Sara Chan writes: The most accurate study so far of the motions of stars in the Milky Way has found no evidence for dark matter in a large volume around the Sun. According to widely accepted theories, the solar neighborhood was expected to be filled with dark matter, a mysterious invisible substance that can only be detected indirectly by the gravitational force it exerts. But a new study by a team of astronomers in Chile has found that these theories just do not fit the observational facts. The research, led by Christian Moni Bidin, is currently in press with The Astrophysical Journal. Story at Phys.org and Scienceagogo and Science Daily.
Sara Chan writes: NATO has awarded its largest cyber-security contract to date, in a move that is expected to prompt member states to augment their own cyber-security capabilities. The contract, for €58 million ($76 million), is to design and implement NATO's Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC). NCIRC will enable NATO to monitor computer networks from its headquarters in Brussels and detect and respond to cyber threats and vulnerabilities at about 50 NATO sites in 28 countries. The project is intended to meet the requirements of a declaration by NATO Head of States at the Lisbon Summit, in November 2010, which called for the achievement of NCIRC Full Operational Capability by end of 2012.
Sara Chan writes: A British mathematician, Douglas Keenan, is claiming that the change in global temperatures over the past 130 years is probably not due to people, but instead natural random fluctuations. He says that previous analyses got their statistics wrong and the IPCC has been seriously incompetent. The Wall Street Journal has a full-page article about this, only behind a paywall. The story is on Keenan's site.
Sara Chan writes: A British mathematician says that the statistical basis of global warming is incorrect, and so the calculations used to determine whether Earth is significantly warming are wrong. According to him, the statistics show that the apparent increase in global temperatures would be better explained by random chance than by other forces. The Wall Street Journal has the story (free version on author's site).
Sara Chan writes: I just went to sign on to youtube. The system said that I could no longer sign on unless I had a google account, and it advised me to sign up to google. When I tried to open a google account, it REQUIRED me to enter my phone number: it will then text the password to my phone. So much for anonymous browsing! This is the epitome of evil.
Sara Chan writes: The Wall Street Journal has a story about how China's military is developing unmanned aerial vehicles, i.e. drones. Some of the latest models are quite sophisticated. The story tells that "One model under development... is about the size of a large duck and has flapping wings. It is designed primarily for carrying out reconnaissance behind enemy lines."
Sara Chan writes: The UK government plans to introduce legislation that will allow the police to track every phone call, email, text message and website visit made by the public. The information will include who is contacting whom, when and where and which websites are visited, but not the content of the conversations or messages. Every communications provider will be required to store the information for at least a year. Full story in The Telegraph.
Sara Chan writes: In a landmark ruling, the UK's Information Commissioner's Office has decided that researchers at a university must make all their data available to the public. The decision follows from a three-year battle by a mathematician, who wants the data to do his own analysis on it. The university researchers have had the data for many years, and have published several papers using the data, but had refused to make the data available. The data in this case pertains to global warming, but the decision is believed to apply to any field: scientists at universities, which are all public in the UK, can now not claim data from publicly-funded research as their private property. Full story in The Times; more at the BBC, Nature Climate Feedback, and here.
Sara Chan writes: Google has an auto-suggest feature: type in the first few letters, and it suggests the rest of the word. So for example, if you type "clim", it suggests climate, climax, climbing, etc. But it does NOT suggest climategate. Searching for "climategate" finds over 30 million hits—a huge number; so why is climategate not in the auto-suggest list? In fact, it was in the list, even at the top of the list, until December 1st. Now it is not in the list even if you type "climategat". Talking About The Weather checked with Google CEO Eric Schmidt and got some lame answers. Could it be that Google is censoring auto-suggest to support global-warming political action? There is certainly lots to hide, for anyone supporting the politics. E-mails demonstrate attempts to avoid Freedom-of-Information requests; ESR claims the code shows clear evidence of fraud; data from a single tree in Siberia underlies much research showing warming; and now universities at Albany and Belfast are claimed to be part of the affair.
Sara Chan writes: The Economist has a story about the undersea cables being cut. The story even mentions Slashdot, and quotes a comment by bigdavex—without realizing that the comment was modded Funny and later explicitly stated by bigdavex as being intended that way. The story argues that
the conspiracy theories are all nonsense. But it uses the misconstrued comment of bigdavex as evidence, and moreover was written before the fifth cable disruption. Additionally, the story tells that “Egypt's transport ministry said it had studied video footage of the sea lanes where the [first two cut] cables had been, and no ships had crossed the line of the breakage for 12 hours before and after the accident”; so the official explanation of a ship's anchor cutting those two cables seems impossible.
Sara Chan writes: The European Science Foundation has just held the first World Conference on Research Integrity. A major conference topic was the fraud allegation against SUNY professor Wei-Chyung Wang. Wang's research has been crucial evidence that urbanization effects are insignificant in global warming studies (and Wang's research was relied upon in the latest report from the IPCC). Now it has been alleged that Wang's research was fabricated. The Daily Tech has the story. The allegation was made by mathematician Douglas Keenan, whose report is clear and disturbing. Wang's university has begun an investigation.
Sara Chan writes: A recent Slashdot story asked if global warming had been debunked. A short paper to appear in the January issue of Theoretical and Applied Climatology raises a similar question: it harshly critiques some prominent research published in Nature. The paper is technical, but the author of the paper (who is a Knuth check recipient) discusses it bluntly on his site, stating that there is “evidence of scientific fraud”. The author says that he is disinterested in global warming per se, but wanted to illustrate the poor quality of publications that support it. There is also discussion at ClimateAudit.
Sara Chan writes: How much trust should there be in the science behind global warming? A recent Slashdot story asked if global warming had been debunked. A short paper to appear in the January issue of Theoretical and Applied Climatology emphasizes the question: it critiques some prominent research published in Nature, showing that the work could not have had any checking prior to publication—not even by a non-scientist. The author of the paper (who is a Knuth check recipient) talks about this on his site. It's incredible to see how bad things can be. The author claims that problems like this are common; he says that he is disinterested in global warming per se, but wanted to illustrate the poor quality of publications that support it. There is also discussion at ClimateAudit.