Scientists oppose junk climate science – even when supportive!

The Times Atlas of the World exaggerated the rate of Greenland’s ice loss in its thirteenth edition last week, scientists said. The atlas, published by HarperCollins, showed that Greenland lost 15 percent of its ice cover over the past 12 years, based on information from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado in the United States…

However, a number of scientists disputed the claim.

“We believe that the figure of a 15 percent decrease in permanent ice cover since the publication of the previous atlas 12 years (ago) is both incorrect and misleading,” said Poul Christoffersen, glaciologist at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) at the University of Cambridge. “We concluded that a sizable portion of the area mapped as ice-free in the Atlas is clearly still ice-covered.”

Other scientists agreed.

These new maps are ridiculously off base, way exaggerated relative to the reality of rapid change in Greenland,” said Jeffrey S. Kargel, senior research scientist at the University of Arizona…

Professional pundits and ideologues – pretending to be science-based skeptics – rarely understand the function of peer review includes every conceivable aspect of evaluation and judgement.

Scientists exposing what they perceive to be an unscientific exaggeration – even if it supports a portion of a widely-held thesis like climate change – is unacceptable because it’s bad science. Not that any flavor of lying makes a difference to the know-nothings.

Statement from the US Army – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal

Today marks the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell“. The law is repealed. From this day forward Gay and Lesbian soldiers may serve in our Army with the dignity and respect they deserve. Our rules, regulations and policies reflect the repeal guidance issues by the Department of Defense and will apply uniformly without regard to sexual orientation, which is a personal and private matter.

Click on the link above for the whole statement.


Homophobes and other bigots will keep at it. Some are filing suit to try to overturn the law, They have no understanding of history or comprehension of civil rights under our Constitution.

They are crap spilling over the rim of the overstuffed garbage can of history.

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft returns beauty from asteroid Vesta

A new video from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft takes us on a flyover journey above the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta.

The data obtained by Dawn’s framing camera, used to produce the visualizations, will help scientists determine the processes that formed Vesta’s striking features. It will also help Dawn mission fans all over the world visualize this mysterious world, which is the second most massive object in the main asteroid belt.

You’ll notice in the video that Vesta is not entirely lit up. There is no light in the high northern latitudes because, like Earth, Vesta has seasons. Currently it is northern winter on Vesta, and the northern polar region is in perpetual darkness. When we view Vesta’s rotation from above the south pole, half is in darkness simply because half of Vesta is in daylight and half is in the darkness of night .

Another distinct feature seen in the video is a massive circular structure in the south pole region. Scientists were particularly eager to see this area close-up, since NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope first detected it years ago. The circular structure, or depression, is several hundreds of kilometers wide, with cliffs that are also several miles high. One impressive mountain in the center of the depression rises approximately 15 kilometers above the base of this depression, making it one of the highest elevations on all known bodies with solid surfaces in the solar system.

Enjoy. Who knows? Your children or grandchildren may visit someday.

The rain in Spain

Thousands of pro-independence Basque citizens march in the rain in San Sebastián, northern Spain, to demand the freedom of Arnaldo Otegi, the former leader of outlawed Basque independence party Batasuna who was sentenced on 16 September to 10 years in jail.

I went looking for photos of the demonstration; but, my eye was caught by all the umbrellas. In Seattle or Boston, even in London or Glasgow, you wouldn’t see so many umbrellas in a rainy demonstration.

I haven’t the slightest explanation for the preference. It rings no responsive chord in these Celtic genes.

Sony orders gamers to sign away rights or face ban from PSN

Sony is preparing to ban gamers from the PlayStation Network (PSN) unless they waive the right to collectively sue it over future security breaches. The firm has amended PSN’s terms and conditions and users have to agree to them next time they log in…

The new clauses, dubbed “Binding Individual Arbitration,” state that “any Dispute Resolution Proceedings, whether in arbitration or court, will be conducted only on an individual basis and not in a class or representative action or as a named or unnamed member in a class, consolidated, representative or private attorney general action”…

Those that want to opt out will have to send a letter to Sony’s Los Angeles headquarters in the US. Once they do, the subscribers will be able to keep their right to file a class action lawsuit without any need for arbitration.

But before subscribers have a chance to opt out, they will still be required to agree to the new terms the next time they log into their accounts. Otherwise they will not be able to use the online services.

In many countries, forcing individuals to agree to contracts which violate constitutional rights – are automatically invalid. Someone might mention that to Sony.

Get rid of closed primaries – let independents vote!

One year ago this week, America got a wake-up call about a core problem in our politics that empowers ideological extremists and special interests…

In the tea party-driven purges of 2010, Mike Castle was considered a traitor to the conservative cause because he had a record of working across the aisle. And so they turned to activist and serial candidate Christine O’Donnell.

Keep a few things in mind. O’Donnell had just five in-state donations in the first quarter of the 2010 cycle. But in the third quarter, as the RINO-hunting fever took hold, she received a quarter-million dollars in tea party national activist cash.

On September 14, 2010, she beat Castle in a closed partisan primary in which only 32% of Republicans voted (and keep in mind that Republicans are a distinct minority in Delaware).

The result? In November, Republicans lost a Senate seat they were likely to win, especially in a GOP-leaning year…

Mayor Adrian Fenty’s story in Washington is less well known, but no less resonant. Tea party primary challenges are already infamous, but left-wing challenges to more centrist Democrats are in the process of catching up…

The real issue in his re-election, however, was his embrace of education reform, led by his controversial but nationally known schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee — one of the stars of the education reform documentary “Waiting for Superman.”

Teachers unions are among the top donors to Democratic campaigns. They expect their way to be obeyed. And they decided to use Fenty as an example. They ended up pouring about $1 million into the September closed partisan primary, in which Fenty faced City Council President Vincent Gray.

That money — and directly linked get-out-the-vote efforts — ended Fenty’s tenure as mayor despite a majority of residents saying that the city had improved under his watch…

The parties have forgotten that they are not the purpose of our politics. So here’s one reform whose time has come: Replace closed partisan primaries with open primaries — like those in California and New Hampshire and many other states — allowing independents and other candidates full access to the political process.

RTFA. There’s a bunch of details over at the original article for those of you who follow the smell of American politics – within the least progressive 2-party system ever created to satisfy the needs of corporate dollars and congressional clowns.

Open primaries only let you vote once; so, you must choose the primary you want to participate in. This whole process could be taken a couple more steps towards real democracy; but, this alone would be a big step. I would no longer have to register as a Democrat long enough to get through primary season in New Mexico – and then unregister to sleep easier as an independent.

The Beatles banned segregated audiences

The Beatles showed their support for the US civil rights movement by refusing to play in front of segregated audiences, a contract shows.

The document, which is to be auctioned next week, relates a 1965 concert at the Cow Palace in California. Signed by manager Brian Epstein, it specifies that The Beatles “not be required to perform in front of a segregated audience”.

The agreement also guarantees the band payment of $40,000 (£25,338). Other requirements include a special drumming platform for Ringo Starr and the provision of 150 uniformed police officers for protection…

The Beatles had previously taken a public stand on civil rights in 1964, when they refused to perform at a segregated concert at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida.

City officials relented, allowing the stadium to be integrated, and the band took to the stage.

“We never play to segregated audiences and we aren’t going to start now,” said John Lennon. “I’d sooner lose our appearance money.”

I knew there was another great reason why I always loved the Beatles. Actually, among folks active in the civi rights movement – in the Land of the Free – we all knew about the Beatles’ stance against racism. It was only the “official” newspapers and radio and TV stations that wouldn’t admit it.