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Another milder-than-normal season takes shape

During the active 2005 hurricane season, the usual doom-and-gloom prophets blamed the storms on global warming. "Nature's wrath," we were told, "hath been unleashed". Aided by a complaisant media, we were told this was our wakeup call, come to punish us for our SUV-driving ways.

Then disaster struck.  The 2006 season not only didn't live up to predictions, it wound up being one of the quietest seasons of the past century. No matter. We were told to ignore this year-long blip, told that 2007 would come roaring back with a vengeance.

And yet, here we are, two full months into the season, and not a single hurricane has formed. Not one. Just two mild tropical storms, one of which didn't even strike land, and a third storm which never went above subtropical status. Hurricane forecasters are busily downgrading their predictions for the rest of the season.

And so it goes. The sky isn't falling yet. But what about the future? Will global warming wreck all our beach-going vacations?

There are two schools of thought regarding the effects of climate change on hurricane science. The first begins with the fact that hurricanes require warm water to form. Global warming means warmer water, leading to the naive conclusion is that more hurricanes will form. The second school realizes that hurricanes are heat engines -- driven not by raw temperature, but by temperature differentials between regions. Global warming warms the arctic and temperate belts, but not the tropics. This reduces the total energy available for major storm formation. It also increases upper-level wind shear, which tends to tear apart storms before they grow too strong. This school believes the long term effects of global warming will be fewer, milder storms.

Climate change aside, hurricanes come and go in cycles. Professor William Gray, one of the nation's most respected hurricane forecasters, believes storm activity will remain high for the next several years, due simply to a long-term cycle of changing Atlantic currents. A team of researchers led by Dr. Chris Landsea of the National Hurricane Center goes further. In a paper published last year, they claim storm rates have not risen over the past 100 years, but only that improved monitoring technology results in registering storms which would have previously been missed. And professors Vecchi and Soden's research on wind shear suggests no long-term storm activity increase should be expected.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not selling my ocean-front condo just yet.

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Here's the reference...
By Rovemelt on 7/31/2007 2:44:01 PM , Rating: 0
Greg J. Holland and Peter J. Webster, "Heightened Tropical Cyclone Activity in the North Atlantic: Natural Variability or Climate Trend?", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, July 30, 2007.

And a summary article for those who don't have access to the reference article:

Here is a quote from the summary:

The study also finds that enhanced observations in recent decades cannot account for all of the increase. To observe storms in the Atlantic more systematically, meteorologists began relying on data from aircraft flights in 1944 and satellites about 1970. The distinct transitions in hurricane activity noted by Holland and Webster occurred around both 1930 and 1995.


The 2006 hurricane season was far less active than the two preceding years, in part because of the emergence of an El Nino event in the Pacific Ocean. However, that year, which was not included in the study, would have ranked above average a century ago, with five hurricanes and four other named storms.

There was an article about this subject in the July Scientific American, which discusses why it's difficult to get an accurate hurricane prediction and the effect of el nino. And I think it explains how hurricanes form, but that may have been in another article in the same issue. In any case, it's a good read.

Enjoy that beachfront house while it still exists:

and, if you still deny the planet is warming in part due to human activities:

P. F. Verdes, "Global warming is driven by anthropogenic emissions: a time series analysis approach", Physical Review Letters 99, 048501 (2007).

With a summary article here:

RE: Here's the reference...
By masher2 (blog) on 7/31/2007 3:11:56 PM , Rating: 3
Dr. Landsea's rebuttal of the Holland paper:
Chris Landsea, science and operations officer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center, said the study is inconsistent in its use of data.

The work, he said, is " sloppy science that neglects the fact that better monitoring by satellites allows us to observe storms and hurricanes that were simply missed earlier . The doubling in the number of storms and hurricanes in 100 years that they found in their paper is just an artifact of technology, not climate change."...
Or even more tantalizing, Dr. Gray's comments on the CO2-tropical storm link:
The hypothesis that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases the number of hurricanes fails by an even wider margin when we compare two other multi-decade periods: 1925-1965 and 1966-2006. In the 41 years from 1925-1965, there were 39 U.S. land-falling major hurricanes. In the 1966-2006 period there were 22 such storms -- only 56% as many. Even though global mean temperatures have risen by an estimated 0.4 Celsius and CO2 by 20%, the number of major hurricanes hitting the U.S. declined .
So which set of researchers are correct? Its interesting to note that Holland's paper was published just this week, but failed entirely to consider data from the mild 2006 season.

And there's a larger point here. On one side, we have scientists claiming global warming has no effect. On the other, we have those who claim it is...but even they agree the natural variance in the storm cycle is much larger than the total effects of global warming.

Neither side is screaming the sky is falling. We have only the media to thank for that

RE: Here's the reference...
By Rovemelt on 7/31/07, Rating: 0
RE: Here's the reference...
By masher2 (blog) on 7/31/2007 4:26:52 PM , Rating: 4
> "that year, which was not included in the study, would have ranked above average a century ago"

According to Gray and other noted researchers, this is only because a century ago, most storms which did not make landfall went unnoticed.

RE: Here's the reference...
By Scorpion on 8/2/2007 3:49:12 PM , Rating: 2
Towards the end of 2006? More likely the beginning. Anyone who writes scientific papers knows that it's not uncommon for a paper to take a full year or more for it to be published in a scientific journal. It can often go back and forth between reviewers and author. Of course it all depends on the journal. The more prestigious, the more time it sometimes takes. This in fact just happened to a colleague of mine who's paper just got published a year and a half after he had originally submitted his first draft.

I love's masher's oh so non-subtle sarcasm towards global warming.

Nevermind, I lied.

RE: Here's the reference...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/31/2007 3:12:50 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not seeing how that article points out how he comes to the conclusion of humans causing global warming. All it says is that he "applied a sophisticated method of organizing the data and seems to indicate that there is a large question mark as to how it went from A to B and seems to think that human production of greenhouse gasses must fill in the gap".

Two things here that need to happen, he needs to prove that humans are causing it, all he has right now is a wild theory and some data that might show a correlation, two he needs to state exactly how he manipulated the data to show this conclusion, right now hes using buzzwords and vague language. I want a chart, and I want some hard numbers that can be verified, thats real science.

RE: Here's the reference...
By Rovemelt on 7/31/2007 4:01:16 PM , Rating: 2
If you want to see that author's analysis and the summary article leaves you unsatisfied, read the primary publication. The summary is kind of brief.

RE: Here's the reference...
By porkpie on 8/1/2007 5:45:47 PM , Rating: 2
I'm curious how you explain the fact that the number of land-falling hurricanes has gone down so sharply the last 50 years. If storm activity really is up, how do you explain that? Do you believe those evil CIA spy satellites are secretly steering hurricanes away from our borders?

RE: Here's the reference...
By Chillin1248 on 7/31/2007 3:19:17 PM , Rating: 2
The Great Global Warming Swindle:

The film brings together the arguments of leading scientists who disagree with the prevailing consensus that carbon dioxide released by human industrial activity is the cause of rising global temperatures today.

That Earth's climate is changing and always has done is not disputed by anyone. That it is warming now is also not disputed by anyone. But some people think that the warming is our fault, whilst others believe we have nothing to do with it.

The film argues that rises in atmospheric carbon dioxide have nothing to do with climate change. Further, the present single-minded focus on reducing carbon emissions may have the unintended consequence of stifling development in the third world, prolonging endemic poverty and disease.

Recent research, presented in this film, apparently shows that the effect of cosmic radiation, and solar activity may explain fluctuations in global temperatures more precisely than the carbon dioxide theory.

An alternative explanation for rising global temperatures is based on research by the Danish Space Center. They found that as solar activity increases, cloud formation on Earth is significantly diminished and temperature rises.

‘Solar activity over the last hundred years, over the last several hundred years, correlates very nicely, on a decadal basis, with temperature.’

A respected Kenyan development expert says: ‘I don't see how a solar panel is going to power a steel industry, how a solar panel is going to power a railway network… There is somebody keen to kill the African dream, and the African dream is to develop. We are being told don't touch your resources, don't touch your oil, don't touch your coal; that is suicide.’

The film features an impressive roll-call of experts, in climatology, oceanography, meteorology, environmental science, biogeography and paleoclimatology, from such reputable institutions as MIT, Nasa, the International Arctic Research Centre, the Institut Pasteur, the Danish National Space Center and the Universities of London, Ottawa, Jerusalem, Winnipeg, Alabama and Virginia.

RE: Here's the reference...
By Chillin1248 on 7/31/2007 3:28:51 PM , Rating: 2
Additional link (modified version):

List of scientists included in the program:

Syun-Ichi Akasofu - Professor and Director, International Arctic Research Center

Tim Ball - Head of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (Misattributed as Professor from the Department of Climatology, University of Winnipeg. Ball left his faculty position in the Department of Geography in 1996; the University of Winnipeg has never had a Department of Climatology.)

Nigel Calder - Former Editor, New Scientist from 1962 to 1966

John Christy - Professor, Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama in Huntsville and a Lead Author of Chapter 2 of the IPCC Third Assessment Report

Ian Clark - Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa

Piers Corbyn - Weather Forecaster, Weather Action

Paul Driessen - Author: Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death

Eigil Friis-Christensen - Director, Danish National Space Center and Adjunct Professor, University of Copenhagen (who has since said his results were misused in the programme)

Nigel Lawson - Former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer

Richard Lindzen - Professor, Department of Meteorology, M.I.T.

Patrick Michaels - Research Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia

Patrick Moore - Co-founder, Greenpeace

Paul Reiter - Professor, Department of Medical Entomology, Pasteur Institute, Paris

Nir Shaviv - Professor, Institute of Physics, University of Jerusalem

James Shikwati - Economist, Author, and CEO of The African Executive

Frederick Singer - Professor Emeritus, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia (Misattributed in the film as Former Director, U.S. National Weather Service. From 1962-64 he was Director of the National Weather Satellite Service.)

Roy Spencer - Weather Satellite Team Leader, NASA

Philip Stott - Professor Emeritus, Department of Biogeography, University of London

Carl Wunsch - Professor, Department of Oceanography, M.I.T. (who has since repudiated the programme)


RE: Here's the reference...
By Rovemelt on 7/31/2007 3:52:43 PM , Rating: 2

The suggestion that solar output changes are driving global warming has been largely debunked. That's not to say there is no link between climate change and solar output (there is certainly more to learn here), rather the contribution from solar changes aren't enough to account for the climate change we're experiencing.

Here is the summary article:

RE: Here's the reference...
By masher2 (blog) on 7/31/2007 4:25:42 PM , Rating: 1
> "The suggestion that solar output changes are driving global warming has been largely debunked..."

No. The link isn't based on direct solar output (e.g. direct radiative forcing, which indeed does not fully explain climate change) but rather solar activity. Changes in the heliosphere reduce cosmic ray flux, which acts to reduce cloud cover. According to Svensmark's research, this factor acts to amplify radiative forcing by up to a factor of four.

The research of Svensmark and the Danish Space Center has not been refuted.

RE: Here's the reference...
By Rovemelt on 7/31/2007 5:25:16 PM , Rating: 1
I understand that solar activity regulates cosmic ray flux, which is linked to cloud formation. However, there's no trend in the cosmic ray record from the 50's to now that can explain the recent warming. The article I linked to points out in the graphs large changes in cosmic ray count, but a steady warming of the earth.

Svensmark also had to revamp his theory after it was found that he used an incomplete cloud cover model. That's when he switched to a low cloud cover model. It seems like he's grasping onto this model and the more he uses it, the weaker the correlation.

The findings of Svensmark have been very controversial because there seems to be little link between cosmic rays and warming over the past 50 years, but difficult to assess as cloud formation remains difficult to model. From what I've read, the majority of climatologists just don't see cosmic rays accounting for the bulk of the recent change. Moreover, if cosmic rays were playing such a strong role, why are nighttime warming trends greater than daytime warming trends? Those two discrepancies put major holes in Svensmark's work, and he's going to have to pull some amazing research stunts to get around those.

Still, I have no doubt that cloud formation research needs to continue to improve climate models.

Here is a link to a Discover magazine interview with Svensmark. You should see what he says:

Do you agree that carbon dioxide is having at least some impact on Earth’s current warming?

Yes, but you have to give the sun a role. If you include the sun in the right way, the effect of CO2 must be smaller. The question is, how much smaller? All we know about the effect of CO2 is really based on climate models that predict how climate should be in 50 to 100 years, and these climate models cannot actually model clouds at all, so they are really poor. When you look at them, the models are off by many hundreds percent. It’s a well-known fact that clouds are the major uncertainty in any climate model. So the tools that we are using to make these predictions are not actually very good.

Do you think then that individuals and societies as a whole need to try to conserve energy? Do you use compact fluorescent lightbulbs, for instance?

Yes, yes, we use those. And I ride a bicycle. There are good reasons to conserve our resources and find a more economical way of using energy, but the argumentation is not linked necessarily to climate.

Even Svensmark is using caution here.

RE: Here's the reference...
By masher2 (blog) on 7/31/2007 5:48:45 PM , Rating: 2
Svensmark's "caution" is that he says there are good reasons to be efficient in our use of energy, reasons that have nothing to do with climate change. But he clearly and emphatically states that solar activity is the primary driver of climate change, not anthropogenic effects.

> "if cosmic rays were playing such a strong role, why are nighttime warming trends greater than daytime warming trends? "

Heavy cloud cover retains heat; this is pretty basic, and not disputed by anyone. Clouds are water vapor, a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO2.

In fact, this trend is more of a discrepancy for the CO2 hypothesis. CO2 warms the earth by absorbing the infrared band of sunlight...but sunlight obviously doesn't exist at night. You can only explain away the discrepancy by assuming radiative capture from the earth's surface...and clouds do that much better than CO2.

> "Svensmark also had to revamp his theory after it was found that he used an incomplete cloud cover model"

This just isn't true at all. His base theory has remained unchanged since he began work. Obviously his team uses more detailed models now, but the correlation demonstrated between cosmic ray flux and cloud formation has not only improved with these, but more importantly it has been experimentally confirmed with his team's work on the SKY cloud chamber.

That's when Svensmark's research really hit the limelight. Because-- in sharp contrast to CO2-based global climate models-- he has a working theory with excellent correlative properties coupled with hard experimental data to back it up.

RE: Here's the reference...
By Rovemelt on 7/31/2007 6:45:26 PM , Rating: 2
Svensmark changed his 1997 model after it was found that he used an incomplete cloud cover model:

Here is a link to a primary ref PDF that explains it:
It's a big pdf, so it takes time to download. So much for the lack of controversy over Svensmark's findings.

And your analysis of warming trends and cloud cover needs adjustment:

Check out page 188+ of this book "Solar Activity and Earth's Climate" By Rasmus E. Benestad (physicist studying climate change):

That chapter highlights Svensmark research and shows how many holes it has, with references. It also presents the daytime/nighttime temperature problem that Svensmark research can't account for.

RE: Here's the reference...
By masher2 (blog) on 8/1/2007 10:49:14 AM , Rating: 1
> "Here is a link to a primary ref PDF that explains it:"

Laut was found to have been massaging the data rather vigorously to prove his point, as well as using some erronenous data source. Svensmark's rebuttal explains it fairly well:

[Laut] presents a figure 1c, which he claims is "a corrected and updated version for Fig 1a", where the correction consists in removing what [Laut] claims are "the irrelevant DMSP data". Laut also removes - without any comments or arguments = the Nimbus-7 data from 79-85....the careful reader [will] note he does not use the same DMSP data in his figures 1a and 1b...this is because the data in fig. 1a are restricted to Southern hemisphere over oceans, whereas fig 1b [is] restricted to midlatitude oceans.

It is remarkable that Laut references Kernthaler (1999) part of his argumentation against the above work...Kernthaler used the flawed ISCPP-C2 cloud type data, which makes their conclusions obsolete...
In any case, the entire argument is out of data, as Svensmark's current work is much more sophisticated, shows an even greater correlation, and is backed by hard experimental data from the SKY cloud formation experiments. You don't NEED a mathematical model to prove cosmic rays affect cloud formation when you've shown it actually occurs in the lab. It's a real, proven effect, not a hypothetical model.

RE: Here's the reference...
By High Planes Drifter on 8/1/2007 5:27:48 PM , Rating: 2
Clouds are water vapor,

Clouds are not water vapor.

CO2 warms the earth by absorbing the infrared band of sunlight...but sunlight obviously doesn't exist at night.

Wrong again.

CO2 warms the atmosphere by absorbing the IR band of radiation. Much of the sunlight received by the earth is converted to IR and is readmitted by the earth. Some of this does this does indeed happen at night. The fact that the earth emits more IR radiation than it receives is why greenhouse gasses act to trap more heat closer to the earth than simply blocking IR access to the earth in the first place and acting to cool the earth.

RE: Here's the reference...
By masher2 (blog) on 8/1/2007 5:41:56 PM , Rating: 2
> "CO2 warms the atmosphere by absorbing the IR band of radiation. Much of the sunlight received by the earth is converted to IR and is readmitted by the earth. Some of this does this does indeed happen at night"

Which, if you read my entire post, is exactly what I said. The key phrase is "radiative capture". The fact remains that clouds perform this role much better than CO2, which explains why overcast nights tend to be much warmer than clear ones.

> "Clouds are not water vapor."

More strictly, clouds are droplets condensed from water vapor. I've read research papers by atmospheric physicists arguing over what the actual definition of a cloud should be; I'm not going to stress too much over semantics here.

By High Planes Drifter on 8/1/2007 10:40:03 PM , Rating: 2
I find it vary hard to believe that you have read the paper. From Lockwood and Frohlich et al:

…Figure 3 shows the variations since 1970 of the solar cycle means of the sunspot number hRiL, the open solar flux hFSiL, the climax cosmic ray neutron counts hCiL and the solar cycle length L. In each case, the solar cycle variation has been smoothed to give the red line, using exactly the same procedure as described in §3 for figure 3a. Figure 3 shows that the smoothed sunspot number hRiL clearly peaked around 1985 and has declined since and the anticorrelation with L seen in figure 4 has persisted. The open solar flux peaked around 1987, the 2-year lag after hRiL being consistent with the time constant from models of its long-term variation (Solanki et al. 2000, 2001; Wang et al. 2005b). The anticorrelation between cosmic ray fluxes and the open solar flux, observed on both annual and decadal time scales (Rouillard & Lockwood 2004), is here shown to also apply to the trends revealed when the solar cycle is averaged out. hTSIiL has fallen since the peak hRiL in 1985 and this is reflected in the significantly lower peak seen at the current solar minimum than during the previous two solar minima (see figure 1d ).


Our results show that the observed rapid rise in global mean temperatures seen after 1985 cannot be ascribed to solar variability, whichever of the mechanisms is invoked and no matter how much the solar
variation is amplified.


RE: Here's the reference...
By Keeir on 7/31/2007 3:51:13 PM , Rating: 3
Something that bothers me about Holland and Webster's research is that if you follow both thoughts of the Global Warming= More and Greater storms theory, you would expect a trend towards more intense storms making landfall.

But looking at

list of the 68 most intense storms to make landfall between 1851-2004, have an average year of 1933 (just slightly greater than the average year of 1928) with a Standard Deviation of 41 years pretty much what you expect from an even distrabution of hurricane strength.

Like I said earlier, this inconsistency makes me doubt (not dismiss) their research

RE: Here's the reference...
By Yossarian22 on 7/31/2007 7:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
There is no proof of warmer temperature causing more severe hurricanes or even causing hurricanes at all.
In fact, it seems that the most frequent number of hurricane strikes occured over 50 years ago. If you don't want to take my word for it read this
"Tropical Cyclones and Global Climate Change: A post IPCC assesment"-Henderson-Sellers
and the IPCC's statement about it
"Examination of meteorological data fails tosupport the perception [of increased frequency and occurence of extreme weather events]in the context of long term climate change"

That is the IPCC's stance on this matter, but you won't here this from the media, as the headline "WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE" sells better then "We are not going to die"


Enjoy that beachfront house while it still exists

Sea levels have been rising for the past 6000 years, at a rate of 10-20 cm every 100 years, and it has NOT sped up. Satellites do not show any acceleration and computer models are predictions, so they are not evidence, especially considering they have been wrong for the past 15 years.
For the innacuracies of computer models see "The Skeptical Environmentalist" near page 290ish

RE: Here's the reference...
By Rovemelt on 7/31/2007 10:17:47 PM , Rating: 2
I presented the research I linked simply to show that there is data that supports the link between hurricanes and rising global temperatures, which is what the blog author should have added to the article for completeness. However, my personal bias aside, this link between global temperature rise and hurricanes is not yet scientifically settled and will require more data collection and analysis. We don't have a good understanding of ancient hurricanes/storms and there is the issue of incomplete historical data, so it's going to be difficult to come to a true consensus.

I actually agree with Masher that there is uncertainty in the link between hurricanes and global temperature rise. I probably differ in that I believe the study I offered presents a reasonable hypothesis and shouldn't be dismissed.

RE: Here's the reference...
By Yossarian22 on 7/31/2007 10:41:07 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. We are still collecting data, and people have to stop acting as if we know everything. We can't determine if global warming causes storms. Hell we can't even predict if global warming will cause more clouds.

This also does assume global warming is even occuring, and there is PLENTY of evidence to suggest that its not. (Glaciers growing in Iceland just to cite one example)

RE: Here's the reference...
By roryleds on 8/1/2007 2:36:33 PM , Rating: 2
which is what the blog author should have added to the article for completeness
I've read about the supposed global warming - hurricane link in a dozen different mainstream news sources, including the New York Times. None ever included any of the research which disputed the link, or interviewed any of the scientists which believed it was all bogus.

So why are you trying to hold a blog author to a standard higher than the NYT?

RE: Here's the reference...
By Keeir on 8/1/2007 6:56:23 PM , Rating: 2
A few reasons

#1. The research at the start of this article was published July 29th, 2007. The blog publish date is July 31st, 2007. Given the coverage of the research by most major news organizations, the blog appears to be a reaction to the publishment of the research... (Whereas the NYT articles are not based on a reaction to research disproving global warming)

#2. If all your friends jump off a bridge, should you too? Sloppy journalism is sloppy journalism regardless of the source and shouldn't be passed because "the other guys do it too"

I, however, am willing to extend M. Asher some doubt here... a quality blog post with numerous sources can take a while to compose and it maybe entirely possible he was unaware of the research at the time of writing the blog. I do agree that a blog should not be held in the same criteria as the NYT on the surface, but M. Asher is clearly attempting to write a through fact based

RE: Here's the reference...
By masher2 (blog) on 8/1/2007 8:29:35 PM , Rating: 2
So your argument is I had an obligation to reference a paper that appeared only two days earlier...but that a mainstream reporter is under no obligation to report dissenting views that appear weeks, months or even years before their stories?

I believe this blog displays less bias than those reporters ever do -- I clearly represented there are two schools of thought in hurricane science. That's more objectivity than you'll ever get from CNN or the NYT, which persistently pretends there is a "consensus" as to the effects of climate change on tropical storms.

As for the Holland paper, it's junk science, plain and simple. It fails utterly to explain observed facts such as the decrease in hurricanes making landfall, and major cyclic variations, and it ignores the tremendous difference in storm observation rates over the past 100 years.

RE: Here's the reference...
By Keeir on 8/1/2007 9:52:22 PM , Rating: 2
I think you protest too much.

I posted that comment by mistake. I had originally intended to edit it for clarity and ran out of time... hitting the "post comment" button rather than cancel.

The expectation, not obligation, you would include a reference to the Holland study indicates that I have a higher standard for you that that of mainstream reporter. My personal expectations for mainstream reporters is about a 7th grade level ability at math and writing, due to the large number of idiotic stories that routinely get significant press butchering at even the pinnacles of the press (BBC, CNN, NYT, WSJ). Although I do admit this is slightly unfair.

Again, my expectation was formed on;
1. Pretty much every news outlet has carried the story about the Holland Study (although the Study is from a quick reading deeply flawed) starting with CNN International (the first one I read anyway) on 7/29. It does seem slightly disingenuous that you were totally unaware of the study.

2. Again, calling the other people more biased is not really a great reason to be biased

RE: Here's the reference...
By masher2 (blog) on 8/2/2007 10:29:20 AM , Rating: 2
> "The expectation...indicates that I have a higher standard for you that that of mainstream reporter"

While I appreciate the kind words, I have to point out standard journalistic ethics, which requires news reports to be unbiased and objective, but op-ed commentary (a category to which blogs belong) is not. Commentary is intended to display a biased opinion. The only journalistic standard is that op-ed pieces be clearly labelled as such, rather than straight news reporting.

Anyone reading the above blog clearly knows my position on the debate. That makes it biased. I proudly stand behind that. However-- in sharp contrast to supposedly "unbiased" mainstream news -- that opinion is not only backed up by scientific fact and hard reasoning, but the dissenting opinion is also reported. I have enough faith in my readers intellects to allow them to choose which side they believe in; I don't need to force them down a path by offering them only a single option.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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