Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Are Climate Prediction Models Too 'Conservative'?


The following is from a commentary by Gavin Schmidt the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies published last week in Nature:

"...For the past nine months, mean land and sea surface temperatures have overshot previous records each month by up to 0.2 °C — a huge margin at the planetary scale. A general warming trend is expected because of rising greenhouse-gas emissions, but this sudden heat spike greatly exceeds predictions made by statistical climate models that rely on past observations. Many reasons for this discrepancy have been proposed but, as yet, no combination of them has been able to reconcile our theories with what has happened..."

Of course, in answer to my question at the top of the post, the problem with the climate prediction models is not an ideological one.

Instead, it's an issue of missing data.

Missing data that we've got to find, and fast, as Dr. Schmidt explains:

"...Much of the world’s climate is driven by intricate, long-distance links — known as teleconnections — fuelled by sea and atmospheric currents. If their behaviour is in flux or markedly diverging from previous observations, we need to know about such changes in real time. We need answers for why 2023 turned out to be the warmest year in possibly the past 100,000 years. And we need them quickly."

Imagine that!

Of course, funding institutions, scientists and projects to collect such data is most definitely a political act and, unfortunately, increasingly viewed by some, quite wrongly in my opinion, as ideological.
Image at the top of the post - originally from the NASA page tracking polar ice sheet loss.


Monday, March 25, 2024

'Inclusionary Housing Policy'... It's The Opposite Of Hockey.


There's an old adage in hockey.

"It's not how, it's how many."

That refers to goals, often of the 'garbage' variety, scored from right in front of the net.

But when it comes to housing,  the 'how' can be just as, if not more,  important than the'how many'.

To wit, check out the following, just in from Dan Fumano in the Vancouver Sun:

An “inclusionary housing policy” essentially lets developers to build larger residential developments than they would be otherwise be allowed. In exchange, they must provide a certain percentage of below-market rental homes.

Details vary between jurisdictions, but typically require between five and 20 per cent of a project’s units be secured at below-market rates, with the rest made up of market rental or strata homes.

About 9,200 below-market homes in Metro Vancouver have been approved or completed through these policies in recent years, the report says.

No one suggests that is sufficient to meet the region’s demand for affordable housing. But it seems likely the rental housing crunch would be worse today without those homes.

For context, there are about 34,000 independent social housing units currently in existence across all of Metro Vancouver — so 9,200 units, most approved just within the past few years, represents a significant number.

These homes, geared toward moderate-income renters, are no replacement for the more deeply affordable social housing that government agencies like B.C. Housing build and operate...

And, dare I suggest it, there are also the issues of long term stability and community involvement to consider as well.


And, just to be absolutely clear here, the super-fine developers in our midst are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts...essentially it is the cost of doing business so that they, as Mr. Fumano points out, can go big.
The recent Metro Vancouver report on the matter that forms the core of Mr. Fumano's piece can be found...here (starts on pg 118). 


Monday, March 11, 2024

Numbers You Have Not Seen Before.


A European academic group has done a massive worldwide survey of public opinion on the subject of what to do about the climate crisis.

The work was published last month in 'Nature Climate Change'.

The following is from the abstract:

...(W)e conducted a representative survey across 125 countries, interviewing nearly 130,000 individuals. Our findings reveal widespread support for climate action. Notably, 69% of the global population expresses a willingness to contribute 1% of their personal income, 86% endorse pro-climate social norms and 89% demand intensified political action...

And yet, despite numbers that would move the needle significantly on just about anything politically, we continue to do next to nothing, collectively, when it comes to mounting measures that actually matter.

The PR industrial complex, see COP 28, for example, is winning.


Monday, March 04, 2024

Base-Based Public Health Bashing.


The presumptive Republican nominee for US'ian president went to Richmond Virginia this past Saturday and bashed public health over the head with a bushel of, as reader GarFish has noted, faith-based anti-vaccination codswallop.

The following is from a piece by Elizabeth Beyer in the Gannett-owned Staunton News Leader:

""Macho Man" played between show-tunes from Phantom of the Opera as Trump rally attendees made their way through security just inside the doors of the Greater Richmond Convention Center on Saturday...


...(Mr. Trump) sprinkled in rhetoric steeped in election denialism between jabs at President Joe Biden’s border and economic policy. He promised, if elected, to implement "MAGAnomics" complete with tax cuts. He sowed doubt in this country's democratic process. He vowed to "not give one penny to any school that has a vaccine mandate or mask mandate."

"2024 is our final battle," he said. "We will liberate our country from these tyrants and villains once and for all."...

It's important to understand that Mr. Trump is not just talking about COVID here.

He's also talking about long-standing school mandates for vaccination against childhood diseases like mumps, measles and whooping cough. Such mandates are critical to keep jab rates high to ensure population-wide immunity.

And then, as reader EE reminds us, there is polio.



How long before a certain candidate for high office north of the 49th parallel starts to spout such dangerous rhetoric?

Oh, wait...

The following is from Bob Hepburn, writing in the Star last fall:

...You may have missed it, but Poilievre was at it again last week, stirring up the hardcore anti-vaxxers who play a major role in the Conservative leaders’ strategy to win the next election.

In a 10-minute speech in the House of Commons, Poilievre championed a private member’s bill that would have prevented the federal government from imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates on federal employees or restricting unvaccinated travellers from boarding planes and trains.

Poilievre said he supports “bodily autonomy,” adding that everyone should have the right to decide what they put in their own bodies and have the right to refuse vaccines.

I guess Poilievre’s “bodily autonomy” belief also means he opposes Ontario’s law requiring children attending school to be vaccinated against polio, measles, mumps, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and other diseases...

Given how incredibly effective vaccination mandates have been in essentially eliminating many childhood diseases, none of this is a good thing.



Sunday, March 03, 2024

Peace In Our Electoral Time!


From a somewhat suspect newsey clickbaitish site called 'The Economic Times':

"On Friday (February 23rd), the world’s 20 largest tech companies and social-media platforms signed an accord, “The Tech Accord to Combat Deceptive Use of AI in 2024 Elections”, at the Munich Security Conference. This is a commitment to prevent deceptive artificial-intelligence (AI) content from interfering in elections."

If he hasn't already, I'm pretty sure that Cory Doctorow will soon weigh in on how this thing is nothing more than a very shoddy shallow fake designed to convince us that the digital overlords are actually doing something serious to prevent the ongoing onslaught of obstreperous attacks on liberal democracies, worldwide (including in Canuckistanmikitaville), that make them piles and piles and piles of monopoly money.


Saturday, March 02, 2024

Before You Make Those Last Minute Spring Break Travel Plans...


Before you make your last minute spring break travel plans, you may want to check the latest news from the Sunshine State.

The following is from a piece by Eduardo Cuevas, originally published in USA Today:

Six children at Manatee Bay Elementary School, in Weston near Fort Lauderdale, caught the disease (measles) over a week ago. New state health data show two more cases in Broward County, of a child younger than 5 and another between ages 5 and 9.

The newly reported infections bring the total to eight, just days after Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo contradicted federal and medical professional guidance to contain the spread of the highly contagious and preventable disease...


...In a letter Tuesday, Feb. 19 (state Surgeon General) Ladapo said Manatee Bay parents and guardians could decide whether to send their children back to school, a statement that conflicted with federal and medical professional recommendations that children from the school should remain at home to prevent the spread of measles...

Just in time for spring break trips to the waterpark and/or Disneyworld.


Haven't we discussed the spurious edicts of the good Dr. Ladapo before?

Why yes, we most certainly have...

...Joseph A. Ladapo, a professor of medicine at the University of Florida and the state’s surgeon general (appointed by governor Ron De Santis), relied upon a flawed analysis and may have violated university research integrity rules when he issued guidance last fall discouraging young men from receiving common coronavirus vaccines, according to a report from a medical school faculty task force...


...In its new report, a task force of the University of Florida College of Medicine’s Faculty Council cites numerous deficiencies in the analysis Ladapo used to justify his vaccine recommendation. A summary said the work was “seriously flawed.” The report’s authors say Ladapo engaged in “careless, irregular, or contentious research practices.”...

Ladapo, who is not an infectious disease expert, also pushed hydroxycholoquine and ivermectin.

It would appear that ideology-driven public health has a long, mangy and dangerous tail, indeed.