Learning, the act of gaining knowledge, is a craft unto itself. It starts with questions - the what ifs, how abouts, whys, . . . leading from the unknown to the known, through inquiry, experimentation, travel, and of course pure accident.

This is about how it happens in my life.

Know your Acronyms

Acronym for today: IPCC
International POLITICAL Climate CONSENSUS.


Having some geography and meteorology under my belt as a result of a very eclectic undergraduate education, I have always struggled with the whole anthropogenic global warming industry.  It wasn't that long ago - and I'm pretty sure what I learned then still applies.  For instance, consider the image above showing global wind patterns.  There were many images available, all the same. This one is from an educational resource portal for secondary school students.  It is the same image I was drawing into my lecture notes in university almost 20 years ago. Any thoughts why that warm moist air at the equator RISES? Maybe it has to do with the SUN shining down on that part of the earth more than anywhere else?  Wind drives weather patterns around the globe. Wind is a function of differential heating. The heating of the earth comes from the SUN.  El Nino and El Nina correlate with solar flare activity; the Mayans figured this out centuries ago.


So imagine my lack of surprise when I discovered that the UN (a political body) sponsored IPCC phenomena has only one solar physicist writing about the solar influence on climate.  Imagine that sinking sense of  futility to learn that the vaunted consensus is in this case a consensus of ONE! Not only that, but the primary scholarly article on which analysis was based was, you guessed it, written by that same solar physicist.
Other solar physicists, who's data this "scientist" was using, complained to the IPCC of improper manipulations and apparent lack of understanding of the primary data.   But no, there is  CONSENSUS!

FYI: Science doesn't operate by consensus.  When some enlightened Librarian is shouting me down about "10,000 scientists agree!" rather than having a reasoned discussion based on data and provable positions, I'm pretty sure we're in the realm of faith, not science.  When any and everyone who does not agree with the IPCC line is in the pay of "big oil" or some other nefarious bad guy, or essentially demonized, we are not talking about science.  Science may start with opinion, also known as theory, but it never ends there. It operates through theory development, testing, trial and error, changing hypotheses to fit the data, and retesting.   It does not CHANGE data to fit the theory.

Yes, there have been many theories that have help up over time even without the robust experimental data to support it. Evolution is one such theory. The "big bang" is another.  But these theories were adopted as reliable explanations because nothing else did the job as well as those theories AND there was no extant data to PROVE THE THEORY WRONG.  If the theory either didn't explain or was falsifiable we would not have the theory with us today.
In fact, as far as evolution is concerned, I'm inclined to say that at this point there is data that actually proves the theory right.  When you can tweak a few genes in a chicken to cause it to develop both permanent teeth and a tail more at home on a lizard than a bird, I'm thinking there must be some ancient chicken ancestor that looked upon us as dinner, not the other way around. 
But this is not the case with the global warming/climate change industry.  And it is an industry.  Billion dollar  non profits, based in the UK and US, for instance, are at the forefront of funding attack ads on numerous Canadian economic activities, including oil sands development and aquaculture.  Such attacks directly benefit US interests such as the Alaska fishery by undermining demand for comparable products.  Have you seen the reclamation success where oil sands developments were located? Are you listening for the First Nations voices that are working constructively and happily along side these companies?
Mis-information is one thing; deliberate obfuscation of scientific data in the name of politics and supposedly well meaning billionaires is another beast all together.

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