Eutanasia, Made in Tijuana

Dall’International Herald Tribune, un articolo su come sia facile acquistare Pentobarbital a Tijuana, Messico: un barbiturico che, se ingerito, causa sonnolenza e poi morte.

Obama E’ Piu’ Conosciuto dei Beatles

Era 42 anni fa che John Lennon faceva scalpore dichiarando che i Beatles erano piu’ grandi, piu’ popolari cioe’ di Gesu’ Cristo.
 
Chissa’ cosa avrebbe detto a vedere l’ascesa di Barack Obama?
 
Adesso su Google, una ricerca per “Obama” ritorna 131 milioni di pagine. Per “Beatles”, “solo” 52milioni e mezzo.
 
Il candidato Democratico alle Presidenziali USA 2008 e’ molto piu’ di un Candidato alle Presidenziali. E’ un fenomeno pop, probabilmente globale.
 
ps “Jesus” su Google ha 176 milioni di pagine. Vuol dire che a Obama gliene mancano solo 45 milioni…

Whither a Climate Debate?

Gavin Schmidt writes at RealClimate

“The obvious ineptitude of this contribution underlines quite effectively how little debate there is on the fundamentals if this is the best counter-argument that can be offered.”

But it has been my impression that the main story, Monckton’s press releases notwithstanding, has been (and still is) the FPS Editor remarking that there is a considerable number of scientists skeptical of the IPCC conclusions.

The FPS Executive Committee now states on the FPS July 2008 page that they do not agree with the previous remark, suggesting it is all a matter of opinion.

However, with the APS jumping in against Monckton’s paper with red inks (thankfully now turned to black), and more than one call for the FPS Editor to be “fired” from his volunteer position for the mere reason that he made that remark, I wonder what kind of “debate” could at all be possible?

Actually, I’d rather the APS had replied with Gavin’s words “The obvious ineptitude of this contribution etc etc” challenging any of its readers to come up with something better than Monckton’s.

That would have given debate a chance. As things stand, I pretty much doubt any against-consensus contribution would appear on the FPS in the future, even were such a contribution to surface (and am sure, it won’t: otherwise yet more people’s bosses will receive e-mails asking to “fire the heretics”, an ominous metaphore it there’s ever been one)

"Global" Warming Consensus Forgets Two-Thirds of the Landmass

More figures to understand how awfully incomplete is the current knowledge of global climate.

And it’s very clear for all to see in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report – Working Group 2 (AR4-WG2), in Chapter 1 and in the Summary for Policymakers.

A bumper 96% of reported changes are from Europe and Europe alone. And what does that mean?

It means that for the whole of Australia/New Zealand, the IPCC could find only 6 significant changes (SC). For the whole of Africa, 7 SCs. For the whole of Latin America, 58 SCs. For the whole of Asia, 114SCs.

In terms of SC per square kilometer, Europe has:

1- 11,978 more than Africa
2- 85 more than North America
3- 853 more than South America
4- 1066 more than Asia
5- 3,702 more than Australia/New Zealand
6- 270 more than Antarctica

But one may reply to that, I am putting too much emphasis on the 28,000+ European biological SCs.

Let’s recompute the above with reference to North America then. In terms of SC per square kilometer, North America has:

1- 142 more than Africa
2- 10 more than South America
3- 12 more than Asia
4- 43 more than Australia/New Zealand
5- 3 more than Antarctica

It is blazingly blatant that before we can speak of global warming, more data has to be collected at least about Africa/Asia/Australia-New Zealand/South America .

We are talking 67% of the total land area of the planet.

Is anybody in the IPCC/Al Gore/James Hansen/Tim Flannery crowd pushing hard to get a complete picture of what is changing where and how?

Obama: Bigger Than The Beatles

The Democratic Presidential Candidate for the US Elections 2008 is much more than a Presidential Candidate. Obama is on his way to become a pop icon.

Actually, he’s there already.

Google search for “Obama”: 131,000,000 pages

Google search for “Beatles”: 52,500,000 pages

Poor John Lennon…how could he have imagined having the wrong target in mind?

ps btw: Google search for “Jesus”: 176,000,000 pages. Only 45 millions to go, for the junior Senator from Illinois

La Tragedia del Lötschberg

Il 1908 fu per l’immigrazione italiana in Svizzera un annus horribilis a causa dei molti incidenti anche mortali che colpirono i lavoratori italiani, in quel periodo addetti soprattutto alla costruzione delle ferrovie. Il più grave fu certamente quello che costò la vita a 25 operai che lavoravano allo scavo della galleria del Lötschberg. Era il 24 luglio 1908, ore 2,30

[…] il 24 luglio 1908, venerdì, alle ore 2.30, al km 2,675 dall’ingresso nord. Completamente ignari di quel che stava per accadere, i 25 minatori che si apprestavano a far brillare le mine per l’avanzamento, si ritirarono in luogo sicuro (!), come d’abitudine. Non potevano sapere che a proteggerli era proprio quello strato di roccia che stava per saltare. In effetti, subito dopo lo scoppio, un’immensa massa di acqua, fango e detriti invase prepotentemente la galleria per oltre un chilometro travolgendo inesorabilmente tutto. Per i 25 minatori, tutti italiani e prevalentemente del sud, non ci fu scampo. Il ventre della montagna restituì un solo corpo e pochi resti di altri. […]

Anche Di Girolamo Voleva La Sua Immunita’

Nel suo piccolo, anche il senatore/nonsenatore Di Girolamo ha cercato di costruirsi la sua immunita’ (si vede che per lui, non c’era posto nel “lodo Alfano”…)

Infatti: cosa ha detto per difendere il dettaglio di essersi fatto eleggere all’estero senza averne i requisiti? Ha forse presentato tutti i semplicissimi documenti perche’ tutti possano verificare che quell’accusa e’ falsa?

No.

Ha detto invece:

Nelle sue controdeduzioni, ha proseguito Augello, Di Girolamo puntualizza che “l’unico organo deputato e legittimato a certificare il possesso del requisito, quindi, si espresse in modo inequivocabile: gli accertamenti penali in merito – eventualmente dipendenti da un errore “tutt’altro che macroscopico e solo frutto di disfunzioni di carattere amministrativo” – non possono accertare la falsità prima di una sentenza di condanna resa ai sensi dell’articolo 537 c.p.p.. Pertanto, nella “fase meramente investigativa in cui si versa” il senatore invoca la “sicura non utilizzabilità delle risultanze investigative, unilateralmente acquisite dal Pubblico Ministero e conosciute dalla Giunta solo in ragione della loro considerazione per il diverso profilo della citata concessione dell’autorizzazione all’arresto”. Di conseguenza si adduce l’articolo 5 del Regolamento di verifica, ritenendo impossibile escludere “la determinante influenza dei fatti penalmente contestati sul risultato degli accertamenti devoluti alla Giunta”.

Tradotto in Itagliano: visto che Di Girolamo si e’ autocertificato il 14 febbraio, e il consolato in Belgio ha accettato l’autocertificazione, anche se poi si scopre che era tutto falso l’elezione andrebbe bene lo stesso, a meno che il Di Girolamo non sia nel frattempo condannato dalla Magistratura. Le prove raccolte, fino a quel momento, non potrebbero essere usate altro che dalla Magistratura stessa.

Ma visto il tempo medio dei processi in Italia, la Cassazione non si pronuncera’ sulla questione se non ben oltre la fine della corrente legislatura.

Ergo…chiunque si puo’ autocertificare, essere eletto, fare le Leggi in Parlamento…e se poi ha detto il falso, e si e’ fatto eleggere senza averne il diritto, non ci sara’ modo di rimettere le cose a posto, perche’ sette o otto anni dopo i suoi voti non si possono certo cancellare, ne’ le votazioni essere rifatte.

Magari e’ anche incensurato, quindi se la cava con la condizionale.

Fantastico! Ecco dunque risolto il problema di come costruire la propria Immunita’?

Nel Pantheon delle Istituzioni Italiane Intoccabili, accanto al Presidente della Repubblica, accanto al Presidente del Consiglio, accanto al Presidente del Senato e accanto al Presidente della Camera dei Deputati, arriva anche il Presidente degli Eletti all’Estero In Realta’ Residenti in Italia, al secolo Nicola D.G..?

ps No. La strategia difensiva non ha funzionato. La Giunta delle elezioni e delle immunità parlamentari del Senato ha deciso di acquisire tutti i documenti necessari a decidere in merito a Di Girolamo.

pps Fra le righe della “memoria Di Girolamo” c’e’ un’altra chicca:

La memoria si conclude meditando sul rilievo che il consolato d’Italia Bruxelles ha successivamente ritenuto “di poter revocare il proprio precedente certificato del 5 marzo 2008 senza compiere alcuna (reale) attività di verifica e senza dare compiuta motivazione in merito alla opportunità ed alla legittimità del provvedimento assunto (…) al di là di un mero richiamo ad asserite risultanze successivamente emerse circa la residenza del Sig. Di Girolamo … e in particolare l’attestazione del borgomastro del comune di Woluwe – Saint Pierre del 6 maggio 2008″.

Tradotto in Itagliano: a oggi, Di Girolamo non e’ mai stato residente all’estero. Anche al Consolato d’Italia di Bruxelles si sentono presi per il naso, e alla prima occasione hanno strappato il Certificato di Residenza.

ppps Chissa’ anche come si sentono questi tapini coinvolti in questa assurda storia, alcuni dei quali rischiano di essere accusati di aver detto il falso:

Filomena Ciannella
Oronzo Cilli
Dario Ferrante
Sabato Franco Sorrentino

Police Rounds Up Mladic Suspects After Karadzic Arrest

Dopo Karadzic, la Polizia Cerca Mladic fra Alcuni Nuovi Sospetti

Karadzic…o Frate Indovino?

con quella faccia da Frate Indovino (ma siamo sicuri che sia lui???) sara’ facile far passare Karadzic per pazzo
http://www.repubbli ca.it/2006/ 05/gallerie/ esteri/karadzic- prima-e-dopo/ 1.html

Review, Peer Review and the APS Debacle

With their over-the-top reaction to the publication on one of their newsletter of Monckton’s ideas on climate sensitivity, the APS leaders have shown themselves not stupid…

…because a “stupid” is somebody that damages others without a gain for himself: whilst the APS has only damaged itself.

Look at the “peer-reviewed” issue. Monckton is likely to be behind a wildly-exaggerated press release by the SPPI

Mathematical proof that there is no “climate crisis” appears today in a major, peer-reviewed paper in Physics and Society, a learned journal of the 46,000-strong American Physical Society, SPPI reports.

Should have been child’s play to issue a counter-release explaining that there cannot be any mathematical proof in a scientific field (outside of mathematics, that is); that “Physics and Society” is a newsletter, and not a “learned journal”; and that Monckton’s invited article was only part of the beginning of a debate.

Look what’s happened instead: Monckton is now perfectly in the right to state that he’s been unfairly, and uncourteously treated. He’s been invited to write an article that has been published, that then caused APS to undergo all sorts of fits, including a series of unwarranted put-downs plastered all over the place in apparent panic.

In fact: at this very moment both Monckton’s article and the IPCC-consensus piece by Hafemeister and Schwarz sport on top the following statement in black ink (my emphasis) (this is similar to what appeared in red ink on Monckton’s article alone):

The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review, since that is not normal procedure for American Physical Society newsletters. The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007: “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.”

Something similar has materialized at the beginning of the FPS July 2008 issue’s web page:

The Forum on Physics and Society is a place for discussion and disagreement on scientific and policy matters. Our newsletter publishes a combination of non- peer- reviewed technical articles, policy analyses, and opinion. All articles and editorials published in the newsletter solely represent the views of their authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Forum Executive Committee 

But that is not the way the FPS is presented:

Physics and Society is the quarterly of the Forum on Physics and Society, a division of the American Physical Society. It presents letters, commentary, book reviews and reviewed articles on the relations of physics and the physics community to government and society.

Now..what is the difference between peer-reviewed and reviewed?

Is there such a thing in scientific circles as an article reviewed but not by peers?

Has anybody ever heard of an inferior-reviewed article? Or of a superior-reviewed article? Who knows?

Looks like at the APS they have been cavalier with the issue of reviewing, until now. But if they need to sort out their own house, it should be for the future, and not for the past (unless they want to go against the principle of cause and effect).

And so Monckton on one thing is certainly right: for all intents and purposes, maybe the wrong way, maybe without thinking at the consequence, but Monckton’s article has been peer-reviewed indeed.

Karadzic Dimostra che Hitler Ha Avuto Ragione…

…a uccidersi!

Chi si ritrova sulla coscienza migliaia se non milioni di persone, se gli capita anche di perdere una qualunque guerra che lo rimuove dai posti di comando, fa meglio a commettere suicidio piuttosto che apparire sulle TV di tutto il mondo come una figura orrendamente patetica

Radovan Karadzic quando comandava e dopo la cattura
Radovan Karadzic quando comandava e dopo la cattura

Lo stesso si puo’ dire di Saddam Hussein, naturalmente

Saddam Hussein dopo la cattura
Saddam Hussein dopo la cattura

Stalin e Mao invece non hanno perso, e sono quindi riusciti a manipolare la loro immagine pubblica fin dopo la loro stessa morte.

Karadzic Shows Hitler Was Right…

…in killing himself!

If you are a notorious mass-murderer of the political variety, and you happen to lose in whatever conflict brings you down, it is far better to commit suicide than to be seen worldwide as a pathetic loonie.

Radovan Karadzic when in power and after being captured
Radovan Karadzic when in power and after being captured

Same could be said of Saddam Hussein of course.

Saddam Hussein after being captured
Saddam Hussein after being captured

Stalin and Mao on the other hand did not lose, and so were able to manipulate their public appearance long after their deaths.

Why the NASA Planetary Atmospheres Website Doesn’t Mention Greenhouse Gases

Discussions with people holding a different view are obviously quite likely to help bring one’s reasoning forward (as long as there is no name-calling or other infantilism).

For an example of what can happen, look no further than this exchange with Ed Darrell at his Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. The topic is, what is the relevance of the fact that the NASA Planetary Atmospheres website (PDS-A) doesn’t mention greenhouse gases.

To which my answer has been:

if the experts in the field don’t take it into consideration, I surely want to know why!!

Ed has replied with an interesting suggestion:

The site doesn’t pretend to be an exhaustive resource for all studies of all atmospheres everywhere. It’s a site to get a line into work NASA has actually done.

But if that’s true, it means that in all these years, NASA has seldom if ever looked at ways to investigate the same greenhouse effect that keeps Earth’s average temperature above freezing, and Venus with a surface temperature higher than an oven. And furthermore, there is a dearth of data in this most practical of planetary atmospheric fields!!

========

Let’s try to figure out if Ed’s interpretation is right. In its About page, the PDS-A site says “As an additional service, the Atmospheres Node provides information on relevant planetary atmospheres topics for educational purposes”.

There are links for Educators, including to the NASA Planetary Data System College Student Investigators (CSI) webpage that states

The objective of this activity is to involve undergraduate students in research and development projects related to the holdings of NASA.s Planetary Data System (PDS). Through the PDS College Student Investigators activity, the PDS strives to prepare the next generation of PDS science investigators.

A recent proposal is about investigating the role of dust in the thermodynamics of the Martian atmosphere. Neither there nor elsewhere there is any mention of greenhouse gases, a topic that evidently and mysteriously does not interest “next generation of PDS science investigators”.

Going back to PDS-A, there are educational links also to “Broker Forums“. One of them is the web site for the “Sun-Earth Connection” at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center, curiously linking to another website “Space Weather” containing a few unorthodox remarks on the Sun and Earth’s climate.

Another link for the Broker Forums goes to NASA’s Solary System Educational website where (finally!) there is some serious content about the greenhouse effect (GH).

And what does that refer to? Step forward ESA’s Venus Express, that lists among its scientific objectives the investigation of

what is the role of the radiative balance and greenhouse effect in the past present and future evolution of the planet?

==============

Chapeau to Ed Darrel, then…for all intents and purposes, NASA has dedicated no mission to the study of the greenhouse effect. That’s why there is no mention of it in the PDS-A site, the Planetary Data System for Atmosphere: simply, there is no data to report. Because nobody ever looked for those.

Is the current state of Climatology on this planet and everywhere else sad or what? If Goddard’s Director and climate worrier James Hansen is unable to gather funds for a terrestrial or planetary mission on the greenhouse effect; or worse, if even he is not interested enough to put one together: then how solid will the science of the climate ever be?

ps Still, the PDS-A Encyclopedia could have had a page on the GH effect. Its equations albeit simplified, still are possible

Surprising Remarks in NASA-Endorsed Website

Cosmic rays stream down into Earth’s atmosphere from the sun and elsewhere beyond the solar system. Recent studies show that these particles penetrate into the troposphere and alter the way that droplets condense to form clouds, rain and snow with important weather and climate consequences. Changes in the sun’s ultraviolet light affects the ozone layer and the energy input into the upper atmosphere. As the upper atmosphere is heated, it expands into space causing increased friction for satellites.

The ISS must be ‘re-boosted’ every three months to prevent it from burning up in the atmosphere. The Skylab station on July 11, 1979 reentered prematurely because of a solar storm event.

The above from the Solar Storms “Space Weather” website, listing NASA more than once in its endorsements page.

The below is instead from their Climate page:

Scientists have examined the climate record for other signs of the connection between space weather and climate-weather changes with many surprising results listed below.

The Trends page, alas, loses out on many of those “surprises”…

How the BBC Used the Wrong Picture to Talk About Media Accuracy

This is too funny to pass. Message just sent to the BBC:

Hi – you are using the wrong picture to accompany one article about the Ofcom ruling on the “Global Warming Swindle” documentary.

The page “Opinion: A reluctant whistle-blower” is using the IPCC TAR (2001) “Hockey Stick” graph

IPCC TAR (2001) Hockey Stick
IPCC TAR (2001) Hockey Stick

The above can be seen in a 2004 BBC News article “Climate legacy of ‘hockey stick’“.

Obviously, you should have used the more recent IPCC (2007) temperature graph, as per your own website

IPCC AR4 (2007) Temperature Graph
IPCC AR4 (2007) Temperature Graph

That graph is published in the BBC News website’s “Climate Change: The evidence“.

Please have it fixed asap. After all, the article with the wrong picture is about…accuracy in the media!!

regards – maurizio

A Glass Half Full: UK Ofcom's Global Swindle Ruling

Is the glass half-empty or half-full? About the UK media regulator Ofcom’s ruling on the broadcasting by Channel 4 of the documentary “Great Global Warming Swindle”, the BBC writes in the new home page, under “Latest”:

LATEST: A Channel 4 film on global warming broke Ofcom rules on impartiality and fairness, the regulator says.

The link goes to an article by Richard Black, titled “Climate documentary ‘broke rules’” summarised as “A controversial Channel 4 film on global warming broke Ofcom rules, the media regulator says.” Still, it “did not mislead audiences”.

It depends on what rules, one imagines. Much better then, to try to understand what the Ofcom actually says, is to go to their website: “Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin issue number 114” dated July 21, 2008, where one can learn:

  • Channel 4 breached Rule 7.1: “Broadcasters must avoid unjust or unfair treatment of individuals or organisations in programmes”, specifically regarding Sir David King and Professor Carl Wunsch
  • In part 5 (final) of the documentary, Channel 4 breached Rule 5.11 about “due impartiality” and Rule 5.12 about including an “appropriately wide range of significant views“; those rules apply because the topic can be included among the “matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy
  • Parts 1 to 4 (final) of the documentary were exempt from Rules 5.11 and 5.12
  • Channel 4 did not breach Rule 2.2 of the Broadcasting Code, about materially misleading the public

Looks like all they would have had to do to pass with full marks, was to provide an opportunity of comment for King and Wunsch, and to mention the full gamut of climate-change-related political opinions…

Enough for now, apart from a link to the 86-page bulletin, 17 of which dedicated to Channel 4 and the Swindle documentary.

ADDENDUM

Quotes from the Ofcom bulletin…there are several interesting points. And lots of meaty stuff hidden behind the statement about “not materially misleading the public”:

[…] Ofcom received 265 complaints about the programme from members of the public. Ofcom also received a substantial complaint 176 pages long from a group of complainants, some of whom were scientists (“the Group Complaint”).

[…] Ofcom is not a fact-finding tribunal and its obligation in this case was to reach a fair and reasonable decision on whether The Great Global Warming Swindle breached the requirements of the Code. Given the ambit of Ofcom’s obligation as regards adjudicating on the complaints, however it was in Ofcom’s opinion impractical and inappropriate for it to examine in detail all of the multifarious alleged examples of factual inaccuracy set out in the complaints

[…] Ofcom therefore chose four particular aspects of the programme to examine as part of its overall assessment of whether the programme materially misled the audience. These were:

the use of graphs;
the alleged “distortion” of the science of climate modelling;
presentation of the argument that the theory of man-made global warming is promoted as a means to limit economic growth;
and, not giving an accurate and fair presentation of the expertise and credibility of various contributors.

These particular areas were selected because they featured in a large number of the complaints, and in Ofcom’s opinion were reasonably illustrative of the key issues and different types of alleged factual
inaccuracy in the programme

[…] (regarding due impartiality) Channel 4 said the programme must be considered within the context of the ubiquitous media coverage of the global warming issue and so, in addressing the question of due impartiality, Channel 4 presented an extensive list of programmes over recent years across all the main channels, including Channel 4, which accepted the view that the principal cause of global warming is man-made emissions of carbon dioxide. […] Programmes referred to included, on Channel 4: Channel 4 Year of the Environment, 2007; A World Without Water; and The Year the Earth Went Wild. On ITV, Climate Change – Make A Difference and on Discovery Channel Global Warming: What You Need to Know

[…] Ofcom considers it of paramount importance that broadcasters, such as Channel 4, continue to explore controversial subject matter. While such programmes can polarise opinion, they are essential to our understanding of the world around us and are amongst the most important content that broadcasters produce. It is inevitable such programmes will have a high profile and may lead to a large number of complaints.

[…] In dealing with an issue such as the theory of anthropogenic global warming, which is the subject of scientific controversy, those involved in the debate will – by definition – disagree over the factual accuracy of each others’ claims. Therefore, it is to some extent inevitable that in a polemical programme such as The Great Global Warming both sides of the argument will violently disagree about the ‘facts’.

[…] The anthropogenic global warming theory is extremely well represented in the
mainstream media. […] it is reasonable for the programme makers to assume that the likely audience would have a basic understanding of the mainstream man-made global warming theory […] the programme was clearly trailed and its authorship was clearly identified […] At no point did the programme state that the theories it contained were the mainstream or majority view

[…] Ofcom is of the view that the audience of this programme was not materially misled in a manner that would have led to actual or potential harm. […] Regardless of whether viewers were in fact persuaded by the arguments contained in the programme, Ofcom does not believe that they could have been materially misled as to the existence and substance of these alternative theories and
opinions, or misled as to the weight which is given to these opinions in the scientific community

[…] Ofcom considered it highly unlikely that the programme could have caused actual harm. As to potential harm some complainants had considered that the programme’s questioning of the theory of man-made global warming would create doubt and confusion in viewers’ minds about the need to take action against global warming. Ofcom considers that, although the programme may have caused
viewers to challenge the consensus view that human activity is the main cause of global warming, there is no evidence that the programme in itself did, or would, cause appreciable potential harm to members of the public

[…] (regarding the graphs) Ofcom did not consider the inaccuracy to be of such significance as to have been materially misleading so as to cause harm and offence in breach of Rule 2.2

[…] (regarding the reliability of climate models) Ofcom noted that, although the complainants disagreed with the points made by the contributors in the programme, they did not suggest that the overall statements about climate models were factually inaccurate […] Overall however Ofcom’s view was that the passages complained of were not materially misleading so as to cause harm and offence.

[…] (regarding the suggestion that some environmentalists are trying to reverse economic growth) In line with the right to freedom of expression, Ofcom considers that the broadcaster has the right to transmit such views and the audience would understand the context in which such comments were made. The content was therefore not misleading

[…] (regarding the contributors to the programme) The decisions by the programme makers not to include all the qualifications of contributors, and not to include more background on them (some of which is strongly disputed), were editorial decisions which overall did not in Ofcom’s view result in the audience being materially misled.

[…] Although this programme was intentionally designed as a polemic, [some of the] comments were so sweeping and intemperate that they risked to some degree undermining the fact that overall the programme very aggressively challenged the mainstream scientific consensus on man’s contribution to global warming, without concluding that the mainstream scientific theory was completely without merit

[…] Ofcom considers there is a difference between presenting an opinion which attacks an established, mainstream and well understood view, such as in this programme, and criticising a view which is much more widely disputed and contentious […] In the context of this particular programme, given the number of scientific theories and politico-economic arguments dealt with in The Great Global Warming Swindle, it was not materially misleading overall to have omitted certain opposing views or represented them only in commentary

[…] while unfairness to participants has been found (failures to give an adequate opportunity to respond and the unfair presentation of views), Ofcom does not consider that, overall, these failures led to material being transmitted which was so misleading that harm would have been caused to viewers.

[…] for most of its 90 minute duration the requirements of due impartiality did not apply to The Great Global Warming Swindle. This is because for the first four of its five parts the programme did not deal with a matter of political or industrial controversy or matter relating to current public policy. However, in Part Five of the programme Ofcom noted that the discussion moved away from the scientific debate about the causes of global warming, to consider the policies alleged to result from the mainstream scientific theory being adopted by UN and Western governments and their consequences

[…] Ofcom also had regard to the fact that, both domestically and on a worldwide level, the political debate had largely moved on from questioning the causes of climate change to attempting to find solutions to deal with it. Therefore, in the political arena at least, there was a very broad consensus of opinion which accepted the scientific theory of man-made global warming. In this respect it could be said that the discussion about the causes of global warming was to a very great extent settled by the date of broadcast (8 March 2007).

[…] by simple virtue of the fact that one small group of people may disagree with a strongly prevailing
consensus on an issue does not automatically make that issue a matter of controversy as defined in legislation and the Code and therefore a matter requiring due impartiality to be preserved

[…] (in part five) These issues are matters of major political controversy and are major matters relating to current public policy as defined by the Code. During this section no alternative views on this issue were presented […] Part Five of the programme therefore breached Rules 5.11 and 5.12.

[…] (regarding Sir David King) The (Fairness) Committee found that the views attributed to him and the manner in which they were expressed, amounted to a significant allegation about his scientific views and credibility. The Committee found that Sir David had not been offered an opportunity to respond to the contributor’s criticism. In the circumstances the Committee concluded that the broadcast of the comments, without an offer being made to Sir David to respond, resulted in unfairness to him in the programme as broadcast

[…] The Committee acknowledged that while there is a broad consensus amongst scientists, governments and the public that global warming is directly related to anthropogenic causes, this is still a topic of debate. There continues to be discussion about the different methods of measuring change in the climate, the best way these changes should be analysed, and what predictions, if any, can be made from the data. Indeed such discussion and debate are essential for the formulation of robust,
scientifically sound theories, projections and conclusions. Global warming is clearly a legitimate and important subject for programme makers and it is not Ofcom’s role to adjudicate on whether global warming is a man-made phenomenon or on the validity of particular scientific views

[…] (regarding the IPCC) The Committee found that the programme broadcast a number of comments by contributors that amounted to serious allegations about the IPCC […] The Committee found that the IPCC had not been provided with a proper opportunity to respond to these allegations. Therefore, the broadcast of the allegations had been unfair.

[…] Channel 4 maintained that the IPCC had been offered an appropriate opportunity to respond. Channel 4 said the right to reply letter had been sent to the IPCC press officer nine days before the programme was broadcast, excluding the weekend which fell in between. Channel 4 said nine days was an appropriate and acceptable time period in which right of reply requests are sent and responses are expected to be received. Channel 4 said that no response was received whatsoever, not even to request more time for the IPCC’s response.

[…] the Committee considered that it was unreasonable for the programme makers to have expected the IPCC to understand that its response was required in a matter of days, and that it was not reasonable to expect the IPCC to be able to provide a response within the one day of being advised of the deadline. The Committee therefore found that the opportunity to respond had not been offered in a timely way.

[…] In the Committee’s opinion, it was not unreasonable to describe the consequences of the changes predicted in the FAR (1990) report as being disastrous, especially for those most likely to be directly affected […] The Committee did not uphold this part of the IPCC’s complaint

[…] the Committee considered that the programme maker’s had provided sufficient information for the
IPCC to understand the nature of Professor Reiter’s criticisms in relation to malaria […] the Committee concluded that the IPCC was not afforded a timely opportunity to respond to the allegation that the statements by the IPCC in relation to the spread of malaria were alarmist, untrue and based on poor scientific literature.

[…] the Committee concluded that the IPCC was not afforded an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond to the allegation regarding the statements by the IPCC in relation to the IPCC’s handling of Professor Reiter’s resignation or the compilation of its author’s lists

[…] the Committee found that the IPCC had not been provided with an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond to the re-broadcast of Professor Seitz’s reported criticisms

[…] the Committee considered that Professor Wunsch was not provided with adequate information to enable him to give informed consent for his participation. The Committee found this caused unfairness to Professor Wunsch in the programme as broadcast in that his contribution had been used in a programme

[…] In the Committee’s view Professor Wunsch made clear in his full unedited interview that he largely accepted this consensus and the seriousness of the threat of global warming (albeit with caveats about proof) and therefore found that the presentation of Professor Wunsch’s views, within the wider context of the programme, resulted in unfairness to him.

[…] the Committee therefore found that the programme maker’s editing of Professor Wunsch’s comments about the presence of CO2 in the ocean did not result in unfairness in the programme as broadcast. Accordingly the Committee did not uphold this part of Professor Wunsch’s complaint

Is Monckton the Wrong Target?

It didn’t take long for critiques to Monckton’s article at the FPS to appear. But I am inclined to believe that they are pretty much irrelevant.

what is the point of shooting against Monckton when the real offending statement for AGWers, the one that elicited all the “blogosphere brouhaha”, was written by FPS editor Jeffrey Marque?

There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution

Without the above, there would have been no NewsBusters article, no DailyTech comment, etc etc…

Monckton is one, a “considerable presence” is MANY

Why Rational Skepticism is Proper Response to AGW Claims

Many thanks to Ed Darrel at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub for pointing once again to the extraordinarily compelling case put together by Patrick Frank in “A Climate of Belief“, an article for the Skeptic society’s online magazine, Vol.14, no.1, May 2008, that:

the claim that anthropogenic CO2 is responsible for the current warming of Earth climate is scientifically insupportable because climate models are unreliable

I had mentioned it at the time but had not had the time or memory to read it again. For those in need of a quick, heavily emphasized (by me) quote:

The proper response to adamant certainty in the face of complete ignorance is rational skepticism. And aren’t we much better off accumulating resources to meet urgent needs than expending resources to service ignorant fears?

Here a longer extract, from the final remarks (my emphasis):

It’s not that we, “lack … full scientific certainty,” it’s that we lack any scientific certainty. We literally don’t know whether doubling atmospheric CO2 will have any discernible effect on climate at all.

If our knowledge of future climates is zero then for all we know either suppressing CO2 emissions or increasing them may make climate better, or worse, or just have a neutral effect. The alternatives are incommensurate but in our state of ignorance either choice equally has two chances in three of causing the least harm. Complete ignorance makes the Precautionary Principle completely useless. There are good reasons to reduce burning fossil fuels, but climate warming isn’t one of them.

Some may decide to believe anyway. “We can’t prove it,” they might say, “but the correlation of CO2 with temperature is there (they’re both rising, after all), and so the causality is there, too, even if we can’t prove it yet.” But correlation is not causation, and cause can’t be assigned by an insistent ignorance. The proper response to adamant certainty in the face of complete ignorance is rational skepticism. And aren’t we much better off accumulating resources to meet urgent needs than expending resources to service ignorant fears?

So, then, what about melting ice-sheets, rising sea levels, the extinction of polar bears, and more extreme weather events? What if unusually intense hurricane seasons really do cause widespread disaster? It is critical to keep a firm grip on reason and rationality, most especially when social invitations to frenzy are so pervasive. General Circulation Models are so terribly unreliable that there is no objectively falsifiable reason to suppose any of the current warming trend is due to human-produced CO2, or that this CO2 will detectably warm the climate at all. Therefore, even if extreme events do develop because of a warming climate, there is no scientifically valid reason to attribute the cause to human-produced CO2. In the chaos of Earth’s climate, there may be no discernible cause for warming. Many excellent scientists have explained all this in powerful works written to defuse the CO2 panic, but the choir sings seductively and few righteous believers seem willing to entertain disproofs

Against-AGW-Consensus Article on the FPS Before Monckton's

I can’t help but laugh at the incredible somersaults being performed by the Council of the American Physical Society (APS) to reaffirm thieir unshakeable belief in AGW, after allowing the publication in their “Forum on Physics & Society” (FPS) of an article by Christopher Monckton, “Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered“.

Note: there is one thing I agree with the APS. Monckton’s paper has not undergone any scientific peer review. You see, he’s a Lord (a Viscount, no less) whilst on the “Council of the APS”‘s side there is obviously no trace of nobility. They have been “discorteous” indeed.

Time will tell about the position (and nobility) of Jeffrey Marque, the Editor of the FPS that has seen his July 2008 comments severely rebuked by the Executive Committee of the FPS. Who’s going to choose what will be published in the October 2008 issue, is anybody’s guess.

Interestingly, the FPS and the APS did not make too much of a fuss in the past, when publishing “heretical” climate-related opinions. For an example, see Gerald E. Marsh’s “Climate Stability and Policy” in April 2008.

Mr Marsh is not exactly your average AGW proponent: he argues that current CO2 levels are too low and contributing to climate instability, suggests that even 750ppmv could still be not enough to stop an upcoming, catastrophic Ice Age. and recommends that the IPCC switch its focus towards “determining the optimal range of carbon dioxide concentrations that will stabilize the climate, and extend the current interglacial period indefinitely”.

For some reason, the above did not cause any digestive pain at the FPS, either with its Editor, with its Executive Committee, or with the Council of the APS itself.

Is Monckton’s paper simply too hot to handle? Plenty of nutrients for conspiracy theorists there, no doubt.

Cinque Regole per gli Antiberlusconiani

Dal blog “Anti-Zanzara”, cinque semplici regole che tutti gli antiberlusconiani dovrebbero seguire, a meno che non vogliano suscitare moti di riso in coloro tra i loro interlocutori che non odiano Silvio con tutto il cuore:

1) Berlusconi è del tutto legittimato a governare, avendo avuto il consenso dell’elettorato. In nessun articolo della Costituzione, né in alcuna legge dello Stato, si dice qualcosa di diverso.

2) Gli elettori che, in maggioranza, hanno votato per Berlusconi non sono né stupidi, ne ignoranti, né sono moralmente inferiori. Se hanno ritenuto che Berlusconi può governare, nonostante il conflitto d’interessi e le beghe giudiziarie, così sia.

3) I magistrati non sono robot imparziali, né sono angeli vendicatori ispirati da Dio. Sono uomini che possono sbagliare o agire secondo condizionamenti consci o inconsci. Anche ipotizzando che Berlusconi abbia davvero violato la legge e meriti di essere processato, rimane il fatto il sistema giustizia in Italia fa acqua da tutte le parti e va profondamente riformato.

4) Il conflitto di interessi esiste, è innegabile, ma in una società di mercato e liberale esso è solo un elemento laterale che non pregiudica realmente l’esercizio della democrazia. Il fatto che Berlusconi possieda tre dei sette grandi network televisivi nazionali, e che di altri tre, da capo del governo, possa avere potenzialmente il controllo, non implica un monopolio assoluto dell’informazione. Esistono anche i giornali cartacei, internet, La7, Sky, Radio 24, ecc.

5) La Verità con la V maiuscola è una chimera, un mito irraggiungibile che non esiste. E se anche esistesse, la Verità non andrebbe cercata sulle pagine dei libri di Travaglio o su quelle della Repubblica, o dell’Unità o dell’Espresso. Semmai sul Riformista.

Aggiungo una regola io

6) Esiste una cosa chiamata umorismo. Il riferimento precedente a “Il Riformista”, per esempio…

Comicita’ Involontaria sul Papa a Sydney

Dalla prima pagina di Repubblica.it, un episodio che ricorda quei vecchi sketch di Mirabella e Garrani, quando la notizia a furia di essere condensata e poi ricondensata per arrivare a un titolo, finiva completamente stravolta. Si legge infatti stasera:

500 mila con il Papa: “Basta conformismo”

Al che a uno viene da chiedersi…ma se non sono conformisti che ci fanno assieme a altre 499mila499 persone?

tsk tsk!!

Il discorso originale e’ naturalmente piu’ serio e si trova a questo link.

Serie di Articoli per Capire un po’ di piu’ la Cina

Tutti in inglese, ecco un gruppo di articoli recentissimi che possono aiutare a capire un po’ di piu’ cos’e’ questa cosi’ vituperata Cina dell’anno 2008:

(a) The Economist: The illusion of calm in Tibet (10 Luglio): dove l’inviato si chiede se in fondo in fondo il problema sia l’incompetenza delle autorita’ cinesi, politicamente impreparate a fronteggiare i problemi del Tibet, e quindi propense a reagire eccessivamente o addirittura, come nel caso dei disordini del 14 Marzo, incapaci di organizzare alcunche’

(b) IHT: Smoke and Mirrors (15 Luglio): le memorie di un’insegnante/giornalista indiana che vive in Cina rivelano una societa’ impegnata a migliorare il proprio tenore di vita, al punto che la “democrazia” puo’ diventare una minaccia per chi vede finalmente avverare il sogno di una vita agiata se non ricca. I problemi pero’ esistono, anche se nascosti sotto il tappeto

(c) IHT: Success of ‘Kung Fu Panda’ touches a cultural nerve in China (17 Luglio): il successo in Cina del cartone animato americano “Kung Fu Panda”, cosi’ intriso di valori tipicamente cinesi, fa riflettere il commentatore Richiard Bernstein sul deleterio effetto in Cina della censura e in generale del coinvolgimento della politica. Alcuni progetti creativi sono abbandonati a causa dell’eccessivo numero di richieste che li costringerebbero a perdere ogni creativita’

(d) IHT: Out of Mao’s shadow (17 Luglio): recensione del libro di Philip P Ban, recante lo stesso titolo, dove di nuovo si dice che la prosperita’ e’ stata usata per evitare la democratizzazione, e tutto il sistema politico attuale e’ imperniato nel perpetuare il monopolio del Partito. Pur tuttavia, c’e’ speranza nel numero di persone che hanno sfidato il governo, a volte anche riuscendo nel loro intento pur dovendone pagare le conseguenze

I problemi della Cina prima o poi verrano al pettine. Sara’ interessante vedere come evolveranno, e se porteranno a una qualche forma di Democrazia. Di sicuro pero’, ogni interferenza dall’estero sara’ controproducente.

Rivoluzionaria Idea per il Ciclismo Professionista

Tutti questi corridori che nonostante tutto si fanno ancora “beccare” mi ricordano quella vecchia barzelletta del ciclista, intervistato dopo una vittoria, che dice “Sono contento di essere arrivato Uno”.

Ormai ci sono tre sole soluzioni: o il Ciclismo professionista chiude tutto, o diventa il Tour dei Penitenziari, oppure vengono buttate al macero le ipocrisie e si liberalizza l’uso degli stimolanti, a patto che vengano dichiarati pubblicamente.

The Illusion of Foreign Policy Morality

It is disconcerting to read a knowledgeable and experienced person such as Thomas L Friedman fall in an old trap, claiming foreign policy morality for his own country (“Which world do you prefer?“, IHT, July 17).

Mr Friedman is apparently convinced that “America still has some moral backbone” because the USA “put forward a simple Security Council resolution” at the UN, calling for a series of sanctions against the quasi-dictatorial Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. Such a move failed, however, due to “truly filthy” vetoes by Russia and China. For that matter, Mr Friedman throws in the “pure, rancid moral corruption” of South Africa’s president, Thabo Mbeki.

All hail the USA, then, because “there are travesties America will not tolerate“?

If only!

Doesn’t Mr Friedman know a thing about the US-backed regimes of Egypt and Pakistan, for example? Doesn’t he remember the scores of murderous dictatorships financed by successive US Administrations, on the horrendously immoral belief that it is ok to support a “bastard” as long as he was “our bastard“?

It is telling that a good response to Mr Friedman’s argument has been published in the very pages of the IHT, in the “Letter from China” by Howard W French of July 4, 2008 (“Behind the reluctance to criticize Mugabe“): where we learn for example how a mere twenty years ago, Washington (and London) were “running diplomatic interference for apartheid rule in Pretoria“, going as far as “backing South African guerrilla proxies in places like Angola, prolonging devastating wars there and elsewhere, and staving off independence for South African-occupied Namibia in the name of fighting communism“.

At this very moment, the USA and its “Western” allies are supporting dictators in Equatorial Guinea, and Angola. Is there a need to repeat here what everybody thinks, i.e. that such “travesties” are tolerated, whilst Mugabe’s is not, because Zimbabwe doesn’t have huge oil deposits?

That said, at the end of the day there is little point in starting a USA-bashing rhetorical exercize, just as there is little meaning in Mr Friedman’s clutching at moral straws regarding a particular vote at the Security Council.
This is the world we live in, and if we care for its morality the first step surely is not to delude ourselves into thinking that our side is “of course” the “good side”.

Obama Joke

Is Barack Obama “so polished, he doesn’t seem to have any flaws“, making it impossible to come up with a non-racist, non-religious joke about him?

Let’s hear it from the Saint the Untouchable the Anointed One, oh well, from Obama himself…

Barack Obama: It’s time to begin and to stop a troop pullout
By Barack Obama and Barack Obama

Monday, July 14, 2008
CHICAGO: The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. I am very disappointed by the call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq.

The United States should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States. The United States should not go down the path of beginning the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long opposed, and that is not needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. The differences on Iraq in this campaign are minimal. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. Like Senator John McCain, I supported the war in Iraq before it began, and would continue it as president.

(cont.)(end)

Bambini Rom: Quali Alternative Alle Impronte?

Un intervento di Valerio Vagnoli, gia’ insegnante al carcere minorile e al riformatorio di Firenze, pubblicato oggi su “Notizie Radicali”: “Bambini Rom: Quali Alternative Alle Impronte?

[…] non so bene cosa si possa fare per cambiare la vita a queste creature; so solo che in questi decenni non è stato fatto nulla e tutti noi siamo stati costretti a convivere con situazioni di vera e  propria promiscuità con i lager senza scandalizzarci e senza tante campagne in favore dei diritti dei bambini (rom). Oggi c’è chi sostiene, invece, che un trattamento da  lager lo si abbia costringendo i bambini ad offrire le loro impronte digitali agli organi di polizia. Di sicuro la decisione del governo ha avuto il merito di mettere l’opinione pubblica finalmente di fronte alla realtà e di offrire, se non altro, all’opposizione la possibilità di fare delle proposte concrete e mirate a far sì che questi bambini abbiano una loro identità e da lì si possa finalmente partire per garantirgli dignità di esseri umani. Aspetto fiducioso che una proposta alternativa e seria finalmente arrivi

Cossiga A Ruota Libera Su Radio24

Una intervista di Alessandro Milan a Francesco Cossiga, da non perdere…se continua cosi’ fra poco dira’ anche chi ha fatto uccidere Kennedy:

In breve:

  • il magistrato Trifuoggi di Sulmona e’ un esaurito che vuole apparire su Vanity Fair
  • Il caso-Del Turco e’ un avvertimento al PD
  • Veltroni capisce solo “di cinema e di Africa”
  • Di Pietro e’ un cretino
  • Se Del Turco si suicidasse, avremmo finalmente una riforma della giustizia, e Trifuoggi sarebbe promosso
  • l telefoni di alcuni magistrati andrebbero controllati per “associazione eversiva”

C’e’ anche altro, che pero’ non ho trascritto. Consiglio davvero l’ascolto, si tratta di quindici minuti che passeranno alla storia.

ps al rappresentante IdV quanto sopra non e’ piaciuto

pps ne spara cosi’ tante e cosi’ grosse, che rischia di centrarle quasi tutte

Del Turco: Tre Hurra’ Per L’On. Mantini…

…e un bel “gesto dell’ombrello” a tutti gli assetati di sangue, inclusi Di Pietro a Grillo!

2008-07-15 14:42

Mantini incontra Del Turco,sta bene

Deputato del Pd, e’ preoccupato per i problemi della sanita’

(ANSA) – SULMONA (L’AQUILA), 15 LUG – ‘L’ho trovato bene, ironico e preoccupato per i problemi della sanita’, cosi’ l’on Mantini (Pd) dopo l’incontro con Del Turco. Contrariamente alle indicazione che arrivavano dalla Procura di Pescara secondo cui era stato impartito il divieto di incontrare Del Turco -in isolamento per 3 giorni- Mantini ha aggirato l’ostacolo ed e’ andato a Sulmona ‘in ispezione’ per controllare le condizioni dei reclusi nel carcere di Sulmona dove negli ultimi tempi ci sono stati troppi suicidi.

Bernanke and the “Too Big to Fail” Syndrome

I am glad to see that the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bush Admnistration are giving clear instructions on how to succeed in business in America.

Apparently, all you have to do is to make your Company “too big to fail” (TBTF).

Then if anything untowards risks happening to it, Bernanke will step in and save another day. Even if it’s all been your own fault. Even if the Feds have been sitting idly whilst the Company was becoming TBTF.

Directors of TBTFs are surely rejoicing at the idea of unlimited profit opportunities with more or less zero chance of filing for bankruptcy protection, let alone close down the business.

A new wave of acquisitions like there is no tomorrow is surely in order. Obesity does pay, in the US business world.