Climate Scientists Encounter Limits of Computer Models, Bedeviling Policy

Link:https://www.wsj.com/articles/climate-change-global-warming-computer-model-11642191155?mod=hp_lead_pos10

Excerpt:

At least 20 older climate models disagreed with the new one at NCAR, an open-source model called the Community Earth System Model 2, or CESM2, funded mainly by the U.S. National Science Foundation and arguably the world’s most influential. Then, one by one, a dozen climate-modeling groups around the world produced similar forecasts.

The scientists soon concluded their new calculations had been thrown off kilter by the physics of clouds in a warming world, which may amplify or damp climate change. “The old way is just wrong, we know that,” said Andrew Gettelman, a physicist at NCAR who specializes in clouds and helped develop the CESM2 model. “I think our higher sensitivity is wrong too. It’s probably a consequence of other things we did by making clouds better and more realistic. You solve one problem and create another.”

Since then the CESM2 scientists have been reworking their algorithms using a deluge of new information about the effects of rising temperatures to better understand the physics at work. They have abandoned their most extreme calculations of climate sensitivity, but their more recent projections of future global warming are still dire — and still in flux.

…..

Skeptics have scoffed at climate models for decades, saying they overstate hazards. But a growing body of research shows many climate models have been uncannily accurate. For one recent study, scientists at NASA, the Breakthrough Institute in Berkeley, Calif., and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology evaluated 17 models used between 1970 and 2007 and found most predicted climate shifts were “indistinguishable from what actually occurred.”

Still, models remain prone to technical glitches and are hampered by an incomplete understanding of the variables that control how our planet responds to heat-trapping gases.

Author(s): Robert Lee Hotz

Publication Date: 6 Feb 2022

Publication Site: WSJ

U.S. Insurance Industry Outsourcing to Unaffiliated Investment Managers
Unchanged From 2019 to 2020

Link:https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/capital-markets-special-reports-IM-Outsourcing-YE2020.pdf

Graphic:

Excerpt:

The percentage of U.S. insurers that reported outsourcing investment management to an
unaffiliated firm has remained relatively unchanged at year-end 2020, compared to the last
several years; it was about half of all U.S. insurers, dating back to at least 2016.
Consistent with prior years, small insurers, or those with less than $250 million in assets under
management (AUM), accounted for the largest percentage, or 63% of the total number of U.S.
insurers, that outsourced investment management.
Property/casualty (P/C) companies continue to account for almost 60% of the total number of
U.S. insurers that outsource to unaffiliated investment managers.
For U.S. insurers that named the unaffiliated investment management firms that they utilize,
BlackRock, Conning, and New England Asset Management Inc. (NEAM) have been the top three
most-named investment managers over the last few years.

Author(s): Jennifer Johnson and Jean-Baptiste Carelus

Publication Date: 18 Jan 2022

Publication Site: NAIC Capital Markets Special Bureau

Three States, D.C. Sue Google Claiming Location Tracking Violates Users’ Privacy

Link:https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2022/01/25/650651.htm

Excerpt:

Texas, Indiana, Washington State and the District of Columbia sued Alphabet Inc.’s Google on Monday over what they called deceptive location-tracking practices that invade users’ privacy.

“Google falsely led consumers to believe that changing their account and device settings would allow customers to protect their privacy and control what personal data the company could access,” Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine’s office said in a statement.

Yet Google “continues to systematically surveil customers and profit from customer data,” the statement said, calling the practice “a clear violation of consumers’ privacy.”

Author(s): David Shepardson and Doina Chiacu

Publication Date: 25 Jan 2022

Publication Site: Insurance Journal

Tokyo’s ‘oldest man’ had been dead for 30 years

Link:https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-10809128

Excerpt:

He was thought to be the oldest man in Tokyo – but when officials went to congratulate Sogen Kato on his 111th birthday, they uncovered mummified skeletal remains lying in his bed.

Mr Kato may have been dead for 30 years according to Japanese authorities.

They grew suspicious when they went to honour Mr Kato at his address in Adachi ward, but his granddaughter told them he “doesn’t want to see anybody”.

Police are now investigating the family on possible fraud charges.

…..

But the family had received 9.5 million yen ($109,000: £70,000) in widower’s pension payments via Mr Kato’s bank account since his wife died six years ago, and some of the money had recently been withdrawn.

Publication Date: 29 July 2010

Publication Site: BBC

Gardaí investigating after man’s body used in apparent attempt to claim pension

Link:https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/garda%C3%AD-investigating-after-man-s-body-used-in-apparent-attempt-to-claim-pension-1.4782598

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Gardaí are investigating the death of a man in Carlow town, whose body was brought into a post office by two others in what appeared to be an attempt to claim the deceased’s pension.

The bizarre series of events began when a man entered the post office at Hosey’s shop on Staplestown Road at about 11.30 am on Friday.

The man wanted to collect a pension payment on behalf of an older man but was informed by a staff member that the pensioner would have to be present if a payment was to be made.

The man left the post office and returned a short time later with two other men, one of whom was in his 60s. The two younger men are understood to have sought a pension payment for the third man, who it appeared was being propped up.

….

The deceased man, named locally as Peadar Doyle, is believed to have been in his late 60s and a resident of Pollerton Road, close to the post office.

Author(s): Jack Power, Ronan McGreevy

Publication Date: 21 Jan 2022

Publication Site: The Irish Times

Two men take corpse into Irish post office to claim dead man’s pension

Link:https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/22/two-men-take-corpse-into-irish-post-office-to-claim-dead-mans-pension

Excerpt:

Gardaí have launched an investigation after two men carried a dead body into an Irish post office in an apparent attempt to claim his pension.

The deceased pensioner was described in reports as being “propped up” by the men as they walked into the building in County Carlow on Friday morning.

The outlandish series of events began when one of the men entered the post office at about 11.30am on Friday, asking to collect a pension payment for an older man, the Irish Times reported. He was refused, with staff informing him that the pensioner would have to be present in order for the money to be handed over.

Author(s): Clea Skopeliti

Publication Date: 22 Jan 2022

Publication Site: The Guardian

Board members of Pa.’s largest pension fund asked to sign secrecy oaths

Link: https://www.witf.org/2022/01/21/board-members-of-pa-s-largest-pension-fund-asked-to-sign-secrecy-oaths/

Excerpt:

Leaders of Pennsylvania’s beleaguered teachers’ pension fund are requesting that board members sign oaths of secrecy before receiving a critical update on the botched investment calculation scandal that has led to multiple federal investigations.

On Thursday morning, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System board told members in an email that they must sign a yet-to-be-drafted non-disclosure agreement to participate in a closed-door meeting later this month.

The meeting, scheduled for Jan. 31, is pivotal: Board members are poised to be presented with the findings of a taxpayer-funded inquiry into an investment calculation mistake in late 2020 that wrongly spared teachers a potential hike in their pension payments, leaving taxpayers to make up the difference over time. The calculation was later fixed, and teacher payments increased.

The inquiry was conducted by Womble Bond Dickinson, a law firm hired by the board last year to conduct an internal investigation into the error as PSERS coped with the federal probes. The system has agreed to pay Womble up to $367,600 in fees for its work, with partners collecting up to $695 an hour.

Author(s): Angela Couloumbis of Spotlight PA and Joseph N. DiStefano of The Inquirer

Publication Date: 21 Jan 2022

Publication Site: WITF

The catastrophe of the Covid models

Link:https://www.spiked-online.com/2022/01/21/the-catastrophe-of-the-covid-models/

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Having taken all the modelling into account, SAGE produced a table that showed in stark terms what the future held if the government stuck to ‘Plan B’. With the usual risible caveat that ‘these are not forecasts or predictions’, they showed a peak in hospitalisations of between 3,000 and 10,000 per day and a peak in deaths of between 600 and 6,000 a day. In previous waves, without any vaccines, deaths had never exceeded 1,250 a day.

The government was effectively given an ultimatum. SAGE offered Johnson a choice between the disaster that would surely unfold and a ‘Step 1’ or ‘Step 2’ lockdown, both of which had been helpfully modelled to give him a steer. ‘Step 1’ was a full lockdown as implemented last January. ‘Step 2’ allowed limited contact with other households but only outdoors.

In the event, as we all know, Boris Johnson ignored the warnings and declined to implement any new restrictions on liberty. A few days later, Robert West, a nicotine-addiction specialist who is on SAGE for some reason, tweeted: ‘It is now a near certainty that the UK will be seeing a hospitalisation rate that massively exceeds the capacity of the NHS. Many thousands of people have been condemned to death by the Conservative government.’

It did not quite turn out that way. Covid-related hospitalisations in England peaked at 2,370 on 29 December and it looks like the number of deaths will peak well below 300. This is not just less than was projected under ‘Plan B’, it is less than was projected under a ‘Step 2’ lockdown. The modelling for ‘Step 2’ showed a peak of at least 3,000 hospitalisations and 500 deaths a day. SAGE had given itself an enormous margin of error. There is an order of magnitude between 600 deaths a day and 6,000 deaths a day and yet it still managed to miss the mark.

Author(s): Christopher Snowdon

Publication Date: 22 Jan 2022

Publication Site: Spiked Online

Fermat’s Library – Japanese Banking Numerals

Link: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/fermatslibrary_japanese-contains-a-separate-set-of-numerals-activity-6888483726783717376-O8n4

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Japanese contains a separate set of numerals used in legal and financial documents to curb fraud by preventing someone from adding strokes to previously written numbers (e.g. turning a 1 into a 2, or changing 3 to a 5).

Author(s): Fermat’s Library

Publication Date: 17 Jan 2022

Publication Site: LinkedIn

Standard Chartered fined £46.5m by Bank of England over reporting failures

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/dec/20/standard-chartered-fined-bank-of-england-pra

Excerpt:

The Bank of England has fined Standard Chartered £46.5m for repeatedly misreporting its liquidity position and for “failing to be open and cooperative” with the regulator.

The Bank’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) said Standard Chartered had made five errors in reporting an important liquidity metric between March 2018 and May 2019, which meant the watchdog did not have a reliable overview of the bank’s US dollar liquidity position.

…..

One of the errors occurred in November 2018, as a result of a mistake in a spreadsheet entry. A positive amount was included when a zero or negative value was expected, leading to an $7.9bn (£6bn) over-reporting of the bank’s dollar liquidity position.

Author(s): Joanna Partridge

Publication Date: 20 Dec 2021

Publication Site: The Guardian

Judge narrows SEC bond rating lawsuit against Morningstar

Link: https://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20220106/NEWS06/912347036/Judge-narrows-SEC-bond-rating-lawsuit-against-Morningstar,-SEC-v-Morningstar-Cre

Excerpt:

A U.S. judge on Wednesday narrowed but refused to dismiss a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit accusing Morningstar Inc. of letting analysts adjust credit rating models for about $30 billion of mortgage securities, resulting in lower payouts to investors.

U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams in Manhattan said the SEC plausibly alleged that Morningstar Credit Ratings failed to provide users with a general understanding of its methodology for rating commercial mortgage-backed securities and lacked effective internal controls over its ratings process.

Author(s): Reuters

Publication Date: 6 Jan 2022

Publication Site: Business Insurance

FTC orders Walmart, Amazon, Kroger and more to turn over information on empty shelves, high prices

Link:https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/shopping/2021/11/29/supply-chain-ftc-investigation-walmart-amazon-prices/8799724002/

Excerpt:

The Federal Trade Commission said Monday that it is investigating the causes behind ongoing supply chain disruptions and how they are “causing serious and ongoing hardships for consumers and harming competition in the U.S. economy.”

The FTC said it is ordering Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, other large wholesalers and suppliers including Procter & Gamble Co., Tyson Foods and Kraft Heinz Co. “to turn over information to help study causes of empty shelves and sky-high prices.”

Orders also are being sent to C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. and McLane Co, Inc.

Author(s): Kelly Tyko

Publication Date: 29 Nov 2021

Publication Site: USA Today