OpinionJournal – Extra
Climate of Fear
Global-warming alarmists intimidate dissenting scientists into silence.
BY RICHARD LINDZEN
Wednesday, April 12, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT
There have been repeated claims that this past year’s hurricane activity was another sign of human-induced climate change. Everything from the heat wave in Paris to heavy snows in Buffalo has been blamed on people burning gasoline to fuel their cars, and coal and natural gas to heat, cool and electrify their homes. Yet how can a barely discernible, one-degree increase in the recorded global mean temperature since the late 19th century possibly gain public acceptance as the source of recent weather catastrophes? And how can it translate into unlikely claims about future catastrophes?
The answer has much to do with misunderstanding the science of climate, plus a willingness to debase climate science into a triangle of alarmism. Ambiguous scientific statements about climate are hyped by those with a vested interest in alarm, thus raising the political stakes for policy makers who provide funds for more science research to feed more alarm to increase the political stakes. After all, who puts money into science–whether for AIDS, or space, or climate–where there is nothing really alarming? Indeed, the success of climate alarmism can be counted in the increased federal spending on climate research from a few hundred million dollars pre-1990 to $1.7 billion today. It can also be seen in heightened spending on solar, wind, hydrogen, ethanol and clean coal technologies, as well as on other energy-investment decisions.
But there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.
Ian’s Shoelace Site
Who’d have thought there was so much technical knowledge and creativity tied up in shoelaces? Most people figure they learned all they needed to know about shoelaces in kindergarten! Ian’s Shoelace Site contains all sorts of shoelace information, some of it useful, some just for fun. If you wear shoes with laces (or anything else that does up with laces), you’re bound to find something here that they don’t teach in kindergarten.
Contact: Jim Keeley
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
A commonly prescribed blood pressure medication may provide the first ray of hope in preventing potentially deadly complications of Marfan syndrome, a genetic disease that weakens the structural meshwork of blood vessels. People who have Marfan syndrome have a high risk of developing aortic aneurysm, which can lead to rupture of the heart’s largest artery, causing sudden death.
In studies published in the April 7, 2006, issue of the journal Science, Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have shown in mice that the drug losartan, which is manufactured by Merck and sold under the brand name Cozaar, can prevent progression of Marfan syndrome and may also restore normal architecture to the wall of the aorta.
Marfan syndrome is a connective tissue disorder that affects about one in 5,000 individuals. Manifestations include long bone overgrowth, lens dislocation, emphysema, thickening and dysfunction of the heart’s mitral valve, and aortic aneurysm with a predisposition for early vascular rupture and sudden death.
Losartan attenuates development of aortic aneurysm by lowering the activity of a pervasive developmental molecule called transforming growth factor beta. In a sea change in thinking about the origins of the disease, researchers have recently discovered that transforming growth factor beta — not simply a defect in a structural protein — is most likely responsible for the syndrome’s catastrophic developmental defects.
Exploding paperweight costs teacher his hand – TalkBack
VENTURA, California (AP) — A teacher who kept a 40 mm shell on his desk as a paperweight blew off part of his hand when he apparently used the object to try to squash a bug, authorities say.
The 5-inch-long shell exploded Monday while Robert Colla was teaching 20 to 25 students at an adult education class.
Part of Colla’s right hand was severed and he suffered severe burns and minor shrapnel wounds to his forearms and torso, fire Capt. Tom Weinell said. No one else was injured. He was reported in stable condition at a hospital.
The teacher slammed the shell down in an attempt to kill something that was buzzing or crawling across the desk, said Fire Marshal Glen Albright.
Colla found the 40 mm round while hunting years ago and “obviously he didn’t think the round was live,” said Dennis Huston, who teaches computer design alongside Colla.