Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Senate Climate Hearings

Are going on now. You can watch here. The testimony backs up what my antagonists do in Warm Front. Political operatives undermining government scientists and squelching vital information and conclusions.

Good panel. The wingnuts were solidly defeated. Check out the new documentary from Sundance. Everything's cool. No it isn't.

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The Bush Comissars

The Regulation politzi. Yeah this is a step up: Welcome aboard Comissar Lysenkoist. "There will be no stinkin rules without 'market failure,'" minister for internal budget concerns Rosa Cleb said. "Let them eat soot."


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Phaeton's Reins

Kerry Emanuel of MIT has published this pop article on global climate change, and man's role.
In Greek mythology, the scorching heat of Africa and the burnt skin of its inhabitants were attributed to Phaeton, an offspring of the sun god Helios, who, having lost a wager to his son, was obliged to allow him to drive the sun chariot across the sky. In this primal environmental catastrophe, Phaeton lost control and fried the earth, killing himself in the process.
There is some controversy about his "he said she said" political operative blame. Who were the radicals who influenced which scientists? We know who the denialists are and who funds them, so this is an attempt at false balance in my view. Still, the article makes many of the solid points which support our increasing influence on natural systems.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Water For Elephants

One of the nicest writers I've met online is Sara Gruen, who stood up for me on writersnet back in the days before she published her first book Riding Lessons. The default setting there is to pile on whoever is in the headlights. This was a time when I was battling shills from Publishamerica. Little has changed in forum ecology.

I recall she told me she'd published her "Circus book" with Algonquin, a small North Carolna publisher where I'd sent one of my books. Never underestimate the power of a good small press. This is some Circus book indeed.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Agent Feedback

Dear Mark,

I am thrilled to see someone writing a book to draw more attention to the serious threats global climate change poses for us all. That said, for a book to work as a book, it needs to have a strong central narrative, compelling charachters, [sic]unexpected plot twists, etc. I don't see that level of literary artistry coming accross in your description of the novel, and so I'm afraid I have to pass. But I wish you good look in your ongoing search for representation. I'm sure you'll find an agent who has a vision for your project that didn't occur to me.

Unsung Agent
Timid bunch, they.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Review of "Against a Rapid Stream"

The Unsung Critic weighs in.
In case you’ve forgotten, my blog also features reviews for unpublished books as well as undiscovered screenplays, and out of the 100+ queries I’ve received, only one was for a book manuscript…and not just any book, but a nonfiction book! Enter my first official review for 2007…

AGAINST A RAPID STREAM “With Arnold 1775”: Major Reuben Colburn, Benedict Arnold, George Washington and the March to Quebec
by Mark A. York
I never thought to Gonzo myself into my family tale as it takes place in 1775 to 1857, but there is no predicting what readers might want in a story. I can only offer the stories as I envision them. That said, this is a good review. Now, will producers call?


The Home of Publius

Leave it to a du Pont to screw up a historic home. Luckily, our fine historic preservationists at the National Park Service are having the Gilded Age additions removed. Hail James Madison! One of the most brilliant American presidents and political visionaries the world has ever known. This generation of Americans who included my ancestor Reuben Colburn were the most exceptional year class we've ever had. What we have now, even with all its faults, we owe to them.


Thursday, January 18, 2007


One cannot blame a single weather event—or single warm year—on climate change. However, the unbelievably warm start to the winter of 2006-2007 is part of an unmistakable pattern that shows human-caused climate change is upon us.

Jeff Masters
Dr. Masters of the Weather Underground knows what he's talking about, and is a beta reader of my novel answering Michael Crichton. I appreciate his expertise and editorial recommendations all of which I've employed in the rewrites. He slaughtered Crichton in his review of State of Fear.

"When asked about my opinion of the paradigm-altering claims of most contrarians (wasn't Galileo also dismissed by the establishment?), I typically reply that indeed, we must carefully examine all claims that, if true, would lead to paradigm shifts like that caused by Galileo, but at the same time, it is wise to note that for every real Galileo or Einstein who radically alters conventional wisdom, there are probably a thousand "fossil fools". Nevertheless, these contrarians are given disproportionate representation in the media"

Dr. Stephen Schneider of Stanford.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Censoring Al Gore

That's what this Washington State school system has done. Opposing views must be shown or nothing.
"Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He's not a schoolteacher," said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who also said that he believes the Earth is 14,000 years old. "The information that's being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is. ... The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."

Let's see Evolution or Intelligent Design? NASA or the Raelians? Gee I just can't decide? There are some seriously deluded people here and they've reproduced. Now there's a sci-fi plot for you. And by the way Gore is a professor at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Does that count in apocalypseville?

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Gone in 60 Seconds

"it is just silly to predict the demise of polar bears in 25 years based on media-assisted hysteria." Nunavut biologist Dr. Mitchell Taylor on Tim Flannery. I've searched his fine book and while Flannery paints dismal picture, nowhere does he give it a short timeframe like this quote claims. I've found this technique used extensively by critics. It's the last gasp, but neither Flannery or Al Gore say this 25 year canard. They say if CO2 is not curbed within the next ten years and the trend continues the lack of ice habitat will surely be the animal's demise. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does too. The latest studies have shown the ice would be gone by 2040. That would be more than 25 years.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Exxon Backs Off

"Exxon’s funding action was confirmed this week by its vice president for public affairs. Kenneth Cohen told the Wall Street Journal that Exxon decided in late 2005 that its 2006 nonprofit funding would not include CEI and "five or six" similar groups, reports MSNBC.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

"Traditional Knowledge"

Is it true that Native groups in some of these areas claim that traditional knowledge indicates that local polar bear populations are actually increasing?
The Service respects and makes use of traditional knowledge in all of its decision-making processes, and will evaluate information from Arctic Native communities in Baffin Bay, Davis Strait, Western Hudson Bay, and other areas of Canada, which have recently reported increasing numbers of bears present on land. These traditional hunters believe this indicates an increased population, though others note that this could just be the result of a change in polar bear distribution. In the declining polar bear population of Canada’s Western Hudson Bay, extensive scientific studies have indicated that the increased observation of bears on land is a result of changing distribution patterns and a result of changes in the accessibility of sea ice habitat.

Polar Bear Facts

I've already run into a shill in a blog comment thread claiming to be from Nunavut shilling this local knowledge canard. Scientists account for this as described above.

Self-Interest Key to Denial

Take the Canadian Arctic region of Nunavat for example. Like Kaktovik in Alaska they're for anything that makes them money and have paid for spokesman like Mitchell Taylor to back them up. They fear the polar bear hunt by rich Texans will be shut down. End of story.

"For example, the Polar Bear Specialist Group, made up of polar bear scientists and wildlife managers from around the circumpolar world, claim the Baffin Bay and western Hudson Bay populations are each in decline.

As for Davis Strait, they say there’s not enough information about that population to make an informed estimate.

So in January of 2005, when Nunavut increased annual polar bear hunting quotas from 398 to 507 bears, the decision provoked an immediate backlash from a majority of polar bear scientists.

The minutes of the Polar Bear Specialist Group, who met in Seattle in 2005, say many scientists had “a definite high level of uneasiness” with GN population estimates based on traditional Inuit knowledge, as well as with Nunavut’s big increase in hunting quotas."

Looks like selectively cooked data to support hunting revenue to me, and to the consensus of polar bear scientists worldwide. Self-interest is easy to spot.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Amazon Crash

Even lacking pronouns won't distract from this dire scenario in SA.

2006 Hottest Ever

Monday, January 08, 2007

Is it El Nino?

It's both. Global warming e.g. anthropogenic forcing with CO2, most likely drives El Nino and La Nina events. It's not either/or. As ever snow if Denver or Pittsburgh isn't proof of anything except moisture laden air. In the warm world this is more likely and is a predicted chracteristic. Wingnuts are such simpletons they can't grasp that. Oh the damage Ailes and FOX News does to some. Morons. There are morons on our team.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Did our president tell Crichton he found the dinosaurs of “Jurassic Park” every bit as frightening as our ancestors did at the dawn of time, 6,000 years ago?

Scientists are villains in Crichton's World according to the world's leading writer of "alarmist" fiction.

"“Disinformation takes many forms.” Here, finally, Crichton has a point that should be heeded."

Crichton resembles Wrong Way Feldman more every day.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Bring in the Clowns

"It seems that there is now no place for scepticism," Jennifer Marohasy, an Australian entomologist and sceptic blogger laments. "When former Canadian champion alpine skier and now Chancellor of Canada’s Thompson Rivers University, Nancy Greene-Raine, said on television last week that since we don't know what next week's weather is going to be, it is perhaps presumption to suggest we know what it will be in 50 or 100 years, many wanted her sacked."

That's because she made a fallacious statement. Sceptics are skoffed at because in the face of overwhelming evidence they remain steadfastly wrong. Wrong shouldn't be an option, when evidence and proof is available. Fake debate ain't debate. It's fakiry passed off as debate funded by ExxonMobil et al as we've seen.

Friday, January 05, 2007

2006 Warmest Year in Record

According to government climate scientists. That works for me. I wonder how this jibes in weird science wingerworld?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Frying Pan Down Under

It's odd many climate sceptics come out of OZ, since it's being impacted right now by the climate change. Getting hot is the direction of that change and for Australia hotter is big trouble. Mark Lynas explains.

False Debate

Dr. James McCarthy, a professor at Harvard University, said the company [ExxonMobil] has sought to "create the illusion of a vigorous debate" about global warming.

As long as they do that and the conservative followers parrot it the solutions just keep creeping farther away, while the heat builds. Sounds like a plot to me.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Impact of State of Fear

I can't emphasize the political clout this badly contrived book State of Fear has had on policy. After reading all the pertinent papers and even interviewing the experts at Realclimate, albeit before they started the blog, Crichton still wrote the polar opposite of what the data show. He deliberately distorted and cherrypicked the exact sequences of findings that confirmed his bias. I guess that just ruled truth out?

The book launched him straight to Capitol Hill and then over to the White House where Bush told him, "I like this." Well now these people are out of power and there will be no audience for denialist sceptics. I put off reading the book, but succumbed a year ago, in order to write my answer novel. An Inconvenient Truth is the picture book rendition of the issue, but a novel with all the players acting as they are and have in the real world is the best way to get through to readers unaware of what's going on. If one has to ask "what's the deal," they need help.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

False Claims of Hysteria

I understand that people who do not live in the north generally have difficulty grasping the concept of too many polar bears in an area. People who live here have a pretty good grasp of what that is like to have too many polar bears around.

This complexity is why so many people find the truth less entertaining than a good story. It is entirely appropriate to be concerned about climate change, but it is just silly to predict the demise of polar bears in 25 years based on media-assisted hysteria.

Dr. Mitchell Taylor Canadian polar bear biologist

He's right about the complexity, but hiding behind cries of hysteria is a hollow strategy. This quote refers to something Tim Flannery claimed in his book, The Weather Makers: The History & Future Impact of Climate Change, ISBN 1-920885-84-6, but it's the first I've heard of it. Charges of "instant demise" claims made against me, Al Gore, or anyone else writng about Climate Change is nothing more than ad hominem. No one is saying next week, next month or anything of the sort. Claiming we are is the last desperate refuge of scoundrels. Polar bears can be abundant in town if there's no place to go that's frozen. Then they'll be shot. Somebody would have to explain how a growing population of "dump" bears is the salvation of a species because I don't get it. Must be all that scientific training getting in the way of the Ultimate Truth?

Again Dr. Amstrup on the gist of the issue. He's not bitching about hysteria here.
We analyzed capture-recapture data collected from 1984-2004 by the Canadian Wildlife Service, and handling data for polar bears captured in and around the community of Churchill by the Manitoba Department of Conservation. We used Cormack-Jolly-Seber to estimate survival, population size, and population growth rate. We concluded that the total size of the WH polar bear population declined by approximately 22%, from 1194 (95% CI = 1020, 1368) in 1987 to 935 (95% CI = 794, 1076) in 2004. The correlation between earlier sea ice breakup and decreased survival provides quantitative evidence for a link between climatic warming and polar bear population dynamics. It may also help explain why Churchill, like other communities along the western coast of Hudson Bay, has experienced an increase in the number of bears that come into town prior to freeze-up each fall. The progressively earlier breakup of sea ice shortens the time that polar bears can hunt seals during the critical spring foraging season, thereby reducing their ability to accumulate the fat reserves they rely upon while stranded on land. The WH population is forced ashore earlier, in poorer nutritional condition, and remains food-deprived for a longer time. As polar bears exhaust their fat reserves toward the end of the ice-free period, they are more likely to encroach upon human settlements in search of alternative food sources to sustain themselves until freeze-up. Thus, the increase in polar bear-human interactions in western Hudson Bay probably* reflects an increase in nutritionally-stressed polar bears searching for food, not an increase in population size. Models developed and tested on the WHB project are currently being used for a new population estimation for polar bears of the Southern Beaufort Sea.
* This is unlikely to mean nothing of the sort is happening and the bears are just coming to town looking for lawn chairs and CocaCola. Scientists never leap very far ahead to leaps of faith-based absolutism found in conservative polemics.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Faster Than Expected

Ancient ice shelf snaps and breaks free from the Canadian Arctic. Climate change can manifest itself in various ways both gradual and abrupt.

Funding the Deniers

ExxonMobil at your disservice.

On the Polar Bear Listing

The age structure and survivorship patterns of recent years suggest the population in the Beaufort Sea may be at or near the limits set by its environment.
Unfortunately, known and unknown biases in our mark and recapture data resulted in population size estimates that were associated with considerable uncertainty. The degree of fluctuation we observed in population estimates derived by the sophisticated Jolly-Seber model were biologically impossible. The estimates were more consistent in the simpler Petersen model, substantiating the observation that the trend of increase is valid, but not erasing concerns about the absolute size of the population.(Amstrup 1992)

I use denning data in Warm Front from Dr. Amstrup of the Alaska USGS Office. As he says here reliable numbers are difficult to determine, and this is only for the Beafort Sea population. The proposed listing doesn't say they are declining now, but the shrinking icepack, evidence of drownings, and emaciation observed firsthand indicate a future trend of decline based on the models of the icepack and increasing global mean temperatures, which are magnified at the poles. Never fear though, because the opinion writers have been dispatched from Wingerville Central to the Washington Times by Pete du Pont to dispel realty. Context is not on their side and the governments of two countries in North America don't agree. Why would that be?

Polar bears and the seals on which they prey may also be among the first species to show effects of climate warming and other global changes (Stirling and Derocher 1993).

The latest research by Dr. Steven Amstrup as of last year and ongoing confirms this prediction and trend.

When Hudson Bay is ice-free, polar bears remain on land where they make little use of terrestrial food sources. In the past 30 years rising temperatures have increased the duration of the ice-free period and the polar bear's seasonal fast by more than two weeks. Although the resulting nutritional stress has been correlated with downward trends in body condition and recruitment, this study was the first to provide evidence of a population-level effect of climatic warming on polar bears.

I suppose leaving this sort of scientific prediction out based on admitted numbers is tried and true for the business propagandists. This aspect is a key component in the plot of my novel. And the novel has a real scientific literature bibliography.
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