Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Louisiana Gal

The climate denial industry is out to dupe the public. And it's working

Copenhagen climate conference

Think environmentalists are stooges? You're the unwitting recruit of a hugely powerful oil lobby – I've got the proof

by George Monbiot

When you survey the trail of wreckage left by the climate emails crisis, three things become clear. The first is the tendency of those who claim to be the champions of climate science to minimize their importance. Those who have most to lose if the science is wrong have perversely sought to justify the secretive and chummy ethos that some of the emails reveal. If science is not transparent and accountable, it's not science.

I believe that all supporting data, codes and programmes should be made available as soon as an article is published in a peer-reviewed journal. That anyone should have to lodge a freedom of information request to obtain them is wrong. That the request should be turned down is worse. That a scientist suggests deleting material that might be covered by that request is unjustifiable. Everyone who values the scientific process should demand complete transparency, across all branches of science.

The second observation is the tendency of those who don't give a fig about science to maximise their importance. The denial industry, which has no interest in establishing the truth about global warming, insists that these emails, which concern three or four scientists and just one or two lines of evidence, destroy the entire canon of climate science.

Even if you were to exclude every line of evidence that could possibly be disputed – the proxy records, the computer models, the complex science of clouds and ocean currents – the evidence for man-made global warming would still be unequivocal.

Lawyer Files Suit Against All Those Homeless People Near His Office

Iraqi cab driver was source for Iraq WMD claim, British MP says

By John Byrne

blair bush image 300 779722 Iraqi cab driver was source for Iraq WMD claim, British MP saysA British parliamentarian claimed in a report published Tuesday that an Iraqi cab driver was the source of an infamous claim made by Prime Minister Tony Blair that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

The member of Parliament, a member of the conservative British Tory Party, claims that he was told by a British intelligence official that the claim actually came from an Iraqi taxi driver, and that it was considered highly unreliable but was tacitly backed by Blair's government in public statements anyway.

According to the report, the taxi driver worked near Iraq's border with Jordan. The cab driver is said to have made the comments while transporting two British intelligence officers.

"Under pressure from Downing Street to find anything to back up the WMD case, [British intelligence services] were squeezing their agents in Iraq for anything at all," MP Adam Holloway wrote in his report, leaked to the British Daily Mail. "One agent did come up with something - the [claim that chemical weapons could be launched on British forces in Cyprus in] '45 minutes,' allegedly discussed in a high-level Iraqi political meeting."

British intelligence officers "were running a senior Iraqi army officer who had a source of his own, a cab driver on the Iraqi-Jordanian border. He apparently overheard two Iraqi army officers two years before who had spoken about weapons with the range to hit targets elsewhere in the Middle East."

More Americans believe in angels than humans’ role in global warming

By John Byrne

meltingice More Americans believe in angels than humans role in global warmingMore Americans believe in guardian angels than humans' role in global warming, according to recent polls.

A Pew poll released late last month found that just 36 percent of Americans believe humans are responsible for accelerating global climate change, which scientists say mushroomed after the industrial revolution due to humans' dependence on carbon-based fuels.

Carbon dioxide, which is produced by the combustion of oil, coal and other fuels, was ruled a "dangerous" threat to public health by the Environmental Protection Agency Monday. It increases the propensity of the earth's atmosphere to retain heat.

But a near-consensus from scientists doesn't have Americans convinced. The Pew poll found that while 57 percent believe that the earth's climate is changing, just 36 percent believe that humans are responsible. 77 percent believed that global warming existed in Pew's poll conducted in 2007.

The 36 percent who believe in human-caused climate change is fewer than the number of Americans who apparently believe they're protected by guardian angels, some 55 percent, according to a poll published in 2008.

The end of the Wash. Times and Rev. Moon's right-wing charity

Media Matters For America
Eric Boehlert

You'd think that somebody with a direct line to the Almighty, and tapped by Jesus to save mankind on Earth, would be able to come up with a better business plan for running a daily newspaper. But, alas, after nearly three decades of unrelenting financial losses, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a federal tax cheat, accused cult leader, and founder of the Unification Church, has decided to pull out. Actually, according to news reports, it's more like Moon's U.S. college-educated sons, as part of an internal family power struggle, have decided to finally cut off the endless stream of Asian church cash that's kept The Washington Times afloat.

With the announcement that 40 percent of the Times' staff is getting pink-slipped, and that the daily's no longer even going to bother with traditional who/what/where/when/why reporting, instead publishing an opinion-heavy publication that will be free of charge at a diminished number of local outlets, Times owners look like they're angling to be a Weekly Standard wannabe, churning out lots of predictable GOP Noise Machine opinion prattle. (Paging Andrew Breitbart!) What is clear is that the daily's days as a functioning newspaper are now over.

R.I.P. The Washington Times.

GOP bounceback plan

NASA cooks up ingredients for life

By Irene Klotz

Image: DNA

In a laboratory set up to simulate conditions in space, NASA scientists were able to produce a key component of RNA, which is found in the genetic makeup of all living organisms on Earth.

The experiment is part of a larger initiative to try to understand how the building blocks for life might have formed in space.

"We know they exist somehow in space, but we don't know how or where they form," said Stefanie Milam, an astrochemist at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

The team started with a sample of ice laced with pyrimidine, a ring-shaped molecule made of carbon and nitrogen. Pyrimidine is the basis of three nucleic acids, including uracil, which is found in ribonucleic acid, or RNA.

The ice sample was kept in space-like conditions, including extreme cold — about minus-340 degrees Fahrenheit — high radiation and a near vacuum.

The sample was then exposed to ultraviolet radiation, similar to what might happen when a dense molecular cloud is pierced by a cosmic ray or a beam of light from a passing star.

As the ice warmed, scientists found new materials formed, including uracil.

The Irrefutable Stupidity of Sarah Palin

Smirking Chimp
by Cenk Uygur

From time to time, I'll get into a debate with a right-winger about whether Sarah Palin is actually stupid or if liberals are just hopelessly biased against her. They claim this bias comes from the fact that liberals are scared of her electability, her charm, her looks, her femininity, her Christianity, her ability connect to the common man and her overall wonderfulness. So, the theory is that we have all collectively decided that she is the best Republican candidate in some secret liberal meeting and are conspiring against her because we are afraid of how brilliant and electable she really is.

Now, there are a couple of problems with this theory. There are no opinion leaders on the left with Rush Limbaugh-like authority who can command all other progressives to think the same thing and use the same arguments against one person. In other words, we all think she is stupid because she is in fact stupid, not because some liberal cabal told us to think that.

How come we don't call Newt Gingrich stupid? Or Dick Cheney or Kay Bailey Hutchinson or Elizabeth Dole or Dennis Hastert? And the list goes on and on of heinous and deplorable right-wingers who are not stupid. We don't make those charges against those people, because as much as we might not agree with them or like them, we know that they are not dullards. They're all clever in their own way. Mitt Romney is greasy, Michael Steele is a clown and Tom DeLay is dirty, but we don't go after their mental acuity like we do with Sarah Palin because they're not as dumb as her (not even Steele).

So, finally we get to the evidence. I thought I'd just do it here and be done with it. Then I can just point people to this post from now on and end this senseless argument.

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