Tag Archives: essay

A Quote from Jurassic Park: Life Imitates Art

Many years ago, in graduate school, I was an op-ed columnist for the school newspaper. I wrote about things totally-unrelated to the school, such as war, welfare, Israel, abortion, gun control, religion, and other topics – and I weighed in, once, on the potential for genetic engineering of humanity. (In going through these essays as a part of cleaning, it was entertaining to reread them; in some instances my views have not changed, while in others my views have altered significantly since that time – in some cases becoming diametrically opposite to what I used to believe.)

But I had been searching for one particular essay: Laws Must Lead, Not Lag, Technology. In it I hypothesized about gene editing technology and potential implications, and had been looking for it in light of many recent developments in gene sequencing and genetic engineering. So what did I predict in that 1993 essay? Here:

Genetic engineering portends even greater dilemmas. In the next 20 years, I can easily foresee the ability to “fix” fertilized human eggs. Imagine that a couple goes into the clinic where an egg is fertilized in vitro. The genes are then examined, and the defective ones (such as those for sickle-cell anemia, Huntington’s disease, Tay-Sachs syndrome, diabetes, a propensity for cancer, etc.) are fixed so that the child is flawless. This perfectly engineered egg is then implanted in the woman’s uterus.

And now we have news like this (link in original):

In the experiment, outlined in a paper in the journal Nature published Wednesday (Aug. 2), scientists essentially snipped a mutant gene known to cause a heart condition that can lead to sudden death.

The work is controversial because it showed that scientists could manipulate life in its earliest stages and that those changes would then be inherited by future generations, if the embryo were allowed to grow into a baby. (The embryo in question was destroyed.)

It also raised the tantalizing promise that the baby would be disease-free and would not transmit the disease to his or her descendants.

Did I call it, or what?

 

BETTER, STRONGER, FASTER

But there’s more in my (IMHO) prescient essay:

Suppose, 50 years down the road, we have learned enough to increase human strength, improve intelligence, and maybe even redesign some of the faulty or flawed systems in the human body.

And while some of this is still beyond our reach, I may have been pessimistic about 50 years; to wit this story China unveils gene technology to create SUPERHUMANS with hyper-muscular test-tube dogs:

The dogs, which are test tube bred in a lab, have twice the muscle mass of their natural counterparts and are considerably stronger and faster.

The canine genome has been especially difficult to engineer and replicate – but its close similarity to the human genome means it has long been the prize of geneticists.

Now the Chinese success has led to fears the same technology could be used to create weaponised super-humans – typifed in Marvel Comics by Captain America and his foes.

And from later in the article, the quote being from David King, director of Human Genetics Alert:

“That does set us on the road to eugenics. I am very concerned with what I’m seeing.”

An army of super-humans has been a staple of science fiction and superhero comics for decades – but the super-dog technology brings it closer to reality.

Genetically-engineered “supermen” have been a staple theme in sci-fi for years. For example, the “Augments” from Star Trek (bolding added):

The Augments were designed to be remarkably agile, five times as strong and twice as intelligent as a normal Human, resistant to sickness and with enhanced senses, possessing heart muscles twice as strong and lung efficiency fifty percent better. Their blood contained platelets capable of regenerating from any disease or toxin, which could be used to cure or revive medical subjects via transfusion. They also had twice the average lifespan.

They were joined in the next Star Trek series, The Next Generation, by another attempt to re-engineer humans and played a central role in several episodes of Enterprise. Or consider the “Sauron Supermen” from Jerry Pournelle’s Co-Dominion universe (bolding added):

Among the Empire’s many worlds is Sauron, where the culture has grown militaristic and adheres to a literal interpretation of the philosophy of Nietzsche, namely that “man is something to be surpassed.” In service of this aim, they engage in extensive genetic modification and eugenic breeding programs to turn themselves into supersoldiers known in the galaxy at large as the Sauron Supermen. Bristling under Imperial hegemony, in the 27th century they lead several worlds into open revolt.

 

SPLINTERED SPECIES

But there are implications beyond mere supermen. Once more, from my essay (bolding added):

[C]onsider the implications of such changes. Those who were engineered might not be able to interbreed with us “old style” humans. This is, biologically, a test for a new species. These “upgrades” would, quite literally, be a superior race. One might even say a Master Race.

Those persons who were “Homo Novii” could out-compete us “old styles” physically and mentally. Nations that progressed quickly in this process, perhaps mandating that all children born as citizens must be so engineered, would prosper far above those countries that did not do so. Would each nation have differing genetic goals, thus leading to the splintering of the human race?

Do we really understand just how dissimilar a DNA sequence has to be to qualify for species-hood? Consider that humans and chimpanzees share somewhere around 98% of DNA; factor in that “junk DNA” and other genetic mysteries are still – to my knowledge – not understood, that’s a line whose position is still uncertain. What would “fixing” genes en masse do? Like all limits, we truly won’t know we’ve crossed it… until we cross it. And, as I pointed out in my essay, different nations and cultures could pursue emphasizing different things – and even the same things, like increased strength, could be pursued by different gene sequences. Differentiated species are also seen in science fiction; consider The Moties, introduced in one of the best sci-fi books I’ve ever read, The Mote in God’s Eye. The Moties are a caste-system species, with differences so large most of these castes are different species.  And some of those variations in the book are sterile like mules; could mass-engineering of the human genome not only produce a new species, but sterilize it unintentionally?

These are unknown unknowns.

 

EUGENICS AND DEATH CAMPS

In the name of eugenics, white “progressives” in America sterilized women who were guilty of nothing more than being considered of inferior stock – i.e., not white. Whole genetic lines were extinguished in the name of “improving humanity”. The Shoah (Holocaust) was the first mechanized, industrial genocide; it was not the first such attempt to “improve” the race by genetics (e.g., the eugenics movement mentioned just before), and it was not the last. And we humans did this even though, scientifically, we are all the same species.

Just what would a truly superior – at least, by every stretch of what’s being improved – species do? Would it be a simple “old styles / inferiors” will not be permitted to breed and shunted to the edges of society like in the movie GATTACA, or would it be worse? Given that human nature is what it is, my bet would be the latter. Especially in light of…

 

MASTER RACES SHARE A COMMON TRAIT

So in two separate science fiction venues, Star Trek and the Co-Dominion universe, we find that superior abilities breeds superior ambitions (and doubtless other fiction-based examples exist). But we need not venture into science fiction to see this potential dangers of superiority, even if just a perceived superiority. One only need look at human history – history within living memory – for an example of those who desired to create a Master Race (bolding added):

Nazism was “applied biology,” stated Hitler deputy Rudolf Hess. During the Third Reich, a politically extreme, antisemitic variation of eugenics determined the course of state policy. Hitler’s regime touted the “Nordic race” as its eugenic ideal and attempted to mold Germany into a cohesive national community that excluded anyone deemed hereditarily “less valuable” or “racially foreign.” Public health measures to control reproduction and marriage aimed at strengthening the “national body” by eliminating biologically threatening genes from the population. Many German physicians and scientists who had supported racial hygiene ideas before 1933 embraced the new regime’s emphasis on biology and heredity, the new career opportunities, and the additional funding for research.

Atrocities happened, not only to Jews and gypsies and many others, but the manifest destiny belief of the Nazis – a belief that their destiny must, by definition on this finite planet, come at the expense of others – led to World War II. And referencing my above comment about Progressives in America, it’s time to recognize that the Nazis took many cues from them, and vice versa.

 

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

All around, on multiple levels, we are mucking with nature. To cite an example, Why Millennial Women Are Rejecting The Pill, apparently birth control pill use is linked to depression (bolding added):

Last year, the results of a study conducted by the University of Copenhagen of more than one million women over the course of 13 years confirmed a significant link between hormonal contraceptives and depression. Women taking combined oral contraceptives were 23 per cent more likely to be treated for it; those on the progestogen-only pill (known as the mini-pill) were 34 per cent more likely. Teens taking the combined pill were discovered to be at greatest risk, with an 80 per cent increased likelihood of being prescribed antidepressants.

 

The-pill

 

The pill has also been linked to other side effects (links in original article, bolding added):

In addition, before taking my classes, my female students were never told that the Pill scrambles the sensory messages that they subconsciously detect with their sense of smell: The hormones in the Pill make them more attracted to men with immune systems similar to their own. Those scrambled signals mean falling in love with a man while taking the Pill is risky. If the couple marries and tries to have children, the woman will have somewhat higher odds of repeated miscarriages and perhaps of having more-vulnerable offspring.

The pill may also have multi-generational effects.  According to this one article, Birth Control and Homosexuality: Unintended Consequences, the author discusses a possible – and with all fairness, unproven to my standards – link between women who took the pill and increased homosexual tendencies in grandchildren. Now, this essay is not about homosexuality as that topic is not germane to this discussion. But let’s posit for the sake of argument that the link described actually exists (I await independent verification), in addition to the more-rigorously-determined results, further up. This would mean that nature has cycles within cycles within cycles which should come as a surprise to nobody, and that even hormonal treatments – child’s play next to genetic engineering – could have remarkable and long-time-downstream consequences that are either unforeseen or, as the article claims, are swept under the carpet as “inconvenient”.

So let’s turn to genetic engineering., and ponder this one data point, New GMO Wheat May ‘Silence’ Vital Human Genes:

  • Research conducted on a new type of GM wheat showed with “no doubt” that molecules created in the wheat, which are intended to silence wheat genes to change its carbohydrate content, may match human genes and potentially silence them.

  • Experts warned that eating the wheat could lead to significant changes in the way glucose and carbohydrates are stored in the human body, which could be potentially deadly for children and lead to serious illness in adults.

  • Long-term studies are needed before the wheat is released into the environment and the human food chain – but a new review states that the risks are still not being adequately assessed.

While I would label this site on the “alarmist” side, I remember when this news first came out – it definitely was a topic of conversation on far-more-mainstream sites.

 

A POPULATION OF CLONES

One of the hallmarks of sexual reproduction is the variation created by the different combinations and variations of chromosomes and genes. Even with the same parents one can get differences; an extreme example is the famous twins whose mixed-race parents produced twin girls of wildly different genetic expressions:

 

twinsfeature

 

Across humanity there are countless variations of genes for superficial characteristics like hair, eye, and skin color; height, weight, and I have no doubts that even significant and functional things like muscle makeup, nerves, etc., have subtle differences between individuals and across demographic groups. But supposing that, thanks to such engineering, an entire population of a country and perhaps the world will have that variation in multiple genes brought to literally zero by deliberate engineering. What if there is a disease that happens to find that particular variation appealing? Just look at the natural variation that creates Sickle Cell anemia; the distorted red blood cells it creates are definitely a handicap, but strangely serve as an advantage in malaria-ridden countries as the mosquitoes carrying the disease shun carriers of that gene.

To just what pandemics are we opening ourselves after we have eliminated the natural variation that protects a breeding population as a whole? The same dangers lie in the hyper-optimized crops we now grow, leading to efforts like I read about many years ago to gather all the different natural-variation types of potatoes  to have the genetic variation stored just in case something happened to the primary crop potato stock.

Nearly 4,000 different varieties of potato can be found in the Andes, and scientists, economists, and historians are racing to record and preserve the genetic diversity to ensure it does not disappear as suddenly as did the Inca Empire.

The same effort is being made with other important staple crops, per memory of articles read over the years. The Wikipedia article on Crop diversity mentions potatoes again, specifically the Irish potato famine – but the threat applies to all monoculture plants and doubtless extends to animals in general.

Crop diversity loss threatens global food security, as the world’s human population depends on a diminishing number of varieties of a diminishing number of crop species. Crops are increasingly grown in monoculture, meaning that if, as in the historic Irish Potato Famine, a single disease overcomes a variety’s resistance, it may destroy an entire harvest, or as in the case of the ‘Gros Michel’ banana, may cause the commercial extinction of an entire variety. With the help of seed banks, international organizations are working to preserve crop diversity.

Note the comment about the extinction of an entire variety of bananas. And this threat would be doubly-so against humans who, unlike even “pure breed” plants and animals, would literally have the same genetic sequences in multiple places in their DNA rather than even the low-but-still-present natural variation of pure-breed, “optimized” organisms. And I remember, some years ago, reading an article – IIRC in National Geographic – about a species of fish that can reproduce both sexually and by cloning; it was pointed out that clones can colonize a territory far faster than by sexual reproduction, but specifically mentioned the risks I discuss: a population-wide potential susceptibility to a disease targeting a particular aspect of the identical-across-the-population clone genetics.

Given the adaptability of bacteria to antibiotics, which is an emerging threat to human health, and the adaptability of viruses (e.g., the HIV virus), would an entire human species of clones fall to a germ that “decoded” a vulnerability in the superhuman genetics? Discussing HIV specifically, consider that there are some people whose genetics give them heightened resistance, People with natural immunity to HIV may serve as basis for new vaccine (bolding added):

(Medical Xpress)—Despite urgent need and tremendous scientific effort, researchers have yet to discover a vaccine for HIV that adequately protects humans from infection. But some people don’t need one. For reasons not completely understood, there are individuals who have developed a natural immunity to the virus without any medical intervention.

The average person’s immune system will attempt to fight HIV, but normally the virus simply mutates and deflects the attack until it is able to replicate and spread unimpeded.

Faced with a population whose immune systems are quite literally identical thanks to the genetic enhancements, a disease that mutates with every reproduction will likely outstrip not only the immune systems, but the research to stop it. So imagine a scenario with an immensely communicable virus that has “learned” to exploit the population-wide vulnerabilities due to that population having a uniform same immune system response. Further, nature is an inexhaustible source of new-to-humanity viruses: Virus Crisis | National Geographic. We’ve been very lucky but, just playing the odds, you can only spin the cylinder so many times before landing on the full chamber. The non-fiction book The Hot Zone was a very disturbing read… and as I put the finishing touches on this essay, the airborne form of Yersinia Pestis (the Black Death) is ringing the alarm bell. Just imagine someone in the early stages of this infection getting on a plane and getting to New York; one patient is not a sure bet for a problem, but given the airborne nature of this variant, it’s enough to keep me up at night. Marburg, too,  is raising its head again, causing more alarms to sound. And that’s with natural variation in the population.

Black Death killed millions last time.  With crowded cities and within-hours intercontinental travel, is it time for it – or another nasty – to make a “world tour”? And how would cloned immune systems exacerbate that?

 

 

WHERE DID I CHANGE?

When I wrote that essay I was all gung-ho to proceed with engineering humans, and even desirous to be on the redesign team. On that score, I have flipped 180 degrees, and think this would be calamitous for multiple reasons outlined above. In a large part I attribute that switch not only to a broader awareness of information that a curious mind gathers plus having more mileage under my belt, but also – having had my religious beliefs return and my faith in G-d rise like the phoenix – I am much more appreciative of the subtleties of His work.

But more relevant to the subject at hand, what I predicted over two decades ago is just about upon us, so… now what?

 

THE QUOTE

About that quote I alluded to. No, it’s not this line by actor Jeff Goldblum, “Boy do I hate being right all the time” though it was an ego-driven contender. No, it’s this one, said earlier in the film:

The lack of humility before nature that’s being displayed here staggers me… genetic power is the most awesome force the planet’s ever seen but you wield it like a kid that’s found his dad’s gun… your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could they didn’t stop to think if they should.

Mankind has, from early days, tinkered with genes. Animals ranging from cows to dogs to horses now bear the mark of man’s alterations; plants grown for food and other purposes also do. But all of the changes made have been with the tools of selective breeding – i.e., survival of the fittest, with the “fitness” gradient determined by our needs – so the genetic shifts were made entirely with the tools that already existed in nature. We, rather than nature, provided that gradient, but we worked within the system. And even with that meddling, variation remains. Now, with genetic engineering, we are on the threshold of stepping outside that natural gradient system to alter the mechanisms of life itself.

As we sweep into possessing the ability to engineer humanity’s genetic code and realizing we could, and also ignore the implications and unintended consequences of whether we should, will our arrogance in playing with the very stuff of life itself again prove the wisdom of the ancient Greeks: Nemesis follows hubris. Will the quest to fulfill Nietzsche’s admonition and attain a biological advantage over other nations/groups become the epitaph of the human species, whether from ambition and the resulting warfare between the different variations of Homo Novii as well as against us old-fashioned Homo Sapiens, germs seizing the opportunity in a “target rich” environment of identically-responding hosts, or a simple inability to breed generation after generation?

 

nemesis

 

© 2017, David Hunt PE

© 2017, David Hunt PE

Revisiting “Climate Change”

I wrote in Climate Change: Why I no longer believe… that I had investigated and changed my mind on CO2 being a global crisis.  Let me repeat that – I started out believing it was a crisis, dug into the background and details, read materials unapproved of by those “in charge”, and changed my mind.  Part of that change included reading materials disapproved-of by many in my social circles.  (Aside: back in my college years people – including me – were proud to declare I read banned books!  Today, many of those same people now want to ban books – and websites and magazines.)  To any who would immediately dismiss me, I would counter with a simple question: When presented with broader, more in-depth evidence that – over time – paints a picture contradicting what you “know” is true, what do you do?  Which type of person are you?

Let me be clear and repeat: There is no question that the climate does change.  That’s very readable from both within humanity’s recorded history, as well as across geologic time (but if it has changed in the past independent of mankind – and it has, and markedly – how can anyone be so cocksure about it being manmade now?).  Speaking of humanity’s history, the Warmists are crowing “SEE!  SEE!” about the current hurricane season.  Certainly, between Harvey, Irma, Jose, and now Maria… and who knows how many more… it’s bad.  But to imply that there have never been catastrophic storms before?  In reply, try this article: Was The Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 Caused By Climate Change?  There have been catastrophic storms throughout not just modern history, but within all recorded history; further, archaeology into ancient times and even before mankind show massive storms occurred as well.  If it is mankind’s CO2 emissions that are the cause of Harvey, Irma, etc., what explains those others that came before we started industrializing – or even existed as the dominant species?

Now before I really dig in, I want you to look at the temperature data recording sites from the year 1900 shown graphically in this article.  Here’s one:

Image758_shadow.png-1-1024x777

 

Notice something?  There are almost none.  And this doesn’t even mention the fact that, in 1900 there were few official records kept.  For example, Africa, 11.7 million square miles, had about 20 temperature stations in 1900.  That’s about 600,000 square miles per temperature station; in comparison the contiguous United States is 3.1 million square miles.  If America had that same density of temperature stations, it would mean a grand total of… five.  Do you think the “average temperature” of the lower 48 could be accurately captured by five stations?  And not only are there literally millions of square miles of just land without such stations for most of human history, there is the entirety of the oceans, where temperatures (and other data) went unrecorded because there were no stations or instruments recording them.  Any proxy data, like tree ring data or ice cores or anything else are just that: proxies with significant error bars dwarfing the signal being sought.  As an added wrinkle, think about the temperatures of the atmospheric columns above the surface… and the fact there is no historical data there, either.

So if you then look me in the eye and, with a straight face mind you, tell me that with these gaping holes in the historical records an annual signal of .03 C or so can be pulled from the data when – on a daily basis there are temperature shifts that can be 1000 times the signal – then IMHO, speaking as an engineer with two Masters degrees and a graduate certificate in Six Sigma, you cannot remain credible in my eyes.

 

FRAUD

 

snake-oil 

I was searching for a very specific article on heat losses radiated back to space which, from memory, showed that the models assumed that as the earth heated up temperature losses to space would go down – something contrary to standard radiation heat transfer – but that actual measurements showed what would be expected by theory: heat radiation to space went up as temperatures went up.  I didn’t find it, but I did come across this post, Remote Sensing Systems apparently slips in a ‘stealth’ adjustment to warm global temperature data, from 2016.  What’s fascinating is the animated chart, which I’ve pulled:

 

rss-change-data-animation-09-to-10-2016

 

Now, stare at it.  What’s happening?  On the left, the data don’t change upward while on the right, they do.  So several observations to peg out the BS meter:

  1. If there were systematic adjustments because of a discovered bias in the data, those adjustments would likely be uniform across the X-axis.  They’re not, clearly not.
  2. Remember the signal being discussed: 3 C in a century, means .03 C per year.  Things don’t need much “adjustment” to create that (whether intentional or not).
  3. Where is the accounting for how the adjustment was made, and why it was necessary?  If you are an honest researcher, interested in truth, you can explain it – and to a level of detail where someone else is able to replicate it.

And more broadly, two excellent observations from Is the Earth’s Climate History Largely a Fraud? (bolding added):

So the Earth’s temperature “record” has been subjected to endless adjustments and alleged corrections by the very people who are trying to use that record to justify billions of dollars in payments to themselves. In any other context I know of, this is considered corrupt and perhaps felonious.

Observation trumps theory. What is extraordinary about our current situation is that the people who created the self-interested and politically-motivated models also control the temperature record, and they have been changing it to make their models, and their entitlement to billions in government grants, look better.
This is, in my opinion, the greatest scandal in the history of science.

Another adjustment here – hiding the 1940’s temperature spike: WMO : 1940 Warmth “Extraordinary” – Post 1940 Cooling “Real”.  And read the imaged letter, discussing reducing temperatures to conceal actual, real rises in temperature during that time.  This cannot be considered, by anyone with a scintilla of integrity, to be anything other than conspiracy to commit fraud.

Today’s temperature data may even be mismeasured due to new equipment and thus cannot be directly correlated to prior historical data; data may even be “adjusted” before they get to the official records:

Supposedly the Unadjusted data are ‘as measured’ values, but the NOAA-NCEI advises on its GHNC web page “…it is entirely possible that the source of these data (generally National Meteorological Services) may have made adjustments to these data prior to their inclusion within the GHCNM.”

If the data are even reported that is:

On average, 43% of the 1218 USHCN stations report no monthly temperatures, and are marked with an “E”. i.e. their data is missing. This is up from less than 11% in 1991.

Let’s not forget data that are outright fabricated; take a look at this animated graph, alternating between one image showing “record temperatures” in Africa, yet the other shows that there are vast swaths of land with no temperature recording facilities whatsoever.

 

noaafakeryseptember2017 

And a follow-up image from the same article, with satellite data showing normal temperatures in the very areas where “record temperatures” are being claimed.

 september_2017_map

In other words, there are no land-based temperature data, the satellite data show normal temperatures, so to create an impression of a crisis they make sh*t up.  Even when they have data, “cherry picking” happens; example:

 

2015-11-20-01-55-09_shadow

 

Sorry.  If you have data, you do not get to ignore it; if you have a broader scope of time scale, you do not get to cherry-pick the window you want when otherwise it would negate your claim; the data should lead to your conclusion, not the other way around.  All that acreage burned before the levels of eeeevil CO2 started rising, yet you claim CO2 is responsible for acres burned?  That is data a person with even a scintilla of integrity cannot ignore.  The person who drew this chart has an agenda, and truth is not on the list.  Another article about fires pre-CO2 rise. 

Hammering this home:

You have people feeding off of vast sums of money on the basis of what their models prognosticate; these same people control both the data sets used to validate the models as well as the measurement systems gathering said data, and on top of this restrict access to those models’ innards and that those data sets by others not “of the body”.

In any other field this would be prima facie evidence of a titanic conflict of interest and a strong inference of outright fraud (let alone the actual evidence thereof).  Yet the True Believers yawn.  Their priesthood is beyond reproach.

And while unrelated to climate, here’s an article, UN Body Edited Inconvenient Data Out Of Its Landmark Pesticide Study, about changing data to meet the desired conclusion, not the other way around (bolding added):

IARC scientists removed “multiple scientists’ conclusions that their studies had found no link between glyphosate and cancer in laboratory animals,” Reuters reported of the changes, noting that animal testing was largely how IARC justified its conclusion.

“In each case, a negative conclusion about glyphosate leading to tumors was either deleted or replaced with a neutral or positive one,” Reuters reported of the 10 major changes made to IARC’s draft document.

This happens so often there’s even a website – and probably more than one – devoted to exposing when papers get retracted.  So don’t you dare tell me that research is inviolate and incorruptible.  Don’t you dare tell me that people with PhDs are universally-angelic personalities unsullied by monetary or agenda-driven interests, or that governmental bureaucrats are titans of virtue seeking only the best public good.  And this applies to every subject and line of inquiry. 

 

THE IMMUTABLE HOLY WRIT OF CO2

 

cp2 ppm tattoo

(Image: Person who got the atmospheric CO2 level of their birth year tattooed on their arm.)

Speaking of True Believers in the new environmental paganism, consider this article, UN Admits It Can’t Link Global Warming To The Spike In World Hunger, Then Does It Anyway.  All bad things come from man’s emissions of CO2, even if it can’t be proven.  Believe absent proof: the very definition of a faith.  They’re now claiming that the Mexico earthquake is caused by climate change.  Seriously.

The Holy Writ is, essentially, that CO2 emissions will be a catastrophe, and nothing changes that final conclusion.  For example, consider the news that the models are over-predicting the warming; e.g., Climate change models may not have been accurate after all as study finds most widely overestimated global warming:

A new study in the journal Nature Climate Change looked at  117 climate predictions made in the 1990’s to the actual amount of warming.

Out of 117 predictions, only three were accurate. The other 114 overestimated the amount by which the Earth’s temperature rose.

The predictions were roughly twice the amount of global warming than had actually occurred.

But wait, there’s more (bolding added):

‘This is neither surprising nor particularly troubling to me as a climate scientist,’ Melanie Fitzpatrick, a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told FoxNews.com. ‘The work of our community is constantly to refine our understanding of the climate system and improve models based on that,’ she says.

Two observations:

  1. I thought everything was known to within the proverbial gnat’s ass; this indicates it’s not.  Hubris, because there’s no indication anyone will step back and question the fundamentals.
  2. The bolded part, especially, translates to every response from Creationists when I’ve debated them: “We’re clearly not interpreting the Scriptures correctly.”  The idea that the fundamental assumption, the Holy Writ of CO2, could itself be wrong is never considered.

Another article showing something completely new and unanticipated, but again – the Holy Writ never wavers.  And remember how I said in my first article that it doesn’t matter if it’s warmer, colder, wetter, drier, stormier, or calmer… it’s all considered proof?  Here’s a perfect example: Global Warming Could Be Causing Extreme Cold Snaps Or Something.  Again, if a theory cannot be falsified, it’s not a theory – at least not a scientific one.  Here are more “we’re doomed” predictions; a $1 bet that when these don’t come to pass, the Holy Writ will not waver or be questioned… because it’s a faith, not a science:

In Science, if you make a hypothesis, and it turns out wrong, you must match the conclusion to the data. In “climate science”, if the conclusion is wrong, change the data to match the hypothesis.

 

science vs faith 

Speaking of falsification: The Problem With Climate Change Fanaticism In Two Headlines.  Essentially, climate change was causing the unstoppable bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.  Right up to the moment when it was discovered the reef seemed to be starting to recover even as CO2 levels continued to rise.  Why, one might almost be tempted to think that there are natural cycles to the thing.  But that would violate the Holy Writ… something will be found to explain it away and CO2 will remain the villain.  Yet another example where there is no wavering of the conclusion when the actual data contradict the prediction: Lake Superior Drying Up Due to Climate Change! No, Wait…   And witness Kermit-the-frog arm waving that the sea levels are rising!  Oh, wait… Oops! Sea Levels Dropping Everywhere, According to NASA.  Now, is this just a couple of short-time-duration data points?  Yes.  But it certainly should force thinking people into reconsidering the meme of inexorable sea level rises.  And one other thing:

According to Robert Felix at Ice Age Now, the water is actually “being locked up on land as snow and ice.” You don’t say? In fact, Greenland just recorded its largest accumulation of snow and ice ever, surpassing even last year’s growth.

So here is ice and snow both piling up but also melting at a frantic rate.  This rises to Orwellian-levels of doublethink.  Remember, what we’re seeing here is supposed to be utterly unprecedented.  Oh, wait:

 

last of last glacial

Here’s an article about icebergs melting and other radical changes seen in the arctic.

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulafft, at Bergen, Norway.

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

This alarmism is from – drum roll please – 1922.  But… but… but how can this be, since this happened before CO2 really started rising?  Unless, of course, there are non-mankind-related factors.  And another indicator of how earth’s temperature might have external influences, totally ignored of course, because to admit these would mean that the Holy Writ is wrong; Leftist Global Warming Mythology (bolding added):.

The left also ignores explanations for any global warming that do not involve human activity.  Henrik Svensmark, director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research in Denmark, proposes a new theory for possible global warming and a new discipline, cosmoclimatology.  Svensmark shows how cosmic rays have affected the climate on Earth over thousands of years.  Perhaps even more persuasive, Svensmark notes that the climate changes of Mars track very closely the climate changes on Earth and that these changes fit closely into his theory that climate change is caused by cosmic rays and other forces of nature operating outside Earth.  This does not preclude global warming; rather, it finds that natural forces, cosmic forces, in this case, account for global warming and not human activity.

There is evidence the earth’s temperature changes are not affected to any serious degree by mankind, as outlined in this journal article (bolding added):

[T]the GCMs models used to support the AGWT are very likely flawed. By contrast, the semi-empirical climate models proposed in 2011 and 2013 by Scafetta, which are based on a specific set of natural climatic oscillations believed to be astronomically induced plus a significantly reduced anthropogenic contribution, agree far better with the latest observations.

None of these things – none! – affect the predetermined conclusion that it is mankind’s CO2 emissions that are the driver.  As I said, I’ve debated enough Creationists to know the mentality.  It brings to mind a great quote by Frantz Fanon:

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”

 

MORE HERETICS

climate inquisition

 

Here’s a very interesting article pointing to over 60 scientists who have put their name to a letter: 60 scientists call for EPA endangerment finding to be reversed.  What’s fascinating is that, apparently, there are more scientists who – upon hearing of this – want to get their names added to the signatory list.  Go read it.

Don’t forget the over-30,00 scientists who have already placed themselves on the doubting side.  That 97% consensus is looking a little shaky since people are looking more closely, just as I did.

 

MORE HUBRIS

In an unrelated scientific field, scientists “still don’t know how a gyroscope stays pointed in a fixed direction”.  A simple system of a solid body spinning, and “science” doesn’t understand it in toto.  But, yup, they’ve got the earth-universe energy dynamic, a system with cycles within cycles within cycles, feedback loops within feedback loops within feedback loops, locked up and determinate to within a fraction of a degree.  Uh huh.  Right.  Meanwhile, I have some prime self-irrigated land in Louisiana I want to sell you.

Every field of human inquiry is ripe for new evidence.  For example, human origins – once believed to be in Africa per The Consensus – has a datapoint against that now.  Is this conclusive disproof?  No.  But it does present the idea that nothing is known and proven for certain.  People with humility grasp this.  Another example: trans-fats – margarines, shortening, etc. – used to be viewed as the healthy alternative to natural animal fats like butter; no longer: Health Canada trans fat ban takes effect next year.  I remember my parents switching from butter to margarine because it was “healthier”.  Wait, that means altering conclusions once new evidence comes to light.  How unlike “climate science”.

And on a lighter note – climate change toothpaste.  Seriously.  If that doesn’t make you facepalm, I don’t know what will.

maxresdefault

 

 

THE BLING…


goremons_6001

 

It’s about money, as I said in my first essay.  An embedded quote from India: Third World Needs Green Freebies to Survive (bolding added):

Addressing the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Swaraj said that it was not just mere coincidence that the world has witnessed hurricanes, earthquakes, rains that inundate storms which terrify.

“Nature sent its warning to the world even before the world’s leadership gathered in New York at the United Nations through Harvey,” she said, adding that once the gathering of world leaders at the UNGA began, an earthquake struck Mexico and a hurricane landed in Dominica.

“We must understand, this requires more serious action than talk. The developed world must listen more carefully than others, because it has more capacities than others.

“It must help the less fortunate through technology transfer and Green Climate Financing – that is the only way to save future generations,” Swaraj said.

Two things jump out.

First, the absurdity that “nature” is sending a warning to the world.  Nature just is.  This person is pulling a lesson from natural events that just happened to match her authoritarian ideology.  And second, oh-how-conveniently, the way to remedy this is to take from richer nations and give to poorer ones.  Which, translated into German and then back, comes out as “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”

Say, what else did I say it was about?  Oh, yeah, Socialism.  That credo under whose aegis over 100 million people were murdered, and which is working so well in Venezuela that engineers, teachers, and even doctors are turning tricks to survive, and food is so scarce people padlock their fridges… in a country sitting on natural resources aplenty, a great climate for agriculture, and a prime attractions for what could be a thriving tourism industry.

 

…AND POWER

Perhaps no movie scene better captures the desire for power than this one from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.  One of the things those in power do is make criminals out of those who would oppose them; absent lightning bolts from fingers, Warmists desire legal lightening, to wit and reprising my prior tocsin about desires to file criminal charges against those who deny the faith, Calls to punish skeptics rise with links to climate change, hurricanes. (bolding added):

Brad Johnson, executive director of Climate Hawks Vote, posted last week on Twitter a set of “climate disaster response rules,” the third of which was to “put officials who reject science in jail.”

Climate skeptics have taken note of the alarming trend. “Ever since Hurricane Harvey, the global warming-hurricane hysteria has ratcheted up to levels I haven’t seen since 2006,” said Ms. Curry.

Anthony Watts, who runs the Watts Up With That blog, listed some of the threats to criminalize skeptics under the headline, “Hate on Display — climate activists go bonkers over #Irma and nonexistent climate connection.”

Climate Depot’s Marc Morano said the heightened vitriol aimed at those who dispute the link between climate change and extreme weather events is a sign that the global warming narrative is losing steam with the public and policymakers.

Another example: The Global Warming Thought Police Want Skeptics In ‘Jail (bolding added):

Those who don’t buy into the man-made climate change narrative should be prosecuted as criminals.

“Put officials who reject science in jail,” someone named Brad Johnson who says he’s executive director of something called Climate Hawks Vote tweeted last month.

Remember, these people view themselves as Philosopher-Kings, the uber-elite intellectuals whose superior knowledge entitles them to be in charge.  The freedom to debate and disagree, let alone that whole messy rule of The People as enshrined in the Constitution, is so inconvenient.  One quote, embedded in the linked article, says it all about the authoritarian lust the Warmists have (bolding added):

A year ago a senior fellow emeritus at Britain’s Policy Studies Institute, Mayer Hillman, author of How We Can Save the Planet, told a reporter, “When the chips are down I think democracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet from the death of life, the end of life on it. This [rationing] has got to be imposed on people whether they like it or not.” (Hillman openly advocates resource rationing.)

A revealing slip of the mask, no? And what a disappointment that the climatistas will still have to put up with elections and the people and such. Authoritarianism is so much more fun.

Think I’m exaggerating about the alarmism?  Here (bolding added):

The IMF chief’s comments come after research last month suggested there is a 1-in-20 chance that climate change will wipe out humanity by 2100.

US researchers said we’ll likely be wiped out in the next 100 years as a result of ‘low-probability high-impact’ events.

Experts from the University of California said an increase greater than 3°C could lead to ‘catastrophic’ effects, while an increase of more than 5°C will have ‘unknown’ consequences which could lead to the end of life as we know it. 

So, never letting a crisis go to waste, they push for dictatorial power; as David Horowitz’s frontpagemag.com header states, “Inside Every Progressive Is A Totalitarian Screaming To Get Out”.  Another lusting-for-tyranny quote, embedded from different source in this article confirms this (added emphasis preserved):

At the Paris climate summit in 2015, Professor Grubb said: “All the evidence from the past 15 years leads me to conclude that actually delivering 1.5C is simply incompatible with democracy.” [Emphasis added.]

With them ruling and subsequently deciding who can live, and breed, and die, of course, after the hoi polloi put their unquestioning faith in the Superior Intellect.  Remember, these advocates really do consider themselves, per Krauthammer’s Law, to be “better people”.  They want to rule because it is their Divine Right as enlightened beings, and consider it their moral duty to “nudge” the hoi polloi because they really do believe themselves to be better, more intelligent, more noble, more moral, with good intentions  this brings to mind the famous C.S. Lewis quote:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Since, in their minds, they are these superior beings… if you will, ubermenschen… then it’s not such a large step to move from “nudging” those who won’t do what’s good for them to “herding” and on to “culling”.  Harken back to that quote from above – “… the end of life [on earth]”.  If you truly believed this, if you truly believed that humanity is the defining threat to the biosphere, what wouldn’t you do to stop it, what actions couldn’t you rationalize?  Don’t forget that it was American Progressives who were behind the Eugenics movement that forcibly sterilized undesirables to “improve humanity” – so surely saving all life on earth is orders of magnitude importanter.  Marxism of various forms murdered over 100 million civilians in the 20th century in a True Believer pursuit of the “Great Utopia”; one trembles thinking what would they do with absolute power to save the biosphere itself.  Suddenly, merely being jailed for being a Denier might not be so bad given the historical precedents…

 

WRAPPING UP

Simply because I am a CO2 skeptic does not mean I am in favor of belching smokestacks, dumping chemicals in rivers and lakes, and so on.  It breaks my heart to see trash alongside the road, or at the shore.  I am teaching my children to be sure to throw everything in the trash, not down on the ground.  I like blue skies, not the polluted miasma that I’ve seen in pictures of, say, China, so I am in favor of scrubbing technologies and other air-cleaning methods.

I am also in favor of green energy systems as appropriate.  Local solar power panels have their uses.  I once saw a house with a small windmill – good for them.  And some years ago I went to a presentation on methane-using fuel cells, and a case study example was a beer brewery that used their own waste stream to produce the methane that then was processed by fuel cells to produce 100% of the power for their facility… FAN-TAS-TIC!  I’m all for energy efficiency.  And so on. 

I want to preserve this beautiful planet for my children, and theirs, and theirs, to the tenth generation and beyond.  We can, and must, do better.  But I also understand that there are no perfect solutions, only intelligent choices that are required to continue to live in a technology-based society, and that we must have the freedom to debate those choices openly in the marketplace of ideas and do so based on facts and testable hypotheses, not hyperbole and alarmism.  To tell someone to SHUT UP! bespeaks a dearth of intellectual capacity to formulate and support a rational argument, let alone an authoritarian discoloration of your soul.

Given the issues with the Holy Writ of CO2 as mentioned above, which build on and amplify those put forth in my first essay, I am deeply skeptical of the dangers of CO2, but am highly concerned about the mindless zealotry of the new environmental paganism, and what their apocalyptic terror of plant food might turn into should they gain the unlimited power they openly seek.

 

© 2017, David Hunt PE

 

Goddess on a Half Shell

I hate molting.

This was my first thought as I woke up.  No use opening my eyes just yet because I was inside my cocoon, but I did anyway.  Pure, inky-dark wet blackness.  Come to think of it, it’s been my first thought pretty much every time since my second or third molt.  I know some that enjoy it.  I don’t.

Molting is a pain.  Not physically; actually, it’s rather pleasant.  I suppose the biggest thing for me is losing friends, because we are The Hidden.  We cannot afford to let humans know we exist.  I remember the last molt, where I had emerged and pretty soon, unplanned and unanticipated, ran into someone I’d known in my prior incarnation.  A very good friend; I wanted so much to say hello.  But I am forbidden from even acknowledging any knowledge of knowing someone from a prior life – let alone trying to “begin anew”, because something might slip.  We have many laws, but the first one after Deity’s Commandments is “Our existence must remain secret.”

Yes we age, or get wounded, and pretend to die but then molt because, in actuality, we’re immortal.  Well, almost immortal.  It is possible to truly kill one of us, but it’s very hard, and someone has to really know how to do it.  Fortunately, humans have not yet learned about us, let alone developed ways to permanently kill us.

Someday, we’ll be strong enough to form our own society, still in secret.  It was written by Our First that when that happens, and we have learned enough, we will step from this world to a promised place far away.  But for now we are solitary, wandering the world, our minds living sponges to learn cultures, and languages, and science and math and all these things that we will mix in our own way to create our society.  Some, of course, is set, for Our First made secret languages no human can understand or even suspect.  The last Hidden I met, we had a whole conversation by subtle changes in our eye colors and iris patterns.  Fortunately, I was male and she female at the time, so our staring into each others’ eyes in a dark corner of a tavern was perfectly normal.  My friend was surprised she and I didn’t go upstairs together to my room, and he ribbed me for “letting one get away”… she didn’t.  We exchanged memories and experiences and knowledge.  Like I said, living information sponges with racial memory that gets transferred from individual to individual.  Inside my memory are the collected knowledge and experiences of thousands.

Awake again.

I suppose this is the hardest part, the slow awakening and relearning of my body; every one of us has this problem.  I moved slowly.  I’ve been through enough molts by now to know that I completely changed.  I have been tall, and short.  Inside the cocoon you can’t see, but you can feel.  I felt between my legs; female this time.  I’ve been female before.  I started sending nerve signals down my limbs, and out to my skin and hair to quiz my new body.  OK, I’m pretty short this time… straight auburn hair… olive skin.  Wonderful, a petite female with unusual coloration.  Nothing wrong with it, of course, but humans are still primitive, and can try to take advantage.

Of course I know how to fight.  We are, actually, superior to humans in that.  Far faster reaction times, incredible accuracy and precision with any weapon, and we’re almost ten times stronger than a human the same size.  Much more intelligent.  Our skins and even muscles are much harder for blades to penetrate than normal, and our organ functions are distributed.  For example, I don’t have one heart the way humans do, I have eight smaller ones scattered around my body.  The same for every other system.  Even my brain in my skull has cross-communication with distributed sub-brains.  And weapons?  I have diamond-tipped retractable claws under my fingernails through which I can inject venom.  I can, given a handful of seconds, deliver an electric shock like an electric eel.  And we have a few other tricks up our sleeves as well on bio-weaponry.  I have better senses by far, and more of them.  For example, I can sense metal, and the electric fields of living things.  I can feel magnetic fields so I always know which way north is.  I can see stars during a clear day by my eyes filtering out the sky’s blue – but only if I need to do it.  And I can spit acid so strong it can dissolve metal, which has proven handy a time or three when I’ve been captured by slavers.  Oh, and did I mention I have pads in my fingers and toes that can stick, so I can climb walls and even hang from ceilings?  That we are immune to human diseases and poisons?  And there’s more… we Hidden are full of surprises, like being able to go without air for an hour, or longer if we slow down our metabolism.  We can adapt to temperatures both hotter and colder than humans can stand.  We even photosynthesize in light.  All created by Our First to make us hard to kill, and better at surviving.

The thought of metal brought to mind my last “death”.  I was on a ship, a crewman, learning how to sail on a merchant ship.  We were set on by a pirate vessel; bigger and faster, their trireme rammed us.  We fought, but with a hole in our side and the ocean rushing in it was a lost cause.  I was fighting one pirate when I heard a ballista behind me; I could feel the metal bolt coming straight towards me.  I had no choice.  I knew there was no way to dodge it and not reveal that there was something special about me, so I had to let it take me square in the back; the point came through and out my chest, and I helped a little jumping forward to then fall over the side and under the water.  It’s always easier to cocoon up in the water than being buried on land.  I’ve done both.  Water moltings tend to go a lot faster.  And then there’s having to tidy up the gravesite lest a human think that some fell, undead beast has clawed its way up from the grave.  That has happened before.  I’ve heard some legends of monsters that arise from the grave.  It had to be a Hidden that got interrupted while cleaning up the site, and had to flee and hide before they were done.

Our First is still alive.  Someday I will meet him.  Maybe I have.  He said that He travels as one of us, not revealing that He is the First Hidden ever, the Designer of our race.  I have some of His memories, and understand His plans.  He is not the Deity, of course, but a prophet, the seed crystal of our race created by Deity.  He set our laws and how to behave with each other, how to behave towards humans, and the foundation of how our society will be ordered.

Our sex changes will no longer be random, but will be a steady progression.  One male, six females, will form a family unit.  Each female will have six children by that male, two at a time, through from the most senior down.  When all children pass through their Rite to become adults, the male will then molt, become a female, but must join another family as the junior.  The oldest female then molts to become male, and the cycle continues.  We do grow quickly.  I was running by age one, climbing trees by age three, reading, writing, and doing scholarly work by age six, and fully mature – the equal to a 20-year-old human – by age ten.  This is, of course, helped by knowledge and experience transfers from all of the parent group.

We are one faith with one Deity.  We are one people.  And we know there is a Promised Land waiting for us in the stars.  I can’t wait.

Time to sleep again.  I am getting close to being ready.

It is time.  Through my umbilical cord I can now see the outside since I am ready to go in to land.  It’s night, so nobody should see me.  Enhanced eyes in the cocoon’s skin show me a rocky bottom, and a lot of giant clams.  I don’t think I’ve seen ones that big before.  My cocoon opens and I emerge; my cocoon will dissolve in the next week to leave no trace.  The waves coax me forward, and I sneak towards shore, my skin changing colors to match the bottom – another trick we can do: camouflage.

But as I get close a rogue wave catches the empty shell I had been holding and tumbles me up into the surf at the edge.  As I spin through the water I can see humans on the shore around a large fire; one sees me, points, and cries out.  I mute my skin’s color changes to my as-molted color and stand, naked but trying to cover myself, reddish hair dripping as it wrapped around me and, as it happens, I am right in the center of that shell whose impact knocked me onto the beach.

Great, I thought with mixed sarcasm and hope.  They’ll probably think I’m a goddess or something.

 

© David Hunt PE, 2017

 

 

Climate Change: Why I No Longer Believe. . .

I used to be a Warmist, strongly believing that CO2 emissions were a dire threat to the biosphere on earth from a runaway greenhouse effect.

No longer. 

Like this young woman, I examined things with an increasingly-skeptical eye and, again like her, found myself questioning and then changing positions – as thinking people are wont to do.

Let me be precise.  Am I denying that the climate has changed, and will change in the future?  No.  Am I denying the possibility that mankind is affecting the climate?  No.  But I have concluded, based on the multiple items outlined in the essay below, that the alarmism is vastly over-hyped, and the scientific case unproven.  And I will opine that in a cycles-within-cycles-within-cycles planet of ours, the idea that one factor – CO– is the single overwhelming control knob is simplistic to the point of absurdity.

Now, I predict that most Creationists, er, I mean Warmists will stop reading here.  I’ve violated the Holy Writ, thus there’s no point for them to read further.  For those who have more than three brain cells capable of firing at once however, i.e., people who are open-minded, please read on.  (I use Creationists as my foil because I’ve debated enough of them to recognize the mentality: a reversion to some form of the statement “Well, we’re simply not interpreting the Scriptures correctly” when confronted by evidence that contradicts their beliefs – the same for Warmists and their Scripture that man’s COemissions are the controlling factor.)

One last thing: let’s not conflate pollution, like particulates and NOx, plus solids and liquids that are discharged, with a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas without which life on earth would not exist.  So don’t even think of bringing up that strawman.

 

PEGGING OUT THE BULLSH*T METER

I am an engineer, with a Masters in Engineering plus a Six Sigma graduate certificate (and an MBA too).  I am driven by data, by logic, and make a good-faith effort to work from facts to come to a conclusion – not jump to a conclusion and then collect facts to justify that conclusion.  While I have enough education and experience to be able to have flashes of insight based on scant facts – with an occasionally-annoying-to-others propensity to be right most of the time – I wait until the facts are in, or at least in strong preponderance, before recommending a course of action.  And on occasion I have found that my pet theory on something was, in fact, wrong as shown by the evidence.  

Regarding “climate change”: as I started to pay attention, drawn to the topic by multiple factors, I found my bullsh*t meter pegging out so hard the needle got bent.  So I changed my mind, and became a skeptic.

 

bs meter

 

This, of course, begs the question WHY did I change my mind?

 

LACK OF OPENNESS

Back in the late 1990s there was a study by economist John Lott on the effects of concealed carry and what happens when states pass Shall Issue laws.  The effect he found was stark and clear: concealed carry reduces crime.  (See his follow-on book More Guns, Less Crime.)  Naturally this was a political hot potato; he was viciously attacked by claims his research was flawed, biased, etc.  So – and I hold this to be the very zenith of openness – he offered his data set, copies of his notes in developing his analytical technique, and copies of the analysis model itself to anyone who asked, including his critics.

And that’s the critical point.  He shared his data, even with critics, because he was interested in the truth.  Consider another example: the German scientist who researched NASA’s data and found systematic adjustments of the data to create warming trends artificially.  Relevant to this section is this quote from the article (I’ll refer back to his analysis later):

All datasets are available to the public at any time. The studies by Prof. Ewert may be requested by e-mail: ewert.fk (at) t-online.de.

Compare and contrast the openness, above, to this instance of concealment of data, one of many I’ve read over the years where Warmists actively fought sharing their data and methods with people who aren’t dedicated to The Cause (a term actually used in the infamous Climategate emails).  Don’t forget Phil Jones preferring to delete data files rather than let climate change skeptics see them.  And recently Michael Mann, of the infamous “Hockey Stick Graph” fame, refused to provide his data in a trial to bolster his own case in suing someone who he claimed had defamed him (bolding added):

[Mann] has bought himself time till 2019 and his lawyers can continue to deny jurors (and Joe Public) access to his disputed data in this protracted legal battle that has already eaten up six years and millions in legal fees.

Michael Mann’s “work” is the subject of the great book, A Disgrace to the Profession, by Mark Steyn; Dr. Ball, the target of the lawsuit, has his own book out, The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science.

graphs

Note that the lower of the two graphs reflects the accepted temperature record before the machinations of “adjustments” and “hide the decline / blip” made the scene.  The bottom graph is also consistent with what we know about the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age.  In Mann’s chart the massive heat wave in the 1940s, which Warmists nicknamed “The Blip”, is also not present.

screen-shot-2017-03-08-at-4-07-30-am

So pause and think.  This guy – whose work is foundational to virtually the entire Warmist argument – claims Dr. Ball is defaming him by saying his research is a fraud… but he refuses to release for outside examination the data and analytical techniques being criticized, preferring to risk losing the lawsuit rather than reveal to the world evidence that could vindicate his claim of defamation.

For me, this is the fundamental issue driving my changed view; the other ones I present are merely gravy:

Any researcher who refuses to have their results questioned, their data and data collection methods reviewed, and their analytical models examined for robustness and trialed for replication is de facto a fraud and their results cannot be trusted.  Nor can any work that relies on their work.

I know, I know… “But these people have PhDs!!”  After all, it’s not like papers get pulled, let alone PhDs get revoked ,for data fraud.  Oh, wait…  (For a broader look at fraud in science in general, try this book: The Great Betrayal: Fraud in Science.)

As an analogy: You go to the doctor and he tells you you have “Warming Disease”, a condition on which he’s built his entire career and reputation.  Not only will the treatment require a drastic lifestyle change for you and everyone around you, but will require ongoing expensive treatments.  But when you ask for him to send your records to another doctor to get a second opinion, not only does he refuse, he says that doctors that might be skeptical of “Warming Disease” are not trustworthy – but since he has a MD and has made this his the lynchpin of his career, you just need to trust him.  Would you believe such a doctor?

 

BURN THE DENIERS

Were scientists jpg

(Image used with permission.)

When skeptics are put under house arrest to avoid them raising uncomfortable questions, it’s not a science.  And when people scream that “deniers” need to be arrested and tried, even executed, it’s not a science.  Consider these multiple links within this quote):

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has called for punishing and imprisoning dissenters. Bill Nye endorsed such a call just last week. And while it’s easy to dismiss Kennedy and Nye as famous crackpots, Attorney General Loretta Lynch admitted that there had been discussions about prosecuting climate dissenters. And that materials had been passed along to the FBI.

So much for scientific inquiry and an openness to debate – something that, back in the stone age, I learned was a fundamental aspect of the Scientific Process (unlike, say, trying to keep skeptical papers out of peer-reviewed journals by lobbying the editors, lest The Narrative be challenged).  For example:

For example, Tom Wigley, a scientist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, authored a Climategate 1.0 email asserting  that his fellow Climategate scientists “must get rid of” the editor for a peer-reviewed science journal because he published some papers contradicting assertions of a global warming crisis.

Meanwhile, many notable scientists in the field have changed their minds away from the alarmism:

[T]here are many outstanding scientists who have bothered to actually examine this issue, and have come to the obvious conclusion that there is much less to the story of gloom and doom than is popularly asserted. Many started as supporters of alarm but came to change their minds.

In my life I’ve debated many topics; on some, I’ve changed my mind (there’s the apocryphal quote “When facts change, I change my mind; what do you do, sir?”).  On others, I’ve held my ground. Again, debating a Warmist is like debating a Creationist – no matter how much evidence is put before them, they revert to the Holy Writ.  I’ve literally had people turn away from me to end the discussion rather than admit I might have a point on one or another aspect, especially when it’s clear that I know more about the subject than they do.  Thoughtful people, when confronted by someone who knows more, at least listen.  It’s the zealot that flees lest information that shakes their faith penetrate their consciousness.

 

correct a fool

 

Even the term “denier” is an emotionally-loaded term intended to “other” the skeptics.  Very few skeptics deny that the climate changes; very few skeptics think that people have zero effect on the climate.  We simply believe that the alarmism is overhyped and the case is far, far, far from proven.

There’s a great quotation that I found which applies perfectly, by Frantz Fanon:

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”

I discussed this concept in an earlier essay, Two Kinds of People in the World.  Now understand something: I did not start out as a skeptic, bitterly-clinging to my belief.  I started out on the side of the Warmists; I changed my belief after examination.

Very related to this is a quip about Stalin’s USSR:

The future is known; it’s the past that’s always changing.

In “Climate Science” the conclusion – that man’s COemissions are a dire threat to the planet – is known; the underlying facts keep changing, but the conclusion is immutable.  Do plants absorb more COthus resulting in a negative feedback – something not realized in the models, or the fact that new oceanic currents are discovered, or temperature recording sensors are poorly-sited or uncalibrated , or the discovery that cosmic rays create clouds and are affected by the sun’s activity, or almost 300 peer-reviewed skeptical papers in 2017 alone, alone ever cause the conclusion to deviate?  Findings of key climate change studies & statistics being wrong?

No.

The Holy Writ is set.  Facts don’t matter; the faith is unshakeable.  And a faith it is: people are getting tattooed with the PPM of the year of their birth.  People are talking about genetic engineering to make humans smaller.

 

FRAUD

Back in high school Physics I first became familiar with the quip “First draw your curve, then plot your reading.”  With high school and even college science classes being, essentially, deterministic and the foundational implanting of basics, we pretty much knew what to expect.  Thus, a little fudging-in of errors, and Voila! we had our lab report with a cursory actual set of experiments.  But we were amateurs.  For masters of that technique, we need to look at NASA and NOAA among others.  In Global Warming Hoax: German Scientist Finds Evidence That NASA Manipulated Climate Data (which I referenced above), we see one of the huge problems here (bolding added):

When the publicly available data that was archived in 2010 is compared with the data supplied by NASA in 2012, there is a clear difference between the two. The GISS has been retroactively changing past data to make it appear that the planet is warming, especially after the year 1950. In reality, the original data shows that the planet has actually been getting colder throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Overall, 10 different statistical methods have been used to change the climate’s trajectory from cooling to warming.

It’s easy to find a trend when you torture the data to put one in.  Quoting the source paper this article is based upon (bolding added):

In this research report, the most important surface data adjustment issues are identified and past changes in the previously reported historical data are quantified. It was found that each new version of GAST has nearly always exhibited a steeper warming linear trend over its entire history. And, it was nearly always accomplished by systematically removing the previously existing cyclical temperature pattern. This was true for all three entities providing GAST data measurement, NOAA, NASA and Hadley CRU.

As a result, this research sought to validate the current estimates of GAST using the best available relevant data. This included the best documented and understood data sets from the U.S. and elsewhere as well as global data from satellites that provide far more extensive global coverage and are not contaminated by bad siting and urbanization impacts. Satellite data integrity also benefits from having cross checks with Balloon data.

The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality. In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data. Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published GAST data sets that recent years have been the warmest ever  – despite current claims of record setting warming.

Real Climate Science has an ongoing series of posts showing dramatic instances where temperature records are being altered, with 100% of the alterations amplifying – or outright creating – warming trends.  Here’s a specific article from that site, and more on altered data.  NOAA has also been caught outright tweaking data.  And they’re not even hiding it.  (And now we’re starting to learn that older data isn’t trustworthy.)

Now let me be calm; data sometimes does need to be “cleaned up”.  In the course of my own career I’ve needed to do that on occasion – sometimes data does need adjustment.  But in this case, I find three things being outright suspicious:

  1. That, according to my recollection of reading articles about these adjustments, the original data sets are being over-written in some cases. This is a fundamental no-no.  That it is done once could be accidental; that it is, apparently, being done multiple times has to be intentional.
  2. All of the adjustments go only one way. That defies even a basic knowledge of how things work on a statistical level – by pure randomness, some adjustments should go the other way.
  3. To my knowledge there has been no rigorous, let alone replicated, accounting for how the data was adjusted and why it was necessary to do so.

I do know this: If I had ever overwritten the original data, or had adjustments or clean-ups I could not explain to people wanting to confirm my results based on my notes, or tried to use data that was questionable in accuracy, my work would have immediately been deemed worthless by my colleagues.  However, what would be unacceptable anywhere else seems to be standard practice here. 

BS meter pegs out.

 

FALSIFIABILITY

A theory needs to be testable, and failing the test, is falsified.  One of the most famous examples of this was Einstein’s General Relativity which predicts that a gravity field can bend light.  Known as gravitational lensing, the theory was tested in a famous experiment.  Had the test failed, General Relativity would have had to – at best – undergo significant revision… if not been outright proven wrong.  In other words, a theory must say “If this theory is true, these predictions must be testable” – whether true or false.  So consider a prediction by one of the leaders of the Warmist movement, Dr. James Hansen:

Since then we’ve had a continued expansion of fossil fuel use, as in his most alarmist scenario. Given that amount of CO2 emissions, his prediction was that by now, temperatures would have gone up by five degrees Fahrenheit, or about 3°C.

Obviously, nothing like that has happened. Despite the fact that millions of folks believed his prediction in 1988 and continue to listen to him today, the UAH MSU satellite data says that since 1988 it’s warmed by … well … about a third of a degree. Not three degrees. A third of a degree. He was wrong by an order of magnitude. So obviously, he desperately needs an excuse for this colossal failure.

When you’re off by a factor of ten it’s time for a person interested in the truth to step back and say “You know, maybe I’m wrong.”

Predictions are for worse hurricanes.  Wrong (Harvey and Irma are bad, definitely, but… we’ve had 11 years without a major hurricane making landfall; the lull had to end sometime – and it’s not like large hurricanes have ever hit the US, causing great destruction, before industrialization started in the 1940’s… oh, wait….).  Worse tornadoes.  Wrong.  The Arizona and California droughts that are the “new normal”?  Wrong and wrong.  Melting ice caps?  Wrong.  Polar bears going extinct?  Wrong.  Hot spot in the upper atmosphere (a critical element central to all models)?  Wrong.  Glaciers retreating everywhere?  Wrong.  Four times as many extreme weather events?  Wrong.  Energy balances of heat lost to space from radiation?  Wrong:

Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA’s Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.

“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

Incidentally, Hurricane Irma formed on cooler-than-expected for the storm strength waters.  Not warmer!

The surprising thing about this development into a major hurricane was that it developed over relatively cool waters in the Atlantic – 26.5C — the rule of thumb is 28.5C for a major hurricane (and that threshold has been inching higher in recent years). 

So, basically, “climate change” predicts that it will be – simultaneously – warmer, colder, wetter, drier, stormier, and calmer.  How can it be falsified?

 

wheel-of-climate

 

And speaking of falsification, take a look at this graph:

 

models and 95

 

The models, considered the unquestionable Holy Writ, differ from actual temperatures by a confidence interval of more than 95%, which is a standard scientific term for “We’re pretty sure they’re different”.  This brings to mind a quote by Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winning physicist:

It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.

The theory (models) do not agree with the experiments (real-world measurements).  They’re wrong.  Now, of course, comes the shift to say that falsifiability – a fundamental requirement of the scientific method – doesn’t need to be applied here.  WHAM!  BS meter pegs out again.

And one more thing about falsifiability is the name changing.  It was “global warming”, but then it became “climate change” when it became clear there was a years-long hiatus in warming.  Now it’s shifting to “climate instability” or “climate extremes”.  If you need to keep changing the name of what you’re screaming about, well… that’s marketing, not science.

 

CONTEXT AND SCALE

Just look at this ice core data showing temperatures were warmer than today:

Screen_shot_2012-10-06_at_11.14.04_AM.png

So it was warmer during the Roman period; was it the SUVs “Roman” around the world?  Before that, during the Minoan civilization, it was warmer still – it must have been the Atlantean coal plants.  Just visually, the changes claimed as “alarming” match, or are exceeded by, natural variations in the past in both range and rate; thus, any changes being seen now cannot be differentiated from nature.  Here’s another chart.  Look at it.  Now tell me with a straight face that any variation we’re seeing today is unprecedented or can, in any way, be differentiated from natural variation.

5Myr

CO2 levels in earth’s past were far, far higher than they are now – like above 3,000 PPM! – and life thrived.  Greenhouse operators pump CO2 into greenhouses to make plants grow better.

 

(IGlobal Greening jpg

(Image used with permission.)

 

Two videos, one by Greenpeace’s founder Patrick Moore and one by Bill Whittle, bring up difficult questions that Warmists simply cannot answer without pretzel logic (though they try).  And here’s a BBC video, The Great Global Warming Swindle.  From that video, pay particular attention to the Danish examination of temperatures vs. sunspots (discussion starting at 30:39; amazing graph at 33:37); Professor Ian Clark, Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Ottowa, said – upon seeing this correlation between cosmic rays hitting the earth and temperature records:

“I’ve never seen such vastly different records coming together to show, really, what was happening over that long period of time”.

For me it’s stark: two completely disparate data sets matching up so well, over 500 million years… not a coincidence.

Incidentally, it was the Warmists’ outright dismissal that variations in the sun’s output could affect climate that first set off my That’s weird… response and attention-paying to the topic.  Given that the radiative conduction of heat is a function of temperature to the fourth power – i.e., T4, I could not believe the glib dismissal, or assurances of “that’s been taken into account”.  (For example, the sun’s surface temperature is roughly 5500 Kelvin.  A hike of just 50 degrees C could result in a 3.7% increase in temperature transfer to the earth.  A 100 degree change in the sun’s temperature… and remember, the sun is a seething, dynamic tempest… could lead to a potential 7.5% change in radiation heat transfer.)

 

97%

The original “97% of climate scientists agree… blah blah blah” sound bite was, boiled down, based on 77 of 79 papers deemed worthy by the author of the paper making the claim:

In fact, the “97 percent” statistic was drawn from an even smaller subset: the 79 respondents who were both self-reported climate scientists and had “published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change.” These 77 scientists agreed that global temperatures had generally risen since 1800, and that human activity is a “significant contributing factor.”

A later paper by John Cook down in Australia revealed other flaws in this statistic (bolding added):

In an analysis of 12,000 abstracts, he found “a 97% consensus among papers taking a position on the cause of global warming in the peer-reviewed literature that humans are responsible.” “Among papers taking a position” is a significant qualifier: Only 34 percent of the papers Cook examined expressed any opinion about anthropogenic climate change at all. Since 33 percent appeared to endorse anthropogenic climate change, he divided 33 by 34 and — voilà — 97 percent!

Additionally, several scientists whose work Cook cited stated that their results had been misrepresented:

“Cook survey included 10 of my 122 eligible papers. 5/10 were rated incorrectly. 4/5 were rated as endorse rather than neutral.”
—Dr. Richard Tol
“That is not an accurate representation of my paper . . .”
—Dr. Craig Idso
“Nope . . . it is not an accurate representation.”
—Dr. Nir Shaviv
“Cook et al. (2013) is based on a strawman argument . . .”
—Dr. Nicola Scafetta

Cook’s paper was accused of being fraudulent… and he took no action (bolding added, link in original):

Jose Duarte, expert in Social Psychology, Scientific Validity, and Research Methods, has actually called the Cook paper “multiply fraudulent”, and, as far as I know, Cook has taken no action to challenge the claim. This, as much as anything else, shows just what a con trick the whole business was. How many scientists, after all, would accept being called fraudulent without taking action?

Like the Michael Mann case, above… someone calls you a fraud, and you don’t do everything to counter that attack on your integrity?  BS meter peg-out.  Another great takedown of Cook’s paper is here: The 97% Cook Consensus – when will Environ Res Letters retract it?.

There is no such thing as consensus in science.  Nor is there absolute certainty.  Things get overturned all the time, for example the consensus on salt and fat in our diets; in the latter case, the push to demonize fat was bought and paid for.  (And if we can’t understand the human body, we definitely can’t understand the entire planet.)  Remember continental drift, and how the originator of that was derided:

“Utter, damned rot!” said the president of the prestigious American Philosophical Society.

“If we are to believe [this] hypothesis, we must forget everything we have learned in the last 70 years and start all over again,” said another American scientist.

Anyone who “valued his reputation for scientific sanity” would never dare support such a theory, said a British geologist.

 

HUBRIS

It is the pride, the hubris that things are known to within a gnat’s ass without a scintilla of doubt or wondering “Have I missed something?” that… WHAM! pegged out my BS meter again.  Because even plate tectonics can have new information.  I know that in my own career, even when convinced I’m right, I have enough humility to listen to others and am always, always, always wondering “Is this it?  What am I missing?”

IMHO, after “Eureka!  I have found it!” the most important phrase in science is “Wow, thank you – I never thought of that!”  At least, important to people interested in the truth.  It is a phrase utterly missing in what passes for “Climate Science”.

And the idea that today’s climate is “just perfect” is another example of hubris when, across time, whether geologic in scale or even within mankind’s tenure on Earth, it’s changed – and changed a lot.

And one last bit of hubris.  Remember, the signal being discussed – the rise in temperatures – is minute: fractions of a degree per decade.  The temperature record on earth, today, has ground-sensor gaps across vast swaths, millions of square miles, of the planet’s surface.  Temperatures can vary, daily, in some places by 100 times the signal being claimed.  Past 100 or so years ago, we’re using proxies for the temperature data with huge error bars.  The idea that such a small signal can be reliably and accurately be teased out of such data is… well, hubris once more.  At least, it is to people who understand data analysis and the science/art of detecting trends… remember, I’m an engineer.  I’ve done statistical analyses.

 

IN-YOUR-FACE CRISIS (NO, FOR REALS – PINKIE-SWEAR!)

Consider the comedy of shoreline-resort-developing, yacht-renting Warmist Leonardo DiCaprio flying commercial (likely because he couldn’t find a private jet as they’d already been booked).  Look at Warmists selecting luxurious locations for conferences, with people flying in on private jets – lots of private jets.  Now, of course, we find out that Al Gore, who can be accused of fabricating the crisis for personal profit, has a home that uses electricity by the metric f*ckton.  They even admit their hypocrisy.

I’ll quote (from memory) the Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds:

“I’ll believe it’s a crisis when those who claim it’s a crisis act like it’s a crisis.”

It’s about virtue signaling for peer-group applause, nothing more.  Well, that and a good excuse for a tax-payer funded junket.

 

OTHER FACTORS… IGNORED OR DISMISSED

A recent paper points to temperature being a function of atmospheric temperature and solar irradiance.  Another paper suggests changes and shifts in earth’s orbit affect the climate, as does cosmic radiation as modulated by the sun’s activity as noted above.  And there are surely other things I’ve missed.  More than that, however – there are surely things scientists have missed.

With all these peer-reviewed papers highlighting other potential factors to why earth’s climate shifts, the obsession with man-produced CO2 to the exclusion of everything else on this cycles-within-cycles-within-cycles planet and solar system is very suspicious.  Why?  The above are independent of humanity, leading to…

 

THE BIG REVEAL

So what’s it really about?  What are most things about on this scale?  Money:

Climate change alarmism has become a $1.5-trillion-a-year industry – which guarantees it is far safer and more fashionable to pretend a 97% consensus exists, than to embrace honesty and have one’s global warming or renewable energy funding go dry.

Entire academic departments, whole think tanks and research organizations, not to mention “carbon sequestration/offset” industries have been formed based on this.  That’s a lot of lobbying pull to continue the flow of money – and all gone if CO2 is not the controlling knob. 

 

Climat-Formula-NRD-600

 

There’s an axiom in research:

Results of research will be biased towards those that continue the flow of grant money.

After all, how does marketing for any product or service work?  Create a demand, very often through the creation of a perceived crisis, and then fill that artificial need.  What you think was really behind Al Gore’s book and movie… we’re talking multi-millions in Gore’s pocket from the fear he, himself, created.  James Hansen, one of the leaders of the Warmists, pulls in millions.  The lecture circuit can be very lucrative.

That university skeptic I mentioned early on also noticed it (thems that gots da gold makes da rules):

I’ve stopped being shocked by the way my professors obediently tow the party line—as I learned a few years ago that at least here, federal funding is dependent on a certain amount of global warming acceptance.

It’s also about ideology and power: Socialism.  To save the planet we’ll need to give up private property.  We’ll need to redistribute wealth.  It would require a categorical reduction in human civilization and lifestyle.  And they openly state they want to leverage the crisis to shift to Marxism:

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said in anticipation of last year’s Paris climate summit.

“This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

There’s a reason today’s environmentalist whackos are nicknamed “watermelons” – green outside, red inside.  H.L. Mencken said it very well:

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.

And they do intend to rule; and while we eke out a living on sustainable algae cakes, they will sup on dainties and live in luxury.  All to save the planet from the crisis they fabricated.

 

1 1 1ninetymilesojure1rzull5o1_1280

 

FURTHER RESOURCES

A great article is Dear Global Warming Denier, another is Why I’m a Global Warming Skeptic.  A fantastic series of articles here, The Greatest Scientific Fraud of All Time.  And Climate Depot, WattsUpWithThat, and Real Climate Science are all daily must-reads.  Got any others?  Leave them in the comments.

 

(c) 2017, David Hunt, PE

The true content of America’s character…

bayou-e1472215947941

I’m Jewish.  I make no bones about it, I make no apology for it.  My mother was a Sabra – someone born in the Holy Land – as was her mother.  I am also a proud Zionist, believing that Jews need Israel as a nation and focus.*  (I wear a yarmulke as a reminder of my faith; the only overt incident of anti-Semitism I’ve experienced in person was here in New Hampshire… conversely, in my work-related travels to “deep dark red” states like Texas and Louisiana have been met with nothing but courtesy, and a genuine curiosity about my faith.)

On my father’s side, I have two ancestors who fought in the Revolution to whom I can, through records, tie myself; two others lurk in the mists of time awaiting my ability to focus on my genealogy – and a statement by my late father hints that I can join the Mayflower Society when I manage to get back that far.  I bleed red, white, and blue; I fly Old Glory, and only that, at my house.  I love this exceptional and unique country.

I am a mix.  As is my family.  As are my children.

America, too, is a mix; possibly the most mixed country on the planet.

Who You Admire Is Indicative

I’ve proposed many “penetrating questions” for candidates to ask in interviews; some are meant as attempt to gauge the interviewer’s character.  One such question was:

If you could have a civil, peaceful dinner party with five people from history, language aside, who would they be, why, and what would the main course be?

As an exercise, I answered my own question.  It was an interesting thought experiment, and hopefully revealing of my character.

In addition to the ones named in that essay, another one of my American heroes is Martin Luther King, Jr., whose words about freedom and race ring in my ears.  I strive, every day, to live true to his Dream that one day people would judge each other not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I even wrote an essay in praise of this, and of the concept of diversity, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations; my co-workers are white, black, and every shade in between, as are my students.  I’ve had straight and gay people in my classes, and I don’t care; their orientation makes not a whit of difference to me.

The Spirit of America in a Heartfelt Letter

So here comes an open letter from a resident of Louisiana – a white man – to President Obama about the latter’s recent caution to Louisiana’s residents to not discriminate in their rescue and recovery attempts:

Dear Mr President,

I want to thank you for reminding us in South Louisiana not to discriminate against anyone based on race or religion. Had you not reminded us of this I don’t know what we would have done. See we rode around in a boat saving people and well race or religion never entered my mind. Not once. It didn’t enter my buddies mind or my wife’s. Just saving people.

I understand you may be miss informed because of all the race baiting that the media did a couple months ago here is South Louisiana. But I assure you that’s not what we stand for in South Louisiana. We love each other when the times get hard. We look out for our own. Now I know this doesn’t fit your agenda. But facts are facts.

O and by the way stay up in DC play a little golf and enjoy your last couple months in office. Make sure you clean out your desk. Clean out the house you’ve occupied for 8 years cause your time is up. Let ya buddy Ms Clinton know we don’t need her either. She needs her rest. Lord knows she needs rest more then the residents of South Louisiana do. She may could put some of that Clinton foundation blood money to good use down here helping others. But why would she do that. She already knows Louisiana doesn’t belong to her come November. If this was a state she needed she would have been on the boat with me. But that’s OK we got this we are strong here in Louisiana. Something you will never understand.

Thanks
The true citizens of Louisiana

To this white man, helping his neighbors and fellow citizens regardless of race or creed – per Luther’s dream – I can only say this:

Well done, sir.  Well done… and well said.  Thank you for showing the true SPIRIT OF AMERICA.

© 2016, David Hunt PE

 

* I make no apology for my zealous defense and support of Israel, whether in person, with charitable help, or online defending it; Israel, about the size of the state of New Hampshire (if that!) is the only nation in the world whose neighbors have – within living memory – repeatedly tried to wipe it out.  It is the only nation in the world that has neighbors whose founding documents call for its destruction, the only nation that is the focus of other countries who hold rallies screaming “Death to Israel!” and who paint, in Hebrew, messages like Israel shall be destroyed on their test missiles.  Israel is the only nation in the world with permanent agenda items in the docket in UN meetings, and the only nation in the world counseled to exercise “restraint” when missiles fired from its neighbors land in its cities.  And despite there being, what, scores of “disputed territory” situations around the world, Israel is the only one that gets worldwide attention… thus showing that Jews are still marked for “special handling” by the world.

Just as an exercise, imagine if Lithuania fired missiles into Vladimir Putin’s Russia… do you really think it’d take more than a week of three-a-day before Putin stomped Lithuania flat and he sent in troops to scrape it clean?  Can you imagine him waiting for over a decade, having over 13,000 mortars, missiles, plus numerous tunnels under the border with armed incursions into Russia?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.

So for all you LinkedIn weenies out there not liking my stringent and strident defense of Israel and pushback on the Arabs and other anti-Semites attacking Israel on what is, and should be, a professional networking site – STUFF IT.  When your ancestral and spiritual homeland is attacked and vilified and slandered – daily – in an attempt to so tarnish its existence that when it is attacked people will view its destruction as a good thing (just as Jews were so tarnished through years of propaganda in pre-WWII Germany, and for the same purpose) – then we’ll talk.

Fix the Problem XIII: What’s Different? What changed?

This is the latest of a series of case studies and examples from my career, where I attempt to summarize a problem solved, how I did it, all with an eye of passing along useful information… while still, of course, making a good faith effort to protect any confidential information. I hope this, and the others in the series – found HERE – will prove useful and education, illustrative of my abilities, and inspirational as to how I might fit into a new employer.  I am, after all, on a job search!

And a brief disclaimer: These cases are “a while ago” so it’s possible I am slightly off on some of the exact details – but the broad sweep of each case is correct.

Introduction

As a part of teaching at U Mass / Lowell’s Plastic Engineering Department, one of the tacks I’ve tried to stress is that the students’ program and thoughts need to be aimed – ultimately – at solving real-world problems.  I’ve told my students that when solving a problem in production, or returns from the field, two critical questions often assist in delving quickly to the root cause(s) of the issue.  Specifically, What’s different? and What changed?.

To that end, I’d like to put forth three examples where these two questions were instrumental in helping to find the issues involved.

Retaining Rings Wouldn’t Retain

In one position in my career I worked as a floor-level Manufacturing Process Engineer. I was constantly challenged (read: hammered) with issues ranging from fixtures to field returns to, well, you get the picture.  Lots of “opportunities”, as my then-boss used to say.

One of these was a long-standing issue predating my arrival in the department. On the smaller, hand-held units there were several pieces in a family of similar products.  Some would be sent out of our department and rarely come back from retaining ring issues (essentially, a female piece installed over a mating male piece and held on by that retaining ring).  Others would come back having “spontaneously disassembled”, sometimes even before having left our factory.  This was a constant sore spot in my area’s weekly quality issues, not to mention warrantee report.  Thus it became a priority to solve and get one high-profile issue off the list.

I sat down with a sample of each product: the male, the female, and the retaining ring, laid out to compare and contrast. Visually, on a first-pass look, there seemed to be no differences aside from subtle variations in overall lengths.  More to the point, arranging the pieces from small to large, and putting either an OK or a NOT OK post-it below the pieces, based on their problem frequency, there wasn’t an obvious pattern (e.g., if it had been the two largest ones, or the two smallest ones, that could have been a clue – but there wasn’t).  Since some worked, and some didn’t… “What’s different?”

Being a fan of the Value Engineering discipline, which drives me to think functionally, I asked “What holds these retaining rings on?”  Answer: The groove geometry.  The groove depth, the central diameter, the width… in point of fact, each assembly used the same retaining ring.  Clearly, the ring was not the issue.

So I pulled prints for everything. One possibility was that there was not enough clearance, or the tolerances were wrong, and somehow the retaining rings were being pushed off.  But looking at the nominal and “worst case” dimensions showed that was not the case.  Also note that the company had good machinists, and a strong SPC program; things were in control on that score… and each groove had the exact same dimensions and tolerances.

But doing the “sit and stare” at the drawings laid out side by side I realized that some of the drawings had a callout for the external corners of the groove: SHARP. Some didn’t.  And the ones that didn’t have that callout were the ones with the issue.  Aha, a clue.

The company had a default callout requiring that all corners be broken by – going from memory – a chamfer of .010-.015 inch unless otherwise specified. In looking at the retaining ring groove design recommendations from the supplier, they stated that the edge at the outer diameter of the groove needed to be called out SHARP and could not have a break, whether radius or chamfer.  And the parts showed it; parts without that callout did, indeed, have that edge broken.

I showed this to the Design Engineer who acknowledged the issue, concurred with doing an ECO, and I wrote it up to put through.

Result: The problem went away… because I laid the good and bad parts out, l considered multiple potential factors, but the thing that was different was a design detail missed on the problem assemblies.

It Was Good, Now It’s Not

At that same company, in the same position, another product had a significant percentage of leak test failures. A far more complex assembly than the one above, it had multiple potential leak path failure locations.  Again, an inherited sore spot.

My path was to systematically take failed torches and block off one possible leak path after another, attempting to isolate which of the multiple possible potential leak locations it could have been was the culprit. My goal was to systematically examine the leak location(s) once I’d identified them.

But in one meeting in discussing the larger area, of which mine was a part, one of the managers said “We used to have no leak failures. Let’s find out what changed and change it back.”  A detail I had not known at the time.

It turns out that a design change had been made, with the best of intentions, that resulted in moving several o-rings axially by – IIRC – about 20 thousandths of an inch, which created the potential for them to move under pressure and thus lose their sealing ability.

However, ECOs are not done for no reason.  As I recall, a more careful re-examination of the initial ECO and its reason for being done found that the change could be made with a reduction  in the positioning and seating of the seals – leaks not being considered the first time – and thus maintain the ECO but eliminate the ripple effect that created the leak test failure issue.

Result: The problem went away. And the key lesson learned is to identify the time frame when things change for the worse, and ask “What changed?”  Not just materials, personnel, processes, etc., but consider Design changes too.

Cracked Handles… Sometimes

In one company, the plastic we sold was injection molded into large trash cans – the kind that are used for homes and often picked up by an arm to be dumped into a truck. The company that made them was receiving complaints from customers that the handle used by the truck lifter was cracking.  This was creating quite a problem for them and we were asked to investigate.

My initial role was to do a stress analysis of the handle. I obtained load forces, etc., and built several finite element models of the handle simulating both centered and eccentric loadings.  None showed stresses high enough to create cracks although the stress hot spots were where the cracks were forming.  I also considered impacts, not just static loads – again, while the stresses were in the right places for the cracks they weren’t high enough to exceed the yield strength.  I increased the mesh density – refining the model as sometimes that can affect the stress levels, but the numbers held.  Based on the force and impact load cases I was given, there was no reason for the handles to be cracking.

Our initial thought was that some kind of chemical might be attacking the material, and we started to inquire about possible chemical contacts, but then a clue arrived through our sales group. Only one color of the several the company offered to the end users was having the issue.

Aha! “What’s different?”  We supplied the base resin; at the molding location the customer would blend in colorant masterbatches to create the color variations.  Pursuing this further, we learned that the base resin used by the masterback colorant provider was, for this one color, significantly lower in average molecular weight.  I.e., by blending in this color masterbatch the molder was introducing a weaker and less impact-resistant material to be blended into the base resin.  (Material note: plastic strength is directly related, as a general correlation, to molecular weight of the polymer chains.)

Looking back with more experience under my belt, I’d ask two questions: 1: “Can the failure be reproduced?” And 2: If the answer to the first question is YES, “What happens to products molded from uncolored resin?”  Assuming YES was the answer to the first question, and the failure didn’t happen with uncolored resin, that would at least have eliminated the base plastic as the sole cause of the problem.

When a different masterbatch blend with a material molecular weight like the other masterbatch colors was tried, the problem went away.

Again, the key clue was learning that one color didn’t work while the others did… “What’s different?”  (And in the back of your mind you can add the potential for different colors to be questioned.)

Adding to the Toolbox

Multiple tools exist to aid in systematically looking for the root causes of a problem, e.g., Ishikawa/fishbone diagrams, the Five Whys (and Two Hows) questioning, etc.  Adding “What’s different?” and “What changed?” as appropriate can add an important new tool to your problem-solving toolbox.

 

© 2016, David Hunt, PE