Saturday, February 17, 2007

Smallest Tracker (Computer Chip) Made Yet

This has all sorts of applications. From my eschatological students, to tracking money stolen from a bank to tracking terrorist. Gotta love technology!

(Hat-tip: Townhall)

RFID 'Powder' - World's Smallest RFID Tag - New tag from Hitachi is incredibly small - truly RFID in powder form.

  • Another short link on this chip

  • Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Terry McAuliffe...
    wasn't Pelosi supposed to clean up Washington?

    Orlando radio talk show host Pat Campbell had the chance to interview former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe and current failure who is now working on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Pat immediately pressed Terry, who claims to be a Catholic, but is very pro-abortion. The best part of the interview, though, was Pat trying to get to the bottom of a land deal where McAuliffe invested $100 and got back $2.45 million. Byron York writes:

    In one deal, McAuliffe and the fund officials created a partnership to buy a large block of commercial real estate in Florida. McAuliffe put up $100 for the purchase, while the pension fund put up $39 million. Yet McAuliffe got a 50-percent interest in the deal; he eventually walked away with $2.45 million from his original $100 investment. In another instance, the pension fund loaned McAuliffe more than $6 million for a real-estate development, only to find that McAuliffe was unable to make payments for nearly five years. In the end, the pension fund lost some of its money, McAuliffe moved on to his next deal, and fund officials found themselves facing the Labor Department’s questions.

    (Hat-tip: HotAir)

  • Listen to Terry try and explain his land deal here.

  • Remember kids, he is supposed to be heading up Hillary’s election bid. I wonder if he will be fired before he’s hired… Hillary may have taken notes from Edwards.
    Some More Humor from FOXNews

    Friday, February 16, 2007

    Darwinian Bazaar

    (HatTip: Access Research Network)

    There was a really good critique of the “Traveling Darwin Museum”, as if our country doesn’t already have enough “bazaars” in circuses already, now we have one traveling the world without the three rings. I will simply post the six critiques and link the site so if you see one that interests you all you have to do is go there and look for the bold section that I will post here:

    Thesis 1

    The publication of the Origin was not a sudden (“revolutionary”) interruption of Victorian society’s confident belief in the traditional theological world-view. Instead, it was another step, albeit a big one, toward a popularly understandable scientific naturalism, including the idea of our primate origins, that was well in place by 1850.

    Thesis 2

    The Origin did not “revolutionize” the biological sciences by removing the creationist premise or introducing new principles. On the contrary, Origin had little effect on the hard biological sciences because they were already mechanistic and experimental. Darwin’s naturalist investigations did not contribute significantly to the experimental biology of his day.

    Thesis 3

    The Origin did not “revolutionize” Victorian public opinion. Public perception considered Darwin’s message to be about the same as Herbert Spencer’s, known today as “Social Darwinism”, which, though fashionable, never achieved dominance.

    Thesis 4

    Many leading naturalists and biologists made significant criticisms of Darwin’s work. This includes Gregor Mendel, who believed that his discoveries refuted Darwin’s premises about the heritability of traits, and Thomas Huxley, who rejected natural selection.

    Thesis 5

    Darwin made little or no contribution to the renovation of theology. His public statements on Providence were inconsistent and the liberal reform of theology, including rejection of the divinity of Christ, was well advanced by 1850.

    Thesis 6

    The Darwinian Revolution was, at the public opinion level, the fashion of free trade economics backed by the perception that Darwin and Spencer had extended that paradigm to all of living nature. This fashion enjoyed prominence in much of Europe and the United States, but began to fade around 1900. It was in no sense analogous to the Copernican revolution, with which it is often compared.

    Evolutionary Psychology (Journal) – 2007. 5(1): 52-69

    My favorite is #4.

    Thursday, February 15, 2007

    Looney Left

    Flip Flopping Hillary...Kerry Learned From Her Maybe?

    Global Hot Air: Part III
    By Thomas Sowell
    Thursday, February 15, 2007

  • Article
  • If you take the mainstream media seriously, you might think that every important scientist believes that "global warming" poses a great threat, and that we need to make drastic changes in the way we live, in order to avoid catastrophes to the environment, to various species, and to ourselves.

    The media play a key role in perpetuating such beliefs. Often they seize upon every heat wave to hype global warming, but see no implications in record-setting cold weather, such as many places have been experiencing lately.

    Remember how the unusually large number of hurricanes a couple of years ago was hyped in the media as being a result of global warming, with more such hurricanes being predicted to return the following year and the years thereafter?

    But, when not one hurricane struck the United States all last year, the media had little or nothing to say about the false predictions they had hyped. It's heads I win and tails you lose.

    Are there serious scientists who specialize in weather and climate who have serious doubts about the doomsday scenarios being pushed by global warming advocates? Yes, there are.

    There is Dr. S. Fred Singer, who set up the American weather satellite system, and who published some years ago a book titled "Hot Talk, Cold Science." More recently, he has co-authored another book on the subject, "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years."

    There have been periods of global warming that lasted for centuries -- and periods of global cooling that also lasted for centuries. So the issue is not whether the world is warmer now than at some time in the past but how much of that warming is due to human beings and how much can we reduce future warming, even if we drastically reduce our standard of living in the attempt.

    Other serious scientists who are not on the global warming bandwagon include a professor of meteorology at MIT, Richard S. Lindzen.

    His name was big enough for the National Academy of Sciences to list it among the names of other experts on its 2001 report that was supposed to end the debate by declaring the dangers of global warming proven scientifically.

    Professor Lindzen then objected and pointed out that neither he nor any of the other scientists listed ever saw that report before it was published. It was in fact written by government bureaucrats -- as was the more recently published summary report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that is also touted as the final proof and the end of the discussion.

    You want more experts who think otherwise? Try a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, Patrick J. Michaels, who refers to the much ballyhooed 2001 IPCC summary as having "misstatements and errors" that he calls "egregious."

    A professor of climatology at the University of Delaware, David R. Legates, likewise referred to the 2001 IPCC summary as being "often in direct contrast with the scientific report that accompanies it." It is the summaries that the media hype. The full 2007 report has not even been published yet.

    Skeptical experts in other countries around the world include Duncan Wingham, a professor of climate physics at the University College, London, and Nigel Weiss of Cambridge University.

    The very attempt to silence all who disagree about global warming ought to raise red flags.

    Anyone who remembers the 1970s should remember the Club of Rome report that was supposed to be the last word on economic growth grinding to a halt, "overpopulation" and a rapidly approaching era of mass starvation in the 1980s.

    In reality, the 1980s saw increased economic growth around the world and, far from mass starvation, an increase in obesity and agricultural surpluses in many countries. But much of the media went for the Club of Rome report and hyped the hysteria.

    Many in the media resent any suggestion that they are either shilling for an ideological agenda or hyping whatever will sell newspapers or get higher ratings on TV.

    Here is their chance to check out some heavyweight scientists specializing in weather and climate, instead of taking Al Gore's movie or the pronouncements of government bureaucrats and politicians as the last word.

    Global Hot Air: Part II
    By Thomas Sowell
    Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    Propaganda campaigns often acquire a life of their own. Politicians who have hitched their wagons to the star of "global warming" cannot admit any doubts on their part, or permit any doubts by others from becoming part of a public debate.

    Neither can environmental crusaders, whose whole sense of themselves as saviors of the planet is at stake, as they try to stamp out any views to the contrary.

    A recent and revealing example of the ruthless attempts to silence anyone who dares question the global warming crusade began with a "news" story in the British newspaper "The Guardian." It quickly found an echo among American Senators on the left -- Bernard Sanders, an avowed socialist, and John Kerry, Pat Leahy and Dianne Feinstein, who are unavowed.

    The headline of the "news" story said it all: "Scientists Offered Cash to Dispute Climate Study." According to "The Guardian," scientists and economists "have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report."

    It is a classic notion on the left in general, and of environmentalist zealots in particular, that no one can disagree with them unless they are either uninformed or dishonest. Here they dispose of scientists who are skeptical of the global warming hysteria by depicting them as being bribed by lobbyists for the oil companies.

    While such charges may be enough for crusading zealots to wrap themselves ever more tightly in the mantle of virtue, some of us are still old-fashioned enough to want to know the actual facts.

    In this case, the fact is that the American Enterprise Institute -- a think tank, not a lobbyist -- did what all kinds of think tanks do, all across the political spectrum, all across the country, and all around the world.

    AEI has planned a roundtable discussion of global warming, attended by people with differing views on the subject. That was their fundamental sin, in the eyes of the global warming crowd. They treated this as an issue, rather than a dogma.

    Like liberal, conservative, and other think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute pays people who do the work of preparing scholarly papers for presentation at its roundtables. Ten thousand dollars is not an unusual amount and many have receive

    d more from other think tanks for similar work.

    Enter Senators Sanders, Kerry, Leahy, and Feinstein. In a joint letter to the head of the American Enterprise Institute, they express shock, shock, like the corrupt police official in "Casablanca."

    These Senators express "our very serious concerns" about reports that AEI "offered to pay scientists up to $10,000 for questioning the findings" of other scientists. The four Senators express how "saddened" they would be if the reports are true, "by the depths to which some would sink to undermine the scientific consensus" on global warming.

    If the reports are true, the Senators continue, "it would highlight the extent to which moneyed interests distort honest scientific and public policy discussions" by "bribing scientists to support a pre-determined agenda."

    The Senators ask: "Does your donors' self-interest trump an honest discussion over the well-being of the planet?" They demand that "AEI will publicly apologize for this conduct."

    As the late Art Buchwald once said about comedy and farce in Washington, "You can't make that up!"

    If it is a bribe to pay people for doing work, then we are all bribed every day, except for those who inherited enough money not to have to work at all. Among those invited to attend the AEI roundtable are some of the same scientists who produced the recent report that politicians, environmentalists, and the media tout as the last word on global warming.

    The trump card of the left is that one of the big oil companies contributed money to the American Enterprise Institute -- not as much as one percent of its budget, but enough for a smear.

    All think tanks have contributors or they could not exist. But facts carry little weight in smears, even by politicians who question other people's honesty.

    OOoops, Al Gore is Wrong Again!

    Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions

  • Full Article
  • COLUMBUS , Ohio – A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models.

    This comes soon after the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that strongly supports the conclusion that the Earth's climate as a whole is warming, largely due to human activity.

    It also follows a similar finding from last summer by the same research group that showed no increase in precipitation over Antarctica in the last 50 years. Most models predict that both precipitation and temperature will increase over Antarctica with a warming of the planet.

    David Bromwich, professor of professor of atmospheric sciences in the Department of Geography, and researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, reported on this work at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at San Francisco.

    "It's hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now," he said. "Part of the reason is that there is a lot of variability there. It's very hard in these polar latitudes to demonstrate a global warming signal. This is in marked contrast to the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula that is one of the most rapidly warming parts of the Earth."

    Imagine Her Across from a World Leader

    Blink Count

    Some Pop-Culture humor

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    Pretty good presentation... watch the whole thing.

    Over 700 Scientists Have Signed Scientific Dissent From Darwinism

    SEATTLE, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Another 100 scientists have joined the ranks of scientists from around the world publicly stating their doubts about the veracity of Darwin's theory of evolution.

    “Darwinism is a hoax that has been perpetrated for 150 years,” says dissent list signer Dr. Michael Egnor. “It's a trivial idea that has been elevated to the status of the scientific theory that governs modern biology.” Egnor is a professor of neurosurgery and pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook and an award winning brain surgeon named one of New York's best doctors by New York Magazine.

    Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture today announced that over 700 scientists from around the world have now signed a statement expressing their skepticism about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution. The statement, located online at , reads: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

    “We know intuitively that Darwinism can accomplish some things, but not others,” added Egnor. The question is what is that boundary? Does the information content in living things exceed that boundary? Darwinists have never faced those questions. They've never asked scientifically, can random mutation and natural selection generate the information content in living things.

    More scientists than ever before are now standing up and saying that it is time to rethink Darwin's theory of evolution in light of new scientific evidence that shows the theory is inadequate, said John West, associate director of the Center for science & Culture. Darwinists are busy making up holidays to turn Charles Darwin into a saint, even as the evidence supporting his theory crumbles and more and more scientific challenges to it emerge.

    The list of signatories includes member scientists from National Academies of Science in Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, India (Hindustan), Nigeria, Poland, and the United States. Many of the signers are professors or researchers at major universities and international research institutions such as Cambridge University, Moscow State University, Chitose Institute of Science & Technology in Japan, Ben-Gurion University in Israel, MIT, The Smithsonian and Princeton.

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Al Sadr Gone

    Just a quick blurb while I am at work - on lunch. Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ran to Iran a few weeks ago because he fears the 20,000 troops coming to set up camp in Baghdad. Who said that more troops wouldn't help... Oh yeah, DEMS! Mark my words though, because they (Democrats) first called for sending more troops before they called for not sending more troops them (its like whatever Kerry had was infectious) they will try to connect themselves to any progress made by the increased troops count.

    Global Hot Air
    By Thomas Sowell
    Tuesday, February 13, 2007
  • Article

  • The political left's favorite argument is that there is no argument. Their current crusade is to turn "global warming" into one of those things that supposedly no honest and decent person can disagree about, as they have already done with "diversity" and "open space."

    The name of "science" is invoked by the left today, as it has been for more than two centuries. After all, Karl Marx's ideology was called "scientific socialism" in the 19th century. In the 18th century, Condorcet analogized his blueprint for a better society to engineering, and social engineering has been the agenda ever since.

    Not all the advocates of "global warming" are on the left, of course. Crusades are not just for crusaders. There are always hangers-on who can turn the true believers' crusades into votes or money or at least notoriety.

    Whether the globe really is warming is a question about facts -- and about where those facts are measured: on land, in the air or under the sea. There is no question that there is a "greenhouse" effect. Otherwise, half the planet would freeze every night when there is no sunlight falling on it.

    There is also no question that the earth can warm or cool. It has done both at one time or another for thousands of years, even before there were SUVs. If there had never been any global warming before, we wouldn't be able to enjoy Yosemite Valley today for it was once buried under thousands of feet of ice.

    Back in the 1970s, the environmental hysteria was about the dangers of a new ice age. This hysteria was spread by many of the same individuals and groups who are promoting today's hysteria about global warming.

    It is not just the sky that is falling. Government money is falling on those who seek grants to study global warming and produce "solutions" for it. But that money is not as likely to fall on those skeptics in the scientific community who refuse to join the stampede.

    Yes, Virginia, there are skeptics about global warming among scientists who study weather and climate. There are arguments both ways -- which is why so many in politics and in the media are so busy selling the notion that there is no argument.

    If you heard both arguments, you might not be so willing to go along with those who are prepared to ruin the economy, sacrificing jobs and the national standard of living on the altar to the latest in an unending series of crusades, conducted by politicians and other people seeking to tell everyone else how to live.

    What about all those scientists mentioned, cited or quoted by global warming crusaders?

    There are all kinds of scientists, from chemists to nuclear physicists to people who study insects, volcanoes, and endocrine glands -- none of whom is an expert on weather or climate, but all of whom can be listed as scientists, to impress people who don't scrutinize the list any further. That ploy has already been used.

    Then there are genuine scientific experts on weather and climate. The National Academy of Sciences came out with a report on global warming back in 2001 with a very distinguished list of such experts listed. The problem is that not one of those very distinguished scientists actually wrote the report -- or even saw it before it was published.

    One of those very distinguished climate scientists -- Richard S. Lindzen of MIT -- publicly repudiated the conclusions of that report, even though his name had been among those used as window dressing on the report. But the media may not have told you that.

    In short, there has been a full court press to convince the public that "everybody knows" that a catastrophic global warming looms over us, that human beings are the cause of it, and that the only solution is to turn more money and power over to the government to stop us from our dangerous ways of living.

    Among the climate experts who are not part of that "everybody" are not only Professor Lindzen but also Fred Singer and Dennis Avery, whose book "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years," punctures the hot air balloon of the global warming crusaders. So does the book "Shattered Consensus," edited by Patrick J. Michaels, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, which contains essays by others who are not part of "everybody."

    Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy. Be the first to read Thomas Sowell's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.

    Global Warming Myths - Ice Receding

    More blows to the IPCC report and the Global Warming crowd about ice receding from both the Himalayas and the Antarctic. In the Antarctic, while it is true that parts of the ice-shelf are breaking off and shortening. In other areas they are growing and in height and breadth. I n fact, there is a list of growing ice glaciers and sheets which I are accessible here:

  • Glacier Site
  • The Hindustan Times also has a story reporting on the 9,575 glaciers in India, which have had only about 50 of them actually studied.

  • Hindustan Times Article
  • My son wrote in a sixth-grade speech once that had an interesting retraction by the New York Times:

    Another myth that has resulted from the global warming scare is that of the polar ice caps melting. On august 19, 2000, the front page of the New York Times featured a picture of the North Pole; the accompanying news story said:

    “The North Pole is melting. The thick ice that that has for ages covered the Artic Ocean at the pole has turned to water… something that has presumably never before seen by humans, and is more evidence that global warming may be real and already affecting the climate.”

    Oops!! Ten days later the Times apologized, saying it, “misstated the normal conditions of the sea ice there. A clear spot has probably opened at the pole before, scientists say, because about 10 percent of the Arctic Ocean is clear of ice in a typical summer.” But by then the Washington Post, USA Today, Associated Press, National Public Radio, American TV networks (ABC, NBC, CBS), Canadian TV and papers in London had repeated the story. NBC Nightly News talked about “a mile-wide stretch of water where ice should be.” CNN said the ice cap “is losing its ice.”

    In contradistinction to Gore’s crazy rants, 90% of the ice in the world have grown in the recent past:

    19 May 2005 - According to a new study published in the online edition of Science, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet gained about 45 billion tons of ice between 1992 and 2003. The ice sheets are several kilometers thick in places, and contain about 90% of the world's ice.

    Using data from the European Space Agency's radar satellites ERS-1 and ERS-2, a research team from the University of Missouri, Columbia, measured changes in altitude over about 70% of Antarctica's interior. East Antarctica thickened at an average rate of about 1.8 centimeters per year over the time period studied, the researchers discovered.

    The region comprises about 75% of Antarctica 's total land area and about 85% of the total ice volume. The area in question covers more than 2.75 million square miles - roughly the same size as the United States.

    (This means that more than 90 percent of the world's glaciers are growing thicker … while the media keeps yelling about the ones that are melting.)

  • Antarctic Cap Growing
  • I can side with some of the most recent works that Global Warming is primarily due to our suns cycle, one reason is that Mars is experiencing a warming spell, and last time I checked there aren’t any “big bad corporations” there making SUVs.

    Even The Iraqi's Get It!

    "Fraud" in my Son's Textbooks?

    Hope your week is well professor. I just want to repeat here what I said in our first correspondence, which is: “dark and light moths existed before the industrial revolution, dark and light moths existed after the Industrial Revolution… ergo, macroevolution is not in question here.”

    My Son’s Science Book

    Let us start out this second conversation with an example from my son’s seventh-grade science book says this (p.144):

    In the 1700’s , most English peppered moths were light gray in color. The light-colored moths had an advantage over black peppered moths because birds could not see them against the light-gray trees. Natural selection favored the light-colored moths over the black moths.

    The Industrial Revolution began in England in the late 1700s. People built factories to make cloth and other goods. Over time, smoke from the factories blackened the trunks of the trees. Now the light-colored moths were easier to see than the black ones. As a result, birds caught more light-colored moths. Natural selection favored the black moths. By 1850, almost all the peppered moths were black.

    Of course my son’s science book has a *photo (see above) of trees with dark and light bark with dark and light moths on them to “show” how these moths would look. I put show in parenthesis to weed out what has been created in the lab versus what is actually found in nature. What I have clearly shown in my past posts is this, and take note how divergent the facts are from what my son’s science book said “happened”:

    Short Summary

    This will be the recurring subject of this letter, that is, “further studies done of ‘Peppered Moths’ have shown that their resting positions in nature are not in fact tree trunks.” We will also see that these moths rest underneath leaves and branches during daylight hours which also shows how Kettlewell biased his research work, which if being the case, undermines the legitimacy of the conclusions drawn both in your class and my son’s seventh-grade class. Some points to start:

    • It is now universally acknowledged that Cyril Clarke, who observed that in twenty-five years he had seen exactly two Biston (peppered moth) resting on tree trunks, was right after all: the normal resting place of peppered moths is not on tree trunks but in shaded areas under branches, where the color differences would be muted.
    • According to Majerus, the resting spot of the moths would be crucial: “If the relative fitness of the morphs of the peppered moth does depend on their crypsis [blending into the background], the resting position is crucially important to the estimation of fitness differences between the morphs” (M.E.N. Majerus. Melanism: Evolution in Action).
    • Additionally, the experiment densities were too high. In nature peppered moths are known to be very scantily distributed, but Bernard Kettlewell (the author of the experiment who’s work my son’s book summarizes) set out at least four moths per tree, and then replaced them immediately after one type were eaten. When he and Tinbergen were making their “historic” film, they laid the spread on even thicker.

    A Recommended Book

    Everyone now concedes that these densities were unnatural. Kettlewell was, in effect, creating a feeding tray, and the “intensity of predation” recorded in his experiments simply reflected a learned response by the local birds from Kettlewell’s previous “bird buffets” (An Evolutionary Tale Of Moths and Men: The Untold Story of Science and the Peppered Moth, pp.265-266). I recommend the chapter that explains the actual parameters to Kettlewells experiment (chpt 6), it is fascinating, and would mute any further discussion. Just two “unnatural” examples can also be found in the popular press:


    “The moths filmed being eaten by the birds were laboratory-bred ones placed onto tree trunks by Kettlewell; they were so languid that he once had to warm them up on his car bonnet (hood).” Calgary Herald, p. D3, 21 March 1999.


    University of Massachusetts biologist Theodore Sargent helped glue moths onto trees for the famous NOVA documentary. He says textbooks and films have featured ‘a lot of fraudulent photographs’.” J.A. Coyne, Nature 396(6706):35–36. & The Washington Times, p. D8, 17 January 1999.

    The Nitty Gritty – Sargent’s Work (from Of Moths and Men)

    In a series of experiments between 1965 and 1969, Sargent tried to replicate Kettlewell’s background-preference work. He got contradictory results, and concluded that the moths’ resting places were genetically predetermined, not selected, as Kettlewell believed, by individual moths noting whether their “circumocular tufts” matched the background. Sargent has also found that the plants eaten by the larvae may induce or repress the expression of such “melanism” in adult moths (see Sargent T.R. et al. in M.K. Hecht et al, Evolutionary Biology 30:299–322, Plenum Press, New York, 1998).

    The following point is important to the understanding of how these moths change color and how this may have also impacted the population change in coloration:

    [Sargent] noticed that the caterpillars eating the new-growth pine were growing more slowly that the ones in the other container, and they pupated and eclosed later. In both groups all the male moths were melanics, and among females overall there was a fifty-fifty ratio of typicals and melanics. This meant that, assuming the melanism was controlled by a sex-linked dominant allele, the melanic female had mated with a heterozygous melanic male. However, there was a statistically significant difference between the two groups. More than two-thirds of new-growth-fed female moths were melanic, while two-thirds of the group fed on old-growth needles were typical. A second experiment on 8 July yielded similar results. Sargent believed he had hit paydirt. “Something in the new-growth needles was favouring the expression of adult melanism,” Sargent explains….

    …. Although Sargent would undoubtedly be described by nine out of ten eyewitnesses as “quiet and unassuming” – a mild, grandfatherly figure frequently overlooked by waiters in restaurants – he is a dangerous iconoclast in the eyes of the industrial melanism establishment. He finally published, with two co-authors, a devastating analysis of the classic industrial melanism story in 1998 (see below), concluding that “there is little persuasive evidence, in the form of rigorous and replicated observations and experiments, to support [the classical] explanation at the present time.” Although it enraged the community of his peers – Bruce Grant called it a “dreadful review” and a “hatchet job” – Sargent’s article was not the decisive confrontation of the peppered moth wars. That erupted in the 5 November 1998 issue of Nature, in a review written by Jerry A. Coyne, professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago, of a new book by Michael E.N. Majerus. The book, called Melanism: Evolution in Action, was a watershed event. Methodologically and incisively analyzing every flaw in Kettlewell's experiments and in the industrial melanism paradigm, Majerus’s book left no doubt that the classic story was wrong in almost every detail. [I separated it here for ease]:

    a. Peppered moths, if left to their own devices, do not rest on tree trunks;

    b. bird vision is nothing like human vision [referring to Kettlewell's vision scale that were part of his original thesis];

    c. Kettlewell was wrong about how peppered moths choose their resting sites;

    d. the high densities of moths he used may have skewed the results;

    e. the method of release was faulty, and on and on.

    The various predation have not replicated his results particularly well, and other “factors” kept having to be invoked to squeeze the data into the standard industrial melanism model. “The findings of [scientists since Kettlewell],” Majerus concluded, “show that the précised description of the basic peppered moth story is wrong, inaccurate, or incomplete, with respect to most of the component parts.”

    The reader who makes his way through Majerus’s mountains of evidence is rather stunned to arrive at his verdict: that the basic story, while “undoubtedly more complex and fascinating than most biology textbooks have space to relate”, is perfectly fine. “My view of the rise and fall of the melanic peppered moth is that differential bird predation in more or less polluted regions, together with migration, are primarily responsible, almost to the exclusion of other factors.”

    Jerry Coyne (who reviewed Majerus’s book), however, was “horrified.” The sheer magnitude of the problems itemized in the book filled him with dismay and something like shame. After all, he too had been teaching the “standard Biston story” for years. When he dug out Kettlewell’s original papers he found that things were even worse than he thought. How was it that the experiment that Coyne called the “prize horse in our stable of examples” had been accepted unquestionably all this time? …

    … [One answer I received from my son’s science teacher in regards to another subject but that fits here as well is that she “merely teaches what the state tells her to”, which I guess is in opposition to critical thinking and the scientific method. When she responded to me with the “state” quote I had visions of the story Animal Farm and 1984.] …

    … Was it possible that the facts had been submerged because “such powerful stories discouraged close scrutiny?” Concluding that “we must discard Biston as a well-understood example of natural selection in action, although it is clearly a case of evolution,” he mused:

    v B. betularia [peppered moth] shows the footprint of natural selection but we have not yet seen the feet. Majerus finds some solace in his analysis, claiming that the true story is likely to be more complex and interesting, but one senses that he is making a virtue of necessity [emphases added], My own reaction resembles the dismay attending my discovery, at the age of six, that it was my father and not Santa who brought the presents on Christmas eve. (from: Jerry Coyne. “Not Black and White,” Nature 396:35-6. November 5, 1998)

    Not so much because of Majerus’s book as because of one review of it – especially the felicitous phrase about Santa Clause – the paragon of natural selection was ousted…. After summarizing the latest findings about peppered moths’ natural resting places in a 1999 article in The Scientist, biologist Jonathan Wells, a fellow of Seattle’s Discovery Institute, an Intelligent Design think tank, quipped: “It seems that the classical example of natural selection is actually an example of unnatural selection.”

    Sargent’s original paper for further study: Theodore D. Sargent, Craig D. Miller and David Lambert. “The ‘Classical’ Explanation of Industrial Melanism,” in Evolutionary Biology, vol. 30, Max K. Hetch et al. (eds) (New York: Plentium Press; 1998.)

    Even Staunch Evolutionist “Futuyma” Caves

    “We [scientists] don’t always read the original papers,” admits Douglas Futuyma, of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, who a few years earlier had been quoted exulting over “parallel evolution” in the New York Times. “It is clear that there is much more going on here than bird attacks and camouflage.”

    Follow the Evidence to its Conclusion

    Professor, do you disagree or agree with the findings of Majerus, Sargent, Coyne, and others on this issue? Majerus believes it was a cause of birds and their migration patterns. Sargent has shown that melanism isn’t a population change in allele, but that other factors are involved with the production of melanism. What do you think?

    A Final Point

    Again… I wish to drive home this point about the photos found in my son’s science book and the photo’s shown at your university by dropping here another source on the matter:

    ….in the 1980s another problem emerged. Researchers discovered that peppered moths almost never rest on tree trunks. Instead, they apparently rest on the undersides of small horizontal branches in the tree canopy.

    By releasing moths onto tree trunks during the day, Kettlewell had created an artificial situation. “Peppered moths are night-fliers, and normally find resting places on trees before dawn.” …. When released during the day, in illumination bright enough for human eyes, such moths can be expected to choose their resting places as quickly as possible — often in the wrong place. “The moths that Kettlewell released in the daytime remained exposed, becoming easy prey for predatory birds.”

    This undermines the credibility of Kettlewell’s studies, as well as later studies by others, which used dead specimens glued or pinned to tree trunks.

    It also undermines the credibility of the photos displayed in so many textbooks. Since tree trunks are such an unusual resting place, “pictures of peppered moths on tree trunks [were] staged. Some are made using dead specimens that are glued or pinned to the trunk, while others use live specimens that are manually placed in desired positions. Since peppered moths are quite torpid in daylight, they remain where they are put.”

    These methods have also been used for television documentaries. One biologist [Theodore Sargent] admitted to a Washington Times reporter in 1999 that he had once glued dead specimens to a tree trunk for a TV documentary on peppered moths.

  • Scroll down to “Peppered Moths”
  • 25-Years of Study

    With this in mind, I want to quote a study found in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (by C.A. Clarke, G.S. Mani and G. Wynne) entitled “Evolution In Reverse: Clean Air And The Peppered Moth”:

    “But the problem is that we do not know the resting sites of the moth during the day time. … In 25 years we have found only two betularia on the tree trunks or walls adjacent to our traps (one on an appropriate background and one not), and none elsewhere” (26:189–199, 1985; quote on p. 197)

    Again - Fraud

    We already know that University of Massachusetts biologist Theodore Sargent helped glue moths onto trees for a NOVA documentary. And we already know that he said textbooks and films have featured “a lot of fraudulent photographs” (J.A. Coyne, Nature 396(6706):35–36; and, The Washington Times, p. D8, 17 January 1999). This underscores the issue that the photos in your textbook you use in class and my son’s teacher uses has in it, fraudulent photos.

    Contemplation Time

    Professor, I believe that critical thinking and the true scientific method (not here speaking of metaphysical naturalism) demand that you, and my son’s teacher introduce such information in an easily digestible way to show that there are controversies in these “matter of fact” presentations I find in CSUN’s textbook as well as my son’s textbook.

    I look forward to your response.

    Monday, February 12, 2007

    Czech Pres. Says Global Warming Hog-Wash!
    (Hat-tip - Drudge)
    President of Czech Republic Calls Man-Made Global Warming a 'Myth'

    Questions Gore's SanityMon Feb 12 2007 09:10:09 ETCzech president Vaclav Klaus has criticized the UN panel on global warming, claiming that it was a political authority without any scientific basis.

    In an interview with "Hospodárské noviny", a Czech economics daily, Klaus answered a few questions:

    Q: IPCC has released its report and you say that the global warming is a false myth. How did you get this idea, Mr President?

    A: It's not my idea. Global warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so. It is not fair to refer to the U.N. panel. IPCC is not a scientific institution: it's a political body, a sort of non-government organization of green flavor. It's neither a forum of neutral scientists nor a balanced group of scientists. These people are politicized scientists who arrive there with a one-sided opinion and a one-sided assignment. Also, it's an undignified slapstick that people don't wait for the full report in May 2007 but instead respond, in such a serious way, to the summary for policymakers where all the "but's" are scratched, removed, and replaced by oversimplified theses. This is clearly such an incredible failure of so many people, from journalists to politicians. If the European Commission is instantly going to buy such a trick, we have another very good reason to think that the countries themselves, not the Commission, should be deciding about similar issues.

    Q: How do you explain that there is no other comparably senior statesman in Europe who would advocate this viewpoint? No one else has such strong opinions...

    A: My opinions about this issue simply are strong. Other top-level politicians do not express their global warming doubts because a whip of political correctness strangles their voice.

    Q: But you're not a climate scientist. Do you have a sufficient knowledge and enough information?

    A: Environmentalism as a metaphysical ideology and as a worldview has absolutely nothing to do with natural sciences or with the climate. Sadly, it has nothing to do with social sciences either. Still, it is becoming fashionable and this fact scares me. The second part of the sentence should be: we also have lots of reports, studies, and books of climatologists whose conclusions are diametrally opposite. Indeed, I never measure the thickness of ice in Antarctica. I really don't know how to do it and don't plan to learn it. However, as a scientifically oriented person, I know how to read science reports about these questions, for example about ice in Antarctica. I don't have to be a climate scientist myself to read them. And inside the papers I have read, the conclusions we may see in the media simply don't appear. But let me promise you
    something: this topic troubles me which is why I started to write an article about it last Christmas. The article expanded and became a book. In a couple of months, it will be published. One chapter out of seven will organize my opinions about the climate change. Environmentalism and green ideology is something very different from climate science. Various findings and screams of scientists are abused by this ideology.

    Q: How do you explain that conservative media are skeptical while the left-wing media view the global warming as a done deal?

    A: It is not quite exactly divided to the left-wingers and right-wingers. Nevertheless it's obvious that environmentalism is a new incarnation of modern leftism.

    Q: If you look at all these things, even if you were right ...

    A: ...I am right...

    Q: Isn't there enough empirical evidence and facts we can see with our eyes that imply that Man is demolishing the planet and himself?

    A: It's such a nonsense that I have probably not heard a bigger nonsense yet.

    Q: Don't you believe that we're ruining our planet?

    A: I will pretend that I haven't heard you. Perhaps only Mr Al Gore may be saying something along these lines: a sane person can't. I don't see any ruining of the planet, I have never seen it, and I don't think that a reasonable and serious person could say such a thing. Look: you represent the economic media so I expect a certain economical erudition from you. My book will answer these questions. For example, we know that there exists a huge correlation between the care we give to the environment on one side and the wealth and technological prowess on the other side. It's clear that the poorer the society is, the more brutally it behaves with respect to Nature, and vice versa. It's also true that there exist social systems that are damaging Nature - by eliminating private ownership and similar things - much more than the freer societies. These tendencies become important in the long run. They unambiguously imply that today, on February 8th, 2007, Nature is protected uncomparably more than on February 8th ten years ago or fifty years ago or one hundred years ago. That's why I ask: how can you pronounce the sentence you said? Perhaps if you're unconscious? Or did you mean it as a provocation only? And maybe I am just too naive and I allowed you to provoke me to give you all these answers, am I not? It is more likely that you actually believe what you say.

    Biased Scientists? No Way Man

    Mind you, the same mentality expressed in the Washington Times article below has been exhibited towards scientists that do not hold to the consensus on evolution as well. This is because science today has been practiced by a generation of scientists that view reality through philosophical naturalism. And so over the many years of not realizing that they were not practicing true “science,” but are in fact practicing “scientism,” it was only a matter of time before this way of arguing FOR theories by ad-homonym attacks and making pariahs out of people spread to all areas of political science.

    Global-warming skeptics cite being 'treated like a pariah'

    By Eric Pfeiffer


    February 12, 2007

    Scientists skeptical of climate-change theories say they are increasingly coming under attack -- treatment that may make other analysts less likely to present contrarian views about global warming.

    "In general, if you do not agree with the consensus that we are headed toward disaster, you are treated like a pariah," said William O'Keefe, chief executive officer of the Marshall Institute, which assesses scientific issues that shape public policy.

    "It's ironic that a field based on challenging unproven theories attacks skeptics in a very unhealthy way."

    Two climatologists in Democrat-leaning states, David Legates in Delaware and George Taylor in Oregon, have come under fire for expressing skepticism about the origins of climate change. Oregon Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski is publicly seeking to strip Mr. Taylor, widely known as the state's climatologist, of his position because of his stance.

    "There has been a broad, concerted effort to intimidate and silence them," said Myron Ebell, director of energy and global-warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "It's the typical politics of the hard left at work. I think these are real threats."

    CEI, which previously listed Mr. Legates as an "adjunct scholar," has published multiple reports questioning the science behind global-warming theories and has been criticized for accepting donations from companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp.

    Mr. O'Keefe said his organization doesn't deny the existence of global warming but questions the methods used by individuals and groups advocating for new government restrictions to combat the phenomenon.

    "We have never said that global warming isn't real," Mr. O'Keefe said. "No self-respecting think tank would accept money to support preconceived notions. We make sure what we are saying is both scientifically and analytically defensible."

    In an interview with local NBC affiliate KGW-TV, Mr. Kulongoski, a Democrat, said he hopes to take away Mr. Taylor's job title because his views do not mesh with the political opinions of most lawmakers in Oregon, including the governor.

    "He is Oregon State University's climatologist. He is not the state of Oregon's climatologist," Mr. Kulongoski said. "I just think there has to be somebody that says, 'This is the state position on this.' "

    Mr. Taylor was appointed to the position in 1991, when Oregon's legislature created a state climate office at the college. Mr. Kulongoski wants to change the position to a governor-appointed one. State Sen. Brad Avakian, a Democrat, is sponsoring a bill supporting such a move.

    Sunday, February 11, 2007

    Under-paid? Or, Over-Paid?

    Teachers are Overpaid? WHAT!

    I was in a recent discussion about some issues and I wanted to post the article I was referring to here so that my archrival… no, really a friend, can come here and read the entire article for himself. Thank God that someone at work drops off copies of the Wall Street Journal, cause I love their editorial page. Nuf said, here’s the article:

    Wall Street Opinion journal (Online)


    $34.06 an Hour

    That's how much the average public school teachers makes. Is that "underpaid"?

    By Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters

    Friday, February 2, 2007

    Who, on average, is better paid--public school teachers or architects? How about teachers or economists? You might be surprised to learn that public school teachers are better paid than these and many other professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public school teachers earned $34.06 per hour in 2005, 36% more than the hourly wage of the average white-collar worker and 11% more than the average professional specialty or technical worker.

    In the popular imagination, however, public school teachers are underpaid. "Salaries are too low. We all know that," noted First Lady Laura Bush, expressing the consensus view. "We need to figure out a way to pay teachers more." Indeed, our efforts to hire more teachers and raise their salaries account for the bulk of public school spending increases over the last four decades. During that time per-pupil spending, adjusted for inflation, has more than doubled; overall we now annually spend more than $500 billion on public education.

    The perception that we underpay teachers is likely to play a significant role in the debate to reauthorize No Child Left Behind. The new Democratic majority intends to push for greater education funding, much of which would likely to go toward increasing teacher compensation. It would be beneficial if the debate focused on the actual salaries teachers are already paid.

    It would also be beneficial if the debate touched on the correlation between teacher pay and actual results. To wit, higher teacher pay seems to have no effect on raising student achievement. Metropolitan areas with higher teacher pay do not graduate a higher percentage of their students than areas with lower teacher pay.

    In fact, the urban areas with the highest teacher pay are famous for their abysmal outcomes. Metro Detroit leads the nation, paying its public school teachers, on average, $47.28 per hour. That's 61% more than the average white-collar worker in the Detroit area and 36% more than the average professional worker. In metro New York, public school teachers make $45.79 per hour, 20% more than the average professional worker in that area. And in Los Angeles teachers earn $44.03 per hour, 23% higher than other professionals in the area.

    Evidence suggests that the way we pay teachers is more important than simply what they take home. Currently salaries are determined almost entirely by seniority--the number of years in the classroom--and the number of advanced degrees accumulated. Neither has much to do with student improvement.

    There is evidence that providing bonuses to teachers who improve the performance of their students does raise academic proficiency. With our colleagues at the University of Arkansas we found that a Little Rock program providing bonuses to teachers based on student gains on standardized tests substantially increased math proficiency. Researchers at the University of Florida recently found similar results in a nationwide evaluation.

    Of course, public school teacher earnings look less impressive when viewed on an annual basis than on an hourly basis. This is because teachers tend to work fewer hours per year, with breaks during the summer, winter and spring. But comparing earnings on an annual basis would be inappropriate when teachers work significantly fewer hours than do other workers. Teachers can use that time to be with family, to engage in activities that they enjoy, or to earn additional money from other employment. That time off is worth money and cannot simply be ignored when comparing earnings. The appropriate way to compare earnings in this circumstance is to focus on hourly rates.

    Moreover, the earnings data reported here, which are taken directly from the National Compensation Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, do not include retirement and health benefits, which tend to be quite generous for public school teachers relative to other workers. Nor do they include the nonmonetary benefit of greater job security due to the tenure that most public school teachers enjoy.

    Educators sometimes object that hourly earnings calculations do not capture the additional hours they work outside of school, but this objection is not very compelling. First, the National Compensation Survey is designed to capture all hours actually worked. And teachers are hardly the only wage earners who take work home with them.

    The fact is that teachers are better paid than most other professionals. What matters is the way that we pay public school teachers, not the amount. The next time politicians call for tax increases to address the problem of terribly underpaid public school teachers, they might be reminded of these facts.

    Mr. Greene holds the endowed chair of education reform at the University of Arkansas and is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where Mr. Winters is a senior research associate. Their report, "How Much Are Public School Teachers Paid?," was released this week.

  • OnLine Article Link