June 30, 2017

hyperbole hueristics

The latest DNC campaign ("people will Die! and they will be CHILDREN!" ) seems especially tonedeaf coming just a fortnight after a Bernie bot tried to make exactly that event occur in Virginia. Anyway, I think humor is one of the best ways to soften many a teachable moment, and is an even better way to deliver a dispositive beat-down. Remy, again, in terrific form...

Hope y'all will post this to FB... I will, just after I get done castigating CNN....

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:18 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

I love Remy, but this one is Hall of Fame. It shuts down not only the insane partisanship, but also the paternalism.

I've already used it as a comment twice: once for a discussion of Raw Milk and once for a discussion of mandatory netting/fencing over infield seats at baseball games.

PEOPLE WILL DIE!

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2017 4:46 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Raw milk... netting?? Nothing about Healthcare?!?

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 2, 2017 12:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Also worked in the blogger who was killed by a defective - wait for it - whipped. cream. dispenser.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2017 2:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We mock, but it's become a problem of epidemic proportion, as a Second woman is injured by exploding whipped cream dispenser. Or maybe it's just another chance to publish four more snaps of the tragically killed fitness blogger, in bikini and workout gear. Plus a video.

Click-bait journalism?

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2017 2:59 PM
But jk thinks:

I think watching the video of the bikini-clad fitness model victim truly encapsulates the depth of the problem. If those abs can be harmed, what chance have we mortals? ("Can such rage inflame immortals' hearts?" -- Aeneid 1.1)

Thanks, I did miss the C.R.U.E.L. W.H.I.P. ACT "The carbs, the container..." But in fairness I cannot recover from "Native Americans (0:39)" and the names of the esteemed legislators.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2017 3:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Native" Americans was delightful.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2017 5:25 PM

Another Brave Man "Comes Out"

Jeffrey Tucker at FEE says the unthinkable, unmentionable, unspeakable: "Facebook is . . . kinda cool." Brave man -- I've endured heart-wrenching eye rolls for being far less effusive.

Read the whole thing, but here is an interesting side:

Another under-appreciated point: Facebook has taught people to take responsibility for their public personas. You have to curate what people see and not see, how you present yourself, what you want to see and what you do not want to see. This is your responsibility. No one can do it for you. Your mistakes are your own. Your successes are too. In this way, Facebook has taught a whole generation to be better managers of their own lives. Few experiences in history have been as great a classroom for the development of wise and disciplined public behavior.

It has also taught people to better manage their personal networks, and become wiser about navigating the undulating patterns of familiarity and unfamiliarity that characterize life in society. We've learned to extract cues from language, post timing, topic, and degrees of separation to discern just how close or far we want another person to our lives. It has taught us to be careful in what we show others, and crystallized a point we only vaguely knew before: we show different parts of ourselves to different sectors of our personal network. We speak differently to parents, pastors, coworkers, and drinking buddies. Yes this can be stressful; it is exactly the kind of stress that we need to become better friends, family members, and workers.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 9:45 AM | What do you think? [1]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Curious: I quickly came to this conclusion, refusing to have FB as some sort of echo-chamber or surrogate for my BFF's not being Here-In-The-Now.

My pediatrician noted a different aspect of this 'public persona' with the emphasis on people's braggadocio and the all-too-real despondency this exposure can cause in the adolescent mind (she was awesome!)

I post very little about my kids, as central as they are, mainly b/c of FB's troubled legacy with privacy, and instead use FB as a musing board... tho' I must say it does occasionally let me catch up with distant friends.

As far as keeping up, I need to call more, not post more....

I don't think it's evil anymore, and Twitter has only be rehabilitated in my view b/c of IowaHawk's amazing tweets and Memes. So, I guess I can get on with all this...

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 30, 2017 12:41 PM

June 29, 2017

Academic Malfeasance

Some of my heroes have spilled into a contretemps this week. I'm not sure how much currency this has attained outside the geeky internet circles I run in.

I'll borrow Jonah's setup -- it's a lot funnier than mine:

In Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid there's that great bit about the super-posse that chases the outlaws. They’re led by a legendary law man, Joe Lefors, and an Indian Scout (Lord Baltimore), who can follow horse tracks over rock and water.

I mention this because if I were Nancy MacLean, I'd much rather have Lefors and Lord Baltimore coming after me than to have Don Boudreaux, Steve Horwitz, Jonathan Adler, Russ Roberts, and the rest of the libertarian super posse on my ass.


If you're willing to dive into the deep-end, I suggest David Bernstein's frequently updated compilation in the WaPo's Volokh Conspiracy:

Duke University historian Nancy MacLean has published a new book, "Democracy in Chains," that is getting a great deal of favorable attention from progressive media outlets and is selling quite well online. The theme of the book is that Nobel Prize-winning economist James Buchanan, a founder of public choice economics and a libertarian fellow-traveler, was the intellectual leader of a cabal ultimately supported by Charles Koch intent on replacing American democracy with an oligarchy based on constitutional protections for property rights.

It's on Oprah's Top 20 don't ya know? And yet, it seems fraught with egregious errors and misrepresentations. Hence, the frequent updates and today's mop up.

If you want to start at the beginning, Russ Roberts's opening salvo is a good choice. I go on about Roberts for many reasons, but the top is his fairness and equanimity. His defense of his (equally reasonable) colleague Tyler Cowen is the equivalent of a ThreeSources rant with all caps and barnyard vulgarities.

Of course I am not an unbiased reader of these issues. I was a fellow at the Mercatus Center for nine years. Tyler Cowen was my colleague. I've interviewed him many times for EconTalk and I've learned much from him. But I think the full quotes of Tyler Cowen make it clear that MacLean's portrait of at least this essay of his are not accurate. I hope Nancy MacLean, who is a chaired professor of history at Duke University, will concede that her characterization of Tyler Cowen's view of democracy is inaccurate or at least incomplete. She owes Cowen (and her readers) an apology.

Calm down, Russ -- go to your beach.

It seems a bit inside-baseballish, but I am glad to see a pointy-head at Duke shut down for reckless Kochs-are-coming-to-eat-your-babies scholarship. I am anxious to see how far it will go.

If I may borrow a Prof.Glenn Reynolds riff, just this one time:

For academic year 2015-2016, undergraduate tuition & fees at Duke University is $49,241. The undergraduate 2016-2017 estimated tuition & fees at Duke University is $51,510 . This cost is estimated by the school directly.-- CollegeCompare.com

UPDATE: David Bernstein piles on, specifically addressing false assertions in the book for which he has personal knowledge.

UPDATE II: Lawdy! Her Duke colleague Mike Munger has joined the posse.

It happens that Duke University's Department of Political Science is located on Duke's main campus, in Durham, N.C., and is listed in the phone book. Anyone at Duke who wanted to find it would have no difficulty doing so. Further, the department has important resources for any scholar with a serious interest in researching James Buchanan. The department has two past presidents of the Public Choice Society (Geoffrey Brennan and Michael Munger), and one current president (Georg Vanberg). We are not fringe members of the Duke community; I was chair of Political Science for ten years, Vanberg is the current chair, and Brennan was the long-time Director of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, Geoff Brennan was the long-time associate of Buchanan, producing three major coauthored books, more than ten journal articles, and two major edited works that dealt with Buchanan's overall contributions to political science and philosophy.

In short, I would expect that a sophomore undergraduate who was writing a paper on Buchanan, even a one-off paper for a classroom assignment, would have recognized the value in consulting Brennan, at a minimum, and probably also Vanberg (who was a family friend of Buchanan since childhood). But neither Brennan nor Vanberg were ever consulted, nor even contacted, by MacLean. Nor, if it matters, was I.

But johngalt thinks:

All of her critics seem to not understand that Ms. McLean could not possibly have consulted any of those scholarly experts. They have a critical disqualification. You see, each of them is male.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2017 2:49 PM

QotD

Has to go down in TS history as attributed to a Senate Joint Resolution, from Tennessee of all places!

So you get the full impact quickly (love to make a meme from this) note the opening paragraph: "Whereas, California has passed legislation banning state sponsored travel to Tennessee and certain other states..." QotD is

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the other forty-eight states to refrain from imposing their unfounded moral judgment on their sister states as California has done in order to prevent escalating foolishness

and runner up is these next 3:

Whereas, Tennessee is pleasantly surprised that California will not be sending its economic development teams to Tennessee to recruit our businesses, but we can still send our teams to recruit their businesses; and

Whereas, Tennessee is puzzled why California thinks it is a good idea to prohibit its state colleges and universities from participating in athletic competition in Tennessee (March Madness comes to Memphis this year via the South Regional), Kansas, Mississippi, and North Carolina; and

Whereas, this type of ban, the result of legitimate disagreements about government policy, is neither persuasive nor productive for either party and will lead to economic warfare among states, as one sovereign entity attempts to tell an equally sovereign entity how to conduct its affairs by restricting travel thereto


Nature doesn't care about you

Never heard of TLoS before, but the anti-anti GMO article is terrific;

I’ve heard this argument before, and it is basically just a dressed-up appeal to nature fallacy that asserts that something that has undergone natural selection will somehow be better for us than something that has not. That notion is, of course, ridiculous. It has all the problems of a normal appeal to nature fallacy, plus it relies on numerous misconceptions about evolution, GMOs, and agriculture

Terrific logical rundown of many bad things nature has done for thee 'n me. For someone here to post to their favorite GMO-preeners (c'mon you know who you and they are!)
why would nature produce something so terrible? Because it doesn’t give a flying flip about you. The genus Amanita evolved to be deadly because that is what was beneficial for it, not because of what would have been beneficial for you.
at the end, a gem:
So if we are going to worry about an unintended consequence from changing the genetic code of an organism, surely we should be the least concerned about the method that makes the fewest and most precise changes (i.e., GE).

But johngalt thinks:

Nature is not a commune, and communism is not natural.

One of the greatest environmentalist hypocrisies is that humans should follow "nature" in all things, but for some reason ignore natural selection. Well, not ignore it completely:

... several people responded by arguing that genetic engineering (GE) shouldn't be used because "it bypasses the natural evolutionary test of fitness."

Indeed.

So does food stamps.

I'm good with banning GMOs if government also bans all other forms of tampering with nature, including human economics.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2017 2:44 PM

June 28, 2017

Redefining HOSS

I have a new favorite Senator. And a new favorite Conversations with Tyler.

Indulge me good people. Yes it is long; no, you'll not hear any more intelligent persiflage anywhere.

Hoss Posted by John Kranz at 3:56 PM | What do you think? [0]

I Was Wrong

Do I regret not voting for President Trump? No, not really; better to be happily surprised. And he won without my vote. And without winning my State. Public Choice Theory argues against recrimination.

But -- boy howdy! -- did I err in darkening the box next to Evan McMullan and Mindy Finn. I guess that can be called harmless except for the fact that I am still on their mailing list. And they are not a taciturn bunch.

Ms. Finn writes:

John,

Since President Trump can't be trusted to protect the nation from Russian attacks on our democracy, we must all call on Congress to pass sanctions that punish Moscow, deter it from future interference and hold Trump accountable.


And so on and so forth. Bla Bla Bla. Then: "Do you wish to give $20 | $50 | $100 or more?"

It's a bad re-run of the no-labels movement. Really? Riling up Republicans about Russia is your plan? Ugh!

So, mea maxima culpa people, that was a foolish pick. I get a bit of tomfoolery like that every few days from McMullen or Finn. I would unsubscribe, but I am reading St. Augustine and feel self-flagellation is important for growth. Now where did I put my hair-shirt?

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 1:07 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

No hard feelings, I'm sure. It's never too late to hop aboard the Trump Train!

(Did you see what I did there?)

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2017 5:50 PM
But cnk guy thinks:

Time to face the fact that Trump is the President now and you need to move on.
http://freedomnews.today/

Posted by: cnk guy at July 6, 2017 7:20 PM

Quote of the Day II

Senate Republicans on Tuesday delayed a vote on their health-care bill until after the July 4 recess, and the timidity and opportunism of too many Senators suggest they may never get 50 GOP votes. We hope they understand that if they fail, Republicans will be entrusting their political health-care future to the brutal generosity of Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. -- WSJ Ed Page
Kinda says it all.

UPDATE: Plus points for "This is the Senate reality, not some Kasich Kumbaya circle."

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:01 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

But the next time you are tempted to indulge in that sort of intellectual laziness, consider that a lot of poor people in Seattle are going to have trouble paying their rents or feeding their children because policymakers who did not want to face the economic facts allowed themselves to be led astray by Professor Krugman, a first-rate economist who devolved into a second-rate newspaper columnist, who lent the considerable prestige of his Nobel prize to a policy proposal many of his fellow progressive economists knew to be defective even as they refused to criticize it in public. The poor people in Seattle know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. If only the economists did, too. -- Kevin Williamson
Honorable mention, from the same article:
When Economics 101 tells you something you don't want to hear, the thing to do is commission a study.
I woke to a "let's face the right is just evil" post on FB. If I can find it, I'll link. "If people have to be told that poor kids should eat and that health care is more important than tax cuts for the wealthy, yadda yadda." I rolled my eyes and scrolled, but I might try responding with a link to this piece if I can find it. Slow day today.

UPDATE: Found it. Tl;dr: "People who disagree with me are evil and want children to starve. I cannot possibly have a civil dialogue with those who don't care." I don't know, it's a slow day but not perhaps that slow.

UPDATE II: Fools rush in, I posted a link.

But johngalt thinks:

Williamson and his ilk [including, I should add, yours truly] would do well to withhold judgment until the final wage hike takes effect. The mandatory minimum wage [read: price below which free trade is illegal] is not yet high enough to have the desired effect of balancing every worker's budget. */sarcasm*.

As for the "people will die" from Obamacare repeal [as if that's what the current Senate bill even does] I would like to remind our friends on the collectivist side of the aisle that refusing to treat people who can't pay hasn't happened in this country since before most of them were born - 1986, when the EMTALA required every hospital that receives Medicare payments to provide emergency care until the patient is stabilized or consents to leave. And this law, which puts care ahead of the property rights of doctors, hospitals and taxpayers, was brought to us by, President Ronald Reagan. Another heartless Republican.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2017 11:05 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I couldn't comment on the article but if I could, I would say:

You are obviously blessed with the very best of good intentions, young Ms. Chadwick, but I wonder if you are either old or wise enough to know where the road inexorably leads, that is paved with good intentions?
Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2017 11:11 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Clicking through on a link in the Williamson piece led to this very interesting page at the website of Environmental Progress dot org.

Hey Mikey, I like it!

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2017 4:30 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I didn't see the letter, or was that meme-menage supposed to be it? If so, it gives vague all new meaning...

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 28, 2017 11:52 PM

Solar Trash

I am not the only one who looks out on the City of Lafayette's solar farm and sees a field of trash. Julie Kelly at National Review Online calls it "Clean Energy's Dirty Little Secret."

This is one of the dirty little secrets behind the push for renewable energy. While consumers might view solar panels as harmless little windows made from glass and plastic, the reality is that they are intricately constructed from a variety of materials, making it difficult to disassemble and recycle them. Japan is already scrambling for ways to reuse its mounting inventory of solar-panel waste, which is expected to exceed 10,000 tons by 2020 and grow by 700,000 to 800,000 tons per year by 2040. Solutions are hard to find, due both to the labor-intensive process of breaking down the panels and to the low price of scrap.

Oh well, at least the batteries are easy to dispose of.

But johngalt thinks:

I just thought of a use for the hundreds of thousands of tons of solar-panel waste - road base, under the good intentions paving the road to hell.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2017 11:18 AM
But johngalt thinks:
Solar panels are considered a form of toxic, hazardous electronic or "e-waste," and according to EP researchers Jemin Desai and Mark Nelson, scavengers in developing countries like India and China often "burn the e-waste in order to salvage the valuable copper wires for resale. Since this process requires burning off plastic, the resulting smoke contains toxic fumes that are carcinogenic and teratogenic (birth defect-causing) when inhaled."

I can't debate someone into caring about what happens to their fellow human beings and their unborn children when government-subsidized solar panels are burned by the poorest and most vulnerable citizens of the world.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2017 11:27 AM
But jk thinks:

Heh. I see what you did there.

The reason I cannot abandon Arthur Brooks [Review Corner] in spite of his insipid adherence to the Pope and the Dalai Lama, is that the story of Heart needs be told.

Ethanol! Let's burn food for no discernable good to anybody but ADM.

Tyler Cowen asks policy makers to give future citizens a seat at the table. That which impedes wealth creation and innovation steals from future people.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2017 11:56 AM

June 27, 2017

Happy Birthday ATM!

I know my Luddite blog brothers and sisters are not yet sold on the technology ("we're going to trust machines to handle our money?"), but I salute this innovative addoiion to productivity, convenience, and prosperity.

It's the golden anniversary of the ATM. On June 27, 1967, a Barclays Bank branch in London unveiled the world's first automated teller machine. It solved a common problem: In much of the world, cash could be obtained only when a bank was open, typically weekdays between about 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., known as "bankers' hours." The limited schedule often meant long lines. And it could be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain money from a bank other than your own.

The engineer often identified as having developed the first ATM, John Shepherd-Barron, said that his "aha" moment was a byproduct of arriving at his bank one minute after it closed. "That night I started thinking that there must be a better way to get cash when I wanted it,"


But johngalt thinks:

Heh.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2017 11:15 AM

Quote of the Day

The FBI is currently investigating whether [Senator Sanders's wife, Jane] committed fraud when she told People's United Bank that she had confirmed pledges. One confirmed pledge of $1 million, it turned out, was to be paid after the donor's death, not in the next few years, as Sanders had stated. -- Austin Yack, National Review
Oh, that can be arranged...
But jk thinks:

...And am I the only one childish enough to laugh that the Sanderses have chosen People's United Bank for their banking needs? "Oh, honey, this one sounds good!"

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2017 12:00 PM

Feelin' the Bern -- Papal Edition

Pope endorses slavery:

Pope%2BBernie.jpg

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 9:48 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps, yes. Or at the very least, faith healing.

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2017 12:30 PM

June 25, 2017

Review Corner

King though thou be,
I claim an equal right To make reply,
Here I call no man lord:
For I am not thy slave , but Loxias ',
Nor shall I stand on Creon's patronage;
And this I say, since thou hast dared revile
My blindness, that thou seest, yet dost not see
Thy evil plight , nor where thou liv'st, nor yet
With whom thou dwellest,
Know'st thou even this, -- Sophocles. Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King)
Review Corner, to overextend a metaphor, will be going a different direction for several weeks. I have signed up for Hillsdale's Great Books 101, Ancient to Medieval course. Hillsdale offers several non-credit free online courses. I enjoyed the Athens and Sparta and look forward to this one.

They offer free PDFs with selections from the reading assignments, but I intend to read all the books in their entirety. A great side benefit is that most of these are available in Kindle for $0.99 or $1.99. In fact, that is not a side benefit; I am purposefully trying to tweak my book expenditures. Leader Pelosi would call it "budget slashing."

The first two weeks were the Iliad [Review Corner] and the Odyssey [Review Corner], both of which have been recently reviewed after I learned of Robert Fagles's sumptuous translations. I just finished his Aeneid, which I will review next week (fear not, Virgil scores some stars).

Book three was Sophocles' Oedipus Rex which I had never read. Everyone knows the tale form the osmosis of culture, but more think of the psychological disorder. Sophocles tale has no illicit desire -- though I propose it to be the first documented case of road rage. The King is maltreated by a charioteer at the intersection of three roads. I guess "the bird" has not yet been invented, so he murders the whole lot of them.

"Oh by the way honey, how'd you say that your first husband died? Three roads, huh?"

Reading Homer, and to a great extent the secular Thucydides, the lover of Reason and self-direction is put off by the intercession of the gods and fate. In poor Oedipus, we see a life ruined through very little fault of his own (well, there is that one youthful indiscretion, but who of us hasn't got a little cheesed off at a motorist. And murdered the whole carful.)

Why should we fear, when chance rules everything,
And foresight of the future there is none;
'Tis best to live at random, as one can .

To avoid the prophesy, Oedipus has taken extraordinary measures. He has abandoned his homeland and benefits of primogeniture to ascertain that the prophesy is unfulfilled. Without DNA testing, you really could not ask more. Or could you?
OEDIP . What hindered you, when thus your sovereignty Had fallen low, from searching out the truth?
CREON . The Sphinx, with her dark riddle, bade us look At nearer facts, and leave the dim obscure .

Without mens rea, the revealed truth reduces the King to a blind exile, his wife driven to suicide and his children forever shunned as abominations.
Ah, race of mortal men,
How as a thing of naught I count ye, though ye live;
For who is there of men
That more of blessing knows
Than just a little while In a vain show to stand,
And, having stood, to fall?
With thee before mine eyes,
Thy destiny, e'en thine, Ill-fated Oedipus, I can count no man blest.

I guess that's why they call then Tragedies. I'm humbled to apportion stars to Sophocles, but it is an accessible and short read. And if you want more academic input than that offered in Review COrner, you amy watch the Hillsdale lecture free of charge.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 2:28 PM | What do you think? [0]

June 23, 2017

ThreeSources Movie Night!

Here's a nice example of that last point that comes from a silent film made all the way back in 1911! (Ironically, it was a tweet by Clive Thompson that brought this clip to my attention.) The short film is called The Automatic Motorist and here's how Michael Waters summarizes the plot in a post over at Atlas Obscura: "In it, a robot chauffeur is developed to drive a newly wedded couple to their honeymoon destination. But this robot malfunctions, and all of a sudden the couple is marooned in outer space (and then sinking underwater, and then flying through the sky--it's complicated)." In sum: don't trust robots or autonomous systems or you will probably die. -- Adam Thierer
Internecine Posted by John Kranz at 5:19 PM | What do you think? [0]

Bug or Feature?

TruckLeftMe.gif

Internecine Posted by John Kranz at 4:53 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

If the Democrats were smart, they'd give [Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi] a gold watch and some eye drops and get rid of her. -- Jonah Goldberg (All Hail!)

UPDATE: Honorable mention, from the same G-File, ending his "Wonder Woman" review:

Last, and crucially, what the Hell was an armadillo doing in Themyscira?


I Thought the Science Was Settled?

Danmned Reciprocity Deniers!

Resonant and wave-guiding systems are present in the vast majority of optical and electronic systems. Their role is to temporarily store energy in the form of electromagnetic waves and then release them. For more than 100 hundred years, these systems were held back by a limitation that was considered to be fundamental: the length of time a wave could be stored was inversely proportional to its bandwidth. This relationship was interpreted to mean that it was impossible to store large amounts of data in resonant or wave-guiding systems over a long period of time because increasing the bandwidth meant decreasing the storage time and quality of storage.

This law was first formulated by K. S. Johnson in 1914, at Western Electric Company (the forerunner of Bell Telephone Laboratories). He introduced the concept of the Q factor, according to which a resonator can either store energy for a long time or have a broad bandwidth, but not both at the same time. Increasing the storage time meant decreasing the bandwidth, and vice versa. A small bandwidth means a limited range of frequencies (or 'colors') and therefore a limited amount of data.


Science Posted by John Kranz at 11:19 AM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

"...can either store energy for a long time or have a broad bandwidth, but not both at the same time."

Long-time readers may recall my objection to a similar "law" postulated by Werner Heisenberg. The "HUP" (Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) makes a similar declaration of impossibility about measuring the position and velocity of subatomic particles. I continue to maintain that science will progress beyond this self-imposed (and, in my opinion, self-important) limitation. The linked discovery tends to reinforce my position.

However, in defense of Mr. Johnson, his Q factor describes a property of passive resonators. Manipulating a material with magnetic fields requires the input of external energy. While the new discovery does have novel applications, disproving an established law is not necessarily one of its achievements.

Posted by: johngalt at June 23, 2017 4:23 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hardware engineers circle the "softie" :-O
Either I'm being obtuse, or the writer is trying to say something a bit more than the research shows (hmmmm, why ???). Rest assured, the article does not say that more energy (or data) can come out than was put in.

What's most likely is that they've not yet discovered the bandwidth limitations of the

hybrid resonant / wave-guiding system made of a magneto-optic material
I've run out remembering the number of times that I've heard
But that limitation is now a thing of the past.
which certainly sells copy and tickets to research conferences.

This very well might be a sparkling new addition to methods of high-speed data rendition and communication, but I don't think it's going to affect the energy world in my lifetime.

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 25, 2017 12:49 AM
But jk thinks:

Redefining the term "tough room."

Most of this remains a bit North of my pay grade, but I see a heretofore limitation in the spectra and transmitting packaging utilized for wireless communication is found not to be a limitation after all.

If I overreached with "science is settled" then mea -- gorram -- culpa, but I found it interesting and Popperian that a hundred year restriction in design has been overturned.

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2017 3:45 PM

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

Wave

One more Father's Day tribute -- as I was blessed with two. My Father-in-law was a big fan of Jobim Antonio Carlos Jobim ©1967

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Permalink


June 21, 2017

How much safer?

I took my blog brother at face value when he reported here that the number of automotive-related deaths would "plummet" from self-driving cars, with "most analyses suggest[ing] that autonomous vehicles will eventually prevent over half of the 35,000 deaths that occur on American roads each year, and some reports are much more optimistic."

For its part, Tesla Motors has said "Brown's death is the first known fatality in over 130 million miles driven with autopilot, while there is a U.S. traffic fatality once every 94 million miles for cars not using autopilot."

So if the number of traffic fatalities was cut in half, or more, by autonomous vehicles, wouldn't autopilot have to log, on average, 188 million miles or more between individual fatalities? (Assuming just one person dies per Tesla crash, of course.) It's true that the one Tesla autopilot fatality is statistically insignificant, but if Brown had had a passenger who also died, autopilot would be demonstrably less safe than non-autopiloted vehicles.

And this simple analysis assumes that all of the vehicles on the road would be autonomous. And that all of the fatalities on the road are caused by vehicles that would be made autonomous, and not by the negligence of pedestrians, motorcyclists, cyclists, medium and heavy truck or light truck and van drivers, to name a few.

No, it seems like the life-saving effects of self-driving cars are only a slight improvement over the old fashioned distracted human driver, with its natural self-awareness and instinct for self-preservation, at least while sober. Although this beneficial conclusion is reached before a statistically significant number of interactions between autonomous vehicles and roadway flag men. How exactly do you make eye contact with a self-driving car anyway? Maybe the safety comparison is closer to unity after all.

But jk thinks:

We have a proximate technical agreement in the idea of AI-assistance in, well everything. I highly recommend Kasperov's Conversations with Tyler. Yes, man-machine partnerships will bring much of the safety benefits of autonomous vehicles.

I hate to take a side-road, but I am truly burning with the question "when will the first deaths occur from vehicles which stop themselves?" That's a popular feature, if commercials during sports are any indication. And it does not take much imagination to see its providing a bad outcome.

The answer to your "why not a driver?" is the productivity gains, not the safety gains. Y'know, cowboy, they wanted to keep elevator operators for the same reason. "What in the world is wrong with just assisting the human operator? The answer, of course, is 'nothing.'" Like the cell phone, the Luddites were beaten and we do not have to pay a union wage to a guy who punches buttons and prevents you from plummeting to your death.

True autonomy changes the landscape -- I want to reclaim commuting hours, move to a shared capital model instead of trillions sitting dormant 95% of the time, empower the disabled and blind, and turn the parking lots into wild animal refuges, where the deer and the antelope can play.

What's wrong with keeping a human behind the wheel? It precludes all those benefits I mentioned.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2017 11:56 AM
But johngalt thinks:

How do you answer the closing question in my post: "How exactly do you make eye contact with a self-driving car anyway?"

Will flaggers ever feel safe again? Or pedestrians in general?

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2017 2:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I do not think that is insuperable. People did not feel safe in automated elevators for awhile, but they changed the technology to provide better indication.

Perhaps some lights on front, like the "Liddy Dole Lights" in the back window, could flashs to let you know you're "seen." I certainly think they'll be pretty effective at stopping at crosswalks and lights before they get too far.

Heck, we might automate the flaggers.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2017 3:54 PM
But jk thinks:

Funny that I do not fear this, but I saw a "Roomba for weeds" video on Facebook and thought "Skynet. That's how it starts..."

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2017 3:56 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I can't wait to hear cockpit recordings of the human arguing with his AI driver. :-) IMO, assistive technology will wait, b/c the market will demand auto-taxis for the busy-busy and showoffs.

Honestly, the simplest way to be safe is to go slower, so there will be classic all2human resistance to the AI's control... but also human laziness can't be understated!

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 23, 2017 1:06 AM
But dagny thinks:

HAL?

Posted by: dagny at June 27, 2017 2:10 PM

June 19, 2017

Energy Sec Expresses Opinion!

¡quel horreur!

The Denver Post in incensed (oh, is that that smell) because "Rick Perry just denied that humans are the main cause of climate change " Some denier:

Perry added that "the fact is this shouldn't be a debate about, 'Is the climate changing, is man having an effect on it?' Yeah, we are. The question should be just how much, and what are the policy changes that we need to make to effect that?"

I know what you're thinking. "Effect with an e?" but never mind that now. The truly disturbing part is that no dissent will be tolerated. Let's measure the Secretary's stunning dissent:
"It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century," the IPCC said in a 2013 report

So, something the UN said was "extremely likely: in 2013, Perry suggests may not be true. Stop the presses.

It's funny but it is not. It is a shot across the bow. The Dr. Manns of the world control the dialog and heterodoxy will not be tolerated

In completely unrelated news -- I don't know why I even bring it up -- this week's Econtalk about Churchill and George Orwell is quite worthwhile.


June 18, 2017

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

Stars Fell on Alabama

Dick and Diane joined me in the LiveAtTheCoffehouse.com "A" Studio for a tribute to our Dad, his birthplace, and one of his favorite keys (four flats): Stars Fell on Alabama.
Frank Perkins & Mitchell Parish ©1934

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

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But johngalt thinks:

Well done, kids. Nice harmonizin'. I'm sure your dad shed a tear of joy. :)

Posted by: johngalt at June 20, 2017 11:42 AM

June 15, 2017

All Hail Freeman

A violent assault can leave far more than mere physical scars. And it appears that Wednesday's attack on Republican lawmakers and their associates has proven to be particularly traumatic for the editorial page staff of the New York Times . -- BOTW
Posted by John Kranz at 2:56 PM | What do you think? [0]

June 14, 2017

Glad My Lefty Buddies Are Not my Gun Buddies

Sorry, but I know a dozen guys fitting this demographic and philosophical/economic profile. Thankfully, they tend to be anti-gun.

hodgkindon.jpg

Photo credit Photo: Derik Holtmann/Associated Press (Click for WSJ version).

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 5:54 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

In a family PM yesterday I wrote, "He was a middle-aged white guy who couldn't get ahead in private business. He gravitated to Bernie's "equality" message. But others like him became the "Trump Train."

I further explained, "It's a matter of worldview - am I envious of the success of others, or not? Do I believe in fixed wealth inequitably distributed, or limitless wealth created 'by each according to his ability' restricted only by government and one's own ambition?"

But what provokes a sign-waver to become a mass murderer? When does it become "okay" to kill people because they disagree with you? Or even because they seek to change policies that you think save people's lives, and therefore lead you to conclude that "they're killing people?"

I can remember a case in Colorado Springs, and another in Kansas, where a right-winger murdered doctors and/or patients at abortion clinics, motivated by the belief that it was protecting the lives of the unborn from being murdered.

In both examples, the moral justification is the same - "The end justifies the means."

Ayan Hirsi Ali describes it as an appeal to the "pure principle"... in the case of Islamists, the pure principle of the prophet; in the case of pro-life extremists, the pure principle of assisted self-defense; in the case of committed socialists, the pure principle of equality.

But all of these pure principles have something in common - they expressly refuse to acknowledge an absolute individual right to life, liberty and the pursuit of property.

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2017 11:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Circa 2014: "Non-egalitarian-socialist teaching is forbidden."

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2017 11:34 AM

June 13, 2017

Firefly Cancelled Again.

This time, some ThreeSourcers will be pleased that Firefly is cancelled.

Firefly is the autonomous Google car with no controls so mistrusted by ThreeSourcers not named jk.

Google parent Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) retired its self-driving prototype dubbed the "Firefly," a tiny test car with no steering wheel or pedals, to focus on building its self-driving technology into mass-produced vehicles.


I don't care, I'm still free. You can't take self-driving cars from me.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at 5:27 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I see what you did there. Twice. No, three times.

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2017 11:22 PM

Quote of the Day

Just once it would be nice if [Jared] Bernstein and the other class warriors he runs with would explain how individual achievement that leads to wealth harms those who aren't rich. What he would find were he to replace emotion with rationality is that in capitalist societies, people generally get rich by virtue of producing abundance for everyone. In short, we need more inequality, not less, if the goal is to improve the living standards of those who presently earn less. -- John Tamny
But johngalt thinks:

Go try telling that to James Hodgkinson.

https://www.facebook.com/jthodgkinson/posts/10211681535417842

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2017 11:14 AM
But jk thinks:

Well, with 93 million a day, your odds are not good.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2017 1:41 PM

A Sensible View of President Trump

Professor Victor Davis Hanson knocks it out of the park in "The Endless Ironies of Donald J. Trump."

I've felt rather adrift since the inauguration, seeing little commonality with either my apoplectic lefty friends nor #45's thoroughly dedicated supporters. National Review, if I am not mistaken, started the "never Trump" movement, and they have not been bashful about opposition.

And yet. While I hate to put words in someone else's mouth, VDH's piece, better described by the FB subhead "President Trump's Wrecking Ball to American Politics Was Long Overdue" seems to artfully lay out the defenses I've heard on ThreeSources.

Dr. Sawbones Trump smelled a festering wound, ripped off the scab, and proclaimed that the exposure would aerate and cure the gangrenous mass below.

I also see quite a bit of myself in the piece: being forced to accept the uncouth, skeptical of underlying motivations and dedication to principle.
Never have so many bright people proved so dense. Never have polls and politics proved so unreliable or partisan. Never have unintended consequences so replaced predictable results. Yes, we are in chaos, but we sense also that the pandemonium is purgative of the worse that prompted it -- and it is unpleasant mostly because it has so long been overdue.

And so forth. In a mid-length piece, he captures the current positions of the teams. And I feel that I am not in bizarre world after all. I highly recommend a complete read.

But johngalt thinks:

Looking forward to a complete read. But the sub-title has me kneeling and bowing in praise:

Pandemonium can be a revivifying purgative.

Way over my literary pay grade. But I'll shamelessly partner it with my [8th comment] "The administrative, or "deep" state is so entrenched that some china must be broken before things can be put on a proper rights-respecting course, for Americans and for the rest of the world. I truly believe this."

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2017 11:20 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Finally read the whole article, including the part where VDH employs my "bull-in-the-china-shop" analogy. Here's an interesting thought that he spurred in my mind when I read:

"It may not be that Trump earns hatred for unnecessary provocation and vitriol, but instead that he or any other Republican would have earned such venom anyway;"

Whether brilliantly intentional or beneficially accidental, the opposition to Trump's style and persona overshadows the opposition to his agenda. A suave and erudite Republican president, by contrast, would suffer the same slings and arrows with nothing to blame them on except his "heartless and racist" policy efforts.

So in a very real way, being obstreperous and uncouth makes Trump a more effective president, not less. It just feels a little smarmy, that's all.

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2017 7:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Agreed.

Now, if we could do something about trade, immigration, and -- increasingly -- thwarting AG Sessions's efforts to reinvigorate the war on weed.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2017 7:24 PM

June 9, 2017

My Kind of "Disastrous Day"

CNN, MSNBC and their ilk salivated over fired FBI Director Comey's Senate testimony. When the day finally came, despite a string of curious yet inconsequential revelations, they called it a "disastrous day for this president." The financial markets said differently.

The hearings were yesterday, June 8. Markets up. Today, June 9, markets up more aggressively.

All three indices currently trading above all-time record high closes. Not bad, considering we're under "ignorant" leadership.

But jk thinks:

"The Pence Rally?"

(.. forgive me brother, I know not what I'm typing...)

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2017 11:39 AM
But jk thinks:

In support of your theory, Ann Althouse points out that the NYTimes and WaPo led with UK elections.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2017 11:40 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And my (biological) brother points out that Good Morning America led with:

UK election
"some girl falling in a hole while walking and reading her phone"
Miss Chelsea Manning

"When they finally got to Cromey (sic) they acknowledged Trump was never under investigation but concluded he must be now."

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2017 4:49 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Personally, I now consider Comey a Swamp-Weasel beyond compare. Only takes notes with GOP-POTUS types (conversations with W were published in Angler), gleans important insights to 'intent' but can' figger the 'intent' of deleting 30,000 eMails while under investigation. Nice quote here:

My view of Trump hasn’t changed, but my view of Comey has. Clearly, he is far from the straight shooter he holds himself out as. His primary interest isn’t the truth; it’s having his way. Kind of like Trump, but without the electoral mandate.
sayeth PL's Never-Trumper, Paul Mirengoff.

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 12, 2017 12:38 AM

June 8, 2017

Quote of the Day

In the absence of evidence of wrongdoing, Mr. Comey treated the gathered lawmakers to a lengthy description of the atmospherics of his conversations with Mr. Trump. The Senate panel heard about Mr. Trump's "body language" and about awkward silences. There were trust issues. Lawmakers also learned of Mr. Comey's deep desire not to be alone with the President. There appears to be some useful material here for a movie on the Lifetime cable channel but it's not clear this investigation has anywhere to go. -- James Freeman BOTW

Otequay of the Day

Cheap energy fuels the economy and Americans don't want that to change. By withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, Trump sided with the majority of Americans, according to the very same polls his opponents use to condemn him.

Anneke E. Green
RCP Contributor
June 08, 2017

In: Trump's Paris Decision: Let's Make a Deal (or Not)


Trump is Undiplomatic, Ignorant, [and Viscerally Hates Immigrants] But "There's a Lot He Gets Right"

Briton, historian, and columnist for UK Daily Telegraph Timothy Stanley writes, as reprinted by CNN, on Europe and terrorism: There's a lot Trump gets right.

The free world was led for eight years by the sublimely intelligent Barack Obama, who left office with things in pretty much the same disorder. The promise that Trump holds out is to be honest about the situation and take the steps necessary to change it. Where he oversteps the line, the law will hopefully restrain him -- as the travel ban illustrates.

But he is right about the need for a Western-Israeli-Saudi alliance against terrorism. He is right about the basic need to restore control to migration. He is right to project an image of the West that is tough and unashamedly Western. The West should cease apologizing for what it is.

The British Conservative government stands by the President in part because it needs him: Britain voted to leave the EU, and now Trump is Britain's closest diplomatic partner.

The situation recalls Voltaire, asked on his death bed if he'd renounce the devil; he replied: It's a bit late in life to start making enemies.

So, the state visit will go ahead, and there will be protests. But if Trump could only get off Twitter for five minutes and focus on the essentials of the Western alliance, he'd discover that Europe is edging closer to his way of thinking on the most important issue of our time. There is, increasingly, more agreement between us than disagreement.

UPDATE: I have revised my title because, as my blog brother points out, POTUS Trump does have one more important failing.

But johngalt thinks:

I continue to be at a loss over the reaction to Trump's TEMPORARY "travel ban." It's for ninety. freaking. days. During which, recommendations are to be made for new procedures to use when travel. resumes.

End of Civilization! Fascist police state!

Not.

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2017 11:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I dunno, maybe I'm just so used to presidents who get, at best, half of what they do right or, at worst, almost nothing. A guy getting everything right except one, despite being a troglodyte, kinda makes me want to say, "Hell yeah!" I scarcely thought I'd live to see the day. And I'm an optimist.

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2017 11:18 AM
But jk thinks:

You're right and I hope you hear my begrudging acceptance. If you built a time capsule and visited 2016 me with the news that Sen. Rand Paul had been elected and had accomplished the list I just enumerated, then I'd've been a happy boy. "Just kidding," sez you, "that was President Trump!" I'd need a Valium.

But nossir, I am not restricting the entire dangerous side of Trumpism to "a temporary travel ban." He's pulled us out of TPP and directed his folks to look at Nafta, Two GOP legislators have drafted a very restrictive restriction on Visas. Fed funding for "Sanctuary Cities" is threatened and ICE enforcement is way up.

The net effect will be far fewer visas, refugees, trade deals, and a large reduction in immigrant labor. Carrier and Ford have been carrotted-and-sticked to rework production plans. These results are not only not commensurate with liberty, but they are deleterious to prosperity.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2017 11:53 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I do hear your begrudging acceptance. And it deserves explicit approbation, which I have not yet given. But how to give it? The main theme of this post and the linked article is, "Hey, that completely useless buffoon has done so many things right that maybe, just maybe, it is through knowledge and foresight and not mere accident." I guess I can only say, I congratulate you for setting aside enough personal vitriol that you are able to recognize said fact. (Which is no small feat given that so many hyperventilating partisans of the left are still not convinced that Hillary Clinton is not the rightful POTUS.)

To your points:

TPP and NAFTA are not unmitigated goods for American prosperity. For the most part since the end of The War (WWII) America has negotiated treaties with the other nations of the world from a position of benevolence. Sort of a built-in Marshall Plan Clause that all such treaties came to always be expected to contain. Hey, you know what? Europe has been rebuilt. Canada and Mexico are fully functioning economic powers in their own right. They may not be as big and as prosperous as America, but they can become more like America if they follow the right policies. Obtaining favorable trade treatment from The Great Satan is no prerequisite. If it were, how did America become the biggest and most prosperous without its own favorable treatment from some other benefactor?

Sanctuary cities are immoral outlaw regimes and should be opposed at every turn. Withholding federal jack is the very least that should be done. ICE enforcement is also long overdue. Most if not all of the consequent hardships are only so sad because of the incredible laxity of enforcement for decades prior. The law exists and should be enforced until it is changed. There is a process for changing laws. I think it's even written down somewhere, for handy reference.

I'm pro-individual, which means I'm also pro-immigration. I'm also pro-safety and anti-redistribution, which means all the laws have to apply to all the people equally. Being outside of "the system" is one more way of rigging it.

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2017 1:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I have been insulted before, but I never thought I'd be compared to a CNN reporter. The nerve.

I do not say "that useless buffoon has done some good things," rather "that man of questionable grounding in the principles of liberty has produced outcomes favorable to liberty." And I think I have heard similar tones from you.

It's a vexing conundrum.

I typed the letters T P P and thought that we'd end up discussing individual issues which may not be productive. Yes, TPP has many flaws and is hated by many libertarians and free-market types. However, I do not think those reasons overlap with the President's objections.

One side line worthy -- some sunny day -- of further discussion is Sanctuary Cities. That smells of local control and federalism to this nose. You might not like the outcome, like states vowing to continue Paris Accord goals, but the decentralization is refreshing, nicht wahr?Sheriffs refusing unconstitutional gun laws?

Side chatter. But do know I do not consider the President "a buffoon" though his style is not one I'd program into a Sim Candidate. He has exceeded expectations in some important areas. But his ungroundedness rightfully inspires some skepticism, and just because his opponents are deracinated lunatics, I reserve the right keep my distance and judge each policy and action on its own merit.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2017 11:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for answering my comment - I was concerned I had laid it on so thick as to harm a friendship (even though I know you can take anything I dish out.)

The "useless buffoon" construct was aimed specifically at the author of the linked post. Others swept up with the broad brush were linked only by their disapproval of POTUS Trump.

I never suggested that the man is a consistent, philosophical American hero, merely that he is the right man for the job America needs done at this moment - to call into question every aspect of our nations governing methodology, from top to bottom. The administrative, or "deep" state is so entrenched that some china must be broken before things can be put on a proper rights-respecting course, for Americans and for the rest of the world. I truly believe this.

And for all his failings I think even the most skeptical observer has to admit, he's purdy good at breaking china.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2017 12:32 PM

June 5, 2017

All Hail Harsanyi

This, I suspect, is one major reason climate change isn't really a salient politic issue. No amount of hysteria is going to reverse this dynamic. Because, in the end, Malthusianism is no better than denialism -- it is denialism, in fact. It is a belief that ignores history, human nature, and most importantly tradeoffs. Lots of people seem to understand this, either in stark political terms or intuitively. Sure, they say the things expected of them, but their actions betray a trust in human adaptability and technology more than in guesstimates. Many of them have lived through the eco-scaremongering of the 70s and 80s, and yet, they now see innovation spreading in a cleaner world where poverty has dramatically fallen and, by almost every quantifiable measure, human existence is improving. -- David Harsanyi: Democrats Have Lost On Climate Change, And It's Their Own Fault
But johngalt thinks:

And it's analogous to respondents who say they are "undecided" in presidential preference polls while knowing full well they intend to vote for Donald J. Trump - the man who "could never be elected president."

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2017 4:27 PM

Ms. Rand, Line One...

States have decided that they can properly direct the pharmaceutical industry. They know "what counts as an 'essential' diabetes medicine" (Nevada, vetoed by Republican Governor), as well as what constitutes "an 'unconscionable' price increase."

The WSJ Ed Page is on it.

Yet instead of noticing such disincentives, state governments are now attacking the generic industry. In May, Maryland's Republican Governor Larry Hogan allowed a bill to become law without his signature that would unleash the state Attorney General to investigate any generic drugmaker responsible for an "unconscionable" price increase. Remember that the left defines as unconscionable paying money for any health-care product or service.

I referenced Ayn Rand in the headline -- well, for clickbait, of course, but also -- because these seem to be lifted from Atlas Shrugged. The arrogance of Wesley Mouch, and the real harm to producers and customers.

But, all kinds of great intentions!

Pharmaceuticals Posted by John Kranz at 10:34 AM | What do you think? [0]

Coffeehousin'

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Who Can I Turn To?

Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley ©1964

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

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June 4, 2017

Review Corner

We can summarize this dichotomy by reversing Leo Tolstoy's formula about happy families in the opening sentence of Anna Karenina: "all poorly justified areas of study are alike; each truly important area of study is important in its own way."
Today there is surely some study released that bacon will kill you or make you live forever. If it's a slow day for pork products, there will be one in the same genre for red wine. Geoffrey C. Kabat takes a deep dive into the statistics, fallacies, and undercurrents of medical scares in his superb Getting Risk Right: Understanding the Science of Elusive Health Risks.

Economists are discovering that most studies are not reproducible. Climate studies are completely enmeshed in politics and ill will. Medical research is not a bad case for investigation. Its flaws are certainly transferrable. For this, Kabat provides a valuable look at science qua science.

In 1964 the biophysicist John R. Platt of the University of Chicago published a paper in the journal Science entitled "Strong Inference"--a paper that should be read by anyone with an interest in what distinguishes successful science. [...] Platt aligns himself with Francis Bacon, who emphasized the power of "proper rejections and exclusions," and Karl Popper, who posited that a useful hypothesis is one that can be falsified.

Citing Karl Popper is always good for an extra star in Review Corner.

Kabat and I agree on many of the general ills surrounding modern research: sensationalized press, catastrophic-based funding, and a refusal to accept the heterodox:

Unfortunately, the science is not always clear-cut, and the consensus on a particular question at any given moment may not be correct . Until the 1980s the consensus was that stress or eating spicy foods caused stomach ulcers. For roughly a decade , virologists believed that herpes simplex virus was the cause of cervical cancer. For more than three decades, the medical community believed that the use of hormone therapy by postmenopausal women protected against heart disease. The history of medical science is littered with long-held dogmas that, when confronted by better evidence, turned out to be wrong. We have to realize that appeals to the consensus are motivated by politics and have little to do with science. All it takes is for one or more scientists to come up with a better hypothesis and do the right experiment or make the right observation to overturn the reigning consensus.

Did I mention the book is not about climate change? At all? Just wanted to be clear.

The best of "Getting Risk Right" are the deep dives into specific issues. There are complete chapters on whether cell phones cause brain cancer, the extent of environmental degradation by hormonal, endocrine disrupters, HPV and cervical cancer.

The cell-phone section is the greatest refutation of "the precautionary principle" I have encountered. Wireless phones have saved millions of lives by allowing people to escape or avoid dangerous situations. They've pulled perhaps a billion out of poverty by bringing modernity to remote and impoverished locations. How close were we to squashing this because of one husband?

We have to remember that the whole question of cell phone use and brain cancer arose not because of some strong piece of clinical or epidemiologic evidence or because of a strong theoretical basis for positing that RF was likely to cause cancer. Rather, it arose as a result of a single, dramatic case, which appealed to a distraught husband's desire for an explanation of what caused his wife's fatal brain cancer.

His case was tragic, as is each brain cancer diagnosis. But I learned the only good thing about brain cancer, and that is its rarity. Deaths are I the low four digits, and have remained constant as cell phone use has exploded. Yet, even now I, it is not over. There are still Luddite activists and their ambitious lawyers who seize on a few small studies and the honest scientist's admission that we cannot rule out some level of risk.
The activists' modus operandi is made clear in their treatment of the question of the health effects of EMFs. Basically, they ignore the most powerful studies and the most comprehensive assessments, and in the isolated studies they point to they avoid making the crucial distinction between association and causation.

It's deep enough to be comprehensive, but would be accessible to anyone. I'd give it five stars and encourage you to read it. Plus, those who did read it had 40% less incidence of cancer!

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:37 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 2, 2017

Quote of the Day

[Environmentalists] fume that the status quo is one of worsening circumstances, but moving so slowly and gradually that most people can ignore it. By the time the crisis is really visible, it will be too late; the only way to mitigate the problem at that point will be drastic, unpopular action and widespread sacrifice. They believe that whatever pain they're proposing now, it's exponentially milder than the pain that awaits us if we do nothing.

Perhaps we should have a little sympathy. When they talk like this, they sound a lot like us conservatives when we talk about the ticking time bomb of our entitlement programs and the need for reform. -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]


But johngalt thinks:

It's certainly moving slowly and gradually enough that we can delay implementation until India and China (and every other industrialized nation) agrees to hamstring its economy to the same extent as the U.S. is being asked (and FormerPOTUS signed us up for.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2017 10:55 AM

June 1, 2017

YUUUUGE

While we await the President's announcement that the United States will not participate in the Paris Accord on Climate Change, we see some of the fevered pleadings of those most invested in the "deal." One such interested party is the Vatican, who "would see U.S. Paris deal exit as a slap in the face."

[Bishop Marcelo] Sanchez Sorondo, [head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences] said he believed the U.S. oil lobby was behind the decision and that the industry had "manoeuvred" Trump.

A withdrawal "would not only be a disaster but completely unscientific," he said. "Saying that we need to rely on coal and oil is like saying that the earth is not round. It is an absurdity dictated by the need to make money."

But the good Bishop, head of the curious "science academy" in the Vatican, should consult his basic Marxist teachings: Money must be made before money can be redistributed.

One can be forgiven for concluding that the Catholic church, under current leadership, has added "making money" as the newest deadly sin.

UPDATE: Trump will announce U.S. withdrawal from Paris climate accord: document

Trump will say the Paris agreement "front loads costs on American people," the document said.

In other words, it takes wealth from American people and distributes it to other people.

U.S. supporters of the pact said any pullout by Trump would represent an abdication of American leadership on a leading issue of our time and would show that the United States cannot be trusted to follow through on international commitments.

To me, it says something entirely different. It represents American leadership in a different direction than what "everybody knows" needs to be done, turning instead to what actually needs to be done: Get government out of the way of productive people. It also says that international commitments made by one American president are subject to constant scrutiny by the American people. We have no king in our country.

But jk thinks:

Nope. Cannot be done.

(You might want a small sedative before watching the linked video.)

Posted by: jk at June 1, 2017 3:29 PM
But jk thinks:

And, much as I love beating up on the current Pontiff, they've never been too keen on anybody but them making money. Matthew 19:24

Posted by: jk at June 1, 2017 3:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Reply to Comment the One - HAHAHAHAHA! "The law is the law and it must be obeyed." Take that, POTUS. Potus the prior is still in charge. If you fail to send ba-billions of American dollars to the Green Climate Fund, EU President Junker will send men with guns to take it. (Where's the watch party? I'll bring the popcorn.)

Reply to Comment the Two - Catholics have always endorsed making money, as well as redistributing money. Now they seem to distinguish between the two.

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2017 3:48 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Leave it to a bureauRat of the E.C. to try to lecture the US on law. Silly poofter... he believes international law has some validity!
Even the radio lady from Fox news snidely pointed out "nearly every nation" had signed Paris accords.

Does someone have a summary of the outlays (from US, of course) to the recipients? I've heard $3T bantered about. But Hinderocker says the text of the accord has only silly levels of bureaucrateze aimed no doubt at favorable media coverage. One supposes the "devil" (aka, wealth transfer) is to occur in the lower-level nitty gritty where the administratum takes control.

POwerLine's Hinderocker cited some interesting paragraphs from the silly accord:

1. At any time after three years from the date on which this Agreement has entered into force for a Party,
but it's not "in force" in the U.S. you effete snob, it's just an agreement. One to which POdTUS does not agree. This is my favorite:
5. Parties acknowledge that adaptation action should follow a country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems, and should be based on and guided by the best available science and, as appropriate, traditional knowledge, knowledge of indigenous peoples and local knowledge systems, with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant socioeconomic and environmental policies and actions, where appropriate.
What a bunch of nonsense.

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 2, 2017 9:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

This article has a citation to the three ta-ta-ta-trillion dollar cost to the US economy through 2040, along with 6.5 million fewer jobs.

As I read this I thought how generous it is of America's "Mayors National Climate Action Agenda" to step in and sign their cities up to carry the load just SHRUGGED by President Trump. If all 88 mayors eventually get on board that's only $34.1 ba-ba-billion per city. And the 6.5 million forsaken jobs is only 15% of those cities combined population, who will be jobless and lining up for their new welfare checks.

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2017 11:12 AM

Quote of the Day

And so President Obama came home from the Paris meetings to the acclaim of all the right people. He alone had made the responsible choice on behalf of the entire country: every business, every worker, every consumer, every single person living within these borders who uses some measure of this thing we call energy. He would be our master and commander, ruling on our behalf, fresh off cocktail parties in Paris where the best and brightest -- armed with briefcases full of government-funded science -- decided to give the Industrial Revolution its final comeuppance. -- Jeffrey Tucker @ FEE

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