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Progress, Growth and Nonsense

Ted Mondale

Ted is the former Chairman of the Met Council, appointed by former Governor Jesse Ventura. Ted was a DFL state senator. He was a DFL candidate for governor. He was a roundtable member of the Democratic Leadership Council. He has donated 10,100 during the ’02, ’04 and ’06 election cycles. All of the money went to Democrats. Presently he is CEO of NAZCA SOLUTIONs. Nazca is trying to help governments at the local level manage the data they collect. He lives in St. Louis Park with his wife Pam and 3 kids.

Progress, Growth and Nonsense

Walter Mondale

You’re kidding right? Okay, Mondale ran for President as a Democrat and lost. Mondale was the last minute step in for the Minnesota Senate Campaign in 2002 after Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. He lost to Norm Coleman. He was Vice-President once, under Jimmy Carter. His donations go to Democrats. He is a Democrat.

Progress, Growth and Nonsense

Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore is president of the Badger Equipment Company, lives in Winona and has Donated only 300 dollars in this century. The 300 dollars went to the National Republican Congressional Committee in 2003.

Progress, Growth and Nonsense

Mitch Berg is directing a blogswarm to invesitgate those people who signed the full page ad demanding more taxes. I have taken group 11 (Cheryl McHugh-John Morgan). I will be putting up all the posts on this blog. Oh yeah, I will taking them in reverse order. I don’t know why.

John Morgan

Morgan lives in Wayzata and is an executive in the Winmark Corporation. In 2004, according to open secrets, Morgan donated 49,000 dollars to political campaigns, $3,000 of which went to “Republican” Jim Ramstad. He donated money to Howard Dean, Patty Wetterling, Barack Obama, John Kerry and the DFL. So far in 2006 he has given to the Democratic Congressional and Senatorial campaign committees to the tune of 51,000 dollars. He has given again to Jim Ramstad this year as well. Of 82,100 dollars donated this year, 4,200 has gone to Jim Ramstad, the rest to Dems and 5000 dollars went to the “Hope Fund” of which there were many on my Google search. Out of 129,000 dollars donated, 12,200 went to the GOP, 5,000 went to the Hope Fund and the rest went to various Democratic candidates and organizations.

I’m working on a project for Mitch Berg involving investigating those people who are demanding higher taxes, so I’m a little busy there. Hopefully I’ll have time to throw up some more research on second hand smoke.

You Are 64% Gentleman

You are definitely a gentleman. You’re very considerate and you have excellent manners.
Occasionally, you slip and do something foolish… but usually no one notices!

Surgeon General nonsense

I threw a really long post on the recent SG report declaring war on second hand smoke here. I read the actual data in the report, and it’s the same old crap. David Strom ran the numbers over at the Taxpayers League website, a non-smoker has a 6 in 100,000 chance of getting lung cancer, people exposed to second hand smoke have a 8 in 100,000 chance of cancer, a 1 in 50,000 increase (or a Relative Risk Ratio of 1.33 versus 1.00) or a .002% increase. In other words, jack squat. The Surgeon General is repackaging old nonsense and is trying to enforce new restrictions on freedom.

Update: Even those who support restrictions on workplace ETS say the Surgeon General is purposefully misleading the public. It will be hard to dismiss this person a member of the “tinfoil hat” crowd. (I have a problem with his analysis too, since he says it takes living with a smoker for decades to get a small increase in morbidity rate yet he supports workplace restrictions, which has to be a much smaller effect)

More Wasted Research

I hate the fact that liberals are always coming up with more BS that needs a goodly amount of “de-mything.” I spent three hours pouring over black body research showing it would take a 100% increase in CO2 to produce a 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature for an object the size of Earth with present solar output. I didn’t need that. I could have been working on another writing project of mine instead. I hate numbers, I hate running numbers and doing research. However, I like to KNOW things before I talk about them.

Such is the case with the latest report done by the Surgeon General in which he declares the debate about secondhand smoke is over, and any amount of second hand smoke exposure is deadly. This is report is going to used as the battle cry of crusaders everywhere to institute smoking bans in restaurants, bars, parks and sooner or later homes.

My immediate, gut reaction is the report is crap. Before mentioning any research about 2nd hand smoke, I can talk about smokers themselves. It takes 40,000 cigarettes to produce any risk if lung cancer. Even then the risk of lung cancer is relatively low, only about 1:1000 smokers, you can find this research with relative ease:

As you can see from this graph, if you smoke 10 cigarettes a day, 4000 cigarettes a year for twenty years, you run a .15% chance of getting lung cancer per year. So, by the numbers, a smoker who smokes 10 cigarettes or so a day for forty years has about a 4% chance of getting lung cancer. [This will be gotten into later, but the Relative Risk Ratio (RR) is 20.00 for lung cancer for smokers over the baseline 1.00 for the rest of us, a 2000% increase.]

So, even when your are a smoker it’s damn tough to smoke enough to guarantee yourself a slow death from lung cancer. If it’s that hard for smokers, 2nd hand “smokers” have to have it tougher. I think the data proves this is the case.

There are two major studies which have been the basis for most of government’s claims about second hand smoke. The 1993 EPA study and the WHO report. The EPA study was a meta-analysis that took 30 different studies and tried to mesh them into a single result. The EPA reported the results of their study before the study was done, and then they used a 90% confidence interval to gives themselves a statistically significant result (normally a 95% or 99% confidence interval is used).

The actions of the EPA in their report led to the report being kicked out of federal court as being inadmissible. This is the same study that is used to claim that “3000 non-smokers are killed every year by second hand smoke.” A better study is the World Health Organization report.

The abstract of the report is available here.

You should note:

RESULTS: ETS exposure during childhood was not associated with an increased risk of lung cancer (odds ratio [OR] for ever exposure = 0.78; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.64-0.96). The OR for ever exposure to spousal ETS was 1.16 (95% CI = 0.93-1.44). No clear dose-response relationship could be demonstrated for cumulative spousal ETS exposure. The OR for ever exposure to workplace ETS was 1.17 (95% CI = 0.94-1.45), with possible evidence of increasing risk for increasing duration of exposure. No increase in risk was detected in subjects whose exposure to spousal or workplace ETS ended more than 15 years earlier

About 2000 people were participants in this study, and it remains the largest ever done. It showed that there was no statistically significant link between 2nd hand smoke exposure and lung cancer. The largest study ever done of second hand smoke and lung cancer found no statistically significant correlation between the two.

You can learn more about these numbers and studies, what they mean and how to interpret them here.

http://www.davehitt.com/facts/

Here’s the real skinny on 2nd hand smoke; “Nonsmokers have a natural risk for lung cancer of roughly 6 in 100,000. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases that risk to 8 in 100,000 – an increase in absolute terms of 1 in 50,000 or 0.002 percent.”

You can see where it’s easy to adjust the numbers here. You could say “second hand smoke increases your risk of cancer by 33%” [8-6=2, 2/6=.33], which is exactly what the Surgeon General and the media do:

Regular exposure to someone else’s smoke increases by up to 30 percent the risk of a nonsmoker getting heart disease or lung cancer, Carmona found.

It’s actually unclear what they’re talking about, if it’s the number manipulation I showed you or just an increase in what is called “relative risk.” If it is in fact an increase in “relative risk,” that would be even less impressive.

TPL explains “relative risk”:

Scientists and the media typically report increases in relative risk to make the data seem more impressive than they actually are. For example, the EPA reports that secondhand smoke increases the relative risk of lung cancer by 24 percent. But this increase in risk is misleading because it is based on a very small number.

Nonsmokers have a natural risk for lung cancer of roughly 6 in 100,000. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases that risk to 8 in 100,000 – an increase in absolute terms of 1 in 50,000 or 0.002 percent.

A relative risk ratio (RR) of 1.00 means no additional risk, an RR of 1.50 means an increased risk of 50%. The federal courts require an RR of at least 2, and many epidemiologists regard an RR less than 3 as weak or insignificant. Robert Temple, director of drug evaluation at the FDA, states “My basic rule is if the relative risk isn’t at least 3 or 4, forget it.” Marcia Angell, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine notes “As a general rule of thumb, we are looking for a relative risk of 3 or more before accepting a paper for publication.”

Again, it’s just important to note that while there are numbers which show a slight increase of risk, it’s just not significant enough to base policy on. The “relative risk” as reported by the Surgeon General for second hand smoke is 1.33 (lung cancer and heart disease). For all of science, a 1.33 RR means nothing, but for people searching for a cause in life it’s enough to excuse tearing away the freedoms of Americans.

Heck, while we’re at it, the RR for cigar smokers who smoke 1 or 2 cigars a day is 1.02 versus the 1.00 baseline for ALL causes of death. This is statistically zero, meaning smoking cigars every day isn’t dangerous at all. Data available here:

National Cancer Institute, “Cigars: Health Effects and Trends,” Smoking and Tobacco Control Monographs. Available online at: http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/tcrb/monographs/9/.

Of course, this isn’t going to stop some from celebrating the end of freedom.

I take my friend to task in the comment section. He does use a common liberal tactic, and that is to mention a dozen different issues trying to make a point. In trying to show conservatives are more myopic than liberals, he mentions global warming, deforestation, and the ozone layer.

Well, global warming is a topic too big to get into here, and the ozone hole will make my head bleed (literally I’m told), but I did want to touch on Josh’s attitudes on “deforestation” [seriously, it’s like Josh leaped out of 1988 and didn’t get the “environmentalists ain’t cool anymore” memo]. In the comments section he says:

Timber is a crop, yes. However, the way that timber has been harvested is incredibly unsustainable. If you look at Forest Service data on the profitability of timber cutting on National Forest lands, you’ll find that it’s profitable pretty much only in the Northwest, and extremely unprofitable elsewhere. We need wood, we have wood to provide; arguing that we can continue to utilize the clearcutting and other non-sustainable methods currently in use is madness, unless you’d like the whole United States to look like central New Mexico.

Well, I am going to get you started. First, if cutting down trees wasn’t profitable, then private enterprise wouldn’t do it. Maybe it isn’t cost effective for the government, but there is a need for wood.

Second, central New Mexico is awesome. However, that is not how these forest lands would look if everything was clear-cut and not replaced. Central Wisconsin had all of their forests destroyed by heavy logging, I’ve been there you see, and it looks nothing like New Mexico. It’s not forest anymore, but it ain’t “Mad Max Apocalypse” bad either. You’re using a scare tactic, not a rational argument.

Third, there are some important numbers dealing with our forest “resources” that Josh either doesn’t know or skips over. In 1907 there were 759 million acres of forest land in the United States, today there is 747 million acres. Or in terms we can all understand, there has been about a 1% reduction in the total acreage of forests since a century ago; so in 1000 years we can expect a 10% reduction in the amount of forest land in the United States. Woo. Also, the United States is actually already reducing its use of forests for wood. There is more wood in our forests (not acres, actual wood) than there was in 1953, about 26% more wood. Two point four million acres of forest are planted each year in the United States.

Finally, in the last sixty years the number of trees being grown has exceeded the number of trees harvested.

In other words, forests are on their way up, both in acreage and number and thickness of trees. The “deforestation” is over and resulted in a 1% or BFD level reduction in forest acreage. Where did I get these numbers? From some right wing source you say? Nope, the data is available from the US Department of Agriculture in their 2000 RPA Assessment report.

And I was sitting here doing all this research when I could have been watching Carlos Mencia.

Random Link o’ the Day:

http://www.smokingaloud.com/ets.html

More Wasted Research

I hate the fact that liberals are always coming up with more BS that needs a goodly amount of “de-mything.” I spent three hours pouring over black body research showing it would take a 100% increase in CO2 to produce a 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature for an object the size of Earth with present solar output. I didn’t need that. I could have been working on another writing project of mind instead of doing that. I hate numbers, I hate running numbers and doing research. However, I like to KNOW things before I talk about them.

Such is the case with the you can find this research with relative ease:

As you can see from this graph, if you smoke 10 cigarettes a day, 4000 cigarettes a year for twenty years, you run a .15% chance of getting lung cancer per year. So, by the numbers, a smoker who smokes 10 cigarettes or so a day for forty years has about a 4% chance of getting lung cancer.

So, even when your are a smoker it’s damn tough to smoke enough to guarantee yourself a slow death from lung cancer. If it’s that hard for smokers, 2nd hand “smokers” have to have it tougher. I think the data proves this is the case.

There are two major studies which have been the basis for most of government’s claims about second hand smoke. The 1993 EPA study and the WHO report. The EPA study was a meta-analysis that took 30 different studies and tried to mesh them into a single result. The EPA reported the results of their study before the study was done, and then they used a 90% confidence interval to gives themselves a statistically significant result (normally a 95% or 99% confidence interval is used).

The actions of the EPA in their report led to the report being kicked out of federal court as being inadmissible. This is the same study that is used to claim that “3000 non-smokers are killed every year by second hand smoke.” A better study is the World Health Organization report.

The abstract of the report is available here

About 2000 people were participants in this study, and it remains one of the largest ever done. To repeat, It showed that there was no statistically significant link between 2nd hand smoke exposure and lung cancer.

You can learn more about these numbers and studies, what they mean and how to interpret them here.

http://www.davehitt.com/facts/

Here’s the real skinny on 2nd hand smoke; “Nonsmokers have a natural risk for lung cancer of roughly 6 in 100,000. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases that risk to 8 in 100,000 – an increase in absolute terms of 1 in 50,000 or 0.002 percent.”

You can see where it’s easy to adjust the numbers here. You could say “second hand smoke increases your risk of cancer by 33%” [8-6=2, 2/6=.33] instead of the actual risk increase of .002%, which is exactly what the Surgeon General and The Media have done.

Of course, this isn’t going to stop some from celebrating the end of freedom.

I take my friend to task in the comment section. He does use a common liberal tactic, and that is to mention a dozen different issues trying to make a point. In trying to show conservatives are more myopic than liberals, he mentions global warming, deforestation, and the ozone layer.

Well, global warming is a topic too big to get into here, and the ozone hole will make my head bleed (literally I’m told), but I did want to touch on Josh’s attitudes on “deforestation” [seriously, it’s like Josh leaped out of 1988 and didn’t get the “environmentalists aren’t cool anymore” memo]. In the comments section he says:

Timber is a crop, yes. However, the way that timber has been harvested is incredibly unsustainable. If you look at Forest Service data on the profitability of timber cutting on National Forest lands, you’ll find that it’s profitable pretty much only in the Northwest, and extremely unprofitable elsewhere. We need wood, we have wood to provide; arguing that we can continue to utilize the clearcutting and other non-sustainable methods currently in use is madness, unless you’d like the whole United States to look like central New Mexico.

Well, I am going to get you started. First, if cutting down trees wasn’t profitable, then private enterprise wouldn’t do it. Maybe it isn’t cost effective for the government, but there is a need for wood.

Second, central New Mexico is awesome.

Third, there are some important numbers dealing with our forest “resources” that Josh either doesn’t know or skips over. In 1907 there were 759 million acres of forest land in the United States, today there is 747 million acres. Or in terms we can all understand, there has been about a 1% reduction in the total acreage of forests since a century ago; so in 1000 years we can expect a 10% reduction in the amount of forest land in the United States. Woo. Also, the United States is actually already reducing its use of forests for wood. There is more wood in our forests (not acres, actual wood) than there was in 1953, about 26% more wood. Two point four million acres of forest are planted each year in the United States.

Finally, in the last sixty years the number of trees being grown has exceeded the number of trees harvested.

In other words, forests are on their way up, both in acreage and number and thickness of trees. The “deforestation” is over and resulted in a 1% or BFD level reduction in forest acreage. Where did I get these numbers? From some right wing source you say? Nope, the data is available from the US Department of Agriculture in their 2000 RPA Assessment report.

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