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Topic Title: E&T Magazine - Debate - Is climate change a man-made phenomenon?
Topic Summary: E&T Magazine - Debate - Is climate change a man-made phenomenon?
Created On: 21 November 2012 10:41 AM
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 08 December 2012 12:42 PM
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geoffbenn

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Which brings us nicely to Lord Christopher Monckton mentioned above who got himself in the news this week:
Lord Monckton ejected from COP18 Doha UN climate talks. And who is he again?: Christopher Monckton
Christopher Monckton is a non-scientist AGW denier, who has had articles published in The Guardian and in a non-peer-reviewed newsletter[1] of the American Physical Society (whose Council subsequently disagreed with Monckton's conclusions)[1] claiming that global warming is neither man-made nor likely to be catastrophic. Monckton has made various false claims in the past such as that he is a member of the British House of Lords.[2], a Nobel Prize winner, inventor of a cure for HIV, winner of a defamation case against George Monbiot and writer of a peer-reviewed article.


Fox is always biased: Fox Paints Birther's Climate Change Antics As Serious "Dissent"
Fox News portrayed the dismissal of British politician Christopher Monckton from the UN climate conference in Qatar as evidence that there was legitimate "dissent" against climate change being quashed. In fact, Monckton, who is known for incendiary antics and remarks, was expelled for violating the conference's code of conduct, and protesters on the other side of the issue were also expelled for similar violations.

Monckton was removed from the 2012 UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar, after impersonating a delegate from Myanmar in order to misleadingly claim that there has been "no global warming at all" for 16 years, obscuring the clear warming trend. He was subsequently barred from all future UN climate conferences.


Did global warming stop in 1998, 1995, 2002, 2007, 2010?
A common claim amongst climate "skeptics" is that the Earth has been cooling recently. 1998 was the first year claimed by "skeptics" for "Global Cooling". Then 1995 followed by 2002. 'Skeptics' have also emphasized the year 2007-2008 and most recently the last half of 2010.

NASA and climate scientists throughout the world have said, however, that the years starting since 1998 have been the hottest in all recorded temperature history. Do these claims sound confusing and contradictory? Has the Earth been cooling, lately?


So what do we have regarding the "conclusion"? Struggling to see that anything of significance challenges a value judgement conclusion for action being appropriate given the possible risk involved in getting it wrong.

The "interesting article" goes on to discuss spending now or later, so here is some further reading:
The economic impacts of carbon pricing
Of course we all know that it's often better to avoid future expense by paying a little in the short term...

Regards,

-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
 08 December 2012 05:06 PM
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westonpa

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It would seem that its all about the money now:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/scie...onment-20650534


"There has been a historic shift in the UN climate talks in Qatar, with the prospect of rich nations having to compensate poor nations for losses due to climate change."

Great idea in an economic downturn and after asking people to sign up to austerity measures.

http://www.businessinsider.com...e-change-2012-4


The headline of course is not technically correct!

"The group, which includes seven Apollo astronauts and two former directors of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, are dismayed over the failure of NASA, and specifically the Goddard Institute For Space Studies (GISS), to make an objective assessment of all available scientific data on climate change. They charge that NASA is relying too heavily on complex climate models that have proven scientifically inadequate in predicting climate only one or two decades in advance."

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ja...rming-alarmism/


"NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed."

http://www.petitionproject.org/index.php


31,487 American scientists have signed this petition, including 9,029 with PhDs.

"Petition project volunteers evaluate each signers's credentials, verify signer identities, and, if appropriate, add the signer's name to the petition list."

http://www.petitionproject.org...rticle_HTML.php


Part of their conclusions:

"Human use of coal, oil, and natural gas has not harmfully warmed the Earth, and the extrapolation of current trends shows that it will not do so in the foreseeable future."

Of course they may be wrong!

http://www.uoguelph.ca/news/20...al_warming.html


"Land-use modifications for urbanization and agriculture have affected climate change data more than previously thought, according to new research by a University of Guelph professor."

"The IPCC and other users of climate data need to consider the possibility that the basic data being used to study global warming are contaminated."

http://www.nocapandtrade.us/gr....htm#NASA_error


"In 1998 a team of scientists applied a statistical analysis to a selected data set of earth's past temperatures and reported that instead of having a Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Optimum over the past 1000 years, the earth's temperature was relatively flat, until the latter half of the twentieth century when it skyrocketed, allegedly providing proof positive that mankind was causing the warming due to CO2 emissions. The curve was called the Hockey Stick Curve because of the similarity of the graph to a hockey stick. Without verifying these results, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made this graph the centerpiece of its 2001 Summary for Policy Makers. When other scientists tried to verify the results, Dr. Michael Mann (the lead author of the study) refused to provide the data set to the scientists wanting to verify his results."

"Finally, two Canadian scientists found out the data set used by Mann, and analyzed Mann's statistical approach. They determined that Mann and his team used incorrect statistics to come up with the curve. In fact, it was so bad that the same curve was created even if they inputted a completely random data set."

http://www.climatedepot.com/a/...edible-any-more


"UN scientists turn on each other: UN Scientist Declares Climategate colleagues Mann, Jones and Rahmstorf 'should be barred from the IPCC process' -- They are 'not credible any more'"

http://epw.senate.gov/public/i...40-9efa4d43663d


"In short, Briffa, Mann, Jones, and others were aware of data that suggested that the world was warmer 1000 years ago, and rather than admit that openly, they intentionally hid it from public view. Moreover, they hid it by including temperature records in a dataset composed of tree ring data, which, by itself, is exceedingly questionable."

The Wegman Report:

http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckit...egmanReport.pdf


It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimatecommunity; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research m a terials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent.

http://www.space.dtu.dk/Englis...un_Climate.aspx


Climate models only include the effects of small variations in direct solar radiation (infrared, visible and UV). The effects of cosmic rays on clouds are not included in models, and the models do a rather poor job of simulating clouds in the present climate. Since cloud feedbacks are a large source of uncertainty, this is a reason for concern when viewing climate model predictions. The climate system is extremely complex and any estimate of the human contribution to climate change is very uncertain.

http://www.thegwpf.org/green-a...admits-osborne/


"Last night Treasury officials acknowledged that the Chancellor's comments in his leaked letter - describing APD as 'fundamentally a revenue raising duty' - represented Government thinking."

Spend the Green tax on Green projects!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/scie...onment-20653018


"Climate talks: UN forum extends Kyoto Protocol to 2020"

"However, it only covers developed nations whose share of world greenhouse gas emissions is less than 15%."

It would seem that the majority of the worlds nations are not convinced that climate change is a man made phenomenon. As we are not going to be doing enough, according to what the 'non skeptics' want we will in a 'relatively' short time period find how who was correct.

Regards.
 08 December 2012 08:14 PM
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geoffbenn

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Please just Google for: Global Warming Petition Project...

-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
 08 December 2012 08:15 PM
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geoffbenn

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Cosmic rays being a serious issue are a myth...

-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
 08 December 2012 08:16 PM
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geoffbenn

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I've covered peer review earlier today...

-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
 08 December 2012 08:18 PM
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geoffbenn

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The hockey stick myth has already been covered!

-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
 08 December 2012 08:23 PM
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cookers

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Weston pa

They determined that Mann and his team used incorrect statistics to come up with the curve. In fact, it was so bad that the same curve was created even if they inputted a completely random data set."



Not quite true, to be a bit "statistically nerdy", the statistical method used by professor Mann will produce a hockey stick from any random set of data that is autocorrelated such as red noise. Also Professor Mann revealed, when challenged, in a later study that his statistical methods "take no notice of the sign of the predictor".

In other words there is a lot of uncertainty in his result.
 08 December 2012 09:05 PM
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geoffbenn

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Regarding the NASA satellite data:

Alarm bells should ring as soon as such a short time scale is mentioned, especially anywhere near the oft quoted 1998.

Article is littered with the word 'alarmist' - not used in a professional context, so again alarm bells should ring "propaganda" loud and clear.

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.


Heartlands! - already covered.
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/James_M._Taylor
No climate expertise mentioned
It is unclear whether Mr. Taylor has any background in climate science.
The climate skeptic - criticizing climate science

Taylor has criticized climate change science through both his own publications and op/eds, and the Heartland Institute, which has consistently received funding from ExxonMobil. [3] While Taylor espouses through Environment and Climate News that climate change is neither a significant nor man-made problem, and that scientists who say it is are environmental extremists, others argue that a "major purpose of the publication has been to look at global warming from industry's perspective" rather than through the viewpoint of real science. [4]


http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Roy_Spencer- far too much on there to quote, I hardly know where to start!

Westonpa, please please please will you do a bit of checking before you post? The Internet is an amazing resource if used carefully. It is also an absolute free for all...!

Regards

-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation

Edited: 08 December 2012 at 09:19 PM by geoffbenn
 08 December 2012 09:11 PM
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geoffbenn

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Posts, articles and papers which refer to science which has already been rebutted simply undermine themselves. When are we going to see something which really makes us think the climate science is seriously wrong?

-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
 08 December 2012 09:27 PM
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robmercel

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The issues with Mann's work are easily understood by anyone with an engineering background. As a fellow climate scientist wrote:

" He is just as capable of regressing these data again any other "target" series , such as the increasing trend of self-opinionated verbage [sic] he has produced over the last few years , and ... (better say no more) Keith [Briffa] "

It is not just the uncertainty of his reconstructions but the fact that the methods used reduce historical variations so tell us little or nothing about past climate change.
 08 December 2012 09:45 PM
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dholland

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Geoff Benn,
Whats this about then?
http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=2526.txt
Here is a clue:
http://www.publications.parlia...limatedata/uc2402.htm
Forget the science. On that reasonable people can disagree.
David Holland
 08 December 2012 10:06 PM
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geoffbenn

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Originally posted by: dholland

Geoff Benn,

Whats this about then?

http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=2526.txt

Here is a clue:

http://www.publications.parlia...data/uc2402.htm

Forget the science. On that reasonable people can disagree.

David Holland

A memo from you dated Feb 2010. ClimateGate is old news.

-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
 08 December 2012 10:16 PM
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dholland

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Geoff,
It may be old news, but it's why you and others are having to working overtime.
Explain to those less expert in this subject than you goodself just what and why world class climate scientists were squirreling away in their emails.
David Holland
 08 December 2012 10:54 PM
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dholland

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Geoff,

I would bet you don't think too much of what Wegman said about Mann and his PCA in 2006, but this is what the acknowledged world expert on PCA emailed me in 2005 after Mann's Radio 4 PM interview:

"Dear David

I'm afraid that I can't offer you much enlightenment. I did not hear Michael Mann on the Today programme. Nor do I know what 'seminal work' you refer to, or how or why he references me. From your email it may be a talk I gave in Cape Town last year, which was a brief review of alternative centerings - I can't see that it said enough to used as a recommendation.

My one (anonymous) interaction with Mann, his co-workers and his critics was last year when I acted as a referee for an exchange of views submitted to Nature. After a couple of iterations I came to conclusion that I simply could not understand what was being done sufficiently well to judge whether Mann's methodology was sound, but I certainly would not endorse it. At least one other referee came to same conclusion. Although the exchange was not published in Nature I believe it may have appeared on a web site. I don't know whether the methodology noted in your email is the same as that which referees found too opaque and/or complicated to understand."

David Holland
 09 December 2012 10:14 AM
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geoffbenn

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Congratulations David Holland!

Best fun yet!

Originally posted by: dholland

Geoff,

It may be old news, but it's why you and others are having to working overtime.

Explain to those less expert in this subject than you goodself just what and why world class climate scientists were squirreling away in their emails.

David Holland


What do the 'Climategate' hacked CRU emails tell us?
A number of independent enquiries have investigated the conduct of the scientists involved in the emails. All have cleared the scientists of any wrong doing:

Note that the enquiry dates are all after David Holland's email of Feb 2010.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Wegman_Report
The so-called Wegman Report, written by Edward Wegman, David W. Scott and Yasmin Said, purported to critically examine Michael Mann's "Hockey Stick" "past temperature" reconstruction and its critiques by Steve McIntyre and Ross McKittrick.

And Wegman agreed to a process that not only excluded climate scientists, but also involved [Republican Congressional staffer] Peter Spencer as a key conduit and gatekeeper providing climate science documentation and commentary. And all this was done by a House committee that had refused to even acknowledge the offer of a proper scientific review from the National Academy of Sciences.

The Wegman report's statistical criticisms of the Michael Mann's hockey stick finding don't invalidate the hockey stick finding, which has been corroborated by further research and better statistical analysis.[4]


Which actually explains why the email response below includes " I simply could not understand what was being done sufficiently well to judge whether Mann's methodology was sound".

Originally posted by: dholland
Geoff,

I would bet you don't think too much of what Wegman said about Mann and his PCA in 2006, but this is what the acknowledged world expert on PCA emailed me in 2005 after Mann's Radio 4 PM interview:

"Dear David

I'm afraid that I can't offer you much enlightenment. I did not hear Michael Mann on the Today programme. Nor do I know what 'seminal work' you refer to, or how or why he references me. From your email it may be a talk I gave in Cape Town last year, which was a brief review of alternative centerings - I can't see that it said enough to used as a recommendation.

My one (anonymous) interaction with Mann, his co-workers and his critics was last year when I acted as a referee for an exchange of views submitted to Nature. After a couple of iterations I came to conclusion that I simply could not understand what was being done sufficiently well to judge whether Mann's methodology was sound, but I certainly would not endorse it. At least one other referee came to same conclusion. Although the exchange was not published in Nature I believe it may have appeared on a web site. I don't know whether the methodology noted in your email is the same as that which referees found too opaque and/or complicated to understand."

David Holland


So who is Edward Wegman?

Peter Sinclair interview with Michael Mann

Duly noted in this video is a point in Congressional hearings where it becomes painfully obvious that Wegman is not a climate scientist and does not understand the most basic climate science, as he notes that CO2 is heavier than air and should, as a result, reside close to the planet surface
- I would love to have been a fly on the wall at that hearing! I can just imagine the embarrassed looks and paper shuffling!

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Edward_Wegman

notable for coauthoring the 2006 Committee on Energy and Commerce Report (Wegman Report), which criticized Michael Mann's "hockey stick" finding - and which has since been found to contain plagiarized sections (including text lifted from a researcher it criticized)[1] and other weaknesses.

In October 2010, George Mason University (GMU) announced they were conducting a formal investigation into charges of plagiarism and misconduct related to the Wegman Report.[9] In November 2010, USA Today reported that the "review of the 91-page report, by three experts contacted by USA Today, found repeated instances of passages lifted word for word and what appear to be thinly disguised paraphrases."

October 2011: more apparent Wikipedia copying found in Wegman-coauthored 2009 review article.

Oh dear , so if I understand this correctly, he badly paraphrases stuff from someone he's criticised, clever! And he's copying WikiPedia (actually not so bad, except when you claim to be an expert, and except when you've already criticised the author). And David Holland seems to think it significant that Edward Wegman writes "I simply could not understand"...

It's a really exiting to see this from your angle! It's just absolutely incredible! No one could have made it up! I reckon this could be turned into a comedy film , I think they've already done the documentary version... Do you have any more material? Silly question, sorry.

It's just that it's actually all far too serious...

Good Luck!

OK, so David Holland has taken us through old news as I said above. Lots more delaying tactics, and creation of doubt (just like the tobacco industry...), going over old ground. So the question is, are we any clearer on the concensus? Have we found any worthwhile evidence that the current conclusions are wrong given the urgency of the issue?

-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
 09 December 2012 11:21 AM
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amillar

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Originally posted by: westonpa
I ask myself if the powers that be have seen all this alarmist propoganda and it is so overwelmingly convincing then why:
"But this conference - the 18th Conference of the Parties, or COP18 - will not prevent any CO2 being released into the atmosphere - that will be left to future meetings. Indeed if it does not tighten the rules on "hot air" this conference could result in an increase in emissions."
[...]
Strange really considering some here think there is a clear consensus on climate change and the data is so wonderfully clear. It is not the climate which needs to be sorted out but rather we need to sort out ourselves.....someone had better get a computer model ready for that.

Well, quite. The world is not a dictatorship run by scientists (thank goodness!); it is run by non-expert politicians trying to do the best they can for those who will re-elect them every few years. Unfortunately no-one has yet found a democratic (or undemocratic) model that effectively copes with seriously long term planning (particularly in a recession!), and I'd fully agree that that is another big problem that needs to be addressed.

In any country, any government that tried to take effective measures to combat climate change would be removed from power (one way or another depending on that nation's political style!), not because of the lack of evidence but because in the short term it's going to make a lot of people very upset. No-one likes governments introducing austerity measures unless the country is going to war against another country (human beings really are rather odd). The only way to combat this is education, which we just have to accept is going to take a very long time.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 09 December 2012 12:37 PM
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geoffbenn

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Hi Andy,

Originally posted by: amillar
The only way to combat this is education, which we just have to accept is going to take a very long time.

Unfortunately soooo true...

Regards,

-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
 09 December 2012 07:48 PM
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angusmurchie

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Some suggestions for other topics that engineers who haven't studied the subject should be asked for their opinion on:

1) Does Einstein's General Theory of Relativity fully explain Gravity? (we'll assume that everyone "believes" that gravity actually exists and isn't a conspiracy theory made up by a group of self-interested so-called "experts" who are trying to force the rest of us to keep our feet on the ground and prevent us all from reaching for the stars)

Arguing for the case we could have a well-respected theoretical physicist who is an acknowledged expert in the field and should therefore be ignored in favour of the TV personality/failed ex-politician who can see through this theory for the alarmist, irrational and badly schooled nonsense it really is.


2) Does the Theory of Evolution explain how the diverse life forms now observable came about? (hopefully everyone will accept that there is indeed a lot of life still around despite our best efforts to send as much of it extinct as we can, as fast as possible)

Arguing for the case we could have again have an expert in the field - perhaps that chap Richard Dawkins who never courts controversy. Against him we could have a charismatic creationist who is absolutely certain that the Earth is only 5,700 to 10,000 years old, that every word in bible is true and that reasoned scientific debate based on facts which completely de-bunks alternatives is the work of the devil.

Angus Murchie BA (Hons) BSc (Hons) CEng MIET
 09 December 2012 10:15 PM
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amillar

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It will probably come as little surprise to those that have come across him that I'm a bit of a Tim Minchin fan:
"But evolution is only a theory!", which is true, it is a theory, it's good that they say that, I think, it gives you hope, doesn't it, that - that maybe they feel the same way about the theory of gravity... and they might just float * away.

* expletive deleted

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 09 December 2012 10:36 PM
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dholland

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Geoff,

You can Wiki Edward Wegman but the email that I quoted is not from him. The top PCA man was a Brit, now retired I think.

It has been interesting to see what the silent majority of IET Members think, which is what my exerience is but at odds with our Journal and you.

I had hoped to get you to address the three points I first raised, but you would have been the first alarmist to do so. Regretably I have more pressing matters to deal with so I must say cheerio.

David Holland
Statistics

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