Climate change not settled or predictable

first_imgOn Sept. 15, David Gillikin, Ph.D., suggested that we keep politics out of climate science, since the science is clear and effectively all scientists agree and that the science is settled.Really? Anyone with any common sense knows that science is never settled. Einstein proved that in 1905 with his Theory of Relativity, which upended a 200-year-old Theory of Mechanics created by Isaac Newton. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion I’m not a global warming believer or a global warming denier. However, I do believe that those scientists who pretend to know what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists. Scientists have a very difficult time predicting weather, let alone climate. Witness the recent computer model predictions of the paths of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. These computer models could not predict a week in advance, let alone decades.There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static and impervious to challenge.If climate science is settled, why do its predictions keep changing? Why does a great physicist like Freeman Dyson say: “The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world we live in …” and, “What has happened in the past 10 years is that the discrepancies between what’s observed and what’s predicted have become much stronger. It’s clear now the models are wrong, but it wasn’t so clear 10 years ago.”Climate-change proponents have made their cause a matter of faith. For a geologist who supposedly is the brave carrier of the scientific ethic, there’s more than a tinge of religion in his tirade.Bob LindingerGuilderlandMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Albany County warns of COVID increaseEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Happy with service from Ferrellgas

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionI am a customer of Ferrellgas through my membership in the Galway Co-op, and unlike the bad press that Ferrellgas has been getting, I have nothing but good things to say about the company and its service. On Dec. 27, I made a request to get my propane tank refilled, and I asked for a Dec. 30 delivery. I was told that they would check their schedule and get back to me after they could give me a definite answer. Two hours later, someone from their office called and said that I was firmly scheduled for the Saturday delivery.  At 7:15 a.m. on Saturday, I received a call that the delivery would occur in a half hour. At 7:45 a.m., the driver showed up and promptly filled my tank. When I offered him a coffee, he said that he did not have time because he had a busy schedule to attend to. The following morning, I again saw a Ferrellgas truck driving down a local road at 8 a.m. on Dec. 31 (New Year’s Eve).  I feel that Ferrellgas is providing excellent service to its customers, in a timely manner and at a very competitive price. I will continue to be their customer for the foreseeable future.Rit SzczepanskiNorthvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesBroadalbin-Perth’s Tomlinson seizing the day by competing in cross country and golf this fallEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

Apply equal justice in serious car crashes

first_imgI read recently the outrage over the high school-age boy, whose drunken crash claimed the life of two other children, being up for parole.Now it’s followed by sympathetic coverage of a prominent businessman whose same action has caused a woman to be crippled for life, a paraplegic. He has a lawyer who is paid enough to twist a story into shape that a judge must follow that twist and release the offender.  Where is the justice?Calvin MooreColonieMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Ashquay seeks Newport deal

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£200m RDA cash under threat from Euro probe

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Insignia Richard Ellis quits Mayfair base

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Investment: Vive l’indifférence

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KF loses work as staff defect

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Japan scrambles for workarounds after Abe urges March school shutdown

first_imgAngry Japanese parents joined bewildered teachers and businesses on Friday in a rush to find new ways to live and work for a month after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s shock call for all schools to close in a bid to stop coronavirus spreading.Abe’s unprecedented move late on Thursday to ask local authorities to shut down their schools means students will be out of school from Monday at least until the new academic year starts in early April.Earlier this week the government urged that big gatherings and sports events be scrapped or curtailed for two weeks to contain the virus while pledging that the 2020 Summer Olympics will go ahead in Tokyo. As of Friday, confirmed cases in Japan topped 200, with four deaths, excluding more than 700 cases and four more deaths from the quarantined cruise liner Diamond Princess. While the virus has hit China hardest so far, causing nearly 80,000 infections and almost 2,800 deaths, according to official Chinese figures, its rapid spread to a number of other countries around in the world in the past week has stoked fresh alarm.Abe’s move – issued as a formal request rather than an order – drew scathing criticism, with health officials left scratching their heads and analysts said the plan was politically motivated and made little sense.”We’ll just have to get our revenge at the next elections,” @Ayu49Sweetfish tweeted, as working parents with young children were left wondering what to do for the duration.In the northern Hokkaido prefecture, which has seen the largest number of coronavirus cases in Japan, the governor had already announced a closure of all schools until March 4. That left one hospital closing doors to patients without reservations on Friday because about a fifth of its nurses were unable to work while their children were out of school. “We don’t know how this could be extended further,” an official at the facility, JA Hokkaido Koseiren Obihiro Kosei Hospital, told Reuters.As the coronavirus spreads, more companies like Mitsubishi Corp have said they would allow workers to telecommute. But a survey in the Nikkei business daily published on Friday, conducted before Abe’s announcement, showed only half of major firms were telling all or some employees to work at home.As the government faced questions on how businesses would cope with a March shutdown of schools, Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co said they were still discussing how their factories would deal with school closures. The operator of Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea said it would close the theme parks from Saturday through March 15.”We will continue to urge public services and private companies to make it easier for people to take time off,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference, without disclosing further details.FILE PHOTO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso attend the regular session of parliament in Tokyo, Japan, January 20, 2020. (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)Abe under fireAbe has come under fire for what critics say is a lack of leadership as the number of cases in Japan rose and a package of steps announced on Tuesday that was seen as insufficient.He also caught flak in parliament and social media after revelations that an aide had held a buffet-style fund-raising party with about 200 attendees on Feb. 26 – the same day the premier asked for sports and cultural events to be scaled down.Jeff Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University’s Japan campus, said Abe’s move on schools was plainly political in the wake of surveys showing growing public dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the outbreak.”Suddenly, he sees the political consequences of being seen as missing in action,” Kingston said, noting his support had fallen to around 36% in a weekend poll.”It’s still half measures – stay home, wash your hands, avoid other people. He’s outsourcing responsibility to local governments and corporations,” Kingston said.Experts also questioned the efficacy of the government’s move on schools.”This is one example of a nationwide plan that has a slim chance of succeeding because the extent the coronavirus has spread differs across regions,” Kentaro Iwata, a professor specializing in infectious diseases at Kobe University Hospital, tweeted.He added that it “made no sense” to close schools outside of Hokkaido.Meanwhile World Health Organization officials said they were working closely with organizers of the Tokyo Olympic Games and did not believe any decision would be taken soon on whether to hold the event starting in July as planned.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Battered by virus: Businesses across Indonesia feel the pinch

first_imgBlitar knocking on woodWoodcarver Burdi, 41, has seen his income drop by more than half since January as the drum workshop he works for struggles to survive the COVID-19 outbreak.He used to earn at least Rp 900,000 (US$63.09) a week for carving djembe drums in Blitar City, Central Java, but barely makes Rp 400,000 a week since mid-January. With Chinese buyers normally accounting for more than 90 percent of their sales, the region’s djembe drum workshops are operating at 10 percent of their production capacity to meet local demand. Four of six woodcarvers who also work for Burdi’s employer went back to their hometown of Jepara in Central Java in late January because the workshop was unable to provide enough work for all of them.”Now there are only two of us with that small income. There is not much money we can save for our families because we still have to spend some of it for our living expenses,” Burdi said.COVID-19 has affected thousands of people like Burdi who work for hundreds of traditional djembe drum makers in at least five districts of Blitar regency, East Java.Djembe drums (Shutterstock/File)Jambi farmers’ woesOil palm growers in Jambi were struggling to turn a profit from fresh fruit bunches (TBS) exports as pegged prices dropped from 1,754 per kilogram to Rp 1,658 per kg between March 6 and March 12, the lowest this year, Jambi Plantation Agency head Agusrizal said.Farmer Yuk Ning has experienced this firsthand. She now gets only Rp 3 million in profit from each oil palm fruit harvest, a sharp decline from the usual Rp 10 million. Prices had dropped all the way to Rp 1,525 per kg during the last two harvests after hovering around Rp 1,930 last month, she said.Yet she needs to spend about Rp 10 million every four months on plant nutrients and fertilizer and much more to pay workers for cultivation and harvests. On top of that, half of her plantation has failed to bear fruit in the last six months.“The TBS price drop is forcing us to think twice about continuing the oil palm plantation, but we don’t have any other commodity that could be worth selling in the market,” said Yuk.Rubber factories close in North SumatraAlready battered by extremely low market prices, rubber businesses in North Sumatra are closing down as their business environment has turned yet more hostile because of falling demand from Japan and China, the region’s top export destinations for the commodity.“Several rubber factories in Tebing Tinggi and Labuhan Batu are closing down because of the impact of the coronavirus. As a consequence, many workers in the factories are losing their jobs,” said Setiawan Khoe, chairman of the Indonesian Rubber Producers Association’s (Gapkindo) North Sumatra chapter.North Sumatra exported 410,000 tons of rubber in 2019, 20 percent of which went to Japan, followed by 18 percent to the US, 11 percent to China and 7 percent to India.Topics : With COVID-19 expected to shave 0.6 percentage points off this year’s economic growth rate in Indonesia, according to Finance Minister Sri Mulyani’s Feb. 19 statement, The Jakarta Post spoke with workers and industry players in various regions, whose businesses are affected by the virus. Here are their stories:   Vacant malls, few boats in Singapore neighbor BatamWithin walking distance from the Batam Center ferry port, which connects Indonesia and Singapore through a one-hour boat ride, the Mega Mall Batam Center looks a lot quieter than usual.Shipowner business representative Asmadi said four ferry operators serving the Batam-Singapore route had reduced the number of trips in response to low demand. The same is apparent on the route to Johor Bahru, Malaysia.Read also: In Singapore’s neighbor Batam, malls empty, ferry trips reduced as virus fears lurkUnless conditions improve within a month or two, the ferry operators are likely to lay off some of their roughly 1,000 workers, including ferry crews and onshore staff.“Normally, a ferryboat carries at least 50 people per trip; now it’s only 20 people,” Asmadi, chairman of the Indonesian National Shipowners Association’s (INSA) Batam chapter, told The Jakarta Post. “All ferry operators are reducing their trips. Operational costs are high while passenger numbers have dropped drastically.”In Batam, a spa, massage and reflexology center that would serve 30 to 50 Singaporean and other foreign customers a day is now lucky to serve one a day, a Batam local. Industrial parks are complaining about disrupted supplies of imported goods. Singapore has so far detected 160 cases of COVID-19 infection. Ninety-three people have been discharged after recovering from the disease, and no deaths have been reported to date. The city-state is intensifying efforts in prevention, testing and treatment to step the further spread of the virus, including by barring people from China, South Korea, Iran and Italy to enter the country.Harbor Bay shopping center and international ferry port looks a lot quieter than usual on March 7 as visitors from Singapore are dwindling because the COVID-19 coronavirus makes them afraid of travel. The shopping center is within walking distance of the Harbor Bay International Ferry Port Batam, which takes passengers on a one-hour trip to Singapore. (JP/Fadli)Quietness in super-priority tourist destination Labuan Bajo Tourism practitioner Maria Oktaviani Simonita Budjen said the COVID-19 impact on tourism was palpable in Labuan Bajo in West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara, especially since the regent issued a circular banning Chinese visitors from entering the town.“I don’t have the data, but I can see it through conditions in Labuan Bajo. Usually, there are many tourists going back and forth, but now I can count them on my fingers,” Maria said. Labuan Bajo is among the government’s top five destinations prioritized to jack up tourism’s contribution to the economy.The head of the West Manggarai chapter of the Indonesian Tour and Travel Agency (ASITA), Donatus Matur, said tourists from all over the world had canceled travel plans to Indonesia as a result of the outbreak.However, the head of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) in West Manggarai, Silvester Wangge, attributed the decline in tourist arrivals to the usual low season, adding that several hotels were still able to ensure occupancy with domestic visitors.Read also: Labuan Bajo ramps up screening of tourists after Indonesia confirms COVID-19 cases From empty malls to factories disruption, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is dealing a hard blow to Indonesia’s regional economy and small and medium enterprises around the archipelago.Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Association (Akumindo) chairman Ikhsan Ingratubun estimates that MSME sales dropped 30 to 35 percent across Indonesia from February until March 9. He predicted that the sector would continue to feel the virus impact for the next three months.”There needs to be concrete action from the government,” he said, “so that the economy can recover as fast as possible.”center_img Indonesia announced a Rp 10.3 trillion (US$742 million) incentive package on Feb. 26 to boost consumer spending and prevent a steep drop in the tourism industry through tax incentives and fund transfers to the most-affected regions. A second stimulus package is for the manufacturing industry, importers and exporters faced with severe supply chain disruption.Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Tenten Masduki downplayed the concerns on Monday, claiming that the coronavirus presented an “opportunity” for MSME to supply domestic industries and consumers amid scarcity of some imported products, citing local fruits and vegetables as potential substitutions.”We actually already have the market inside the country. Now is the time [for MSME to perform],” Teten told reporters after a press conference on Monday.Small businesses are defined as those that have annual sales between Rp 300 million and Rp 2.5 billion, while medium businesses have sales of up to Rp 50 billion, according to Law No. 20/2008 on micro, small and medium businesses.last_img read more