Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Global Warming Goes Round and Round

Jack Dini
Livermore, CA

(From Hawaii Reporter, May 28, 2008)

A very powerful case that the climate trend we’re currently seeing is part of a product of a solar-linked cycle that creates harmless naturally warmer conditions approximately every 1500 years is made in a recent book, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years, by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery. It has 459 references, a glossary and an index. This well written book is arguably the best book to date on the politics and science of global warming. In addition to presenting evidence for the 1,500 year solar cycle, first proposed by European researchers in the mid 1990s, the authors address both the Greenhouse and Solar/Cosmic Ray theories of climate change.(1) Singer and Avery maintain that there are natural cycles of cooling and warming going back at least a million years. These are small excursions of global temperature, much smaller than the ice ages, which is why they haven’t been noticed until the last 25 years or so.

This was reported in 1984 with the first analysis from the Greenland ice cores. Willi Dansgaard and Hans Oescher published their analysis of the oxygen isotopes in the ice cores extracted from Greenland. These cores provided 250,000 years of the Earth’s climate history in one set of ‘documents.’ The scientists compared the ratio of ‘heavy’ oxygen-18 isotopes to the ‘lighter’ oxygen-16 isotopes, which indicated the temperature at the time the snow had fallen. (2) As Singer and Avery report, “They expected to find evidence of the known 90,000 year Ice Ages and the mild interglacial periods recorded in the ice, and they did. However, they did not expect to find anything in between. To their surprise, they found a clear cycle—moderate, albeit abrupt—occurring about every 2,550 years running persistently through both. (This period would soon be reassessed at 1,500 years plus or minus 500 years.)” (3)

Since this early discovery, its fingerprints have been found all over the world, both in ice cores and sediments. (4)
- An ice core from the Antarctic’s Vostok Glacier, at the other end of the world from Greenland, was brought up in 1987 and showed the same 1,500 year climate cycle throughout its 400,000 year length.

- The 1,500 year cycle has been revealed in seabed sediment cores brought up from the floors of such far-flung waters as the North Atlantic Ocean and the Arabian Sea, the Western Pacific, and the Sargasso Sea.

- One seabed core near Iceland goes back a million years, and the 1,500 year cycle runs through the whole million years, roughly 600 of these moderate, natural cycles.

Over the last 1,200 years there has been a “Medieval Warming” (900-1300), when Greenland was green; a “Little Ice Age” (1300-1850), when New York harbor froze and people could walk from Manhattan across the ice to Staten Island a mile away (in 1780); and the current global warming (1850-??). Rather than ‘global warming,’ a better term for this phase of the solar cycle is “Modern Warming.” Since 1850, temperatures have risen 0.8 degrees C, most rapidly in 1850-1870 and 1920-1940. Temperatures in the 1,500 year solar cycle fluctuate within a 4 degree C range—two degrees above and two degrees below the norm. An added important point is that three-fourths of the present warming occurred before 1940, which was before most of the human emitted carbon dioxide we hear so much about these days.

So today’s global warming is part of a natural 1,500-year plus or minus 500-year cycle operating for at least a million years. The Earth’s climate has warmed and cooled nine times in the past 12,000 years in lock step with the waxing and waning of the sun’s magnetic activity. (5) The linkage with the sun has been verified by correlation between the Carbon 14 and Beryllium 10 isotopes in the ice with sunspot numbers.

The modern warming is not confined to this planet. Mars ice caps are melting and Jupiter is developing a second giant red spot, an enormous hurricane-like storm. Jupiter’s original Great Red Spot is 300 years old and twice the size of Earth. The new storm-Red Spot Jr. -is thought to be the result of a sudden warming on our solar system’s largest planet. Some parts of Jupiter are now as much as 6 C warmer than just a few years ago. (6) Neptune’s moon, Triton has heated up significantly since 1989. Parts of its frozen nitrogen surface have begun melting and turning to gas. (7) Even Pluto has warmed slightly in recent years, if you can call -230 C warmer than
-233 C.

All of this prompts Lorne Gunter to ask, “Is there something all these heavenly bodies have in common? Some one thing they all share that could be causing them to warm in unison? Hmmmm, is there some, giant, self-luminous ball of burning gas with a mass more than 300,000 times that of Earth and a core temperature of more than 20 million degrees C, that for the past century or more has been unusually active and powerful? Is there something like that around which they can all revolve that could be causing global warming?” (6)

Singer and Avery also cover a number of other issues:

- A particularly interesting chapter focuses on common sense regarding the extinction of species. The authors explain that most of the world’s animal species evolved 600 million years ago, so we know most of today’s species have successfully dealt with ice ages and global warming periods that have sent temperatures much higher and much lower than today’s temperatures. (8)

- The authors look at history and confirm that the frequency and severity of hurricanes, droughts, thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes have not increased in recent years. (9) John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, in testimony before Congress noted, ‘that the most significant droughts in the Southwestern United States occurred more than four hundred years ago, before 1600.’ He stated that before 1850, American’s Great Plains were called the ‘Great American Desert,’ and experts at the time said the region couldn’t be farmed. Weather just seems unusual and dangerous these days, said Christy, because of the increased media coverage of major storms.


Jay Lehr sums it up quite well, “Singer and Avery shatter the greenhouse gas theory, making it clear humanity’s modest addition to the atmosphere’s small amount of carbon dioxide does not hold up to a significant alteration in temperature. Obviously, all of this does not square with efforts to get us to reduce our use of cars, air conditioners, and fertilizer in order to reduce carbon in our atmosphere.” (10) So, regardless of what you do to reduce your carbon footprint, Mother Nature really doesn’t care.


1.S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming, (New York, Rowman & Littlefield publishers, 2008), 24

2.W. Dansgaard et al., “North Atlantic Climatic Oscillations Revealed by Deep Greenland Ice Cores,” in Climate Processes and Climate Sensitivity, J. E. Hansen and T. Takahashi, Editors, (Washington, DC, American Geophysical Union, 1984) Geophysical Monograph 29, 288-90

3.S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming, 2

4.S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming, 3

5.Gerard Bond et al., “Persistent Solar Influence on North Atlantic Climate During the Holocene,” Science, 294, 2130, December 10, 2001

6.Lorne Gunter, “Breaking: Warming on Jupiter, Mars, Pluto, Neptune’s Moon & Earth Linked to Increased Solar Activity, Scientists Say,” National Post, March 13, 2007

7.J. L. Elliot, et al., “Global Warming on Triton,” Nature, 393, 765, June 25, 1998

8.S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming, 163

9.S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming, 201

10.Jay Lehr, “Careful Review of Science Refutes Global Warming Myths,” Environment & Climate News, 10, 12, March 2007

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Looking For Germs? Check Your Money.

Jack Dini
Livermore, CA

(From Hawaii Reporter, May 15, 2008)

The legal tender in your pocket or purse definitely carries some germs and most likely also has some cocaine. Researchers at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio collected 68 dollar bills from people at a grocery store and a high-school sporting event. According to Dr. Peter Ender, lead researcher, sixty-four (94%) of the bills were contaminated with bacteria known to cause either serious or mild illness. Five bills (7%) were found to be contaminated with bacteria which can cause infections in healthy people. Those bacteria included Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae, both of which can cause pneumonia or blood infections. Fifty-nine bills were contaminated with bacteria that are usually harmless in healthy individuals, but can still trigger serious illness in those with depressed immune systems, such as people undergoing various types of medical treatment or those with HIV. (1) However, Ender stressed that real health risks to the average consumer are pretty low, adding that US dollar bills may be no more or less covered in microbial goo than, say, doorknobs, pens, or computer keyboards. But he points out that US currency, especially ‘finds its way into all areas of the world.’ “With the rapid dissemination of money in the era of drug-resistant bacteria, perhaps a resistance clone could be spread from one geographic location to another,” he concludes. (2)

Philip Turner adds, “Many studies, including two of my own, have shown that money can be effective for germ transaction. ABC’s “20/20” asked me to help them prepare a segment on this issue, and I devised a plan for collecting money from street vendors, shops, restaurants, and other establishments in Chicago, New York City, and Washington, DC. After each transaction, the bills received were put directly into newly purchased wallets, which were then sealed in plastic. The bills were tested and found to be contaminated with germs of fecal, respiratory, and skin origin. Although the risk of contracting a serious infection from dirty money is low, the germ count is high enough to make it easy to contract a cold, a bout of diarrhea, and similar ailments.” (3)

Depending on where you are in the world you might get a different reaction to this issue. Disease experts in northeastern India issued a recent report that said ‘overused and soiled’ currency can transmit tuberculosis, pneumonia and other lung infections. British health authorities and travel guides regularly warn tourists in the region to wash their hand following every financial transaction. (4)

By contrast, Dr. Frank Vriesekoop, from Ballarat University in Australia, reported that there are generally very few pathogenic bacteria on banknotes and coins. He found low levels of common bacteria on the currency that were traded through various food outlets in Australia and New Zealand. He claims that it would be impossible for them to cause diseases like diarrhea, vomiting, or other gastric symptoms as usually believed, as their numbers were so insignificantly small, and that fears about currency hygiene were unwarranted. (5)

So, what can you do? Well, thorough washing of your hands is most important. Or, you could travel to Japan or Australia. In Japan you can go to a ‘clean ATM’ and get your yen pressed between rollers for one-tenth of a second at 392 F, enough to kill many bacteria. (6)

The dirtiness of bills in one reason Australia is leading the charge to use a plastic currency that is supposed to be inhospitable to both germs and counterfeiters and four times as durable as paper notes. Australia introduced the rubber-feeling bills in 1998 and now prints them for 33 other countries, including Romania, Malaysia, and Mexico. (7)

Another option is to launder your money—literally, like the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which took emergency action in an effort to stop the spread of SARS. They put into effect a policy of holding money for twenty-four hours before re-circulating it—long enough for the germs to die. Money is also sterilized by being placed under ultraviolet light for an hour. (1)

Or, you could just carry coins. Patricia Gadsby reports that anything that is very hard and dry isn’t terribly hospitable to bacteria, and many metals have antibacterial activity. Pennies often are sterile, presumably due to the copper, and most US coins are also about 75 percent copper. (6)

Best recommendation is perhaps from Laura Lee, “Then again, none of these extreme measures is really necessary, say the experts. Although the germs on money have the potential to contaminate people, there are no documented cases that it has. Instead of avoiding or cleaning money, the best protection is to wash your hands regularly.” (1)


“The probability that every single person in the United States is carrying drug-tainted money is almost certain,” says Dr. James Woodford, forensic chemist from Atlanta. Woodford cites a 1989 experiment by Miami toxicologist Dr. William Hearn, who gathered 136 dollar bills from banks in twelve cities. Of these 131 had traces of cocaine.

A study conducted at the Houston Advanced Research Center in Texas and the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois examined currency (mostly singles, but also fives, tens, and twenties) in Miami, Chicago, and Houston. This project found an overall 70 to 80 percent contamination rate in the three cities, with single dollar bills more commonly contaminated than the higher denominations. Overall, the more worn the bills, the more coke was found on them. In very old bills, the contamination rate was closer to 90 percent. A recent look at money circulating in northern Illinois, found even higher rates: close to 93 percent of the sample, and 100 percent of the $20 bills tested positive for cocaine. “In fact, most Americans handle small amounts of cocaine every day, not as packets sold by drug dealers, but on the dollar bills that line their pockets,” were conclusions from this study. (6)

J. Oyler and colleagues reported that cocaine was present in 79% of currency samples analyzed in amounts above 0.1 microgram and in 54% of the currency in amounts above 1.0 microgram. Contamination was widespread and was found in single dollar bills from a number of US cities. Cocaine amounts were highly variable and ranged from nanogram to milligram amounts. The highest amount of cocaine detected on a single dollar bill was 1327 milligrams. These results indicated that cocaine contamination of currency is widespread throughout the United States. (9) The reason for this contamination relates to the exchange of illicit cocaine for money by drug dealers. During this exchange there is ample opportunity for paper currency to become contaminated.

Should you worry? Not at all. Cocaine on cash is so commonplace that the courts have ruled that police can no longer use a drug-sniffing dog’s signal to nab a suspect or to confiscate money because it’s deemed drug-related. (7)


1.Laura Lee, 100 Most Dangerous Things in Everyday Life, (New York, Broadway Books, 2004), 140
2.“Bacteria Study Gives New Meaning to ‘Dirty Money’”, Reuters, May 23, 2001
3.Philip M. Turner, The Secret Life of Germs, (New York, Pocket Books, 2001), 104
4.Steve Newman, “Currency Health Risk,” San Francisco Chronicle, May 4, 2002, Page C10
5.“Research Shows That Money May Not Harbor Many Pathogenic Bacteria,”, July 13, 2006
6.Patricia Gadsby, “Filthy lucre-money is contaminated with bacteria,” Discover, 19, 76, October 1998
7.Carol X. Vinzant, “The Secret Life of the Dollar,”; accessed January 30, 2008
8.Kathryn Garfield, “Stinking Lucre,” Discover, 28, 15, February 2007
9.J. Oyler, W. D. Darwin, and E. J. Crane, “Cocaine contamination of United States paper currency,” J. Anal. Toxicol., 20, 213, 1996