By Alicia Chang, AP
Scientists frustrated by the iron grip that academic journals hold over their research can now pursue another path to fame by taking their research straight to the public online. Instead of having a group of hand-picked scholars review research in secret before publication, a growing number of Internet-based journals are publishing studies with little or no scrutiny by the authors’ peers. It’s then up to rank-and-file researchers to debate the value of the work in cyberspace.
The Web journals are threatening to turn on its head the traditional peer-review system that for decades has been the established way to pick apart research before it’s made public. Even some mainstream journals are toying with a tame form of open peer review. Last summer, Nature allowed authors whose papers were selected for traditional peer review to have their manuscripts judged by the public at the same time. Editors weigh both sides when deciding whether to publish a paper, and rejected research can be submitted elsewhere. Linda Miller, the journal’s U.S. executive editor, said she was encouraged by the participation. More than 60 papers have been posted on Nature’s site for open peer review as of mid-September including one that has been accepted for publication. Several others are on the path to being published. Miller said Nature’s experimentation with the Internet is just another way the journal is trying to reach out to the public. Two of its specialized journals on neuroscience and genetics already offer a blog-like forum for researchers to post their thoughts on published articles, though they have attracted little attention, she said. “If we don’t serve the community well, we will become irrelevant,” she said. See full story here.
Note: This story is a little dated (last October) but very relevant to scientists in this climate change field where some of the journals have editors and peer reviewers that are very like-minded on this issue. Along similar lines, more people read the more popular web sites and web blogs than will ever read a peer reviewed paper, so today, it is possible to reach many people with information the traditional media and journals are not reporting.
Life Style Extra - UK
Global warming will lead to a rat population explosion with potentially disastrous human health consequences, an expert warned today. Milder winters and hotter springs were already increasing the rat population significantly, he said. Oliver Madge, chief executive of the British Pest Control Association, warned the chances of rodents invading people’s homes increased greatly as a result, with sudden outbreaks of disease far more likely. He also claimed controversial fortnightly rubbish collections was a “bandwagon” for people to blame local authorities for rises in rodent infestation. See story here.
Friends this is another case of the law of unintended consequences. Just as the new fluorescent bulbs being given away or promoted as a positive energy saving step turn out to be a potential mercury hazard, the increase from 1 to 2 weeks for garbage pick-ups to save energy is the real issue.
A short google exercise will yield stories about places where garbage strikes occurred and they all mention an increase in rodent populations. For example even in chilly Regina, Canada which suffered a boom in rodent population after a 26-day garbage strike. Similar tales were told after strikes in Gaza City, Toronto and in the U.S. in places like Chicago, and New York City. In this Boston Globe story, they recount “In 1968, John DeLury, the rough-and-tumble president of a sanitation workers union, took on New York mayor John Lindsay and Governor Nelson Rockefeller. The union went on strike, and DeLury went to jail. As tons of garbage piled up, the specter of rats invading wealthy neighborhoods may have hastened a settlement. By the 1970s, city sanitation workers were paid as much as police officers and firefighters.”
In Robert Sullivan’s book Rats. New York: Bloomsbury in 2005, he notes this scary thought: “The number of rats in an area depends almost entirely upon the food supply available to them. A single breeding pair of rats, with an unlimited food supply and no predation or other causes of mortality, can produce on the order of fifteen thousand descendants in a single year. That makes it pretty clear that a rat population will grow until all available food is being consumed.”
So Oliver, do your homework, stop looking to blame the problem on climate change and urge the return to more frequent garbage pick-ups.
Gary Alexander, Recovering Apocaholic, Speech at Atlanta Investment Conference
Hi, I’m Gary and I’m a recovering Apocaholic. I am currently Apocalypse free for nearly 18 years....Yes, I still feel the urge to proclaim the end of all things, from time to time, but I white-knuckle my way to a history book for a little perspective, and then I breathe easier. If you wish to join AA, the only requirement is that you give up the adrenaline rush of media-fed fantasies. (Note: Gary went on to describe some of those impending doom scenarios we have somehow managed to survive - here are some excerpts)
Rachel Carson (1907-1964) published “Silent Spring” in 1962, based on a compilation of articles she had written for The New Yorker. Her book is credited with launching the environmental movement that culminated in Earth Day (1970), including a worldwide ban on the main villain in her book, DDT...which has caused the deaths of millions of Asians and Africans since then. Many insect-borne diseases were on the verge of extinction in 1970, when the U.S. tied foreign aid to poor nations to their “voluntary” banning of DDT, to our great shame.
Then came Paul Ehrlich’s “The Population Bomb” (1968), in which he opened famously by saying, “The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s, hundreds of millions of people will starve to death, in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” Over 65 million Americans would starve in the 1980s, leaving only 22.6 million starved Americans alive in 1990. In 1990, he incredibly justified his claims as being right - a trait common to Doomsday prophets.
Then 30 Years Ago - Global Cooling and “The Next Ice Age”.Newsweek, April 28, 1975 said that leading climate scientists were “almost unanimous” (sound familiar?) in their predictions of global cooling. Time Magazine had “The Coming Ice Age” on its cover, and the November 1976 issue of National Geographic had a lead article on the problem of global cooling. Later on, physicists combined the threat of natural cooling with nuclear war to predict a “Nuclear Winter.” Our future was clearly frigid. The trend from 1935 through 1975 was a gradual cooling of temperatures, since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. (Most record-high state temperatures, to this day, were set in the 1930s, not in the 1990s, Mr. Gore.)
Read full speech here
By Michael Gadd, news.com.au
A controversial British documentary which claims global warming is a lie will be shown by the ABC. The Great Global Warming Swindle, to be aired by the national broadcaster in July, is the ideological opposite to Al Gore’s acclaimed movie An Inconvenient Truth. The documentary rebuts mounting scientific evidence that global warming is caused predominantly by human activity, and says it’s the result of changes in radiation from the sun.
The film’s credibility, some of its contributors and its maker, Martin Durkin, came under heavy questioning by scientists and the media after it aired on Britain’s Channel 4 in March. Channel 4 defended the film, as has ABC director of television Kim Dalton, on the basis that all sides of the hotly contested global warming debate deserved to be represented. “Currently the issue of global warming is being debated around the world,” Mr Dalton said. “This documentary presents a controversial side to that debate.” See full story here. You may also see Great Global Warming Swindle from WAG-TV4 here
UPDATE: See uproar the decision has had in this Herald Sun story.
by Kristen Byrnes , courtesy of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition and the EPW Blog
Global warming is an issue of great importance. Let there be no doubt, the evidence is overwhelming: Earth is warming. The questions that remain are;
1) What is the cause of the global warming? Is it man made atmospheric carbon dioxide? Or is the cause of global warming natural variability?
2) How will politicians spend money while waiting for the answer to question #1?
I will demonstrate that the Earth’s warming climate is a result of natural variance and that man made changes in the warming climate in the last 40 years are negligible at best. I will insert pieces of the puzzle from new scientific studies that were not available or were ignored in previous global warming studies.
I add a possible piece of the puzzle, nuclear weapons testing in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, that may have made a small contribution to cooling at that time. After reviewing numerous scientific studies and observing data, it is clear that the theory that “man made increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide are causing global warming” is not likely.
I will demonstrate that a negative trend in the El Nino Southern Oscillation (more and stronger La Ninas) from 1945 to 1975 and a postive trend in the ENSO from 1975 to present (more and stronger El Ninos) correlates better with global temperature changes than greenhouse theory. Thus, ENSO is probably the largest contributor to global warming in the past 30 years.
The economic and political climate surrounding this issue has made it nearly impossible for scientists and researchers to objectively view the mountain of recent data. While I will use much of the available and updated scientific data, I will also interject common sense, something that is seriously lacking in the debate on this issue. See Kristen Byrnes Paunder the Maunder Report/Website
UPDATE: Kristen correctly called for the end of 6 year drought as El Nino fades. See Drought Busting Forecast
By Joe D’Aleo, Icecap
Forecast Earth, the latest bad decision by The Weather Channel, is yet another example of how a good idea can go bad. The Weather Channel was started 25years ago with the idea of providing reliable and accurate weather information when you need it. That meant 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
It has taken a turn in recent years to being more and more part time weather and part-time “Discovery Channel”. Now with ‘Forecast Earth’, advocacy and hype have replaced down to earth real-time weather coverage and forecasting. You don’t get weather when you need it anymore, just when they choose to give it to you. A few years back, they were embarrassed when an outbreak of tornadoes had people tuning to The Weather Channel and finding a special about growing flower bulbs in Holland.
Now Heidi Cullen is telling us what could happen if the most souped up climate models are right and the earth warms significantly. I guess they ran out of storm stories recounting real weather disasters. They are now inventing possible future ones with disaster stories reminiscent of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ or ‘Day after Tomorrow’.
And ironically not only are they buying without question the faulty climate models for the future, they even get the actual changes that have occurred wrong. “Alaska Meltdown” a recent featured story still on the website is the latest example. See where they went wrong here
By Joey Vaughan, The Commercial Dispatch On-line
Many people who saw “An Inconvenient Truth,” a global warming documentary featuring Al Gore, immediately became very concerned about global climate change and impending weather disasters. Don’t count state climatologist Dr. Charles Wax of Mississippi State University as one of them.
“First off, there isn’t a consensus among scientists,” Wax told the Columbus Rotary Club Tuesday. “Don’t let anybody tell you there is.” Wax spent much of his presentation telling the audience how the global climate is cyclical. It’s always gone through periods of warming and cooling. As for cries of impending doom, Wax says there’s tons of data on both sides - and man’s ever-changing weather monitoring capability further clouds the picture. The climate is changing, Wax admits - but it’s always changing and always has. See full story here
Micheal Economides, Professor, Cullen School of Engineering Featured Story in the Energy Tribune
Skeptics are continuously accused of being shills for big oil. Despite what some alarmists and media perceive and/or want you to believe, big oil is not anti global warming, not at least anymore. In this featured story by Michael Economides, Professor, Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston, he tells us why.
Al Gore is a darling of the oil companies. They also really love peak-oil Cassandras and are enamored with energy alternatives like biofuels, wind, and solar. The myths du jour, preposterous and transparently idiotic as they may be, are not opposed by the presumed bogeymen in the oil industry, the supposed culprits of the situation. In fact, it is in the oil companies’ interest to promote the myths and even prolong them.
Reality: Man-made global warming is a sinister hoax. After a desperate literature search over four years, involving as many as 30 engineering and science graduate students, we have yet to come up with one professional paper that shows a quantitive causality between increased carbon dioxide and enhanced global temperature. This means there is not one paper in the literature of heat transfer or thermodynamics that shows the physics of global warming in a quantified way, using well-known laws or principles. There are, however, many arm-waving and postulating writings, often in the popular press, all referencing the other “hundreds of papers.”Read full story here