March 15th, 2010
On March 19, a new study to be published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, scientific journal, concluded that banana lectins, a naturally occurring chemical, has the ability to stop the transmission and prevention of HIV.
This novel research from the University of Michigan Medical School found BanLec, “a jacalin-related lectin isolated from the fruit of bananas, a potential component for an anti-viral microbicide that could be used to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV-1. BanLec is an effective anti-HIV lectin and is similar in potency to T-20 and maraviroc, two anti-HIV drugs currently in clinical use.”
February 24, 2010
November 23, 2009
Just 38% of voters now favor the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s the lowest level of support measured for the plan in nearly two dozen tracking polls conducted since June.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% now oppose the plan.
Half the survey was conducted before the Senate voted late Saturday to begin debate on its version of the legislation. Support for the plan was slightly lower in the half of the survey conducted after the Senate vote.
November 24, 2009
Climategate: still an astonishing lack of coverage in the MSM, the only major UK exception being the Mail which, after years of agnosticism now seems to have decided to come down firmly in the climate sceptics’ camp – here, here and in this article today by the mighty Booker. (Nigel Lawson is able to slip in a mention, too, in today’s Times).
But is that because – as some of the commenters below my post are so eager to tell me – it’s a complete non-story which deserves to get me the sack for being such a rubbish journalist (with innumerable websites dedicated to telling the world just how crap I am, apparently)?
Or does it have legs? (Hat tip: Watts Up With That)
This interview with retired climatalogist Dr Tim Ball offers quite a useful perspective.
There’s no point in anyone from the AGW camp watching it: they’ve made up their minds and no quantity of contrary evidence, however devastating, is going to shake their considered position of “Nyah nyah nyah. Got my fingers in my ears. Not listening. The world IS warming and it’s man’s fault. Must tax carbon now….”
But the type of people I would dearly love to watch it are those like my friends Dan Hannan, Danny Finkelstein, Ed West and Michael Gove. This particular rogues’ gallery has long been a source of frustration and disappointment to me. They are intelligent and wise, eloquent and funny. They are on the side of wisdom and commonsense. They correctly anatomise so many of the ills of the modern world, from the perils of rampant Islamism to the evils of the EU. I like and admire them all hugely. Yet on perhaps the biggest and most important issue of our age – because it’s going to cost so much money and do so much harm to our landscape – they all have a curious blind spot.
What seems to have lulled these four – and many other clever people like them, I fear – into their dangerous complacency is the belief that given the majority of world scientific opinion is backing AGW theory, it would be irresponsible for us non-scientists to disagree.
What the Climategate scandal does is prove just how murky and unreliable this supposed scientific “consensus” really is.
Dr Ball is particularly trenchant on the phrase “peer-reviewed.” You’ll have heard it being brandished an awful lot over the last decade or so, invariably by scientists in the climate-fear-promotion lobby trying to show how all scientists who disagree with them are just ignorant cranks who need not be taken seriously. It’s a virus that has spread to non-scientists. Read George Monbiot; skim through the comments by AGW-believers below any blog on the subject of climate change. “Peer-reviewed”: it’s the magic phrase which – in their eyes – guarantees the reliability and credibility of their favoured scientists, and which completely pulls the rug from under that of the dissenters.
But what if that vaunted “peered-review” stamp of authenticity is about as valuable as a fake Rolex? It would mean, would it not, that the supposedly authoritative community of disinterested scientists who inform the IPCC’s reports are in fact to be trusted about as much as a frog would a scorpion it was ferrying on its back across a river…
This is the key point made by Dr Ball.
“It confirms suspicions that I’ve had working in my thirty years of climate science. I saw the hijacking of climate science particularly by computer modelers and then by a small group associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change….”
“What you’ve got here is confirmation of the small group of scientists who, by the way, Professor Wegman who was asked to arbitrate in the debate about the hockey stick, he identified 42 people who were publishing together and also peer-reviewing each other’s literature. So there’s a classic example of the kind of thing that bothered me. About twenty years ago, I started saying ‘Well why are they pushing the peer review?’..And now of course we realise it’s because they had control of their own process. That’s clearly exposed in these emails.”
“On a global scale it’s frightening because this group of people not only control the Hadley Centre, which controls the data on global temperature through the Hadley Climate Research Unit but they also control the IPCC and they’ve manipulated that. And of course the IPCC has become the basis in all governments for the Kyoto protocol, the Copenhagen accord and so on….”
Dr Ball describes the scandal as not just a “smoking gun” but “a battery of machine guns.” How much more evidence, I wonder, do the likes of Messrs Hannan, Gove, Finkelstein and West need, I wonder, before they feel as strongly about this issue as I do?
If you own any shares in alternative energy companies I should start dumping them NOW. The conspiracy behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming myth (aka AGW; aka ManBearPig) has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed after a hacker broke into the computers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (aka Hadley CRU) and released 61 megabites of confidential files onto the internet. (Hat tip: Watts Up With That)
When you read some of those files – including 1079 emails and 72 documents – you realise just why the boffins at Hadley CRU might have preferred to keep them confidential. As Andrew Bolt puts it, this scandal could well be “the greatest in modern science”. These alleged emails – supposedly exchanged by some of the most prominent scientists pushing AGW theory – suggest:
Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more.
One of the alleged emails has a gentle gloat over the death in 2004 of John L Daly (one of the first climate change sceptics, founder of the Still Waiting For Greenhouse site), commenting:
“In an odd way this is cheering news.”
But perhaps the most damaging revelations – the scientific equivalent of the Telegraph’s MPs’ expenses scandal – are those concerning the way Warmist scientists may variously have manipulated or suppressed evidence in order to support their cause.
Here are a few tasters. (So far, we can only refer to them as alleged emails because – though Hadley CRU’s director Phil Jones has confirmed the break-in to Ian Wishart at the Briefing Room – he has yet to fess up to any specific contents.) But if genuine, they suggest dubious practices such as:
Manipulation of evidence:
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.
Private doubts about whether the world really is heating up:
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.
Suppression of evidence:
Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?
Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.
Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.
We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.
Fantasies of violence against prominent Climate Sceptic scientists:
time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat
the crap out of him. Very tempted.
Attempts to disguise the inconvenient truth of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP):
……Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using about a dozen NH records that fit this category, and many of which are available nearly 2K back–I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP”, even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back….
And, perhaps most reprehensibly, a long series of communications discussing how best to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer review process. How, in other words, to create a scientific climate in which anyone who disagrees with AGW can be written off as a crank, whose views do not have a scrap of authority.
“This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?”
“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.”“It results from this journal having a number of editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known skeptic in NZ. He has let a few papers through by Michaels and Gray in the past. I’ve had words with Hans von Storch about this, but got nowhere. Another thing to discuss in Nice !”
Hadley CRU has form in this regard. In September – I wrote the story up here as “How the global warming industry is based on a massive lie” – Hadley CRU’s researchers were exposed as having “cherry-picked” data in order to support their untrue claim that global temperatures had risen higher at the end of the 20th century than at any time in the last millenium. Hadley CRU was also the organisation which – in contravention of all acceptable behaviour in the international scientific community – spent years withholding data from researchers it deemed unhelpful to its cause. This matters because Hadley CRU, established in 1990 by the Met Office, is a government-funded body which is supposed to be a model of rectitude. Its HadCrut record is one of the four official sources of global temperature data used by the IPCC.
I asked in my title whether this will be the final nail in the coffin of Anthropenic Global Warming. This was wishful thinking, of course. In the run up to Copenhagen, we will see more and more hysterical (and grotesquely exaggerated) stories such as this in the Mainstream Media. And we will see ever-more-virulent campaigns conducted by eco-fascist activists, such as this risible new advertising campaign by Plane Stupid showing CGI polar bears falling from the sky and exploding because kind of, like, man, that’s sort of what happens whenever you take another trip on an aeroplane.
The world is currently cooling; electorates are increasingly reluctant to support eco-policies leading to more oppressive regulation, higher taxes and higher utility bills; the tide is turning against Al Gore’s Anthropogenic Global Warming theory. The so-called “sceptical” view is now also the majority view.
Unfortunately, we’ve a long, long way to go before the public mood (and scientific truth) is reflected by our policy makers. There are too many vested interests in AGW, with far too much to lose either in terms of reputation or money, for this to end without a bitter fight.
But if the Hadley CRU scandal is true,it’s a blow to the AGW lobby’s credibility which is never likely to recover.
Little Alex in Wonderland
September 18, 2009
Editors Note: Obama has passionately spoken out against the patriot act before he was elected president, as demonstrated in this video.
The Washington Post reports the Justice Department “recommended that Congress move swiftly with legislation that would protect the government’s ability to collect a variety of business and credit card records and to monitor terrorism suspects with roving wiretaps” set to expire 31 December 09.
Carrie Johnson and Ellen Nakashima report:
The three provisions set to expire Dec. 31 allow investigators to monitor through roving wiretaps suspects who may be trying to escape detection by switching cellphone numbers, obtain business records of national security targets, and track “lone wolves” who may be acting alone on behalf of foreign powers or terrorist groups. The government has not employed the lone wolf provision, but department officials want to ensure they can do so in the future.
Obama’s approach to electronic surveillance has been closely watched since he shifted positions during the presidential campaign last year, casting a vote to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act over the objections of liberals in his party. That law granted telecommunication companies immunity from lawsuits by Americans who argued that their privacy had been violated in an electronic data collection program….
The Justice Department inspector general issued blistering audits in 2007 and 2008, finding, for instance, that FBI agents had used demands for information known as national security letters in many cases where they were not authorized and had employed other tools called exigent letters to quickly obtain data without proper follow-up.
“As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama said he would take a close look at the law, based on his past expertise in constitutional law,” Devlin Barrett reported at the Associated Press. “Back in May, President Obama said legal institutions must be updated to deal with the threat of terrorism, but in a way that preserves the rule of law and accountability,” adding:
The lone wolf provision was created to conduct surveillance on suspects with no known link to foreign governments or terrorist groups. It has never been used, but the administration says it should still be available for future investigations.
“It should come as no surprise that President Barack Obama supports renewing the provisions, which were part of the Patriot Act approved six weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks,” David Kravets writes at Wired. “As an Illinois senator in 2008, he voted to allow the warrantless monitoring of Americans’ electronic communications if they are communicating overseas with somebody the government believes is linked to terrorism. That legislative package, which President George W. Bush signed, also immunized the nation’s telecommunication companies from lawsuits charging them with being complicit with the Bush administration’s warrantless, wiretapping program. That program was also adopted in the wake of Sept. 11.”
It has disclosed the amount spent by the 16 intelligence agencies — $47.5 billion in 2008 alone — but those figures did not incorporate the military’s intelligence activities, officials said.
Blair, in a conference call with reporters, explained that his four-year strategy was not set up on the “traditional fault line … between military intelligence and national intelligence.”
“This whole distinction between military and non-military intelligence is no longer relevant,” Blair said.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on the U.S.A. Patriot Act [sic] next week.