Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The truth may be only a click away ....

When you read a blog or forum post, or an article on a website do you click on supporting links provided by the author? I usually do, unless I trust the author or site and the article seems comprehensive. When I do check sources, I sometimes find that the author has misrepresented what the sources say, or has left out something that's "inconvenient" for his argument. Sometimes the linked source doesn't even mention what is claimed or says exactly the opposite. I gave an example in an earlier post Clutching at Straws, or "Scraping the Barrel" where a linked post didn't discuss what was claimed at all.

While re-organising my bookmarks, I came across this post titled intriguingly "Solar Ovens Prove Greenhouse Gas Theory is cooked", from "Dragon Slayer" author John O'Sullivan. The article jumps right in and says:
Colorado State University and Brigham Young University's (BYU) Professor Steven E. Jones of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and his student, Jenni Christensen Currit, have conducted experiments that prove that solar ovens are not just a cheap and reliable way of ‘free energy’ cooking but are also useful tools for disputing theories that the planet is in danger of any runaway catastrophic warming due to fossil fuel emissions. 
BYU's study entitled, ‘Solar Cookers for Developing Countries’ shows that the predicted harmful back radiation effect defined by the greenhouse gas theory (GHG), whereby carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is supposedly responsible for re-radiating heat energy (repeatedly up and down as if under a blanket) doesn’t exist in the real world.
The finding challenges the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and certain world governments who have premised trillion-dollar cap-and-trade tax policies on fears that catastrophic global warming may ensue if levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide continue to rise.

So let's click on that link and see what it says. It's indeed a report, but the abstract says:
The developing world suffers from a variety of problems including lack of food, fuel shortage, environmental abuses, and unemployment. Many non-profit organizations work to alleviate these problems, but often find that a coordination between scientists and developers is difficult yet necessary to make effective improvements. This project is an attempt to bridge the gap between technological development and international development. Dr. Steven Jones of Brigham Young University, has been developing solar oven technology for several years. I joined the project after much progress had been made. My project had two phases. The first phase was spent developing solar oven designs that would be both effective and practical in developing countries where money and materials are hard to obtain. The second phase was an effort to take the technology to non-governmental organizations currently doing work in developing countries in an educational approach that would allow them to have a flexible approach to implementing valuable technology for those with the most urgent need. This paper includes the findings and accomplishments of both phases. The educational materials distributed to the organizations are also included as well as a list of groups who have received this information in hopes that future interest will rise and the materials will be made available to an even wider audience. 
Not exactly what we were led to expect, is it? BYU's "study" is not a study at all, but a project, and the only "radiation" mentioned is from the sun, as one would expect in a project to develop and promote solar cookers. However, don't take my word for it - click on the link and see for yourself. There's no "finding" that disputes anything, let alone the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Linking to and totally misrepresenting a report which has nothing whatsoever to do with your claim is deception, pure and simple.

O'Sullivan's post continues:

Cooling or Warming: Ovens Satisfy Laws of Thermodynamics
Remarkably, the researchers doing a similar experiment at Colorado State University tested solar ovens not just as cookers but also for their potential to cool food and water both day and night. All solar cookers tested proved highly successful at cooling both day and night as long as they were carefully aimed.
Remarkable indeed, as the only "experimenting" the aforementioned BYU pair did was in
developing and modifying the design of the funnel cooker and to work on developing other designs. My contribution was mainly focused on researching heat-resistant plastic and alternatives to plastic, in addition to testing the funnel cooker and making a new type of box cooker.
Incidentally, the link to the "experiment at Colorado State University" pdf doesn't work in the original post; I've corrected it in the quote. Par for the course it seems. Did the "researchers" at CYU "test ovens not just as cookers"? Not exactly - they describe how to build a "solar fridge". Another non-experiment it seems. O'Sullivan goes on to say
It is proof of a cooling effect that appears to contradict the so-called re-radiation properties of carbon dioxide; if CO2 does cause warming it isn't showing up in these tests. This is because if back radiation was actually reaching the Earth, solar ovens would produce heating at night. But clearly they are not. The findings are set to become a hot topic in the ongoing global warming debate. 
Really? So what does the (incorrectly) linked construction project (which is what it actually is) say on this subject?
An object on the ground “sees” the earth below and the sky above. The sky is cool, the earth is (relatively) warm. The object will cool, because it will emit more than it receives—only half of what it “sees” gives significant infrared back. But an object in the “space refrigerator” doesn't “see” anything warm. The solar oven collects radiation from above—but above is the sky , and the sky is cool. So the object in the box gives off as much energy as an object on the ground, but it gets much less back.
Gets much less back - says it all really. A fine piece of work - citing and misrepresenting one article which is totally irrelevant, and another which actually refutes what's claimed as "evidence" . So we have even more "clutching at straws" except that in this case they're not even straws.

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