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FactCheck: Climategate Doesn't Refute Global Warming - Newsweek.com

Newsweek untangles the mess that is the "Climategate" email disclosure, placing many of the statements back in proper context.
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Lobsters to Be Supersized by Climate Change?

A recent study has shown that increasing CO2 levels could result in larger crustaceans (lobsters, crabs, shrimp, etc.), but species like clams and coral on which these creatures depend would get weaker, adversely affecting crustacean populations.
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BBC News - The arguments made by climate change sceptics

This article tabulates the main arguments put forward by climate-change sceptics and the counter-arguments presented by scientists.
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Hawaii's famed white sandy beaches are shrinking

One side effect of the rising sea levels is that Hawaii is gradually losing it's white-sand beaches. 
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American researchers predict that the Arctic Ocean be ice free during at least part of the summer by 2013, based on the current rate of ice loss. They model did not include data from the past two summers that could make even this prediction appear conservative. The rate of ice loss has been accelerating due to a feedback effect: less ice means less energy reflected back into space, resulting in more heat energy being absorbed, resulting in less ice.
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Source: News @ Nature
Scientists believe they may have found the secret to a dolphin's remarkable sonar abilities: they use their teeth to pick up the echoes. It seems that dolphin teeth have long been considered a medical oddity because they are almost all identical and appear to be precisely spaced. Sonar models based on this theory have shown that the system outperforms conventional sonar at close range, opening the door to designing new sonar systems based on the dolphin teeth model.

Source: New Scientist
Scientists have discovered that diodes could be used to propel miniature robots by immersing them in an alternating EM field. The field sets up an alternating current in the diode which, in turn, create an electric field between the diode's contacts that generates propulsion if the diode is in a tank of salt water. The propulsion is caused by the field pushing ions away from the diode. Check out the links at the Source for videos of swimming diodes.

Source: SlashDot
If you plan to commit murder, don't use the internet to do your research. In a murder trial currently underway in New Jersey, the woman charged with the crime allegedly used Google to search for "...or "How To Commit Murder," "instant poisons," "undetectable poisons," "fatal digoxin doses," and gun laws in New Jersey and Pennsylvania..." just days before her husband was shot by a gun recently purchased in Pennsylvania.

Source: BBC News
Here is one pointed by my sister [livejournal.com profile] lyanna_beth. Recent studies of animal populations have been revealing that evolution can take place relatively quickly in response to environmental changes. EurekAlert recently reported that diverse animal populations are showing response to seasonal environmental changes, not just ambient temperature rise, what is referred to as phenotypic plasticity. Many species are moving farther north, reproducing earlier, or changing cues to hatch or emerge from dormancy. In the Source article, a 20-year study of Scottish sheep found that, on average, the sheep are smaller because the warmer winters are not favouring large sheep as much as it used to. In general, body size and shape have been changing in response to a change in local climate which is believed linked to global warming.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal
The saga of the RIAA versus everybody else continues with some universities refusing to act as their enforcers. The University of Madison-Wisconsin says that they will only pursue students accused of music theft if they see something resembling a subepona. Until then, the RIAA is on their own with regard to tracking these students down. The RIAA only has an IP address so has requested that universities forward their extortion settlement letters to students associated with those IP numbers. According to one official "Basically what we're saying to the recording industry is, if you want to take legal action, take legal action. But don't do these intermediate steps that are kind of pseudo-legal that involve the university in the process". The university already forwards cease-and-desist letters and has a policy of not permitting illegal computer activity using university property, but refuses to forward the latest set of notices. Says the same official, "There is nothing legally binding or convicting in those notices that the individual has in fact done what the recording industry is accusing them of doing." Nice to see at least one university has some backbone.
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Source: PhysOrg.com

Selected sections quoted below. See the source for the full article.

For years, the president and his supporters argued that not enough was known about global warming to do anything about it. But during last week's State of the Union address Bush finally referred to global warming as an established fact.

....
Many industry leaders have come to realize that such measures may be more an opportunity than a hindrance. The day before Bush's speech the chief executives of 10 corporations, including Alcoa Inc., BP America Inc., DuPont Co., Caterpillar Inc., General Electric Co. and Duke Energy Corp., called for mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

"It must be mandatory, so there is no doubt about our actions," said Jim Rogers, chairman of Duke Energy. "The science of global warming is clear. We know enough to act now. We must act now."

And a week before the State of the Union address a dozen evangelicals called action against global warming a "moral imperative" in a joint statement with scientists from the Centers for Disease Control, NASA, Harvard and other institutions.

....
Scientists have been at the vanguard of the climate change issue for decades. As early as 1965 a scientific advisory board to President Johnson warned that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide could lead to "marked changes in climate" by 2000.

In 1988 the United Nations created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Though assailed by critics as an overly alarmist organization, the panel actually represents a relatively cautious assessment of global warming because it relies on input from hundreds of scientists, including well-known skeptics and industry researchers.

Every five or six years since 1990, the IPCC has released an updated assessment of the environmental threat posed by global warming. And every time, a single memorable and increasingly alarming statement has stood out from the thousands of pages of technical discussion.

The first report noted that Earth's average temperature had risen by 0.5 to one degree Fahrenheit in the past century, a warming consistent with the global warming predictions but still within the range of natural climate variability.

"The observed increase could be largely due to this natural variability," the scientists concluded.

But by 1995 that possibility had all but vanished: "The balance of evidence suggests a discernable[sic] human influence on global climate," the second IPCC report concluded.

Six years after that: "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities."

Since then, scientists have accumulated abundant evidence that global warming is upon us. They have documented a dramatic retreat of the Arctic sea in recent summers, accelerated melting on the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps and the virtual collapse in mountain glaciers around the globe. They have found plants and animals well poleward of their normal ranges. They have recorded temperature records in many locations and shifts in atmospheric and oceanic circulation. Globally, the planet is the warmest it has been in thousands of years, if not more.

January 2010

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