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About that consensus on global warming: 9136 agree, 1 (Republican) disagrees

I just want to highlight this illuminating infographic by James Powell in which, based on more than 2000 peer-reviewed publications, he counts the number of authors from November, 2012 to December, 2013 who explicitly deny global warming (that is, who propose a fundamentally different reason for temperature rise than anthropogenic CO2). The number is exactly one. In addition Powell also has helpful links to the abstracts and main text bodies of the relevant papers.

It’s worth noting how many authors agree with the basic fact of global warming – more than nine thousand. And that’s just in a single year. Now I understand as well as anyone else that consensus does not imply truth but I find it odd how there aren’t even a handful of scientists who deny global warming presumably because the global warming mafia threatens to throttle them if they do. It’s not like we are seeing a 70-30% split, or even a 90-10% split. No, the split is more like 99.99-0.01%.

Filed under global warming legiswhores republican environment carbon climate change science studies

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Controversial T. Rex Soft Tissue Find Finally Explained
The controversial discovery of 68-million-year-old soft tissue from the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex finally has a physical explanation. According to new research, iron in the dinosaur’s body preserved the tissue before it could decay.
The find was also controversial, because scientists had thought proteins that make up soft tissue should degrade in less than 1 million years in the best of conditions. In most cases, microbes feast on a dead animal’s soft tissue, destroying it within weeks. The tissue must be something else, perhaps the product of a later bacterial invasion, critics argued.
Then, in 2007, Schweitzer and her colleagues analyzed the chemistry of the T. rex proteins. They found the proteins really did come from dinosaur soft tissue. The tissue was collagen, they reported in the journal Science, and it shared similarities with bird collagen — which makes sense, as modern birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs such as T. rex.
Dinosaurs’ iron-rich blood, combined with a good environment for fossilization, may explain the amazing existence of soft tissue from the Cretaceous (a period that lasted from about 65.5 million to 145.5 million years ago) and even earlier. The specimens Schweitzer works with, including skin, show evidence of excellent preservation. The bones of these various specimens are articulated, not scattered, suggesting they were buried quickly. They’re also buried in sandstone, which is porous and may wick away bacteria and reactive enzymes that would otherwise degrade the bone.

Controversial T. Rex Soft Tissue Find Finally Explained

The controversial discovery of 68-million-year-old soft tissue from the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex finally has a physical explanation. According to new research, iron in the dinosaur’s body preserved the tissue before it could decay.

The find was also controversial, because scientists had thought proteins that make up soft tissue should degrade in less than 1 million years in the best of conditions. In most cases, microbes feast on a dead animal’s soft tissue, destroying it within weeks. The tissue must be something else, perhaps the product of a later bacterial invasion, critics argued.

Then, in 2007, Schweitzer and her colleagues analyzed the chemistry of the T. rex proteins. They found the proteins really did come from dinosaur soft tissue. The tissue was collagen, they reported in the journal Science, and it shared similarities with bird collagen — which makes sense, as modern birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs such as T. rex.

Dinosaurs’ iron-rich blood, combined with a good environment for fossilization, may explain the amazing existence of soft tissue from the Cretaceous (a period that lasted from about 65.5 million to 145.5 million years ago) and even earlier. The specimens Schweitzer works with, including skin, show evidence of excellent preservation. The bones of these various specimens are articulated, not scattered, suggesting they were buried quickly. They’re also buried in sandstone, which is porous and may wick away bacteria and reactive enzymes that would otherwise degrade the bone.

Filed under evolution history fossil paleontology science

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Science…Not Tea Party Origins
joshbyard:

Brainless Slime Molds Shed Light On The Evolution of Memory



“We have shown for the first time that a single-celled organism with no brain uses an external spatial memory to navigate through a complex environment,” said Christopher Reid from the University’s School of Biological Sciences.
…“Results from insect studies, for example ants leaving pheromone trails, have already challenged the assumption that navigation requires learning or a sophisticated spatial awareness. We’ve now gone one better and shown that even an organism without a nervous system can navigate a complex environment, with the help of externalized memory.”
The research method was inspired by robots designed to respond only to feedback from their immediate environment to navigate obstacles and avoid becoming trapped. This “reactive navigation” method allows robots to navigate without a programmed map or the ability to build one and slime molds use the same process.
When it is foraging, the slime mold avoids areas that it has already “slimed,” suggesting it can sense extracellular slime upon contact and will recognize and avoid areas it has already explored.
…“We then upped the ante for the slime molds by challenging them with the U-shaped trap problem to test their navigational ability in a more complex situation than foraging. We found that, as we had predicted, its success was greatly dependent on being able to apply its external spatial memory to navigate its way out of the trap.”



(via Brainless slime mold uses external spatial ‘memory’ to navigate complex environments | KurzweilAI)

Science…Not Tea Party Origins

joshbyard:

Brainless Slime Molds Shed Light On The Evolution of Memory

“We have shown for the first time that a single-celled organism with no brain uses an external spatial memory to navigate through a complex environment,” said Christopher Reid from the University’s School of Biological Sciences.

…“Results from insect studies, for example ants leaving pheromone trails, have already challenged the assumption that navigation requires learning or a sophisticated spatial awareness. We’ve now gone one better and shown that even an organism without a nervous system can navigate a complex environment, with the help of externalized memory.”

The research method was inspired by robots designed to respond only to feedback from their immediate environment to navigate obstacles and avoid becoming trapped. This “reactive navigation” method allows robots to navigate without a programmed map or the ability to build one and slime molds use the same process.

When it is foraging, the slime mold avoids areas that it has already “slimed,” suggesting it can sense extracellular slime upon contact and will recognize and avoid areas it has already explored.

…“We then upped the ante for the slime molds by challenging them with the U-shaped trap problem to test their navigational ability in a more complex situation than foraging. We found that, as we had predicted, its success was greatly dependent on being able to apply its external spatial memory to navigate its way out of the trap.”

(via Brainless slime mold uses external spatial ‘memory’ to navigate complex environments | KurzweilAI)

(via pieceinthepuzzlehumanity-deacti)

Filed under science life unicellular

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The Party That Embraces Dishonesty and Stupidity, Yep you Guessed Correctly. It’s the Republicans.
Republicans Block Science Laureate Vote Over Fear of Climate Stance.
It seemed entirely harmless: the creation of an honorary and unpaid position of science laureate of the  United States to travel around the country and inspire children to be future scientists.

But Republicans in Congress last week quashed the initiative, which had gained rare bipartisan support, on the grounds that a science laureate might support action on  climate change.
The bill had been scheduled for swift approval last week. It would have allowed Barack Obama to name up to three laureates at a time to the two-year term. The posts would all be unpaid, and appointees credentials would be vetted by the National Academy of Sciences.
But after urging from the American Conservative Union, which bills itself as the country’s largest and oldest grassroots conservative organisation, Republicans in the House leadership pulled the science laureate bill off the schedule, and sent it for revision.
In a letter to members of Congress, Larry Hart, a former Republican congressional aide and the legislative director of the ACU, warned a science laureate might give Barack Obama another chance to advance the case for climate action.
"Although the bill seems innocuous, it will provide the opportunity for President Obama to make an appointment of someone (or more than one person) who will share his view that science should serve political ends, on such issues as climate change and regulation of greenhouse gases," Hart wrote in the letter.
A staffer for one of the Republican co-sponsors of the bill told Science Insider, which first reported on the cancelled vote, that the opposition to a science ambassador was wrong-headed.
As first proposed last spring, the idea of a science laureate was intended to encourage American school children to choose science as a career – especially girls and minorities.
"The US Science Laureate will be a national role model who can encourage students to learn more about the sciences," Senator Mazie Hirono, the Hawaii Democrat who co-sponsored the bill, said in a statement at the time. "By elevating great American scientific communicators, we can empower students - especially girls and minorities - to get excited about science."
The Republicans’ decision to scuttle the post – putting off a potential vote – looked bound to solidify the party’s reputation for denying the science underlying climate change in particular, as well as being generally anti-science.
Some Republicans have begun to privately express concern about being seen as the anti-science party. But so far they remain in the minority.
More than half of Republicans in the house and 65% of Republicans in the Senate deny the existence of climate change or oppose action on climate change, according to an analysis by the Centre for American Progress.
Republicans in the House have voted 53 times to block action on climate or energy-saving measures such as the phasing out of incandescent bulbs.
Republicans = Cowards

The Party That Embraces Dishonesty and Stupidity, Yep you Guessed Correctly. It’s the Republicans.

Republicans Block Science Laureate Vote Over Fear of Climate Stance.

It seemed entirely harmless: the creation of an honorary and unpaid position of science laureate of the  United States to travel around the country and inspire children to be future scientists.

But Republicans in Congress last week quashed the initiative, which had gained rare bipartisan support, on the grounds that a science laureate might support action on  climate change.

The bill had been scheduled for swift approval last week. It would have allowed Barack Obama to name up to three laureates at a time to the two-year term. The posts would all be unpaid, and appointees credentials would be vetted by the National Academy of Sciences.

But after urging from the American Conservative Union, which bills itself as the country’s largest and oldest grassroots conservative organisation, Republicans in the House leadership pulled the science laureate bill off the schedule, and sent it for revision.

In a letter to members of Congress, Larry Hart, a former Republican congressional aide and the legislative director of the ACU, warned a science laureate might give Barack Obama another chance to advance the case for climate action.

"Although the bill seems innocuous, it will provide the opportunity for President Obama to make an appointment of someone (or more than one person) who will share his view that science should serve political ends, on such issues as climate change and regulation of greenhouse gases," Hart wrote in the letter.

A staffer for one of the Republican co-sponsors of the bill told Science Insider, which first reported on the cancelled vote, that the opposition to a science ambassador was wrong-headed.

As first proposed last spring, the idea of a science laureate was intended to encourage American school children to choose science as a career – especially girls and minorities.

"The US Science Laureate will be a national role model who can encourage students to learn more about the sciences," Senator Mazie Hirono, the Hawaii Democrat who co-sponsored the bill, said in a statement at the time. "By elevating great American scientific communicators, we can empower students - especially girls and minorities - to get excited about science."

The Republicans’ decision to scuttle the post – putting off a potential vote – looked bound to solidify the party’s reputation for denying the science underlying climate change in particular, as well as being generally anti-science.

Some Republicans have begun to privately express concern about being seen as the anti-science party. But so far they remain in the minority.

More than half of Republicans in the house and 65% of Republicans in the Senate deny the existence of climate change or oppose action on climate change, according to an analysis by the Centre for American Progress.

Republicans in the House have voted 53 times to block action on climate or energy-saving measures such as the phasing out of incandescent bulbs.

Republicans = Cowards

Filed under climate denier evasion cowardice idiocy gop science

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The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

Policy-makers and the media, particularly in the United States, frequently assert that climate science is highly uncertain. Some have used this as an argument against adopting strong measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, while discussing a major U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report on the risks of climate change, then-EPA administrator Christine Whitman argued, “As [the report] went through review, there was less consensus on the science and conclusions on climate change” (1). Some corporations whose revenues might be adversely affected by controls on carbon dioxide emissions have also alleged major uncertainties in the science (2). Such statements suggest that there might be substantive disagreement in the scientific community about the reality of anthropogenic climate change. This is not the case.
The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme, IPCC’s purpose is to evaluate the state of climate science as a basis for informed policy action, primarily on the basis of peer-reviewed and published scientific literature (3). In its most recent assessment, IPCC states unequivocally that the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth’s climate is being affected by human activities: “Human activities … are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents … that absorb or scatter radiant energy. … [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations” [p. 21 in (4)].
IPCC is not alone in its conclusions. In recent years, all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members’ expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements. For example, the National Academy of Sciences report, Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions, begins: “Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise” [p. 1 in (5)]. The report explicitly asks whether the IPCC assessment is a fair summary of professional scientific thinking, and answers yes: “The IPCC’s conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue” [p. 3 in (5)].
Others agree. The American Meteorological Society (6), the American Geophysical Union (7), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) all have issued statements in recent years concluding that the evidence for human modification of climate is compelling (8).
The drafting of such reports and statements involves many opportunities for comment, criticism, and revision, and it is not likely that they would diverge greatly from the opinions of the societies’ members. Nevertheless, they might downplay legitimate dissenting opinions. That hypothesis was tested by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords “climate change” (9).
The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.
Admittedly, authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point.
This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies. Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect.
The scientific consensus might, of course, be wrong. If the history of science teaches anything, it is humility, and no one can be faulted for failing to act on what is not known. But our grandchildren will surely blame us if they find that we understood the reality of anthropogenic climate change and failed to do anything about it.
Many details about climate interactions are not well understood, and there are ample grounds for continued research to provide a better basis for understanding climate dynamics. The question of what to do about climate change is also still open. But there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change. Climate scientists have repeatedly tried to make this clear. It is time for the rest of us to listen.- Link to Article

The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

Policy-makers and the media, particularly in the United States, frequently assert that climate science is highly uncertain. Some have used this as an argument against adopting strong measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, while discussing a major U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report on the risks of climate change, then-EPA administrator Christine Whitman argued, “As [the report] went through review, there was less consensus on the science and conclusions on climate change” (1). Some corporations whose revenues might be adversely affected by controls on carbon dioxide emissions have also alleged major uncertainties in the science (2). Such statements suggest that there might be substantive disagreement in the scientific community about the reality of anthropogenic climate change. This is not the case.

The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme, IPCC’s purpose is to evaluate the state of climate science as a basis for informed policy action, primarily on the basis of peer-reviewed and published scientific literature (3). In its most recent assessment, IPCC states unequivocally that the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth’s climate is being affected by human activities: “Human activities … are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents … that absorb or scatter radiant energy. … [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations” [p. 21 in (4)].

IPCC is not alone in its conclusions. In recent years, all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members’ expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements. For example, the National Academy of Sciences report, Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions, begins: “Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise” [p. 1 in (5)]. The report explicitly asks whether the IPCC assessment is a fair summary of professional scientific thinking, and answers yes: “The IPCC’s conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue” [p. 3 in (5)].

Others agree. The American Meteorological Society (6), the American Geophysical Union (7), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) all have issued statements in recent years concluding that the evidence for human modification of climate is compelling (8).

The drafting of such reports and statements involves many opportunities for comment, criticism, and revision, and it is not likely that they would diverge greatly from the opinions of the societies’ members. Nevertheless, they might downplay legitimate dissenting opinions. That hypothesis was tested by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords “climate change” (9).

The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

Admittedly, authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point.

This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies. Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect.

The scientific consensus might, of course, be wrong. If the history of science teaches anything, it is humility, and no one can be faulted for failing to act on what is not known. But our grandchildren will surely blame us if they find that we understood the reality of anthropogenic climate change and failed to do anything about it.

Many details about climate interactions are not well understood, and there are ample grounds for continued research to provide a better basis for understanding climate dynamics. The question of what to do about climate change is also still open. But there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change. Climate scientists have repeatedly tried to make this clear. It is time for the rest of us to listen.- Link to Article

Filed under climate change consensus denier oil lobby misinformation greed corruption mindless fossil fuel carbon global warming science

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"Austerity-driven and appallingly shortsighted" is among the top contenders for the motto of today’s Republican party
HIV research. Cardiovascular disease research. Diabetes research. Research that could improve our treatment of everything from the common cold to foot-and-mouth disease, from muscle injuries to muscular dystrophy. Those are just a few of the projects now underway that are seriously endangered by the sequester’s cuts to science funding, and the results could be catastrophic. Under George W. Bush, funding for the National Institutes of Health rose to $30.8 billion, and under President Obama, the stimulus included $10.4 billion in additional funding. Now, with NIH funding falling to $29.1 billion, scientists interviewed by Huffington Post’s Sam Stein spoke of having to cut salaries or cut lab staff altogether, of seeing scientists choose jobs in other countries or other fields rather than face the circumstances in research science in the U.S., and of having to consider euthanizing their lab mice. These aren’t just the threats of a brief period in time:

"Medical research is not like building widgets. We cannot turn it on and off," [the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Dr. William Jackson] said noting that, among other things, his staff would move on and his project would be tarred as unsuccessful.

And if staff move on to other countries or out of science altogether, that could create a brain drain that will weaken scientific research in the U.S. for a generation or more. Like so many other austerity-driven policies, it’s appallingly shortsighted.

"Austerity-driven and appallingly shortsighted" is among the top contenders for the motto of today’s Republican party

HIV research. Cardiovascular disease research. Diabetes research. Research that could improve our treatment of everything from the common cold to foot-and-mouth disease, from muscle injuries to muscular dystrophy. Those are just a few of the projects now underway that are seriously endangered by the sequester’s cuts to science funding, and the results could be catastrophic. Under George W. Bush, funding for the National Institutes of Health rose to $30.8 billion, and under President Obama, the stimulus included $10.4 billion in additional funding. Now, with NIH funding falling to $29.1 billion, scientists interviewed by Huffington Post’s Sam Stein spoke of having to cut salaries or cut lab staff altogether, of seeing scientists choose jobs in other countries or other fields rather than face the circumstances in research science in the U.S., and of having to consider euthanizing their lab mice. These aren’t just the threats of a brief period in time:


"Medical research is not like building widgets. We cannot turn it on and off," [the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Dr. William Jackson] said noting that, among other things, his staff would move on and his project would be tarred as unsuccessful.

And if staff move on to other countries or out of science altogether, that could create a brain drain that will weaken scientific research in the U.S. for a generation or more. Like so many other austerity-driven policies, it’s appallingly shortsighted.

Filed under sequester austerity plutocracy bankster disparity science