“Science Made Stupid” – Carbon Dioxide & Bird Nest Edition

Guest “just when you thought climate ‘science’ couldn’t get any dumber” by David Middleton

AUGUST 5, 2020

Bird nests attract flying insects and parasites due to higher levels of carbon dioxide

by Frontiers

Flying insects and parasites are often vectors for disease, but a mosquito needs to first find someone before they can bite them. In a recent study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, researchers examined bird nests in order to understand how insects and parasites detect gases such as carbon dioxide and methane as a way to locate their hosts.

The researchers focused on blue tit bird nest boxes located in a deciduous forest in central Spain. They found that the nests contained more biting midges when concentrations of carbon dioxide were higher inside the nest compared to the forest air. 


With the looming threat of climate change, rising carbon levels will affect every aspect of our ecosystem—from the largest to the smallest organism. “Predictions expect an increase of diseases in northern latitudes due to climate change,” he says, “But factors like gas concentrations and temperature may affect the incidence of diseases,” as well.


Phys Dot Org

First, the easiest bit:

The researchers focused on blue tit…

Puerile humor… Check!

Now for the low hanging fruit…

They found that the nests contained more biting midges when concentrations of carbon dioxide were higher inside the nest compared to the forest air. 

WTF does that have to do with this?

With the looming threat of climate change, rising carbon levels will affect every aspect of our ecosystem—from the largest to the smallest organism.

“Carbon levels”? WTF? Unless you’re working in a coal mine, the air has no “carbon levels.”

The midges are attracted to the nests because the carbon dioxide level inside the nest was significantly higher than background… And this only occurred when nestlings were present. Rising carbon [dioxide] levels have frack all to do with midges being attracted to the nests. Rising carbon dioxide levels would increase the background concentration. If anything, this would make the CO2 concentration in nests with nestlings less anomalous, relative to background.

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution earns a Science Made Stupid award.

Science Made Stupid: How to Discomprehend the World Around Us is a 1985 book written and illustrated by Tom Weller. The winner of the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Non-Fiction Book, it is a parody of a junior high or high school-level science textbook. Though now out of print, high-resolution scans are available online, as well as an abridged transcription, both of which have been endorsed by Weller [1]. Highlights of the book include a satirical account of the creationism vs. evolution debate and Weller’s drawings of fictional prehistoric animals (e.g., the duck-billed mastodon.)


56 thoughts on ““Science Made Stupid” – Carbon Dioxide & Bird Nest Edition

  1. FSM preserve us.

    Higher CO2 levels could, if anything, mask the signature of the chicks in the nest.

    That’s bleeding obvious to the dumbest of us (IE Me)

    • So what does this all mean?

      Are these bozos going to start squawking for the destruction of populations of nesting birds?

      It’s only the 1st Thursday in August and Dah Stoopid raises its flea-bitten head before school even starts, so again, what was the purpose of this alleged “study”, other than to put some cash in someone’s pocket?

      Anyone got an answer? Anyone? Bueller?

      I”m going to go fix my breakfast and try to not choke on the bacon while I”m laughing myself silly. Strawberry preserves on toast, anyone?

  2. David,
    The pretzels some climate scientists contort themselves into make the Cirque du Soleil performers look like real amateurs! Wouldn’t it be nice to have another era like the 1960s where scientists did science and left the feelings and creative writing for others! It actually helped get us to the Moon and it seems like our progress has been retrograde ever since!

  3. Oh No!!!!. “With the looming threat of climate change, rising carbon levels will affect every aspect of our ecosystem—from the largest to the smallest organism.”

    The tree in my front yard is growing – erk – more wood + more leaves -> rising carbon level right in front of my house. I had better cut it down and save the planet.

  4. Obviously man made CO2 is smart and is able to concentrate solely inside bird’s nests without ever travelling through the ambient air.

  5. Climate change threatens to raise carbon [dioxide] levels.

    They seem to have inadvertently, perhaps a Freudian slip, changed the consensus order of cause and effect. Or order is not important.

  6. Empty nests don’t contain CO2 exhaling birds. Full nests contain CO2 exhaling birds.
    But they had to research this using nest BOXES. Boxes that don’t allow CO2 to disperse and dissipate the way open nests would.

  7. This is scary stupid. Are people taking this stuff seriously? Are these people part of the science community?
    I’m afraid. I’m very afraid..

  8. Thanks David. I’d forgotten Tom Weller’s books. Just downloaded PDF versions, thanks to your links.
    Will enjoy again.

    • Patrick
      Your sand flies are the one thing I didn’t really like about New Zealand! After I got bit a couple times I took precautions and didn’t suffer any more bites — but the two bites were memorable enough!

      • Yeah the NZ sand flies are nasty little buggers. Unlike mossies, they actually do have razor sharp mouth parts that actually cut in to you so that a tiny pool of blood can form that they drink from. I found Johnnson’s Off! Skintastic (Or whatever it was) the best for me when I lived there.

    • Mosquitos register our human CO2 exhaled from far away (about 5 body lengths distant) & then their wings work faster to close in. At some point they can distinguish the temperature variable our body presents to come in for a pass – why may buzz around head but move atound to land where some meat on our body. Once the mosquito set down on our body if their leg sensors can pick up on lactic acid volatilization compounds from our pores that stimulates them (females) to probe into us (“bite”) for blood.

      I would assume the O.P. biting midges use a similar tactic. The CO2 differential draws them along a CO2 concentration gradient to CO2 engendering birds located in a nest, but they home in on where to bite once enveloped by the relatively elevated nest CO2 by naturally emitted bird volatile compound clues.

      • Iffen you PO a hive of Africanized “killer” honey bee they will track you down via your trail of CO2.

        • Hi S.C.G., – You brought to mind that the Bushman tell how the honeyguide bird leads the honey badger to bee hives. These 2 shared the prize, with each taking it’s prefered parts.

          The Bushman said early man would share in the bounty, but not greedily take all the best portions. Later man however changed the deal & left only the worst parts for the honeyguide & honey badger.

          But the honey badger did not like the new development & would follow the humans’ trail. So the human honey gatherers always took extreme caution to obscure their route away from the hive.

          The Bushman narrator (1950’s) explicitly reported that if the honey badger got to follow that honey porting person it would bite off their testicles while they slept. Which fact apparently had been personally observed to have happened more than once by his Bushman kinship group.

          I wonder if we should blame it on the level of CO2.

          • Thanks, … gingojay, …… for posting that.

            Animals, for the most part, are smarter (abstract thinking) than most people give them credit for.

    • My understanding is that biting flies use CO2 for distance host recognition and then switch to IR, shape, and host skin chemical cues when they get closer. That’s why they don’t fly into your mouth. If I were a bird in a nest, free dinner from flies flying into my CO2 plume would be a treat.

  9. Sooo, if atmospheric background CO2 increases, then those little flying fsckers will be less likely to find and bite us?

    Sign me up!

    That’s icing on top of “increased plant growth”.

  10. With an estimated 200 to 400 billion birds, with about 10-15% of these being chicken, I think they will be fine… just like after the major cataclysmic global warming that happened 65 million years ago…

  11. I wonder what they would find if they measured the amount of carbon in coal tit nest boxes.

    It really annoys me when these people talk about carbon when they mean carbon dioxide. It just highlights their ignorance.

  12. Its a constant battle to get ordinary, reasonable folk, to think long enough on the BS they are constantly bombarded with, and join the dots.

    My daughter in law is a lovely, very sensible person with a PhD in Science (epigenetics, she calls herself a Nutritional Physiologist). She has recently retrained, and is teaching High School Science.

    I was talking with her about atmospheric CO2 levels, and the concept of CO2 as a “pollutant” – arose from some discussion she had with a student.

    Asked her what was the level of CO2 in the breath she had just exhaled. When i told her it was 40,000 ppm, 1000 times ambient, she was amazed. No idea, never joined the dots.

    Thats the problem we must somehow address . All the knowledge of human history is readily available to every single person in Western society – but it is submerged in the disinformation promulgated by any number of groups with ideological/political agendas.

    I look at my grandchildren, and it bloody infuriates me the level of intellectual abuse they are, and will be, subjected to, and I feel powerless to resist.

  13. It is staggering the level of self humiliation people will go through in order to pin something negative on CO2.

    Clearly it is CO2 differential that a mosquito uses, using a fan in summer to blow cool air on you also keeps the mosquitoes away by distributing the CO2 you exhale around the room, rather than ambient level.

  14. These days, Beavis & Butthead would have PHDs and be the go-to scientists for the meeja.

    Things might be better if they were.

    • I hope they add these pre-recorded “laugh tracks” because I find it particularly sad.

      The handling of ideas by the so called “scientific community” (*) can be modeled by an epidemic on a group of people who all have AIDS.

      (*) academic community actually, non academic scientists are excluded

    • Yellowstone, frequently the first exposure to wilderness and wildlife a lot of people have. This makes it the Olympics of the Darwin Awards. If there’s a stupid way to die in Yellowstone, someone has done it.

  15. In French, carbon is “suies” (*) and carbon dioxide is “gaz carbonique” (alt. “dioxyde de carbone”). They sound nothing like the other. Of course the carbon element is “l’atome de carbone” or “le carbone”.

    In English, carbon particulate pollution (soot) and the carbon element sound a lot like each other. Using carbon to mean CO2 is intentional. It’s esp. silly because CO2 “pollution” is (usually) given in term of total CO2 mass, not elementary carbon mass (which might make sense if you consider the chemistry of carbon).

    (*) F.ex. les suies s’accumulent dans une cheminée à bois = soot accumulates in a wood-burning fireplace

    PS : We also say “copie carbone” in French!

  16. This looks like a case of “I can’t get funding so I am trying the climate change angle.” Same crap as in sea turtle gender. Sea turtles on the inside of the nest where it is warmer develop into females. On the outside where it is cooler, males form. It was impossible to get funding until the biologists involved developed a big care story about not enough male turtles due to climate change. It’s basically impossible to get funding without involving climate change so anyway you can link anything to carbon dioxide, you have to.

  17. I can’t believe this is real but it seems to be real. How did the blue tit survive the midges when atmospheric CO2 was 280 ppmv? The nest/atmosphere CO2 differential would have been greater. I suppose not being in a box helped. The authors really need to explain in terms of their hypothesis how the blue tits survived the midge onslaught resulting from the 280 to 400+ ppmv CO2 increase.

    Anyway, my advice to blue tits – You’re birds. Eat the midges.

  18. It is clear to me that the CO2 build-up is due to the baby bird excrement in the nest. So the solution is to diaper the birds, change them regularly and wipe the little birds ass. The excrement will no longer decay in the nest and there will be an automatic decline in the midges.

  19. Ask yourselves how something akin to the standard of a 6th graders science project deserving of an F grade finds its way into any comic purporting to be publishing science? Who would dare to even present such garbage lacking in critical thinking in the first place let alone the serious questions which need to be levelled at those who supposedly reviewed it and gave it the thumbs up? The stench of money is everywhere in the Climate Circus.

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