by Andy May
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has accused ExxonMobil of lying to the public and investors about the risks of climate change according to the NY Times and has launched an investigation and issued a subpoena demanding extensive financial records, emails and other documents.
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Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The Register has published a fascinating video about Quantum Computing, an interview with D-Wave, a company which manufactures what they claim are quantum computing systems.
According to The Register;
It turns out that there are three broad categories of problem where your best bet is a quantum computer. The first is a Monte Carlo type simulation, the second is machine learning, and the third is optimization problems that would drive a regular computer nuts – or, at least, take a long time for it to process.
An example of this type of optimization problem is this: Consider the approximately 2,000 professional hockey players in North America. Your task is to select the very best starting line-up from that roster of guys.
There are a lot of variables to consider. First there’s all the individual stats, like how well they score, pass, and defend. But…
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Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The Australian Attorney General George Brandis has stirred the climate pot down under, by asking a simple yet devastating question.
“If the science is settled, why do we need research scientists to continue inquiring into the settled science?” Brandis said on Tuesday.
“Wouldn’t it be a much more useful allocation of taxpayers’ money and research capacity within CSIRO to allocate its resources to an area where the science isn’t settled?”
The attorney general’s argument is similar to that used by the CSIRO chief executive, Larry Marshall, who said in an email to staff in February that further work on climate change would be reduced because climate change had been established.
“It doesn’t seem to me that the science is settled at all but I’m not a scientist,” he said. “I’m agnostic, really, on that question. But I can follow a logical argument.
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Guest essay by Jim Steele
Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University and author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism
Useful climate science helps humanity adapt to natural weather patterns and plan for future extremes. Minimizing risk would be a wise course of action, but too often humans have ignored nature’s indicators of high flood risk and continue to build on flood plains that inevitably place them in harms way. By the 1950s most private companies in America got out of the flood insurance business due to heavy losses from natural flooding. In 1968 the US government unwisely decided to subsidize flood insurance and created the National Flood Insurance Program. One unintended consequence was subsidies encouraged people to continue building in flood plains. As a consequence, by 2014 the program was $24 billion in debt. Recent legislation has attempted to raise flood insurance…
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Every chance is your last, until the next one
For half a century green activists have insisted that their historical moment – and a particular generation – are the planet’s last hope.
The thing about green activists is that they’re drama queens. Nothing is ever just a problem – it’s a crisis. Nothing can ever be solved with a straightforward technological fix. Instead, billions of people must be bullied into changing their lifestyles – and scary new systems of globalgovernance must be imagined.
Green crusaders don’t see themselves as doing their small part to make this complex world a bit better here and a little more sane there. Modest, steady, incremental improvement doesn’t interest them.
They yearn, instead, for high-profile roles on the world stage – clad in superhero costumes and accompanied by portentous music. The visions in their head as they fall asleep at night are of televised ceremonies in which medals are draped around their necks…
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Environmental activists have been declaring that the sky is falling since at least 1948. We aren’t the first generation to care – or to be raised on eco scare stories.
We tend to ignore history in our daily lives. Which is too bad, because historical perspective is one of our best defenses against foolish ideas.
Once we realize that a long line of people have insisted, in recent decades, that we’re on the brink of environmental disaster, today’s climate doomsayers suddenly snap into perspective.
Absolutely nothing new is going on here. Today’s hysteria, exaggeration, and emotionally manipulative language are part of a larger pattern that stretches back decades.
Human society has always had its Chicken Littles, its risk-averse individuals, its glass-half-empty personalities, and its drama queens. Those people have every right to participate in societal discussions. But…
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The disgraced former head of the UN smears skeptics while ignoring the dubious motivations of green opportunists.
When Kofi Annan’s term as Secretary General of the United Nations ended in 2006, few tears were shed. To quote the Economist, the 2004 Iraq oil-for-food scandal had “threatened to discredit the whole United Nations system and almost brought down Kofi Annan.” A UN-appointed panel uncovered $1.8 billion in illegal payments and concluded that Annan had made little effort to address this corruption. For good measure, Annan’s son was also implicated in the mess.
In other words, Kofi Annan has no business talking morality to the rest of us. But there he is, a career UN bureaucrat with a checkered past, being interviewed about climate change in the Guardian as though he has something original to contribute. The article is headlined: Kofi Annan: ‘We must challenge climate-change…
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This past week, on different sides of the Atlantic, two letters were published in two newspapers. Exhibit A appeared yesterday in the Wall Street Journal under the headline: No Need to Panic About Global Warming (backup link here). It was signed by 16 prominent individuals. Among them are:
- William Kininmonth, a former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology
- Hendrik Tennekes, a former director of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Service
- Claude Allegre, a geochemist who used to lead the Institute for the Study of the Earth at the University of Paris
- Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric sciences professor at MIT
- Nir Shaviv, a professor of astrophysics at Hebrew University in Jerusalem
- Antonio Zichichi, an Italian nuclear physicist who is currently president of the World Federation of Scientists
These gentlemen are not fringe characters. Between them they have published hundreds of peer-reviewed…
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Managers, journals, and colleagues are all averse to the possibility that scientific fraud is being committed.
We’re told that science is special. Not only is it based on evidence rather than dogma – so goes the argument – it contains a built-in mechanism that identifies and corrects errors. How marvelous.
But what if this is one of those blind faith mantras that has been repeated so frequently everyone believes it’s true irrespective of the actual facts? Eugenie Samuel Reich is the author of Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World. In telling the story of a young physicist named Jan Hendrik Schön, her book demonstrates that there’s nothing systematic or straightforward about how the scientific record comes to be corrected.
Lots of people tried and failed to reproduce Schön’s work, in the process wasting months of their lives and significant portions…
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