Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Man made Global Warming

Chez linked me to this piece today refuting global warming data derived from surface measurements.

The assertion in this article is essentially that global warming is man made, not through emissions of greenhouse gasses, but through manipulation of data. He argues that:
1. The data is being collected poorly
2. The data is being altered by people in such a way as to augment their biases.

It is interesting, and I don't necessarily disagree that what he is saying is possible. I just think it is important to point out that the examples he uses in his article IN NO WAY PROVE either one of his criticisms of global warming science are true. Perhaps with further analysis he would be vindicated, but what is there does not prove anything.

I can't help but wonder who this author is. He mentions reviewing PhD theses twice, not in direct reference to himself, which I find amusing, but in a more general way. It leads the reader towards credibility without actually establishing any. (I wouldn't even think of this as part of any kind of scientific review, except he himself went out of the way to critique the use of the words "high quality" as being somehow misleading. I can't help but question this whole I'm gonna mention PhDs a lot as part of a similar tactic.)

His identity comes into question for the most part because there are a major flaws in his analysis as presented. It is possible he preformed a more detailed analysis of the data beyond what is presented here, and if so I would like to see the results of that. As it stands however, the analysis is extremely flawed.

For instance the first two charts charts he uses as data in his proof that global warming is "man made" are not comparable. The claim he is making with them is as follows:
The satellite record continues to show little or no change while the surface
record shows what s alleged to be a continued rising trend.

Unfortunately the charts given, are at best questionable in proving this point. There is no clear statement of what the charts actually show, year over year change, change from average, overall temperature? But if we are simply comparing the charts, assuming they show the same thing we still run into problems.

The first chart he presents is satellite data, but it does not tell us exactly what the measure is. (Average temp by month, week, year day, etc.) Nor does it display the metric. All it tells us is that it is satellite data for the last 28 years. I would be interested to see this data, and possibly to examine the annual averages and a rolling average. The seasonal variation has not been removed from this chart, and while there do seem to be some apparent trends it is not entirely clear how large or small they are on an annual basis.

The second chart represents temperature measure X by year going back to 1880. So here we are comparing, what I think is a monthly data chart (possibly weekly) to an annual chart. And it is also important that one only look at the last 28 years or so, despite the amount of data displayed.

In addition to the issues of how the charts themselves vary, there is the issue of the areas being measured. The satellite data looks at Northern hemisphere v. Southern, the surface data looks at ocean versus land. This means that the segmented charts are not comparable for obvious reasons.

Interestingly, if one examines the "Global" satellite chart as compared to the "Land and Ocean chart" One will see an approximate overall increase of .5 degrees C in the Land and Ocean Chart and .4 degrees C (estimated due to lack of averages) in the Global chart, at or around the end of 2005. What this actually shows us is that the two measurements are fairly close. Without more information I cannot tell you if any of this is statistically significant.

On to more topics, he mentions the placement of temperature stations which I am inclined to completely agree with the writer, that needs to be closely monitored and maintained.

From there we move to data processing, and examining the chart provided one would be inclined to be outraged at how we are being bamboozled by USHCN. I do question somewhat the apparently exponential growth of the adjustments made to the data.

However, the latest adjustment made was in 2005, and it was an average increase of .55 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the annual chart in 2005 there was an increase of 1 degree Fahrenheit. That still leaves .45 degrees unaccounted for by the data adjustment.

Essentially this analysis leaves me with more questions:
1. Is there a true discrepancy between global surface monitoring temp data and global satellite temp data. (That is are we seeing patterns in one that are not visible in the other.)
2. How are the data adjustments being conducted, and what accounts for the exponentially increasing pace of adjustment.
3. What is up with the temperature monitors being by AC units. Is this a common occurrence or just a few outliers?
4. If global climate change is not indicated via temperature change, to what can we attribute weather changes, the reduction of the ice caps, and the gradually increasing sea levels. (Or are these more data issues.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Oh Reginald....I DISAGREE!!!

Instapundit linked this study asserting that nerdiness is actually a function of being "hyperwhite." As in nerds are people who do not adopt non white forms of speech, and dress. This may or may not be true. A follow up post from American Thinker says:

The article does not mention the true common characteristic of nerds: they
are numerate, i.e. conversant in the language of mathematics - an odd omission
for a linguist. This omission can be explained by the fact that
Berkeley-style multi-culturalism is threatened by numeracy, the development of
which is the hallmark of Western Civilization and the historical wellspring of
western economic and military success. Consequently, it is incumbent on
multi-culturalists to discredit whenever and wherever possible those who are

I disagree however, I think defining individuals who are "nerds" as only intellectuals who are involved in numerical or scientific occupations is extremely limiting.

I think the assertion that nerds are only individuals with strong mathmatic ability is just as biased as the assertion that nerds are only people who conform to what is traditionally viewed as a "white" culture.

Are Librarians, Historians, Archeologists, Spelling Bee Champions somehow not nerds because they are not necessarily numerate? Having seen some of those spelling be contestants I don't really see how that could be argued. One of my most stereotypically nerdy professors in college was in fact a history/political scienc professor.

Perhaps nerds like myself who are highly numerate have less exposure to the history nerds or the social science nerds, but that does not necessarily mean that these people are not also nerds.

I propose another definition of nerd, a nerd is someone who focuses on intellectual pursuits in lieu of attempting to conform to social norms. Do with that, what you will.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Dear Readers, (if you are still out there) I would like to take a moment and ask you to appreciate that I did apply my ninja skills to anyone after the appearance of the recent "Obesity is Contagious" bullshit.

Seriously, what? Is that like how Teh Gay is contagious? My incredulity knows no bounds.

I couldn't even post on it for at least two days because I was rendered speechless. Surely no one is this stupid? Surely the media would not publish a study that was:
  • Based entirely on Correlative data (Correlation !=Causation)
  • Drawing on conclusions that only affect men
  • Based on a limited sample of people that were enrolled in a heart study and their emergency contacts
  • Only valid for the Middle Class
  • Completely Stupid
But they did, and the headlines were big and bold, Obesity is Contagious. Can all the fatties hear the nice young men in their big white coats coming to take them away?

I first read about the study at Shapely Prose, and she pointed me to this excellent article that covers most of the points I would like to make. (So if you want to know more besides that I think you should tell everyone you know what utter bullshit this story is you should go read those articles.)

What I find most interesting is a point that Kate Harding made:

It’s well worth mentioning that that study demonstrated, among other things,
that there’s no clear link between longevity and BMI, that among non-smokers,
obesity was correlated with greater longevity, and that the largest single
determinant of longevity was… drumroll… genes.

And Genes don't have anything to do with our social networks either.

The thing that drives me crazy about this is that no one is going to contradict it. It fits so nicely in with society's desire to hate anyone that weighs more than 5lbs that most writers and readers wont even question it.