Friday, September 23, 2011

Climate change

I had some other things I was going to work on today.  However, there are a few things that I need to get out first so you get a blog post.

Dave MacDonald is running for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PCPO) in Kitchener Centre.  Dave was a weather man for the local CTV station for a number of years. He is not a meterologist, but after talking about the weather for 40 years, you would expect him to have picked up a few things.

So it was surprising when at the debate on Wednesday night when he stated "There’s still a lot of controversy over what the cause of climate change is."  MacDonald then went on to state “If there is some component of it that is man-made, then I’m all in favour of trying to reduce carbon emissions and that sort of thing."  If I understand him correctly that even if a small part of the global climate change has to do with things being man made he wants something to be done about it.  However, MacDonald does not feel that anything needs to be done, and according to him there are 1000s scientists that deny global climate change.  I have phoned his campaign office and am waiting a response.

I put out a request on twitter for science papers that support MacDonald's belief.  I got two responses both linked to articles marked commentary in the National Post.

The first article, written by Lawerence Solomon, lists a bunch of scientists that have dismissed concerns about climate change.  If you look at the research of the named scientists, only one has done research in climate, Reid Bryson.  Bryson died at the age of 88 in 2008.  None of the other scientists researched weather or climate, and the youngest was born in 1937.  There is no linked papers or statements on what exactly these scientists believe. Some believe earth is not warming, some say it is but just natural forces, some say that poverty is a bigger concern than anthromorphogenic climate change.

The second article, again written by Lawerence Solomon is entitled "Science is now settled". Which implies the debate is over.  Solomon claims that due to a paper in Nature by CERN that the sun is responsible for cloud formation and the sole contributor to earth's warming.  I looked up that paper in Nature it is entitled "Role of sulphuric acid, ammonia and galactic cosmic rays in atmospheric aerosol nucleation" by Kirkby et al. (Kirkby, J. et alNature 476, 429-433 (2011). I don't have access to Nature on my home computer and am guessing most of my readers don't either (you can go to your local university library and read it if you want).  There is a discussion of the paper on Nature news which is accessible.  The gist of the paper is that cosmic rays can interact with aerosols in the atmosphere and enhance the formation of nano sized particles.  The particles are "way too small to seed clouds".  I find this quote by Kirkby to be very illuminating "At the moment, it actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate, but it's a very important first step,"   This is preliminary research, and they are continuing to ask and attempt to answer questions.

These are the papers that Global warming deniers are clinging too.  They call themselves skeptics, but too me a skeptic looks at the facts and asks questions not just cling to beliefs.  The deniers are also fond of the moving the goalposts.  This is the logical fallacy in which evidence presented in response to a specific claim is dismissed and some other (often greater) evidence is demanded.

I am still looking for decent scientific papers (that have not been rescinded).  I also have a few other questions for Dave if he ever calls me back.

Monday, July 25, 2011


There once was a boy who loved bugs and crawlies of all sorts.  He was always careful with animals, treating them gently.

His mother noticed this love of animals and asked him what animal he would like her to knit him.  He quickly chose a caterpillar, and the mother agreed to make one.  The caterpillar was given the name of Zoup.

The boy took great care of Zoup, taking him everywhere.  However, Zoup wanted more, he loved the look of the feel of the plants on his feet.

He enjoyed checking out the gardens, but it wasn't enough.

What Zoup really wanted was to be free.  Caterpillars are not meant to be caterpillars forever.  Zoup asked the boy to let him go.  The boy was unsure, he knew Zoup couldn't look after himself (being made of wool and such). Zoup assured him that it would be okay.

The boy decided to let Zoup go in the garden.  As Zoup crawled away, something happened.

He became a real caterpillar.

The boy was sad that his caterpillar was gone. A couple of weeks later, he went out to the garden and saw a butterfly. He got closer, there was something different about this butterfly. This butterfly allowed him to get real close.

It even landed on his shoulder

It was Zoup! Zoup had come back to visit his friend.  Zoup needed to turn into a butterfly, that is why he left. After his metamorphosis he came back and stayed with his friend.

Knitting details on Ravelry: Zoup, Flutterby