Quote of the Week – Grist thinks spontaneous human combustion might be a convincing bit of evidence for AGW

There’s been some wild claims out there the past few days since BEST released their results in a media blitzkrieg on October 20th prior to peer review.  But this one from Grist writer Jess Zimmerman has to rank up there as the most bizarre – ever.

She writes: (emphasis mine)

This raises the question: What will it take to convince deniers? What if they burned up in their shoes, would that do it? What if God came down and drew a hockey stick graph on the wall? What if Dumbledore explained it using his Pensieve? Look, if science doesn’t work, it’s going to have to be God, magic, or spontaneous combustion; that’s just a fact of nature.

Umm… news flash Jess. The BEST data shows that the world had been warming since 1800, long before we even had Tyndall and Arrhenius looking at CO2, long before the industrial revolution, and long before SUV’s, Exxon, modern living and the many other things attributed to causing warming appeared on the scene.

So far I have not seen any correlation with increased spontaneous human combustion.

Perhaps Jess missed the things that I agree with. I’m sure she’ll take the time to read my Agreements and Disagreements Essay and append her article.

Have a look at some of the other work from Jess by clicking on her Grist image, it’s a real eye opener. So is her “she writes” page.

h/t to Tom Nelson

=======================================================

UPDATE: Reader Keith points out this blatant lie from Jess Zimmerman in another recent story:

Sorry Jess, I call bullshit on you: From NASA Earth Observatory:

2011 Sea Ice Minimum

acquired September 9, 2011
Color bar for 2011 Sea Ice Minimum
acquired September 1, 2010 – September 30, 2011 download animation (8 MB, QuickTime)

In September 2011, sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean declined to the second-lowest extent on record. Satellite data from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) showed that the summertime ice cover narrowly avoided a new record low.

How do people like this get to be writers?

I’ve emailed Dr. Walt Meier at NSIDC to ask him to ask Grist to make a correction. We’ll see how interested either are in truth.

==============================================================

UPDATE2: Within 15 minutes of emailing him, Dr. Walt Meier of NSIDC posted this on the Grist article:

Walt Meier

The statement “The Arctic now has ice-free summers, 90 years in advance of predictions.” is most definitely flat-out wrong. The Arctic has not had less than 4 million square kilometers, in our data and any other source one cares to look at, even at the summer minimum.While extent and thickness are decreasing and ice-free summers are certainly possible, even probable, in much less than 90 years, we are not there yet. Not even close.

Walt Meier

Research Scientist

National Snow and Ice Data Center

University of Colorado

Good for him. Thank you Dr. Meier. Now we just need to alert the Grist editors, WUWT readers let ’em know please! http://www.grist.org/contact/contact-us

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CodeTech

March 20th?
REPLY: Typo, fixed, thanks – Anthony

JER

Maybe it’s a trial balloon: “deniers need to be exterminated.”

Is Jess Mike Roddy’s long-lost child?

Richard Abbott

Good lord – these people really do have soup for brains.

Curiousgeorge

Seems to me Ms. Zimmermans’ head is about to explode – spontaneously. Does that count, and would it prove her thesis? Nah. It would make a mess in the kitchen tho.

Jimmy Haigh

Oh dear. Another one.

Bruce

“What if God came down and drew a hockey stick graph on the wall?”
Yup. That would do it. But until then try claiming the graph referenced in this post proves the globe is warming.
http://climateaudit.org/2011/10/22/first-thoughts-on-best/#comment-307402
To me it says: Some stations are warming, some aren’t and it would be really interesting if we knew why CO2 was so damn selective!

From Jess’ website ( http://www.shewrites.com/profile/JessZimmerman )
Who I am:
I make words into sentences for people who will pay me.
Ideally I would write for Hitchhiker’s Guide Trivia, Songs I Like, Defunct TV Shows, Futile Rage, Hair Color Tips, Weird Comic Books, and Strong Opinions About Adventure Games Monthly.
Failing that I prefer to write about science, nerd things, and ladybusiness.

Mike Bromley the Kurd

I wonder what long-time Gristophile Daniel Coffey is thinking about this?

pat

There is a lot invested in AGW, a great deal of need on the part of Warmists to participate in the remaking of the world. Hence a bit of hysteria upon rejection.

Severian

What would it take? Well, REAL science would do it, but there’s precious little of that in climate science these days.

Mike

I take it some are praying to the great co2 god that deniers are taken first. That co2 must be really rather smart and selective as well as being powerful. Oh oh, I feel a warm spot on the back of my head, whew! It was only the sun shine coming through the hatch. It does get hot down here in the tropics! TG for jets, so one can jet back and forth between the tropics and the land of the delusion up North where it is not so warm.

CodeTech

I wonder if people like Jess ever consider the fact that there are those who know more about things than she does. I wonder if she ever wondered why there are some scientists who say one thing, and others who disagree. I wonder… but does she?
Just because someone is an “expert” doesn’t even remotely make them correct about anything. I wonder how someone can be a “journalist” and never consider the other side of any given story. The whole concept of a “climate scientist” is new, it’s invented, it’s recent, and it would be insane to believe that they are all getting it right, all the time.
I wonder if people like Jess ever consider that practically everyone on one side of an issue have certain political leanings, while those on the other side have opposing political leanings… What would it take to have her consider that AGW believers want to take money from the first world and give it to the third world, while “deniers” think the third world should be encouraged to develop themselves using inexpensive, abundant energy… I wonder what it would take to make people like Jess stop repeating everything they’re told and actually start investigating facts…
And finally, I wonder what it would be like to live in a black and white, wrong and right, “truth” vs. “denier” reality, where you can write stuff like that, completely secure in the knowledge that “deniers” are uneducated dolts, while believers are enlightened, compassionate, intelligent evolved beings.

RobWansbeck

It may already have started:
” A man who burned to death in his home died as a result of spontaneous combustion, an Irish coroner has ruled. “
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15032614

Pull My Finger

Grist, which I’m shocked to still find in “print”, is about as serious and reputable as The Onion… only they don’t intend it to be so. Really, this is journalism akin to Creem and Tiger Beat in gravitas. Next Week: Scott Baio reveals his Eco-Turn Offs and the Fonz goes vegan for his next jacket.

ShrNfr

Spontaneous human combustion has long since be debunked. Yes, with enough body fat, you can get a human being to burn at low temperatures. A little heat from a per-existing fire liquifies the fat and catches fire which will liquify more fat, etc. There are films of burning human corpses that are not being burned by the use of gasoline or other accelerator from reputable sources like police departments. Good grief, what is next. Ghosts, dakini, or other spirits. I though Keynes said they only effect the stock market, not the weather.

ChrisH

Since every visit by Gore and every international meeting trying to control CO2 is accompanied by unseasonally cold weather, it would seem that the Almighty has already given us some indication as to what’s going on!

wobble

Jess Zimmerman doesn’t seem to have any type of science background at all. Her “science” pieces seem purely political.
And she doesn’t seem to have much of a following. She seems to get 0 – 6 comments per post. Her post about Anthony Watts has 4 comments and 3 of them are defending Anthony.

jorgekafkazar

Invoking God, now, are they? Well, it had to happen, sooner or later. Climatology has always been one part Science, two parts Religion, and three parts Ultra-Left Politics. Think Marx in a mitre wearing a lab coat.
/straight line

Robert

That’s hard to reconcile with Watts’ past statements. In a document he prepared for a think tank, Watts had written, “Instrumental temperature data for the pre-satellite era (1850-1980) have been so widely, systematically, and unidirectionally tampered with that it cannot be credibly asserted there has been any significant ‘global warming’ in the 20th century.”

gnomish

i think she’s invented a new logical fallacy- the ad dumbledore.
good to see she has a deep well of worldly experience from which to draw her metaphors.
profound.

Wade

“What if God came down and drew a hockey stick graph on the wall?”
As far as I know, the only time God wrote on a wall was to pronounce doom on the Chaldeans on the night that the Persians conquered the city of Babylon. And he didn’t draw, he wrote a message. This is where we get the expression “the writing on the wall”. Maybe Jess sees the writing on the wall and knows that the jig is up. In fact, maybe Jess Zimmerman should read the Bible book of Daniel, the meaning of the writing on the wall can apply to the global warming empire.

joe

thanks Jess, for opening your mouth and removing all doubt….

Dave, UK

“Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It’s just not really widely reported.”
Spoken by David St. Hubbins, in the documentary This Is Spinal Tap.
So there you have it, stated on the record, by someone who has witnessed it happening first-hand. As Zimmerman rightly states: it’s a fact of nature. And that’s a fact.

Mike McMillan

I’m not worried about spontaneous human combustion. I have Blue Cross.
But I do keep a bucket of water nearby.

Alan

I used to find offensive their using of the word “deniers” to label the skeptics, but not anymore. The more they use it, the more hysterical they sound like and that doesn’t help their cause.

Babsy

If all the CO2 goes into the atmosphere how is limestone formed?

hunter

That is going to rank down there with the media people who decided that this change in temps has also caused the alleged shrinkage in animal life that Nature magazine was promoting lately.

The problems with sarcasm as a rhetorical device are that (1) it is misinterpreted so often that the critic’s credibility is challenged (as was that of Jonathan Swift with “A Modest Proposal”), (2) it is often wielded against straw men, who are far more readily recognized as such that one might suspect, and (3) the arguments often degenerate into ad hominem attacks which evade the real issues.

R. Gates

Anthony said:
“The BEST data shows that the world had been warming since 1800, long before we even had Tyndall and Arrhenius looking at CO2, long before the industrial revolution…”
—-
We can all agree that 1800 was long before Tyndall and Arrhenius, but I’m sure you know that the Industrial Revolution is ususally cited as beginning well before that date.
And if you’d believe some of those who would posit that we’ve left the Holocene and have entered the Anthropocene, the more extreme of these views such as those of William Ruddiman would say humans began altering the nature of the Holocene climate thousands of years ago with large-scale agriculture practices.

REPLY:
re industrial revolution – Show me how much manufacturing capacity and automobiles and oil use there was between 1800 and 1900 compared to 1900-2000 – Anthony

1dandyTroll

Ah, the old reference-to-imaginary-fantasy-character-trick, clever, clever, if you’re already in an insane asylum, otherwise doh that’s where you end up if you’re using it in the outside world.
:p

Latitude

I don’t think you can blame this on ignorance any more…………….

littlepeaks

At work, I analyze samples for brominated fire retardants (Polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs)). They’re everywhere in the environment. They’re especially high in house dust and sometimes in fish tissue. Judging from the widespread detections of this environmental contaminant, I’d say no one has to worry about spontaneously combusting in the not-to-distant future. LOL

Jesse

Slightly off-topic: While researching Ms. Zimmerman, I came across the following which you might find interesting. It discusses the relationship between CO2 and flooding in the US.
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02626667.2011.621895
and
http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3006&from=rss_home

edbarbar

That run up from 1813 to 1827 looks mighty steep. The black line looks like about .75 degrees C, with a minimum change of 0 degrees C and a maximum change of about 1.4 degrees c. And it occurred in a smaller window than the .9 degrees C since about 1980. And that run down from 1800 to 1813 looks pretty steep too. Hopefully we won’t get the maximum down from that. Brrr.

R. Gates

We can all agree that 1800 was long before Tyndall and Arrhenius, but I’m sure you know that the Industrial Revolution is ususally cited as beginning well before that date.
And if you’d believe some of those who would posit that we’ve left the Holocene and have entered the Anthropocene, the more extreme of these views such as those of William Ruddiman would say humans began altering the nature of the Holocene climate thousands of years ago with large-scale agriculture practices.
REPLY:re industrial revolution – Show me how much manufacturing capacity and automobiles and oil use there was between 1800 and 1900 compared to 1900-2000 – Anthony
___
Seems you want to change the metric here? Didn’t know you were discussing types or quantities of manufacturing. Of course the revolution continued to accelerate after 1800, but it began well before. You always seem to want to aim for precision, and if there are any youngsters reading this site, we wouldn’t want them go away thinking the Industrial Revolution started after 1800, when in fact is started several decades before that.

REPLY:
Still waiting for your to show me that data I requested – Anthony

Zac

She does have a point. Perhaps cremation should be banned and in the interests of carbon capture all bodies buried six foot under.

Athelstan.

I wonder if she helped draft, the British climate Act 2008, she’s right out there email: space cadets.gov/planet-zog ………………. !

Hey Anthony,
I went to this Zimmerman woman’s blog – the usual spittle. But, what about these solar roof shingles she’s talking about? Is that for real? Says it would cost about $11-12,000 for the average roof and converter box. Is this going to take off? I’m wondering, what’s the catch?
I’ve been wanting to talk to you about fuel cells – we studied them for school, and they seem to be so wonderful. I’ll wait til you feel like blogging it. But here’s my question – is it possible for say, a city, to buy up houses around town, tear them down, put in these fuel cells, and power the surrounding neighborhood? Is that crazy?

CodeTech

gnomish says:

i think she’s invented a new logical fallacy- the ad dumbledore.

Viewers of South Park will probably recognize this as the Wookie Defense…
I meant, come on! It’s Dumbledore! Who doesn’t love Dumbledore?! Well, besides Death Eaters…

And, for the record, I want to be combusted when I die, and scattered over my compost pile like Lee Hays. Google it.

Al Gore's Holy Hologram

Dear Jess,
God, magic, spontaneous human combustion, being struck down by angel Gabriel, Dumbledore and the hockey stick graph were all invented by committees of cookie people in government, religion or entertainment industries who thought it would be a good idea to make society stupid, spend money on crap or easier to tax and control. Fact of nature, you know.

Al Gored

“What will it take to convince deniers?”
Evidence.
Which explains why those questioning the AGW story are not the real deniers at all.
In any case, when I see that graph I see, as I always have, the rebound out of the LIA. But then, I am not a LIA denier or a LIAR (LIA Revisionist).

CodeTech

R. Gates, you MUST be joking… Really!
The industrial revolution might have “started” when humanity first discovered fire, or the wheel… but the real issue here is the difference in impact. Prior to 1800 the impact of our industry was negligible, with a few isolated toys scattered around. Post 1800, a boom of manufacturing, energy use, etc. began to make an impact. See?

DirkH

juanita says:
October 24, 2011 at 12:08 pm
“I went to this Zimmerman woman’s blog – the usual spittle. But, what about these solar roof shingles she’s talking about? Is that for real? Says it would cost about $11-12,000 for the average roof and converter box. Is this going to take off? I’m wondering, what’s the catch? ”
At the moment you pay about 3.60 USD for a Watt-peak of solar performance, and you get 200 Watt-peak per square meter max (assuming an optimistic but possible 20% efficiency). So that’s 720 USD per square meter. 12,000 USD would then buy you 16.6 square meter, or 3.32 kWpeak.
If your average roof in America has that size, then she could be correct. But I thought you had slightly larger homes in the USA. 😉
(And I hope I didn’t botch the numbers but my results sound plausible).

Archonix

Gates, the industrial revolution started then, but the issue is one of quantity and timing. Are you seriously going to try and claim that the minuscule industrialisation of parts of the west in even the 1890s could emit as much CO2 as the mass-industry of the 1940s?

Pull My Finger

1850 “ish” is generally accepted to be the start of the second, and modern, industrial revolution. Steam ships, railroads, electricity and the internal combustion engine (a little later) changing, dramatically and for the better, the lot of the common man. Just survey the technology and brutality of the wars in that era from Napoleonic (muskets, marching, sailing ships), the American Civil War (railroads, some repeating rifles, MGs, ironsides and ironclads, steam power), to WWI (heavy artillery, tanks, dreadnoughts, motor vehicles, aircraft).
A lot transpired in the 100 years from Waterloo to Verdun. But not nearly as much as from Verdun to today. For good or ill, the US military has rendered “conventional” warfare an anachronism.

RobWansbeck

@edbarbar says at 11:53 am:
“ That run up from 1813 to 1827 looks mighty steep. “
Perhaps this was due to an unprecedented spike in spontaneous human combustion that led to 19th century authors such as Frederick Marryat and Charles Dickens using it in their novels.
Or maybe not. 😉

DirkH

juanita says:
October 24, 2011 at 12:08 pm
“I’ve been wanting to talk to you about fuel cells – we studied them for school, and they seem to be so wonderful.”
Fuel cells have been around for 100 to 150 years and they have one problem, they need pure hydrogen or the elcectrodes will deteriorate. Attempts at making fuel cells that can consumer Hydrocarbons have, by now, not resulted in long lasting fuel cells. There are fuel cells like Molten Carbonate Fuel cells that consume hydrocarbons but they break down too quickly. The carbon pollutes the electrodes, rendering the whole system too expensive.
So the problem is producing the H2 cheaply enough, and storing it – it diffuses through steel tanks over time and makes the steel brittle, leading to risk of explosion and tank breakage.

Latitude

I think the world population was around 1 billion in 1800…
…now it’s around 7 billion
Providing that they were driving SUV’s, coal power plants, solar and windmill factories, and asphalt roads….
…..The effect in 1800 should be around 1/7th………..
Which explains why temperatures have been rising since the Little Ice Age………../snark