October 22, 2011

IPCC authors: “They are people who are at the top of their profession”

Filed under: Books, Environment, Media, Science — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 12:15

Whether you’re a global warming/climate change skeptic or not, Donna Laframboise has a book that might be of interest to you:

The people who write the IPCC’s report — which is informally known as the Climate Bible — are supposedly the crème de la crème of world science. Rajendra Pachauri, the person who has been the IPCC’s chairman since 2002, tells us this repeatedly. In 2007 he explained to a newspaper how his organization selects individuals to help write the Climate Bible: “These are people who have been chosen on the basis of their track record, on their record of publications, on the research that they have done,” he said. “They are people who are at the top of their profession.”

Two years later, when testifying before a committee of the U.S. Senate, Pachauri argued that “all rational persons” should be persuaded by the IPCC’s conclusions since his organization mobilizes “the best talent available across the world.”

[. . .]

A close look at the IPCC’s roster of authors reveals that — on a wide range of topics including hurricanes, sea-level rise, and malaria — some of the world’s most seasoned specialists have been left out in the cold. In their stead, the IPCC has been recruiting 20-something graduate students.

For example, Laurens Bouwer is currently employed by an environmental studies institute at the VU University Amsterdam. In 1999-2000, he served as an IPCC lead author before earning his Masters degree in 2001.

How can a young man without even a master’s degree become an IPCC lead author? Bouwer’s expertise is in climate change and water resources. Yet the chapter for which he first served as a lead author was titled Insurance and Other Financial Services.

It turns out that, during part of 2000, Bouwer was a trainee at Munich Reinsurance Company. This means the IPCC chose as a lead author someone who was a trainee, who lacked a master’s degree, and was still a full decade away from receiving his 2010 PhD.

Egyptian Facebook comments get man jailed for three years

Filed under: Africa, Law, Religion, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:37

The “Arab Spring” may have ousted the head of state in Egypt, but it has done little to liberalize the common experience of life. Things like speaking your mind on religious topics can get you jailed:

An Egyptian court sentenced a man to three years in jail with hard labour on Saturday for insulting Islam in postings on Facebook, the official MENA news agency reported.

The Cairo court found that Ayman Yusef Mansur “intentionally insulted the dignity of the Islamic religion and attacked it with insults and ridicule on Facebook,” the agency reported.

The court said his insults were “aimed at the Noble Koran, the true Islamic religion, the Prophet of Islam and his family and Muslims, in a scurrilous manner,” the agency reported.

It did not provide details on what he had written that was deemed to be offensive.

This probably explains why the “typical” comic book reader is no longer a young teen

Filed under: Economics, Media — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 11:30

It’s all in the economics of the comic book world:

Looking at the graph we can see that the relative price of a comic book stayed around a buck until 1970 or so, slowly ramping up to a buck fifty over the next 15 years. That’s a 50% increase. From 1985 to 2000 the price almost doubles (100%) getting neat three dollars. From 2000 to 2011, it’s around a 33% increase.

It’s a fact that costs increase over time, so I’m not saying prices could remain at a buck forever. But it is hard to see how young kids and teenagers can get into comic books, it’s simply too expensive. For $20 you get 5-7 books. Serious comic readers will pick up 10-20 books a week. A few years ago, when I was a more regular reader, I would the totals of other people routinely $30-50 a week. That’s $120-200 per MONTH. There can’t be many parents helping pay that much for a kid’s comic habit.

When my family came to Canada in 1967, one of the things I missed the most were British comics. Canadian American comics were very different from what I was used to, so I never really became much of a comic collector. I’d pick up the odd few, but it never was a “have to buy” item for me. I remember having to decide whether I wanted the immediate satisfaction of a chocolate bar or a can of pop, or the slightly longer-term satisfaction of a comic book. Immediate satisfaction won more of the time, and with my princely 25 cents per week allowance, there wasn’t a lot of satisfaction whichever way I decided to go.

Yet another bit of bad news for Vikings fans

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:13

The Vikings were already hurting in the secondary, with cornerback Antoine Winfield probably out with a neck injury that’s been bothering him for the last two weeks, and safety Jamarca Sanford out with a concussion. Now, Tom Pelissero reports that the Vikings will be even weaker at cornerback tomorrow, as Chris Cook (who had been starting in place of Winfield) has been arrested on domestic assault charges:

The Minnesota Vikings’ second-year cornerback was being held without bail at Hennepin County Jail early Saturday morning on two domestic assault charges, according to jail records. A source confirmed it is the Vikings’ cornerback.

Cook, 24, was booked into the jail at 4:06 a.m. Saturday on two misdemeanor domestic assault charges. His first court appearance is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. Monday.

Early indications were that means Cook would remain in jail while the Vikings play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon.

And here is the most recent bit of doom-and-gloom from the ESPN1500 team (recorded before Cook’s arrest):

This week in Guild Wars 2 news

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 09:34

I’ve been accumulating news snippets about the as-yet-to-be-formally-scheduled release of Guild Wars 2 for an email newsletter I send out to my friends and acquaintances in the Guild Wars community. I think this has been the slowest week for GW2 news since I started doing the weekly round-up earlier this year. Hopefully this is just a temporary slowdown.


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