Monday, December 31, 2007

BTR 12.31.07: Photographic Journey

Today I bring a short travel on the Internet highway. However, even a short jaunt on the I-way is both illuminating and valuable. I bring today an eclectic variety: like that doesn't happen often!

An assortment of information for the photographers, digital artists and the allergy suffers alike.

Yesterday, as you may remember, was filled with a huge array of Flickr photo discoveries. One of those was from a young man - at least I believe the account owner to be male! - who produced beautiful images. Being a digital artist myself, I was greatly impressed with his skill, so I sent him a Flickr mail.

The owner replied - again, I beleive it was the same owner (an email out, yet unanswered, is seeking clarification) replied with a 'Thank You' and details of the photo treatment used.

I was already aware of the 'treatment' mentioned, but the skill in its use was quite obvious.

I will be contacting this Flickr account owner again .. and soon.

When I receive confirmation of WHOM I am actually referring, I will pass along the link and the information. So... onto the FINDINGS.

1) Photomatix ... a stand alone software and Photoshop plug-in that allows the photographer to produce what is called HDRI (High Dynamic Range Imaging). Amazing post production capabilities.

Some photo purists frown upon such treatments as 'over cooking the photo'... but others, myself included, enjoy it when done well. I will agree though, when it is over done .. it's really bad!

More to come ...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Scientific Societies around the World (membership numbers and reason for being)

While doing a search for the number of active scientists around the world, I found this list from 2004. It's safe to assume the numbers have not reduced; more likely increased. But even if a decrease has occurred, I would doubt it would be by much.
The reason for conducting the search was spawned by an email I received the other day containing a link to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. This is the committee on which the infamous Oklahoma Senator, James Inhofe resides as the minority (Republican) chair.
This is a list of the committee membership:
Senate Majority Committee Members Barbara Boxer (Chairman) Max Baucus Joseph I. Lieberman Thomas R. Carper Hillary Rodham Clinton Frank R. Lautenberg Benjamin L. Cardin Bernard Sanders Amy Klobuchar Sheldon Whitehouse Senate Minority Committee Members James M. Inhofe () John Warner George V. Voinovich Johnny Isakson David Vitter John Barrasso Larry E. Craig Lamar Alexander Christopher S. Bond
The lineup, especially on the Republican side, certainly has more than a few members of the US Government 'doubters squad' to be sure. But that isn't what gave rise to the search. That was due to the headlines gracing the website's landing page.

U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007
Senate Report Debunks "Consensus"

The email that contained the link led with a subject line saying, The Debate is Over .. I guess referring to the subtitle on the Senate report.
Hmm. At differing times over the past 30 years, I've had either 'very close' or 'at least approximate' relationships with numerous areas of study, having had some part in the ongoing debate over Global Climate Change (GCC). Consequently, I have a feeling the 'debate' has only just begun. But aside from this, I had a question.
How many scientists exist, worldwide?
How many people, having at least an M.S. degree, regardless of field, who are devoted to scientific study, guided by critical thinking and the basic search for hypothesis guided information seeking, actually exist out there? I had a feeling there would a lot of them. But I wanted a number. A tangile, scientific number that could be quantified.

I sought Google and queried: scientists active worldwide.

A whopping 165,000 returns were spit out. Yes, we all know the unlikelihood of ever getting to all those returns, but the first 50 offered a lot of very interesting material.

The list below provided the most accessible numbers of relative freshness; only 3 years old.

Why the numbers of scientists?
Simple. In the link to the CEPW report this bold statement, '... over 400 prominent scientists ...', seemed like a large number of scientists. It was impressive. It seemed a rather large field of expertise. But was it? What percentage, of the worldwide scientific community, did that 'over 400' number truly represent?

Just taking the documented numbers for active members from the listings below, we get a total of 347,580 scientists. A cursory view of the list of organizations represented, reveals many prominent scientific organizations are not listed. Therefore, this large number, would no doubt become far larger if a true census of the scientific community were conducted.

But, never-the-less, let's work with the numbers at hand and see what we find.

For the sake of argument, let's assume duplications exit in the numbers. Meaning, that a person could be listed on the rosters of more than one of the listed organizations. Therefore, let's reduce the total number by 10% for redundancy. Leaving a working number of 312,822.

Now, lets say that only half of these are actual research scientists whose work would be germane to the issue of GCC. That leaves 156,411 members of the scientific community that this sampling represents.

With this number we see that the, 'over 400' number (even assuming the number to be the maximum possible of 499) ... is still only 3/10ths of 1% (.00319) of this sample of the community of scientists worldwide. Not exactly a commanding number. Especially when compared to the likely, far larger, community of scientists that actually exists.

There are many elements within the report itself that promote serious debate on its validity and genuine scientific integrity.

But, that this committee chose to market their report as being upheld by such a commanding number of scientists, "... over 400...", a number whose reality is an extremely small percentile of a sampled guesstimate of the actual community of scientists worldwide - alerts us to question - at least - these two elements of this committee report:
  1. level of sincerity and genuine interest in providing solution(s) to a serious problem
  2. validity of the report and those producing it
One quote, from the report is worth noting here as well. It really struck me as an odd comment and a rather, potentially, enlightening view into the driving force behind those who deny the existence of GCC.
Scientists from Around the World Dissent

This new report details how teams of international scientists are dissenting from the UN IPCC’s view of climate science. In such nations as Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Russia, New Zealand and France, nations, scientists banded together in 2007 to oppose climate alarmism. In addition, over 100 prominent international scientists sent an open letter in December 2007 to the UN stating attempts to control climate were “futile.” (LINK)

[NOTE: all links remain live. I suggest you read them and become familiar with what this group of eminent scientists have to say on this issue.]

So, what do I find problematic in the above quote? This comment really stood out.

" scientists sent an open letter in December 2007 to the UN stating attempts to control climate were “futile.”
In thousands of serious discussions on the issue of GCC, I have never heard a platform for debate to say anything about, attempting to 'control the climate'. I have heard many points of argument and debate on both sides of this issue. Discussions varying from personal opinions from all points of the galaxy, to seriously interesting points worthy of further investigation. But, at no time, have I been privy to any reasonable presentation claiming that we - or anyone - could 'control the climate'. The heart of the debate is whether or not the 'actions of mankind' have accelerated - by adding to - the changes we are now experiencing.
The point has been, and remains, concerning GCC and the 'affects of possible man made influence', on the planet's climate ... this:
If we are adding to the effects causing the current GCC, then we should halt - immediately - any and all such negative actions, in the hope doing so would - at least - lessen the eventual changes that will be experienced by all life on the planet.
The statement sets forth these important points:
  1. acknowledgment that adaptation WILL be required; by all life on earth, regardless of who is to blame
  2. man cannot control the climate, only his part of a potential acceleration of the natural effects on the climate
  3. whether man has had influence on the climate or not may be immaterial, change is coming and if we can do anything to eliminate any negative influence - we should do so.
I believe to say the debate is over, is very much premature. Much in the same vein as such infamous foot-in-mouth declarations as, "... the world is flat.", "If man were meant to fly, he'd have been given wings." and, "... there is no need for further study or research, we've learned all there is to know."
It's not over 'till the ... well, until the outcome reveals itself.
The only thing about that reality is this... When we can see it, it's too late.
Beyond The Ripples