Daily Archives: November 23, 2014

No Association Between Drinking Water Nitrate and Maternal-Child Health Outcomes, San Joaquin Valley?

In “hypothesis-generating” studies such as this the presumption is made that a negative association exists. (In this case a negative effect of drinking water nitrate on maternal health outcomes is expected.) If no association is observed then it certainly it can not mean that no association exists. It simply means more research is needed to find it. “We know it is there. We just have to find it.” And given enough time and statistics a negative association will eventually be found. We will see what happens here.

Blake SB. Spatial Relationships among Dairy Farms, Drinking Water Quality, and Maternal-Child Health Outcomes in the San Joaquin Valley. Public Health Nursing (Boston, Mass.) 2014 Nov;31(6):492-9. doi: 10.1111/phn.12166.

OBJECTIVE: Access to clean and affordable water is a significant public health issue globally, in the United States, and in California where land is heavily used for agriculture and dairy operations. The purpose of this study was to explore the geographic relationships among dairy farms, nitrate levels in drinking water, low birth weight, and socioeconomic data at the ZIP code level in the San Joaquin Valley.

DESIGN AND SAMPLE: This ecological study used a Geographic Information System (GIS) to explore and analyze secondary data.
MEASURES: A total of 211 ZIP codes were analyzed using spatial autocorrelation and regression analysis methods in ArcGIS version 10.1.

RESULTS: ZIP codes with dairies had a higher percentage of Hispanic births (p = .001). Spatial statistics revealed that ZIP codes with more dairy farms and a higher dairy cow density had higher levels of nitrate contamination. No correlation was detected between LBW and unsafe nitrate levels at the ZIP code level.

CONCLUSION: Further research examining communities that use private and small community wells in the San Joaquin Valley should be conducted. Birth data from smaller geographic areas should be used to continue exploring the relationship between birth outcomes and nitrate contamination in drinking water.

$250 Million Climate Models Offer False Hope, Money Wasted

Writers arguing for $$ millions for greater and greater computing power (e.g. here) are simply blinded by ideology or $$$ or both. Arguments based on flawed understanding of mathematical “uncertainty” and distorted view of the “precautionary principle” are misleading at best. “Uncertainty” or taking “precaution” are not the problem. There are inherent limitations of climate models that cannot be resolved by another “mathematical uncertainty” analysis. Such numerical models are unable to accurately represent the global climate system either now, looking backward, or looking forward. It does not matter how skilled or brilliant the climate modeler. The inherent inability of modeling the global climate “parts” to correspond to or represent the global climate “whole” will not be addressed any better using the same numerical-method coding or new mathematical representations in a bigger computer than today’s climate models (which are nothing to brag about). The sum of the parts of such massive computer model efforts will always be unrepresentative of the whole, if not a misleading distortion.

Modern-day academics and their institutions (especially climate modelers it seems) are addicted to government money just as much as any drug addict on heroin. They need help to break this dependency. Science policy and funding decision-makers with sound thinking and backbone should resist such calls for massive expenditures in climate models that lead to nowhere. Let’s use computer models. But let’s not throw money away as argued here.

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Renewable Energy Technologies offer a False Hope

“Two highly qualified Google engineers who have spent years studying and trying to improve renewable energy technology have stated quite bluntly that renewables will never permit the human race to cut CO2 emissions to the levels demanded by climate activists. Whatever the future holds, it is not a renewables-powered civilisation: such a thing is impossible. Koningstein and Fork write:

“At the start of RE<C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope … Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”– Lewis Page, The Register, 21 November 2014 click here