Daily Archives: November 25, 2014

The “Little Ice Age” was Global

A recent press release announces UK researchers have concluded that the little ice age was a global phenomena. I prefer to link directly to published papers and reports. Since I was not able to locate the report to provide a direct link, the press release is found here.

More on the little ice age is found here.


Association of PCE, TCE, and Benzene with Birth Outcomes, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

Lack of actual exposure data is the Achilles heal of this type of study. It reads as being “scientific” but in reality it is simply speculative, an exercise in mathematical machinations.

Ruckart PZ, Bove FJ, Maslia M. Evaluation of contaminated drinking water and preterm birth, small for gestational age, and birth weight at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina: a cross-sectional study. Environmental Health. 2014 Nov 20;13(1):99.

Drinking water supplies at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune were contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and benzene during 1968-1985.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study to evaluate associations between residential prenatal exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune during 1968-1985 and preterm birth, small for gestational age (SGA), term low birth weight (TLBW), and mean birth weight deficit (MBW). Birth certificates identified mothers residing at Camp Lejeune at delivery. We analyzed exposure data for the entire pregnancy and individual trimesters. For each period examined, births were categorized as unexposed if mothers did not reside at Camp Lejeune or if their residence on base received uncontaminated drinking water. Ground water contaminant fate/transport and distribution system models provided monthly estimated contaminant levels at residences. For PCE and TCE, the exposed group was divided into four levels: < median value, >= median value, >=75th percentile, and >=90th percentile. For benzene, the exposed group was categorized as <1 part per billion (ppb) versus >=1 ppb because of sparse data. Magnitude of effect estimates and exposure response relationships were used to assess associations. Confidence intervals (CIs) indicated precision of estimates.

RESULTS: For the highest TCE exposure category during the entire pregnancy, odds ratios (ORs) were 1.5 (95% CI: 1.2, 1.9) and 1.3 (95% CI: 0.8, 2.2) for SGA and TLBW, respectively, and reduced MBW beta = -78.3 g (95% CI: -115.0, -41.7). The OR =1.3 (95% CI: 1.0, 1.6) for preterm birth and the highest PCE exposure category during the entire pregnancy. Monotonic exposure-response relationships were observed for benzene exposure during the entire pregnancy and TLBW (highest category OR =1.5, 85% CI: 0.9, 2.3). Although a monotonic association between benzene and adjusted MBW difference was also observed (highest category beta = -36.2 g, 95% CI: -72.3, -0.1), the association disappeared when TCE was also added to the model. We found no evidence suggesting any other associations between outcomes and exposures.

CONCLUSION: Findings suggested associations between in utero exposures to TCE and SGA, TLBW and reduced MBW; benzene and TLBW; and PCE and preterm birth.

Pictet Experiment: A Cold Body Cannot Make a Hot Body Hotter

It is argued by the climate modelers that the greenhouse effect resulting in global warming  is not a violation of the laws of thermodynamics. This question has resulted in heat(ed) exchanges between physics and climate modelers.

Experiments in the 1800s and 1900s demonstrated that heat transfers only one-way from hot to cold. This phenomena occurs because entropy production is maximized.

However, radiation transfer between a hot and cold body is bidirectional. But transfer of heat is always one way – only from hot to cold.

For heat to transfer from cold to hot a reduction of entropy without work input is required. This is simply contrary to the 2nd law of Thermodynamics.

James Evans, Brian Popp. Pictet’s esxperiment: The apparent radiation and reflection of cold. American Journal of Physics. 53(8) August 1985.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century it was discovered by Marc-Auguste Pictet of Geneva that cold emanations from a flask of snow could be reflected and focused by mirrors in the same way as emanations from a heated object. Pictet’s discovery had an invigorating effect on research on radiant heat. We sketch the scientific milieu in which Pictet worked, describe the line of investigation that led him to his discovery, and summarize the theoretical explanations offered by Pictet and his contemporaries for this and related experiments. A simple qualitative explanation in modern terms is offered for the apparent radiation and reflection of cold. Finally, detailed directions are provided for replicating the experiment as a demonstration for the lecture hall.

 Click here for paper (Open Access).