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Greg Laden
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Attended Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
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Greg Laden

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A large portion of the glacial mass in Antarctic, previously thought to be relatively stable, is now understood to be destablizing. This is new research just out in Science. The abstract is pretty clear: Growing evidence has demonstrated the importance of ice shelf buttressing on the inland grounded ice, especially if it is resting on…
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Greg Laden

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Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for the Santa Barbara oil spill. Phyllis Grifman, associate director of the USC Sea Grant Program, is quoted i a a University of Southern California press release as saying, “Nothing worked – they found out about this because people camping nearby or living nearby smelled it.…
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It is a fiction that the right wing, and the Republican party, and their primary philosophical guru (Rush Limbaugh) and mouthpiece (FOX News) are more American, more security-savvy, and more patriotic than Liberals, Progressives, and Democrats. This fiction is part of a common bully tactic you already know about because you were either bothered by…
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This project is really exciting. Click through and if you can make a Kickstarter Donation!  

http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2015/05/19/new-star-wars-film-the-recompense/
Bounty hunter Jahdo Kyn intends to start a new life, but in order to leave his troubled past behind he has to buy himself a new future. He has a plan, but as his plan develops he discovers a dilemma, one that requires him to make choices he is not well-prepared to make. This is…
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Greg Laden

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The water-slingers were wrong, jerks. 

But the way these cops acted is embarrassing.  They immediately turned to storm trooper mode.  Glad they weren't carrying at the time or there would be dead people. 

Shouldn't cops who are off duty, now that we've bred them to be so dangerous, wear warning labels?
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Greg Laden

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A new paper is just out in The Lancet that examines the mortality risk of high and low ambient temperatures. The basic idea is that if it is either to hot or too cold, mortality may increase, possibly with the weather being a factor to augment the effects of other health problems, or as a direct result. The paper is methodologically reasonably well done but leads to conclusions that I think will be misinterpreted and misused. The paper implies that a shift to a warmer world would have lower mortality effects than a shift to a colder world might. Or, more significantly, that a shift to a warmer world will reduce ambient temperature related mortality by reducing the effects of cold. This is incorrect for a number of reasons.

Having said that, this paper does make a valuable contribution to public health, though here I’ll note that only in passing (see below).

First, I’ll give you the author’s viewpoint directly by quoting from the abstract, then I’ll tell you what I think about it.

The paper is “Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study,” by Antonio Gasparrini and a host of other authors. It says:

"""Summary
Background Although studies have provided estimates of premature deaths attributable to either heat or cold in selected countries, none has so far offered a systematic assessment across the whole temperature range in populations exposed to different climates. We aimed to quantify the total mortality burden attributable to non-optimum ambient temperature, and the relative contributions from heat and cold and from moderate and extreme temperatures.

Methods We collected data for 384 locations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, and USA. We fitted a standard time-series Poisson model for each location, controlling for trends and day of the week. We estimated temperature–mortality associations with a distributed lag non-linear model with 21 days of lag, and then pooled them in a multivariate metaregression that included country indicators and temperature average and range. We calculated attributable deaths for heat and cold, defined as temperatures above and below the optimum temperature, which corresponded to the point of minimum mortality, and for moderate and extreme temperatures, defined using cutoffs at the 2·5th and 97·5th temperature percentiles.

Findings We analysed 74225 200 deaths in various periods between 1985 and 2012. In total, 7·71% (95% empirical CI 7·43–7·91) of mortality was attributable to non-optimum temperature in the selected countries within the study period, with substantial differences between countries, ranging from 3·37% (3·06 to 3·63) in Thailand to 11·00% (9·29 to 12·47) in China. The temperature percentile of minimum mortality varied from roughly the 60th percentile in tropical areas to about the 80–90th percentile in temperate regions. More temperature-attributable deaths were caused by cold (7·29%, 7·02–7·49) than by heat (0·42%, 0·39–0·44). Extreme cold and hot temperatures were responsible for 0·86% (0·84–0·87) of total mortality.

Interpretation Most of the temperature-related mortality burden was attributable to the contribution of cold. The effect of days of extreme temperature was substantially less than that attributable to milder but non-optimum weather. This evidence has important implications for the planning of public-health interventions to minimise the health consequences of adverse temperatures, and for predictions of future effect in climate-change scenarios."""

What could possibly go wrong?

Obviously, the main way this paper could derail is when climate change denialists make the claim that global warming is good because cold weather causes more mortality than warm weather, so we’ll have less mortality. This, however, is incorrect for several reasons.





http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2015/05/21/the-risk-of-hot-and-cold-weather/
A new paper is just out in The Lancet that examines the mortality risk of high and low ambient temperatures. The basic idea is that if it is either to hot or too cold, mortality may increase, possibly with the weather being a factor to augment the effects of other health problems, or as a…
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Greg Laden

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A large portion of the glacial mass in Antarctic, previously thought to be relatively stable, is now understood to be destablizing. This is new research just out in Science. The abstract is pretty clear: Growing evidence has demonstrated the importance of ice shelf buttressing on the inland grounded ice, especially if it is resting on…
3
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Greg Laden

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Will global warming have this one positive outcome? Not likely: http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2015/05/21/the-risk-of-hot-and-cold-weather/
A new paper is just out in The Lancet that examines the mortality risk of high and low ambient temperatures. The basic idea is that if it is either to hot or too cold, mortality may increase, possibly with the weather being a factor to augment the effects of other health problems, or as a…
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Greg Laden

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The White House has issued a press release noting that President Obama will address climate change as a national security threat in a speech later today in Connecticut. Here is the press release. White House Report: The National Security Implications of a Changing Climate Today, President Obama will travel to New London, Connecticut to deliver…
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Scientist, science writer, pro-evolution and climate science activist
Introduction
I write about evolution, other areas of biology, climate change, archaeology, and related topics.  I blog at Scienceblogs, 10,000 Birds, and a few other places.  I wrote a novella about the search for an elusive and strange primate in Africa, called Sungudogo (available on Amazon and elsewhere as an eBook).  



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