Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dilbert and Curry Explain Lack of Science in Climate


Dr Judith Curry is a leading Climate Scientist.  She is in the considered to be in the fallacious 97% consensus statistic that climate scientists that support global warming. However, the crazies in climate alarmist POLITICS consider her to be a dangerous climate skeptic.  Here is her perspective.

Dr. Judith Curry Explains The Reality Of Bad Climate Science And Bad Politics

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Gore's Climate Sequel Is A Snoozer

From an article in August 4, 2017 issue of The Week magazine, Jordan Hoffman said in TheGuardian.com, "barely finds a way to keep viewers awake.  It's more a portrait of Gore than a call to arms."

Emjily Atkin in the NewRepublic.com said, "The former vice president is, of course, the most polarizing figure in climate politics -- disputed on the Left, and widely loathed on the Right."

The Week summarizes the movie as a middling sequel to the 2006 An Inconvenient Truth.

     They say the sequel is always worse than the original, but Al Gore’s first film set the bar pretty low. Eleven years ago, “An Inconvenient Truth” hyped global warming by relying more on scare tactics than science. This weekend Mr. Gore is back with “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.” If the trailer is any indication, it promises to be more of the same.
     The former vice president has a poor record. Over the past 11 years Mr. Gore has suggested that global warming had caused an increase in tornadoes, that Mount Kilimanjaro’s glacier would disappear by 2016, and that the Arctic summers could be ice-free as soon as 2014. These predictions and claims all proved wrong.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/al-gores-climate-sequel-misses-a-few-inconvenient-facts-1501193349

New York Times Is Engaged in Climate Fraud

The New York Times said yesterday that heatwaves in the past were “virtually unheard of in the 1950s”, temperatures approaching 130 degrees didn’t used to occur, and summer temperatures have shifted towards more extreme heat.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/28/climate/more-frequent-extreme-summer-heat.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1 

Every single claim in the article is patently false, and the exact opposite of reality. The authors intentionally started their study in a cold period, after the extreme heat of the 1930’s.

https://realclimatescience.com/2017/07/new-york-times-shifts-towards-extreme-climate-fraud/

Oren Cass in City-Journal.org reporting of this kind of hyperventilating said, "What hysterical nonsense."

Jonah Goldberg in NationalReview.com said, "The public remembers past doomsday predictions about environmental catastrophies that didn't happen."

In fact even atmospheric scientist Michael Mann said in WashingtonPost.com, "Climate doomism in fact can be just as destructive as climate-change denial"

In US, Belief in Creationist View of Humans at New Low

The percentage of U.S. adults who believe that God created humans in their present form at some time within the last 10,000 years or so -- the strict creationist view -- has reached a new low. Thirty-eight percent of U.S. adults now accept creationism, while 57% believe in some form of evolution -- either God-guided or not -- saying man developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life.
  • 38% say God created man in present form, lowest in 35 years
  • Same percentage say humans evolved, but God guided the process
  • Less-educated Americans more likely to believe in creationism

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Nearly Everyone Will Develop a Psychological Disorder

According to a July 14, 2017 article in Scientific American mental illnesses are so common that almost everyone will suffer at least one diagnosable mental disorder at some point in their lives. Most of these people will never receive treatment. At any time, approximately a quarter of the population experience psychological distress severe enough to impair functioning at work, school or in their relationships. Recent National surveys suggested that close to half the population, would experience a mental illness at some point in their lives.

In a new study, published earlier this year in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that if they follow people and screen them regularly using simple, evidence-based tools, the percentage of people who develop a diagnosable mental illness at any point in their lives jumps to well over 80 percent.

The latest research suggests, for the most common psychological complaints, the disorder is often short-lived, of lesser severity or self-limiting. It is not a livelong ailment.

Even short-lived or self-limiting individuals with mental illness need support.

Three years ago Mental Health America launched a Web-based tool (click here) to allow individuals to discreetly screen themselves for possible psychological disorders. Since then over two million people have used the tool, with over 3,000 people a day now logging on to determine if they may have a condition that could benefit from treatment.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/mental-illness-is-far-more-common-than-we-knew/?WT.mc_id=SA_MB_20170719 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dr Novella Gives Skeptical Opinion of Low Cal Drinks

According to Dr Steven Novella in his blog post, New Review of Artificial Sweeteners, July 19, 2017,
If you are trying to lose weight replacing sugary drinks with low calorie drinks can be a helpful part of your overall strategy. It will not be a panacea, or make weight loss easy. The research shows the most effective strategies involve making permanent changes to your lifestyle regarding food consumption and exercise. Avoiding sugary drinks can be part of those lifestyle changes, and you should not fear drinking LES because of an alleged backfire effect. The research, including this recent review, does not show such an effect in humans.
He clarifies this conclusion as follows:
I think the bottom line is that weight loss is difficult and complex. . . There are many variables, and no study will ever be able to control for all of them. The net effect of consuming LES vs sugary drinks or water is likely dependent on the individual and the situation. But I do think we can draw a couple of conclusions from all the available research. 
The first question is this – is there a health or weight disadvantage to consuming sugar? I think the answer here is a clear yes. Sugary drinks contain many calories that add to total calorie consumption and are counterproductive if your goal is calorie control for weight management. Replacing high calorie sugary drinks with low calorie drinks is therefore advantageous.
The second question is this – is there an unintended backfire effect to consuming LES, because it tricks the brain into being more hungry or some other hormonal or metabolic effect? Here I think the answer is probably no,. . . Randomized controlled trials in humans supersede cohort studies and animal studies in addressing this question. Those studies find, if anything, a modest benefit to consuming LES.. . The randomized trials clearly do not show any disadvantage – no backfire effect.
https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/new-review-of-artificial-sweeteners/

Conciousness

In late April, an editor of Slashdot raved about a TED talk that he had just watched. We tried to find that talk, but it was never posted by people at TED.  Finally, we received notice that it was available. Alhough we are a TED talk junkies but we agree with the editor at Slashdot, this presentation is thought provoking.

Right now, billions of neurons in your brain are working together to generate a conscious experience -- and not just any conscious experience, your experience of the world around you and of yourself within it. How does this happen? According to neuroscientist Anil Seth, we're all hallucinating all the time; when we agree about our hallucinations, we call it "reality." Join Seth for a delightfully disorienting talk that may leave you questioning the very nature of your existence.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Climate Wackos Are Doubling Down

      Governor Brown isn't the only hysteric on the Climate Alarmist wacko bench.  According to Dr Judith Curry, American climatologist and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the New York Magazine in its article the Uninhabitable Earth has even the proponents of Anthropogenic Global Warming crying "this guy is nuts.".  

     According to Curry, 
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/07/17/alarm-about-alarmism/
The climate change debate has entered what we might call the “Campfire Phase”, in which the goal is to tell the scariest story. – Oren Cass (twitter)

She adds, "What is technically wrong with the NYMag article? Andy Revkin pretty much sums it up perfectly with this tweet"
Scariest stuff isn’t worst-case science; it’s bad fit of @deepuncertainty & time scales with indiv. & collective human risk/response traits.

Apart from the predictable takedowns by the AGW ‘unconvinced,’ there has been substantial resistance to the NYMag article from elements of what is usually regarded as the ‘alarmed’ contingent:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Governor Brown Is Clueless Regarding Climate Change

      California Governor Brown and Senate Leader Kevin de Leon have demanded and Californian’s have paid billions of dollars in Cap and Trade taxes (over $5 billion to date) and higher cost renewable energy mandated use (state electric rates 50% higher than U.S. average)  to meet globally irrelevant and meaningless state greenhouse gas reduction targets.
      Brown recently proclaimed that China is “leading” the way in fighting global climate change and made a recent trip to China to discuss climate change issues demonstrate how completely clueless and disconnected he is from reality.
      China is planning to build more than twice as many coal plants in the next decade as the U.S. has in operation today. According to the Global Coal Plant Tracker these 1,600 coal plants would expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent.”
      Under the absurd Paris Climate Accord Agreement provisions China and India, two of the largest CO2 emitters are allowed to increase future CO2 emissions by as much as they want until year 2030 and even in that year no commitment to any future reduction is provided.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/07/13/new-york-times-worlds-nations-building-huge-numbers-of-new-coal-plants-despite-emissions-growth/

      The Carbon Majors Report report found that more than half of global industrial emissions since 1988 can be traced to just 25 corporate and state-owned entities. Chinese coal was 4x more than the next contributor. The report says if fossil fuels continue to be extracted at the same rate over the next 28 years as they were between 1988 and 2017, says the report, global average temperatures would be on course to rise by 8-def F by the end of the century. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Surviving the Misinformation Age

David Helfhand talks the problem, but not the solution.  I guess you have to read his book


He discusses the seriousness of the Misinformation problem of the Internet. Helfhand says,
"The internet misinformation damages our thinking and our beliefs. Even skeptics aren't immune from believing falsehoods they read online."
David J. Helfand, a faculty member at Columbia University,is the author of nearly 200 scientific publications and has trained 22 PhD students, He served as President & Vice-Chancellor from 2008-2015.of Quest University Canada. He is also recent completed a four-year term as President of the American Astronomical Society. His first book, A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age appeared earlier in 2016. He is a Fellow of CSI.

This talk took place at CSICon on Saturday, October 29th, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Paris Accord Hypocrisy

When China halted plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants this year, it seemed to confirm Beijing’s new role as a leader in the fight against climate change. However, new data on the world’s biggest developers of coal-fired power plants indicates a different situation. China’s energy companies will build almost half of the new coal generation expected to go online in the next decade.



Over all, 1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries, according to Global Coal Plant Tracker. These new plants expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent and make it nearly impossible to meet the goals set in the Paris Climate Accord whose target is to limit the increase in global temperatures below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.from pre-industrial levels. Coal fired plants are the biggest single contributor globally to the rise in carbon emissions.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Certainly Trump Has Dangerous Mental Problems

Surely, no one who has seen Trump's recent Tweet with him beating CNN person, can ignore this behavior as not dangerous.  The question is how long should the country tolerate this man?  However, his supporter seem oblivious.  

Adam Roberts says in his July 2, 2018 WIRED article,  The President Does Not Lie Like You and Me
https://www.wired.com/story/president-trumps-lies-and-untruths/?mbid=nl_7217_p1&CNDID=48648177 
To Trump and his followers, it doesn’t matter if we can’t believe the President as long as they ensure we can’t believe anyone else, either. Sure, the apotheosis of all this will make traditional governance—passing laws, making treaties, regulating in the public interest—impossible. But the people in charge will be able to do all kinds of other stuff while no one’s watching, or while no one can see. They can change regulations to make them more favorable to allies and donors. They can figure out how to suppress their opponents’ voters. They can embed moneymaking enterprises into governance. The tsunami of lies will recede, leaving behind only the swamp.
Trump has become such an international embarrassment that almost everyone is just trying to ignore him.  What is scary is how Putin is going to play Trump like a fiddle.  Trump's ego is so far out in front of him, Putin only needs to know one tune. Who knows what lullaby Trump responds in return.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Global Warming BS

We routinely see misrepresentations of global warming.  Few commentators seem interested in sharing the facts.  It appears discussion regarding global warming are extreme with highly polarized claims.  So let offer a very brief summary about what is real.

Global Warming is Caused by Humans:  That is a lie!
The planet has been heating up and freezing for millennia, long before any human was present.  Most recently we have the warm period around 1000 AD and the little ice age around 1800.  The planet is currently warming up after the little ice age.

However, in the late twentieth century the warming seems to have accelerated.  Nearly all scientists agree that humans are responsible for this change through the increased additions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Global Warming is a hoax:  That is a lie!
Same comment as above.

Virtually all scientists agree that the planet is warming and increases in greenhouse gases are the major factor.  This is the case where the science is not disputed.

The Paris Accord can halt Global Warming:  Not Likely
Nothing in the Paris accord will reduce the continued increase is human produced greenhouse gases.  India and China are expected to continue increasing their output of significant greenhouse gases, more than equal to the rest of the world combined.

The posturing by various world governments is mostly for show, including the US's withdrawal.

Climate Models provide a good idea of future warming:  That is a lie
The climate models which have been the basis of much of the global warming hysteria are hugely wrong.  In the last two decades, they have forecasted a 2 to 3 times greater temperature anomaly than actually occurred.

There was an 18 year hiatus in temperature increase that the models totally missed and still have not explained.  The only thing we feel reasonably assured is that the temperature of the planet is increasing, but no where near at the rate the alarmist predicted.

Sea levels are rising:  That is true
Warmer water occupies greater volume.  The seas have been rising at a constant rate since measurements began before the industrial age.  There has been no accelerated rate of increase in recent years.

Polar bears are in danger of extinction:  No one knows
In the last twenty-five years the numbers of polar bears have been increasing.

Weather extremes are getting worse:  Not true
The numbers of tornadoes and hurricanes have been decreasing.

Evidence for these comments can be found on this blog along with adequate reference to sources.
.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mass Hallucinations and Shoddy Journalism

      About 15 years ago, we posted our research of the Bell Witch Legend on-line.  At that time there were NO skeptical examinations of the legend.  It was a good candidate for our work.  The legend was reported to have occurred in Adams TN, which was a forty-five minute car ride from our office. We also read somewhere on the Internet that this Legend was the most documented of any similar occurrence.  However, researching this legend taught us a very valuable lesson -- always trace reports to the "source".  If a report does not identify its basis then one should discard it as strictly opinion and not evidence.

       We found lots of reports of the Bell Witch legend.  It was a very popular story in Middle Tennessee.  Almost none of these reports identified their source.  Every one that did give reference, pointed to only one source -- an 1894 novel by Marvin Ingram, a newspaper man who had a colorful background in "Enquirer type" reports.  He was reporting on an event that occurred three generation prior and for which no eye-witnesses existed.  It didn't take a rational mind very long when reading this novel to ascertain that the whole thing is "poppycock." Nevertheless, that never hindered the spreading of the legend.  Those who want to believe do so regardless of lack of evidence.

     The propensity to exaggerate and report in hyperbolic terms with minimal concern for "facts" is big business.  The king of the 'Alternative' facts is the "Exaggerator-in-Chief" who occupies the White House.  It is almost comical when he points the finger at popular media sources for their "yellow" journalism.  Nevertheless, like it or not, he has a valid point.

      Pull up any popular media website and it is packed with "click bait" -- boring stories with explosive titles or lead-in paragraphs, mostly by advertisers who have paid for internet real estate.  The websites could care less.  They do not realize (or maybe don't care) that these garbage articles "throw mud" on their entire website and diminish their credibility. 

      Robert Bartholomew writes in the Skeptic Magazine 22.1, AN OUTBREAK OF MASS HALLUCINATIONS AND SHODDY JOURNALISM: Why We Need Skepticism More Than Ever, about a mysterious epidemic of hallucinations which was reported to have broken out in Oregon in October of 2016, media outlets around the world portrayed the story as a baffling medical mystery. There’s only one problem, like the story of the Bell Witch, -- it never happened.  https://goo.gl/9SPqNU 

     Bartholomew concludes
What does this episode tell us about the state of journalism in the 21st century? Most sites simply carried the initial breaking news story, never bothering to verify it or contact authorities for clarification. In fact, when the Coos County Sheriff suspended his investigation into the episode on October 27th, local media outlet KCBY-TV continued to maintain that the Department had closed its inquiry into the “five people [who] showed symptoms of hallucinations. This is a story of two outbreaks, the first involving mass suggestion, while the other was even more concerning: an outbreak of shoddy journalism.
      As far as we are concerned, the only thing which is new is the ease at which garbage spreads via the internet and chain email letters, and that it has reached the highest office in America. In Trump's proclivity to throw mud he diminishes his credibility in the eyes of the world and that in turn hurts us all. That is no hallucination.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Chiropractors are Bullshit

We try to keep the posts on this blog relatively fact-based with a minimum of opinion-based article referrals, but this article that we scraped off of Slashdot caught our eye with its catchy title, "Chiropractors are Bullshit". Since it concurs with our general experience with chiropractors and with the skeptical medical community, we decided to read the article.  You can find it at https://theoutline.com/post/1617/chiropractors-are-bullshit 

After reading the article we said, "The article pretty much tells it like it is and offers good advice.  Maybe its good to refer to it on our blog.  But who or what is 'TheOutline.com'?  Are they credible or are we being lured by another smartly crafted fake reporting website?"

We did our usual pro vs con research and found very little.  The organization appears to be less than a year old.  So this is a case of -- we agree with the chiropractic report, but caveat emptor

From a report in the Wall Street Journal we found
The Outline, is a new publication from a former Bloomberg and Verge editor, Joshua Topolsky, who says he wants to establish a next-generation version of The New Yorker while also fixing many of the ills facing digital publishing and advertising.
whatever that means.  It continues
Topolsky says, It is aiming for a smart, highbrow readership -- an audience that falls somewhere between traditional brands like the New York Times and digital natives like BuzzFeed. We want to help people discover things, and keep moving. We don’t want to rewrite lots of stories or just do hot takes.”

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Blog Score Better Than Scientific Articles

According to Daniel Lakens, experimental psychologist at the Human-Technology Interaction group at Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands who has tried to measure blogs and journal article on some dimension.
Blogs, on average, score better on some core scientific values, such as open data and code, transparency of the peer review process, egalitarianism, error correction, and open access. It is clear blogs impact the way we think and how science works.  There is no intrinsic reason why blogs should have higher scientific quality than journal articles. It’s just that the authors of most blogs I read put some core scientific values into practice to a greater extent than editorial boards at journals. 
 
Read his argument at 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Days of "Trust Me" Science Over?

In a 228-194 vote the House of Representatives have voted 1) to require that data used to support new regulation be released to the public and 2) to require any scientific studies be replicable.  What a novel idea!

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr1430/text

According to Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas,
The days of 'trust me' science are over.  In our modern information age, federal regulations should be based only on data that is available for every American to see and that can be subjected to independent review. That’s called the scientific method.
The bill would allow anyone who signs a confidentiality agreement to view redacted personal or trade information in data.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Followup Letter From Lindzen to Trump

A follow-up (see earlier post) letter from Professor Lindzen and notable climate scientists to President Trump outline some of the issues with the climate propaganda.
  • The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) no longer claims a greater likelihood of significant as opposed to negligible future warming,
  • It has long been acknowledged by the IPCC that climate change prior to the 1960’s could not have been due to anthropogenic greenhouse gases.   Yet, pre-1960 instrumentally observed temperatures show many warming episodes, similar to the one since 1960, for example, from 1915 to 1950, and from 1850 to 1890. None of these could have been caused by an increase in atmospheric CO2,
  • Model projections of warming during recent decades have greatly exceeded what has been observed,
  • The modelling community has openly acknowledged that the ability of existing models to simulate past climates is due to numerous arbitrary tuning adjustments,
  • Observations show no statistically valid trends in flooding or drought, and no meaningful acceleration whatsoever of pre-existing long term sea level rise (about 6 inches per century) worldwide,
  • Current carbon dioxide levels, around 400 parts per million are still very small compared to the averages over geological history, when thousands of parts per million prevailed, and when life flourished on land and in the oceans.
 Click here for a copy of the letter.

It is important to note that the hysteria of the climate crazies is driven by climate models which significantly exceed (factor of 3) reality.  These models rely on arbitrary FUDGE factors (aka tuning) not based on any science

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Petition by Scientists to President Trump

      Dr. Richard Lindzen and 300 scientist petition President Trump to change course on an outdated international agreement that targets minor greenhouse gases, primarily, Carbon Dioxide for harsh regulation.  Click here for the letter with signatures https://cloudup.com/iHcBpTDmCNu
      Dr. Lindzen is an American atmospheric physicist who has published more than 200 scientific papers and book in the dynamics of the middle atmosphere, atmospheric tides, and ozone photo-chemistry. Until his retirement in 2013, he was Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a lead author of Chapter 7, "Physical Climate Processes and Feedbacks," of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Third Assessment Report on climate change. He has criticized the scientific consensus about climate change and what he has called "climate alarmism."

Mr. Diety

      Mr. Deity is a series of satirical short films that parody aspects of religion.  Premiering in December 2007, it was created by and stars Brian Keith Dalton. It is currently available on the Mr. Deity channel on YouTube. Dalton is a former Mormon.
     Mr. Deity often expresses annoyance with organized religion or human beings who claim to speak in his name.  As his character, he becomes very irate over being attributed as the author of the Bible, but not included in the editorial process.
     In a recent TubeCast, Evidence & Change, Part I and Part II, Mr. Diety asks “When the evidence for your beliefs is lacking, what then?”  After Part I was released, a viewer challenged Mr. Diety to respond to several criticisms, which Mr. Diety did in the following two videos: Response I and Response II.
     Only listen to these TubeCasts if you have an open mind willing to listen to logic.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Fake News and Fake? Science

      When I was working on a Ph.D. in Physics my work was to reproduce the findings of another researcher.  It was an extremely difficult experiment that required measurements on ultra-pure sodium metal at near absolute zero temperatures using microwave sensors to pull faint signals barely at the edge of noise levels.  The problem was made worse by the fact that duplicating another physicist's results no matter how impossible the experiment does not qualify one for a Ph.D.  I needed to make my own discoveries.  So when I failed to duplicate his results, I had no problem.  I was not going to be able to publish either way.  Little incentive exists in science to reproduce research.  
     One should not be surprised by a recent report in Nature that 
More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist's experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments. Those are some of the telling figures that emerged from Nature's survey of 1,576 researchers who took a brief online questionnaire on reproducibility in research.
http://www.nature.com/news/1-500-scientists-lift-the-lid-on-reproducibility-1.19970
The data reveal sometimes-contradictory attitudes towards reproducibility. Although 52% of those surveyed agree that there is a significant 'crisis' of reproducibility, less than 31% think that failure to reproduce published results means that the result is probably wrong, and most say that they still trust the published literature.
When researchers were asked why this problem exists most than 60% responded
pressure to publish and selective reporting — always or often contributed. More than half pointed to insufficient replication in the lab, poor oversight or low statistical power. A smaller proportion pointed to obstacles such as variability in reagents or the use of specialized techniques that are difficult to repeat.
In other words a rush to get a scoop and confirmation bias. I would add failure to adequate share the data, ALL OF IT, good and bad, and adequate documentation of technique.

       Nature has decided to take action against this problem.  They are introducing a checklist intended to prompt authors to disclose technical and statistical information in their submissions, and to encourage referees to consider aspects important for research reproducibility. 

http://www.nature.com/news/announcement-reducing-our-irreproducibility-1.12852

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

6 Subtle Characteristics of The Pathological Liar

      Have you ever communicated with a person who seemed to live in a fantasy world where everything said felt false or exaggerated? Have you ever had an experience with a person who always seems mysterious and nothing they say ever comes to fusion? Well…if so, you might have been dealing with a sociopath, narcissist, or even a pathological liar. This article will discuss 6 important characteristics we should all be aware of with the pathological liar.

Anybody we know?

Click the following to read the whole article by Támara Hill, MS, LPC
https://blogs.psychcentral.com/caregivers/2014/09/6-subtle-characteristics-of-the-pathological-liar/

Fake News

      Fake news has been around for a while.  You always needed to check your sources and make sure you were quoting from the actual/root source and not just repeating hearsay. What is new now is the occupants of the highest office in the land either can’t or refuse to separate reality from wishful thinking.  They have even invented a new bases of information – alternative facts. They have managed to destroy the credibility of authority figures. And Trump called Hillary a liar? Joseph Goebbels would be proud.

Fretting over fake news? It's only going to get worse Soon, not even experts will be able to tell the difference between fraudulent and genuine content. Ultimately, it comes down to the reputation of whoever created it. Feb 7, 2017

      If you’re worried about fake news, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Soon we may not be able to tell the difference between a fake video and a real one, even forensically. What we are seeing today is the tip of the iceberg.

Friday, February 10, 2017

AI Has an Eye on Your Job

      According to the TV commercials, WATSON is now doing taxes for H&R Block. As they say “There goes the neighborhood.”

      At a time when the Trump administration is promising to make America great again by restoring old-school manufacturing jobs, AI researchers aren’t taking him too seriously. They know that these jobs are never coming back, thanks in no small part to their own research, which will eliminate so many other kinds of jobs in the years to come, as well. At Asilomar, they looked at the real US economy, the real reasons for the “hollowing out” of the middle class. The problem isn’t immigration—far from it. The problem isn’t offshoring or taxes or regulation. It’s technology.

      The Future of Life Institute (FLI) is a volunteer-run research and outreach organization in the Boston area that works to mitigate existential risks facing humanity, particularly existential risk from advanced artificial intelligence (AI). Its founders include MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, and its board of advisors includes cosmologist Stephen Hawking and entrepreneur Elon Musk.

      Here is a link to a series of discussion videos. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-rCCy3FQ-GItDimSR9lhzw/feed

Monday, February 6, 2017

Be Aware of Seven Questionable Clinics

     In the age of fake news, illicit Internet pharmacies, and proposed rollbacks to healthcare regulations, it is perhaps not surprising that clinics offering unsubstantiated or poorly administered medical treatments seem to be on the rise. Medscape reached out to experts to get their thoughts on seven clinics with questionable practices that may be worth further scrutiny.

INTEGRATED MEDICINE (IM)
      It is defined as the combining of conventional and complementary and/or alternative medicine, such as acupuncture. Mark A. Crislip, MD, an infectious disease specialist in Portland, Oregon says, "Their defining characteristic is pseudo-medicine and -science."

      He continues, "When you offer worthless therapies for money, that's fraud in the real world. Fortune tellers convicted of defrauding people of their money because they're possessed by evil demons just have to open an integrative medicine clinic and cruise. They'll never get punished."

      David H. Gorski the managing editor or Science-based Medicine, which addresses unfounded medical practices and beliefs, and professor of surgery and oncology at the Wayne State University School of Medicine says that IM represents one of the most exasperating trends in contemporary healthcare. "It misleads by building upon established health practices."

ALTERNATIVE CANCER TREATMENT
      Numerous clinics that say that they can treat patients' cancer outside of the normal tools of scientifically based medicine. According to Dr Gorski, "The most common clinics are those that espouse vague notions that cancer is caused by contamination of the body and can thereby be defeated through extensive "detoxification" protocols involving dietary restrictions, supplements, and coffee enemas, such as the Gonzalez Protocol. Often these dietary protocols are given alongside experimental drugs."

      Even in cases where patients have not responded to conventional medicine, for whom untested and alternative treatments may seem worth a try, there is still a considerable risk. Dr Gorski said, "You might lose the chance to put your affairs in order. You might lose your fortune that you might otherwise have passed on to your family. You may think your symptoms are bad now, but it can always be worse."


CHELATION
      Chelation therapy is the process by which heavy metals are removed from the blood.  It's use has been extended to cancer and autism. Dr. Gorski said, "There's the naturopath use of chelation therapy, where they often claim that many diseases or chronic illnesses are due to undefined toxins that are heavy metals. Never mind that it can be potentially dangerous. It can cause hypocalcemia or hypomagnesemia and also cause death due to cardiac arrest. Basically, it's all risk and no benefit."

STEM CELL CLINICS
      Unlicensed stem cell clinics have been described as medicine's Wild West. These clinics deal primarily with unapproved adipose-derived stem cells administered in an experimental treatment of undetermined therapeutic value that many believe flaunts the US Food and Drug Administration's rules for what constitutes a biologic agent. Online advertising for stem cell clinics often uses highly misleading language downplaying risks and promoting their curative value for a host of conditions, including multiple sclerosis, aging, Parkinson disease, stroke, and spinal cord injury.


      Paul S. Knoepfler, PhD, a professor of cell biology and human anatomy at UC Davis School of Medicine and author of the book, Stem Cells: An Insider's Guide said,
"There is essentially zero concrete evidence from properly controlled studies that what they are selling is safe and effective."

KETAMINE CLINICS
      In 2000, small but highly questionable study reported that seven subjects with major depression significantly improved after IV treatment with ketamine. There are at least 15 randomized controlled published studies and close to 20 open-label studies that showed no efficacy.

     There has been increasing criticism of ketamine clinics, specifically surrounding the sometimes high payments they solicit from desperate patients and the fact that they are often operated by anesthesiologists and emergency department doctors with little to no experience dealing with major psychiatric disorders. 

"LOW T" TREATMENTS BRING BIG BUCKS
      The FDA approves testosterone replacement only for men who have low testosterone from disorders of the testicles, pituitary gland, or brain that cause hypogonadism. However, the pervasive direct-to-consumer "low T" advertising campaign has taken advantage of disease-mongering to extend treatment indications to often ambiguous symptoms associated with the normal aging process, such as decreased sense of vigor. They distort the truth without actually lying by exaggerating vague symptoms.


     In the last decade, prescriptions for testosterone have increased by 10- and 40-fold in the United States and Canada, respectively, with annual US sales alone to exceed $2 billion. Patients seeking out these clinics run the risk of being treated by practitioners who may not have the experience or interest to diagnose the true underlying causes of their symptoms, which may include depression, diabetes, or other common chronic diseases. Testosterone therapy has also been linked with an increased risk for venous thromboembolism and myocardial infarction, among other adverse outcomes.


     Bradley D. Anawalt, MD, chief of medicine at the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, and an expert in male reproductive endocrinology said, "It is helpful for men to know that daily exercise has many of the same benefits that are being advertised about testosterone therapy for 'low T,' including increased muscle and leanness, improved bone mass and strength, and for some men there is improved sexual function. 

MERCURY HYSTERIA PROMOTES FILING REMOVAL
      The fact that dental amalgam uses 50% metallic mercury content to bind silver, tin, and copper into a durable material commonly used in fillings may have come as a surprise to many
patients, who may be vaguely aware of mercury's role as a neurotoxin.  They fear that something theoretically deleterious for your health is being placed in their body.  It has led to the rise of amalgam filling removal clinics.


     According to Grant Ritchey, DDS, a dentist in private practice in Tonganoxie, Kansas, a contributor to the SBM blog, "If you have an amalgam filling, even if it's 20 or 30 years old, there is a small but measurable amount of mercury that's released by that filling every day. It is well, well below the threshold of safety, but you can measure it."


     Nevertheless, since the 1970s a growing movement attributes dental amalgam fillings to a wide variety of illnesses, from autism and multiple sclerosis to arthritis and Crohn disease. 

As a consequence, specialty amalgam removal clinics have formed to serve people who
believe their fillings are the source of their other health issues. 


     Ritchey said, "Some of what they do is science-based, but some of it is over the top. If they're making claims of curing disease or helping mitigate chronic illness, the evidence in the scientific literature does not support that at all."

    The American Dental Association still supports the continued use of dental amalgam. Nonetheless, dental amalgam use is falling globally, partly owing to continued fears and simple
cosmetic preferences for tooth-colored composite fillings. 


For the complete article follow http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/874296_print  

Friday, February 3, 2017

Skeptical Climate Scientists Coming In From the Cold

      In the world of climate science, the skeptics are coming in from the cold. Researchers who see global warming as something less than a planet-ending calamity believe the incoming Trump administration may allow their views to be developed and heard. This didn’t happen under the Obama administration, which denied that a debate even existed. Now, some scientists say, a more inclusive approach – and the billions of federal dollars that might support it – could be in the offing.

      “Here’s to hoping the Age of Trump will herald the demise of climate change dogma, and acceptance of a broader range of perspectives in climate science and our policy options,” Georgia Tech scientist Judith Curry wrote this month at her popular Climate Etc. blog.

      William Happer, professor emeritus of physics at Princeton University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is similarly optimistic. “I think we’re making progress,” Happer said. “I see reassuring signs.”

      Despite harsh criticism of their contrarian views, a few scientists like Happer and Curry have pointed to evidence that global warming is less pronounced than predicted. 

Read More at http://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2016/12/31/skeptical_climate_scientists_coming_in_from_the_cold.html

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trump Climate Scare

With the incoming Trump administration composed of climate skeptics the main stream media has gone into over-drive with their climate scare propaganda.  Tonight NBC nightly news reported that 2016 was the warmest since records have been kept and that it followed two years with temperatures warmer that previous year records.  They had Michael Mann state unequivocally that climate change was due to man's contribution to green house gasses.  The problem with this reporting is that while on the surface it has some portions of truth, it intentionally avoids telling the entire story.  The facts are relatively simple and backed by evidence to which most scientists agree.
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First, the planet's temperature appears to be warmer.  That is because we have just had a very severe El Nino event.  The same thing happened in 1998 with the same scary apocalyptic stories.  After that period the planet had 18 years of lower temperatures.  It appears that the same will occur after this latest El Nino event.  Temperatures of this last El Nino were higher than the 1998 because there appears to be a gradual warming of the planet.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Yellow Journalism

      Trump may have legitimate reasons to question stuff regarding irresponsible reports in the media.  Debugging “news” from the “Left” is likely to be as troublesome as our past experience with stuff from the “Right”

     According to CSO Online which provides news, analysis and research on a broad range of security and risk management topics, 
This event was poorly timed, managed, and quickly spun out of control with the help of media sensationalism and lack of media cyber-savvy.

      They reported in Grizzlygate - U.S. Government evidence falls short in blame on Russian hackers on January 04, 2017

http://www.csoonline.com/article/3154249/security/grizzlygate-u-s-government-evidence-falls-short-in-blame-on-russian-hackers.html?idg_eid=33205d40782746a555a1d37904cc4223&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CSO%20After%20Dark%202017-01-04&utm_term=cso_after_dark

     In their Joint Analysis Report (JAR), the DNI, FBI, and DHS they named a large number of common hacker tools in use by individuals and groups worldwide. Most of the tools (Neutrino, PAS tool web kit, for example) and techniques (phishing, web page spoofing to harvest credentials) are not unique to the Russian APT 28 and APT 29 actors who conducted the GRIZZLY STEPPE intrusions. 

     Even worse the JAR opens with the following statement: “This report is provided “as is” for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this advisory or otherwise."

     Nevertheless, this lack of warranty did not dissuade The Washington Post on Dec. 30, 2016, post the headline and its accompanying story: “Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, U.S. officials say.emails).