June 21, 2010
A new survey sheds more light on who the anthropogenic global warming contrarians are. The abstract is self-explanatory and the fulltext is open access.
W. R. L. Anderegg et al. Expert credibility in climate change. PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1003187107
Abstract: Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC. A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions. Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.
January 4, 2010
The Guardian reports that
Leeds University students snowed in for two days at highest pub in UK. Students and teachers from Leeds University were forced to stay two days in a pub, drink lots of beer, and join forces to cook dinner. Sounds like one of the better places one could be trapped for two days in!
January 2, 2010
An isreali illusionist, Hezi Dean, celebrated New Year by breaking the world record for staying inside a block of ice. New record: an impressive 66 hours.
July 29, 2009
A new law suit against The Pirate Bay is reported in the news. Major movie studios have teamed up to stop TPB from providing torrents. Though TPB lost the previous court battle, the old torrents remain available and new ones are added every day. There’s also some bad news for the planned sale of TPB, as one player pulls out due to doubts about funding.
ZDnet even says the new law suit will block the sale of TPB to the dubious Global Gaming Factory, though no one else seems to have reported that. If true it would be a bit ironic since the new owner says it is negotiating deals with Hollywood studies to turn TPB into a legal file sharing site. Is this Hollywood’s answer to GGF? I guess it makes some sense to try to get TPB to cease activity as a torrent tracker, especially since GGF’s take over is still a bit unclear, but TPB is just one of several torrent trackers and users are already shifting attention to other trackers.
July 29, 2009
This picture at Panda’s Thumb will make waves in the blogosphere. Prof. Steve, the world’s most educated science education mascot, met with none other than former President Jimmy Carter (or vice versa).
July 23, 2009
Upright seating is again being considered for short passenger flights, this time by Ryanair. The same Ryanair that previously has considered charging extra for fat people and is currently mulling over a toilet charge. With the current financial crisis these ideas may have greater probability of being taken seriously by customers. I just hope the airline companies won’t start charging me for not losing my luggage… Or is that what travel insurance is for?
July 3, 2009
A Freedom of Information request has made available summaries of the interrogation of Saddam Hussein. I just spent some time reading and skimming through the summary documents. My impression of the interrogation is that Saddam Hussein was prone to self-flattery and some history revisionism, though he directly evaded the questions that would have cast in the worst light. There’s surely several points of interest to students of recent history. With the run-up to the Iraq war still in recent memory, one of the more interesting remarks is in my view the stated reason for resisting weapons inspections. Quoting from document #24, Casual Conversation, June 11, 2004:
* Hussein continued the dialogue on the issues relating to the significant threat to Iraq from Iran. Even though Hussein claimed Iraq did not have WMD, the threat from Iran was the major, the threat from Iran was the major factor as to why he did not allow the return of the UN inspectors. Hussein stated he was more concerned about Iran discovering Iraq’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities than the repercussions of the United States for his refusal to allow UN inspectors back into Iraq. In his opinion, the UN inspectors would have directly identified to the Iranians where to inflict maximum damage to Iraq. Hussein demonstrated this by pointing at his arm and stated striking someone on the forearm would not have the same effect as striking someone at the elbow or wrist, which would significantly disable the ability to use the arm. Hussein indicated he was angered when the United States struck Iraq in 1998. Hussein stated Iraq could have absorbed another United States strike for he viewed this as less of a threat than exposing themselves to Iran.
* Hussein further stated that Iran’s weapons capabilities have increased dramatically, while Iraq’s have been eliminated by the UN sanctions. The effects of this will be seen and felt in the future, as Iran’s weapons capabilities will be a greater threat to Iraq and the region in the future.
More at The National Security Archive, where the interrogation summaries are available.