UK nuclear fusion lab faces uncertain future

Written by David Shukman

Jet, CulhamImage copyright: CCFE

Image caption: JET holds the record for the longest sustained nuclear fusion reaction

A question mark hangs over a world-leading laboratory that has pioneered research into fusion for nearly 40 years.

The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy near Oxford is largely funded by the EU and dozens of its scientists come from outside the UK. Since the vote for Brexit, many at the centre have become “extremely nervous” amid uncertainty about future financing and freedom of movement.

Five researchers have already returned to continental Europe with others said to be considering their positions. Fusion is the process that powers the Sun and a decades-long quest has attempted to replicate it here on Earth to provide a clean source of energy.

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American Cancer Society: Deaths down by one quarter

Written by American Cancer Society

A steady decline over more than two decades has resulted in a 25 percent drop in the overall cancer death rate in the United States. The drop equates to 2.1 million fewer cancer deaths between 1991 and 2014.

A steady decline over more than two decades has resulted in a 25% drop in the overall cancer death rate in the United States. The drop equates to 2.1 million fewer cancer deaths between 1991 and 2014.

The news comes from Cancer Statistics 2017, the American Cancer Society’s comprehensive annual report on cancer incidence, mortality, and survival. It is published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians and is accompanied by a consumer version of the publication, Cancer Facts and Figures 2017.

The report estimates that in 2017, there will be 1,688,780 new cancer cases and 600,920 cancer deaths in the United States. Over the past decade of available data, the overall cancer incidence rate was stable in women and declined by about 2% per year in men, while the cancer death rate declined by about 1.5% annually in both men and women.

The cancer death rate dropped from its peak of 215.1 (per 100,000 population) in 1991 to 161.2 (per 100,000 population) in 2014, the latest year for which data was available to analyze. The drop is the result of steady reductions in smoking and advances in early detection and treatment, and is driven by decreasing death rates for the four major cancer sites: lung (- 43% between 1990 and 2014 among males and -17% between 2002 and 2014 among females), breast (-38% from 1989 to 2014), prostate (-51% from 1993 to 2014), and colorectal (-51% from 1976 to 2014).

The report also finds significant gender disparities in incidence and mortality. For all sites combined, the cancer incidence rate is 20% higher in men than in women, while the cancer death rate is 40% higher in men.

The gender gap in cancer mortality largely reflects variation in the distribution of cancers that occur in men and women, much of which is due to differences in the prevalence of cancer risk factors. For example, liver cancer, a highly fatal cancer, is three times more common in men than in women, partly reflecting higher Hepatitis C virus infection, historical smoking prevalence, and excess alcohol consumption in men. The largest sex disparities are for cancers of the esophagus, larynx, and bladder, for which incidence and death rates are about 4-fold higher in men. Melanoma incidence rates are about 60% higher in men than in women, while melanoma death rates are more than double in men compared to women.

Racial disparities in cancer death rates continue to decline. The excess risk of cancer death in black men has dropped from 47% in 1990 to 21% in 2014. The black/white disparity declined similarly in women, from a peak of 20% in 1998 to 13% in 2014. Although the cancer death rate remained 15% higher in blacks than in whites in 2014, increasing access to care as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act may expedite the narrowing racial gap. From 2010 to 2015, the proportion of blacks who were uninsured dropped in half, from 21% to 11%, as it did for Hispanics (31% to 16%). Gains in coverage for traditionally underserved Americans will facilitate the broader application of existing cancer control knowledge across every segment of the population.

“The continuing drops in the cancer death rate are a powerful sign of the potential we have to reduce cancer’s deadly toll,” said Otis W. Brawley, M.D., FACP, chief medical officer of the ACS. “Continuing that success will require more clinical and basic research to improve early detection and treatment, as well as creative new strategies to increase healthy behaviors nationwide. Finally, we need to consistently apply existing knowledge in cancer control across all segments of the population, particularly to disadvantaged groups.”

Cancer Statistics has been published by American Cancer Society researchers since 1967 to inform and guide clinicians, investigators, and others in public health in prioritizing efforts to reduce the burden of cancer. It is one of the most highly cited scientific journal articles every year.

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Three Fatal Flaws in Greenhouse Gas Climate Science

Written by John O'Sullivan

As America enters a brave new era of climate realism under President Trump three fatal flaws in catastrophic man-made global warming theory could influence policymakers.

The biggest elephant in the room? Despite huge rises in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels global temperatures have barely risen – up by less than ONE degree in 100 years. And keep in mind that with the known error margin for thermometer readouts the reality could be a ZERO overall change. So much for that threatened ‘climate catastrophe.’

This is cold, hard fact in stark contradiction of what greenhouse gas theory says, that cornerstone of alarmist science. That tells us more CO2 should equate to a hotter climate. Looking for scientific reasons to explain the failure of the doomsday prophecy Canadian astrophysicist and climate analyst, Joseph E. Postma points us towards three paradoxes in the ‘science’ of the greenhouse gas theory:

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Fracking fake news: Friends of the Earth Issues Apology

Written by Ben Webster, Times of London

A green campaign group has agreed not to repeat misleading claims about the health and environmental impacts of fracking after complaints to the advertising watchdog.

Friends of the Earth spent more than a year trying to defend its claims, which were made in a fundraising leaflet, but has been forced to withdraw them.

The group’s capitulation is a victory for a retired vicar and a retired physics teacher who have been working for years to expose what they believe is scaremongering about a safe technique for extracting shale gas.

The Rev Michael Roberts and Ken Wilkinson complained about Friends of the Earth’s claims to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which also received a complaint from the fracking company Cuadrilla.

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Top Climate Scientist Goes Skeptic, rejects Alarmist ‘Dogma’

Written by PSI staff

Esteemed American climate scientist, Dr Judith Curry, posts a strongly-worded rejection of climate alarm.  In a long and detailed blog post the Georgia Tech professor explains why she changed her position from being a prominent promoter of man-made global warming to outspoken dissenter. She singles out government researchers as main culprits for mixing politics and science.

Dr Curry writes:

I’m having another “Alice down the rabbit hole” moment, in response to the Scientific American article, the explication of the article by its author Michael Lemonick, Scientific American’s survey on whether I am a dupe or a peacemaker, and the numerous discussions in blogosphere.

My first such moment was in 2005 in response to the media attention associated with the hurricane wars, which was described in a Q&A with Keith Kloor at collide-a-scape.  While I really want to make this blog about the science and not about personalities (and especially not about me),  this article deserves a response.

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Drop in Sunspot Activity a Warning of Global Cooling

Written by Edmund Contoski

Solar scientists have shown from the historical record that sunspot activity correlates well with climate change on earth. Fewer recent sunspots fits well with times of global cooling.

The chart above shows a weakening trend of sunspots in solar cycles 22, 23 and 24. These are the latest in a sequence dating from 1755, when extensive recording of solar sunspot activity began. Note that the peak of solar cycle 24, which occurred in 2014, is only about half that of solar cycle 22, which peaked about 1989.

This portends global cooling—not global warming. Sunspots are dwindling to lows not seen in 200 years. In 2008, during the solar minimum of cycle 23, there were 266 days with no sunspots. This is considered a very deep solar minimum. You can check out pictures of sunspots—or their absence—day after day for recent years at http://tinyurl.com/6zck4x.

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Polar Bear Climate Change Deaths Exposed as Fake News

Written by William F Jasper

Just in case you may have been tempted to allow your feelings of guilt and angst over your carbon footprint to subside, the New York Times is back with another polar bear alarm to boost your fear and anxiety quotient. The Times is not alone of course; The AtlanticThe Guardian, The Independent, National Geographic, and others are also sounding the hue and cry about the supposed demise (once again) of the furry, cuddly, hoary, Arctic killers. And, naturally, their lachrymose stories about these darling endangered icons are picked up and repeated, unchallenged, by countless other outlets in the establishment media echo chamber.

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‘Ocean Acidification’ Exposed as Fake News

Written by Kenneth Richard

The ocean “acidification” narrative that claims humans are gradually lowering pH levels in sea water with their CO2 emissions may rest on presumptions, hypotheticals, and confirmation bias — not robust, observational scientific evidence.

A paper by Wei et al. (2015) published a year ago in the Journal of Geophysical Research effectively illustrates the vacuousness of the ocean “acidification” paradigm.

In the paper, the authors assert that “model calculations” (yes, calculations from modeling) have indicated oceanic pH levels may have decreased (i.e., lowered pH = less alkaline = more “acidic”) since the 1800s by a total of about 0.1 as consequence of the rise in anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

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Climate Skeptics See Trump Era as Dawn of Open Debate

Written by Thomas D Williams PhD

After years of imposed “scientific consensus” on global warming, a number of skeptical climate scientists are hopeful that their views may finally get a hearing under the new administration.

Georgia Tech scientist Judith Curry, for instance, labelled a “climate heretic” by Scientific American for her contrarian views, sees a light at the end of the long Obama tunnel.

“Here’s to hoping the Age of Trump will herald the demise of climate change dogma, and acceptance of a broader range of perspectives in climate science and our policy options,” she wrote last month on her popular blog Climate Etc.

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Dishonest Scientists Conspire with Fake News Journalists

Written by Tony Heller

Government funded scientists and their partners in crime in the media say we should be worried about “record low Arctic sea ice”

Arctic sea ice extent is exactly the same as it has been in all recent years, and is more than 300% of the “record low.” It is about 10% below the 1981 to 2000 mean. Why would anyone be worried about this?

Ocean and Ice Services | Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut

The Arctic is extremely cold. Scientists and journalists who say otherwise should be sent to live there.

Most of all, they need to stop lying about the climate.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013’

Read more at realclimatescience.com

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2017 New Year Delayed – by One Second

Written by Sarah Knapton

It might feel like there is never enough time, but Earth has gained 27 seconds since the 1970s – an astronomical quirk which is causing a headache for timekeepers.

On New Year’s Eve, experts at the National Physical Laboratory(NPL) in Teddington, London, will add a leap second to UK time to account for the fact that the Earth is now spinning more slowly. Immediately before midnight, dials will read 11:59:60 as clocks around the world pause for a second to allow the Earth’s rotation to catch up with atomic time.

The first leap second was added in 1972, so it will be the 27th time it has been added to clocks in history, meaning that everyone has gained 27 seconds over the past 44 years. Dr Leon Lobo, of NPL’s time and frequency group, said: “Most people won’t even notice, although everyone will probably be celebrating New Year a second too early this year.

 

“People might also notice problems with mobile phone networks as they work on atomic time and, with the increased traffic on New Year’s Eve, there could be potential issues.

“Inserting a leap second is necessary because the Earth is wobbling and slowing down and over time that divergence could cause problems.”

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The problem with crisis-driven science

Written by Nick Eyles & Andrew D Miall

In 2010, we published what is now a best-selling (and award-winning) book Canada Rocks-The Geologic Journey aimed at telling the dramatic story for a public audience of how Canada (and North America) has evolved over the last 4 billion years.

It was a milestone in our professional and personal lives as we went on many field trips to fill in gaps in our own understanding and in the process stepped well beyond our own areas of expertise. We learned much about this fantastic country and its geology.

What is patently obvious from reviewing Canada’s ancient history is that scientists still do not have an adequate understanding of Earth’s complex systems on which to base sound economic and environmental policy.

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The Evidence: Positive Impacts of Human CO2 Emissions

Written by Dr Patrick Moore, Greenpeace co-founder

Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace provides a compelling study of the evidence in support of human emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Moore’s study, The Positive Impact of CO2 Emissions on the Survival of Life on Earth (June 2016) looks at the positive environmental effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a topic which has been well established in the scientific literature but which is far too often ignored in the current discussions about climate change policy. Below are select extracts:

All life is carbon based and the primary source of this carbon is the CO2 in the global atmosphere. As recently as 18,000 years ago, at the height of the most recent major glaciation, CO2 dipped to its lowest level in recorded history at 180 ppm, low enough to stunt plant growth.

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Can Scientists Prove man-made global warming?

Written by Kerry Jackson

There’s probably not a phrase that the global warming alarmists and dim celebrities trying to play the role of intellectuals use more than some variation of “the science is settled.” It’s a catchy phrase that’s intended to shut down debate and shame skeptics.

And it’s simply not true.

The alarmist community has had almost three decades to prove its assumptions, and while it is plausible that there has been a small measure of warming, the disaster many predicted hasn’t occurred. Worse for them, it’s impossible to say with any degree of certainty that the warming that has happened — and quite possibly there’s been none at all — was caused by man. Earth’s climate has warmed and cooled throughout its existence. It’s part of the natural cycle.

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