Daily Archives: January 8, 2015

Climate “Skeptic Bashing” is Unproductive, Slanderous

The term climate “skeptic” should be abandoned. It survives simply for political hackery. I have not met the folks mentioned in this post (click here) but the account described reminds me of the little book “How to Lie with Statistics.” I am glad to see someone wrongly accused stand up and defend their work with reasoning and data. Hats off to Mr. Jim Steele.

“I was recently notified, by a colleague familiar with my wildlife and restoration work in the Sierra Nevada, that a “whacko” was portraying my graph of temperature trends at Yosemite and Antarctica’s Dumont D’Durville as fraudulent. The skeptic basher had written, “A little research proved the numbers on this WUWT/Steele graph are wrong for “Yosemite.”Similarly, in an attempt to smear a segment of my IEEE presentation demonstrating the Emperor Penguins were not endangered, he sniped,Then Steele produces a homemade graph. The “real data“? I think not ! In fact, I have reason to believe it’s another one of Steele’s tricks intended to deceive the unskeptical.” Yet like a little bit of knowledge, a “little research” is a dangerous thing.” Look here for full explanation.

Scientists Say A Lot of Silly Things About Climate; Mere Speculation

Let’s considers what is being said in this alarming article (here). Many assumptions must be made to reach such a conclusion. Are these assumptions valid? Do they represent the best available observational and experimental science properly informed using numerical methods? Or are they based on speculations thrown out to scare people in to taking regulatory action which other scientists say are unnecessary, even harmful?

The message is sent that if tar sands and coal are left in the ground the global temperature will not rise more than 2°C.  What is the scientific basis for this claim? Global temperatures are always adjusting and may indeed rise (or drop) more than 2°C with or without increasing atmospheric CO2 and with or without tar sands, oil, coal being left in the ground. It’s a significant drop in global temperature that should be worrisome.

“Canada’s tar sands need to stay in the ground, the oil beneath the Arctic has to remain under the sea, and most of the world’s coal must be left untouched in order to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2°C, a study released Wednesday says.”

Diarrhoeal Illness in Households With and Without Cisterns, Brazil

Marcynuk PB, Flint JA, Sargeant JM, Jones-Bitton A, Brito AM, Luna CF, Szilassy E, Thomas MK, Lapa TM, Perez E, Costa AM. Comparison of the burden of diarrhoeal illness among individuals with and without household cisterns in northeast Brazil. BMC Infect Dis. 2013 Feb 4;13:65. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-13-65.

BACKGROUND: Lack of access to safe and secure water is an international issue recognized by the United Nations. To address this problem, the One Million Cisterns Project was initiated in 2001 in Brazil’s semi-arid region to provide a sustainable source of water to households. The objectives of this study were to determine the 30-day period prevalence of diarrhoea in individuals with and without cisterns and determine symptomology, duration of illness and type of health care sought among those with diarrhoea. A subgroup analysis was also conducted among children less than five years old.

METHODS: A face-to-face survey was conducted between August 20th and September 20th, 2007 in the Agreste Central Region of Pernambuco State, Brazil. Households with and without a cistern that had at least one child under the age of five years were selected using systematic convenient sampling. Differences in health outcomes between groups were assessed using Pearson’s Chi-squared and two-way t-tests. Demographic variables were tested for univariable associations with diarrhoea using logistic regression with random effects. P-values of 0.05 or less were considered statistically significant.

RESULTS: A total of 3679 people from 774 households were included in the analysis (1863 people from 377 households with cisterns and 1816 people from 397 households without cisterns). People from households with a cistern had a significantly lower 30-day period prevalence of diarrhoea (prevalence = 11.0%; 95% CI 9.5-12.4) than people from households without a cistern (prevalence = 18.2%; 95% CI 16.4-20.0). This significant difference was also found in a subgroup analysis of children under five years old; those children with a cistern had a 30-day period prevalence of 15.6% (95% CI 12.3-18.9) versus 26.7% (95% CI 22.8-30.6) in children without a cistern. There were no significant differences between those people with and without cisterns in terms of the types of symptoms, duration of illness and health care sought for diarrhoea.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that the use of cisterns for drinking water is associated with a decreased occurrence of diarrhoea in this study population. Further research accounting for additional risk factors and preventative factors should be conducted.

Click here for paper (Open Access).

Fecal Contamination of Food, Water, Hands, Utensils; Peru

Gil AI, Lanata CF, Hartinger SM, Mäusezahl D, Padilla B, Ochoa TJ, Lozada M, Pineda I, Verastegui H. Fecal contamination of food, water, hands, and kitchen utensils at the household level in rural areas of Peru. Journal of Environmental Health. 2014 Jan-Feb;76(6):102-6.

The study described in this article evaluated sources of contamination of children’s food and drinking water in rural households in the highlands of Peru. Samples from children’s meals, drinking water, kitchen utensils, and caregivers’ and children’s hands were analyzed for total coliforms and E. coli counts using Petrifilm EC. Thermotolerant coliforms in water were measured using DelAgua test kits while diarrheagenic E. coli was identified using polymerase chain reaction methods (PCR). Thermotolerant coliforms were found in 48% of all water samples. E. coli was found on 23% of hands, 16% of utensils, and 4% of meals. Kitchen cloths were the item most frequently contaminated with total coliforms (89%) and E. coli (42%). Diarrheagenic E. coli was found in 33% of drinking water, 27% of meals, and on 23% of kitchen utensils. These findings indicate a need to develop hygiene interventions that focus on specific kitchen utensils and hand washing practices, to reduce the contamination of food, water, and the kitchen environment in these rural settings.

Household Effectiveness of Point of Use Chlorination, Ecuador

Levy K, Anderson L, Robb KA, Cevallos W, Trueba G, Eisenberg JN. Household effectiveness vs. laboratory efficacy of point-of-use chlorination. Water Research. 2014 May 1;54:69-77. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2014.01.037.

Treatment of water at the household level offers a promising approach to combat the global burden of diarrheal diseases. In particular, chlorination of drinking water has been a widely promoted strategy due to persistence of residual chlorine after initial treatment. However, the degree to which chlorination can reduce microbial levels in a controlled setting (efficacy) or in a household setting (effectiveness) can vary as a function of chlorine characteristics, source water characteristics, and household conditions. To gain more understanding of these factors, we carried out an observational study within households in rural communities of northern coastal Ecuador. We found that the efficacy of chlorine treatment under controlled conditions was significantly better than its household effectiveness when evaluated both by ability to meet microbiological safety standards and by log reductions. Water treated with chlorine achieved levels of microbial contamination considered safe for human consumption after 24 h of storage in the household only 39-51% of the time, depending on chlorine treatment regimen. Chlorine treatment would not be considered protective against diarrheal disease according to WHO log reduction standards. Factors that explain the observed compromised effectiveness include: source water turbidity, source water baseline contamination levels, and in-home contamination. Water in 38% of the households that had low turbidity source water (<10 NTU) met the safe water standard as compared with only 17% of the households that had high turbidity source water (>10 NTU). A 10 MPN/100 mL increase in baseline Escherichia coli levels was associated with a 2.2% increase in failure to meet the E. coli standard. Higher mean microbial contamination levels were seen in 54% of household samples in comparison to their matched controls, which is likely the result of in-home contamination during storage. Container characteristics (size of the container mouth) did not influence chlorine effectiveness. We found no significant differences between chlorine treatment regimens in ability to meet the safe water standards or in overall log reductions, although chlorine dosage did modify the effect of source conditions. These results underscore the importance of measuring both source water and household conditions to determine appropriate chlorine levels, as well as to evaluate the appropriateness of chlorine treatment and other point-of-use water quality improvement interventions.

Click here for paper (fee).