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Opening Arguments

Bear-faced lies

"Climate change is destroying the planet so let's all feel guilty!" update:

The debate about climate change and its impact on polar bears has intensified with the release of a survey that shows the bear population in a key part of northern Canada is far larger than many scientists thought, and might be growing.

The number of bears along the western shore of Hudson Bay, believed to be among the most threatened bear subpopulations, stands at 1,013 and could be even higher, according to the results of an aerial survey released Wednesday by the Government of Nunavut. That’s 66 per cent higher than estimates by other researchers who forecasted the numbers would fall to as low as 610 because of warming temperatures that melt ice faster and ruin bears’ ability to hunt. The Hudson Bay region, which straddles Nunavut and Manitoba, is critical because it’s considered a bellwether for how polar bears are doing elsewhere in the Arctic.

It really shouldn't be a big surprise:

The fact is, the Earth has been swinging wildly in terms of climate since long before we figured out how to bang the rocks together and make a spark. And the polar bears are still here. Could be that we’re just not giving them enough credit in terms of their ability to adapt and survive as one of the planet’s foremost apex predators. Food for thought, anyway.

And if you absolutely must have a little cloud to go with the silver lining, an environmentalist can always be found to spread a little gloom:

Peter Ewins, director of species conservation at World Wildlife Fund Canada, said there are other signs the polar bear population is suffering due to climate change.

Hudson Bay polar bears have lost about six weeks of hunting time on the winter ice due to climate change because the freeze often doesn't come until late November and the ice thaws earlier in the spring. With less time to hunt seals, Ewins said he has seen the deteriorating condition of the bears first-hand on many research trips to the North.

When the survival rate of polar bears, the health and number of cubs and their fat score are considered, Ewins said, everything points to a population in trouble.


Harl Delos
Fri, 04/06/2012 - 12:35pm

There's little doubt the climate is changing.  There's a large body of anecdotal evidemce of warming in certain locals, although it's harder to come up with convincing evidence that the planet as a whole is warming.  And even if one assumes the planet is warming, it's not at all clear that it is due to carbon dioxide in the air.

What seems obvious - to those of us willing to be convinced - is that additional research is needed, and that a politicized atmosphere makes it hard to get funding for anything not intended to rubberstamp the religious doctrine of the AGW Church.

Faith-based "science" ain't worth a tinker's dam, whether it's "creation science" or "anthropogenic global warming".  I don't know that ebolution versus intelligent design affects public policy decisions, but the AGW issue is a bit more pressing.  If the skeptics are way off base, as the AGW crowd asserts, the best way to silence them would be to encourage their research, so that they fall on their faces.

Michael Milkin, the junk-bond guy, made rapid progress in prostate cancer research by giving our research grants based on cocktail-napkin pitches, eliminating the year required to create a more formal proposal, and by having grant recipients present results publicly soon after research, instead of spending years polishing a formal paper and getting it published.  Someone like Warren Buffett could do the same thing with climate change, unlike government, which must spend $3 on auditing to keep $1 from being spent improperly.

If the AGW folks are wrong, I don't want to freeze to death in the dark, trying to prevent a problem that's trivial.  On the other hand, if they're right, I don't want my grandkids to spend their lives treading seawater.

Rebecca Mallroy
Fri, 04/06/2012 - 1:17pm

A colleague explained to me that we are near the end of Solar Cycle 24, and if we dont have a "Carrington Event" or a "Maunder Minimum" the polar bears will have average fat scores and we will all live happily ever.

He said this quite gravely, and I nodded in affirmation when he suggested making economic policy based-in part- on polar bear fat scores.

Only in America.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 8:00pm

Indeed, only in America. Only in America do we let our political and economic preferences outweigh established science. Obviously, conservatives don't want big corporations to suffer when we finally realize we have to stop using so many fossil fuels.

None of us here is an expert on the climate. But well over 95% of people who actually are experts agree that the burning of carbon-based fossil fuels is screwing up our environment.

Look, I wish it weren't true. My hobbies, such as riding motorcycles for pleasure, contribute to the problem. But unless the experts in the field are terribly mistaken (Rebecca, I know you're well-educated, but this isn't your field.) or, as Tim likes to say, lying in order to get a couple thousand bucks in grant money, we are warming our planet. I understand that one season doesn't mean climate change, but doesn't it disturb you even a little when spring arrived in early March, along with killer tornadoes and a couple of decades' worth of record high temperatures? What will it take for you to concede that we need to find alternatives to burning carbon?

john b. kalb
Fri, 04/06/2012 - 9:26pm

Small Place.......:  What will it take for you to concede that the warming of God's earth has NOTHING to do with burning fuels containing carbon?

The fact that the entropy of the Universe is steadily increasing, means that its total enery is becoming less usaeful so that eventually, this will lead to the "heat death" of the Universe.  But, some theorize that an ever-expanding Universe can never reach "heat death".

So, the small increase in the earth's temperature over time is dissipated in the Universe  through the increase in it's entropy.   So what are you worried about?

tim zank
Sat, 04/07/2012 - 3:05pm

What absolutely cracks me up is the unmitigated gall of 21st century "scientists" and their disciples simply assuming that in such a historically miniscule time frame (1970's to present day) they have somehow unearthed (pun intended) incontrovertible evidence of thousands (some say millions) of years of climate/weather cause and effect.

Take that hubris and mix it with money, power and politics and you have todays global warming/cooling/climate change hoax.

Harl Delos
Sun, 04/08/2012 - 12:54am

Littlejohn, the mass of the atmosphere is 5.3 zettagrams.  (A zettagram is 1,000.000,000,000,000,000 kilograms), but the Earth is 5,970 zettagrams of mass. 

Let's suppose you had a swimming pool 18 feet in diameter.  If you added 5970 gallons to that pool, the water would be a little over 3 feet deep.  (It'd be 37.6 inches, actually.)

Suppose you wanted to warm up the pool by adding 5.3 pounds of water.  That's less than 3 quarts.  How hot would that extra 3 quarts of water have to be to raise the entire pool by one degree?

One of the problems with the anthropogenic global warming theory is that it only wants to warm up the air.  The air, however, is in fairly close proximity to an immense heat sink.

Oh, and that 95% number?  It's wrong. It's not 95% of the experts.  It's 95% of scientists - but most scientists aren't experts on climate. Being an expert on genetics doesn't make your opinion on global warming valid.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 11:15am

Harl, you're nitpicking over my choice of a word. I wrote "expert" as a sort of shorthand for "climatologists," i.e., experts in this particular field. You're throwing around sciency-sounding numbers that you're perfectly aware won't mean anything to anyone here.

If you can so easily demolish global warming theory with a bit of math, the obvious questions are: Why haven't your views been published in peer-reviewed journals? And why haven't you won your well-deserved Nobel Prize?

There is a very interesting exchange on the subject in the current issue of The New York Review of Books. I learned a great deal from it, and recommend it. The most interesting thing I learned was that the only prominent AGW deniers are in the employ of ExxonMobil. What a surprise.

Christopher Swing
Sun, 04/08/2012 - 11:49am

Harl, you might want to try for an example where the model is something like how the atmosphere actually works. This might be why your "simple math" hasn't caught on. The atmostphere is not a pool, for one thing.

Nor is it a series of tubes. XD

Tim Zank
Sun, 04/08/2012 - 3:34pm

Well boys, "scientists" are just plain old humans like the rest of us, some are incapable of tying their shoes, some aren't bright enough to come in out of the rain, some are greedy, and some are brilliant, and some are absolutely clueless.

"Scientists" weren't sent here by some supreme being, they are a small pool of ordinary human beings with a job like anyone else, and like everyone else, they fail far more than they succeed.



They fail over and over and over again....You want to know the weather accurately? Open a window.

Christopher Swing
Sun, 04/08/2012 - 9:58pm

Well, going by Tim Zank's elementary-school-level pretend-logic of discounting any group of people that have made or corrected errors ever;


We clearly can't trust real estate people, because apparently they can't even count houses.

Sorry Zank, your own argument disqualifies you! XD

Harl Delos
Mon, 04/09/2012 - 12:27pm

Littlejohn, "climatology" is the scientific study of weather conditions averaged over a period of time - and you'll find that a majority of those who study the weather - most commonly called meteorologists - question AGW.  You're just making up stuff.

Just as your "most interesting thing I learned was that the only prominent AGW deniers are in the employ of ExxonMobil. What a surprise."  I'm sure those employed by UAHuntsville will be surprised that ExxonMobil has purchased the gummint, and the folks at AccuWeather will be angered that ExxonMobil now owns their compaby without hsaving paid for it.

Every time some peer-reviewed journal publishes an article that doesn't parrot the AGW theology, an editor gets his head lopped off by the Inquisition.

And Swing, if you don't like my pool model, try this one.  Lets build a 1:10,000,000 scale model.  The earth becomes a ball of sand that's 50.7 inches in diameter.  The atmosphere ibecomes a film that's 0.006 inches thick, surrounding that ball. The whole thing is enclosed in a really good transparent insulator, such as outer space.   So how hot does that film of nitrogen and oxygen have to be to raise the temperature of that 4-foot ball of rock?  Be careful not to speak loudly, lest an honest editor be fired.
Christopher Swing
Mon, 04/09/2012 - 1:21pm

Why do I care what the temperature change is on the solid mass when what we care about is the temperature and weather systems in the atmosphere, which aren't even modeled?

Just because you think you know some math doesn't mean you're applying it correctly, or in a useful manner.

Harl Delos
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 12:11am

Swing asks, "Why do I care what the temperature change is on the solid mass when what we care about is the temperature and weather systems in the atmosphere, which aren't even modeled?"

Because the temperature of the air isn't much different than the temperature of the land or water it is above.  Weather in the British Isles is much warmer than its latitude would dictate because of the Gulf Stream. Tthey have highly productive peach orchards in South Haven, Michigan but peach trees do poorly in Allen County, because the local climate is not moderated by the Great Lakes.

Cities are heat islands - called micro climates - because the asphalt absorbs sunlight and warms the air. 

If you are so lacking in the basic concepts involved in global warming, Chris, I suggest you turn off the computer and tune in Nickleodeon.  It's more your speed.

Christopher Swing
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 2:17am

I think it's safe to say you're lacking in the basic concepts of logic, Delos. You're not modeling atmosphere, which doesn't behave or react in the same was as a solid mass. Nor are we talking about a solid mass changing that atmosphere and the system within it. You're confusing correlation with causality.

You're certainly in no position to be a condescending twat about it. You sound more like a confused old man trying to sound like you know more than you do. XD

Tim Zank
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 8:00am

Heh...let's see...according to the scientists, Earth is what, 4.1 billion years old?...and the "scientists" in 1977 were certain an ice age was unavoidable. The "peer reviewed" science was settled and the media was 100% on board (sound familiar?) A whopping 27 years later (out of 4.1 billion) they had completley reversed course and the "peer reviewed" science was settled again only in the completely opposite direction.



The only thing I am certain of is thatNOTHING is certain. 

Christopher Swing
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 11:58am

Congratulations, Tim. You've proved that Time magazine has had some very bad, very sensationalistic science reporting in the past.

You just critiqued science reporting, not science. XD

Tim Zank
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 12:30pm

Oh it wasn't just Time magazine Swinkles, it was ALL media, scientists and schools as well. I'm sure you weren't around then so you have to rely on the revised history of media matters and pals but I was around for it. It was treated just like global warming is now, as a matter of "fact"....

Of course I remember the 60's as well and we were all gonna die then from cyclamates, DDT, butter, smog, and a whole host of other crap too.....



Christopher Swing
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 12:54pm

"Oh it wasn't just Time magazine Swinkles, it was ALL media, scientists and schools as well."

Well there you're just full of shit, Zank. But them, that's why you're an entertaining idiot. XD

BTW, just today:

To conclude, a projection from 1981 for rising temperatures in a major science journal, at a time that the temperature rise was not yet obvious in the observations, has been found to agree well with the observations since then, underestimating the observed trend by about 30%, and easily beating naive predictions of no-change or a linear continuation of trends. It is also a nice example of a statement based on theory that could be falsified and up to now has withstood the test. The “global warming hypothesis” has been developed according to the principles of sound science.


tim zank
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 4:46pm

Swinglet, you are a salesman's dream. I bet you own a lot of worthless stuff.

tim zank
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 4:56pm

Swung, I'm siding with these other "idiots" as you call them:


"In an unprecedented slap at NASA’s endorsement of global warming science, nearly 50 former astronauts and scientists--including the ex-boss of the Johnson Space Center--claim the agency is on the wrong side of science and must change course or ruin the reputation of the world’s top space agency."




Christopher Swing
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 6:04pm

Honest question Tim Zank: are you developmentally disabled?

And let's get one thing clear here: it's you specifically that I believe to be an idiot, based on the things you write here, not necessarily anyone else. Don't worry, you're still special!

Because faced with actual corroborated data above, actual facts, you go straight to an appeal to (alleged) authority fallacy. Some pilots and some (unspecified) scientists are of the opinion that NASA should scale back their statements on AGW?

So effin' what?

And before your apparent furious googling for SOMETHING to link to (that wasn't Above Top Secret) the best you could do was a lame personal attack?

Actually, someone in the comments of your link had a good link to keep in mind: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/04/is-everyone-entitled-to-their-opinion.html

Tim Zank
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 7:17pm

Sadly Swingaroo, you have no "facts" either. What we have are two sides with "educated" opinions, which amounts to (sadly again) still just opinions.

But the good news is, if you get confused and can't determine the "climate" or "weather" tomorrow, you can always open a window!

Tim Zank
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 7:37pm

Quick! Shut down the coal plants and get your candles out for light, the Polar Bears must be saved!


Oh, wait....



Christopher Swing
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 7:56pm

The effect predicted in 1981 matching actual data collected so closely is a fact Zank, not an opinion. Here's the link again since you obviously didn't read it: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/04/evaluating-a-1981-temperature-projection/

What some astronauts and scientists think (with no data provided) is opinion.

Are you so out of it you can't tell the difference anymore? Could you tell the difference in the first place?

I think most 5-year-olds know astronauts know about space and not weather, in any case... XD

Tim Zank
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 8:37pm

So how soon before we're all dead? Please Mr Science, share more stories with us, please? Bwaaaaaaaaahhhhhahahahahahahahahahahahahahah....

Harl Delos
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 8:39pm

I think it's fairly interesting that the temperatures in Swing's chart dropped from 1960 to 1970.

Obviously that's because in the 1960s, we shut down all the electric plants and factories, and prohibited vehicles that used internal combustion engines.

I'm not the first to notice out that none of the various the ADW models can predict the past.  When they have a model that predicts climate change from the start of the industrial revolution to the present, that would be sufficient to deserve our attention.  Until then, I'm goint to suspect that AGW is a fraud perpetrated by people like Boone Pickens who wants the federal government to line his pocket, using unworkable wind power schemes.

Christopher Swing
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 9:31pm

So basically you're not smart enough to read the graph? You can't see the relation between the data points and trend line?

Why am I not surprised. Facts and data don't help people who lack the ability to understand them.

Tim Zank
Tue, 04/10/2012 - 9:58pm

Oh, wow it's a graph! Well that settles it! I didn't know ya had a graph! Hell shut down the cars and the coal plants then, you have a graph!!