Category: Unsettled Science

The Sound Of Settled Science


Archaeologists recently discovered 8,000-year-old stone fluted points on the Arabian Peninsula, the same technology developed by Native Americans 13,000 years ago, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One.
When the stone tools were first unearthed, researchers suspected there was something familiar about them. Scientists took note of the flute-like grooves texturing the sides of the stone points.
The tools examined for the study were found in Manayzah in Yemen and Ad-Dahariz in Oman, researchers said.
“We recognized this technique as … probably the most famous of the prehistoric techniques used in the American continent,” lead researcher Remy Crassard, head of archaeology at the French Center for Archaeology and Social Sciences, told UPI. “It took us little time to recognize it, but it took us more time to understand why fluting was present in Arabia.”

By “understand”, they mean “take a wild ass guess”.

The Sound Of Settled Science

Hold the cheeses.

The most popular theory of the moon’s origins contends the satellite was formed when a Mars-sized object collided with Earth, vaporizing large portions of Earth’s upper crust.
While Earth’s upper crust is poor in metals, new research — published Wednesday in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters — suggests the moon’s subsurface is surprisingly metal-rich, undermining the satellite’s proposed origin story.

Science By Jury

The RoundUp Method;

Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will stop selling talcum baby powder in the United States and Canada. Why? Because of predatory trial lawyers who enrich themselves by lying about science.
Talcum powder is absorptive, so it’s mainly used to help keep otherwise moist body parts dry. (You can use your imagination here, but this SNL skit provides a hint.) For years, there have been rumblings that talcum powder is linked to ovarian cancer. But just like the fictitious link between hexavalent chromium in drinking water and cancer popularized by the movie Erin Brockovich, the link between talcum powder and cancer is basically anecdotal.
A new review published in January 2020 by JAMA Oncology concluded that “there was not a statistically significant association between use of powder in the genital area and incident ovarian cancer.” Though the report cautions that there still could be a tiny causal effect that is too small to be detected, the sample size was large (more than 250,000 women observed over a total of 3.8 million person-years). This indicates that the conclusion of no causal effect is probably correct.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) touted the results on its website, proclaiming, “‘No evidence’ that talcum powder causes ovarian cancer new review finds.” But for reasons that I will never understand, American websites remain wishy-washy. The American Cancer Society, for instance, says that the evidence is “less clear.”

What’s The Opposite Of Diversity?

The Australian;

Ridd’s case is a dramatic illustration of the free speech crisis in Australian universities, not least around matters as politically and emotionally charged as climate change. It will determine, in effect, whether universities have the ability to censor opinions that threaten their sources of funding. It is one of the most important cases for intellectual freedom in the history of Australian jurisprudence.
The Ridd case has resonated around Australia — and has attracted significant attention worldwide — for good reason. It confirms what many people have suspected for a long time: Australia’s universities are no longer institutions encouraging the rigorous exercise of intellectual freedom and the scientific method in pursuit of truth. Instead, they are now corporatist bureaucracies that rigidly enforce an unquestioning orthodoxy, and are capable of hounding out anyone who strays outside their rigid groupthink.

The Sound Of Settled Science

Revisiting global hydrological cycle: Is it intensifying? – Demetris Koutsoyiannis

As a result of technological advances in monitoring atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere, as well as in data management and processing, several data bases have become freely available. These can be exploited in revisiting the global hydrological cycle with the aim, on the one hand, to better quantify it and, on the other hand, to test the established climatological hypotheses, according to which the hydrological cycle should be intensifying because of global warming. By processing the information from gridded ground observations, satellite data and reanalyses, it turns out that the established hypotheses are not confirmed. Instead of monotonic trends, there appear fluctuations from intensification to deintensification and vice versa, with deintensification prevailing in the 21st century. The water balance on land and sea appears to be lower than the standard figures of literature, but with greater variability on climatic time scales, which is in accordance with Hurst-Kolmogorov stochastic dynamics. The most obvious anthropogenic signal in the hydrological cycle appears to be the overexploitation of groundwater, which has a visible effect on sea level rise. Melting of glaciers has an equal effect, but in this case it in not known which part is anthropogenic, as studies on polar regions attribute mass loss mostly to ice dynamics.


The Sound Of Settled Science


Since the big bang, the universe has swollen like a freshly formed raisin roll put in a warm place to rise. Until recently, it was thought that this increase in size was occurring evenly in all directions, as with a good yeast dough. Astrophysicists call this “isotropy”. Many calculations on the fundamental properties of the universe are based on this assumption. It is possible that they are all wrong – or at least, inaccurate – thanks to compelling observations and analyses of the scientists from the Universities of Bonn and Harvard.

h/t PaulHarveyPage2

The Sound Of Settled Science

The case for the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis just got stronger: Armageddon at 10,000 BCE

Fragments of a comet likely hit Earth 12,800 years ago, and a little Paleolithic village in Syria might have suffered the impact.
Abu Hureyra is an important archaeological site in Syria, known for artifacts documenting early adoption of agriculture in the region. It may also be recognized as the only known human settlement to have been hit by a fragment of a comet.
The site, now under the waters of Lake Assad, was quickly excavated between 1972 and 1973 before construction of the Tabqa Dam flooded the area. During the excavation, archaeologists realized that there were really two sites, one on top of the other. The first was a Paleolithic settlement of hunter-gatherers, and the second was a farming town, with new buildings of a different style.
A new analysis of samples of soil and artifacts salvaged from the original excavation has revealed a surprising finding: The Paleolithic village at Abu Hureyra was indirectly hit and destroyed by fragments of a comet that slammed into Earth about 12,800 years ago.

If you don’t know about the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis, start here.

Plus, this hour long podcast with Randall Carlson and Cosmic Tusk author George Howard, on the years long battle to have this hypothesis recognized by establishment science, and the role climate change politics may have played in that. That ought to keep you entertained for a while.

Related: A former skeptic changes his mind.

What Would We Do Without Peer Review?

“The Distributed Idea Suppression Complex”. For those of us who enjoy long form podcasts (and have a little knowledge of genetics) this is a fascinating story. Eric Weinstein can be a pompous asshole, but if you’re interested in stories of scientific malfeasance and the implications of “broken” mice, stick with it. The real meat begins at about 45 minutes in.

Besides, I have lots on my plate and it may be all you get today.

Climategate 2020: The Blacklist


A climate advocacy group called Skeptical Science hosts a list of academics that it has labeled “climate misinformers.” The list includes 17 academics and is intended as a blacklist. We know of this intent because one of the principals of Skeptical Science, a blogger named Dana Nuccitelli, said so last Friday, writing of one academic on their list, “if you look at the statements we cataloged and debunked on her [Skeptical Science] page, it should make her unhirable in academia.”
That so-called “unhirable” academic is Professor Judy Curry, formerly the chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, and a Fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society. By any conventional academic metric, Curry has compiled an impressive record over many decades. The idea that she would be unhirable would seem laughable.
But there is nothing funny about Skeptical Science. Today, Curry should be a senior statesperson in the atmospheric sciences community. Instead, she is out of academia. She attributes that, at least in part, to being placed on the Skeptical Science blacklist and its use, as expressed by Nuccitelli, to make her “unhirable.”
I asked Professor Curry about this situation. She explained, “In 2012 I was informed by my Dean that the administration wanted me to step down as Chair. While there were several reasons for this, one obvious reason was extreme displeasure by several activist climate scientists who had a very direct pipeline to the Dean.”
So Curry stepped down and started looking for administrative positions at other universities, “At the time, I was getting numerous inquiries from academic headhunters encouraging me to apply for major administration positions, ranging from Dean to Vice Chancellor for Research. I applied for several of these, and actually interviewed for two of them. I did not make it to the final short list.”

Closer to home: The City of Regina is axing self-described “sensible environmentalist” Patrick Moore from its sustainability conference this spring.

Not an innocent mistake. Did you think they’d stop at gender “science”?