More Reasons to Doubt Scientific Omniscience

first_img(Visited 446 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 We hear it all the time; 99% of scientists agree. All it takes, though, is one overlooked fact to tumble a consensus.Occasionally we take a look at matters other than creation and evolution, when they are instructive about the scientific process. The scientific consensus on climate change (previously known as “global warming”) is a case in point. Scientists have been so dogmatic about it they have convinced most major world governments to enact draconian measures to counteract it. Climate has changed drastically in the past before humans evolved, they will admit, but they insist that the current climate excursion was caused by people trying to increase their happiness and reduce their suffering. News about global warming often includes denunciations of President Donald Trump for pulling America out of the Paris Climate Accords.We don’t quote climate “denialists” to get into the mud on this issue. We just look at the secular news itself, which is almost uniformly on the side of the climate consensus, and ask questions (see this list for previous entries). We pass over the ridiculous stories about what’s coming with global warming, like this headline on Phys.org, “Competition between males improves resilience against climate change.” Claims like that nobody could ever know for sure. Instead, we focus on the epistemology of the consensus: how do they know what they claim to know about human culpability for a warming climate? Did the consensus take the following factors into account?These ‘Dirty’ Thunderstorms Fill Sky with As Much Smoke As Volcanic Eruption (Live Science). Big volcanic eruptions, it is well known, can alter the climate. A well-known case was the Mt. Pinatubo eruption that reduced global temperatures for a time by 0.9° F in 1991. This article says that pyrocumulonimbus storms (pyroCb’s), or “dirty thunderstorms” fed by ash from wildfires, can put as much carbon smoke into the atmosphere as a volcano. “While such major volcanic events are sporadic, Peterson said, pyroCb events occur every year,” the article ends. “But scientists have not studied these storms enough to understand their potential impact on the climate.” Since wildfires are common, and have occurred long before man started burning coal or oil, would climate models produce different conclusions if pyroCbs were taken into account?Smoke from a relatively small wildfire.Tiny particles high up in the sky give insight into climate change (Phys.org). Black carbon (BC) can reflect incoming solar heat back into space, this article says. So can the clouds that form around the particles. Atmospheric particles, or aerosols, are thought to be the second or third most important factor after carbon dioxide. But do scientists understand its contribution? Note the uncertainty in this quote regarding a substantial contributor to climate change (which would seem to lower temperatures rather than raise them).Aerosols, tiny particles that are suspended in the atmosphere, contribute significantly towards climate change. However, despite their consequential role, aerosol interactions aren’t very well understood.The authors say that particles can last for years and influence regions far from cities with their pollution. The concentration of these particles over the Amazon Basin was higher than expected. Does this give anyone confidence in climate models, with their dire predictions of temperature changes a century away, specified in tenths of a degree? Yet those are the models used to scare politicians into taking drastic action.Microbes eat rocks and leave carbon dioxide (Science Magazine). This news item reveals that geologists and climatologists were wrong about silicate rocks acting as a carbon sink to counterbalance the outgassing of volcanoes. Microbes in the silicates can actually “eat” the rocks and release much of that carbon back into the atmosphere as CO2. A study of these rocks in Taiwan showed that “microbes oxidize roughly two-thirds of the petrogenic organic carbon there and that the rate of oxidation increases with the rate of erosion.”How does the Pacific Walker circulation respond to strong tropical volcanism? (Phys.org). Read this news item to get an idea of how complicated it is to tease out the significance of individual factors that might alter the climate. Severe volcanic eruptions (SVE’s), like the recent one in Bali, Indonesia, “can affect Earth’s climate.” But by how much? Trying to figure that out is complex, because a large eruption, which is unpredictable, can affect air currents in unexpected ways that are not well understood. Obviously humans are not responsible for what volcanoes do. Note, too, that SVEs tend to have a cooling effect. “The cooling effect from the SVEs is able to cool the entire tropics,” the article says, and yet the temperature anomalies that result are not uniform.Anthropogenic combustion iron as a complex climate forcer (Nature Communications). Even though this paper mentions a factor that might exacerbate warming, the key fact is that it was not taken into account before. “Our results demonstrate that anthropogenic combustion iron is a larger and more complex climate forcer than previously thought, and therefore plays a key role in the Earth system,” the authors say. This should lead thoughtful observers to ask what other factors have not been considered, that could be larger or smaller than previously thought?The Politics of Climate ChangeRepublicans more persuasive than scientists on climate change (Science Daily). This article, pretending to be an unbiased analysis of political attitudes about climate change, ends up as a partisan advocacy piece. The authors of a psychological survey at the University of Connecticut seem disturbed that Republicans who argue against anthropogenic climate change are more persuasive than the scientific consensus. But rather than see if Republican counter-arguments have merit, the authors delve into ways to package consensus arguments in more persuasive ways. They assume that Republicans are engaging in misinformation. “Citing Republican elites who endorse the scientific consensus on climate change may be the most effective way to persuade citizens that climate change is a real and important problem,” says Lyle Scruggs, a professor of political science at University of Connecticut. “That may be a step forward in reducing the partisan gap in public opinion on the subject.” Anyone smell partisanship in that comment?In closing, maybe it’s worth asking what the ruckus is about. Mike Wall wrote on Space.com, “Life on Venus? Why It’s Not an Absurd Thought.” Venus, we note, is a very warm planet. Astrobiologist David Grinspoon says that the atmosphere a few dozen miles up is pretty benign – if the Venusians can tolerate the sulfuric acid. So why worry? If climate change wipes out human society, some scientists, like the misanthrope Eric Pianka who wants to solve overpopulation of stupid people by releasing atmospheric ebola to kill billions of people indiscriminately, might be happy. Darwin will ensure that the next generation of organisms on earth will be heat-tolerant, acid-tolerant, and will vote Democrat. That’s not an absurd thought at all, now is it? Not for the scientific consensus.Dr Eric Pianka, ardent evolutionist and genocide advocate, by J B Greene. Used by permission.last_img read more

Dairy farm economics not adding up

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It has happened to every farmer.The production numbers are plugged into the calculator, and double-checked, but they just do not seem to be adding up quite right on the short side of profitability.These days many dairy producers are drinking a couple of extra glasses of milk to calm their nerves and enjoying an additional scoop of ice cream to take their minds off of the unpleasant budget realities on the farm.Lou Brown of New Bremen has been crunching the numbers on his dairy farm and does not like the numbers he is seeing.“We’re at $13 milk right now on our 275-cow herd with a 70-pound average. That is 19,250 pounds of milk a day. That is 192.50 hundredweights at $13 that comes to $2,502.50 a day in the value of the milk. At $7 a day per cow with 275 cows, that comes to $1,925 a day for my feed bill. That leaves me with $577 to pay all of the other expenses. If I had one hired person full time I would need 40 more cows to justify that one person,” Brown said. “My price goal to average over five years is $20 a hundredweight. Two years ago it was $26, but feed costs were higher then. The milk price actually went down to $9 in 2009, which has been the low in the last eight years.”At $10 per hundredweight it is $57,750 a month in income. At $15 milk, it is $86,625 in monthly income and at $20 it is $115,500 a month in income.“That milk price makes a huge difference in gross revenue for us,” Brown said. “You’re constantly on a price roller coaster.”The farm (like many others) has implemented numerous long-term strategies to handle the inevitable economic tough times inherent in production agriculture. Brownhaven Farm is all family labor. The Brown family has been on the land since 1959 when Lou’s parents bought it. It is now run by Lou, his brother, and Lou’s son.“We started with two cows and by the 70s we were up to 80 cows,” he said. “Today we have grown to 280 cows  — all Holstein. Our wives and children help as well.”The vast majority of milk from Brownhaven Farm goes to nearby Dannon and is marketed through DFA.“I don’t really see a premium but I am only three or four miles away and it doesn’t make sense to truck it anywhere else,” Brown said.Dannon is a very valuable local market, but has been requiring increasingly stringent requirements in recent years based on various consumer and industry demands, each adding costs along the way. In addition, Brown’s 250-acre farm is in both the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed and in the Lake Erie watershed, the two most regulated watersheds in the state. This regulation also brings with it extra costs and challenges in the form of manure management and cover crops.“We raise half our hay and all of our corn silage,” Brown said. “All of our corn silage ground gets cover crop on it. I grow no soybeans, just corn and hay. The best ground stays in corn. I use an oats and radish mix which winter kills. My cost for just the oat seed is $1,500 on 150 acres.“I get government funding for cost share on the cover crops, but I have to match all of their guidelines to qualify. They have a cost share program. You could do it on your own but you will have $3,500 to $4,000 to put cover crops on 150 acres. And some cover crops are twice that cost. If I didn’t have cost share, it would be much harder to make the decision to do that. Maybe I would only do half the farm verses the whole farm. What is the value of the organic matter I’m getting, the erosion I am stopping and the runoff I am preventing? It does definitely help the corn yield too. Cover crops may be worth $4,000 a year, very easily, but they are also an extra cost.”The liquid manure lagoon storage for the farm is adequate to hold enough to apply in the spring before planting.“The majority of the time we apply lagoon manure before we plant corn. We either use a Miller disk or field cultivator before and after manure application. We knife it in and go over it again and then plant corn,” Brown said. “They want us to work the ground before we apply the lagoon manure to disturb the soil so it doesn’t have a direct route to the tile. The only other fertility I add is liquid 28% — 10 gallons at planting and 40 gallons an acre sidedress.”The Browns get the rest of their cattle feed needs met through neighboring farms to help control costs.“All of the corn for grain is bought from neighbors and we grind it here on the farm. We have our own bean extruder as well. All the wheat straw for bedding is grown by neighbors too — for the last 10 years we have been buying from neighbors. It makes more sense to buy from the neighbors then to go and pay $10,000 or $12,000 an acre for more ground,” Brown said. “We use our own equipment and labor to harvest the neighbor’s crops. We harvest earlage, silage and grain for grinding. We do everything on the hay. Usually first cutting is chopped for haylage and the rest is in big squares. We try for five cuttings.“This last weekend we chopped 92 acres of rye which gave us 600 tons of extra feed valued at $15,000. We had a neighbor who decided to put it out as cover and he let us chop it. It gave him an extra cash crop and we provided all the labor.”These and other practices help keep costs down when milk prices drop. Major purchases are made carefully during good times.“We don’t change a lot when milk prices are low, but we keep close tabs on expenses. We try to put off buying more expensive $5,000 to $10,000 investments or higher. We fix more things instead of investing in new,” Brown said. “You have to set your priorities every day and look at your goals. You might make mistakes, but you hope that doesn’t happen. For a dairy farm, a mistake could be as simple as what if milk from a treated cow went into the bulk tank that day. That is a costly mistake. You have to be careful to avoid those when times are tight.“If you need to expand or improve, do it in small amounts. Don’t try to do it all in one year. Hopefully the smart managers saved back $2 a hundredweight when it was over $20 for now when things are low.”And, at least for the immediate future, milk prices look to stay low.“Historically it is a seven to eight year cycle but it is anybody’s guess with the global market the way it is today. Changes in China or Russia impact our farm,” Brown said. “Mother Nature will either have to throw in a drought or we’ll have to wait for the school year to start so the volume of fluid milk will go up again.”A big production bump in Europe has helped build up a large global milk supply, according to John Newton, the Senior Director of Economic Research for the National Milk Producers Federation.“It will take time for us to work through the global inventory and one way to do that is through lower prices to the consumer. In the European Union they just removed the quota system and we’ve seen milk production in Europe increase significantly in the last year into the global market place. In the U.S., we export 12% to 15% of our milk production every year and we are exposed to what is happening internationally,” Newton said. “Farm prices are set based on wholesale commodity prices. When wholesale prices of cheese, or butter, or milk powders decrease, so too does the farm gate milk price. In this case, we have seen powder prices decline quite a bit, close to a dollar a pound. We have seen a dramatic decline in milk price from the highs in 2014.”As milk producers feel the pinch of low prices, milk processors enjoy strong profits.“Processors make money on the down side because their input costs are declining, but when input prices increase, they cannot turn around and raise their retail prices dramatically. There is an ebb and flow. End users need consistency. Pizza chains don’t change the price of their pizza on the menu every week as cheese prices change. They try to have a fixed price menu item,” Newton said. “Farm gate prices come down and soon after the retail price will follow. There is some price transmission, but currently the farmer’s share of the retail dollar is lower than it was in recent years. We would expect to see that with lower input costs, it will drive processors to have lower prices at the consumer level. When prices decline, retailers can offer more promotional specials. You could see two for one cheeseburgers, for example, and you would sell twice as much cheese when the prices for cheese are low. Those things in turn will help the farmer’s price.”last_img read more

SAINTS began their preseason campaign with a soli

first_imgSAINTS began their pre-season campaign with a solid 38-18 victory over Dewsbury Rams.A much-improved second half performance saw them turn around a 14-10 deficit to eventually overhaul their spirited opponents.Theo Fages impressed on his Langtree Park bow whilst Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Mark Percival both crossed for braces.Ultimately, the game wasn’t about the result – more so Keiron Cunningham getting a look at his combinations.Saints looked lively in the opening stages with both Jack Owens and Matty Dawson making line breaks.But it took just five minutes for Luke Walsh to make his mark.Seeing Rams’ fullback Karl Pryce over on the far side, he fired a beautiful 40:20 to the near touchline to give his side great position.And within a couple of tackles, McCarthy-Scarsbrook was hit by a lovely ball to put Saints in front.Buoyant, the home side forced another Dewsbury error in the 12th minute, but couldn’t take advantage; likewise a few minutes later.That time Walsh was intercepted but Matty Dawson ran 70 metres to make a superb cover tackle.The Rams had numbers though and a fine flowing move to the corner saw Dale Morton go over.Dewsbury continued to press but good kick chase brought up the home side’s next chance … and they didn’t disappoint.Walsh’s kick was knocked dead by the Rams and after the drop out, Saints took the ball to the left and Jordan Turner offloaded to Mark Percival under pressure.The Rams hit back through Aaron Brown after Saints failed to deal with a kick along the floor – and then another kick saw Andy Kain go over and give the visitors the lead.Saints needed to start the second half strong and they did – Mark Percival weaving his way through the Rams’ defence from distance.Fages then showed a glimpse of what he is capable of. He made a superb break through sleight of foot to find Oli Davies. Seconds later another superb sidestep saw him cross in the corner.Jack Owens tagging on the extras from the touchline.Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook added a fantastic try on 60 minutes – made by Fages – before Kyle Trout replied with around 10 to go.But Saints underlined their second half dominance with a fine move polished off by Calvin Wellington.And there was time for Dougie Charnock to sneak over from dummy half right on the hooter.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: McCarthy-Scarsbrook (2), Percival (2), Fages, Wellington, Charnock, Goals: Walsh (1 from 2), Owens (2 from 3), Burns (2 from 2)Rams:Tries: Morton, Brown, Kain, TroutGoals: Sykes (1 from 4)Penalties:Saints: 3Rams: 2HT: 10-14FT: 38-18REF: G StokesATT: TBCTeams:Saints: 22. Jack Owens; 21. Matty Dawson, 3. Jordan Turner, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 4. Mark Percival; 6. Travis Burns, 7. Luke Walsh; 14. Lama Tasi, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 12. Jon Wilkin, 20. Joe Greenwood, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.Subs: 11. Atelea Vea, 15. Greg Richards, 16. Andre Savelio, 17. Luke Thompson, 19. Theo Fages, 25. Lewis Charnock, 26. Oliver Davies, 27. Jack Ashworth, 28. Morgan Knowles, 29. Ricky Bailey, 30. Calvin Wellington, 33. Jake Spedding, 34. Regan Grace.Rams: 3. Karl Pryce; 2. Dale Morton, 15. Jason Crookes, 4. Shane Grady, 5. Dalton Grant; 6. Paul Sykes, 22. Andy Kain; 8. Matt Groat, 9. Tom Hemingway, 24. Jack Teanby, 32. Kyle Trout, 16. Toby Adamson, 14. Luke Adamson.Subs: 10. Ryan Hepworth, 13. Aaron Brown, 17. Dom Speakman, 19. Nathan Conroy, 25. Joel Farrell, 27. Jason Muranka, 31. Ryan Wright.last_img read more

STAR PREVIEW Chorley v Fleetwood Town

first_imgBET NOW WITH STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321 [dropcap]A[/dropcap]nother week of international action/disruption (* delete as appropriate) and tonight lowly Chorley really do have centre stage in the world of football for their BT Sport televised clash with Fleetwood Town – AKA The Cod Army.If that match doesn’t appeal, then Glentoran v Ballymena from the Northern Irish League is the SKY alternative for the diehards and if neither float your boat you’ll have a long wait this week.  There’s NO televised action on Tuesday and just one match on Wednesday – Chester v Wrexham in the National League.Chorley and Fleetwood have never met in the Cup.  The hosts sit three leagues below Fleetwood in the football pyramid so it’s understandable to see why Fleetwood are around 8/13 with Star Sports.Whilst we have little collateral form to go on, it’s always interesting to look at current recent form to examine whether there are chances of an upset. Shame it’s not Chorley v Sunderland as I’d be ‘all in’ on Chorley Chorley made a poor start to the season but have certainly turned the corner to lie seventh in the National League North and have lost just two of their last 13 league games. They have twice netted four, against Darlington in the league and beating Boston United 4-3 in the qualifying round for the FA Cup to set up tonight’s tie.Chorley’s manager Matt Jansen said: “I can guarantee that we will more than match them for endeavor, teamwork, togetherness, effort. You name it, we will more than match them for that.“They should have more ability than us, they are three leagues above us in League One.“It’ll be an exciting night.”Fleetwood are eighth in League One and have already been knocked out of the League Cup by Carlisle. They do have a good record in the FA Cup though and have lost just one of their last six ties.Chorley v Fleetwood TownFA Cup 1st Round19:45 BT Sport 1 / BT Sport 4K UHDHEAD TO HEAD RECORD(Maximum 10 matches)No previous FA Cup formOver 3.5 goals looks fair enough value at around 21/10 with Star Sports. Surely Fleetwood will knock in a couple and being a Cup match the game could easily get stretched allowing later goals to flow with relative ease.There certainly were plenty of goals about over the weekend in the FA Cup. 107 goals in 36 matches (Sat/Sun) for an average of 2.97.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)BACK OVER 3.5 GOALS 5 points at 21/10 with Star SportsPROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 38.23 pointslast_img read more