Category Archives: Science Gone Wrong

It Seems the Idea of Dark Energy May Have Been Premature, After All

I ran across this today:

Is Dark Energy a Real Thing? Maybe Not, A New Study Suggests

According to prevailing cosmological theories, the universe is expanding, but not at a constant rate. As the universe gets older, its growth seems to accelerate over time, something that would be impossible without some sort of extra energy being added to the overall system. Dark energy, the theory goes, accounts for nearly 70 percent of all energy in the observable universe.

But a new study from Oxford has called dark energy’s existence into question, saying that the data is flawed or based on observations that previously assumed that dark energy was already a universal constant. If this is the case, then scientists may have to go back to reevaluate their understanding of the universe and how it works.

Dark energy and dark matter are two things that have troubled me for a long time about the current state of astronomy.  Not only is dark energy supposed to be 70% of all energy in the universe, but dark matter is supposed to be 96% of all matter in the universe – or 24 times the amount of matter we can actually detect.

These are two things that cannot be seen or felt or heard or sensed, even with our best instruments (which are extensions of our five senses, in a very real sense). To me, there was something crooked in Denmark, some way that the astronomers had gone down the rabbit hole and had misjudged something or assumed some things that would end up being not true. Continue reading

Is Science Difficult?

 

I was “good” at science and math in school, and that ended up helping me to a decent career and fairly prosperous life.  But being “good at science” in school is not why I like science now.  I think the world got off on the wrong foot about science, and I think I know one of the moments when that happened.

Remember the tale of Thomas Edison and him trying something like 2,000 different things before finding something that would work for a filament?

Well, the world was SO enamored of Edison and his wonderful, persevering on the incandescent light, but that was a terrible moment for most people.  It was the PERFECT public face to put on for a certain type of people, about both inventing and science, but not for the rest of us.  They sent – and KEEP sending this message:

BEWARE!  INVENTING IS HARD! SCIENCE IS HARD!  ONLY SPECIAL PEOPLE CAN DO THIS!  Only the astute and clever need apply!  The rest of you shits, go away!

Between you and me and the fly on the wall, I think it is more or less the opposite:

Science is rather accommodating, actually.  Inventing and science are hard for those who have no flexibility of mind and no imagination (yes, such people exist) – the clerks of the world.  PARTS of both inventing and science are FOR the weenies of the world, those who are essentially clerks – the plodders who just want to fill in blansk on forms.  Well science has solitary offices or cubicles in basements for that kind of people, but they should never call them full-fledged scientists.  They are more like science clerks – those who love to do drudge work..  They are the butterfly collectors and stamp collectors and accountants.

But science for some is actually FUN.  That is what underlies the popularity of alternate researchers and their books, people like Graham Hancock and Christopher Dunn.  These individuals wake up in people the idea that science can be FUN.  Discovery IS fun.

Science is discovery.  For each student, science will come to him, ONCE HE SEES THAT THE PUZZLES AND CONUNDRUMS ARE FUN TO THINK ABOUT.

Each one needs to open that discovery door for himself.  No teacher can do it for him.  And when he does – when discovery comes a-knocking – he will to some degree be hooked for life.

Science itself is CONNECTIONS, making connections, both mentally and even in the physical world.  It’s all about seeing connections and making them real.  Learning how to connect CANNOT be taught in a classroom aimed at the average mentality. It can ONLY be taught by a one-on-one mentor or by one’s self. Occasionally a classroom teacher will take a kid under his/her wing and with special attention help this happen.  But normally it’s one-on-one or a self-didact (self-taught person).  Only light bulbs going off in a person’s head can make that happen for him.  Until one discovers how COOL it is to see some connection that was hidden a moment before, a person doesn’t know how much fun science IS.

But it is amazing how much clerical there is in science, as it is formulated today.  So much to bore, so much to repel, so much to fend off the imaginations of the people of the world.  So much to keep it to the ivory tower people who hide behind the “IT’S SO HARD!” smoke screen.

The alternate researchers have done it right, in spite of themselves.  They simply put interesting facts and surmises on bookshelves (both literal and cyber).  And the readers either get off on it or don’t.  MANY DO.

Schools, by externally demanding memorization, and with comparison testing (kids vs their peers), schools miss the mark.  There IS no demand in science – except the internal demand to discover and wonder.

The scientist in each person wakes up a little bit every time there is a problem at home or in the office with computers or light bulbs or lighting pilot lights or mixing mortar for a small brick wall or building a shed.  All those entail physics or chemistry or electricity, all of which are parts of science.  Solving practical problems around the house or office are all experiments.  And we grow smarter every time we solve one of those.  For good reason we pat ourselves on the backs for having solved those real world problems.

And when you hare about a new puzzle in science, go ahead and think about it, what kind of solution might be out there.   It’s okay to exercise your brain a bit, and when the solution is found later (many are), then you will be able to appreciate the solution all that much more.  The world becomes a little better place when “even” normal people think about these things.

The Air Conditioner Effect – Part of the Urban Heat Island Effect

I would point people at this article from 2010 as a starting point.

Think about this:

We wouldn’t put meteorological stations (met stations) right by the exhaust of smoke stacks, would we?  Of course not.  And why not?  The air coming out is HOT.  And what is the air coming out of an air conditioner’s outside compressor unit like?  HOT.

The smokestack effluent is hot because of some heating process.  Normally there is some process in a plant that uses heat and that heat is disposed of out the stack.

Similarly, an air conditioner has a process going on within IT that warms up its exhaust air.  That process is the operating of the compressor unit.  The compressor unit essentially forces a building’s inside air through nozzles, and as the air passes through the nozzle it expands rapidly – which cools THAT air.  But that cooling doesn’t come free.  Compressing that air THROUGH the nozzle means heating it up FIRST.  It has to have a certain velocity in order for the cooling to happen as it exits the nozzle.  So pressure is needed.  And when that coolant is compressed, it heats up and up and up.  Compressors run quite hot, in fact.  And they need to be cooled down.  That is the other side of the air conditioning equation – if you want cool on one side (inside) you have to deal with the heat produced on the other side, and send that heat outside.  The last stage is to run the heated fluid through tubes in front of a fan which blows over them, cooling the fluid in those tubes.  And where does that heat end up going?

OUTSIDE.

(From http://www.HowStuffWorks.com) Notice that orange/yellow arrow representing a heated air plume being sent out into the external atmosphere.  Now do that tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of times within a city area.  The insides of buildings get cooler, and the outside – what happens to IT? The heat gets dispersed and blended with the ambient air, warming it.  That warming is not zero. Not individually nor collectively.  Collectively those non-zeros adds up.

That is why you don’t put a met station right by the exhaust of an air conditioner – because the air there is HEATED.  So that we can be cool inside, the outside has to get warmer.  In short, the air in our cities is cooler inside and warmer outside.

Now guess where the met stations are – inside or outside?  Right – outside. <i>Where the heated air conditioner exhaust goes.</i> Continue reading

Something Just Phor Phun and Let You All Sort It Out or Scratch Your Heads…

You can all label me as certifiable now if you want…

This is about ice ages.  Some portions about the ice age theory – as presented – have holes in them.  So, I am arguing those points and you see if my points are valid in your own minds. . .

Two years ago, over at WattsUpWithThat.com, my friend Canadian climatologist Rodney Chilton posted an article on the Younger Dryas and the Thermohaline Conveyor shutdown that is supposed to have happened.  I was one of the people who vetted and edited Rodney’s paper, so it is something I had a little hand in. Rodney duly gave me credit in the Acknowledgements, even. I was quite pleased to see how many commenters at WUWT had positive comments.

Especially this one:

Mike M. says:

thank you very much for posting. i have a scientifically minded teen and have used this article to demonstrate “the way science is done”.

I am not going to comment directly on either of the topics, but will instead disuss a comment by a guy named commieBob, which was replied to by a handful of people, with a couple of them actually not having any idea what they were talking about or what science’s take was on the point of commieBob’s comment.

commieBob says:

Ice age – What ice age?

Here’s a link to a really skeptical article:http://www.blavatsky.net/science/atlantis/emails/ice_age.htm There is ‘evidence’ that the ice ages, as we understand them, did not happen.

The first thing that attracted my attention when I found the above link was the name Blavatsky. “Verrry interesting” The new age movement might be termed “Blavatsky for dummies”. In other words, although I do not personally have the knowledge and skill to refute the information and conclusions in the above linked article, I’m darn sure it’s garbage. It is, isn’t it? Help …

I did myself read the linked article, which had some valid points and some mish-mash in it.  I will pass on the mish-mash and address what I think are valid points.

To this, one comment was the following. I will comment here on the bolded parts of davidmhoffer’s comment:

davidmhoffersays:

commieBob;
I’m darn sure it’s garbage.
>>>>>>

It is worse than garbage. The article rests upon this argument:

********************
[Quoted improperly from the article:]

“A first and perhaps prime fact you need to know is that ice does not go uphill. Water doesn’t and ice doesn’t and glaciers don’t. Even over level ground ice doesn’t go very far. Specifically it goes up to 7 miles on level ground. Ice just can’t push ice further than that. If pressure is applied to push more than 7 miles worth of ice then it gets crushed or melts instead.

A look at the map shows that the ice would have to be pushed much farther than 7 miles.
With just this info you can see, the ice-age didn’t happen!”
********************

An “ice age” happens when the total amount of snow that falls in winter exceeds the amount that melts in summer.

If that happens over a large area, you get a large ice sheet, it doesn’t have to “travel” to get anywhere. As for the 7 mile limitation, it all depends on speed. If the ice only moves a small amount year over year, then no crushing or melting occurrs [sic]. FAIL on the first two points of the article, no further reading required to conclude that it is drivel.

So what am I going to write about this?….

Hoffer cheated a bit on his quote of the article, by leaving out the middle paragraph of what he pasted in.   Continue reading

Climate Scientists and Nature Magazine are Crazy, It Seems

An article in Nature magazine, Climate Change: The Case of the Missing Heat, discusses why the global warming ended for a time in 1998 (actually, besides that El Niño of 1998 it began earlier).  About the global average, the article says

Simulations conducted in advance of the 2013–14 assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggest that the warming should have continued at an average rate of 0.21 °C per decade from 1998 to 2012. Instead, the observed warming during that period was just 0.04 °C per decade

Now 0.04°C per decade is only 0.02°F per decade, and is only 0.4°C per CENTURY.  NO CATASTROPHE HERE!

But it also tells us how WRONG scientists can be.

The article further states that

One important finding came in 2011, when a team of researchers at NCAR led by Gerald Meehl reported that inserting a PDO pattern into global climate models causes decade-scale breaks in global warming.

No shit, Sherlock. Actually entering in a real-world (and pertinent) phenomenon into the models made them act more like the real world?

Wow. Whodathunk?

The PDO

The PDO is the Pacfic Decadal Oscillation.  It was discovered in 1997.  You might ask what it is.  And you might also ask what climate scientist discovered it.

Answering the latter first, it was NOT discovered by a climate scientist at all.  It was discovered by a biologist researching trends in salmon catches by fishermen in the northern Pacific.  His name is Steven Hare.

As to what the PDO is?  It is the observed shifting of the climate in the northern Pacific from one phase to another and then back again.  The shifts are called “phases,” and the phases are not short, and they are consistently long term, lasting about 2 or 3 decades or more.  (Hence the “decadal” in the name of the PDO.)  In a PDO warm phase, the northern Pacific is warmer than average, and the SE USA is also warm.  The rest of the USA in that case will be cooler than usual.  The opposite holds true in a PDO cool phase:  A cool northern Pacific matches with a cool phase in the SE USA, while the rest of the country is warmer than usual.  These phases are persistent.  There seems to BE no neutral phase to speak of – the PDO is usually in either a warm phase or a cool phase, but not long in the middle.

More than ten years ago people were already saying that the timing of the PDO’s phases indicated that its patterns suggested that we were likely to be ending our time in a PDO warm phase and thus heading into a slowdown and a possible/probable global cooling.

By 1990 we were all told that they knew what was happening with the climate and that it was CO2 causing the climate to warm – strongly implying that all the factors were known and all the factors were accounted for in the models and in their overall thinking. When the PDO was discovered, none of the climate scientist came out and said, “You know, we need to incorporate the PDO into the models, don’t we?”

OBVIOUSLY, ALL of the factors should be in the models. Any twerp with half a brain would know that.

It took them from 1997 – coincidentally the beginning of the hiatus (mentioned in the Nature paper) until 2011 – to FINALLY even THINK of putting the PDO into the models. And when they did, VIOLA! the models began to act more like the real world!

Are these guys numb nuts or what?

This is a science with so little science in it that it boggles the mind. Or at least too few actual scientists with brains capable of logic instead of wishful thinking. Not to mention the blatant cherry picking of not only data but also cherry picking of FORCINGS.  Forcings are a fancy way of saying “causes.” Leaving the PDO out until now is simply mind-blowing.

Maybe in about 250 years they will figure out that Trenberth’s sequestered heat in the oceans is just a total wishful thinking speculation/delusion. The editors of journals seem to be incapable of recognizing delusions and mere speculations.  For now, they are so illogical that they can’t tell the difference between speculation and evidence. Trenberth’s sequestered heat is an extraordinary claim – something never seen before or thought about before. He pulled it out of his butt, after all. And as an extraordinary claim, IT requires extraordinary proof. Yet, the editors at Nature cannot bring themselves to demand such extraordinary proof. Instead, they accept it at face value as if it is the truth of the matter.

So, once again, the skeptics who do demand the extraordinary proof are themselves now the ones who will be required to disprove Trenberth’s TOTAL GUESS.

Science, in other words, has been stood on its head.

The REAL story here should be this:

When INCLUDING the PDO makes the computer models behave like the real world, then the climate models were wrong all that time they did not include the PDO.

Instead, they shunt this important finding into the background and return to Trenberth and his delusion.

It just makes your mind reel, doesn’t it?

Chaotic systems – Is climate one of them? I’m beginning to suspect not

At New Scientist I found this:  Climate Myths: Chaotic Systems Are Not Predictable (May 16, 2007) by Michael Brooks

In it he starts out with

“While weather and to some extent climate are chaotic systems, that does not mean that either are entirely unpredictable…” followed by an assertion of a demonstration whose link is a dead link.

I agree with the statement that – as science’s capacity currently stands – weather is chaotic.  And yet, within that chaos, our scientists do a great job of dealing with weather, on its short time scale, in a manner that is both quite accurate and real-world functional.  It is functional on the short scale to the pint of almost being a branch of engineering instead of science, per se. Engineering is what is called “applied science.”  To “apply” a specific science, the mechanics, chemistry, materials science, electronics, and physics of it need to be known to within close approximations and then well defined for producers of products and designers, so that one group knows what to provide and the other knows what they will be dealing with and be able to produce a next-level product with characteristics known to within close parameters.

In other words, once a process or material passes to the point of engineering it is very nearly the exact opposite of a chaotic system. Continue reading

CO2 and Sea Levels – Let’s Look at Them from a Different Angle

From an article at WattsUpWithThat.com:

“Nor is there any reference to our slowly rising sea levels, a rise certainly not accelerating, all despite the clearly increasing CO2 levels.”

Sometimes it is useful to look at numbers from the other way around. So, let’s look at CO2 and its increase for just a second in a reverse way:

…Since the beginning of the Mona Loa CO2 data began in March 1958, non-CO2 in the atmosphere has fallen from 99.968538% to 99.96033%.

If graphed with a zero Y-value, to all but a microscope this would appear as a straight and horizontal line.  I know this, because I just did it.

Thus if non-CO2 is graphed vs the sea level rise, it is not surprising that sea level rise is not being affected by the CO2 increase.

***
In high school journalism we learned to be alert to statistical shenannigans, how the presentation of statistics had everything to do with the propaganda being presented. “Propaganda” is not my word, but that of my teacher. We were first of all taught that one means of propagandizing with stats is to not graph with a zero Y-value. Another was to reverse the percentages, as is done with CO2.

The latter is often done in medical studies, claiming that a certain finding is “significant” because the incidence of a disease has gone from, say, 1.25% to 1.85% – an almost 50% increased risk. However, that can also be read as an avoidance rate changing from 98.75% to 98.15%. Patients would feel much more positive if the latter percentages were presented – and especially if those were presented on a graph. But such a presentation isn’t convenient for garnering funding or approval for preventive drugs, so that isn’t done.

In the case of CO2 the preventive drug is all things green – according to those framing the problem. A straight horizontal line isn’t convenient to raising alarms.

***

As to the sea level rise being all but constant since forever, for those who don’t know this, it has been about 3mm per year in almost the entire time it has been measured – and no rise at all in the last two decades when the compiled global average temperatures showed increased temps for a third of that time and then none for the last decade plus.

Thus, with both CO2 rise and sea level rise being mostly constant it is possible that both are tied together.  This might be one causing the other or both being influenced by some other effect.  Or it might just be a coincidence.  Correlation does not mean causation.