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Global anxiety? Scared of maths? Could that explain why some people are innumerate about the climate?

I find myself using the word innumerate more and more. Anything to do with climate change is about the numbers — how much will the planet warm? How much will it cost to change the weather? How much useful electricity do wind turbines produce? The arguments of everyone from trolls to Naomi Klein, to Sir Paul Nurse avoid the numbers. And the only time Greenpeace discuss numbers, they seem to pick the wrong kind — dollars instead of degrees. Then they miss the biggest dollars in this debate anyway (but only by a factor of 3,000). Numbers are just not their strong point.

Some people avoid the numbers strategically, — because it’s a debate they can’t win. Sir Paul Nurse hopes we don’t notice that he doesn’t even make an argument, he just declares his side “won”. He tosses a red herring about CO2 being a greenhouse gas. (Which is not what the debate is about. Perhaps he’s heard of feedbacks? He doesn’t say.) Otherwise, he declares the majority “know the cost benefits are worth it”, which is a/ a logical fallacy, b/ a lot like a car advert, and c/  completely wrong. The last UK poll I saw, showed more than 60% of Brits didn’t even believe in a man-made climate, let alone approve the cost of trying to “fix” it. Now Sir Paul is probably very numerate (being a Nobel in Medicine, and President of The Royal Society), which begs the question of why he seems so scared of talking about climate numbers? Perhaps he’s anxious?

Apparently some people are at greater risk “to fear math” not just because they did badly at it, or had nasty teachers and mean gloating friends. But genetically they might be the anxious kind of person, and not be too hot with math skills. About 40% of the differences in math anxiety, as it is called, is possibly due to genes.

Math anxiety it seems, is a hot field of study. It was a new term for me. A different study using brain scans reckons that when people worry about maths, their brain feels real pain.  It’s not something we hear about much on skeptical blogs. Probably since more than half the readers of skeptical blogs had a maths, physics or engineering background. Likewise most geoscientists and engineers are skeptics (and also not too scared of math).

Since maths anxiety seems so common among climate activists, perhaps it’s time we asked if climate-anxiety causes maths anxiety? Or rather whether maths anxiety causes the climate kind…

Time to talk about some numbers then?

Jo

Who’s afraid of math? Study finds some genetic factors

Date:
March 17, 2014
Source:
Summary:
A new study of math anxiety shows how some people may be at greater risk to fear math not only because of negative experiences, but also because of genetic risks related to both general anxiety and math skills. The results don’t mean that math anxiety can be blamed solely or even mostly on genetic factors, the researchers emphasized. In this study, genetic factors explained about 40 percent of the individual differences in math anxiety.

The study, which examined how fraternal and identical twins differ on measures of math anxiety, provides a revised view on why some children — and adults — may develop a fear of math that makes it more difficult for them to solve math problems and succeed in school.

“We found that math anxiety taps into genetic predispositions in two ways: people’s cognitive performance on math and their tendency toward anxiety,” said Zhe Wang, lead author of the study and postdoctoral researcher in psychology at The Ohio State University.

The results don’t mean that math anxiety can be blamed solely or even mostly on genetic factors, the researchers emphasized. In this study, genetic factors explained about 40 percent of the individual differences in math anxiety. Much of the rest was explained by the different environments — in the school, in the home and elsewhere — that the twins experienced.

But the findings do suggest that we can’t say that classroom quality, aspects of the home, or other environmental factors are the only reasons why people differ in how they experience math

“Genetic factors may exacerbate or reduce the risk of doing poorly at math,” said Stephen Petrill, professor of psychology at Ohio State, and the principal investigator of the study.

“If you have these genetic risk factors for math anxiety and then you have negative experiences in math classes, it may make learning that much harder. It is something we need to account for when we’re considering interventions for those who need help in math.”

The study appears online in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and will be published in a future print edition.

The study included 216 identical twins and 298 same-sex fraternal twins who participated in the Western Reserve Reading and Math Projects, an ongoing long-term study of twins in Ohio.

Children entered the project in kindergarten or first grade and were assessed in up to eight home visits. This study included data from the last two home visits, when the twins were between about 9 and 15 years old.

All of the twins completed assessments of math anxiety, general anxiety, math problem solving and reading comprehension. The researchers used statistical tools to see how these various measures of anxiety and math and reading ability were related between fraternal twins and between identical twins. That allowed them to make conclusions about how differences in math anxiety could be explained by genetic factors and how much could be explained by differences in the environments the twins encountered at home, at school and elsewhere.

Petrill said it is important to study anxiety as it applies to how well children learn math.

“You say the word ‘math’ and some people actually cringe,” he said. “It is not like learning how to read, in which people don’t normally have any general anxiety unless they have some kind of difficulty.”

And anxiety can have a profound effect on learning, Wang added. Fear can make it difficult for people to further develop even the math skills that they already have.

“If you’re anxious, it is often harder to solve problems. The anxiety response actually inhibits some people’s ability. We have to help children learn to regulate their emotions so that the anxiety doesn’t keep them from achieving their best in math,” Wang said.

But one issue was that, before this study, researchers didn’t have a clear idea of how important the genetic component of math anxiety is in children and how it originates: Is it because of a lack of actual math skills — such as problem solving and ability to do calculations — or is it related to a person’s predisposition to anxiety?

“We found here that it is both: Math anxiety is related to both the cognitive side and the affective side of general anxiety,” Petrill said.

This may result in a downward spiraling process in which these genetic risks to anxiety and poor math performance work with environmental influences to lead to math anxiety. This may leads to further problems in math performance, which exacerbates the math anxiety symptoms.

Petrill said interventions to help people suffering from math anxiety may have to account for both genetic and environmental factors.

He said his research group is currently using EEGs to measure real-time brain activity associated with the anxiety responses during math and non-math problem solving.

Science Daily

Reference:

Zhe Wang,  et al . Who is afraid of math? Two sources of genetic variance for mathematical anxiety. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12224

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Global anxiety? Scared of maths? Could that explain why some people are innumerate about the climate?, 9.6 out of 10 based on 61 ratings

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149 comments to Global anxiety? Scared of maths? Could that explain why some people are innumerate about the climate?

  • #
    Robert JM

    3-4deg C of global warming requires 10-14 W/m2 of forcing, CO2 at most will produce 3.7W/m2. Most of the warming is supposed to be caused water by vapour positive feedback in the upper troposphere that instead shows declining water vapour.

    Meanwhile the climate mathmagicians are claiming the CO2 energy is hiding in the Oceans. This falsifies their theory that requires it to be in the atmosphere to amplified by water vapour to dangerous levels.

    Personally I just like to say that the IPCC believes 2+2=10-14!

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    • #

      Here is another maths puzzle. Central to the question of global warming is the issue of sensitivity – how much warming will result from a doubling of CO2. The UNIPCC central estimate is 3 degrees. My puzzle is about where this relationship breaks down. If I take the pre-industrial level of 280ppm and divide by 2 eight times, you obtain 1.09375. That is ridiculous. The underlying relationship, if it exists, is more complex, and most likely, not nearly as large. But nobody does the maths.

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      • #
        Safetyguy66

        Just Ask Heeby Jeebies, he apparently knows precisely what the forcing for a doubling of CO2 is and also the exact percentage relationship between natural variability and AGW induced warming.

        Take it away Heeby.

        10

    • #
      Steve

      The whole thing is heavily emotive.

      I read once about a process called Trauma Based Programming. It works basically like this:

      (1) Create sufficient emotional tramua to person or a group
      (2) During the trauma, emotion is high, but logic usually switches off.
      (3) While in emotive state, insert the suggestion required into persons mind through a clear message
      (4) Mind seals around the suggestion when emotion subsides and stays implanted.

      This is how you can get whole crowds of people to do dumb things when hyped emotionally.

      Youc ould lok at the Bali Bomb as a classic example. at that point australians were not interested in going into Iraq with the yanks. Bomb goes off, people traumatized, standard “it was muzzie terrorists” refrain is repeated loudly from every news source.
      Bingo – australia backs the USA into Iraq despite not wanting to.

      It works the same in most situations. This is how you get people to riot by fueling the emotion of hate, how you can steer people on a emotive “high” to do appalling things, how you can create a group to be “hated” ( a la Emmanual Goldstien in “1984″ ) and maintain control over a crowd, why salesmen work on feelings, not logic.

      Nuff said.

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    • #

      Meanwhile the climate mathmagicians are claiming the CO2 energy is hiding in the Oceans.

      If that is where the missing heat went it did so without the oceans rising. So where is the missing water?

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      • #

        Probably a good time to bring in a little maths, just back of envelope. Three metres of ocean has same heat capacity as the atmosphere. So if the heat is spread over 3000 m of ocean waters, you’re looking at around 0.0001°C in temperature increase, and an expansion of 1/1000th of a percent.

        50

      • #
        Ian

        In the atmosphere helping to enhance the effect of CO2 on global warming or falling in torrents as evidence of extreme weather or falling as snow due to the effects of global warming or any other possibility you might care to embrace

        00

      • #
        turnedoutnice

        It evaporated.

        10

    • #

      Robert JM there is no such thing as forcing in climate assessment. A force is defined in Newtonium terms as mass times acceleration and has the SI units kg. m/sec2 or N called a Newton. If you want to go further pressure is force per unit area and is called in the SI unit the Pascal (Pa). Normal atmospheric pressure is 101.3 kPa The so-called climate scientists have made up their own language to disguise their lack of technical knowledge as well as mathematical incompetence.
      Further, the so-called energy flux per unit area for the doubling of CO2
      concentration is an assumed value. There is no experimental proof. Experimental data has been obtained for large closed systems such as furnaces by Hoyt Hottel (late Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT) and some of his students and colleagues. Using his formulae and graphical data I find that changes to CO2 concentration from past or present levels results in no measurable change in temperature of the atmosphere at ground level. The atmosphere is an open system where radiation from the earths surface has less importance than convective heat transfer and phase change from water evaporation and condensation. While engineers have experimental data of heat loss from plant equipment to the atmosphere (convection and radiation about equal at surface temperatures of 50C- the lower the temperature the less the radiation)no one has yet conducted any large scale experiments to measure surface heat loss or gain of the oceans.

      So please do not quote nonsense assumed values.

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      • #
        turnedoutnice

        The IPCC term ‘Forcing’ is unscientific. It is a Radiation Field, the potential energy flux of the emitter to a sink at absolute zero.

        To have it bouncing back as part of the ‘black body’ surface RF in the ‘Energy Budget’ is the height of scientific stupidity.

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  • #
    sophocles

    Maths requires logical thinking.

    Thinking is not feeling.

    If some of the population suffer MF (Maths Fear) they may well suffer LI (Logical Incapability) with it.

    Based on a severely limited statistical population of less than a dozen (which makes it statistically insignificant) I have reached a tentative conclusion that some people react very negatively, almost to the point of panic, when numbers, even mere percentages, are introduced into the conversation.

    They have an extremely limited—and wrong—concept of magnitude because of their inability to derive magnitude from even such simple expressions. If it sounds big, it must be overwhelmingly large!

    They “don’t want to know” about numbers, they “know” this or that is either going wrong or gone wrong “and it’s all mankind’s fault.”

    One can’t reason with knee-jerk reactions.

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    • #
      Duster

      Have to agree. I get responses to an answer to an essentially quantitative question that are along the lines of “la, la, la, la,…” The questioner wants a simple answer and assumes that because they framed a “simple” question that they understand what they are asking. Often they do not. It isn’t just math either. Technical fields of any form are held in a sort of fearful contempt by many who think it is only right that reality have simple problems and simple answers. They don’t like hearing, “it is not that simple.”

      10

  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    A basic feature of maths is proof. Something either is, or it is not; it is either true or it is false.

    There is no wriggle-room. Show a mathematician a graph and they will want to see the data. Show them the data, and they will want to know how it was calculated or measured. Show them the raw measurements, and they will want to know the error factors. There are lots of discussions on these matters, on this site.

    There is a clear distinction between the sciences that are based on empirical measurement, observation, and mathematical proof; and the ‘other sciences’ that are based on the interpretation of what those measurements and observations might mean to society.

    Climate change falls firmly into the latter group.

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    • #
      Roy Hogue

      Ah yes! The proof… My brother excelled at that and I struggled. I had to memorize some of it because the jump from start to finish never did sink in. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t do the math for which I didn’t grasp the proof. And it doesn’t mean I didn’t understand what proof is or why it’s important.

      As I remember, math was a subject that required a lot of study, a lot of time with a pencil and paper. I suspect this alone turns off more than a few students. But frankly, I think our schools are doing a miserable job of teaching math and its importance, especially its importance, in the lower grades. And then when it comes to something a little more complicated, the student doesn’t have a clue about how to proceed or even why they should proceed. And only going back and learning it from the ground up is ever going to fix that problem.

      It’s really quite sad. Math is the descriptive language of the world around us: size, shape, duration, the whole concept of dimensionality, behavior as well, all done with numbers and equations. If that descriptive language escapes you, you’re in bad shape.

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      • #
        D. J. Hawkins

        My wife signed up our then 7-year old to a math and reading web site about a year and a half ago. Since then, between 1st and 2nd grade drill problems he’s done about 7,000 exercises. Last weekend I reminded him he needed to do a half hour on the web site. He came to me at the 30 minute mark and asked if he could stay on it longer! I made a show of considering it and then agreeing as if granting a favor. It was all I could do to not cheer! Warms the cockles of an old engineer’s heart, it does.

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    • #
      Duster

      Missed the train there. The problem with climate “science” is that it is strictly dependent on theory and mathematics, to the near-exclusion of empirical evidence – that is given theory or reality, theory trumps in the mind of the theorist. Theorists and laboratory scientists often hate the real world. This problem is not limited to climate science either. The same shift from observation to theory-based science is evident in physics, especially cosmology, as well. Some one who has invested their life in working out an explanation to a given phenomenon often will ignore or gloss over an ugly, contradictory fact in favor of the beauty of the mathematics in the theory, and in the hope that with further refinement the ugly reality will slip into a meaningful relationship with the beautiful theory. Climate “science” is particularly bad because the actual changes being discussed are immeasurable within the historic time span of the data available. They are also seeking significant trends of 1/100s of degree in thermometer readings that aren’t accurate to more than 1/2 degree.

      00

  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    Computer models form a third group, and one that is totally divorced from reality.

    150

  • #

    On climate change they run scared of the maths, because the figures don’t stack up. Some examples.
    1. Methane is the second largest greenhouse gas. From the AR5 report CH4 had 60% of the warming impact of CO2 between 1750 and 2011. Levels have increased over 2.5 times since 1750. Yet, despite emissions going up, in the past 20 years the rise has levelled off. The empirical relationship between emissions and levels of methane seems to have been broken.
    2. There is no recognition of the difference between catastrophic global warming and a trivial relationship. They ignore issues of magnitude.
    3. There is no recognition of the difference between velocity and acceleration. The “official” measure of sea level rise from the University of Colorado has a constant rate of sea level rise of 3.2mm yr-1 between 1994 and 2010. Rignot et al 2011 estimated that the contribution to sea level rise of melting of the polar ice caps acclerated from zero to 1.8mm yr-1 between 1992 and 2010. Other studies might be less extreme, but still have accelerating ice melt.
    4. There is no recognition the dangers of estimation from discontinuous functions. The prophesied catastrophes are from tipping points. That is, the underlying relationships on which climate models are constructed break down when average temperatures rise by 3-4 times more than that observed in the last century.

    180

  • #
    James Bradley

    No Rain + No Snow + No Reef + No Crops = Grants

    Energy in < Energy out = No Garnts

    170

  • #
    Peter Miller

    I have a theory:

    The people who are scared of maths are often in awe of those who understand the subject.

    Left wing politicians do not understand maths – that’s obvious from the way they try and ‘run’ economies, as the numbers never, never add up

    So when professional purveyors of BS maths and climate statistics show the left wing politicians some scary computer models and dodgy statistics, the latter are so impressed that it instantly becomes a case of “the science is settled” and “we must act now to save the world”.

    Being gullible is also a problem, and no one is more gullible than a lefty populist politician.

    290

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      Agreed. And having no idea how computers physically work (“Binary numbers? What’s the point in only having two numbers?”), nor how they are programmed, (“It would be much easier to understand, if you didn’t have all this punctuation dotted around”), those in power are obliged to, “cut to the chase”, and ask their advisors what it all means.

      At this point, of course, the advisors do grasshopper impersonations by rubbing their forelegs hands together to impart a healthy dose of the manure de boeuf du jour.

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      • #
        Greg Cavanagh

        I also get the impression from trolls here, that they don’t understand how a computer program is written. What assumptions are made, what short cuts are required, what resolution can be practicly calculated, how data can be represented in a computer, or why iteration can quickly make any result dubious at best.

        It’s as though they are in awe of the computer and its output.

        10

        • #
          Rereke Whakaaro

          I once had to debug a program written by somebody who had left years before. As was customary at the time, there was no documentation, nor was there any comments in the code.

          There were however numerous goto statements that branched around old redundant code, or set up hand-crafted loops. Lucky for me they all used English words as the label for each target. These labels were everyday words like “Cat”, “George”, “Hot”, “Friday”, etc. Not exactly useful.

          Eventually, I came to realised that the labels would tell a story, if the logical sequence was was followed. In fact, there were several stories, depending on the logical branching.

          What finally gave the game away, was finding a statement that said, “IF DREAM = WET GOTO CLEANUP.”

          The program was obviously written by a Proto-Warmist.

          30

        • #
          Rick Bradford

          I sometimes think the sheer power of a language like Matlab or R makes climate alarmism much easier to tailor to the required narrative (and display in all its shame).

          You only have to set a couple of initial variables and the matrix math operations do the rest, with the pretty graphing) without anyone noticing.

          Perhaps if they were forced to use a more explicit, rigorous and restrictive language (such as Haskell) it would become so tedious trying to lie, they might be persuaded to tell the truth….

          00

  • #
    GAZ

    I think that math just got a bad name because shonks, including warmists, use it to push something or other.
    I see that often. The problem is not in the math, but in the way it’s used, especially selective input data and assumptions when it comes to predicting the future. Warmists are no different from superannuation advertisers who show you that with extra 0.5% return you will be $13,235.76 richer after 20 years. Nothing wrong with the math, but not many people stop to ask about the accuracy of the extra 0.5% assumption.
    Same with the climate models. The most complex formulas are still based on basic assumptions. And not enough people critically check what they are.

    40

  • #
    Martin

    Math is a form a language, if people are not afraid of language, they should not be afraid of math. The fear of math probably is due to faulty education.

    90

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      I used to work with a brilliant guy who spoke more than half a dozen languages. The trouble was, that he would drift from one language to another, sometimes part way through a sentence. At one point I asked him, “Was that Italian or Spanish?” His response: “A bit of both, really; now as I was saying …”.

      To him, the concept in his head was what mattered. And several words, from various languages, presented themselves in describing that concept, so he used the word that he thought most appropriate, at the time.

      They were exciting times … and I don’t miss them at all.

      50

    • #
      RoHa

      In what way is maths a form of language? I know several languages, and have a degree in applied linguistics, but I’m rotten at maths. Can’t see the connection.
      ( Not bad at logic, mind you.)

      31

      • #

        I have to agree with you there.

        Maths is more like electrical appliance instructions, a mixture of words and strange symbols that without the appliance, or some concept of what it does, are meaningless.

        20

      • #
        D. J. Hawkins

        I’m not up on the formalisms used in linguistics, but maths (or math as we Yankees put it) have structure, syntax, and grammer. An equation (“sentance”) can be used to describe a physical reality, like the trajectory of a ball pitched into the air. Wouldn’t these elements qualify “math” as a language?

        10

    • #
      Steve

      One problem is now we have in society a lack of the “there are winners and losers” / right or wrong reality of life.

      The lefties do this with kids – go to a kids party and notice how all kids win a prize….then try and enforce winners and loser. We do at parties becasue I cant stand the left wing nonsense that is pushed through the education system.

      And if everyone is a winner and no losers, then it trains people into expecting all people are the same / Socialism.

      Sneaky mongrels….

      30

      • #

        The “modern world” where:

        Activity is productivity.

        Doing good is defined by how one feels when doing it.

        Participation deserves special award.

        Mediocrity is excellence.

        Millon, billion and trillion are equally big.

        Truth is a malleable absolute.

        The physical universe acts according to one’s wishes … unless there are dissidents, who must therefore be eliminated.

        I’m off to complete my degree at the College for Curmudgeons.

        150

  • #
    Peterkar

    Interesting stuff. Maybe it’s why the most vehement/hysterical attacks on “deniers” seem to come from members of the “soft” disciplines – the geographers, anthropologists, sociologists etc – of the world. And we need more statisticians involved with the IPCC….

    50

  • #
    TdeF

    There is one critical, never explained and always skipped over and essential piece of logic which underpins all warming logic.
    Watch how much scientific argument is involved..

    Sir Paul Nurse “People understand that recent increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide are largely caused by human activities”.

    This is the line I have had from everyone. everyone knows”, “it is generally accepted”, people understand”,” the IPCC have no doubt”. I have never read “scientists have proven” or “it is proven conclusively that”.

    Without this basic unproven assumption where coincidence is presented as causality, there is no human component in all this.
    If recent increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide are not caused by human activities, everything is a fraud.

    Yes, you can easily measure the age of CO2 in the air by radio carbon dating. The new CO2 is not fossil fuel CO2 but recent CO2 out of the oceans. Game over. That is why Sir Paul Nurse has to skip quickly over any science, because there isn’t any.

    I wrote to many people about this and have proven to myself that few people have any idea how radio carbon dating works. Our former climate commissioner Prof. Will Steffen stated that the IPCC were certain, so I should just read their report.

    This is the core of the scam. If the CO2 went up because of the heating, man has no control.

    The other half of the scam was to create a new profession, Climate Scientist so as to disenfranchise all other scientists, who are irrelevant as they are not able to understand the mysteries of climate science. These new born scientists cannot be questioned except by their peer group. Their skills, their mathematics, their understanding of the universe is so profound, they cannot be questioned by mere nuclear physicists. Really?

    So it is not mathematics. What for the key phrase where they connect CO2 to temperature. Everyone knows. People understand.

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    • #
      Steve

      People dont think – they just OBEY.

      They have fallen into the trap of blindly trusting all authority figures.

      People also arent encouraged to research or dig – they are trained to not stress out or not to do the hard yards.

      People these days are only as smart as their internet connection.

      50

      • #
        sophocles

        They have fallen into the trap of blindly trusting all authority figures.

        … which is a long standing, age old problem on which Aristotle philosophised over 2200 years ago.

        Argumentum ad auctoritate (appeal to authority) can be very effective at shutting down debate which is probably why it’s employed so much. Few people recognise it as the red herring it is—because they have never been taught that!

        50

    • #

      Yes, you can easily measure the age of CO2 in the air by radio carbon dating. The new CO2 is not fossil fuel CO2 but recent CO2 out of the oceans.

      Yet the CO2 kept going up but temperature did not. A disconnect unless it is just temperature leading CO2 as usual.

      60

      • #
        TdeF

        Exactly. Watch Dr. Murry Selby on YouTube, the University of Newcastle professor fired by Tim Flannery simply for speaking the truth. Unlike Tim the big dead wombat specialist, Murry is a genuine climate scientist and his conclusion, the absolute correlation of the integral of temperature with CO2 is amazing. To a mathematician, this means the sum of all heat inputs, largely into the oceans and therefore ocean temperature. Tim has finally realised the oceans might be important, but as they contain almost all our CO2 the result is simple. Heat the oceans even slightly and CO2 goes up dramatically. Tim even admits the oceans are slightly hotter and massive. So why wouldn’t that explain the CO2 increase. No, it has to be taxed.

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    • #
      Andrew McRae

      Yes, you can easily measure the age of CO2 in the air by radio carbon dating. The new CO2 is not fossil fuel CO2 but recent CO2 out of the oceans.

      Are you claiming the second sentence is a consequence of the first? What is your source for this claim?

      Dr. Murry Selby on YouTube, the University of Newcastle professor fired by Tim Flannery simply for speaking the truth.

      What is your source for this claim?

      01

  • #
    TdeF

    Sorry, wait for the key phrase. This is Lord Monckton’s logical fallacy, an “Appeal to popularity”.

    30

  • #
    PeterS

    I thought it was settled a long time ago, but it bears repeating. Climate science as proposed by the likes of the IPCC, Al Gore and others is a religion. It has nothing to do with real science or mathematics. That was proven a long time ago. It amazes me to see so many politicians and much of the public still believing in this AGW nonsense. What’s much worse is that a large number of scientists also believe in it. It’s way past time for these scientists to be scoffed at and ridiculed for their anti-scientific research. Although we should name and shame them on a daily basis until the message is loud and clear, a far batter approach is for the remaining honest scientists to do so through journals and other publications including the mass media. Some are but it’s no where enough.

    130

  • #

    IMO maths denial or maths disdain are worse problems than fear. Fear can be constructive if a consequence of maths inadequacy could be dire or catastrophic.
    We had a good example of maths disdain revealed at the home insulation enquiry, eg two staff given two days to calculate the cost of a nation-wide roll-out to every uninsulated dwelling.
    A healthy dose of fear was entirely absent.

    40

  • #
    blackadderthe4th

    ‘Scared of maths?’ well most people who don’t accept AGW also think 2+2=5!

    ——–
    REPLY: And so says BA with all his usual credible references. Go BA. Keep up with cheerleading. — Jo.

    015

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      What a total dork you are! You must have felt this overwhelming urge to join the conversation, but couldn’t think of anything sensible to contribute, on either side of the debate, so you come up with a stupid and simplistic arithmetic example. Is that really the best you can do?

      90

    • #
      the Griss

      Poor little BA4..

      Did you ever notice that thread where MANY of the sensible contributors to this site are Engineers and Physicists and Mathematicians and Real Scientists.

      And what have you got to offer..

      Primary school level maths at the very most.

      Your total intellectual inadequacy must surely leave a big dent your tiny ego.

      50

      • #
        blackadderthe4th

        ‘Engineers and Physicists and Mathematicians and Real Scientists’

        That maybe so! But because of their agendas they have seemed to become economical with the truth!

        03

        • #
          PeterB in Indianapolis

          BA4th – so full of wishful thinking and so short on logic. Where on Earth did you go to school? Did you make it past what we in the US call the 8th grade?

          Chemists, such as myself, are not “economical with the truth”. We simply know how to use SOUND logic and reason to analyze a problem and synthesize what is actually going on.

          Let me tell you, what is actually going on is that you have been hoodwinked by quasi-scientists who indeed ARE “economical with the truth”, and you have been so hoodwinked to such an extent that you will completely fail to listen to the “hard scientists” (physicists, chemists, engineers and the like) that keep telling you so right here on this website.

          It would be amusing to see how far you have fallen from logic and reason, but seeing as how you are a fellow human being, I cannot help but feel somewhat saddened by your fate, and the fate of MANY, MANY others like you.

          You seem to truly believe that mankind is NOT a part of nature, but we are somehow outside of nature and a scourge on the planet. This is not (and logically CANNOT) be the case. Man, like anything and everything else on the earth, is a product of nature, and, as such, anything and everything that man DOES is also a part of nature.

          Try to think logically – for example, the ESTEEMED website Think Progress states that our releases of CO2 into the atmosphere are THE EQUIVALENT OF EXPLODING 400,000 Hiroshima Bombs per day.

          Now, I KNOW IT IS VERY DIFFICULT, but use LOGIC and analyze what the earth would be like if WE ACTUALLY DID EXPLODE 400,000 Hiroshima bombs per day, for EVEN JUST ONE DAY!!!

          I am pretty sure that the planet would be COMPLETELY UNINHABITABLE in far less than 24 hours. So ask yourself, who knows what they are really talking about, the Think Progress types, or the actual physicists, chemists and engineers who speak on websites like this one?

          I would suggest to you that if you possess ANY logic whatsoever, you will begin to understand which people are speaking truth and which ones are being economical with the truth.

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          the Griss

          NO, They just disagree with your crap..

          …because your crap is anti-truth.

          You have proven over and over and over again that you know no truth, just random B***S***

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          James Bradley

          BADx4,

          People become more susceptible to CAGW propoganda if they smoke crack while participating in the March in March.

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    Captain Dave

    Here in Alberta, Canada, our education bigwigs have been reforming the grade school math courses with less emphasis on basic skills (+,-,X,/) and more on letting the victims (er, students) find which of a number of methods is more comfortable to their precious individual mindsets and personalities. Student standardized test scores have been crashing. Am I being paranoid if I suspect that our political overlords might actually want the masses to be weak in math, so they cannot judge the policies?

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      TdeF

      Here in Australia, under the direction of the recent Green government, teachers have to teach aboriginal maths, physics and chemistry. Of course no one knows any but it is still an obligation!

      People do not understand and really cannot believe that fundamental concepts like zero, negative numbers, decimals are all new concepts even to Europe. The Julian calendar started on 1st January 0 because the priest who constructed it could not understand zero. Frenchmen still think there are 8 days in a week (aujourdhui, one day of eight) and 15 days in a fortnight (two weeks, quinze jours) because of problems with zero.

      That mathematics is the core of science was introduced by my hero Frenchman Rene Descartes, without whom quantitative rational science would not exist. It is not just a fear of mathematics, it is a fear of science itself. Of course this has been twisted by some entrepreneurs into science based religions like Scientology and Global Warming so that people can worship science without foregoing religion. This means Tom Cruise can be an alien genius, a Thetan. Somehow buried in that giant brain is the ability to solve complex mathematics and create technologies beyond our current understanding, but he has just forgotten how for the moment.

      It is impossible to argue with religion, just using rational argument. L. Ron Hubbard worked this out. Once you have belief, nothing else matters. Then you ask for money.

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        “The Julian calendar started on 1st January 0 because the priest who constructed it could not understand zero.”

        I’m not sure about that and nobody gets 0st prize for winning, so day 1 is the first day. 1-100 AD is the first century.

        The Gregorian calendar came in a few centuries after the decimal system. They had a good understanding of numbers but saw no reason to change it to start on day 0 rather than 1. I’m sure that you could find a reference to zero or nought days having elapsed prior to the 16th century as well.

        The Julian calendar was dreamt up by the pagan Romans.

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          Rereke Whakaaro

          The Romans did not have zero, but the Phoenicians did, and that is why there is a zero on your Phoen to this day.

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          PeterB in Indianapolis

          According to the early Christians, Jesus died on what we now celebrate as Good Friday, and rose from the dead on a Sunday (two days later) but the Creed says “on the third day he rose again”.

          This is because there was no concept of zero at the time.

          Friday was day one (the day he died), Saturday was day two, and Sunday was day three. So, simultaneously, Jesus can die at 3:00 PM on a Friday, and rise from the dead at sometime around 6:00 AM on the following Sunday (about 39 hours of total elapsed time), and he can rise from the dead on “the third day”.

          WILL MIRACLES NEVER CEASE???

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        I found this bit strange from Wikipedia on Descartes “The debate continues whether Descartes was a Catholic apologist, or an atheist concealed behind pious sentiments who placed the world on a mechanistic framework, within which only man could freely move due to the grace of will granted by God.” Someone had concluded that he was an atheist for having a similar opinion to St Augustus, the first doctor of the Catholic Church.

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      Peter Miller

      That’s ‘progressive’ policies for you.

      Always the same result: an expensive and disastrous mess, which always has to be scrapped when common sense prevails once again.

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        Urban Strom

        As I read somewhere recently, progressives must keep looking forward because they can’t face the chaos left in their wake.

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      CriddleDog

      Now you’re getting it Captain!

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      Radical Rodent

      It doesn’t help when it is considered correct to singularise a plural just by truncation, either; mathematics should remain a plural, even when abbreviated to mathS!

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    TdeF

    Sorry, 1st January 1. (It means the year 2000 was in fact 1999)

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      Rereke Whakaaro

      Jesus was born, and was then in his first year — year 1. A year later, he was in his second year — year 2. And so on.

      Galilee was a province of Rome, and the Romans had no concept of zero (or negative numbers).

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    John F. Hultquist

    So, a climate scientist (CS) went into a pizza shop and order a pepperoni pizza. When it was baked the clerk ask if the buyer wanted it cut into 6 or 10 wedges. The CS said “Just 6, I’d never be able to eat 10.”

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    chrism

    well for once I think I can see further than Rereke …..
    (and I have a passionate relationship with math)

    the “either it is, or it is not” duality led mathematicians down many blind alleyways,
    eventually they found things that were neither provably true nor false

    the simple version is the liars paradox “everything i say is untrue”

    the set theorists set up paradoxes involving sets who have sets of sets as elements
    (and they become an element of themselves – a mathematical ourobouros)
    this eventually led to Godel showing that

    (please forgive my simple english version of his theory if you are a set theorist)

    in all formal systems there are elements, or ‘atoms’, that have to be accepted and cannot be proved
    or there are things you have to take on trust,
    or there are fundamental aspects that must be agreed before a dialogue can proceed meaningfully
    (or you can’t pull yourself up higher by your bootstraps)

    I highly recommend Douglas Hofstadter’s book “Godel, Escher & Bach” as simply the
    most beautiful exposition on this

    so not all things are either or…

    in the climate space I see one group as mostly speaking with their feelings – guess who -
    there are numbers to back the claims but the important stuff is how one feels about the issues

    and another group saying “hang on let me check those numbers, that doesn’t actually make sense, etc”

    I suggested to Jo, awhile back, for each group to understand the other needs an artificial dialogical process, such as the formal dialogue process suggested by Harville Hendrix

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    chrism

    for another interesting take (that has also been caustically criticised) see
    The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World is a 2009 book written by Iain McGilchrist that deals with the specialist hemispheric functioning of the brain.

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    pat

    this is the only CAGW maths that counts:

    17 March: Reuters: Chris Helgren: HSBC appoints new climate change chief
    HSBC has appointed a new head of climate change research to replace Nick Robins, who stepped down earlier this year to help lead a United Nations-led project into how to decarbonizes the global economy…
    Zoe Knight, formerly climate change strategist at the UK-headquartered bank, takes over as head of HSBC’s Climate Change Centre of Excellence, the bank said in an email on Monday.
    Robins left the bank to help lead a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) inquiry into developing a more environmentally sustainable global financial system.
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/17/us-hsbc-climatechange-idUKBREA2G11W20140317

    posted the shorter Pt Carbon summary yesterday, but there isn’t much more in the full article. the great irony is Occupy Wall St was almost co-opted by McKibben/CAGW crowd:

    (text below recovered from cached version)

    Oct 2011: ThinkProgress: Stephen Lacey: Climate Activists Stand With Occupy Wall Street Movement
    This evening, a coalition of climate activists led by 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben is marching through New York City and joining the thousands of protesters outside of Wall Street:
    “For too long, Wall Street has been occupying the offices of our government, and the cloakrooms of our legislatures,” wrote Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, in an email urging supporters to join the march, “They’ve been a constant presence, rewarded not with pepper spray in the face but with yet more loopholes and tax breaks and subsidies and contracts. You could even say Wall Street’s been occupying our atmosphere, since any attempt to do anything about climate change always run afoul of the biggest corporations on the planet. So it’s a damned good thing the tables have turned.”
    “If Wall Street is occupying President Obama’s State Department and the halls of Congress, it’s time for the people to occupy Wall Street,” said Phil Aroneanu, US campaigns Director for 350.org, who is leading the climate delegation for Wednesday’s march…
    Along with the 350.org march, a coalition of youth and environmental activists lead by the Energy Action Coalition are holding an Occupy Wall Street “sleep-in” at the U.S. Department of State to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline…
    Here’s a video from 350.org of some Occupy Wall Street folks talking about the connection between Climate Change and the occupation:
    (Joe Romm) JR: I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/10/05/337255/climate-activism-occupy-wall-street-movement/

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    I always like to compare and contrast hypotheses. Rather than people having a math anxiety, I find more evidence that people are not taught to think through problems, and look for alternatives. Rather, in politics, simply to think there might be a problem is sufficient to “know” the political solution. In climatology, there is a huge effort to discourage such practices as independent thought, questioning, and the logical reasoning of maths.
    I am no great mathematician, just a number-cruncher. However, I think I caught a glimpse of the thought processes a truly great mathematician goes to derive a difficult proof from Andrew Wiles, who in the 1990s proved Fermat’s last theorem. Spend 50 minutes watching his story, then read the “Climate Change: Evidence & Causes“, a recent joint publication by the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences. For me they are polar opposites.
    There are other examples of great perseverance, and going up blind alleys to get to scientific solutions. Albert Einstein in obtaining his general theory of relativity, and Issac Newton in deriving his law of universal gravitation are two other examples.

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      James Bradley

      just like our curernt crop of invetigative journalists who seem to have lost the art of investigation after being spoon fed crap for the previous 6 year term of our last government.

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    I once made a suggestion about five years ago that girls traditionally struggle more than boys at maths because they mature earlier. They start to be more self conscious earlier and are usually more self conscious than boys anyway. Modern teaching methods seem to favour girls but its just rote learning instead of wrote learning.

    A local academic in maths was reported in the paper as complaining that some people think that girls lack a maths gene.

    A book that I found very interesting is John Holt’s How Children Fail. Its anecdotes rather than proper research but it is enlightening, and hated by most education experts. I had to ask one student whether she had read the book because she quoted most of the excuses that students used in the book for not just giving an answer, because they feared being told that they were wrong.

    I used the matchstick puzzle Cherry in a Glass to help students. Unlike the examples on the net, do not tell anyone how to do it.. It is one of a very few example of puzzles that are great for motivating students to struggle until they figure it out. The trick is to make them relax and pick two matches and to move them somewhere, assess if it is the same glass shape with the cherry outside, and if not, put the matches back and start again.

    I warm the student up with a modified puzzle with a base. Easy to do in your head but at the end, congratulate them and tell them that it was only a warm up and they should have followed the instruction to actually pick two matches and physically move them. If it didn’t look like the original with the cherry outside, then to put the matches back and start again.

    It is difficult to motivate students to struggle through a number of attempts. I tell them that there is two clues but that they must make a dozen attempts before they get the clue. They relax and go through the motions to get a clue but everyone figures it out before the 12th attempt, from the brightest to the kid (its for teenagers) who has not handed up a piece of work for years because they are just dumb. When it works with the latter its an amazing buzz.

    Don’t listen to anyone who says it doesn’t work. They tried just once and didn’t do it properly.

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    pat

    23 Jan: UNEP: Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System
    Policy Innovations for a Green Economy
    The Inquiry, extending over 18 months to mid-2015, aims to engage, inform and guide policy makers, financial market actors and other stakeholders concerned with the health of the financial system and its potential for shaping the future economy.
    In addressing its core aim, it will map current best practice, draw together principles and frameworks, catalyze new thinking, and ultimately lay out a series of options for advancing a sustainable financial system.
    It will also engage with global financial experts and commission-relevant research, as well as contribute to related initiatives across the UN system and elsewhere.
    As leading financial institutions increasingly appreciate the imperative of climate change, resource scarcity and other environmental challenges, the current financial ‘rules of the game’ may not be well suited to accelerate this transition…
    Advisory Council – top two:
    •Naina Kidwai, Group General Manager and Country Head, HSBC India
    •Rachel Kyte, Group Vice President of the World Bank…
    Two Co-Directors and a Head of Strategic Outreach have been appointed to lead the Inquiry from its Geneva base:
    •Nick Robins, currently head of HSBC`s Center for Excellence in Climate Change…
    http://www.unep.org/newscentre/default.aspx?DocumentID=2758&ArticleID=10698

    Dec 2013: ActivistPost: Derrick Broze: The Crimes of HSBC
    Money Laundering, LIBOR Banking Scandal, Destruction of Indigenous Lands
    http://www.activistpost.com/2013/12/the-crimes-of-hsbc.html

    14 March: Bloomberg: JPMorgan to HSBC Face EU Rate-Rigging Fines From Almunia
    By Gaspard Sebag and Aoife White
    JPMorgan Chase & Co. and HSBC Holdings Plc face a European Union complaint as soon as next month as the bloc’s antitrust chief races to fine a quartet of financial companies that snubbed rate-rigging settlements…
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-13/jpmorgan-to-hsbc-face-eu-rate-rigging-fines-from-almunia.html

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    pat

    ***somehow, i don’t see McKibben protesting the appointment of HSBC’s Nick Robins to the UNEP team; in fact, McKibben & Robins go together very well:

    5 pages: July 2012: Rolling Stone: Bill McKibben: Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math
    Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe – and that make clear who the real enemy is.
    It’s not clear, of course, that the power of the fossil-fuel industry can be broken. The U.K. analysts who wrote the Carbon Tracker report and drew attention to these numbers had a relatively modest goal – they simply wanted to remind investors that climate change poses a very real risk to the stock prices of energy companies…
    ***”The regular process of economic evolution is that businesses are left with stranded assets all the time,” says Nick Robins, who runs HSBC’s Climate Change Centre. “Think of film cameras, or typewriters. The question is not whether this will happen. It will. Pension systems have been hit by the dot-com and credit crunch. They’ll be hit by this.”…
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719

    13 Feb 2013: SMH: Bursting the carbon bubble
    Energy analysts and activists warn that most of the world’s fossil fuels must remain in the ground, and that it can’t be business as usual for the industry. By Michael Green.
    In its World Energy Outlook for 2012, the International Energy Agency presented a similar case. Using the same research, but choosing a higher, 50-50 threshold for exceeding 2-degrees warming, it stated that two-thirds of proven reserves must stay in the ground, unless carbon capture and storage is widely deployed. (It observed that the pace of deployment of the technology ”remains highly uncertain”.)
    ***Bill McKibben, the American author and environmentalist who set up Go Fossil Free in the US, says that despite decades of advocacy, ”the penny dropped” when he saw those numbers. ”I’ve followed this all pretty closely – I wrote the first book about climate change – but I’d never really understood in my gut that the end of this story was written. It’s utterly clear. There is no room for wishful thinking,” he says, on the phone from his home in Ripton, Vermont.
    ”These guys [fossil fuel companies and state owners] have five times as much carbon in their reserves as the most conservative government on Earth says would be safe to burn. Once you understand that, then you understand that this has become a rogue industry. This formerly socially useful thing is now the greatest threat the planet has ever faced.”
    Last August, he published an article in Rolling Stone, called ”Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math”. Teen heartthrob Justin Bieber was on the cover, but it was McKibben’s essay that went viral…
    As it turns out, the students have an unlikely ally – albeit one with a slightly different goal in mind. John Hewson, the former leader of the Liberal Party, now fronts the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) and its accompanying social media campaign, The Vital Few, which is aimed squarely at superannuation funds…
    Alongside Hewson on the AODP board is Bob Litterman, the former head of risk management for Goldman Sachs in New York. He sees an analogy between the carbon bubble and the sub-prime crisis, in which financial institutions ”piled up mortgages on their balance sheet, assuming they were safe”.
    ”Similarly, today, we’re piling up carbon emissions in the atmosphere. When there’s a recognition that it cannot absorb an unlimited amount of carbon, there’s risk that people will very quickly revalue all the assets producing those emissions,” he says.
    Last year, the AODP – which has connections with The Climate Institute – launched an index of the world’s pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds. It ranked them on their management and disclosure of climate risk. The highest-rating fund was Local Government Super, based in New South Wales. It estimates that low-carbon assets comprise more than 10 per cent of its total holdings. Members can choose a coal-free shares alternative, which screens out BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Wesfarmers and Whitehaven Coal, among others.
    CEO Peter Lambert insists this attitude to climate risk is pragmatic, not political. ”Increasingly the blowtorch is going to be turned towards these issues and there will be a time when they’re priced into assets.”…
    ***Nick Robins is the head of the climate change centre at HSBC Bank, in London. Over the past year, his team has tried to measure the risk by estimating the impact in Europe of a deflating carbon bubble. In their scenarios, it could nearly halve the value of coal assets on the London exchange, and knock three-fifths from the value of oil and gas companies. And yet, he says, ”at the moment this risk is not being priced at all”.
    Robins says divestment is ”not on the cards” for large institutional investors. ”But people are recognising that over the next two years, they will need to come up with investment plans about how they’re going to be part of a 2-degree world, rather than the 4- to 6-degree world which they’re on at the moment.”
    For his part, McKibben expects Go Fossil Free will spread rapidly, precipitated by citizens’ experiences of weather extremes. ”If anybody has a good sense of how important this is, it’s Australians right now. You guys broke every temperature record you had, day after day in January,” he says.
    ”Either we pay attention, or we engage in the most incredible collective denial that human beings have ever engaged in.”
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/carbon-economy/bursting-the-carbon-bubble-20130214-2efob.html

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    Neville

    A very good column from Prof Don Aitkin about the undemocractic nature of recent arguments from the extreme CAGW advocates. He also has a link to his column about Bernie Fraser.

    http://donaitkin.com/as-warming-slows-denunciation-grows/

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    Neville

    Sorry should be undemocratic above.

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    Neville

    Here’s some real easy numbers the hysterics should be able to understand.

    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/table20.cfm This forecast from the EIA proves there is ZIP the OECD countries can do about AGW.
    From 2010 to 2040 OECD co2 emissions will grow by just 0.8 billion Ts pa, but the non OECD ( China, India etc) will grow by 13.5 billion Ts pa.
    And of course the 2010 number for the OECD is just 13.1 B Ts pa, but the non OECD number is 18.1 B Ts pa.
    The mitigation of AGW is the greatest con and fraud of the last 100 years and all the other ponzi schemes are SFA in comparison.

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    Pete

    I do remember as a student at Ohio State a professor advertised that he would pay to those who would submit to his testing. I could use the money so I went ahead and made appointment.
    The prof put on my arm what I would guess today to be a blood pressure monitor, then asked me some questions. After the results were in he said I wasn’t a useful subject so he said goodbye, sorry, no payment.
    Looking back, it’s obvious this is what he did to all of his participants, got his results free, by lying.
    This is what university profs are all about, especially today.

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    ROM

    As most of the “summary” above from the Ohio State Uni is just repeating itself using slightly different wording so I’ll just grab a sentence from that “summary”.
    _________

    [quoted]
    And anxiety can have a profound effect on learning, Wang added. Fear can make it difficult for people to further develop even the math skills that they already have.

    “If you’re anxious, it is often harder to solve problems. The anxiety response actually inhibits some people’s ability. We have to help children learn to regulate their emotions so that the anxiety doesn’t keep them from achieving their best in math,” Wang said.

    But one issue was that, before this study, researchers didn’t have a clear idea of how important the genetic component of math anxiety is in children and how it originates: Is it because of a lack of actual math skills — such as problem solving and ability to do calculations — or is it related to a person’s predisposition to anxiety?

    “We found here that it is both: Math anxiety is related to both the cognitive side and the affective side of general anxiety,” Petrill said.
    [end quote]

    ___________

    To which I say what a another heap of scientific bovine excrement!

    Where ever the word “maths” appears in the above “Summary” appears just substitute another word such as say cricket.art, history, language, fitting and turning, opening a can , studying Arachnids [ spiders, scorpions, mites ticks ] writing a poem or you name it.

    In every single endeavour that people turn to or work on every single one of us will have a skill set in a few subjects at which we are very accomplished.

    Each of us will be able to adapt to and get by in a whole host of other skills which we might not be very good at but can get by quite well in life by using those limited skills.

    Each of us will have, for some a few, for others many skills that we simply are near or even totally hopeless at.

    To assume as have these so called researchers apparently have that everybody should be good at maths other than for their genes interfering in their comprehension of maths is beyond stupid.
    To further claim that the lack of comprehension in maths is apparently at the root cause of people not believing the alarmist climate science is sociological science at it’s lowest although Lewendowsky probably holds the honours for that.

    Any where a subject is forcibly fed to a kid or adult who does not have the psychology that is orientated to that subject matter, arts, music, Latin or languages, maths and say an exotic that requires a very specific mentality such as chess being the classic examples here, then there will probably develop a deep inbuilt resistance to the force feeding of the subject and consequently a very limited acceptance and development of a skill set in that subject.

    Further when the teaching / force feeding of the subject stops the retention of that knowledge of the subject simply falls right away and within a short period nearly everything learn’t on that subject is catergorised as best forgotten as is a characteristic of the human mind due to it being a painful experience.

    For me it was Latin at school and I cringed, extremely so every time the Latin class came up and still do at the thought.

    The authors use “reading” as an example of something that everybody learns.

    From my observations a lot of kids and adults have very variable levels of reading comprehension and the only thing that keeps their ability to read and comprehend at a acceptable level is the universality of the written word and language upon which our entire modern day existence depends on the understanding of the written word.

    You don’t have to understand complex maths as these scientific wankers seem to expect to live quite well in our world today.
    Simple arithmetic and a few calculators can get most people through life quite comfortably.

    And you don’t have to have an understanding of climate or the various factors affecting and driving the global climate climate [ which nobody including the entire climate scientific alarmist cohort yet even understands a glimmer of ] to get through life quite comfortably.
    Nor will the understanding that the ever changing climate, locked within it’s tight temperature constrains for some hundreds of millions of years past by the daily 24 hours long rotation of the planet which both places very tight time limits on the amounts of incoming solar energy that can heat any point on Earth and thus limit the temperatures that any point can get too, countered by the time limits that outgoing heat radiation can cool the Earth on the dark far side of the planet, need a whole sophisticated maths set by the individual to live through our climate of the future just as we have lived through it in the past for some two million years of our species existence without needing any mathematical skills.

    And they call this crap “science”.

    [ end of rant !]

    ROM — Lest anything think that I took those results seriously… this study was a good excuse to poke the innumerate. My conclusion is only that we should tease the climate-math-scaredy-cats mercilessly. – Jo

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      ROM

      A heck of a lot of lurkers read this blog Jo as you will no doubt very proudly acknowledge and rightly so.

      So not only should we, that is the posters on this, your blog, very publicly poke these excuses for scientists very hard but we should hit them hard over the head with their own stupidity and ignorant kindergarten level excuse for science [ such as that claimed to be science in this example ] as seen by those interested lay persons who follow and who ultimately pay for science and who therefore have a highly vested interest in seeing high quality science conducted as we all believe science should be conducted.

      We owe it, all of us participants in the skeptic blogs and forums, to all those who lurk here and elsewhere but who for reasons of their own do not directly participate in the blogs and forums but who like the rest of us, are equally affected by bad science and who like us are forced to pay for bad science without having any say about the allocation of our’s , that is the tax payers funds to such poor performing and miserable excuses for scientists.

      I wish to make it clear that I believe good scientists are worth their weight in gold.

      Agricultural scientists [ and they also have their from totally useless to brilliant scientists in their ranks ] who bear the ultimate responsibility of seeing, through their efforts, that the world population will still be well fed at least a decade and much more than a decade into the future [ thats the minimum lead time for new crops and new varieties of the basic food crops ] are the good guys of the world of science.
      They are judged by their results and there are no ifs or buts in those judgments made by the hard nosed farmers who grow and use their new crop varieties and the technologies developed by those Ag scientists and who, those farmers and the millers and bakers are harsh judges as they have to try and make a living growing, selling, milling and baking those new varieties bred and developed by those same agricultural scientists.

      It is just that under the seemingly unlimited funding of science today as it is seemingly dished out quite lavishly by governments to very specific science disciplines while other better deserving and far more important science disciplines are pauperised due to the gross misallocation of tax payer funding by the government funding authorities, some disciplines in science has become a haven for carpet baggers of every stripe who only see producing a few utterly rubbishy so called papers from some unvalidated, unverified, unproven models without ever leaving the comforts of the ivory tower office every now and then, as a nice little earner to support their own munificent life styles.

      As one of my brothers who went through Adelaide Uni as a mature age student and then went on as one of three whites, he was the agricultural specialist responsible for seeing that some 65,000 refugees [ sixty five thousand ] from Uranda / Burundi [ Yep! they were fighting and killing one another back then as well ] become self supporting food producers within three years and they did, and one black man who was the boss and a damn good one according to my brother, to run that refugee settlement in the far back blocks of Tanzania in the early1970′s said;

      In science, you have to pay ninety nine d******* to get the hundredth one, that exceptional one who will really make a difference to the world.

      And that was in the early 1970′s when science was still practiced as science and not yet a a nice little tax payer funded scam as a lot of the most prominent science disciplines, ie ; climate science, seems to have become today if you have the contacts to organise it.

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        Debbie

        Yes ROM ,
        I agree there should be demonstrable uses and goals and benefits. ESPECIALLY when it’s funded by taxpayers.
        Entities such as BoM & CSIRO do appear to have lost their way in terms of the services they are offering to the public.
        In disciplines such as agriculture, Australia has lost excellent people and excellent services.

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    • #

      I agree that they have written up something as obvious as ‘farts smell’ as a scientific discovery, but I can’t agree with everything.

      I once had to tutor a kid who was good at chess and loved it. He was failing Year 11 maths and had a test coming up. We worked on the test and he almost passed. I looked at his effort and said that if he had checked on his work and corrected a few things that he would have passed easily.

      As almost the whole class failed, they sat it again but it was set by a student teacher. The slightly different wording threw him and he got a very generous 3 marks.

      I won’t go on except that I talked to a lot of people at the Dep of Ed and the Uni about what I could do and eventually gave up.

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    handjive

    A complete lack of understanding of numbers could be an excuse for this total failure of climate scientists:

    MARCH 17, 2014
    Arctic blast coming to Eastern US – likely to be the coldest opening to calendar spring in at least 50 years

    MARCH 18, 2014
    Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate

    “The evidence is overwhelming: Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising,” says the report from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society.
    “Temperatures are going up.
    Springs are arriving earlier.”
    . . .

    Grade the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society an ‘F” for FAIL.

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    • #
      I wonder what this button does

      I see it another way,because scientists know “maths” then they are much more easily duped by scientific theory that appears to be logical to them .
      It has been said that it is impossible to scam an honest person.
      For a scam to work someone has to think that they are going to get something for nothing.
      So how or why has climate-change science become such a major issue..because someone somewhere wanted it to?

      Here is an example of how these things can come about,I will use the example of a plane crash that occurred at Smolensk Russia in 2010 that killed the President of Poland.
      It wasn’t a failure of the plane or wind gusts or anything like that,though it was very foggy, it was a total failure of the crew,who were all experienced airforce pilots,so what went wrong.

      1) They were airforce pilots and not civilian pilots(If you have ever served in the military then you will know what I mean,there is a different mindset and outside pressures from superiors).
      2)As airforce pilots they had developed bad habits,corners were cut for expedience sake.
      3)There was undue pressure (real or imagined) from senior officers/govt functionaries who were present on the plane and at times in the cockpit.
      4)The head pilot has been on a flight previous where the then head pilot had said no to landing at a dangerous spot,his career went down the toilet.
      5)The crew ignored warnings because of bad habits,they then changes the inputs to cancel out the warnings.
      6)The crew didn’t know the surroundings or the area that they were flying into,they didn’t allow for any margins of error.
      7)The crew thought that their computer would fly the plane but they forgot that their inputs had distorted what the computer was reading plus for the auto-pilot to work there needed to be a certain beacon transponding of which there were none at that particular airport,by the time they realised they were hitting the trees.
      It wasn’t one major event that occurred but many small ones that once started seemed impossible to stop…the real reason was HUMAN NATURE and that Jo is why science maths or whatever can never be relied on,it is common sense and experience that is what really keeps the world functioning.

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    Mark D.

    The problem with maths is how it is taught especially to those that struggle with it early on. In my opinion, the teachers of maths “got it” when they were young, at the hands of teachers that “got it” in a similar learning style. The teaching is therefore continually refined to match the learning style of fewer people. This leaving more and more people with different learning styles left out in the cold.

    With maths, there needs to be attention paid to matching learning styles with teaching styles. This isn’t at a shallow level but a deep almost metaphysical level.

    I am convinced that nearly anyone could learn maths without anxiety as long as the teaching matches the learning. Too often it does not. Once a child can’t keep pace the anxiety level increases and really never goes away.

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    • #
      Carbon500

      I remember a boy in my class at school who got an answer hopelessly wrong.
      Instead of paying attention to this boy’s obvious difficulty, the teacher asked – and I remember her words to this day – “Good golly – are you mental or something?”
      How not to foster and encourage an interest in a subject…..
      From my experience, good maths teachers are rare jewels indeed, and teachers of statistics even more so.
      I remember a problem I was stuck with many years ago. On asking about it, my tutor approached the problem in a completely different way, and his reasoning was crystal clear to me straightaway. It was this different approach that made me think that yes, some people are certainly more gifted than others where maths is concerned!

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  • #

    The lack of understanding of maths, specifically, is used by Renewable power to make something that is actually very poor, look like it is very good, and I’ll use two examples here in two separate comments.

    Perhaps the most astonishing example of all relates to the Gemasolar plant in Spain, the example used by renewable urgers to say how Concentrating solar power (solar thermal) is now at the stage where it can replace coal fired power for delivery of power to grids.

    Now, when I break it down the result I get is this.

    The total amount of power generated by Gemasolar in its 25 year life span is delivered by Bayswater under normal operating conditions in 56 days.

    One sentence.

    Eight separate mathematical functions, with an understanding of what the result of each gives you, and then what function then leads to a conversion from power generated across to time.

    Therein lies the dilemma for those without an understanding of the Maths involved. They read how a plant like this solar plant can deliver constant power for 36 consecutive days, (the BIG headline) and then cannot understand, firstly, the science involved in solar power generation, then the engineering behind it, then the comparison, and more importantly, the maths involved in explaining how I can come up with a single sentence which is (to them) patently unable to be believed, even when I explain each individual step.

    The same thing also happens when I mention that just to replace Bayswater with plants the same as Gemasolar, the cost comes to $66.5 Billion, and that’s just to equal the Nameplate Capacity, so the cost for equal power delivered is $83 Billion, and lifetime power delivery from Bayswater, the the cost is $166 Billion. (133 plants at $500 Million per solar plant (after converting from Euro to AUD) at 60% CF compared to 75% CF, and then coal has double the lifespan)

    Again, you need an understanding of the engineering, and then the maths involved in the 6 separate mathematical functions, and conversion from power to time to cost.

    However, it all comes back to the maths. If you cannot understand that, then it’s easier to just believe (verbatim) that these solar plants are now at the stage where they can replace coal fired power plants.

    When patently, they are not.

    Tony.

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    • #
      I wonder what this button does

      $’s,the maths that really matter,who is going to pay and how is the money to be generated and who is going to eventually receive that money.
      I am mindful that here in Victoria that Latrobe Valley in Gippsland holds about 500 years supply of coal,and the coal seam goes out to sea,and that’s without the coal of South West Gippsland.
      I gave a rather convoluted answer earlier on but the why Man Made Climate Change has come about is GREED and not ideology,though ideology is the wagon that is used to haul the money making scam around,in the long run it was influential people who created a way to make huge amounts of money.
      Will the scam keep on running,I’m not certain,people seem to be awake to it now but because it is a global scam you will find that world events may overtake it and force it to the fringes.

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    • #
      Graeme No.3

      Tony:
      one small note that could easily be overlooked is that the 19.9MW capacity was for 270 days. The plant was supposed to run for 365 days, so obviously output was much reduced in winter.

      But 19.9 MW per hour for 270 days amounts to 129GWh. 19.9MW per hour for 365 days amounts to 174GWh, and a CF of 63% (as claimed). The actual average capacity comes down to 12.5MW per hour for a year, or around 11 Mw per hour for 260 days at 24 hours and around 10 for 105 days at 15 hours per day.

      The actual cost seems hard to find. The original estimate was $A362 million, but that ballooned out to about $A470 million after it was running (there is some doubt as to whether the $A 7.7 million subsidy and the $A122 loan on ‘easy terms’ was included in that figure), and the cost is more than that now as the Spanish Gov. cut the subsidies and it is running at a loss.

      It appears that the cost of that “free” solar energy is at least $A230 per MWh and has been estimated at $A300, compared with coal at $A40.

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  • #
    Rick Bradford

    Basic innumeracy is easy to detect in the climate debate.

    Anyone who quotes “7 of the last 10 years have been among the hottest ever” in support of the idea that we are experiencing global warming, is innumerate.

    I know by experience how difficult it is to break down the innumeracy barrier — even when you approach via a homely little tale such as “over the last 10 years, my height has been among the greatest measured in my life — does that mean I am still growing?”, the difference between an absolute value, and a slope or trend, escapes the majority of people.

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    • #
      the Griss

      “over the last 10 years, my height has been among the greatest measured in my life ”

      or.

      when you stand on a phone book, you are taller than you were…

      ….. until you step off it

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    • #
      the Griss

      And remember when as a kid, you climbed to the top of a slippery dip… :-)

      No-one in their right mind would say you were still trending upwards once you sat down at the top.

      P.S. … But some very silly people still do say that.

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    James the Elder

    The warmists must have had my old math professor. The first day in class he writes on the board “1×1=?), followed by about 20 lines of (to me) gibberish. Each line is preceded by either “If” or “Then”, to arrive at “Therefore 1×1=0″. I was finished. I returned my scholarship funds and never looked back. The point being that with enough “Ifs”, you can warm the planet to any level.

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  • #

    By far the most misleading thing cashing in on people’s lack of understanding of Maths is the ubiquitous:

    This Wind Farm supplies all the power needs of X number of homes

    The result is quite a large number which is impressive for people who have no understanding of how it was arrived at.

    Forget the fact that the Wind Plant (how I hate the use of the word farm when applied to these power plants) supplies its power to the grid only. Forget the fact that the wind plant cannot supply the 24/7/365 needs of an individual home.

    The headline thing is that large number of homes, and people see that, equate it to their one home, and then see a huge number, making the power output seem quite impressive.

    So what Maths have they used to come to this result?

    They know the Nameplate of each individual generator inside the nacelle. They know how many towers, giving them the total Nameplate for the whole plant. They know the industry calculation for yearly power total. They use a theoretical (note the word theoretical here) CF for wind power.

    They then use an arbitrary average household power consumption, in this case 7MWH per year, so they divide their total calculated yearly power by that average household consumption and end up with X number of homes, a large, and impressive figure.

    They have used six separate mathematical functions to come up with this arbitrary number.

    However, from that X number of homes I can then explain, using maths, how this wind plant will only be delivering its full rated power for an average of around 9 hours a day, (using their theoretical CF) and for around 7 hours a day using the actual power delivery rate.

    People will believe the X number of homes, and will not believe the hours of operation.

    Both are the same.

    A similar clever use of maths is used when they say this wind plant will save X million tons of CO2 per year, and also result in X number of cars removed from the roads of Australia. Again, both rely on people’s lack of knowledge of the science involved, the engineering, and the maths. This perhaps is more meaningless than the X number of homes because it effectively means this. This wind plant will save X tons of CO2 that might be emitted …..

    IF an equivalent coal fired plant was constructed INSTEAD OF this wind plant.

    Tony.

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    • #

      Basic numeracy requires being able to understand what the numbers mean.

      Those with basic numeracy, with an inkling of the physical realities of wind/solar electricity generation, wouldn’t even bother to do the arithmetic.

      Alas, “mathematics” seems to have devolved in practice to the mindless application of formulae to whatever numbers appear to be relevant.

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    • #
      I wonder what this button does

      Today is a lovely day a blue clear sky not a cloud in sight nor is there a slightest hint of a breeze,good if you’re on solar but wind a no go.But what happens if tomorrow it is a grey overcast drizzly windless day,what happens to their “math”,they will still supply power and those who paid for “green energy” will still be paying the extra for it but the power co bought it at coal prices,so again “maths”will be used to mislead people,which in the end is most probably the answer to why do people fear “maths”.

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      • #
        Debbie

        Yes indeed,
        That derivatives market is a licence to print money.
        SHL (which I believe is still the largest renewable energy supplier in Aus?) only supplies about 4% of the total power requirements (please correct that if necessary Tony). but the kicker is they make a squillion on the energy market. . .most particularly in cold snaps and heat waves.

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    • #
      Chris.

      I asked this question here several years ago when there was a similar statement made in the press on the opening of a wind farm somewhere, and as yet, never received an answer.

      The question, How many wind turbines do you need to supply one(1)house with all its electricity needs when the wind is not blowing ?

      Tony, get to with the maths and let me know !

      Infinity comes to mind.

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  • #
    Alexander K

    I am one of those unlucky people who are ‘a bit slow’ at math. And that is literally the problem – I can do any sort of math, but not quickly. This got me shouted at frequently in Primary school in 1940s NZ, when the standard of teaching and teacher left a bit to be desired, so I developed avoidance techniques. Most of those teachers didn’t understand the difference between arithmetic and mathematics, either. As one of our major poets said of post-WWII teachers, many of them were blokes struggling to adapt to civvy street and couldn’t get a job in the Post Office. Didn’t help us kids much!
    My dad didn’t help either, as he was an arithmetic speed king, who once won a race on our kitchen table to total a column of six-digit figures between a bank-manager cousin on a calculator and dad running a pencil down the columns – he had time to make a cuppa while Cuz furiously pounded the keys and cranked the operating lever on the big manual Facit calculator. Dad’s answer was correct too! His generation (born in 1898) and social class were taught all sorts of arithmetical short cuts and gee-whizzery but didn’t stay at school long enough to ‘do maths’.

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    • #
      Yonniestone

      Alexander I’ll be honest too and say I had a hard time with math in primary school to the point of not even attempting it as a protest supporting my growing dislike of those bastard numbers, it was only a new teacher in my last 2 years who showed me different methods of calculations that got me back on track, all my other subjects were fine.

      I use math every day in my trade (Boilermaker) and I rarely make mistakes often having engineers asking me to check their work, I have a lot to thank that teacher for.

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      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        Did your teachers call it, “Numerical Methods”, by any chance?

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        • #
          Yonniestone

          It wasn’t referred to as that but I guess it was, all I know is this method altered my perspective on math greatly and the teacher that showed me this was quite a unique individual that I respected more later in life.

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  • #
    ianl8888


    Likewise most geoscientists and engineers are skeptics (and also not too scared of math)

    Pretty much

    An apocryphal story current in geoscientific/engineering circles a while ago:

    The Professor of Chemical Engineering is addressing his faculty staff at the start of the academic year. He is full of enthusiasm:

    “Historic time,ladies and gentlemen – for the first time in our history, we have both young ladies and young men entering our courses. Unprecedented and quite marvellous … I’m really thrilled

    But there is one aspect I don’t understand. I’ve been right through the HSC Chemistry paper and I cannot find one question where a calculation is needed. Could someone here please tell me how one can do chemistry without calculations ?”

    One the staff members replies:

    ” I think you may have mis-read the key question in the paper. The question actually says – a man in a white coat is standing in front of you asking you how to calculate the molarity of an NaOH solution. How does that make you feel ?”

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    • #

      The question actually says – a man in a white coat is standing in front of you asking you how to calculate the molarity of an NaOH solution. How does that make you feel?

      There’s actually a reasonable reply to this question that would assure the prospective student a place on the course and to become a student to watch.

      The answer would go something like this:

      It actually makes me feel great. Just imagine this if you would.

      Sodium hydroxide also reacts with acidic oxides, such as sulfur dioxide. Such reactions are often used to “scrub” harmful acidic gases (like SO2 and H2S) produced in the burning of coal and thus prevent their release into the atmosphere. For example,
      2 NaOH + CO2 → Na2CO3 + H2O

      A prospective climate scientist in the making right there.

      Tony.

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  • #
    John Knowles

    There must be different levels of maths appreciation.
    I was bellowed at for being “stupid” when I was struggling with very long division at primary school age. My father was highly numerate and couldn’t see why I did not understand and over 40 years later I can still remember the jacket I was wearing and a sense of being utterly useless.

    Later my father was asked by his boss at the UK Atomic Energy Authority to produce a paper about predicting fuel rod failure rates in a test reactor. Back in the slide-rule era not many people ventured into complex probability calculations as computers were in their infancy but my father did his humble best. It turned out that his boss was “not a real engineer”, as my father put it, and passed the paper around all the other European atomic agencies. Even as an old man he still recalled the tale with much embarrassment and woe that some people are “…not very mathematical ” !

    At the other end of the spectrum there are journalists who think 20ºC is twice as hot as 10ºC. I’m sure the fault lies with primary school education.

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  • #
    Peter Lang

    Global anxiety: CAGW, missing Malaysian Airliner and conspiracy theories:

    A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet
    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2014/03/mh370-electrical-fire/

    Why are so many of us so gullible? Why do we instinctively believe conspiracy theories?

    Why do we seem to look for the most complicated theories to explain things?

    Is our willingness to believe the conspiracy theories about the missing Malaysian airliner caused by the same inherent human gullibility that cuases so many to accept “Catastrophic man-made climate change”?

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    • #

      Way off topic I know, but I saw this morning, and it actually sounds feasible, well more so than hijack or pilot problems, which would necessitate a plot by the whole cockpit crew.

      Say, as this person postulates there’s a slow burn on a nosewheel tyre. All is OK until the (regulation and quite normal) handoff as the pilot leaves one Country’s airspace. Then the smoke from this tyre fills the cockpit.

      Instinctively, the pilot banks left to return to where he knows airfields are, back towards Malaysia. He can’t RTB at KL because of the high mountains on his path so this left turn then has him heading back north of KL.

      Now comes the part where this person explaining this uses some techspeak which some may not understand, where he says this: (my bold)

      In the case of a fire, the first response is to pull the main busses and restore circuits one by one until you have isolated the bad one. If they pulled the busses, the plane would go silent. It probably was a serious event and the flight crew was occupied with controlling the plane and trying to fight the fire.

      Where he says busses, this indicates he is isolating power to the electrical busbars (referred to as busses) They are circuit breakers that you have to pull out, small, round, and about a quarter inch movement to pop out.

      Once all out, the pilot then restores power to that circuit by pushing the breaker back in, and when the fire light reappears, he knows which circuit the fire is on, so he can isolate just that circuit then, and pull the fire extinguisher switch for that area.

      Now during this time, the pilot has set the plane to fly on George, the autopilot.

      Say the cockpit crew are now overcome by the smoke.

      The plane flies on the last known heading until the fire causes catastrophic failure resulting in a crash, or until the plane runs out of fuel.

      As is more often the case, the simplest explanation is probably the best explanation, and this one sounds more feasible than most others.

      Either way, the plane is now way off course, hence looking along the regular flight path produced no results.

      Tony.

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      • #
        Chris.

        Tony, another theory with little thought.

        The aircraft was at cruise altitude, 32,000 ft.

        Wheel wells are not pressurised. Cabins and cockpits are.

        Outside temperature at 32,000ft is approximately Minus 40 C

        Oxygen at 32,000 ft is almost nil. Low density. (engines need compressors and huge quantities of air to function)

        Combustion needs 3 elements, fuel (the tyre), Oxygen and heat.

        Combustion of the tyre is almost impossible, let alone getting smoke into the cabin from the wheel well.

        If there was a slow fire in the wheel well, It would have gone out well before 32,000 ft.

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      janama

      My apologies Peter – I didn’t see you had posted the wired article.

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    Yonniestone

    I will say I’m always in awe of people who can understand and master an advanced mathematical language as that’s what it seems to me, I have grown to appreciate the importance of accurate math in science as we can see how things can go askew when someone diddles the numbers to support a lie.

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    Karen

    Scared of statistics? I just don’t understand!

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    scaper...

    No fear of maths in the scaper household. When the daughter was younger she participated in an online game called ‘Mathletics’.

    I would add, some of the signs last weekend indicate that there is also a fear of basic spelling.

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  • #
    Geoff Sherrington

    Mathematics can be a beautiful device when those teaching it can hook the pupil into knowing that, preferably with examples.
    There is no more to fear than there is to fear learning to read.
    Mathematics can go as deep as the user wishes, but all can pull back before discomfort level.
    Of course, maths can also be fun.
    http://www.geoffstuff.com/Fail%20a.jpg
    http://www.geoffstuff.com/Fail%20b.jpg

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    Carbon500

    I’ve written plenty of letters to newspapers on the subject of global warming and wind turbines, giving plenty of real-world figures to back up my comments. All credit to the editors of those newspapers for printing my letters, numbers and all!
    I almost forgot – the UK’s Guardian newspaper didn’t print a letter I sent, but no surprises there, eh?
    In response, no ‘warmist’,and that includes one claiming a (science based) Ph.D, has ever responded with any figures to counter my points. It’s all been bluster delivered with pompous arrogance, the points I made have been sidestepped every time, and of course ‘we must trust the peer reviewed’ science has been dutifully trotted out.
    Given the temperature stalling of the past 17 years or so and the failures of the so-called ‘models’, what price peer review now? Allow me a bit of cynicism here: a peer is someone who shares similar views – but isn’t necessarily right.

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  • #

    An old friend, who discontinued our friendship because he couldn’t stand my climate “denial”, is a BA Maths from Melbourne University.

    So I think the issue goes beyond maths.

    I think it is more related to your attitude to authority – whether you are the kind of person who questions what you are told.

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    • #
      Carbon500

      Eric: this sounds familiar! There are two friends of mine with whom the subject of CAGW is taboo, opinions are fiercely polarised and we leave well alone. What I see in both instances is a refusal by both of them to look at data and graphs.
      I don’t think either of them has read books or research papers on the subject – their opinions are formed via the media.
      I think you’re right when it comes to a question of authority – there’s far too much tugging of the forelock towards scientists, and too little reading around the subject in order to compare and contrast views and figures.

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  • #

    Maths is a multifaceted tool and like any tool there are those who are good at using it and those who are bad.

    The real issue I find in all of this is that Academics in positions of authority have ‘fudged’ results and the significance of those results by the deliberate mis application of maths. They have been able to get away with this because they know the decision makers are not in a position to challenge the maths – it’s literally all Greek to them.

    We know this is the case because in that other significant area where Maths is applied, namely accountancy and associated remuneration calculations they seem to have no trouble at all making sure everything adds up…

    As regards the teaching of Maths in schools – like other subjects it has suffered a horrid dumbing down combined with political interference. If you want your children to excel at Maths, you need have them applying it outside of the school.

    BTW a small plug – if you own an Android – search for Maths Bug see https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ecowho.MentalMathsPuzzles

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  • #

    OK I know correlation doesn’t equal cause, however it would seem that enthusiastic proponents of CAGW tend to be those who did not learn basic arithmetic (“sums” as my old maths teacher would say) as calculators would do the work for them, thus rendering thwem innumerate.

    Corollary: Calculators are a weapon of Maths destruction.
    ;)

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  • #
    Dave

    Maths,

    The ultimate equaliser for big companies.
    LockHeed Martin and the Victorian wave project.

    What a load of garbage, they know the dollars are with ARENA and the CEFC that are giving out millions until it is shut down.

    Oceanlinx latest wave machine is at the bottom of the ocean, along with the first three stupid projects.

    How much maths do you need to say, Stop this stupid waste of money?

    The Carnegie stupid company was on halt on the ASX, and the CEFC gave them another $20 million to see the project through. WTF, they already have $20 million in grants, and now the FW’s at CEFC give them another twenty? The total project was only worth $31 million, maths, Nah forget it if you’re a Greenie. Basterds.
    How many examples of pure greed for dollars do we have to have before these nut cases call a stop to it? Never, not until their bank accounts are overflowing with our money, and they disappear into the distance like their GREEN dreams.

    I don’t know the answer, but the anger is building as it is part of MY money being shat up against a wall by these CAGW idiots, it will only get worse.

    BA4th is laughing, because he’s on the blooody gravy train as well.
    I am close to my limit on this disgraceful waste of money for nothing.

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    Phil

    Who says alarmists don’t use numbers? They use one a lot. It is a 9 followed by a 7

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  • #
    alan neil ditchfield

    INNUMERACY
    a,n.ditchfield

    Innumeracy is a new word, coined as a companion to illiteracy. To those afflicted by innumeracy, the dozens, thousands and millions are mere words. The Innumerate talk about billions and trillions with no concern for what they say and are prone to bad judgment when it comes to large quantities.
    A sense of proportion is needed to address issues requiring insight into magnitude. One billion seconds add up to about 32 years. One billion minutes is close to 1900 years, a span of time that takes us back to the Roman Empire at the end of the century of Christ. These facts throw some light on the lack of perception of those not endowed with a mathematical background.
    All grant that the planet is large, but how large is crucial in many issues. What is the content of the crust of the earth?
    One cubic kilometre of the crust weighs 2.7 billion tonnes. A sphere with a circumference of 40 thousand km has a surface of 509 000 000 km². To a depth of 1000 m, the crust holds 1.366 billion billion tonnes:
    1 366 000 000 000 000 000 tonnes
    .Reckoning with a depth of 100 m, as readily accessible, only knocks off one zero from an astronomical number.
    It is unlikely that mankind will ever assay the content of such a vast mass. Diehards will still hold as axiomatic that, ultimately, a finite planet cannot sustain infinite growth. But resources are so great that they may be regarded as infinite when compared to any conceivable human need. Does the innumerate talk about limited non-renewable resources make sense?
    Common sense and mathematics make exhaustion of non-renewable resources a concept alien to mining businesses tuned into realities of supply, demand and cost. Consistent records of prices of commodities are maintained by a magazine, The Economist, since the middle of the 19th century. Far from rising in response to growing scarcity, all commodity prices have shown decline in response to abundance and falling costs. That is why feeding a human being costs, in real value, 1/8 of what it was in 1850.
    An additional fact is that, ultimately, the planet is subject to the law of conservation of mass. Human consumption never subtracted one gram from the mass of the planet. All the stuff is still around in some form and may be recycled. The limit would be the availability and cost of energy, but with the advent of inexpensive fusion energy from deuterium this becomes possible. It may be claimed that controlled fusion energy has not yet become practical, but saying that it never will be is an assumption that science and technology will remain frozen at current level. Fusion energy is no physical impossibility; it is an ongoing process in stars and mankind has made H bomb;
    How much energy is available? Each cubic meter of seawater contains about 102.8 x 10 ²³ atoms of deuterium with a mass of 34.4 grams. It holds the equivalent to the heat generated by the combustion of 269 tonnes of coal, or of 1360 barrels of crude oil. The world resource of seawater’s deuterium is around a billion times greater than the known fossil fuel reserve.
    Quantification reveals a clash of two mindsets set apart by a chasm of understanding. The innumerate camp resorts to acts of faith in experts – and soothsayers they are incapable of spotting. Those with background in hard science don’t care about beliefs. Engineers use Euclidean geometry because its propositions stand demonstrated, not because they believe in Euclid; are trained to mistrust all doctrines and think for themselves. Nobel prize physicist Richard Feynman called science a belief – in the ignorance of experts.

    The innumerate depend on faith on what others say. When it suits them they quote a consensus in peer reviewed periodicals as the stamp of approval by higher authority. This hardens opposition to a suspect cause of propagandists. Consensus forming is a political process that has no place in science, always open to inquiry and addition of new layers of knowledge. Who peer-reviewed the work of Isaac Newton? Nobody: Newton has no peer. Einstein over fifty years wrote five hundred articles, none of them peer-reviewed. Is Relativity Theory invalid because it lacks approval by self-appointed authorities? Getting mathematicians to believe in a consensus of is akin to referring an obscure point of a theological dispute to an atheist.
    Yet appeals to believe in climate prediction experts have come from the Royal Society, an institution once presided by Isaac Newton and Kelvin, whose motto is “Nullius in verba” – on the word of nobody. The appeals entail acceptance that computer models can portray what the world economy will be doing a century hence when one cannot get two economists to agree on what is the prospect for the next quarter.
    A question for Paul Nurse: Would he consent to heart surgery with a procedure tested only on the computer model of a heart? An enormity of this kind is what is being proposed for the world economy.

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      Mark D.

      Alan, I suggest that innumeracy is quite normal in humans at a point where we’d have to grasp perhaps beyond 6 figures. There is little in a evolutionary sense, that would ever require understanding numbers larger than say a mortgage and that obviously a fairly recent invention.

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    theRealUniverse

    Fear of maths..yes also its not just numbers like .03% or 1/3000 or SMALL numbers like that. Its they have NO clue about orders of magnitude…i.e. powers of 10! any number more that 1000000 10 ^ 6 they are scared of let alone anything bigger unless its trillions of dollars that these dongle head liars have sucked out of the taxpayer..even then they would know what a trillion is on scientific notation…just to inform them..10 ^ 12..
    And theres then gigatones! how about the mass of the atmosphere and compare that to piddly gigatones of CO2!
    PS mass of the whole darn planet 10 ^ 26 kg.

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    Radical Rodent

    To repeat what I have posted on the Bishop Hill site, perhaps we are wrong to attack the argument from the point of view of numbers; most of the numbers are actually quite meaningless – sea temperatures rising 2/100ths of a degree Celsius being a case in point! My argument being as follows:

    We are losing ourselves in a miasma of statistical analysis of the still poorly-understood chaos (though how any chaotic system can be fully understood has to be a moot point, too) of global and atmospheric interactions; perhaps we should be spending our money and our time more effectively by killing off those butterflies that are causing so many storms.

    The real problem is that, for reasons unknown, but presumably on some sort of wealth and/or power-grab, a significant proportion of western politicians have leapt upon this, and are milking it for all its worth. Consider: we all accept that CO2 is a greenhouse gas (GHG); however, we all know that it is not a particularly good one; methane (CH4) and water (H2O) are reported to be of several magnitudes more abundant and more effective, yet, despite existing in the atmosphere in far greater quantities, their effects are, on the whole, ignored. So, why is CO2 the villain of this piece? Could it be that it can be shown that it is a gas that humans are producing in vast quantities? Indeed, it is probably the only gas that humans are emitting in detectably lasting amounts into the atmosphere. One of the real ironies is that, though humans are producing CO2 in vast quantities, it is still as nothing when compared to Mother Nature’s own contributions to the increase (3% against 97% – or am I mistaken?). So, what has caused the Earth herself to increase the concentrations of CO2?

    To continue on a point that many others have raised, what is the danger of the world being slightly warmer than it is now? My understanding is that the greatest rises of temperatures is accepted as being in the higher latitudes, where higher temperatures would, on the whole, be beneficial to all concerned; the growing seasons will be longer, the increased CO2 will enable plants to be lusher and, with the increase in flora, so the fauna will benefit; also, the harvest of humanity’s crops would be greater per unit area, reducing the arable land, and allowing more to be left to “return to nature”. Why should organisations which purport to support the flora and fauna of this planet be so against the idea of all these benefits?

    Finally, there has to be raised the question – if any further rise in temperatures is going to harm the planet, what is the optimum temperature that we should be striving to achieve? For all the bluster about the dangers of rising temperatures, there has to be a temperature that can be scientifically-proven as optimal for the planet and all its associated life-forms, for, if not, then why all the panic?

    While I might be rather simplistic on my analysis, I think that we have to change the focus of the argument away from the number-crunching of suspect readings to the more practical: what is so dangerous about global warming that we have to ruin the economies (and thereby the lives of the general population) of entire countries in vain attempts to counter it?

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      Radical Rodent

      (Please forgive me my missing apostrophe!)

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      Peter C

      Consider: we all accept that CO2 is a greenhouse gas (GHG); however, we all know that it is not a particularly good one;

      No we don’t. Some of us do not accept the Green House Gas Effect Theory at all.
      I read the theory. It seemed logical and reasonable, so I accepted it initially. I agree that empirical observations have shown that CO2 can absorb infrared radiation at certain wavelengths. That does not necessarily translate to CO2 getting hot, or causing heating of the Earth.

      All my tests so far; shining infrared at plastic bottles filled with CO2, styrofoam boxes filled with CO2 and covered with plastic film, then exposed to the sun, hot objects surrounded by foil to reflect their rays back etc have shown a null result. Therefore I suspect that either the radiative gases have no effect on temperature or alternatively they may cause cooling.

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        Radical Rodent

        Good point. Perhaps I could have said, “We accept that it is generally beleived that CO2 is a GHG…”

        As I have never considered the point of “greenhouse effect” being a bone of contention, I haven’t bothered investigating the claims.

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    Peter C

    Numbers and the Green House Gas Effect Theory

    <For those who like numbers!

    Green house gas effect theory.
    1. Atmosphere is transparent to short wave solar radiation.
    2. Solar radiation reaches and heats the Earth 's surface
    3. Earth is in radiative equilibrium with incoming solar radiation but emits at long wavelength (infrared).
    4. Green house gases absorb outgoing, long wavelength radiation and remit (scatter it) in all directions. Approximately half of this scattered radiation reaches the ground and is absorbed causing more heating. The other half goes out into space.
    5. Temperature of the Earth would be -18C without green house gases, compared with +15C as measured.

    Suppose that the solar input is 1 unit per unit area. In an atmosphere with no greenhouses gases Earth radiates energy at 1 unit per area. We now add green house gas. Half is returned and total heating is 1.5 units. Now Earth radiates 1.5 units. Half is returned (0.75). Add that to 1.5 and total heating is 2.25 units.
    The series is :
    1
    1.5
    2.25
    3.375
    The series increases to infinity. This is the runaway Greenhouse effect that some Slayers say disproves the greenhouse gas theory because it supposedly creates energy.

    However there is a second approach ( there may be more than 2).
    Sun contributes 1 unit of heating. Add greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. Half the radiation is returned and the total heating is 1.5 units (same as last example). This time however we say that the sun is still contributing 1 unit of heating. Outgoing radiation is 1.5 and half is returned (0.75). 1 unit from the sun and 0.75 from the atmosphere gives total heating of 1.75. On the next iteration the outgoing radiation is 1.75 and half is returned ( 0.8725). Total heating is 1 unit from the sun and 0.8725 from the atmosphere gives total,heating of 1.825.

    The series now is:
    1
    1.5
    1.75
    1.825

    This series does not go to infinity but converges on 2. In other words the number series converges on a new equilibrium at higher temperature.

    Which one properly represents the green house gas effect theory mathematically?

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