Connecting the Dots – No Black Swans

Russ Steele

When I was in the Air Force, during one of my early performance review as combat crew member, my Pilot  surprised me when he mentioned that I had an unusual ability to “connect the dots” and anticipate events.  While it may have been true for subjects I studied intensely, it is certainly not true for those issues that I have treated in a more casual manner.

I think this is true for a lot of people if they have studied a subject in detail, one begins to observe trends and make a reasonable guess about coming events. That said, we live in a chaotic world and black swan events do happen.  The black swan theory was developed by Nassim Taleb to explain the disproportionate number of high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance and technology.

I have been studying climate change for years, connecting the dots, and we are not experiencing any more extreme weather today than we have in the past 50 years. In fact, in studying past grand minimums I found that the much colder climate created more climate extremes that we have seen in the last 50 years, including a year with out a summer, and global droughts that lasted 30 or more years.

Poster at, Bill McKibbin's blog

It occurs to me that those promoting climate alarmism, like  Bill McKibben, Joe Romm, David Suzuki, Al Gore who are claiming that human induced climate change is making our daily weather “more extreme” are really praying for black swan events.  They are asking people to connect the dots, and then conclude that climate change is the cause.  This is going to be hard for people who have studied the subject the subject in any detail, on the other hand had those treating the subject more casually, they can be taken in.

Here are some facts that you can use if approached by one of our local lefty warmers in an attempt to get you to “connect the dots” and promote extreme weather as a climate crisis.

The incident of large tornados are down:

 No upward trends in drought:

 No significant trend in wet weather:

 No upward trend in hurricane cyclonic activity:

 And, we have not seen any significant acceleration in global warming

Now you have have enough information to connect some dots. Did you see any extreme weather black swans in these data plots?

H/T to Warren Meyer for all the data graphics except the temperature from climate4you.


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

4 Responses to Connecting the Dots – No Black Swans

  1. Sean says:

    There was an article on droughts and heatwaves in Texas over at Tom Nelson. Here’ the money quote for connecting researchers with funding according to Forrest Mimms III, an expert reviewer for the IPCC:

    “Why do some scientists insist that Texas is warming when the data show a negligible increase? I don’t know. But I do know that a National Science Foundation program officer told me that applications for atmospheric science grants that do not include a global warming theme stand little chance of acceptance.”

    Read more:

    This is the post normal scientific method showing how the government gets what it pays for.

  2. ggoodknight says:

    Sean, physicist Nir Shaviv writes that a colleague of his had a journal rejection where the editor stated “any paper which doesn’t support the anthropogenic GHG theory is politically motivated, and therefore has to be rejected”

    Post-normal is Abby-something. Abby Normal.

  3. Dena says:

    When connecting the dots, you develop a sense of caution that can apply to subjects that you haven’t studied in detail. You may not be able to clearly connect the dots but you can smell a rat. When I was working with other programmers, often my boss would call me when they were having trouble with new code. I would ask them to describe what they were doing and I could tell them where the problem was without looking at the code they were working on. While my boss knew I had this ability, it used to shock new programmers who hadn’t been around very long.
    The tools of logic apply to everything except art, love and the progressive mind.

    • Russ says:


      Thanks for the software development story. When I was running an Air Force testing unit, we were breaking new ground in the digital world. I had a team of programmers, two Captians, one Lieutenant and a Senior Master Sgt. I wanted some analysis software written and the Captains said it could not be done. After the team meeting the SMSgt came into my office, and asked if he could speak frankly. Yes, I said.

      The SMSgt said, “when the Captains tell you it cannot be done, they really mean is they do not know how to do it.” That was on a Friday, On Monday morning the SMSgt came in my office with the complete routine. Worked like charm.

      It happened again when I worked for TRW as a software development project manager. I need some search software for very complex data intelligence data base. My Senior Programers said it could not be done. I hired four very sharp software engineers from Sac State and gave them the task. They did the job, they did not know it could not be done. My customer was so proud of the software they gave it to other Air Force Units and it became the standard way of doing business.

      Knowing you cannot do something can be a real impediment to success

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