Assorted Links

  • Scientific heresy, a lecture by Matt Ridley mostly about climate change. “Jim Hansen of NASA told us in 1988 to expect 2-4 degrees [of warming] in 25 years. We are experiencing about one-tenth of that.”
  • The continuing influence of Jane Jacobs. “Rouse spoke first, recalling the words of Daniel Burnham, “Make no little plans, for they have no magic to stir men’s blood,” he said. Jacobs followed and began, “Funny, big plans never stirred women’s blood. Women have always been willing to consider little plans.””
  • A self-experimental study of lactose intolerance. ” I came across an article that pointed out that levels of [lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose]  peak in the morning and evening hours. So I experimented with having either ricotta products or a half cup of milk with my supper. It worked like a charm, and sure enough, if I tried having any between 11 AM and about 4 PM, I would get sick.”
  • A rather dramatic Google bug. Google the phrase “first let them get sick”. You will be told there are hundreds of thousands of results — perhaps 250,000. Look through them and you will see the correct number is much less (recently, 47).
  • Lorrie Moore reads one of my favorite short stories, “Day-Old Baby Rats” by Julie Hayden. “[In a confessional:] ‘I have missed Mass.’ ‘How many times?’ ‘Every time.'”

Thanks to Dave Lull and Nile McAdams.

11 Replies to “Assorted Links”

  1. Where does Ridley get his 2-4 degree number from? It sounds like he might be referring to this set of projections, but Hansen only predicted about a 0.7 degree C increase (in Scenario B, which was based on the emissions assumptions that turned out to be closest to what happened) and the actual warming has been about 3/4 of that.

  2. Seth, your Google search for “first let them get sick” has uncovered a nasty truth about the internet and its supposed billions of pages: Actually, the internet is a virtual Potemkim Village, and there really are only 87 pages in the whole internet.

  3. Ridley’s argument is filled with straw men.

    The BEST series puts forward a good argument there has been warming. I agree the historical record is a bad joke, and the models are so augmented to be near meaningless.

    That being said, he [Ridley] is attacking the straw men, not the bigger problems. We are in a propaganda war, and truth is always the victim. A broad based carbon tax makes a lot of sense. Moving us away from coal and crude oil is a good thing. And frankly, we need the revenue. But any carbon tax that would STOP global warming would also end life as we know it (ie $20 for a gallon of gas)

    1. Charlie, that’s an interesting comment. When you say “we need the revenue” you seem to be saying you work for the government. But perhaps I am misunderstanding. I agree that taxing the status quo in order to develop alternatives makes sense. On the other hand, there seems to be plenty of innovation related to alternative energy and energy saving (“negawatts”) without such a tax.

  4. Hansens projections seem to me astonishingly good (see Vince’s link). Considering how hard it is to predict future events, having just a slight overestimation over 25 years is praiseworthy.
    Either way, I what is your point right now? You said in a recent post that nobody would even contest that there is global warming.

    Additionally I find it sad that you only ever cite sources that support your point. What about all the studies and findings that say the situation is much worse than projected?
    How about the fact that Chinese scientists just recently alarmed that their glaciers are melting – their 14 weather stations at 4000 meter height showed a rise since 1961 of 1,73 degree celsius. It’s a rare event that Chinese scientists are even allowed to alarm their population.

    Another recent report says that considering the actual rising use of fossil fuel will make the politically agreed goal of 2 degree rise of temperature until 2100 impossible to reach – the situation will be much worse.

    I think you’re creating yourself a tunnel vision.

  5. Revenue is going to go up. Sorry, Seth. Since you are now a US creditor in China, you should worry about that. We’re paying taxes so we the Chinese can waste money on education.

    How to do that: income tax, sales/GST tax, or a carbon tax.

    In most countries, income/GST taxes are pretty maxed out. In the US, there is some room for increase, and room for a sub 5% national GST.

    Taxing carbon (or energy use) solves problems of the GST or income tax approach. Again, from the revenue side, easy to do. The problem for global warming types is that increase isn’t going to stop global warming.

  6. @Vince,

    See this article in the Miami News from June 11, 1986:


  7. Thanks for the links, Kirk. But I’d like to see Hansen’s actual words or figures, rather than a one-sentence paraphrase by a reporter. Reporters sometimes get things wrong, or leave out unstated assumptions – I’d look to Hansen’s published work or public testimony to see what he thought, rather than to a brief newspaper piece.

    For instance, maybe the high end of that 2-4 degree range is based on Hansen’s Scenario A from my link, which assumed that future emissions would be much higher than they actually turned out to be. Hansen’s temperature projections were conditional on assumptions about future emissions; since emissions turned out to be much less than that model assumed, it’s not a problem with the model if temperatures also turn out to be much less.

    One thing that the newspaper articles do make clear is that the 2-4 degree estimate was in degrees Fahrenheit, not Celsius. Since the actual amount of warming since the mid 1980s has been about 1 degree F (0.5 degrees C), I don’t see how Ridley gets his claim that actual warming is only a tenth of the projection, unless he’s taking the high end of the range and mixing up Fahrenheit and Celsius (and thus comparing the actual warming to an “expected” 4 degree C increase). Warming has been about half of the low end of the range given in the newspaper article (1 degree F when the newspaper reports 2-4 degrees F).

  8. @Vince,

    If that testimony was inaccurately quoted, then has Dr. Hanson disputed the reportage? I was not able to find such a denial. Is the actual testimony available? I looked around for a while, and it seems like it might be stored in some government library, but I don’t have the resources to research further. Since the public newspaper record from that time reports that Dr. Hansen testified there would be an increase of 2 to 4 degrees, I think the burden to prove that reporting was inaccurate is now yours. Good luck.

    If you look at the WoodForTrees Temperature Index, which is the Mean of HADCRUT3VGL, GISTEMP, UAH and RSS, offset to UAH/RSS baseline (-0.0975K), available at, you will see that the mean (in C) for 1988 was -0.03, and the mean for 2011 (for the first ten months) was 0.12, which is a difference of 0.15 C. If we take a guess at a world average temperature as 56.3 F, and then add 2 degrees and 4 degrees to that temperature, we get the following temperatures in C: 13.50, 14.61, and 15.72. The difference between the base temperature and the increased temperatures, in C, is 1.11 and 2.22, respectively. Ten times the value 0.15 is definitely between those two.

    Ridley said in his speech, “Remember Jim Hansen of NASA told us in 1988 to expect 2–4 degrees in 25 years. We are experiencing about one-tenth of that. We are below even the zero-emission path expected by the IPCC in 1990.”

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