Alert: Missing Endangered Child

The Virginia State Police and the Virginia Missing Children Clearinghouse has issued an endangered missing child media alert on behalf of the Christiansburg Police Department on January 28 at 11:45 a.m.

The Christiansburg Police Department is looking for Aysia Monique Lewis, 16 years of age, height 5’3, weight 155 lbs, with brown eyes and brown hair, wearing: blue jeans, black fleece jacket and tan moccasins.

The child is believed to be in danger and was last seen at Christiansburg High School. The child may be in the company of Donald Bruce Quesenberry Jr. The subject is described as, 33 years of age, height 5’7 Feet, weight 195 lbs, with brown eyes and brown hair.

The subject may be driving 2002 Nissan Altima 4d with Illinois Registration V975074. Possibly heading south to Florida.

Additional information: Child is believed to be in danger of sexual exploitation.

Please contact the Christiansburg Police Department at 540-382-3131 or The Virginia State Police at 1-800-822-4453. (1-800-vachild)

(2) Aysia monique lewis

(2) Bruce Quesenberry




Call for Volunteers

On Saturday, January 31 from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m., the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy will host a Volunteer Orientation and Opportunity Showcase at the Morven Park Carriage Museum. Want to learn more about Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy? Do you want to get involved in your community, but don’t have a good idea where to start? Do you want to meet some new friends who are as enthusiastic about the great outdoors as you are? If so, this is the event for you. In just one hour, you will be given a brief introduction to Loudoun Wildlife and its big plans for 2015. You’ll have a chance to meet one-on-one with the board chairs and project coordinators. They will go over the extensive volunteer opportunities in hopes that you will find a project (or projects) that will utilize your skills and experience while giving you a chance to be part of our mission to bring the appreciation of nature through education to our community. All types of skill and enthusiasm welcome. Sign up at loudounwildlife.org/SignUp.htm or e-mail Hannah Duffy at hduffy@loudounwildlife.org.




Purcellville Police Blotter – Week of January 15, 2015

1/15/2015-8:45 p.m. – 600 block of Wintergreen Dr. – Telephone Scam– Victim had a voice mail stating that he was a subject of a Lawsuit. Victim called the number provided and became suspicious. Police investigated and found that the telephone number 323-282-5894 has been used in numerous scams for court cases, in an attempt to extort money from the victims.
1/16/2015-11:58 p.m. – Warrant Service – A routine traffic stop on Main St. resulted in an arrest for a person that was wanted by Loudoun County Sherriff’s Office on an outstanding warrant. Warrant was served at the Adult Detention facility.
1/18/2015-8:00 a.m. – Juvenile runaway – Juvenile had left the home the night before over an argument. Juvenile was located and unharmed.
1/18/2015-3:00 p.m. – 600 block of Greysands Ln. – Burglary and destruction of property – Homeowner reported that he had left the house that afternoon and came home around 7:00 p.m. and found that his back door had been kicked in. Homeowner stated that it appeared that nothing had been stolen. Damage valued at $1000. This incident is under investigation.
1/19/2015-8:00 a.m. – 300 block of Locust Grove Dr. – Telephone scam – Victim stated that she was contacted by telephone that her loan had been approved. Victim had not applied for a loan. She called them back and immediately got a voice mail saying that the business was closed. Victim was told to watch all bank accounts and credit activity.




Community Ambassadors Sought for Loudoun Seniors

Seventeen additional Loudoun residents have stepped up to advocate for seniors since the Loudoun County Commission on Aging (COA) launched its Community Ambassador Program in June 2014. The program represents a partnership among county service organizations, volunteers, and local law enforcement, as a three-part (TRIAD) team to promote programs that enhance the health and safety of Loudoun’s seniors.

TRIAD ambassadors solicit feedback and disseminate educational information in senior living communities or groups. Scams and crimes targeting seniors, fraud, and health care are critical areas for which the growing population of seniors needs assistance and resources. Often, help is needed to navigate the administrative layers that cause delays when searching for answers. Community ambassadors can provide resources to seniors for issues including caregiving, suspicious calls, nutritional assistance, affordable prescription plans, fire alarms, battery checks, and transportation.

Loudoun County Area Agency on Aging Director Dr. Lynn Reid told volunteer ambassadors (at a recent training session), “You can extend our eyes and ears into the community.” Mary Ellen Bowers, a community ambassador at Potomac Green, relates, “I am excited to be part of an innovative program to provide tips and resources to protect and inform our residents.” New Potomac Green resident Gerald Hamilton reports that “The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office daily crime reports opened my eyes to the staggering number of fraud cases.”

A total of thirty-two volunteers have been trained to educate the community, and the COA is seeking even more ambassadors to help ensure that all Loudoun seniors have access to the program’s resources. If you are interested in representing seniors in your local community, contact Debra Bressler at debra.bressler@loudoun.gov or call 703-777-0257 for more information.




Neo-Liberal Economists: “We Are Irrational”

“Irrational is a strong word, which connotes impulsivity, emotionality, and a stubborn resistance to reasonable argument.” Economics Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman [1]

On global warming Kahneman wrote that it is “preposterous to forecast what it would be like to live on a warmer planet when we did not even know what it is like to live in California.” Kahneman was concerned whether or not people would be happy in a warmer world, warming more than ten times faster than at any other time in the last hundred million years, as shown by the example in Figure 1 [2] while physical scientists worry whether we will survive at all. See Figure 2 for the current physical state of California. I suppose people can still be happy right up until the time there is no more water to drink. Perceptive people who see it coming years in advance may be unhappy but if there are not many of those Kahneman may be right.

Figure 1 comparison of the rate of current anthropogenic climate change with one of the most remarkable climate events in the last hundred years.

Figure 1 comparison of the rate of current anthropogenic climate change with one of the most remarkable climate events in the last hundred years.

Figure 2 The California Drought.   Source: https://theconomicsof.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/el-nino/

Figure 2 The California Drought. Source: https://theconomicsof.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/el-nino/

Moving on, never mind that economic Nobel laureate Robert Solow’s production function is not just overly simplified it is not even physical [3]. The human economy simply does not work the way economists think it does. It runs on energy, or more precisely on an energy gradient. See Figure 2 [4]. Atmospheric physicist Timothy Garrett estimates that it takes 9.7±0.3 milliwatts to produce one 1990 US dollar [5].

The dominant economic model in America today is the neo-liberal school of free-market economics. It ignores the role of energy, pollution and human nature. This is why one result of liberalizing the financial sector begun under Reagan and Thatcher has been the explosion of worldwide organized crime [6] not to mention the Great Contraction of 2008 [7]. Economists seem not to be aware that the most efficient way to make a whole lot of money is to steal it and that is what laissez-faire free markets encourage. It has been estimated that 1% of humans are psychopaths [8], so who do economists think are going to dominate an unregulated economy? The good news is that Daniel Kahneman’s Behavioral Economics replaces economics Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman’s consumer units with actual human beings. Kahneman, though a human-caused global warming denier and therefore resistant to reasonable argument, insists that humans are not irrational [1].

Figure 3, Energy flow through the human economy during the last two millennia (red curve) and human accumulation of wealth (blue curve)

Figure 3, Energy flow through the human economy during the last two millennia (red curve) and human accumulation of wealth (blue curve)

In their own words:

“Oil is a renewable resource, with no intrinsic value over and above its marginal cost… There is no original stock or store of wealth to be doled out on any special criterion… Capital markets are equipped to handle oil depletion…It is all a matter of money”, M.A. Adelman, Professor of Economics, MIT

“It is appropriate to conclude that, as long as the sun shines brightly on our fair planet, the appropriate estimate for the drag on the economy from increasing entropy is zero.” Economist William Nordhaus

“ … the world can, in effect, get along without natural resources … at some finite cost, production can be freed of dependence on exhaustible resources altogether….” Economics Nobel Laureate Robert Solow

“Natural resources. Hold your hat – our supplies of natural resources are not finite in any economic sense. Nor does past experience give reason to expect natural resources to become more scarce. Rather, if history is any guide, natural resources will progressively become less costly, hence less scarce, and will constitute a smaller proportion of our expenses in future years. Population growth is likely to have a long-run beneficial impact on the natural-resource situation.” Economist Julian Simon [9]

Economist F. Scott Armstrong, testifying [10] before congress on human-caused climate change, an irrational circumstance to begin with, in 2011 said: “I actually try not to learn a lot about climate change. I am a forecasting guy.” Given that he missed forecasting the Great Contraction of 2008 [11], one might ask why Congress would care about his opinion on anything else?

George Mason University economist/statistician, Edward Wegman was invited by conservatives to testify on climate change. When asked by Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky if he knew how carbon dioxide traps infrared heat in our atmosphere, Wegman replied [12] “Carbon dioxide is heavier than air. Where it sits in the atmosphere profile, I don’t know. I’m not an atmospheric scientist to know that. But presumably, if the atmospheric – if carbon dioxide is close to the surface of the earth, it’s not reflecting a lot of infrared back.” Wegman could have simply said he didn’t know.

“My guess is that global warming will simply be another transient concern, barely worthy of consideration ten years from now in a book like this one.” Julian Simon, 1994, 20 years before yet another hottest year on record [13]. The probability that the Earth surface has not been warming since Simon penned his prediction is less than 1 part in ten billion billion using extreme event statistics [14]. Since the universe itself is only 13.8 billion years old, Simon would be correct one time in a billion universes or simply not at all.

Friedman describes the methodology of neo-liberal economics [15]. “In so far as a theory can be said to have assumptions at all, in so far as their realism can be judged independently of the validity of predictions, the relation between the significance of a theory and the realism of its assumptions is almost the opposite of that suggested by the view under criticism. Truly important and significant hypotheses will be found to have assumptions that are wildly inaccurate descriptive representations of reality and, in general, the more significant the theory, the more unrealistic the assumptions.”

Figure 3 shows just one way human-caused climate change is destroying our economy. Extreme weather related events are accelerating so fast that eventually the destroyed wealth will exceed the ability of the economy to generate wealth. In 2011, Dr. Peter Höppe, Head of the Geo Risks Research Department at Munich Re explained what had persuaded him of the causal link [16]: “For me the most convincing piece of evidence that global warming has been contributing already to more and more intense weather related natural catastrophes is the fact that while we find a steep increase in the number of loss relevant weather events (about tripling in the last 30 years) we only find a slight increase in geophysical (earthquake, volcano, tsunami) events, which should not be affected by global warming. If the whole trend we find in weather related disaster should be caused by reporting bias, or socio-demographic or economic developments we would expect to find it similarly for the geophysical events.”

Economist Steve Keen argues [17] forcefully that physicists, engineers, and biologists need to take the field over from the economists. Instead of our Congress trying to inform science with “wildly inaccurate descriptive representations of reality” we should be informing economics with hard evidence.

[1] Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.

[2] Lee Kump, The last great global warming, Scientific American, July 2011

[3] Source: https://theconomicsof.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/el-nino/

[3] Robert U Ayres & Benjamin Warr, accounting for Growth: the Role of Physical Work, Center for the Management of Environmental Resources, INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France and Wiliam Barnett II, Dimensions and Economics: Some Problems, online version: www.mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae6_3_2.pdf.

[4] Tony Noerpel, Big Introduction to Big Data, http://brleader.com/?p=12957

[5] T. J. Garrett, “No way out? The double-bind in seeking global prosperity alongside mitigated climate change,” Earth Syst. Dynam., 3, 1–17, 2012, www.earth-syst-dynam.net/3/1/2012/ doi:10.5194/esd-3-1-2012

[6] Misha Glenny, McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld, 2009

[7] Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff “This Time is Different”.

[8] Kent A. Kiehl, The Psychopath Whisperer: The Science of Those Without Conscience, 2014

[9] Julian Simon, http://www.juliansimon.com/writings/Ultimate_Resource/TINTRO.txt

[10] Nate Silver, The Signal and the Noise, why so many predictions fail – but some do not, The Penguin Press, 2012.

[11] Most economists who did predict the great contraction such as Nouriel Rubini, Steve Keen, Dean Baker and Robert Shiller are well known. There is no evidence Armstrong predicted it and considerable evidence that nobody at the Wharton school “forecast” the great contraction. http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/18/behavorial-economics-indicators-entrepreneurs-finance-wharton.html and http://www.ifw-members.ifw-kiel.de/publications/the-financial-crisis-and-the-systemic-failure-of-academic-economics/KWP_1489_ColanderetalFinancial%20Crisis.pdf

[12] Michael Mann, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, dispatches from the front lines, Columbia, 2012.

[13] http://www.webcitation.org/5XuOha9HO

[14] updated to include 2013 and 2014 from Tony Noerpel, To the Arctic Amplified and Bayes Applied, November 27, 2013, http://brleader.com/?p=12412

[15] Milton Friedman, The Methodology of Positive Economics, in Essays in Positive Economics, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953, pp. 3-43.

[16] http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/01/04/207288/munich-re-pielke-extreme-weather-damages-climate-change/ and http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/01/15/3612054/global-warming-extreme-weather/

[17] Steve Keen, Debunking Economics, Zed Books, 2011.

Figure 4 Total number of catastrophic events world wide

Figure 4 Total number of catastrophic events world wide




Winter Door Decorating at Woodgrove High School

This past December, the Woodgrove Student Council hosted the annual Holiday Door Decorating contest. Every homeroom in the school was challenged to participate in the competition by decorating their homeroom door with a holiday or winter theme of their choice. Students and teachers worked together in their homerooms to bring together resources such as photos, ornaments, glitter, lights, and music to use in their door design. By the day before winter break, students were able to walk through the halls and admire many newly decorated classroom entrances.

The Student Council ad hoc committee for Door Decorating was led by Woodgrove sophomore Sara Hallam. Sara and her committee created the rules by which doors could by decorated, and the criteria that the doors would be judged by. The committee also put together a panel of teachers from various departments to judge the final homeroom doors. Theses teachers would choose one winning door from each grade, along with one overall winner.

The winning homerooms of the door decorating competition were announced during the winter concert. The overall winning door belonged to the Junior Class. Each winning team from each grade level received a certificate to display in their homeroom, and the homeroom with the overall best door won a homemade breakfast provided by the Student Council.

best 9th grade

best 10th grade

best 11th grade and OVERALL

best 12th grade

best non-HR door
Images: Freshman Class Winning door (top left)– Mr. Schutte, Sophomore Class Winning door (top right) – Mr. Acquino, Junior Class Winning Door and Overall Winning Door (middle) – Mrs. Longerbeam, Senior Class Winning door (bottom left) – Ms. Ahern, and Best ‘Non-Homeroom’ Winning Door (bottom right) – the Career Center.




LCSO Implements Crisis Intervention Program in Adult Detention Center

Training to Help Those Suffering a Behavioral Crisis Expanded to Help Inmates

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and Loudoun County Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Developmental Services (MHSADS) graduated twenty deputies and one mental health professional on January 16 from the from the first-ever Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training hosted specifically for deputies assigned at the Adult Detention Center in Loudoun County.

The collaborative program joined the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Courts and Corrections Division; Loudoun County MHSADS; Friends of Loudoun Mental Health; the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Northern Virginia; the Office of the Commonwealth Attorney; the Wounded Warrior Program; Mobile Hope; and Retired Col. Scot Campbell in an effort to allow mentally ill persons to receive necessary treatment to become stabilized and work toward recovery. The program is designed to promote positive interaction between law enforcement and persons in crisis and reduce injuries to deputies and persons suffering from mental illness.

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman, recognizing the number of incidents involving mental health issues occurring both in the community and within the Adult Detention Center, pushed to expand the crisis intervention training he helped implement in 2012. “We recognized approximately 20% of our ADC population suffers from diagnosed mental illness but the true number of inmates suffering from mental illnesses is likely even greater,” said Sheriff Chapman.

The CIT training helps prepare law enforcement officers, on patrol and in the ADC, as well as emergency dispatchers to calmly and effectively communicate with citizens experiencing a behavioral crisis. “The expansion of the Loudoun County CIT program into the ADC demonstrates the importance and commitment in providing law enforcement additional tools and specialized skills in communicating with persons with mental illness who are incarcerated” stated Beth Flaherty, MHSADS CIT Coordinator and Emergency Service Supervising Clinician. Additionally, the training includes intervention techniques for deputies or officers responding to a person who may be suicidal.

The training included classroom instruction, role play exercises which enabled law enforcement personnel to gain a better understanding of the experience of living with serious mental illnesses, and site visits to LAMPS ( Loudoun Mental Psychiatric Services), the Homeless Shelter, and MHSADS’ offices at the Shenandoah Building. It was taught by Loudoun certified CIT Sheriff’s Deputies and professionals from MHSADS, the Alexandria Police Department and Sheriff’s Office, and other experts within the field. During the week-long training, students were introduced to medical, social, psychological and legal aspects associated with mental illness.

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman helped facilitate crisis intervention training in October 2012 after assessing the frequency of incidents involving mental illness in the County. Through a collaborative effort, Sheriff Chapman helped facilitate the first-ever crisis intervention training for first-responders and emergency dispatchers. To date, over 65 Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office deputies and 100% of dispatchers have received CIT training. “Specially trained deputies and dispatchers can use the techniques taught in the CIT program to help resolve potentially difficult situations from the very first call,” said Sheriff Chapman. The training included members of the Town of Leesburg Police Department and the Town of Purcellville Police Department.

Last week’s CIT training for the Adult Detention Center was the first of four classes to be held in 2015, with the goal of providing a majority of Adult Detention Center deputies with specialized skills that would prove valuable when assisting a person in crisis.




Purcellville Police Issue Fraud Alert

Residents are receiving telephone calls from persons identifying themselves as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents. These callers have been requesting money or various money cards. Residents are threatened with arrest if they fail to forward these funds.

Do not send money to anyone in these types of situations. Please call the Purcellville Police (540-338-7422) if you have concerns about these or any type of suspicious calls from unknown individuals.




LCSO Investigating Armed Robbery at Hill Tom Market

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a reported armed robbery at the Hill Tom Market in Hillsboro.

On January 10, an unknown suspect entered the store around 2:00 p.m. and brandished a firearm. The suspect demanded cash and fled westbound on Charles Town Pike (Route 9).

The suspect was described as a White male, 6’0” -6’2”, 25 to 30-years-old, with a thin build and was wearing camouflage clothing and a mask.

Anyone with any information regarding this case is asked to contact Detective C. Cunningham of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office at 703-777-0475. If the caller wishes to remain anonymous, they are asked to call Loudoun Crime Solvers at 703-777-1919. If the information provided to Crime Solvers leads to an arrest and indictment, the caller could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1000.




Police Chief Smith Announces Retirement

Chief Darryl C. Smith, Sr. announced last week that he would be retiring on April 1, 2015. He came to the community over nine years ago after a nationwide search that resulted in him being selected as a unanimous candidate to lead our Town’s Police Department. Chief Smith will be remembered for many positive items through his tenure. The two most important involve completing the State Accreditation for the Police Department and the winning of numerous local, state, national and international awards for his Department’s Youth Engagement and Outreach programs.

In 2007, Chief Smith and the Department won a VML Achievement Award in the 5,000 – 10,000 population category for his Youth Engagement and Outreach programs. This award was followed up in 2009 with the Department receiving the Webber Seavey International Award given by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Motorola.

During Chief Smith’s tenure with the Town, he presided over a period of rapid growth in our residential and business communities. This rapid growth coupled with an extensive recession that hit not only our community but the region resulted in a period where the Department had to be extremely creative to find ways to address a needed expansion to the police station which allowed the Town to meet program needs and state recommendations/regulations. In addition, he worked hard to update the entire fleet of vehicles and equipment issued to all officers while implementing a progressive staffing model.

“The Town was blessed when we were able to hire Chief Smith over nine years ago. It is rare that someone can have such a positive impact on an organization and community that he has served in such a short period.” stated Robert W. Lohr, Jr., Town Manager. The Town Manager also stated “to Chief Smith, this was not just a job but a love and a passion for the community and his officers. In a period where administrators tend to spend too much time behind their desk, he was constantly in the community working with our youth, residents and businesses. Chief Smith will be greatly missed and will leave some mighty big shoes to fill in this Department and on our management team.”

Mayor Fraser added “Chief Smith’s leadership has transformed the Purcellville Police Department into the community focused organization it is today. Programs such as the Homework Club, Back to School Picnic, and End of School Picnic were led by Chief Smith and have been instrumental in connecting our young people and their families to our police force in a meaningful way. While I do not have a tremendous amount time working with Chief Smith, it has been my observation that he is a dedicated public servant and has worked tirelessly to secure our citizens and garner community trust. Chief Smith has provided us with a template as to what traits and capabilities we must expect and require from a new police chief. I thank Chief Smith for his service to our community and wish him and his family all the best during his retirement.”




Comstock Sworn-In To the 114th Congress

ComstockCongresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) issued the following statement on being sworn-in to the 114th Congress:
“It is an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Virginia’s 10th Congressional District in the 114th Congress,” said Congresswoman Comstock. “I am looking forward to working to solve our nation’s challenges as we start the new year. Constituent service will be one of my top priorities, the same way it was for Congressman Frank Wolf. Serving on three influential committees – Transportation and Infrastructure; Science, Space, and Technology; and House Administration, will afford me a seat at the table and allow me to advocate for the many priorities of the 10th District.”

Virginia’s 10th Congressional District stretches from McLean down to Manassas and Prince William County and out through Loudoun, Clarke, and Frederick Counties to the West Virginia border. Congresswoman Comstock serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Science, Space, and Technology Committee; and the Committee on House Administration for the 114th Congress.




Bad Economics Is Driving Out Good Science

“The key to understanding [economics] lies in identifying the positive feedbacks and instabilities that lead to fast and surprising changes. These positive feedbacks are the most important elements in all markets; they’re not exceptional in the least. I’ll also argue that it would be utterly astounding for it to be otherwise, for instabilities, driven by positive feedbacks affect almost everything in the universe, from stellar supernovae to planetary ecosystems and our climate to the movement of the earth’s crust, and from the flow of electronic traffic through the Internet to the growth of cities.” Mark Buchanan [1]

A few years ago I introduced readers to the logical theorem ex falso quodlibet or from a false proposition, anything follows. If a logical system begins with a false axiom or assumption then no matter how robust the logic the conclusions can only be correct by pure chance; indeed any nonsense can be proved by starting with a false assumption [2]. Milton Friedman adopted this strategy to develop his neo-liberal economics by starting, in his own words [3], with “assumptions that are wildly inaccurate descriptive representations of reality.” Nobody should be surprised that denial of human-caused climate change is also based on bad assumptions.

The forest ecologist Daniel Botkin wrote (and testified to Congress earlier this year) that [4]: “… One can only be rather agnostic about the role that human actions have played and are playing in climate change. A new, important paper in the journal Science casts some fascinating light on the question of whether carbon dioxide change precedes temperature change, and therefore is a likely cause of the temperature change, or whether temperature change precedes carbon dioxide change, casting doubt on the role of the greenhouse gas in climate change.”

A skeptic recognizes the flawed “either/or” assumption in Botkin’s thinking; either atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide change the surface temperature or the surface temperature changes atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. One need not have any knowledge of climate physics to ask why both assertions cannot be true or indeed even false. What is the physics that might preclude one given the other? Botkin’s argument is equivalent to assuming that either the grass is green or the sky is blue but not both. It is possible Botkin didn’t read the Science paper he cites because those authors disagree with him.

Warming the surface of any planet like the Earth, over millennial or shorter time periods, often causes carbon to accumulate in the atmosphere from various surface reservoirs such as the oceans, soils and the biosphere. Cooling the surface often causes a net flow of carbon in the other direction. This fact is empirically demonstrated in Antarctic ice cores [5]. Further, experimental and observational evidence proves beyond doubt that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Thus a positive or amplifying feedback process exists; increase the surface temperature and the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases which causes an increase in the surface temperature increasing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere further and so on until the system achieves a new equilibrium.

That positive feedbacks exist in the climate system is introduced in the second chapter of the text Physics of Climate by Jose Peixoto and Abraham Oort and they include many examples [6]. Consensus busting geniuses would do well to read this book first before they continue making stuff up. The mathematics of feedback is familiar to every engineer and scientist including every forest ecologist [7].

So where does Botkin’s false assumption, and it is a popular denier assumption, come from? I did a quick internet search and found this on Joan Nova’s web site: “The bottom line is that rising temperatures cause carbon levels to rise. Carbon may still influence temperatures, but these ice cores are neutral on that. If both factors caused each other to rise significantly, positive feedback would become exponential. We’d see a runaway greenhouse effect. It hasn’t happened. Some other factor is more important than carbon dioxide, or carbon’s role is minor.” According to her web site, Nova is not a scientist but an amateur economist. We should not be surprised to learn that her misunderstanding of positive feedback is not influenced by science but by bad economics.

Eugene Fama won the Economics Nobel in 2014 based on his efficient market hypothesis. In order for markets to operate efficiently without regulation or government intervention requires that positive feedbacks not exist. The physicist Mark Buchanan describes this flaw in his book Forecast [1]. Positive feedbacks do exist in the economic system and caused the Great Contraction of 2008 as well as the Great Crash of 1927 and the Great Depression and therefore Fama’s hypothesis is false or at least needs work. In fact excluding the effects of various positive feedbacks in their models, is why economists failed to forecast the contraction. Buchanan writes:

“The most spectacular rise in housing prices in half a century may have spurred a frenzy of borrowing and speculative gambling, ending with a crash back to reality and a massive government bailout to preserve the entire financial system, but to Fama, the bubble actually had nothing to do with it. Bubble? What bubble? As he exclaimed, ‘I don’t even know what a bubble means. These words have become popular. I don’t think any have any meaning… They have to be predictable phenomena. I don’t think any of this was particularly predictable.’”

Apparently bubbles do not exist because Fama’s hypothesis cannot predict them. To paraphrase Bertrand Russell, this is a view so absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt it. Botkin, Nova and Fama apparently do not understand dynamical systems and feedback phenomena. There are at least three reasons why positive feedbacks do not generally lead to runaway effects in systems like the economy or the climate. First, so long as the feedback factor is less than one the system will simply evolve to a new relatively stable state such as what has been happening with the climate system during the Pleistocene and the Holocene swinging wildly from glacial to interglacial states. Second, there are often negative feedbacks which eventually help to stabilize the system. Third, the strength of the feedback is usually dependent on the system state so that as the system evolves the feedback may become less positive.

Instead of using bad economics to replace good science, these consensus busting geniuses should be applying the lessons from good climate physics to fix bad economics.

[1] Mark Buchanan, Forecast, what physics, meteorology and the natural sciences can teach us about economics, Bloomsbury, 2013.

[2] see: http://www.answers.com/topic/ex-falso-quodlibet#ixzz2KabZcsbe and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_explosion

[3] Tony Noerpel, The Con in Economics, Blue Ridge Leader, March 5, 2013, http://brleader.com/?p=10734 see specifically: Milton Friedman, The Methodology of Positive Economics, in Essays in Positive Economics, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953, pp. 3-43.

[4] Tony Noerpel, State of Sophistry, September 25, 2014, http://brleader.com/?p=15367

[5] Jinho Ahn & Edward J. Brook, Siple Dome ice reveals two modes of millennial CO2 change during the last ice age, 29 Apr 2014, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4723

[6] Peixoto, J., Oort, A., Physics of Climate, Springer, 1992. See also Tony Noerpel, Missing mysterious negative feedback, July 20, 2010, http://www.brleader.com/news/images/Mysterious%20negative%20feedback.pdf

[7] see for example David Beerling, The Emerald Planet, How plants changed Earth’s history, pp 190-191 and Plate 16, Oxford University Press, 2007.




York Will Not Seek Re-election

Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) announced Wednesday during a county Board of Supervisors meeting that he will not seek a fifth term in office this November. York had previously announced late last year that he did plan to seek re-election.

York, who commenced his service first as a planning commissioner, then as Sterling District Supervisor, has led the county board for 15 years as chairman. Over the years he has run for office as a Republican, then as an Independent for one four year term, returning to run again as a Republican.

Leesburg attorney Charles King announced earlier this week that he would be seeking the Republican nomination for Chairman of the Board, presenting York with the prospect of a primary challenge. King recently represented Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R- Sterling) in a legal challenge stemming from a former employee’s allegations of misuse of office.