Romm Echoes Groundless Cell Phone/Cancer Fears?

Keith Kloor is having fun being kwuooeeeel to poor Joe Romm, simply because Romm is being an anti-scientific bozo pushing groundless fears of cancer-from-mobile-phones. Keith has a nice collection of links to sane people pointing out that there is no evidence of a problem. One of whom is Orac, in a post entertainingly entitled The bride of the son of the revenge of cell phones and cancer rises from the grave…again. And the key quote is Still, despite my trying to keep an open mind on the matter, I also don’t want my mind to be so open that my brains fall out, so to speak. Alas, Romm has failed to heed that wise advice, so his brains have indeed fallen out.

I can’t be bothered to take Romm and his argument apart, and anyway there is no point, because Kloor has, and Orac has, and so have any number of people. What I found quite entertaining, though, is: what does this remind you of? “This” being the desperate never-ending search for a link between mobiles (apparently called “cell phones” by our colonial cousins) and cancer, which continues despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary? Yes that’s right: it is just like the denialists’ eternal search for something, anything, that they can blame for global warming other than CO2.

Meanwhile, in related news, the squareheads are also anti-scientific bozos. But I don’t seem to be able to dredge up enough venom for an entire post. Well, its been a long day and I went running at lunchtime and sculling at night (can’t even see the game or the Sugar Ray fight).

Oh… I nearly forgot. Romm’s point 3 is an excellent one:

3. Use a Bluetooth earpiece. A Bluetooth earpiece still has radiation, but it’s at least 100 times less than the radiation you get when you hold a cell phone to your head…. [And don’t keep it on your ear all the time since,] “when you’re not talking; it still sends out a signal.”

or at least, its an excellent point if you happen to be an employee and shareholder of a company that makes bluetooth chips (did you know we now have a blog?). The bit about emitting radiation when you’re not talking is mostly twaddle, though. If its not supporting an audio link, it will either get turned off or at worst drop into sniff, which has something like a hundredth of the radiation of an audio link.


* Why I’m (still) not worried about my cell phone hurting my brain (Bad Astronomy)
* Deaths per unit of electricity generated
* Rabbits needn’t worry about cell phones’ effects on their sperm count, say three retractions

Curry jumps the shark

[Originally posted 27/7; updated a few times and now again (see end) so re-publishing with current date to push it to the top]

It looks like it is finally time to announce Judith Curry’s departure for the dark side, prompted by her comments at RC. I still think she has good intentions, at heart, but has been “captured by the septic narrative” or somesuch. In some respects this intervention is fairly typical of her previous stuff – which is to say, she mouths off without having done her homework, then tries to back off. But the direction she mouths off in is very revealing.

So, where to start. Curry commented at RC in defence of Montford and Gavin answered her. Presumably she thought at the time she was being sane. But then Romm (ht: H) made a post out of the comment / reply which really reads very badly for her, and Curry threw her toys out of the pram: OK, I officially give up over here. Here is something I just posted over at climateaudit… She then appears to go on to argue that all the stuff she said before wasn’t her, it was merely her parroting Montford: “These were not my personal arguments.” I don’t believe that, nor do I think that you can read that from her orignal RC comment. Nor, indeed, can I see why she would want to show up at RC merely to parrot Montford – he can do that himself if he wants to.

The bit of Curry’s comments that I would pick out of RC are

The high level of confidence ascribed to the hockey stick inferences in the IPCC TAR, based upon two very recent papers (MBH) that, while provocative and innovative, used new methods and found results that were counter to the prevailing views. Plus the iconic status that the hockey stick achieved in the TAR and Al Gore’s movie.

I’ve bolded the bit that is especially significant. This is so much a part of the septic worldview: that IPCC ’90 fig 7.1.c was God’s Glorious Revealed Truth in the Age of Gold and everything since then has been downhill as the evil climate so-called scientists manipulated their data to erase the MWP and LIA etc etc. Gavin points out why her view is wrong.

There is quite enough noise in the “climate debate” already. We don’t need any more. Nor do we need people making hasty ill-thought out comments that they will later pretend not to have meant. Curry needs to back off and find time to write down a coherent position that she actually believes in.

Oops, and I missed Curry’s other embarassing comment at CP. Speaking of Craig Loehle I ought to link to Eli before he does.

[Update: DHW has a longer analysis]

[Update: it is interesting to compare her current state with comments from 2006 (ht: NEA]

[Update: Curry digs herself in deeper chez Keith]

[Update: more mixed Curry at That combines some interesting and worthwhile stuff about Antarctic sea ice – read it (though note the minor contradiction / lack of clarity: The paradox of why the Antarctic isn’t melting and the Arctic is has gotten a lot of attention… It’s not like there’s been a big debate in the climate community, or a lot of worry about this, because observations have agreed with the models) – with outrageous lies pandering to the septics (Some people were getting their papers rejected because they disagreed with the IPCC. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. Papers were getting rejected for the wrong reason). Based on her usual modus operandi, I’m sure she will later come back and explain that she didn’t actually mean that, or was just quoting someone else’s book, or something. What she won’t come back with is anything to back it up (ht: IANVS). Oh, and When I speak up about maybe there’s more uncertainty, some people regard that as heresy. is twaddle too. OTOH, with This isn’t a Merchants of Doubt, oil-company-funded effort (though that comment is badly made) she is explicitly endorsing the fact that there *is* a MoD effort elsewhere. Note also the total lack of criticism of WUWT; all in all, I think the “capture” theory still holds]

[Update: is a review of HSI which includes

Montford tries to justify this assertion in his first chapter by highlighting the “difficulty in getting into print any result that went against the idea of catastrophic global warming”. He claims that a paper by Shaopeng Huang and co-authors on proxy temperature reconstructions from borehole measurements “never appeared in print” after being rejected by the journal Nature in 1997 because it showed that the medieval warm period had higher temperatures than today. However Montford strangely neglects to tell the reader that the rejected paper was revised and published in the same year by the journal Geophysical Research Letters, and that the authors published other papers in Nature in subsequent years.

so it seems entirely likely that this is the source of Curry’s lies about Some people were getting their papers rejected because they disagreed with the IPCC. In which case she is caught out yet again parroting tripe from Montford. Montford isn’t a scientist and could be dumb enough to think rejection by Nature is some sort of dissing (rather than a commonplace that happens to veryone) but Curry is a scientist and, had she bothered to investigate rather than parrot, would have known better]


* Denier weirdness: Judith Curry will not be renewing her subscription: Sou, 2015 (note JM’s comment, which probably explains it)

Sea ice, briefly

I doubt I’ll be running the ever-exciting competition again this year, due to a lack of people who strongly disagree with me (i.e., the decline will be on the long term-trend, plus some error margin).

But While I’m here there appears to be some excitement from Romm over a Grauniad study about a GRL study about the role of wind forcing in sea ice loss, in particular in 2007.

The paper says

The unprecedented retreat of first-year ice during summer 2007 was enhanced by strong poleward drift over the western Arctic induced by anomalously high sea-level pressure (SLP) over the Beaufort Sea that persisted throughout much of the summer. Comparison of the tracks of drifting buoys with monthly mean SLP charts shows a substantial Ekman drift. By means of linear regression analysis it is shown that Ekman drift during summer has played an important role in regulating annual minimum Arctic sea-ice extent in prior years as well.

which seems fair enough (I don’t guarantee it is true, but it looks like a perfectly reasonable thing to say). By the time this has reached the Grauniad the sub-headings have got a little dodgy Wind contributing to Arctic sea ice loss, study finds New research does not question climate change is also melting ice in the Arctic, but finds wind patterns explain steep decline but only a little bit dodgy. By sub-heading standards, this is pretty good (Romm says “especially misleading subhed” which looks over the top to me). Even the Daily Mail isn’t too bad.

For those not familair with the basic idea, sea ice either melts and grows in situ or is pushed about by the winds. Strong winds can either make it advance further than it “ought” to be able to get, or by pushing it too far south melt more of it than would be normal, or push it back north (see, I can’t even tell from the paper which one of those it is. Never mind, I don’t need to know). If you pinned your hopes on 2007 being the harbinger of a new trend, well, you’ve already been disappointed by 2008 and 2009 so this isn’t exactly a hammer blow. It just confirms the obvious: that there was something other than GW that made 2007 an exceptional minimum.

As Romm points out, we (well me, JA and Brian) still have $1000 between us on an ice-free Arctic by 2020, and oddly both sides still seem quite comfortable with that. Romm’s post links to an ice-volume “prediction” of zero by 2012-2016 which I think is absurd. But time will tell. 2012 certainly isn’t far off.