Posted onDecember 6, 2020|Comments Off on Speculation on ice-trapped whales: science-based fiction vs. dishonest science
Ice entrapment of whales is known to happen across the Arctic, including Davis Strait and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. How common such phenomena were in the past or might be in the future are subjects of conjecture. However, while speculation is the bread-and-butter of science-based fiction, it is the bane of peer-reviewed science.
I’ve written two novels informed by science set a bit in the future (2025-2026) in Eastern Canada:EATEN was set in Newfoundland and my latest book UPHEAVAL –see a review here – is set in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. In UPHEAVAL, one of the issues I explore is ice entrapment of large whales, like North Atlantic right whales. I speculate in the story whether carcasses of ice-killed whales might provide a powerful enough attraction to lure Davis Strait polar bears down from Labrador and the Strait of Belle Isle into the Gulf of St. Lawrence – and if they did, what might be the repercussions of that shift in distribution.
Here I argue that a novel is the appropriate place for this kind of speculation and researchers who offer such conjecture to the public in a way that conflates a science-informed guess with evidence-based fact risks eroding public trust in science.
Posted onSeptember 10, 2020|Comments Off on Why the Covid-19 epidemic is essentially over & current PCR testing protocols are pointless
This is a very good short paper on the current state of the Covid-19 epidemic by two UK respiratory disease researchers that is well worth the read, with a good coverage of the problems with models and PCR testing that is encouraging some governments to renew the panic and restrictions initiated back in March.
Understanding Covid-19 is pertinent to this blog topic, not least because virtually all polar bear field research has been shut down for the year worldwide, with no indications restrictions will be lifted over the next few months: an entire year’s worth of data will be missing for all kinds of studies. Small Arctic communities that traditionally provided essential logistical support for these studies also tend to have a high proportion of vulnerable citizens and so remain closed to the outside world. Restrictions on travel – the border between the US and Canada remains closed to all but essential traffic – and limits on size of gatherings mean that the government response to this illness has severely impacted my public activities.
Posted onSeptember 6, 2020|Comments Off on Sceptical covid-19 research and sceptical polar bear science: is there a difference?
This essay about medical researchers having trouble getting their papers published because the results don’t support the official pandemic narrative has disturbing parallels with my experience trying to inject some balance into the official polar bear conservation narrative.1 Especially poignant is the mention of models built on assumptions sold as ‘facts’ that fail once data (i.e. evidence) become available – which of course is the entire point of my latest book, The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened.
Posted onDecember 9, 2015|Comments Off on Ian Stirling uses lifetime award to repeat flawed predictions for polar bears
It has been less than a month since the 2015 IUCN Red List assessment for polar bears was announced, which emphasized that the population trend for polar bears is unknown and that there is only a 70% chance that polar bear numbers could decline by 30% over the next 35 years.
Yet, in a press release announcing the Weston Family Prize for lifetime achievement in northern research (along with $50,000) to Ian Stirling for his work on polar bears (Newswire, December 9, 2015), Stirling is quoted repeating an out-of-date prediction:
“Dr. Stirling estimates that about half of the polar bear population around the circumpolar Arctic could disappear by 2050 to 2060, if climate warming continues as is currently projected…”
Posted onSeptember 21, 2014|Comments Off on Polar bears are not in peril due to recent sea ice changes
To counter the misleading ploy used by the Sunday Times — of implying polar bears are in peril because of recent changes in Arctic sea ice (Sunday Times & The Australian, 21/22 Sept. 2014 Arctic ice cap in a ‘death spiral’) — I’ll go over again why the polar bear as a species is not threatened by declines in summer sea ice or even winter ice that is predominantly “thin” (first year) ice.
See that post for methods and other background on this topic, and some track maps from 2012 (also available at the USGS website here).
The USGS track map May 2014 is copied below (Fig. 1).
Compare this to April’s map (Fig. 2) – the 24 bears from April are down to 20 and the bears are spreading out a bit from the area on the central Alaskan coast where they were originally tagged. Fifteen of these bears have satellite collar transmitters [and therefore are females] and 5 of these bears have glue-on satellite transmitters [either males or subadult animals].
Some comments on the polar bear video cam footage released June 6 by USGS and stories on it run by the media follow.
Amstrup – co-author of the models that predict the extinction of polar bears by the end of this century – had this to say about the polar bear situation in Hudson Bay:
“This year, the ice was frozen longer, so he says the bears seem to be in pretty good shape.
“But over the last two or three years, my impression has been, ‘Man, there’s a lot of skinny bears out here.’ “
On average, the sea ice in the Hudson Bay is frozen about a month less per year than it was 30 years ago. Amstrup says bears don’t eat much on land, so they lose about 2 pounds of body fat every day they’re off the ice.
“They’re 60 pounds lighter now than they might have been at this time of year 30 years ago,” he says.” [my bold]
For the last two or three years Amstrup has been seeing “a lot of skinny bears” but hasn’t taken a single photograph that he’s offered for publication or posted at PBI? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it – where are the photos of all the starving bears these guys keep talking about?
You must be logged in to post a comment.