Daily Archives: July 29, 2009

Chicago sees coldest July in 67 years

WBBM | Jul 28, 2009

CHICAGO (CBS) Have you left your air conditioner in the closet this summer, and worn long pants more often than shorts? If so, you may not be surprised to find out that Chicago is seeing its coldest July in more than 65 years.

The National Weather Service says 2009 has seen the coldest July since the official recording station was moved away from the lakefront in 1942. The average temperature this month in Chicago has been a mere 68.9 degrees.

Even in the years before 1942, when the National Weather Service recorded temperatures at the cooler lakefront, there are only three years that had colder Julys through the 26th.

There have also been far more days than usual with high temperatures less than 80 degrees this year. In 2009, there were 13 days where the temperature did not exceed 80 degrees. Only three Julys in the past 67 years have had more days in Chicago with highs less than 80 – there were 18 such days in 1992, and 14 in 1996 and 2000.

We have also failed to reach 90 degrees at any time this month.

But the good news is that homeowners this summer have been seeing a big break on their electric bills. Air conditioning usage, according to ComEd earlier this month, is way down from last year and has saved residents an average of $50 since June, compared with last year.

In addition to the mild weather, Com Ed’s cost of power was also down 9 percent as of July 17, a savings passed on to you. Your natural gas price has been down even more, 27 percent. Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas estimate a typical home customer will pay $500 less this year than last year.

July may be Southeast Missouri’s coldest on record if temperature trend goes on

Cape Girardeau is on track to having the coldest July on record if cooler weather prevails for the last few days of the month.

Southeast Missourian | Jul 29, 2009

By Alaina Busch

The trend is expected to continue throughout the rest of the summer, said Robin Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky.

“We’re not looking for a major heat wave right now,” he said.

Temperatures reached 90 degrees twice during the month compared to 15 days in June, including a 14-day streak at the end of the month. In 2008, temperatures reached 90 degrees 18 times throughout July.

The average temperature for the month so far is 74.5 degrees, about a degree lower than the record low monthly average of 75.8 degrees, which occurred in 2007 and 1967, Smith said.

The lowest July temperature occurred in 1962 at 49 degrees. July 19 claimed the lowest temperature this month at 54 degrees.

Smith said average temperatures should return to normal for the next three months.

After a wet June, the cooler temperatures are a welcome relief for area farmers, said Gerald Bryan, an agronomist for the University of Missouri Extension office in Jackson.

“The cool July has been really a blessing for us as far as most of the crops are concerned,” he said. “It’s made the weeds grow like thunder too.”

The cooler weather means less moisture will evaporate from the soil, he said, and it is more conducive to pollination.

“It has certainly helped us maintain some of the moisture levels that we had,” Bryan said.

He said 5 to 10 percent of area farmers switched to soybeans because the wet weather pushed back corn planting. The overall yield for the corn crop is expected to be lower this year because planting occurred after optimal times, he said.

If the current weather pattern continues, it will help with the late crop, Bryan said.

“We don’t need it hot, and we don’t need hail,” he said.

Cold summer ready to make records

The numbers don’t lie, but it’s not as if we needed graphs to show us.

International Falls is about to set a record for the coldest July since records have been kept.

Duluth News Tribune | July 29, 2009

By: John Myers

The numbers don’t lie, but it’s not as if we needed graphs to show us.

It’s been cold. It’s been windy. It hasn’t been the greatest summer. Especially if you live in the Icebox of the Nation.

International Falls is about to set a record for the coldest July since records have been kept. The National Weather Service in Duluth said the average monthly temperature so far is 58.7 degrees, 7.3 degrees below normal and on pace to beat the 59.4 degree coldest July set in 1992.

Every single day this month has been at or below average in the Falls, and there has yet to be an official 80-degree day in July, although there were several in June.

Since Memorial Day weekend, International Falls has seen seven morning low temperatures at or below freezing, and morning lows of 35 degrees on July 12 and 13 set new daily low marks.

International Falls’ high of 53 on July 16 was the lowest high temperature for that date. Duluth is on pace to break into its 10 coldest Julys since 1871, but not the all-time record. The average temperature of 62.3 so far is 3.1 degrees colder than normal.

Why so cold?

Dan Miller, National Weather Service meteorologist in Duluth, said a persistent upper air pattern across all of North America has kept the Northland unusually cool this summer.

The jet stream, which Miller said shows little sign of changing for the next week or two, has been running directly from the Northwest Territories to the Northland and then on to the northeast U.S.

“The source region for our airmasses this summer has been the cool and relatively dry confines of northern Canada,’’ Miller said.

Ala. police: Taser use on disabled man justified

AP | Jul 28, 2009

MOBILE, Ala. — Officers who used pepper spray and a Taser to remove a man from a store bathroom found out only later he was deaf and mentally disabled and didn’t understand they wanted him to open the door, police said Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Mobile Police Department said the officers’ actions were justified because the man was armed with a potential weapon — an umbrella.

But relatives of Antonio Love, 37, have asked for a formal investigation and said they plan to sue both the police and the store.

“I want justice,” Love’s mother, Phyllis Love, said Tuesday.

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The woman said her son hears only faintly, has the mental capacity of a 10-year-old and didn’t realize that it was the police who were trying enter the bathroom.

“He thought the devil was out there trying to get in to get him,” she said.

Antonio Love, in a written statement and in a television interview given in sign language about the confrontation, said he had a badly upset stomach last Friday and went into a Dollar General store to use the restroom.

Police spokesman Christopher Levy said Tuesday store workers called officers complaining that a man had been in the bathroom for more than an hour with the door locked. Officers knocked on the door and identified themselves, but the person didn’t respond.

Officers used a tire iron to open the door, but the man pushed back to keep it shut. Officers saw the umbrella and sprayed pepper spray through a crack trying to subdue the man, Levy said. They shot the man with a Taser when they finally got inside, he said.

Officers didn’t realize Love was deaf or had mental problems until he showed them a card he carries in his wallet, Levy said. He was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct, but officers released him and took him home after a magistrate refused to issue a warrant.

Levy said officers were justified in using force against Love since he had an umbrella.

“The officers really worked within the limits of our level-of-force policy,” he said. “We had no information about who this guy was.”

Phyllis Love said her son, who has worked in the garden department at a Lowe’s store for several years, was scared when he realized someone was trying to get into the bathroom with him. He put water on his face and on the floor after being hit with pepper spray, she said.

“He didn’t know it was a policeman until they busted the door in on him,” she said. “He had a knot on his head from where it hit him.”

Levy said police wish the confrontation had never occurred. The internal investigation will include a review of Love’s complaints that officers laughed at him after realizing he was deaf, he said.

“We’ll make whatever efforts we can to resolve this situation, hopefully so this man will be able to trust police in the future so we can help him. Obviously, it’s going to be a rough road,” he said.

Global warming is the new religion of First World urban elites

Geologist Ian Plimer takes a contrary view, arguing that man-made climate change is a con trick perpetuated by environmentalists

Vancouver Sun | Jul 28, 2009

By Jonathan Manthorpe

Ian Plimer has outraged the ayatollahs of purist environmentalism, the Torquemadas of the doctrine of global warming, and he seems to relish the damnation they heap on him.

Plimer is a geologist, professor of mining geology at Adelaide University, and he may well be Australia’s best-known and most notorious academic.

Plimer, you see, is an unremitting critic of “anthropogenic global warming” — man-made climate change to you and me — and the current environmental orthodoxy that if we change our polluting ways, global warming can be reversed.

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It is, of course, not new to have a highly qualified scientist saying that global warming is an entirely natural phenomenon with many precedents in history. Many have made the argument, too, that it is rubbish to contend human behaviour is causing the current climate change. And it has often been well argued that it is totally ridiculous to suppose that changes in human behaviour — cleaning up our act through expensive slight-of-hand taxation tricks — can reverse the trend.

But most of these scientific and academic voices have fallen silent in the face of environmental Jacobinism. Purging humankind of its supposed sins of environmental degradation has become a religion with a fanatical and often intolerant priesthood, especially among the First World urban elites.

But Plimer shows no sign of giving way to this orthodoxy and has just published the latest of his six books and 60 academic papers on the subject of global warming. This book, Heaven and Earth — Global Warming: The Missing Science, draws together much of his previous work. It springs especially from A Short History of Plant Earth, which was based on a decade of radio broadcasts in Australia.

That book, published in 2001, was a best-seller and won several prizes. But Plimer found it hard to find anyone willing to publish this latest book, so intimidating has the environmental lobby become.

But he did eventually find a small publishing house willing to take the gamble and the book has already sold about 30,000 copies in Australia. It seems also to be doing well in Britain and the United States in the first days of publication.

Plimer presents the proposition that anthropogenic global warming is little more than a con trick on the public perpetrated by fundamentalist environmentalists and callously adopted by politicians and government officials who love nothing more than an issue that causes public anxiety.

While environmentalists for the most part draw their conclusions based on climate information gathered in the last few hundred years, geologists, Plimer says, have a time frame stretching back many thousands of millions of years.

The dynamic and changing character of the Earth’s climate has always been known by geologists. These changes are cyclical and random, he says. They are not caused or significantly affected by human behaviour.

Polar ice, for example, has been present on the Earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time, Plimer writes. Plus, animal extinctions are an entirely normal part of the Earth’s evolution.

(Plimer, by the way, is also a vehement anti-creationist and has been hauled into court for disrupting meetings by religious leaders and evangelists who claim the Bible is literal truth.)

Plimer gets especially upset about carbon dioxide, its role in Earth’s daily life and the supposed effects on climate of human manufacture of the gas. He says atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at the lowest levels it has been for 500 million years, and that atmospheric carbon dioxide is only 0.001 per cent of the total amount of the chemical held in the oceans, surface rocks, soils and various life forms. Indeed, Plimer says carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but a plant food. Plants eat carbon dioxide and excrete oxygen. Human activity, he says, contributes only the tiniest fraction to even the atmospheric presence of carbon dioxide.

There is no problem with global warming, Plimer says repeatedly. He points out that for humans periods of global warming have been times of abundance when civilization made leaps forward. Ice ages, in contrast, have been times when human development slowed or even declined.

So global warming, says Plimer, is something humans should welcome and embrace as a harbinger of good times to come.

British government’s virus advisor paid £116k ($190k) a-year by swine flu vaccine manufacturers

Daily Mail | Jul 28, 2009

By David Derbyshire

Massive conflict of interest: Sir Roy Anderson faced demands to resign

Massive conflict of interest: Sir Roy Anderson faced demands to resign

A scientist who advises the Government on swine flu is a paid director of a drugs firm making hundreds of millions of pounds from the pandemic.

Professor Sir Roy Anderson sits on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), a 20-strong task force drawing up the action plan for the virus.

Yet he also holds a £116,000-a-year post on the board of GlaxoSmithKline, the company selling swine flu vaccines and anti-virals to the NHS.

Sir Roy faced demands to step down yesterday amid claims that the jobs were incompatible. ‘This is a clear conflict of interest and should be of great concern to taxpayers and government officials alike,’ said Matthew Elliott of the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

‘You cannot have the man in charge of medical emergencies having any financial interest in the management of those emergencies. We need someone totally unbiased to tackle this crisis.’

The Department of Health and GSK denied there was a conflict and said Sir Roy did not attend Sage meetings where vaccines and drugs were discussed.

Sir Roy was appointed to Sage to ‘provide cross-government scientific advice regarding the outbreak of swine flu’. He was one of the first UK experts to call the outbreak a pandemic.

During an interview for Radio Four’s Today programme on May 1, he praised the anti-flu drugs and called for their distribution. Listeners were not told he was paid by GSK.

The West London-based drugs giant has had to defend itself from allegations of profiteering from swine flu after posting profits of £2.1billion in the last three months.

Sales of the company’s Relenza inhaler, an alternative to Tamiflu used by pregnant women among others, are expected to top £600million. This figure could be boosted by up to £2billion once deliveries of the firm’s swine-flu vaccine begin in September.

Sir Roy, 61, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, earned £116,000 at GSK last year, at least a quarter of which he received in shares.

GSK’s share price has risen 10 per cent since May from about 1,060p to more than 1,160p.

A spokesman for GSK insisted there was no conflict of interest. ‘Professor Anderson stepped down from the government’s flu advisory group on appointment to GSK.

‘In May, he was asked to rejoin as a temporary member as the scale of the influenza pandemic became evident.

He is a world authority on the epidemiology of infectious diseases and his positions as an adviser to the government and as a member of GSK’s board are entirely appropriate.

‘These interests have been declared at all times and he has not attended any meetings related to purchase of drugs or vaccine for either the government or GSK.’

A spokesman for Imperial College said Sir Roy’s temporarily appointment to Sage was made ‘with the full knowledge of the government departments involved in handling the pandemic’.

He added: ‘He is not a member of the drug or vaccine sub committees of the flu advisory group.’

During the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak, Sir Roy’s advice to Tony Blair led to the culling of more than 6million animals.

The previous year at Oxford University, Sir Roy was at the centre of controversy after claiming a female colleague had slept with her boss before getting a job.

He was forced to apologise and pay compensation.

A university inquiry in the wake of the scandal found that he was in breach of rules by failing to disclose his business interests as director and shareholder of International Biomedical and Health Sciences Consortium  –  an Oxford-based biomedical consultancy, which had awarded grants to his research centre.

Sir Roy was forced to resign, although his career soon recovered. He moved to Imperial College within months, was made the Ministry of Defence’s chief scientist and, last year, took over as Rector of Imperial College, London where he earns up to £400,000 a year.