The fine art of fitting elephants

A few weeks ago, while debating the issue of global warming with an alarmist, my colleague pointed out two facts which appear to be consistent with the "standard" anthropogenic scenario, but not the one I advocate, that the natural climate drivers are large and that Earth's climate sensitivity is small.

Although I knew for quite a while why the first point he raised is meaningless, I must confess that I was a little bothered with the second point. Alas, it was in vain. It turns out that both are fine exemplars for how IPCC science is plain bad.

The inconvenient truth about the Ice core Carbon Dioxide Temperature Correlations

One of the "scientific" highlights in Al Gore's movie is the discussion about the clear correlation between CO2 and temperature, as is obtained in ice cores. He leads his audience to beleive that this correlation implies a clear CO2→ΔT link, but does it really?

Parhelic Circles, Ice Haloes and Sun dogs over Jerusalem

A few weeks ago, a few students saw a nice phenomenon in the sky. Knowing I liked this kind of stuff (and that I may be able to explain it), they called me out of the office to look at the sky. Above us was a nice and almost complete parhelic circle. Unlike the usual 22° halo, often seen around the moon and occasionally around the sun, the parhelic circle keeps a fixed angle from the horizon, not from the bright object.

On the IPCC's summary for policy makers, and on getting interviewed without noticing

Yesterday I was surprised to find out that the IPCC didn't really come out with the Fourth Assessment Report (4AR). I was also surprised to find an article with something which appeared to look like an interview of me. Since I am not senile (getting there, but not just yet) I found it strange that I didn't remember actually being interviewed!

Influenza and a Human Chain Reaction

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Some time ago, I pondered about the effects that mass hysteria could have on a flu epidemic. In particular, on how a fright about flu vaccination (which happened in Israel a few months ago) would cause less people to be vaccinated, and thus be responsible for a larger flu outbreak. A recent news item, though, made me rethink.

The Best Proof that Paranormal Phenomena do not Exist

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Alleged paranormal phenomena tend to pop-up from time to time. The best example is probably that of Uri Geller. He became famous in the 70's with his "abilities" to bend spoons, read thoughts, etc. Unfortunately, Uri Geller decided to return back to his native Israel, and worse, got a prime time television program, presumably to find an heir.

Climate Sensitivity - an interesting IPCC bias

Some time ago, I noticed an interesting bias in the TAR scientific report (the third assessment report of the IPCC - the intergovernmental panel for climate change) regarding the climate sensitivity, that is by how much the average global temperature will increase if we double the amount of CO2. The report mentions quite a few times that climate sensitivity "is likely to be in the range of 1.5 to 4.5°C". Why is this interesting? Because ...

Flu Vaccinations - Another example of group stupidity

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Most people, when let alone, are not dumb. They can make reasonable decisions if given the right information. However, when people are part of large groups, somehow it seems, the IQ of an average individual, and even the effective IQ of the group as a whole, appears to decrease. Members of the group can then do really dumb things.

One such example of group stupidity is the case of Influenza vaccinations here in Israel.

Earth's magnetic field protecting us from deadly radiation - A common misconception

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From time to time, I hear the statement that Earth's magnetic field is important because it protects earth from "deadly" radiation, and that when the magnetic field will reverse, this lethal radiation will be... very bad. One such example is this promo for a NOVA program called "magnetic storm". Well, I have news. Nothing really bad will happen to us!

No life on Earth either!

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After finding out that Earth is not a planet (it didn't clear out its orbit...), I now learned that Earth's doesn't have life on it. Sounds strange? Well, Navarro-González et la., in a recent paper that appeared in PNAS, showed that the same tests used on the Viking program and that came out negative for life on Mars, showed negative results also in ...

"SKY" experiment demonstrates link between cosmic rays and condensation nuclei!

After a long embargo, results from the Danish National Space Center (DNSC) Sky experiment were finally published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. The results demonstrate a clear link between cosmic ray induced atmospheric ionization and the formation of condensation nuclei, thus strengthening the claims that cosmic rays affect cloud cover and climate (and consequently implying that a large fraction of 20th century global warming should be attributed to the increased solar activity).

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