and more gradual changes in the cooled area is a better match for the somewhat well-mixed carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere.  There actually are cooling effects due to carbon dioxide as I have many times pointed out in prior articles.  Those who have greatly exaggerated the warming effect of CO₂, claim the cooling effects are insignificant.  Remove the exaggeration of the warming effect and the several cooling effects are not so trivial and many of them are not saturating or saturating as rapidly with increased atmospheric carbon dioxide as is the warming effect.  I am not actually claiming that the cooling in the Southeast is due to carbon dioxide.  It is unlikely that it is.  However, if you are in the business of assuming that the temperature change since 1895 is due to carbon dioxide, then you ought to consider its cooling effects also.

Some of the hottest areas are near our two largest metropolitan areas, New York City and Los Angeles.  Perhaps these areas have warmed due to the urban heat island effect since 1895?  Virtually all the growth of population in southern California and in Arizona around Phoenix has occurred since 1895, undoubtedly contributing to that major hot spot in the Washington Post temperature map.  The article is full of stories about the warming of the state of New Jersey.  Averaging the population of that state from the 1890 and 1900 U.S. Census results to estimate the 1895 population, the 1895 population was about 1,660,000 people.  With the advent of automobiles, it became possible for people working in New York City and in Philadelphia to live in New Jersey, so those metropolitan areas expanded far into New Jersey.  The population of New Jersey in the 2015 estimate is 8,958,000, which is a increase by a factor of about 5.4 times compared to the 1895 population.  There are extensive urban heat island effects in New Jersey as a result.  The article bewails the fact that the only state in the contiguous 48 states with an average temperature increase above 2⁰C is little Rhode Island.  Its population in 1895 was about 387,000 people, which by 2015 has increased to about 1,056,300.  This factor of 2.7 increase in population in this high population density state has most likely also been accompanied by a significant urban heat island effect.  The warmer area around Miami is another area affected by a very large population increase since 1895.

Many of the areas showing the larger increases in temperature are also low population areas such as that on the California - Oregon border and southeastern Oregon, the area on the Utah - Colorado border, most of Maine, and the stretch across northern Michigan, northern Minnesota, most of North Dakota, and northern Montana.  An examination of the number and quality of weather stations in these areas used to generate this data might turn up interesting results.  Could it be the case that these high temperature areas are largely projections of temperatures outside these areas?  In any case, since the population density is low in these areas, any affects on humans is also likely to be low.  These are not particularly warm areas in the first place, so any warming that does occur is quite likely to be welcome.

Outside of the warmer areas of the Southwest and a small area around Miami, most of the areas showing the most warming since 1895 are rather cool parts of the U.S.  Given that Americans are much inclined to take vacations in warmer climes during the winters from such areas as the Northeast whose warmer winters since 1895 are much decried in the Washington Post article, it is hard to see the warming of such cooler parts of the U.S. as a general disaster.  People upon retirement still move to much warmer parts of the U.S. such as Florida and Arizona.  Apparently, they rather like warmth, however the Washington Post may pretend that warmth is a catastrophe.

Yes, it may be true, as lamented in the article, that ice cannot be cut from northern New Jersey lakes as it used to be for ice boxes, but then again we now have refrigerators. If we did not have refrigerators, the disappearance of that northern New Jersey ice might be a disaster.  Perhaps the Washington Post wants us to lose the use of electricity and to force us to return to the use of ice boxes as a result. In that context, it is a disaster that this return to primitivism in the name of radical environmentalism may be harder to accomplish.  This is not one of my goals and I do not believe it is a goal of most Americans either.

I have carried out the above discussion generally accepting the temperature record data provided by the Washington Post article.  However, the thermometer temperature data of 1895 and of 1900 has been heavily adjusted downward and recent data has been heavily adjusted upward by NASA GISS.  The U.S. temperature data given below is based on the USHCN2 historical network, which adjusts recent thermometer readings upwards by a substantial amount before releasing the data to the public.  Here is a comparison of the high and low daily temperature results for the measured or unadjusted data compared to the adjusted data, as discovered by Tony Heller in a 2010 post on Real Science:


The fact that this data cuts off about a decade earlier than 2018, makes little difference, since the temperature has changed very little in the last decade.  More of the country has cooled both at night and during the day since 1895 than has warmed according to the unadjusted measurement data. Parts of the Northeast have still warmed, as has much of the Southwest, including southern California.  There is some warming along the Utah - Colorado border, parts of northern Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana.  But most of the Southeast, the Midwest, and the Central and Southern Plains states have cooled.  Nighttime temperatures have cooled less and warmed more than daytime temperatures, which is generally a good thing in that the daily temperature differential is slightly decreased.

This Washington Post article by four of their radical Climate Change writers, is an excellent lesson in the massive dishonesty of the catastrophic man-made global warming alarmist faction.  There is no attempt to distinguish the general warming of the post Little Ice Age period from any real effects that might be caused by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  There is nothing but assumption that the official data warming since the particularly cold year of 1895 has been due to man's use of organic fuels.  They are most insistent that mankind should feel a strong, collective sense of guilt that it is destroying the Earth and the future of mankind.  This is baloney.  It is moldy, rotten baloney.

It is a very sad observation that so many Americans actually believe in this irrational nonsense.  It is even sadder that every scientist in the nation is not working hard to reveal this con game.  Quite a few of them are on the take and many of them are intimidated by the lockstep socialism, political correctness, and radical environmentalism of our academic institutions and most of our information media.

12 August 2019

Obama: No nation on earth comes near the mass violence of the United States -- True or False?


Conrad Black, on American Greatness, has an article on mass violence and Obama's claim about the USA as the leading mass violence nation in the world.  Here is a quote from Black's article that I found particularly interesting:
President Obama’s assertion on Monday that “No nation on earth comes near” the proportions of the mass violence problem of the United States is false. The Crime Prevention Research Center has made an exhaustive study of the incidence of mass killings, following the FBI definition excluding incidents that kill fewer than four people and gang fights over turf, or incidences of authentic guerrilla war. By these standards, covering from 1998 to 2015, and 53 attacks and 57 shooters within the United States and 2,354 attacks and over 4,800 shooters in the rest of the world, the U.S. accounts for 1.49 percent of the world’s killings, 2.2 percent of the attacks, and 1.15 percent of the public shooters, although the United States has 4.6 percent of the world’s total population. Out of the 97 countries rated, the United States ranked 64th in attacks and 65th in fatalities. And the other countries compared were not the world’s 96 least organized and civilized national jurisdictions. 
Norway, Finland, Switzerland, and France, the first three very high standard of living countries, all have at least 25 percent more mass killings per capita than the United States. The other 96 countries as a group, including relatively very nonviolent countries such as Canada, Australia, and Singapore, have had a rate of increase in mass killings that is 291 percent higher than that of the United States.
There is no reason to allow the facts to get in the way when you want to make gun ownership as nearly impossible as it is in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.  One has to wonder why Obama and the Democrats generally want to set up conditions in the USA that will lead to increases in the overall level of gun violence one should expect upon emulating the gun laws of these Democrat-controlled violent cities.

For now most of the discussion is about withholding gun ownership from the mentally ill.  How will that work when the Democrats are already saying that not only are people who voted for Trump the Deplorables, but that they must be insane people.  Or, recall that the American Psychiatric Association classified many homosexuals as suffering from sexual orientation disturbance until 1987.  Can law enforcement across the breadth of the USA be counted on not classifying homosexuals as disturbed individuals?  Or can we be sure that rational egoists will not be described as suffering from anti-social disturbance?  Or that so-called white males will be said to suffer from white patriarchal disturbance?  At least in some parts of our country, these would seem to be quite possible outcomes down the road just a bit.  It behooves us to be very, very wary.

05 August 2019

Fraud and corruption bring big payoffs by Paul Driessen

California judges provide stage for kangaroo court justice over Roundup weedkiller
            
San Francisco area juries have awarded cancer patients some $80 million each, based on claims that the active ingredient in Roundup weedkiller, caused their cancer – and that Bayer-Monsanto negligently or deliberately failed to warn consumers that the glyphosate it manufactures is carcinogenic. (It’s not.) Judges reduced the original truly outrageous awards of $289 million and even $1 billion per plaintiff!

Meanwhile, ubiquitous ads are still trolling for new clients, saying anyone who ever used Roundup and now has Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma or other cancer could be the next jackpot justice winner. Mass tort plaintiff law firms have lined up 18,500 additional “corporate victims” for glyphosate litigation alone.

Introduced in 1974, glyphosate is licensed in 130 countries. Millions of farmers, homeowners and gardeners have made it the world’s most widely used herbicide – and one of the most intensely studied chemicals in history. Four decades and 3,300 studies by respected agencies and organizations worldwide have concluded that glyphosate is safe and non-carcinogenic, based on assessments of actual risk.

Reviewers include the U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyEuropean Food Safety Authority, European Chemicals Agency, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Germany’s Institute for Risk Assessment, and Australia’s Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. Another reviewer, Health Canada, noted that “no pesticide regulatory authority in the world considers glyphosate to be a cancer risk to humans at the levels at which humans are currently exposed.” Therefore no need to warn anyone.

The National Cancer Institute’s ongoing Agricultural Health Study evaluated 54,000 farmers and commercial pesticide applicators for over two decades – and likewise found no glyphosate-cancer link.

Only the France-based International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC), says otherwise – and it based its conclusions on just eight studies. Even worse, IARC manipulated at least some of these studies to get the results it wanted. Subsequent reviews by epidemiologist Dr. Geoffrey Kabat, National Cancer Institute statistician Dr. Robert Tarone, investigative journalist Kate Kelland, “RiskMonger” Dr. David Zaruk and other investigators have demonstrated that the IARC process was tainted beyond repair.

The IARC results should never have been allowed in court. But the judges in the first three cases let the tort lawyers bombard the jury with IARC cancer claims, and went even further. In the Hardeman case, Judge Vincent Chhabria blocked the introduction of EPA analyses that concluded “glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic in humans,” based on its careful review of many of the studies just mentioned.

He said he wanted “to avoid wasting time or misleading the jury, because the primary inquiry is what the scientific studies show, not what the EPA concluded they show.” However, IARC didn’t do any original studies either. It just concluded that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic,” meaning studies it reviewed found limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans, plus sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in lab animals that had been exposed to very high doses or lower doses for prolonged periods of time. In other words, under conditions that no animal or human would ever be exposed to in the real world.

It is also instructive to look at the three San Francisco area courtroom proceedings from another angle – an additional line of questioning that would have put glyphosate and Roundup in a very different light, and might have changed the outcome of these trials. Defense attorneys could have asked:
Can you describe your family cancer history ... your eating, exercise and sleeping habits ... how much you eat high-fat foods ... how often you eat fruits and vegetables ... and your other lifestyle choices that doctors and other experts now know play significant roles in whether or not people get cancer? 
How many times in your life [Johnson is 47 years old; Hardeman 70; Alva Pilliod 77; Alberta Pilliod 75] do you estimate you were exposed to substances on IARC’s list of Group 1 definite human carcinogens –including sunlight, acetaldehyde in alcoholic beverages, aflatoxin in peanuts, asbestos, cadmium in batteries, lindane ... or any of the 125 other substances and activities in Group 1? Have you ever smoked? How often have you been exposed to secondhand smoke? How often have you eaten bacon, sausage or other processed meats – which are also in Group 1? 
How many times have you been exposed to any of IARC’s Group 2A probable human carcinogens – not just glyphosate ... but also anabolic steroids, creosote, diazinon, dieldrin, malathion, emissions from high-temperature food frying, shift work ... or any of the 75 other substances and activities in Group 2A? How often have you consumed beef or very hot beverages – likewise in Group 2A? 
How many times have you been exposed to any of IARC’s Group 2B possible human carcinogens – including bracken ferns, chlordane, diesel fuel, fumonisin, inorganic lead, low frequency magnetic fields, malathion, parathion, titanium oxide in white paint, pickled vegetables, caffeic acid in coffee, tea, apples, broccoli, kale, and other fruits and vegetables ... ... or any of the 200 other substances and activities in Group 2B? 
Pyrethrin pesticides used by organic farmers are powerful neurotoxins that are very toxic to bees, cats and fish – and have been linked by EPA and other experts to leukemia and other cancers and other health problems. How often have you eaten organic foods and perhaps been exposed to pyrethrins? 
Large quantities of glyphosate have been manufactured for years in China and other countries. How do you know the glyphosate you were exposed to was manufactured by Bayer, and not one of them? 
In view of all these exposures, please explain how you, your doctors, your lawyers and the experts you consulted concluded that none of your family history ... none of your lifestyle choices ... none of your exposures to dozens or even hundreds of other substances on IARC’s lists of carcinogens ... caused or contributed to your cancer – and that your cancer is due solely to your exposure to glyphosate. 
Put another way, please explain exactly how you and your experts separated and quantified all these various exposures and lifestyle decisions – and concluded that Roundup from Bayer-Monsanto was the sole reason you got cancer – and all these other factors played no role whatsoever.
News accounts do not reveal whether Bayer-Monsanto lawyers asked these questions – or whether they tried to ask them, but the judges disallowed the questions. In any event, the bottom line is this:

It is bad enough that the IARC studies at the center of these jackpot justice lawsuits are the product of rampant collusion, misconduct and even fraud in the way IARC concluded glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” It is worse that these cancer trials have been driven by plaintiff lawyers’ emotional appeals to jurors’ largely misplaced fears of chemicals and minimal knowledge of chemicals, chemical risks, medicine and cancer – resulting in outrageous awards of $80 million or more.

Worst of all, our Federal District Courts have let misconduct by plaintiff lawyers drive these lawsuits; prevented defense attorneys from effectively countering IARC cancer claims and discussing the agency’s gross misconduct; and barred defense attorneys from presenting the extensive evidence that glyphosate is not carcinogenic to humans. The trials have been textbook cases of kangaroo court justice.

The cases are heading to appeal, ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court. We can only hope appellate judges will return sanity, fairness and justice to the nation’s litigation process. Otherwise our legal system will be irretrievably corrupted; products, technologies, companies and industries will likely be driven out of existence; and fraud, emotion and anarchy will reign.

Jackpot-justice law firms and their anti-chemical activist allies are already targeting cereals that have “detectable” levels of glyphosate: a few parts per billion or trillion, where 1 ppt is equivalent to 1 second in 32,000 years. Talc and benzene – foundations for numerous consumer products – are already under attack. Advanced technology neonicotinoid pesticides could be next.

It’s all part of a coordinated, well-funded attack on America, free enterprise and technology, using social media, litigation, intimidation and confrontation. Our legislatures and courts need to rein it in. 

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy and environmental policy.


Comment by Charles Anderson:

Modern society with its rich choices of values and its high level of security is highly dependent on a huge number of chemicals.  There are also an abundance of naturally occurring chemical in our environment.  In many cases, a chemical necessary for the support of human life is beneficial only when it has the correct balance in our complex human system.  Too much of it or too little of it can cause the human system to fail.  Many chemicals will become harmful if they are too concentrated in the human body and many such over-concentrated chemicals are carcinogenic.  Whether a given chemical is beneficial or carcinogenic or otherwise harmful depends highly upon its concentration.  It can be devilishly difficult to establish the bounds within which a chemical is beneficial in the body and beyond which it is harmful.

This has proven very difficult for the FDA for instance in regard to the safety of many widely and commonly eaten foods even.  Study after study has taken a conclusion opposite to that of a prior study once held in high regard by the FDA.

Our ability to measure chemicals in complex mixtures to very low concentrations such as parts per trillion means we can find a host of chemicals in the human body or in the foods we eat.  The fact that a chemical that can be harmful in higher concentration is present does not at all mean that it will cause any harm at a lower concentration.  The toxicity of a chemical, or for that matter of radiation, is highly dose dependent.  For instance, selenium is an element beneficial to the body at a suitably low concentration.  It is often found in multi-vitamin tablets.  Yet, selenium at higher concentrations is very toxic.  There are many other elements which have similar toxicity characteristics.  Examples are potassium, sodium, chromium, iron, molybdenum, and zinc.  Even water is toxic if it becomes too concentrated in the human body.  People have died because they drank too much water too rapidly.

Juries and the courts are often too subject to findings that a chemical exposure has caused the disease that some unfortunate person has suffered.  They are emotionally sorry for the suffering.  They are often biased against for-profit companies.  They ogle the deeper pockets of a company than those of the suffering person as an easy means to help the suffering person.  Unfortunately, much injustice results.  By soaking an often very innocent company with fines and penalties, many people are hurt.  The company management, the owners, the employees, the companies customers, and oftentimes the companies' retirees are all hurt.  The fact that members of a jury, defense lawyers, and judges often do not know very much about science is also a great problem.  Juries and courts need to be much more rational and much more responsible.

I have served as an expert witness on scientific issues involved in court cases, as have some of my Ph.D. scientist employees at my laboratory, Anderson Materials Evaluation, Inc.  I have encountered numerous opposing expert witnesses who were ridiculously creative in the stories they told about the science pertaining to the case.  Unfortunately, juries and judges tend to understand little of what the experts tell them and as is the case with most people and the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis, they make their judgment based on a count of experts on each side.  In a litigation case, the count is usually even, so the scientific testimonies cancel out.  Sometimes they also assume that the company is better able to buy the favorable testimony of an expert and so their expert is more likely to be lying about the science.  The jury decision is then made on the basis of human emotions.  The suffering person is likely to win and the company is likely to lose.  This is not a valid process for achieving a just result.