Thursday, October 23, 2014
You may also wish to read these next two articles:
It's been 16 months since The Guardian published its first story on the National Security Agency's bulk collection program, launching a series of reports that would introduce the public to cryptic terms like PRISM and Boundless Informant…...
Sunday is the anniversary of the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act. The clever wordsmiths in the halls of power gave the act a high-sounding name. But like most laws passed by the psychopaths in the Washington cesspool, the law is the opposite of its name……
If you believe what you read about BPA and its harmful effects on human health, a topic that we here at ACSH have taken on many times, the latest development from Frederick vom Saal, Professor of Biological Sciences at Missouri University and perhaps the best-known fringe anti-BPA activist posing as a scientist, might stop your shopping habits, or at least make you think twice before choosing to get a receipt. In his latest fear-mongering attempt, he tries to link BPA from receipts to increased levels of BPA in the blood stream. So what?
As you well know, at ACSH, our job is to talk about and reveal junk science. This is usually not especially difficult, since the same set of “errors” that make junk science junk appear over and over. In the following case, “not especially difficult” became “ridiculously easy,” since virtually every aspect of the junk involved was handed to us on a silver platter. It doesn’t get any better than this—made up data, woefully inadequate peer review, and Dr. Oz, which puts this episode into the “Hall of Shame” without the obligatory five-year waiting period.
A paper that appeared in 2012 in Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy claimed that consumption of green coffee bean extract caused overweight people to lose a substantial amount of weight, even without any changes in their diet or exercise routine......Dr. Oz became enamoured with the product. So much so that the show could have been renamed “The Buy GCA and You Will Turn Into Brad Pitt Show.” Dr. Oz got ripped to shreds by Senator Claire McCaskill in a congressional hearing on the safety of dietary supplements. Also, ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom had a few unflattering things to say about this unseemly incident on Science 2.0. It turned out that the data from India was made up, and Vinson and Burnham withdrew their paper, as reported by Retraction Watch......To Read More.....
The European Court of Human Rights has defined a democratic society as one which exhibits tolerance, broad-mindedness and pluralism. Western democracies, however, are often Orwellian in their redefinition of these very terms, as exemplified in the recent Houston subpoena scandal.
Tolerance has come to mean disdain for social viewpoints which run contrary to the cultural orthodoxy of the day. Broad-mindedness means blindly accepting the overly permissive moral values of the Left. And, ironically, pluralism has taken on an identity which excludes dissenting voices. Americans should take note that, in Europe, this new cultural identity has led to a democratic deficit and a “government knows best” attitude.
The story goes that Nicolas Sarkozy, when asked why he wouldn’t allow the French to vote on the Lisbon Treaty after the French public previously voted down the proposed European Constitution, said it was because the French would not get the answer right. This mentality is, of course, not unique to Europe. In states throughout America, a single judge has often been responsible for overturning the democratic will of millions of voters to constitutionally affirm marriage as the union of one man and one woman......To Read More.....
As EU heads of state prepare to thrash out an agreement on the bloc’s 2030 energy and climate change goals at a summit opening in Brussels tomorrow (23 October), energy-intensive industries in Germany have reiterated warnings that a European “solo effort” would come with billions in losses. “If Europe chooses a solo effort through a one-sided climate protection target of 40% less emissions, it would mean billions in losses for us that our global competitors would not otherwise have gained. The damage done to competitiveness among energy-intensive companies in the EU would be considerable,” said Utz Tillmann, a spokesman for the Energy Intensive Industries of Germany (EID). --EurActiv, 22 October 2014
The EU’s plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 has come under heavy assault as an increasing number of eastern European nations rally behind Poland’s threat to scupper a landmark climate deal this week. “I do not think that we can go with this current deal. If there is no change then we will walk away,” said Tomáš Prouza, the Czech Republic’s state secretary for European affairs. “The numbers just do not add up.” One ambassador predicted the most difficult summit since the height of the eurozone crisis. “Both sides are in their trenches, shelling each other,” he said. --Henry Foy and Christian Oliver, Financial Times, 20 October 2014
The leaders of the 28 members of the European Union are set to meet here on Thursday to reassert their global leadership in climate protection, but they will first need to finesse deep divisions over how to generate and distribute energy. Reaching a deal this week would give the union bragging rights before a United Nations climate conference in Paris scheduled for late 2015, by making it the first major global emitter to put forward its position. Polish leaders, however, have hinted that they may veto any agreement. And the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has already warned that the summit meeting may end in deadlock, requiring further discussions. Analysts have warned that if a deal is reached, it will most likely be a messy compromise. --James Kanter, The New York Times, 21 October 2014
The UK Government’s enthusiasm for domestic and EU-wide green policies is not shared by countries in central and eastern Europe, many of whom are extremely reluctant to sign up to the EC’s targets. In 2011, George Osborne announced that the UK would go no faster than the rest of Europe with regards CO2 emissions targets. If agreement on emissions reductions cannot be reached at a European and a global level, the Government would come under growing pressure to suspend unilateral targets post 2020. --Global Warming Policy Forum, 22 October 2014
Our power stations are ageing fast. We have eked out their lifespan for longer than expected, but replacements are urgently needed. Yet for years, our politicians have failed to act, promoting costly and over-subsidised renewables rather than building new gas or nuclear plants. To make matters worse, much of our capacity has been scrapped, in compliance with environmental restrictions set in Brussels. If things continue as they are, the prospect has been raised of Seventies-style restrictions on energy use, even rolling blackouts. That is a grim prospect for a 21st-century economy. --Editorial, The Daily Telegraph, 21 October 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
This is a sample of some interesting energy articles in the current Newsletter —
- Reports: There Is No Global Warming
Dr. S. Fred Singer was among the first and is still the most prominent scientist in the world speaking out against global warming alarmism. He is the author, coauthor, and editor of many books, including Climate Change Reconsidered (several volumes), a comprehensive critique of the assessment reports of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Dr. Singer, an atmospheric and space physicist, founded the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). He continues to serve as chairman of SEPP and as a member of the leadership team of NIPCC.
Dr. Singer has published more than 200 technical papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Energy & Environment, EOS: Transactions of the AGU, Geophysical Research Letters, International Journal of Climatology, Journal of Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, Nature, and Science. His editorial essays and articles have appeared in Cosmos, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New Republic, Newsweek, Journal of Commerce, Washington Times, Washington Post,and many other publications. His accomplishments have been featured in front-cover stories appearing in Time, Life, and U.S. News & World Report...... To Read More....
Most published medical research is false! In 2005, in a landmark paper viewed well over a million times, John Ioannidis explained in PLOS Medicine why most published research findings are false. To coincide with PLOS Medicine’s 10th anniversary he responds to the challenge of this situation by suggesting how the research enterprise could be improved.
This originally appeared here and I would like to thank Mike for allowing me to publish his work. RK
This one has it all: Research from a prestigious institute published in a prestige journal; a provocative and contrarian set of findings; topical subject matter, sure to attract mainstream media; and the use of ultra high-tech genome sequencing in the too-cool-for-school realm of the gut biome. Just published online in Nature, the study is entitled “Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota.” [Suez et al.]
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Ebolaidiocy and other (de)pressing matters: Part 1 - Since there is hardly a day that goes by without a good dose of mind-numbing idiocy about Ebola, we figured ACSH ought to weigh in now and then. After all, the worst “Ebola science” isn’t a whole lot different from half of the other stuff that poses as science that we dissect daily. Here is our Part 1 challenge: Come up with something dumber than this, and we will all hand wash and wax your car.
“Fearing Ebola, some US communities take dramatic steps”
OK, this doesn’t sound too bad, only because the headline does not betray what’s inside. This left us with our mouths hanging open. Today’s “winner” is Portland, ME, which apparently does not grasp the basic fundamentals of epidemiology—that you have to actually be exposed to something before you can catch it. In this case, a teacher who had traveled to Texas for a conference was placed on a three-week paid leave of absence when she returned. Why? Well, it makes perfect sense to those having the intellectual capacity of a box of Froot Loops. After all, the teacher made the reckless decision to stay in a hotel ten miles away from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas—the hospital where Thomas Duncan died. ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom makes several points:…..
Biotech crops on the rise— gradually but surelyovercoming phony fears - According to a recent report, since 1996 there have been over 5 billion acres of biotech crops harvested. And not only do these crops provide food for millions, they also reduce the use of pesticides, can add nutritional value to foods, and, according to some studies, reduce the release of greenhouse gases as well. In spite of such benefits, the anti-GMO crowd continues to promote false and misleading ‘disinformation’ about bioengineered crops. They ignore the fact that humans have been modifying the genetics of both food crops and animals ever since agriculture began some 10,000 years ago. Now, thanks to modern biotechnology, we have the ability to more accurately and efficiently make and monitor such changes than ever before. “There has never been any substantiated, scientifically sound evidence that bioengineered crops threaten the health of people or animals consuming them, or that they cause environmental damage.” says ACSH’s Dr. Ruth Kava. “Indeed,” she continues, “such crops have the potential to increase food crop production, while protecting marginal lands from cultivation. As the world population continues to expand, we will increasingly need these crops to meet the growing need.”
Time for Conservative Cultural Surrender? - [On] NBC's "Meet the Press"…newly installed host Chuck Todd stubbornly persisted in the usual Republicans-in-deep-trouble narrative. Based on the judicial failure to take up gay marriage cases, Todd previewed the program by asking, "Is it time for conservatives to surrender in the culture wars?" Later, Todd underlined his point: "Whether it's on abortion, whether it's on same-sex marriage, whether it's on marijuana legalization, the culture wars have shifted to the left. Many Republicans are trying to acknowledge that general public shift. And yet, it's going to cause some heartburn."We're in the middle of an election cycle where red-state Democrats are running away from President Obama on gun ownership, on border control and on energy and "climate change" crackdowns. So isn't proclaiming a "national shift to the cultural left" a rather desperate spin for the losing side?...... Now flip that script, and imagine Chuck Todd asking Planned Parenthood whether their public stand for "post-birth abortion" is politically smart. The national media hounded Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock about rape exceptions in 2012 Senate races, but this fall they won't whisper the name "Kermit Gosnell" or mention the 2013 hearing in the Florida legislature where a local Planned Parenthood staffer insisted it was a "woman's right to choose" whether a baby born alive can be murdered…… As the Democratic Party skids toward defeat, NBC can only ask, "Is the GOP retreating?"
Perkins to Olson: ‘If Love is the Only Factor, Where DoYou Draw the Boundary?’ - In a debate on Fox News Sunday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins questioned Ted Olson, an attorney who fought against California’s same-sex marriage ban, about what could define marriage if love is the only consideration. “If love is the factor, what boundaries are there?” Perkins asked Olson, a registered Republican who was on the legal team that successfully fought to have the gay marriage ban in California struck down. “What court after court after court has said, that allowing people of the same sex to marry the person that they love, to be part of the community and to be treated equally, does no damage to heterosexual marriage,” Olsen said ……. “Let me ask you, what are the boundaries, though?” Perkins said. “If it’s just love, what are the boundaries? “Where can we go with marriage?” he asked. Host Chris Wallace then weighed in by suggesting Perkins was insinuating that gay marriage could open the floodgates to polygamy or even bestiality…… “Sadly, when marriage is elastic enough to mean anything, in due time it comes to mean nothing,” Moore said.