Monday, 7 February 2011

More fake science

More rubbish science this morning in the Mail, which really should know better. This time it's a Danish loony who wants to ban open fires and wood burning stoves on health grounds. You need to read the article carefully to discover that he's got absolutely no evidence at all that people are actually harmed by using open fires; he bases his conclusion on two facts he's discovered; that if you drench a petri dish of DNA with wood tar, it dies, and that his sister-in-law, who has a wood burning stove, sometimes gets headaches. 

In fact, it's even worse. The loony studied two distinct groups of people from two different areas - those who used wood burning stoves all the time, and those that never did. He found no health differences at all between the two groups - none whatsoever - but rather than being honest enough to admit that wood-burning stoves have no health impact, he twisted the reality in the way that bent, loony scientists do to find that;

1. The wood burning area had more smoke particles in the air
2. If someone breathes in twenty billion trillion smoke particles, they'll get ill. 
3. QED - wood burners are a tool of Satan and must be banned

About the only people who give credence to fake science such as this are, unfortunately, the civil servants at the heart of the Central State, who no doubt will now be preparing legislation to ban wood burning stoves. 


Anonymous said...

Same nutters that claim that wood burning releases CO2 into the atmosphere. Well hey, when a tree dies, it gradually releases all of its trapped CO2 back into the air, as it rots down - its just that burning it hastens that process.

Coney Island

Weekend Yachtsman said...

They'd love to ban them.

Logs are too easy to gather or buy (often for cash, from unsuitable people who don't have licences or approvals of any sort), and very difficult to tax.

Much better, really, to force everyone to use nice centrally-managed gas (installed by properly approved and licenced Friends of the State, of course), which can be controlled by smart meters, and cut off whenever more important people (politicians, celebrities) need it more urgently.

And what better mechanism to use than Elf n'Safety?

No doubt wood burners are bad the for the children, too; you'll hear about that bit in a month or two.

Raedwald said...

CI - it's really worse than that. When wood rots naturally, it releases methane - which degrades Ozone at many times the rate of CO2. It's actually a lot 'greener' to burn wood than to let it rot.

Don said...

"When wood rots naturally, it releases methane - which degrades Ozone at many times the rate of CO2."

I don't think either CO2 or Methane degrade ozone. You are thinking of fluorocarbons.

But you are completely right that a rotting tree will release CO2. However, some of its carbon will stay in the soil, in the bodies of fungi and small mammals.

The big difference is that a tree contains carbon which has been stored for only a few years, while coal, gas or oil contain carbon stored for millions of years. So when they are burned there is a real increase in the concentration in the atmosphere.

Burning wood is in my opinion perfectly OK.

(BTW have you considered that degradable plastic bags release CO2 from oil into the atmosphere, while non-degradable bags do not?)

Tufty said...

As ever, statistics lie behind this finding. Geddit?

Angry Exile said...

Wonder if it's a move in response to the smokers' rights advocates pointing out that the banners don't regard wood smoke as harmful:

"Ah, but we do now..."

Anonymous said...

Watch the excellent film "Brazil" (Terry Gilliam)to see what a state run heating system looks like.

Don said...

I don't need to watch "Brazil" (which was a very good film). We had nationalised gas, electricity and coal in Britain for decades.

It's really hard to say whether it works better now they are all privatised. The prices seem to be much higher.

Can there be real competition in something like the national grid? There's only one of it. If you change to a different electric company, you get the same electricity from the samr transformers: only the billing office is different.

As for science, you can gurantee that any science in the Daily Mail will be either fake or wildly sensationalised.
This site is quite good for science news.