American Elephants

Don’t Panic! It’s Only Junk Science! by The Elephant's Child

— Whole flocks of dead birds are dropping from the sky.  Government testing?  Fireworks?  A climate disaster?  Recently 5,000 blackbirds fell dead in Arkansas.  Hundreds of dead birds covered the Morganza Highway in Louisiana on Monday.  Dozens of jackdaws in Sweden fell from the sky.  And a few hundred turtle doves in Italy.  It is perfectly normal.

The questions that are naturally asked are: Is there a common cause, is this a sign of a coming apocalypse, is this a result of some environmental disaster?  Biologists say that it is unlikely.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center has been tracking mass animal deaths since the 1970s. “Large mortality events in wildlife aren’t that uncommon” said Paul Slota. “In the last 10 years we have logged 188 cases just involving birds, with mortality exceeding 1,000 animals per event.”

Causes vary.  Some starve. Some eat toxic food or get poisoned by people. Some die in severe weather. Some die from viral or bacterial illness or pollution.  In many cases the cause remains a mystery.

— The great scare that purported to find a link between childhood vaccination and autism is reported in the British Journal of Medicine to be an “elaborate fraud.” The story that so alarmed mothers came from a study by Wakefield, et al, was the only study that made such claims.  The office of Research Integrity in the U.S. found that not one of the 12 cases reported in the 1998 Lancet was free of misrepresentation or undisclosed alteration, and that in no single case could the medical records be fully reconciled with the descriptions, diagnoses, or histories published in the journal.

Great damage has been done to public health, fueled by unbalanced media reporting.  Children have gone without needed vaccination because of fearful mothers.  Measles was declared endemic in England and Wales for the first time in 14 years in 2008.  The link to vaccination was a charade, a fraud, a lie.

— You may never have heard of the “Great Garbage Patch” of plastic bottles and Styrofoam and other plastic debris — twice the size of Texas — and growing tenfold each decade since the 1950s.  Nevermind.  An Oregon State University professor of oceanography, Angelicque White, found that the actual size of the supposed horror was “grossly exaggerated” and was, at most, about 1% of the bulk of Texas.  The idea that it was growing tenfold each decade was also found to be — rubbish.

— The eco-warriors promoting “localism” in food are neglecting the vast boon to mankind in the ability to obtain food that is not local. Once people were restricted to what could be grown locally or preserved, for refrigeration and transportation were not available. Today, mid-winter, I can buy fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries, fresh pineapple, melons, all sorts of vegetables and flowers unavailable before today’s fast air-transport, and at reasonable prices. Local food production and energy production have traditionally been destructive.  It’s a fashion fad, not science.

— In February 2009, Nobel Laureate and Energy Secretary Steven Chu pontificated without evidence that California farms would dry up and blow away since as much as 90 percent of the annual Sierra snowpack would disappear. Long-term studies of the central Sierra snowpack show average snow levels unchanged over the last 90 years.  Many California farms are indeed drying up — but as a result of government’s cutoff of irrigation, not nature’s.

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Chicken Little was right: the skies are falling.


Comment by Subsidy Eye

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