U.S. Science Agencies Omit Margin of Error in Warming Stats

(p. A13) The year 2016 was the warmest ever recorded–so claimed two U.S. agencies, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Except it wasn’t, according to the agencies’ own measures of statistical uncertainty.
Such fudge is of fairly recent vintage. Leaving any discussion of the uncertainty interval out of press releases only became the norm in the second year of the Obama administration. Back when he was presenting the 2008 numbers, NASA’s James Hansen, no slouch in raising climate alarms, nevertheless made a point of being quoted saying such annual rankings can be “misleading because the difference in temperature between one year and another is often less than the uncertainty in the global average.”
Statisticians wouldn’t go through the trouble of assigning an uncertainty value unless it meant something. Two measurements separated by less than the margin of error are the same. And yet NASA’s Goddard Institute, now under Mr. Hansen’s successor Gavin Schmidt, put out a release declaring 2014 the “warmest year in the modern record” when it was statistically indistinguishable from 2005 and 2010.
. . .
. . . other countries like the U.K. and Japan also do sophisticated monitoring and end up with findings roughly similar to the findings of U.S. agencies, yet they don’t feel the need to lie about it. For instance, the U.K. Met Office headlined its 2016 report “one of the warmest two years on record.” A reader only had to progress to the third paragraph to discover that the difference over 2015 was one-tenth the margin of error.

For the full commentary, see:
HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR. “Change Would Be Healthy at U.S. Climate Agencies; In the Obama era, it was routine for press releases to avoid mentioning any margin of error..” The Wall Street Journal (Mon., Feb. 4, 2017): A13.
(Note: ellipses added.)

Founder Movie Is Unfair to Entrepreneur Ray Kroc

(p. 1D) McDonald’s franchise owner Jim Darmody of Omaha notes that the Hollywood film about Ray Kroc doesn’t always put the self-proclaimed “founder” of the fast-food chain in a good light.
“The movie makes it seem like he stole something from the McDonald brothers,” Darmody said. “But I can’t fault him. He bought it from the brothers and made it a dynasty.”
. . .
(p. 3D) Ray Kroc not only made a fortune that his wife turned into philanthropy, Jim said, but also created opportunities for people like himself.
. . .
Darmody said the McDonald’s Corp. has an excellent inspection program at stores for consistency and cleanliness.
Communities, he said, also have benefited from the presence of McDonald’s.
Kroc died in 1984. His widow, Joan Kroc, who died in 2003, left her $1.5 billion estate to charity.
. . .
. . . in a 1993 phone interview, Dick McDonald told me that he and his brother had no regrets about selling to Kroc for what later seemed a pittance.
“Neither of us had any youngsters who would go into the business,” said Dick, who had come up with the idea for golden arches. “I guess we could have stayed and piled up millions. But as my brother once said, ‘What can we do with $40 million that we can’t do with three or four million — except pay a lot of taxes?’ ”
. . .
Darmody, who has flipped a few burgers, said he learned some things from the movie, including how the brothers came up with the speedy production system. But without Kroc, he said, McDonald’s wouldn’t be what it is today.

For the full story, see:
Michael Kelly. “Following in the Footsteps of Founder.” Omaha World-Herald (Thurs., March 2, 2017): 1D & 3D.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Mach 4 [sic], 2017, and has the title “Kelly: McDonald’s franchise owner in Omaha says ‘founder’ Ray Kroc created opportunities for people.”)

How Uber Resisted Regulation

(p. B1) Uber Technologies Inc. has for years employed a program that uses data from its ride-hailing app and other tools to evade government officials seeking to identify and block the service’s drivers, according to a person familiar with the matter.
. . .
Uber has set up GPS rings around government offices, tracked low-cost phones and looked for other clues that regulators were targeting its drivers, such as frequently opening or closing the app or using credit cards tied to city agencies, according to the Times report. Once identified, Uber kept regulators out of vehicles by failing to send drivers their way, according to the newspaper.

For the full story, see:
GREG BENSINGER. “Uber Used Program to Evade Authorities.” The Wall Street Journal (Mon., March 6, 2017): B4.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date March 4, 2017, and has the title “Uber Used ‘Greyball’ Program to Circumvent Authorities.” )