Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #153

The Week That Was: 2014-10-11 (October 11, 2014) Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org) The Science and Environmental Policy Project

THIS WEEK: By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Intentionally Vague? The quote below is taken from a lecture by Richard Feynman, as it was reproduced on Jo Nova’s blog, courtesy of Kevin Marshall. The quote goes to the nature of what is now climate science as practiced by the climate establishment. Global warming caused by human carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions has become climate change and extreme weather events, as if they have never occurred before, Climate change has been happening for hundreds of millions of years, and humans have long termed unusual events as extreme. There is nothing happening today that cannot be found in the historic record. The climate establishment knows this, and places artificial constraints on the historic record. Such actions can be seen in the reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which places constraints on the historic record by statements such as since 1950 or after the industrial revolution (about 1750 leaving out the worst of the Little Ice Age and the prior warm period).

The entire effort plays to politicians who wish to appear to be great leaders in fighting something – especially if the enemy cannot be defined; therefore, success cannot be measured. On this largely imaginary battle, reputations are built and significant moneys are spend. As Richard Lindzen, MIT Professor Emeritus of Meteorology, wrote to SEPP: We should … “express thanks for the failures of Kyoto and Copenhagen. Had the proposed regulatory regimes been implemented and had CO2 emissions decreased, the ‘pause’ would certainly have been attributed to the regulations. Politicians and environmentalists would be declaring the science to be truly ‘settled.’” See link under Seeking a Common Ground.


Quote of the Week: “You cannot prove a vague theory wrong. If the guess that you make is poorly expressed and the method you have for computing the consequences is a little vague then ….. you see that the theory is good as it can’t be proved wrong. If the process of computing the consequences is indefinite, then with a little skill any experimental result can be made to look like an expected consequence.” Richard Feynman [H/t Jo Nova]


Number of the Week: $70 per barrel?


Judith Curry: Following up on essay by Steven Koonin, “Climate Science is Not Settled,” the Wall Street Journal published an essay be Judith Curry describing her research with Nicholas Lewis challenging the IPCCD’s claimed sensitivity of the planet to a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere. No doubt the climate establishment will find this essay unsettling as well.

In the essay Curry makes needed frank statements concerning the fact there has been no surface warming trend for about 18 years.

This pause in warming is at odds with the 2007 IPCC report, which expected warming to increase at a rate of 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade in the early 21st century. The warming hiatus, combined with assessments that the climate-model sensitivities are too high, raises serious questions as to whether the climate-model projections of 21st-century temperatures are fit for making public-policy decisions.

The sensitivity of the climate to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide is a central question in the debate on the appropriate policy response to increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Climate sensitivity and estimates of its uncertainty are key inputs into the economic models that drive cost-benefit analyses and estimates of the social cost of carbon.

It is refreshing to see the problems in the orthodox thinking about climate science and the consequences of perhaps erroneous thinking being discussed in main-stream media. Not wishing to hope too much, there are several issues regarding the limited scope of the essay, such as the central limit theorem and the use of surface data.

On his blog, The Reference Frame, Luboš Motl brings up that as empirical studies increase on the sensitivity of the earth to atmospheric CO2 increase, the central limit theorem implies that the range of error would decline, particularly in the upper-end estimates. The normal distribution would become more symmetric and include the possibility of negative values for the earth’s sensitivity to CO2. No doubt, if such a paper appeared in a scientific journal, the climate establishment would denounce the journal, which indicates a publication bias. Motl writes:

However, while I this that the paper seems to display lots of expertise and calm heads, there is one aspect of this paper – and lots of other papers – that I find totally inconceivable. It is the asymmetry of the 5%-95% ranges of the climate sensitivity. In particular, the huge values of the “still plausible” long-term climate sensitivity – the upper bound goes up to 4 °C – isn’t really possible. – Feedbacks cannot be both positive and high.

On another note: the customary use of surface data, rather than satellite data independently supported by data from weather balloons, is becoming increasingly questionable. The satellite record is over 30 years old, and questions of proper handling of the surface continue to arise. See Articles # 3 and # 4 and links under Seeking a Common Ground, and Measurement Issues.


Model Issues: Posted on Watts Up With That, Ron Brown, a lecturer at Duke University, points out that real debates in science are not rare. It is because the climate establishment long-ago announced the science is settled, that the myth of science debates being rare continues. He also continues his criticism science, particularly the questionable use of climate models by the climate establishment, which applies to the IPCC. In discussing the average of an assembly of climate models Brown states:

The average of failed models is not a successful model. The average of deterministic microtrajectories is not a deterministic microtrajectory. A microtrajectory numerically generated at a scale inadequate to solve a nonlinear chaotic problem is most unlikely to represent anything like the actual microtrajectory of the actual system. And finally, the system itself realizes at most one of the possible future trajectories available to it from initial conditions subject to the butterfly effect that we cannot even accurately measure at the granularity needed to initialize the computation at the inadequate computational scale we can afford to use.

Brown attributes much of the failings of orthodox climate science to the nature of the funding by governments. For example, major research universities take a major portion of government grants for their own use (may be 60% of the grant). Though he does not so state, there is no reason for outsiders to assume that universities will provide objective analysis of such research. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Flooding – Predicted and Observed: In a report published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Andrew Montford points out that the forecasts by models of rainfall and floods do not match those actually observed. This applies both to the UK and globally. The finding is not a surprise. The models greatly overestimate observed warming, and there is no logical reason to assume they will do better at estimating other components of climate change. See links under Models v. Observations.


Out of Sync: The Arctic ice is low by late 20th century standards and the Antarctic ice is at the greatest extent ever observed since the start of satellite observations in 1978. Those who wish to be eternally vague can find these events to support their position, even if they are inconsistent. CO2 caused warming should be pronounced at both poles. Focusing on one or the other is misleading. Further, as HH Lamb wrote in the 1980s, there was a pronounced reduction of the Arctic ice in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by an expansion in the 1950s and 1960s. There are no comprehensive records for Antarctic ice prior to the satellite area, so those records do not exist.

The intriguing scientific question, why are the ice extents of the polar regions out of sync? See links under Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice


Carbon Tax or Not? The press service, Bloomberg, has a several part series calling for a carbon tax. Based on skimpy evidence, the editorials state that such taxes do not kill jobs and: “The record shows that a well-designed carbon tax can cut harmful emissions in the most economically efficient way: by letting market forces coordinate the effort.” The assertion assumes that governments will leave a program generating large revenues alone, without diverting revenues from the intended purposes. Experience indicates such an assumption is a false hope. For example, about 40% of the revenues generated by the US Highway Trust Fund now goes for purposes other than building highways, bridges, etc. Fred Singer offers his own views on carbon taxes. See Article # 1 and links under Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes


Number of the Week: $70 per barrel? Oil prices are falling. This has led to some to speculate that the US shale-oil boom is over. An article by Donn Dears suggests that the knowledge for extracting oil from dense shale is still advancing, with more oil being extracted per well as technology improves. What is a final break-even point for extracting oil from shale? If the authors of TWTW knew, they would be speculating in oil futures, which they are not. See links under Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?



For the numbered articles below, please see this week’s TWTW at: www.sepp.org. The articles are at the end of the pdf.

1. Just Say NO to a Carbon Tax

By S. Fred Singer, American Thinker, Oct 7, 2014


2. “Ditch the 2 °C warming goal.” A Comment on Victor-Kennel [Nature, Oct 2]

By S. Fred Singer, Submitted to Nature, Oct 6, 2014


3. Comments on the Santer-Stocker Response to Steven Koonin’s Essay “Climate Science is not Settled.”

By S. Fred Singer, SEPP, Submitted to Wall Street Journal, Oct 3, 2014


4. The Global Warming Statistical Meltdown

Mounting evidence suggests that basic assumptions about climate change are mistaken: The numbers don’t add up.

By Judith Curry, WSJ, Oct 9, 2014


5. Unrealistic Green Expectations

I’m an alternative-energy investor, but let’s not kid ourselves: Change will be gradual and needs fossil fuels.

By Jeffrey Leonard, WSJ, Oct 6, 2014




Climategate Continued

PAGES2K vs the Hanhijarvi Reconstruction

By Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, Oct 7, 2014


[SEPP Comment: The Non-Mann hockey-stick has major problems as well.]


Challenging the Orthodoxy

Obama misleads students about climate and energy

By Bob Carter and Tom Harris, WUWT, Oct 8, 2014


NASA: The Deep Ocean Hasn’t Warmed Since 2005 (but we’re all gonna die)

By Roy Spencer, His Blog, Oct 6, 2014


Medics on the March

By John Brignell, Number Watch, Oct 4, 2014


A fable continued

By John Brignell, Number Watch, Oct 10, 2014


[SEPP Comment: Using a bit of wit to explain the failure of the earth to warm as forecasted by climate models.]

Real Science Debates Are Not Rare

By Robert Brown, WUWT, Oct 6, 2014


Declining Bird Populations; Another False Global Warming Alarmism

By Tim Ball, WUWT, Oct 6, 2014


New paper finds climate sensitivity to CO2 is only 0.43C, about 7 times less than the IPCC claims [One-seventh]

By Staff Writer, The Hockey Schtick, Oct 9, 2014


Defending the Orthodoxy

Obama announces new climate change initiative

By Zack Colman, Washington Examiner, Oct 9, 2014


‘Moment of Truth’ on Emissions

By Joe Niocera, NYT, Oct 6, 2014 [H/t Timothy Wise]


[SEPP Comment: Calling for Federal control of fracking by controlling methane emissions. Claims that methane is 84 to 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20 year span.]

Questioning the Orthodoxy

Undeniable Mood Change With Regards To Quality Of Modelling Grips Climate Science…Trust Gone!

Mood change in climate modeling: Trust in the scientific community is disappearing

By Sebastian Lüning and Fritz Vahrenholt, Trans P Gosselin, Oct 7, 2014


Guy at Broadbent Institute is pretty sure he rebutted report he hasn’t read

Progressive think tank’s criticism of Fraser Institute study marked by incompetence and ignorance

By Ross McKitrick, Financial Post, Oct 8, 2014


[SEPP Comment: More on the global warming trend. vanishing]

Declining polar bear weights and early breakup dates in WHB, Part I: What’s a starving bear?

By Susan Corckford Polar Bear Science, Oct 10, 2014


Don’t Say “Hiatus.”

By Matt Briggs, His Blog, Oct 8, 2014 [H/t GWPF]


[SEPP Comment: The term hiatus or pause implies that temperatures will begin to rise from CO2 concentrations. We just do not know!]

UN Climate Protocols Would Ravage Nations

By Larry Bell, Newsmax, Oct 6, 2014


Mass haulouts of female Pacific walrus as a sign of population health

By Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, Oct 7, 2014


‘Where’s the global warming?’ Expert says public are growing sceptical of climate change

THE PUBLIC are becoming ever more sceptical of climate change as they begin to ask ‘where is the global warming we were promised?’, a leading scientist has claimed.

By Levi Winchester, Express, Oct 6, 2014 [H/t Timothy Wise]


Social Benefits of Carbon

Regulations could kill your labor-saving home appliances

By Ernest Istoook, Washington Times, Oct 8, 2014


Problems in the Orthodoxy

NASA Scientists Puzzled by Global Cooling on Land and Sea

By Staff Writers, AFP, Oct 6, 2014 [H/t Thomas Burch]


Climate fight must expand beyond usual suspects

Editorial, Boston Globe, Oct 6, 2014


Experts call for widening the debate on climate change

By Staff Writers, Manchester, UK (SPX), Oct 07, 2014


Seeking a Common Ground

Paper: TCR, ECS climate sensitivity: 1.3, 1.6 °C

By Luboš Motl, The Reference Frame,, Oct 7, 2014


The scientific method in 61 seconds

By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Oct 9, 2014


Models v. Observations

Rainfall And Floods: Observations More Reliable Than Climate Models

By Staff Writers, GWPF, Oct 10, 2014


Link to paper: Precipitation, Deluge and Flood: Observational evidence and computer modelling

By Andrew Montford, GWPF, 2014


IPCC Models Fail Abominably In Projections of Northern And Southern Hemisphere Temperature

By Frank Bosse and Fritz Vahrenholt, Trans by P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Oct 10, 2014


Measurement Issues

Ocean warming in Southern Hemisphere underestimated, scientists suggest

By Staff Writers, Science Daily, Oct 6, 2014


Link to papers: Quantifying underestimates of long-term upper-ocean warming

By Durack, et al, Nature Climate Change, Oct 5, 2014


Deep-ocean contribution to sea level and energy budget not detectable over the past decade

By Llovel, et al. Nature Climate Change, Oct 5, 2014


Missing heat not in deep oceans but “found” in missing data in upper-ocean instead

By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Oct 9, 2014


New paper shows global sea level rise has greatly decelerated since ~2002, opposite of predictions

By Staff Writer, The Hockey Schtick, Oct 7, 2014


Australia’s History of Hot Tempers

By Robert Balic, WUWT, Oct 7, 2014


Australian summer maximums “warmed” by 200%

By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Oct 6, 2014


Changing Weather

News Flash: ‘Extreme Weather Ends’

By Jeffrey Folks, American Thinker, Oct 9, 2014


Air pollution increases river-flows

By Staff Writers, Exeter, UK (SPX), Oct 07, 2014


Link to paper: Detection of solar dimming and brightening effects on Northern Hemisphere river flow

By Gednay, et al. Nature Geoscience, Oct 5, 2014


[SEPP Comment: See article on decrease in rains. Pertains to aerosols, not carbon dioxide.]

Fall in monsoon rains driven by rise in air pollution

By Staff Writers, Edinburgh, UK (SPX), Oct 07, 2014


[SEPP Comment: See article on increase in rain, river flow immediately above..]


Atlantic Hurricane Season Among Weakest in Decades

By Danica Coto, AP, Oct 8, 2014 [H/t GWPF]


US predicts lower heating bills this winter

By Jonathan Fahey, AP, Oc5t 7, 2014 [H/t Clyde Spencer]


Changing Seas

Evidence of deep ocean cooling?

By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. Oct 5, 2014


[SEPP Comment: More on the missing heat problem, that may not be missing.]

Claim: Livermore scientists suggest ocean warming in Southern Hemisphere underestimated

By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Oct 6, 2014


Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice

HH Lamb & Cooling In The Arctic

By Paul Homewood, Not a lot of People Know That, Oct 8, 2014


[SEPP Comment: The recent Arctic warming trend happened before.]

Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches New Record Maximum

By Staff Writers, Greenbelt MD (SPX), Oct 08, 2014


Changing Earth

Explosive Findings on Volcanoes’ Climate Influence

By Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. Knappenberger, CATO, Oct 10, 2014


[SEPP Comment: Do volcanoes influence tree ring growth by temperature changes or declines in photosynthesis?]

Communicating Better to the Public – Exaggerate, or be Vague?

AGW Causes everything including a freezing Antarctic.

By Anthony Cox, Australian Climate Skeptics, Oct 9, 2014


Another Study Uses Scare Tactics To Tout Climate Risk

By Merrill Matthews, Jr. IBD, Oct 7, 2014 [H/t Timothy Wise]


Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.

EPA chief: Climate skeptics ‘sad’

By Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill, Sep 25, 2014


[SEPP Comment: Assuming the model are correct, even though they are failing.]

Tabloid Climatology from the Max Planck Institute : “The findings show that no place is safe from climate change.”

By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Oct 9, 2014


When sea levels rise, high tides will spill into communities far more often, study says

By Darryl Fears, Washington Post, Oct 8, 2014


“He had one quibble: that its findings are based on a single scenario — a sea-level rise of four feet by the end of the century.”

Communicating Better to the Public – Go Personal.

What States’ Attorneys General Can Do About Climate Deniers

By Robert F. Kennedy Jr, Senior Attorney, National Resources Defense Council, Oct 1, 2014 [H/t Paul Driessen]


Expanding the Orthodoxy

White House pushes climate protections for natural resources

By Timothy Cama, The Hill, Oct 9, 2014


Link to FACT SHEET: Building community resilience by strengthening America’s natural resources and supporting green infrastructure

By Staff Writers, Council on Environmental Quality, Oct 8, 2014


The Climate Action Plan recognizes that even as we act to curb the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, we must also improve our ability to prepare for the climate impacts we are already seeing across the country.

Alarmists Pull Out All the Stops

By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Oct 10, 2014


[SEPP Comment: Exposing another “global” commission with few members.]

World’s Largest Re-Insurer “Munich Re” $ponsors 2014 “Extreme Weather Congress” In Hamburg!

By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Oct 6, 2014


[SEPP Comment: Hoping to sell more insurance policies?]

Questioning European Green

German Federal Analysis Sees “Massive Threats To Security And Reliability Of Electric Power Supply System”!

By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Oct 8, 2014


EU abandons ‘dirty’ label for tar sands oil

By Barbara Lewis, Reuters, Oct 7, 2014 [H/t GWPF]


Non-Green Jobs

Navitus Bay: £100 million annual economic loss and around 2,000 jobs at risk

By Staff Writers, Bournemouth Borough Council, Oct 8, 2014 [H/t GWPF]


[SEPP Comment: Estimated loss from a new off-shore wind farm.]

Funding Issues

African countries demand $7 billion for green fund by December

By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, Oct 8, 2014 [H/t GWPF]


Hey UCS, Maybe It’s Time We Stopped Wasting Money Studying a Problem And Spent That Money Adapting to It

By Bob Tisdale, WUWT, Oct 9, 2014


Litigation Issues

The Dark Side of Green Justice

Review: ‘Law of the Jungle’ by Paul Barrett

By Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, Oct 4, 2014 [H/t Timothy Wise]


Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes

California Moves to Revoke Carbon Credits After Inquiry

By Lynn Doan, Bloomberg, Oct 8, 2014 [H/t WUWT]


[SEPP Comment: The clause: “The companies operated projects that delivered refrigerants, proven to destroy the earth’s ozone layer,” is too strong]

Carbon Taxes Don’t Kill Jobs

Editorial, Bloomberg, Sep 30, 2014


Do Carbon Taxes Just Feed the Beast?

Editorial, Bloomberg, Oct 1, 2014


Doubt Climate Change? Then Support Carbon Taxes

Editorial, Bloomberg, Oct 2, 2014 [H/t Timothy Wise]


EPA and other Regulators on the March

EPA Pulls An IRS And Admits To Losing Agency Text Messages

By Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, Oct 8, 2014 [H/t Timothy Wise]


EPA contradicts itself with Clean Water Act rule, federal agency says

By Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner, Oct 7, 2014


EPA sends smog rule to White House

By Zack Colman, Washington Examiner, Oct 8, 2014


Energy Issues – Non-US

Dutch grab of arctic oil angers Greenpeace

By Daniel J. Graeber, Amsterdam, Netherlands (UPI) Oct 6, 2014


Hinkley Point nuclear plant to cost £24.5bn

Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation has been granted state aid approval

By Emily Gosden, Telegraph, UK, Oct 8, 2014


Scotland power shortage warning as coal plant faces closure

Households face dimmed lights and flickering TV sets if Longannet power plant is forced to close, ScottishPower claims

By Emily Gosden, Telegraph, UK, Oct 3, 2014


Coal likely to remain India’s energy focus as country battles for jobs

By Manipadma Jena, Thomson Reuters, Foundation, Oct 7, 2014 [H/t GWPF]


Investing in renewable energy could cost India jobs in the short run, warns a government report that could influence the direction of energy investment by India’s new jobs-focused administration.

The World’s 10 Biggest Energy Gluttons

By Staff Writers, Washington DC (SPX), Oct 07, 2014


[SEPP Comment: On per capita basis, some surprises.]

London sees few land value concerns with fracking

By Daniel J. Graeber, London (UPI), Oct 6, 2014


Energy Issues — US

Don’t expect energy boom to uproot global oil politics

By Zack Colman, Washington Examiner, Oct 9, 2014


Biden: ‘Energy revolution’ calls for more investment in alternatives

By Timothy Cama, The Hill, Oct 10, 2014


[SEPP Comment: The shale revolution did not require government subsidies, why should the alternative “revolution” require subsidies?’]

Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?

Fracking Gets Better

By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Oct 7, 2014


Shale Boom Tested as Sub-$90 Oil Threatens U.S. Drillers

By Isaac Amsdorf, Bloomberg, Oct 8, 2014 [H/t GWPF]


Fracking Pioneer Deserves To Win Nobel Peace Prize

By Stephen Moore, IBD, Oct 7, 2014 [H/t Timothy Wise]


[SEPP Comment: George Mitchell who earlier developed the process of extracting natural gas from shale may be more appropriate. Certainly as deserving as Al Gore.]

Nuclear Energy and Fears

Emission-free nuclear industry blasts EPA plan

By Zak Colman, Washington Examiner, Oct 8, 2014


Cost of Summer AP1000s increases

By Staff Writers, WNN, Oct 3, 2014


Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind

First-ever global life cycle assessment of renewable energy future

By Staff Writers, phys.org, Oct 6, 2014


Link to paper: Integrated life-cycle assessment of electricity-supply scenarios confirms global environmental benefit of low-carbon technologies

By Hertwich, et al, PNAS, Oct 6, 2014


Carbon Schemes

Corruption, calamity and silliness

By Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, Oct 7, 204


More detailed report: Energy: CCS – the fantasy continues

By Richord North, EUReferndum, Oct 10, 2014


[SEPP Comment: The costs of the experiment in Canada are greatly underestimated by government.]

World’s First Post-Combustion CCS Coal Unit Online in Canada

By Gail Reitenbach, Power, Oct 6, 2014


[SEPP Comment: See link immediately above.]

Environmental Industry

The inhumanity of the environmentalist, part 234

By Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, Oct 6, 2014


Other Scientific News

CryoSat unveils secrets of the deep

By Staff Writers, Paris (ESA), Oct 07, 2014




Imaginary hottest “fingerprints” found in extreme weather by failed models

By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Oct 5, 2014



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Joel O'Bryan
October 12, 2014 9:13 pm

California in the coming 2 years will be a good test case on carbon taxes versus private sector jobs. So far the jobs are losing.

Brian H
October 13, 2014 12:57 am

Discouraging CO2 emission is a fool’s errand, and any who undertake it will duly be “soon parted” from their money. Except for those in line for the temporary “fix” of government subsidy.

M Courtney
October 13, 2014 1:33 am

[SEPP Comment: The term hiatus or pause implies that temperatures will begin to rise from CO2 concentrations. We just do not know!]

I like “pause”. It seems very unlikely to me that the climate will never change again. And, unlike “hiatus” it doesn’t imply knowledge of which way the future climate will change.
-And who knew Trinidad and Tobago used so much energy per capita?

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
October 13, 2014 4:38 am

Posted on Watts Up With That, Ron Brown, a lecturer at Duke University

That would be Robert Brown, who also usually signs his name with his middle initial, hence Robert G. Brown. It’s a shame to reference that most excellent discussion and get his name wrong.

October 13, 2014 6:36 am

Great aggregation of energy news from the past week. Thanks for the resource roundup.

October 13, 2014 7:09 am

Ron Brown? Who He?

October 13, 2014 8:04 am

Hope this fits in an energy thread-

October 13, 2014 2:28 pm

Regarding the Robert F. Kennedy Jr. article:
Windmilled and the Kennedys:
“MPR is getting windmilled, a term brought about by the Kennedy family, as in JFK. “Windmilled” is a more up-to-date term for what used to be called NIMBY, or “not in my back yard.” When the Kennedy clan learned of plans by a private company to install windmills in the ocean off Cape Cod, they went bananas with concern that they, the Kennedy clan, might see the yonder blades of the windmills when they were down at the beach having a clambake. And considering that a few of the younger Kennedys, particularly Bobby Kennedy Jr., have been strong advocates of wind power, I guess we learned that they are strong advocates only if somebody else has to actually see or hear the windmills.”

October 14, 2014 9:20 am

The Richard Feynman quote “You can’t prove a vague theory wrong” is at 5.10 here.
The whole video is full of gems. For instance, as an illustration of what he meant by guesses, Feynman recounted a conversation about flying saucers with a “Layman”.

F : I don’t think there are flying saucers.
L: Is it impossible that are not any flying saucers? Can you prove there are no flying saucers?
F: No I can’t prove it’s impossible – it’s just very unlikely.
L: You are very unscientific. If you can’t prove it’s impossible, then how can you say it is unlikely?
It is only scientific to say what is more likely and less likely, and not to be able to prove to all the time what is possible and impossible.

To define what he meant, Feynman eventually said to the layman:-

F: I mean from my knowledge of the world that I see around me, I think that it is much more likely that the reports of flying saucers are the results of the known irrational characteristics of terrestrial intelligence than the unknown rational efforts of extra-terrestrial intelligence.

Similarly, from my accumulated knowledge from years of studying the issue, I believe the forecasts of catastrophic global warming are the result of the known irrational outpourings of people with dogmatic beliefs, rather than the results of the artificial and incomprehensible super-intelligence of computer models.
Kevin Marshall

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