Exaggerated Reports of Global-warming Research

Earth is experiencing an unprecedented warming period, according to a report published in the March 8 issue of Science Magazine. Researchers from Harvard University and Oregon State University studied 73 land-based and marine fossil and ice samples to construct a record of global surface temperatures for the last 11,300 years, concluding that today’s temperatures are higher than most of that time period. Based on current trends, the report’s authors predict potential record-breaking levels by the end of this century.

The article is making headlines, especially since it attributes the heat spike to human-caused global warming. The Wall Street Journal reported, „The study points to human activity as the cause, because the suddenness of the shift in temperature appears to be out of whack with long-term trends. CNN‘s Ben Brumfield opined, „It is a good indicator of just how fast man-made climate change has progressed.” In comments on the research, The New York Times quoted Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael Mann saying, „We and other living things can adapt to slower changes. It’s the unprecedented speed with which we’re changing the climate that is so worrisome.”

However, these and other media sources ignore evidence to the contrary. Dr. David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation points out holes in this latest research and its conclusions. Whitehouse, former BBC Science Correspondent and former Science Editor of BBC News Online, disagrees that warming of the past few decades is unusual. „There are many studies that suggest that the Medieval Warm period of about 1,000 years ago was comparable to today’s temperatures,” he said. In fact, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change conducts an ongoing Medieval Warm Period Project, compiling peer-reviewed papers in an effort to determine the degree and extent of warming from about 950 to 1250 A.D. So far more than 1,200 scientists representing some 500 institutions in 46 countries agree that the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent and warmer than the present.

Whitehouse criticizes the researchers for using such a small data set „with very poor sensitivity to temperature events that take place on the scale of centuries” and comparing it to much more precise temperature records of the past 150 years, especially considering the data is meant to account for the entire globe. A study published on March 4 in Quaternary Science Reviews drives this point home. A review of sediment cores in an area of Russia north of the Arctic Circle finds the highest temperatures at that location in the past 4,500 years occurred between 2,800 and 3,700 years ago and were roughly 3.8 degrees Celsius warmer than modern temperatures.

Though press reports emphasize the conclusion that current temperatures are higher than 90 percent of the Holocene period, the time span covered in the Harvard/Oregon State study, Whitehouse found discussion buried deep in the research paper revealed more reasonable figures. Accounting for possible errors, the scientists actually concluded temperatures in the decade 2000-2009 were warmer than 72 percent of the Holocene. Whitehouse says theirs is a very glass-is-half-empty approach to reporting. “Another way to put this is that current temperatures are colder than 28 percent of the Holocene,” he wrote. “According to this research the temperatures seen in the 20th century were about average for the Holocene.”

The study’s authors blame so-called greenhouse gases, but Whitehouse notes industrial emissions prior to 1950 were insignificant and do not account for the current global temperature rise that began in the 19th century. In fact, Earth has been warming gradually since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 17th century. However, he credits the paper for “casting doubt on the statements often made that it is currently warmer than it has been for thousands of years.”

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$4.2 Billion Russian Arms Sale to Iraq Signals Shift Toward Moscow

In a recent interview with the Voice of Russia radio, Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshyar Zebari confirmed that Iraq would receive its first supply of arms shipments from Russia before the beginning of the summer, at the latest.

Russia is currently waiting for the Iraqi parliament to approve its 2013 federal budget, which has earmarked its first payment of the $4.2 billion total to Moscow for the weapons deal.

As part of the deal, Russia will supply Iraq with 50 Pantsir-S1 gun-missile short-range air defense systems and 30 advanced Mi-28NE attack helicopters.

The deal was originally announced on October 9, 2012, following a meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Russian counterpart Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in Moscow.

Unconcerned about what the United States would have to say about the sale, Prime Minister al-Maliki insisted, “Iraq needs Russia’s support in building up its military and defense areas, in order to protect the country from terrorism.”

The deal appeared to collapse when “Ali al-Mussawi, the media advisor to the Iraqi prime minister, announced in December 2012 the cancellation of the arms deal with Russia,” amidst “corruption concerns,” according to Al-Monitor.

Now, however, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari noted otherwise during his interview. “Iraq and Russia will proceed with the arms deal signed by Maliki during his most recent visit to Moscow,” he stated.

Al-Monitor reported that earlier this year:

Maliki sent a delegation of army officers and weapons experts – headed by Iraqi Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations for the Iraqi Joint Forces Headquarters Gen. Aboud Kanbar – to Moscow to renegotiate the arms deal.

Iraq, according to Al-Monitor, “lacks defense capabilities to protect its border, airspace and maritime territory.” While still receiving U.S. aid, Iraq has turned again to Russia for its security needs.

Prior to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, which ousted Saddam Hussein and his Ba’athist Arab Socialist regime, Russia was the main exporter of arms to Iraq.

Now, after eight years of U.S. interventionism in Iraq, Baghdad remains a client state of Russia.

Both Sunni and Shiite factions in Iraq’s parliament are in agreement to return to pre-war arms arrangements with Moscow, maintaining high-level contacts with the Kremlin.

In October 2012, the Rossiyskaya Gazeta quoted Medvedev corroborating the continuity of this policy. “Despite the dramatic developments of recent years, we maintain contacts on the highest levels, and I am confident that this will help promote friendship, cooperation, and mutual understanding between Russia and Iraq,” Medvedev said.

This becomes even more ironic considering the following remarks given by Vice President Dick Cheney during a speech in Italy in September of 2008. “Russia has sold advanced weapons to regimes in Syria and Iran. Some of the Russian weapons sold to Damascus have been channeled to terrorist fighters in Lebanon and Iraq,” Cheney said.

For Russia, this will be its largest foreign military deal since 2006, and it also demonstrates its increasing influence in the Middle East, while that of the United States and the West as a whole continues to wane.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed his desire to withdraw Turkey from talks over its long-proposed membership in the European Union, opting instead to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is an economic-military pact headed by Russia and China.

“I told Russian President [Vladimir] Putin, ‘You should include us in the Shanghai Five and we will say farewell to the European Union,’” Erdogan said about his prospects of joining the SCO. Pakistan and India, also allies of the United States during the previous administration of President George W. Bush are now moving toward Moscow’s orbit, as Russian President Putin has encouraged their speedy membership into the SCO.

Although Iraq has made no formal request about joining the SCO, at least not publicly, its neighbor Iran has. Considering also Baghdad’s currently increasing, friendly relations with Moscow and Tehran, the thought of an SCO/Russia allied-Iraq may not be that far–fetched, thus spelling greater uncertainty for the future role of the United States overseas.

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Raping the Language

Although the creation of the film Idiocracy evidences how we’re already halfway to an idiocracy – the work reflects decadent modern culture – it’s a good comedic warning about where we’re headed. For those too unsophisticated to imbibe such Hollywood fare, know that the movie presents a dystopian future America dumbed-down to a preposterous degree. One thing portrayed in the film is the degradation of language, with, for instance, a doctor character starting an interrogative with “why come” instead of “how come.” And it is a perfect example of art imitating life.

Many today will rape the English language, taking pleasure in mangling and tangling it, confusing corruption with creativity. What follows are examples of such, starting with the relatively innocuous and concluding with the more dangerous.

While journalists are supposed to be word men (those were the days, huh?), they often lead the charge toward idiocracy. It’s not just the news piece I read a few years back penned in pidgin English – obviously by someone to whom English isn’t his first language – but those who try to be “cute.” For example, Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte recently mentioned something that had been revealed and began his sentence with, “The big reveal is….” But unless he was about to apprise the audience of a large window jamb’s existence, “reveal” is a verb, not a noun. The word you’re looking for, Tim, old boy, is “revelation.” Likewise, let’s dispense with the new and budding practice of writing things such as “The tells are there,” which seems to have originated in the poker world. “Tell” is a noun, not a verb. If one wants to “tell” someone about a thing serving as a clue, the relevant term is “indication.”

Oh, just to head the cutting-edge lexical fashionistas off at the pass, I’m aware that some usages I’m condemning may have already infected certain less sophisticated dictionaries. The fact is that unlike the French, we don’t have a language academy to regulate our language. Consequently, if grunts and other guttural emanations came to take the place of most words – which I half expect – they’d be in dictionaries, too. But I don’t have to accept the defining of ignorance upwards any more than the notion that Lady Gaga actually creates music.

Then there is one of my pet peeves, the almost universal misuse of “healthy,” as in “Eat that venison, Timmy; it’s healthy.” But given that the deer has been shot and cut into pieces, I doubt it is. If a deer is running around in “a good state of physical health,” it’s healthy. Once it’s on your plate, however, it can only be “healthful” and perhaps make you healthy.

Next there are the examples of the wider society taking its lead from the ghetto. For instance, we may now hear, “He ‘disrespected’ me,” which is just a step away from saying “dissed.” I prefer to respect the language and say, “He showed me disrespect” or “He acted disrespectfully.” In the same vein, some now say “My bad” when they mean “My mistake.” Let “bad” enjoy its adjectival existence.

Sometimes, though, a desire to sound intelligent can actually grease the skids for language devolution. For example, while most now use the word “gender” when they mean “sex,” the former once referred only to words, which can be divided into three gender groups: masculine, feminine, and neuter. Why has “gender” been the victim of a language bender? Well, just consider that in the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, the organizers sought to define what could constitute a family. And they listed five “genders”: male heterosexual, female heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual. This language was ultimately removed because of Vatican contingent lobbying, but it reveals the truth:

“Gender” was co-opted to facilitate the homosexual agenda.

After all, if you want to normalize something, it helps to lump it in with what is normal. But since it’s already cemented in people’s minds that there are only two sexes, no one could realistically label homosexuals a third sex. So a new term was needed. And what better than one already inclusive of more than two categories, with the third being “neuter”?

Of course, most people know nothing of this and just use “gender” because it sounds more sophisticated than “sex.” This is also part of what causes us to say “underprivileged” or “disadvantaged” when we mean “poor.” But this trap is easy to avoid. Just apply a principle embraced by good writers: Never use a longer word when a shorter one suffices.

Destructive agendas are also enabled by the common desire to be “fair.” A good example is a recent Telegraph piece entitled “Germany is linguistically stuck in the 1880s,” which to my ears sounds like a compliment. The author, Brian Melican, complains about Teutonic resistance to inclusive language and writes that it’s common in German to read a sentence translating into the following:

“When the customer calls, he can expect to speak directly to a consultant. The consultant will always make every effort to satisfy the customer’s wishes – after all, his job is to listen to the customer.”

So here we have a company who – to judge by its description – employs only male consultants, who then deal with only male customers.

Well, that is the conclusion one might draw – if he had the education of a Fig Newton. The rest of us know that male pronouns used generically are inclusive: They refer to members of both sexes. Melican desires that everyone submit to the thorough linguistic hen-pecking compelling the use of the nauseating “he or she” and “his or her,” even though, interestingly, the language engineers never propose to defeminize English by ceasing to refer to cherished items (e.g., ships) and qualities (e.g., wisdom) as “she.” (Note: If Mr. Melican were concerned about correct grammar and not just politically correct grammar, he might have known that “company” in his last sentence should be followed by “that,” not “who.”)

Then there is literary anthropomorphization of inanimate objects. For instance, in this Toledo Blade column, writer Jeff Gerritt points out how most black murder victims were “killed by handguns” as he kills our language. Now, since this phraseology can serve to facilitate the gun-control agenda, you can decide whether Mr. Gerritt is extremely smart or extremely stupid. But when one says “killed by,” the “by” implies action by an entity with will and purpose. A marksmanship competition can be won by a marksman with a rifle. Similarly, a victim isn’t killed by a gun with a criminal; it’s the other way around. And unless firearms develop intellect, free will, and the power of locomotion, this won’t change.

There are many other examples, which alike are driven by ignorance, insidiousness, or both. Whatever the case, we ought to be mindful of the theme of the old book The Tyranny of Words: The side that defines the vocabulary of a debate wins the debate. So watch your mouth – the culture you save may be your own.

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