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Old 01-30-2012, 05:12 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Default Re: NASA Temperature Data: 1880-2011

Nicholas, I think you've described the bad apples of academia and we can find them in every discipline. However, it does not fit the two earth science modeling teams that I am familiar with, nor the 3 other teams they collaborate with.

In this field of studies, scientists do not work alone. Certainly someone with Einsteinian mental capabilities could grasp the entirety of the dynamics -- but carrying out the work single-handedly is intractable. Instead the serious research teams are lead by a group of 4 or so such individuals, each of which has a grasp of the whole but who focus on their individual specialty. To carry out the work, they also have anywhere from 15 to 35 more individuals on the team who are at the caliber of assistant professor or post-doc. The aim of their research is to model earth processes as a whole, and not to criticize the activities of humans.

They have no need for news conferences or other stunts designed to increase funding through beg-a-buck government grant programs. Their salaries exist primarily through endowments, supplemented by occasional contracts and the compensations they receive as reviewers of leading journals in their field.
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:39 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Default Re: NASA Temperature Data: 1880-2011

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Just hope that this warming last long enough so that we can make emeritus status before it goes bust.
I just hope it helps in warming the climate to such level, that my grandchildren will not know the frost at this latitude.
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:41 PM   #43 (permalink)
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Default Re: NASA Temperature Data: 1880-2011

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I just hope it helps in warming the climate to such level, that my grandchildren will not know the frost at this latitude.
I'd settle for two light frosts a year.
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:30 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Default Re: NASA Temperature Data: 1880-2011

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The aim of their research is to model earth processes as a whole, and not to criticize the activities of humans.
I have no problem with that. But, when people start advocating for a change one way or another I am highly suspicious especially with climate.

I don't know if you ever read super freakonomics but there is some discussion in there about all the problems associated with horse manure in major cities. It was a big problem with no solution in sight and then along came the automobile. We have a very poor ability to imagine what the future will look like. It took 30 years or so to completely move from horse and buggy to automobile. I'm sure I'll sound silly talking to my grandkids about driving a camaro. It'll be like my grandfather talking about driving cattle to Alexandria, VA
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:15 AM   #45 (permalink)
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Default Re: NASA Temperature Data: 1880-2011

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I have no problem with that. But, when people start advocating for a change one way or another I am highly suspicious especially with climate.
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:48 AM   #46 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: NASA Temperature Data: 1880-2011

As a non-expert, do you really want to gamble against 97% of the experts? I am a scientist with a PhD and I've seen the good the bad and ugly of science. The ugly is not not nearly so devious and evil as some of you imagine. The ugly tend to be pig-headed or self promoters, and end up making mistakes. They are the small minority. If you think there is big money for individual scientists doing climate science work, you are mistaken. Our salaries are set by the institutions we work for. These guys don't need global change money -- there will always be jobs and funding to do climate research of some type.

I know VERY LITTLE about climatology. But when the people who are experts in it are almost unanimous in their view of the reality of global warming and its chief causes, I will trust their opinions. When so many scientifically illiterate people (this comment is not targeted anyone who has posted here -- instead it is targeted more at the hypothetical "average American") are willing to gamble the future of their descendants and the other organisms we share this planet with, I find that disturbing and depressing.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:49 AM   #47 (permalink)
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Default Re: NASA Temperature Data: 1880-2011

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If you think there is big money for individual scientists doing climate science work, you are mistaken. Our salaries are set by the institutions we work for.
It's difficult to explain to most of the people how money stops being that interesting to certain groups of people, when they reach some point. A true scientist does science, no matter the cost or lack of funds. A true scientist-talker just talks about what he's doing all the time.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:16 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Default Re: NASA Temperature Data: 1880-2011

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Originally Posted by harveyc View Post
For a different view:
Sixteen Concerned Scientists: No Need to Panic About Global Warming - WSJ.com
It seems that we weren't the only people who thought the 16 scientists might be a bit far afield:

Check With Climate Scientists for Views on Climate — Letters to the Editor - WSJ.com
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:03 PM   #49 (permalink)
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It seems that we weren't the only people who thought the 16 scientists might be a bit far afield:

Check With Climate Scientists for Views on Climate — Letters to the Editor - WSJ.com
I wish the author of that OpEd piece would educate us dummies and tell us what is extreme about the views of the "few" qualified folks in the original OpEd piece instead of introducing an entirely unrelated matter of a retrovirus scientist.

The author himself delves into an area where he seems to have no expertise, suggesting that we "invest" in low carbon energy to stimulate the economy. I suppose we will need some more taxes for that which would be lots of help.
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:50 PM   #50 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: NASA Temperature Data: 1880-2011

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I wish the author of that OpEd piece would educate us dummies and tell us what is extreme about the views of the "few" qualified folks in the original OpEd piece instead of introducing an entirely unrelated matter of a retrovirus scientist.

The author himself delves into an area where he seems to have no expertise, suggesting that we "invest" in low carbon energy to stimulate the economy. I suppose we will need some more taxes for that which would be lots of help.
I take "extreme" to be used in the statistical sense, that is to say, far from the average view. If you disagree with 97% of chestnut growers, your views would be extreme, even though they could be correct. But if I were starting a chestnut growing business, I'd probably follow the advice of the 97%.

I include myself in the category of dummies, at least when it comes to understanding the details of climate change science. Sure, I have a PhD in a science, but it's not in climatology. I don't think climatologists or scientists in general are any smarter than the average person, but we are trained to be experts in whatever discipline we specialize in. That was the point of the article, in my mind. If your car needs a new transmission, do you take it to the genius French pastry chef who is smarter than anyone you know, but has never worked on a car in his life?
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:16 PM   #51 (permalink)
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I take "extreme" to be used in the statistical sense, that is to say, far from the average view. If you disagree with 97% of chestnut growers, your views would be extreme, even though they could be correct. But if I were starting a chestnut growing business, I'd probably follow the advice of the 97%.

I include myself in the category of dummies, at least when it comes to understanding the details of climate change science. Sure, I have a PhD in a science, but it's not in climatology. I don't think climatologists or scientists in general are any smarter than the average person, but we are trained to be experts in whatever discipline we specialize in. That was the point of the article, in my mind. If your car needs a new transmission, do you take it to the genius French pastry chef who is smarter than anyone you know, but has never worked on a car in his life?
Based on the example of the HIV case, I think the writer was meaning "very unreasonable" when using "extreme". Yet, he didn't make any points refuting any of the specific information they had included in the original OpEd.

I don't think the transmission/pastry chef is anything pertinent to the points I was making.

I have a longer career in auditing than farming chestnuts, fyi. Yet, I did research chestnut growing a great deal before planting my orchard 13 years ago and read every bit of information I could find. In the end, I have now grafted over the entire orchard to other varieties because the general consensus on what was best to plant was wrong.
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:17 PM   #52 (permalink)
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Default Re: NASA Temperature Data: 1880-2011

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If you think there is big money for individual scientists doing climate science work, you are mistaken. Our salaries are set by the institutions we work for. These guys don't need global change money -- there will always be jobs and funding to do climate research of some type.
I'll suppose for a minute that perhaps things are done differently in California. I'm an agronomist and I work for the University of Florida. I'm going back to get my PhD in August. Here, tenure and promotion is determined by a formula that looks at how many publications you have made, classes taught, and how much grant money you brought in. Having been a part of the grant-writing process over the past few years, I know that grants tend to have some kind of theme. When there is a perceived problem, the federal government directs more money towards it. I realize that the researchers don't get a direct share of that money, but it helps them along in their careers. It also increases the size and scope of their little fiefdoms. It's nice to have extra employees and grad students and new lab equipment. Like I said, I have no problem with the research, but rather with the apocalyptic predictions.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:19 PM   #53 (permalink)
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Default Re: NASA Temperature Data: 1880-2011

If a comparison to any of the 38 authors co-signing the article is made to ourselves, you will find that by comparison most of us have the mental development, knowledge, and skills in our fields of an average student in 2nd grade at a public school. People such as Terry Root do not chase careers -- instead the careers chase them. They are not your average tenure-track professor. It would take any of us at least 50 years -- without brain deterioration -- to acquire the knowledge and insight they acquire and integrate each and every year.

The whole "global warming" discussion by lay people such as ourselves draws out the most unusual responses. Some use it as a venue to complain about science -- and often this is due to an underlying misunderstanding about dynamic processes or simply quantity vs. rate. Others use it to complain about academia, and sometimes rightly so -- or because of some past poor experience, or a total misunderstanding of the great range of learning rates among humans. And finally there are those who like to take any opportunity to poke fun or argue about something they feel is vunerable -- such as Enfant Provocateur.

If we were to listen in (or simply read) the discussions of the authors, you will find that there is disagreement among themselves about some processes or another. Certainly they do not all feel that the situation is apocalyptic, although they all agree it is serious.

The topic is a political football. If it is entertaining for you to discuss it like a sports topic -- then go for it, have fun! But as great as he was, I really don't believe Merlin Olsen will be drafted into the Climatology Hall of Fame.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:34 PM   #54 (permalink)
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If a comparison to any of the 38 authors co-signing the article is made to ourselves, you will find that by comparison most of us have the mental development, knowledge, and skills in our fields of an average student in 2nd grade at a public school.
I'm actively studying, creating and producing so that once I might be the 2-10% of people whose skills and knowledge are to be envied. Who knows... with enough time and work... I might just be there in several decades.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:33 PM   #55 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: NASA Temperature Data: 1880-2011

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Based on the example of the HIV case, I think the writer was meaning "very unreasonable" when using "extreme". Yet, he didn't make any points refuting any of the specific information they had included in the original OpEd.

I don't think the transmission/pastry chef is anything pertinent to the points I was making.

I have a longer career in auditing than farming chestnuts, fyi. Yet, I did research chestnut growing a great deal before planting my orchard 13 years ago and read every bit of information I could find. In the end, I have now grafted over the entire orchard to other varieties because the general consensus on what was best to plant was wrong.
The 3% of climatologists who disagree with the 97% are viewed by their colleagues in exactly the same way as the virologist who doesn't believe AIDS is caused by the HIV virus is viewed by his colleagues.

My basic question is this: is it wise to ignore the warnings of the vast majority of experts, when it comes to such a complicated issue with such serious and far-reaching consequences? Maybe the 97% of experts are wrong and the 3% minority is right, but to me its seems reckless to gamble on that.

Nick, I agree with you that the predictions about how much the climate will change should be viewed with caution. I suspect most of the climatologists who've made those predictions would agree. They involve extrapolation beyond anything we have experienced, which is always risky. But shouldn't you prepare for the worst and be happy if does not occur?

My point about money, funding, and science is this: the good climatologists will always be able to fund their academic empires. They will always be able to write successful grant proposals for whatever the current "big issue" is. Yes, those of us in academia have egos and have all the flaws of other people, but we are not going to intentionally misrepresent what we view as the truth just to generate funding for our research programs. Our livelihoods and professional reputations depend on us presenting the facts as we know them. That's not to say we are never wrong, we are, but if you are caught lying to generate funding, it's over for you.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:26 AM   #56 (permalink)
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The 3% of climatologists who disagree with the 97% are viewed by their colleagues in exactly the same way as the virologist who doesn't believe AIDS is caused by the HIV virus is viewed by his colleagues.
And I have read somewhere (a blog of sort?) that there are "scientists", who actually believe that the HIV virus is NOT a deadly virus and can be cured using retroviral cure - a special virus designed to hunt down the HIV in the body.
When there was a conference in Vienna about this in 2010? or 2011?, they (the not "believers") organized a contra coonference, where they would discuss why HIV is not the cause of AIDS. Guess the turnout.
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:51 AM   #57 (permalink)
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Default Re: NASA Temperature Data: 1880-2011

The basic problem that we have is the same problem we have had for over 100 years. We have too many people on this planet to live sustainably. We are exhausting our resources and polluting the world. You don't hear many people talking about it, but I will likely see the end of commercial phosphorus fertilizer in my lifetime. Peak Phosphorus, and Why It Matters - By James Elser and Stuart White | Foreign Policy

So peak phosphorus and peak oil, declining levels of arable land. Food is going to get very expensive in the near future. Things have already gotten much more expensive than they used to be. I used to be able to buy nitrogen phosphorus and potash for about 0.25/lb, now they have all more than doubled in price. Of course these predictions have been made before, and technology has delivered us from doom. I'm sure the Europeans could use a little warming right now.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:55 AM   #58 (permalink)
 
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The basic problem that we have is the same problem we have had for over 100 years. We have too many people on this planet to live sustainably. We are exhausting our resources and polluting the world.
Yep, that's it in a nutshell.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:46 PM   #59 (permalink)
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The basic problem that we have is the same problem we have had for over 100 years.
Frankly, no. The earth can carry much more people than it does now. What however people lack is a proper social and economical system, when the minority wouldn't own the majority.

Another problem is, that American way of life, or the way most of the Americans live their life, is not sustainable.
Consider it yourself: how many cars do you have on average? How much food do you throw away on average? Pollution per person... You [as a nation] lead in almost all of these negative aspects.

I was watching a movie the other day:
How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth (FULL) - YouTube

And some claims are made there about how many people could live on Earth, if it was supposed to be sustainable. If I remember correctly, "the African way living" would support even over 20 billion people. An estimate, right. But based on some logic.


Also, in the movie, there's a short passage about a man working for a university: Norman Borlaug. His approach is typical for most of the scientists, hence what we discussed earlier. His goal to help and educate... his commitment to this cause more than anything else.
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:01 PM   #60 (permalink)
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Frankly, no.
Actually yes -- even with dramatic changes in lifestyle for the current number of people on the planet. Check the studies from Cornell University.

In terms of Africa, some people are now knee-deep in the Stand On Zanzibar.
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