November 22, 2016
War on Science
John Tierney -- as in New York Times's John Tierney -- has an incredible column in City Journal: "The Real War on Science." Spoiler Alert: it ain't the eeevil Republicans.
My liberal friends sometimes ask me why I don't devote more of my science journalism to the sins of the Right. It's fine to expose pseudoscience on the left, they say, but why aren't you an equal-opportunity debunker? Why not write about conservatives' threat to science?
Conversely, the left's retrograde antics destroy careers, terminate funding, and -- oh yeah -- kill people.
Mooney's brief acknowledgment that leftists "here and there" have been guilty of "science abuse." First, there's the Left's opposition to genetically modified foods, which stifled research into what could have been a second Green Revolution to feed Africa. Second, there's the campaign by animal-rights activists against medical researchers, whose work has already been hampered and would be devastated if the activists succeeded in banning animal experimentation. Third, there's the resistance in academia to studying the genetic underpinnings of human behavior, which has cut off many social scientists from the recent revolutions in genetics and neuroscience. Each of these abuses is far more significant than anything done by conservatives, and there are plenty of others. The only successful war on science is the one waged by the Left.
This is a City Journal piece, so clear a bit of time and get some coffee, but do please read the whole thing.
If you want a taste, read my Hat-Tip: Ronald Bailey: Liberals Don't Really F***ing Love Science
June 6, 2016
Smug Neil deGrasse Tyson takes on übersmug anti-vaxxer Bill Maher:
April 22, 2016
Climate Change: What do Scientists Say?
Did somebody say Earth Day? Here is the latest scientific interpretation of the "Climate Disruption" caused by humans being healthy and prosperous. Hint: It's not all a matter of science.
Lindzen was a lead author of one of the chapters of the original IPCC report.
April 8, 2016
I might summon the courage to post his on Facebook:
Hat-tip: We Love GMO and Vaccines
April 7, 2016
After recently learning [first comment] that former long-time Democrat Boulder County Commissioner Paul Danish has changed his registration to the eevil Republican Party and is running for his old seat, I also discovered that he's been writing columns for the Boulder Weekly newspaper. Here is an excerpt from a great one of those, and it involves the principal reason he decided to challenge an incumbent commissioner at the polls.
Government should pay a decent respect to people's fears and concerns. But it should also pay a decent respect to scientific fact, the imperatives of successful agriculture, and the truth.
I'm old enough to remember a time when people who thought this way were not principally called "Republicans," they were called "human beings."
April 6, 2016
Bad news for Ted Cruz from the world of science: Many women find him "creepy."
In a new paper published in New Ideas in Psychology, two researchers from Knox College try to outline a more explicit definition with the results of the first-ever empirical study of creepiness. They concluded that a person's "creepiness detector" pings when she encounters something unpredictable or outside the norm, like a person with idiosyncratic behavioral patterns, unusual physical characteristics, or a tendency to over- or under-emote. When someone looks or behaves in a way that appears unstable or violates social norms, we feel uneasy - we think there's a chance they may pose a danger to us, but we can't know for sure.
Fortunately for Ted, he's not the only Republican candidate who's a creep.
These creepiest mannerisms happen to align perfectly with a random sampling of Republicans who've run for president this year. Imagine the creepiness of a chronically dry-mouthed Marco Rubio, the unnerving flat-lipped tic of booger-eater Ted Cruz, and the compulsive sexual remarks of one Donald Trump.
So maybe it's just a matter of Slate columnists thinking all Republicans are creeps. Or maybe, even limited to female Slate columnists.
March 23, 2016
Scientist Chooses Science!
STOP THE PRESSES! Steve Savage, "an agricultural scientist (plant pathology) who has worked for Colorado State University, DuPont (fungicide development), Mycogen (biocontrol development), and for the past 13 years as an independent consultant" chooses not to buy organic foods. It is notable because of his background.
By all rights I should be an enthusiastic advocate and consumer of organic. I was a child of the generation influenced by "Silent Spring." I was a dues-paying member of the Wilderness Society in high school. I grew up helping my beloved grandfather in his organic garden in the 1960s. Some of our best friends in the late 1970s were pioneers in the development of the commercial organic industry. I've spent a significant proportion of my career developing biological and natural product-based pesticides which are applicable to organic.
But it is also notable because he lays out very clear reasons for his choices, each couched in language that would appeal to a lot of Whole Foods Shoppers. I still think Penn & Teller have the last word, but Savage's language is Safe For Work (SFW)
March 7, 2016
Why do Enviros Hate the Disabled?
"Grampa, where were you when they fought the peeled orange wars in 2016?"
I was particularly bemused by the unfolding of this story. One of my überleftist Facebook friends had asked why they don't sell pre-sliced cucumbers. It was a self-effacing slap at her own laziness, but my father used to say "many a truth is spoken in jest." She has three sons and a full-time job. I'd be the last to deny her modern convenience.
The same day, I saw Whole Foods's being bashed for selling oranges:
I rushed to share it with my sliced-cucumber friend but, alas, was too late. It was not only shared by had attracted several comments.
I thought about posting it here to break the monotonous din of Donald Trump news. The rubric was to be "artificial scarcity." People are so certain that we will run out of plastic and landfill space to dispose of it; it is a pernicious lie. I have read that the creator of the Keurig K-cup wishes he had not -- because of all the trash produced. That each little bit of polywhateveritis trash represents a delicious cup of coffee enjoyed is lost.
But the better segue arrived this morning and hits very close to home. Convenience means quite a bit to the disabled.
Preparing food with limited mobility is both hugely time consuming and potentially dangerous. While adapted cooking tools do exist to help offset those issues they are really expensive (I wrote about that here).
We buy a lot of prepared food. Walmart sells apple slices which I assume to be not only prepared and packaged but have to be GMO to not brown.
So. This is a superb defense -- but why is one required? If you think it a waste, don't buy it! So tiresome to have the Orange Social Justice Warriors (OSJWs) tell Whole Foods what they may sell -- and Whole Foods buckle to their anti-disabled hate speech.
March 4, 2016
A Progressive Sees Sanders's Lacunae
"Bernie Sanders Isn't Pro-Science (and Neither Are Most Progressives)"Lawdy! Self-described Progressive Jenny Splitter <3s her some of Sen. Sanders's (I- Ben&Jerry's) positions on Climate Change, but she sees the truth:
But Sanders isn't as pro-science as that tweet suggests. While his position on the existence of climate change is certainly in line with most climate scientists, his agricultural and climate change policies, as well as his views on alternative medicine, aren't really informed by science as much as they are by Sanders' Vermont hippie vision for America. When it comes down to it, Sanders is as erratic in his belief in science as everyone else and, yes, that includes progressives. Progressives love to cast themselves as the smarter, more forward-thinking, science-minded wing of the electorate, but they’re as inconsistent in their regard for science as the so-called "anti-science" right.
January 21, 2016
Quote of the Day
Just cannot quit SciBabe:
"In the meantime, you are looking for a farmer who raises beef in a way you can support and you have so far visited 14 ranches in the tri-state area. You have burned 476 gallons of gas driving your 17-mpg SUV around to interview farmers but, sadly, have yet to find a ranch where the cattle feed exclusively on organic homegrown kale."
December 23, 2015
But what about the GOOD effects?
Today's Chipotlefreude post remind of some research I did last week into a family member claim that "microwaving food ruins its nutritional value" or some such. I think the belief was inspired by someone along the lines of Mike Adams, whose piece in a 2007 posting on Organic Consumers Dot Org soft pedaled the issue thusly:
But microwaving that broccoli destroys the anti-cancer nutrients, rendering the food "dead" and nutritionally depleted. There's even some evidence to suggest that microwaving destroys the natural harmony in water molecules, creating an energetic pattern of chaos in the water found in all foods. In fact, the common term of "nuking" your food is coincidentally appropriate: Using a microwave is a bit like dropping a nuclear bomb on your food, then eating the fallout. (You don't actually get radiation from eating microwaved foods, however. But you don't get much nutrition, either.)
You get the picture. But the "other side" coming from the authoritative Harvard Medical School is that microwave cooking is among the best possible methods to preserve nutritional content.
The cooking method that best retains nutrients is one that cooks quickly, heats food for the shortest amount of time, and uses as little liquid as possible. Microwaving meets those criteria. Using the microwave with a small amount of water essentially steams food from the inside out. That keeps more vitamins and minerals than almost any other cooking method.
The loss of nutrients is really a result, says Harvard, of cooking the food at all.
Some nutrients break down when they're exposed to heat, whether it is from a microwave or a regular oven. Vitamin C is perhaps the clearest example. But because microwave cooking times are shorter, cooking with a microwave does a better job of preserving vitamin C and other nutrients that break down when heated.
And cooking has a secondary benefit, or perhaps primary if you're trying to run a successful Chipotle franchise, of killing food-borne pathogens.
Now back to Mister Adams. What is his advice for the best way to prepare food?
When you need to heat something, heat it in a toaster oven or a stovetop pan (avoid Teflon and non-stick surfaces, of course). Better yet, strive to eat more of a raw, unprocessed diet. That where you'll get the best nutrition anyway.
Ummm. Yeah. Maybe a little irradiation first please?
Click continue reading for an interesting aside on Adam's preoccupation with, and complete misunderstanding of "irradiation."
Microwaving is, technically, a form of food irradiation. I find it interesting that people who say that would never eat "irradiated" food have no hesitation about microwaving their food. It's the same thing (just a different wavelength of radiation). In fact, microwaves were originally called "radar ranges." Sounds strange today, doesn't it? But when microwaves were first introduced in the 1970's, they were proudly advertised as radar ranges. You blast your food with high-intensity radar and it gets hot. This was seen as some sort of space-age miracle in the 1970's. Perhaps someday an inventor will create a food heating device that does not radically alter the nutritional value of the foods in the process, but I'm not holding my breath on this one. Probably the best way to heat foods right now is to simply use a countertop toaster oven, and keep the heat as low as possible.
The "irradiation" of food is a process where it is subjected to "ionizing" radiation from sources such as x-rays or gamma rays. Electromagnetic radiation or "radar" waves from, say, a microwave oven, are "non-ionizing" radiation. It is completely different, unless you are a junk science fear monger. And if you still want to disagree, stop recommending the use of a "countertop toaster oven" which heats things by showering them with infrared radiation! "It's the same thing [as microwaving] (just a different wavelength of radiation)."
Perhaps someday our schools will produce an adult citizenry whose average member has a better understanding of science, or at least some understanding of what he doesn't know - but I'm not holding my breath on this one.
Chipotlefreude, Vol. XIX
Founder Steve Ells vowed on a global groveling tour that Chipotle will ramp up safety measures at the company's nearly 2,000 locations. The company will likely rely less on local suppliers, many of whom can't comply with sophisticated testing. The company will also chop, prepare and hermetically seal ingredients such as cilantro and lettuce in a central kitchen before shipping it to local restaurants.
Modernity. What a concept. As I said, I wish the Denver-based chain luck in pulling itself out of its market cap swoon. But it remains an important lesson and I am all about lessons.
The junk-science-back-to-the-cave loonies I work with in Boulder assume that all the benefits of modern processing and packaging just fall from the sky. They freak about BPA to the point where when we give away company-logo themed water bottles, they must be certified BPA free.
The science is unclear whether BPA poses a 0.0000000000001% cancer risk or a 0000000000.0% cancer risk. We're awaiting further studies. But botulism deaths have plummeted to one, and millions of tons of food that would have been discarded in pre-BPA cans has been saved. (I was taught to throw away a dented can, now one collects a discount.)
I'm glad that we're so affluent and that our young people are so separated from many forms of grisly death. And every casualty of Chipotle's institutionalized smugness is a tragedy. But do not let the reminder pass: modernity rules!
December 15, 2015
The Cost of Junk Science
Schadenfreude Alert! A great Denver based corporation is "imploding" and I suppose I should be upset. But I contend that the market is doing its job. Henry Miller of Forbes documents "Chipotle: The Long Defeat Of Doing Nothing Well"
The company found it could pass off a fast-food menu stacked with high-calorie, sodium-rich options as higher quality and more nutritious because the meals were made with locally grown, genetic engineering-free ingredients. And to set the tone for the kind of New Age-y image the company wanted, Chipotle adopted slogans like, "We source from farms rather than factories" and, "With every burrito we roll or bowl we fill, we're working to cultivate a better world."
To some a better world means more people getting enough to eat and eat safely. Miller points out "Outbreaks of food poisoning have become something of a Chipotle trademark." But as you're retching, you can rest assured that your infestation is natural, organic, non-GMO e coli.
December 10, 2015
America's Middle Class "Plummets!"
Seriously! That's how Newser's Jenn Gidman presented it. From about 80 million households in 1971 to... about 120 million households today. Must be the "new math."
Pew Research center, where the report originated, wasn't much more objective. By focusing on the share of households that are neither "upper" or "lower" income, they carefully hide the fact that upper income households in America have roughly TRIPLED.
Where I come from, that's called progress.
November 6, 2015
Not to be confused with climate science.
On October 13, the Republican chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee subpoenaed NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan.:
"It was inconvenient for this administration that climate data has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades," Smith said in a statement. "The American people have every right to be suspicious when NOAA alters data to get the politically correct results they want and then refuses to reveal how those decisions were made. NOAA needs to come clean about why they altered the data to get the results they needed to advance this administration's extreme climate change agenda." [emphasis mine]
At issue are "documents stemming from deliberative scientific discussions that took place before the study's end product was final," that were deliberately withheld according to NOAA spokesman Ciaran Clayton.
"We have provided data (all of which is publicly available online), supporting scientific research, and multiple in person briefings. We stand behind our scientists who conduct their work in an objective manner. …We have provided all of the information the committee needs to understand this issue."
Do legal defendants get to decide when the prosecutor has enough information to "understand this issue?"
Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil is under a broad subpoena of records over the past ten years by the New York Attorney General for investigation of lying to the public about the risks of climate change.
No, this is not a joke. I have not made any of this up for comedic effect.
Related - Hillary "Clinton said last week that the Department of Justice should investigate ExxonMobil for allegedly withholding data related to climate change, saying that there is "a lot of evidence they misled people."
Completely UN-related (OBviously) - "USA TODAY has confirmed that sponsors from 2014 that have backed out for this year include electronics company Samsung, oil giant ExxonMobil, ..."
October 14, 2015
Give George Soros your email address!
October 2, 2015
92% is the new 97%
Fantastic article from the ever-reliable Watts Up With That website (THE go-to place for Climate realism).
An analysis of the U.S. Historical Climatological Network (USHCN) shows that only about 8%-1% (depending on the stage of processing) of the data survives in the climate record as unaltered/estimated data.is the subtitle.
Author John Goetz carefully navigates a complex web of acronyms USHCN, GHCN, GISS, TOB, NOAA/NCDC (now NCEI) .... and thoroughly examines the ways that data has been adjusted, backfilled, estimated, extrapolated and how
that the U.S. Climate Reference Network, designed from the start to be free of the need for ANY adjustment of data, does not show any trendand
NOAA/NCDC (now NCEI) never let this USCRN data see the light of day in a public press release or a State of the Climate report for media consumption, it is relegated to a backroom of their website mission and never mentioned.
I've got a long list of sites (each study is nearly as complex as this one) in a separate folder called "hide the data." Australia, Maine, New Zealand, Paraguy.... to polar bears and ice caps.
This image is the best summary I've found: all the warming is from "models" and now we see that all the past warming is from fudging...
August 21, 2015
Cato Book Roundtable -- the End of Doom
Great 80 minutes on Ronald Bailey's The End of Doom [Review Corner]. If you can't handle 1:20:00 (that includes the author and author Indur M. Goklany and a Q&A) scroll to the end and listen to the last question and Bailey's answer.
August 11, 2015
Boycott Christmas Seals
And any other fundraising activities of the American Lung Association.
Founded in 1904 to fight tuberculosis, it was renamed the Lung Association in 1973 with the tagline "It's a matter of life and breath." Today it is "Fighting for air." And it is an epic battle against something Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer (and the EPA) call "carbon pollution."
"Breathing healthy air is essential to life. The evidence is clear that climate change now harms lung health and public safety. Warmer temperatures degrade air quality by making ozone pollution worse than it should be, and create more particle pollution from increased wildfires and drought. Add to that more frequent and intense extreme weather events, such as heat waves and floods, and the spread of some dangerous diseases, and you see why we need the Clean Power Plan."
Yes, that's right. The "Clean Power Plan" that promises to reduce the global temperature by 15/100ths of a degree in 85 years is somehow, magically, going to "bring immediate health benefits to the American people."
"Carbon pollution" must be quite deadly. I suggest we return to simply calling it carbon dioxide and carbonating our beverages with it. Instead, the Lung Association issues press releases and buys radio adverts to promote the political agenda of the global warmist redistributors. This 2012 Annual Report Addendum [PDF] shows that of the $58 million spent by the Lung Association that year, nearly $10 million went to "advocacy" and less than $7 million to research. (That $7 million is a mere 12% of total expenditures, by the way.)
So no, I'm not inclined to subsidize any more of the Lung Association's sanctimonious hot air. Neither should anyone else.
I can't find the radio spot that precipitated this tirade but I'll share it too, if I do find it. It specifically praised Governor Hickenlooper's Clean Power Plan.
July 27, 2015
I am really diggin' some of the anti-junk science Facebook sites. Perfect complement to Ronald Bailey's The End of Doom (Don't wait for Review Corner, buy it today).
I enjoyed this troll skirmish. Obviously, the pro-GMO folks are paid shills because: grammar.
July 10, 2015
At Least it's not the Koch Brothers
Where have you gone Penn & Teller? I know you have a new Broadway Show and I enjoy your "Fool Us" program on Channel 2 (CW Network).
But this nation has needs. And it needs an authoritative, stentorian voice to stand tall and proclaim: The Beepocalypse is Bullshit!"
Though regurgitated with perfect seasonal periodicity, the demise of the little yellow blighters that scare and annoy me is overblown. The studies are actually singular -- one study, done by one scientist, reviewed by zero entomologists forms the foundation of the alarmist claims. The one scientist, Chensheng Lu, relishes his role as green crusader against pesticides and GMOs.
The second coming of Silent Spring? Almost from the day his first study was published, Lu was making grandiose claims. By his own admission, he is the definition of an activist scientist. He is on the board of The Organic Center, an arm of the multi-million dollar Organic Trade Association, a lobby group with strong financial interest in disparaging conventional agriculture, synthetic pesticides and neonics in particular--a conflict of interest that Lu never acknowledges and to my knowledge no other journalist has reported.
A scientist associated with Monsanto would be called corrupt.
July 7, 2015
Sad to say that even my tepid appreciation for Jessica Alba's Honest Company may have been too generous. I suggested that " I fear there may be a bit of 'woo' involved" but surmised that "as far as I know, receives no special subsidies. Nor is anyone mandated to purchase vegan, hypoallergenic Face and Body Lotion."
All true. But the NYPost's Julie Gunlock (and you bet there's a nice photo of the CEO at that link!) is less than comfortable with the "woo."
Yet the company's main commodity is fear -- and a false promise that its products are better and much safer for you and your child than those sold by other companies. It's a marketing strategy that clearly works.
Ah, yes, "chemicals." Glad her products are not so polluted.
My original point holds. She's spreading fear -- but isn't Whole Foods? Ben & Jerry's? It's a free country.
June 17, 2015
Yer Denyin' is worser than my denyin'!
John Stossel says something with which I agree fulsomely: "The Left's Bad Ideas About Science Are More Harmful Than the Right's"
I am reminded of Francisco d'Aconia in Hank Rearden's house in the storm.
Leftists often claim to be defenders of progress, but they sound more like religious conservatives when they oppose "tampering with nature."
For all my Facebook whining, one thing I have been enjoying is what Penn Jillette might call "an assload" of anti Junk Science sites. "Sluts for Monsanto," "SciBabe (formerly the Science Babe in opposition to 'The Food Babe,')" and "We Love GMOs and Vaccines." attack woo with a vengeance.
None of these sites are too fond of climate change skepticism. This is fine with me because I am a "lukewarmer," but I am still a bit insulted on occasion. If you're not Bill Nye, you're Jenny McCarthy. I'm fine with a bit of heterodoxy; I wear it well. But I am with Stossel all the way -- the failings of right-wing kookery seem localized and surmountable, left wing cookery more global and permanent.
June 3, 2015
How many will die eating bad yogurt?
Stop me if my "government killed millions with the food pyramid" stories have become tiresome. But I find it an important example of how bad science unravels, and I think it instructive to see the true harm inflicted by shoddy science, especially in concert with government.
The Wall St. Journal (not the kooks on the Ed Page, the real news pages!) carries a story on the reemergence of full fat dairy products, specifically yogurt.
Consumers' increasing appetite for fat pushed Stonyfield to develop Oh My Yog!, which launched in January. The product's whole milk, which isn't homogenized, forms a thick layer of cream on top of the yogurt. A layer of "honey-infused" yogurt follows, and fruit sits on the bottom.
I'm an unabashed admirer of Gary Taubes, who wrote what [Review Corner] called not a diet book but an epistemology book. The medical study supporting low fat and high carbohydrate diets is incredibly shoddy. Notable in the article is a quote from a Mayo Clinic dietician:
I understand that Taubes himself presented to the Mayo Clinic. They were holdouts but he said, "look you guys (so, I'm paraphrasing, I got the story secondhand) are scientists and the science behind the conventional approach is weak." Now the heterodoxy appears in the Wall Street Journal with a quote from one of their dieticians.
Someday, maybe. "climate change won't be so bad," with a quote from a guy at Penn State. Someday...
May 4, 2015
Quote of the Day
Heartening too has been the press reaction to Chipotle. Mother Jones pointed out that "GMOs are totally safe," while Gizmodo.com pronounced the company's position "some anti-Science pandering bull-expletive." An L.A. Times op-ed by two scientists stated, "More than two decades of research indicate that GMOs are not only safe for humans and the environment, but also contribute to global sustainability and poverty alleviation."
March 19, 2015
She said the Bureau of Land Management study, known as the NTT Report, is "based on the best available science," while the Fish and Wildlife Service Conservation Objectives Team Final Report "would mean restrictions for the oil and gas industry in sage-grouse habitat."
"Restrictions" on industry based on the "best available science." Not irrefutable science, or even accurate science. Merely, "the best we have at the moment."
What would we do without scientist-advocates? Live long and prosper, that's what.
February 4, 2015
According to the Free Dictionary there are 196 different meanings for the acronym "PMS." The two most popular, pre-menstrual syndrome and pantone matching system, are not the topic of this post. I refer to a 197th meaning: Politically Motivated Science
State senator Doug Whitsett, in Oregon of all places, named this enemy of the common man in his commencement speech to last year's graduating class of the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine:
The WSJ Ed Page slams Sen. Rand Paul (R - Jenny McCarthy) in VaccineGate®
He pitched all this as an "obvious" question of "freedom": "The state doesn't own your children. The parents own the children." Oh, my.
I stand foursquare with Gigot Pharmaceuticals in support of all the current vaccines. But I stand with Senator Paul in defense of "our inalienable right to property in our own persons" and would extend that to minor children.
Circumspection of state power is always a good idea; I do not find these positions irreconcilable.
Yes, let's discard the Junk Science Lancet study that Measles vaccine causes autism. But what about when President Hillary Clinton wants us all inoculated against Tea Party membership? And one of her donors comes up with a shot (or sizable and rough coated suppository)?
I'll call anybody an idiot for not vaccinating their kids, but I am not marching up the Capitol steps to demand enforcement.
All Hail Harsanyi
The New York Times claims that this insane "presidential vaccine controversy" we're all taking about raises important questions about "how to approach matters that have been settled among scientists but are not widely accepted by conservatives."
The whole piece is superb.
February 3, 2015
Caught Off Guard
Yes, I missed the confluence of my two favorite topics: politics and junk science. The Internet Segue Machine™ surely requires an overhaul. Brother nb surprised me with his QOTD yesterday, causing me to ask that internet-question: "Is This a Thing?"
Vaccines are the media's new "Birth Control Pills" question for the GOP -- injecting an out-of-nowhere wedge issue question into the debate just because it hurts the GOP.
Clearly, the nation will turn to the strict scientific rationality of Sec Hillary Clinton in 2016. I laugh to keep from crying.
UPDATE: The Facebook group Friends of Best of the Web is generally a very un-libertarian bunch, but a fellow member hits it out of the park:
UPDATE II: A new record for updates on Insty's post about this.
January 30, 2015
Bon Mot of the Day
A lot of the talking points, it seems, are the product of lies that capitalize on ignorance and fear, though there's an entire subset of arguments that can be classified as appeals to Monsanto or argumentum ad Monsantium. -- They're Economical with the Truth
January 3, 2015
Time to pack up "libertarian Delenda est." That's been a bust.
That was in response to a multi-decadal failure to dissuade Progressives.
Maybe an accelerated opposition to "junk science" would be worthy. I have Facebook friends who are into "woo," and some very good sources to straighten them out. (Science Babe and Sluts for Monsanto are good starts). I seem to get away with sharing their stuff with less acrimony than were I to post a pro-GOP or anti-President-Obama post.
My heart is in, I have a little comparative advantage with a technical background; and it is very important. Via Fight a Junk Science, here's a great piece on Whole Foods as the temple of pseudoscience
So, why do many of us perceive Whole Foods and the Creation Museum so differently? The most common liberal answer to that question isn’t quite correct: namely, that creationists harm society in a way that homeopaths don’t. I’m not saying that homeopathy is especially harmful; I’m saying that creationism may be relatively harmless. In isolation, unless you’re a biologist, your thoughts on creation don’t matter terribly much to your fellow citizens; and unless you’re a physician, your reliance on Sacred Healing Food to cure all ills is your own business.
December 31, 2014
But But But...
... isn't the agreement between theory and observation a bedrock principle of "science?" Isn't good science a prerequisite of any ersatz "scientific consensus?"
He [NASA JPL researcher Dr. David Schimel] said: "What we've had up till this paper was a theory of carbon dioxide fertilisation based on phenomena at the microscopic scale and observations at the global scale that appeared to contradict those phenomena.
So what does this paper say that makes the puzzle pieces fit together, finally?
As emissions add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, forests worldwide are using it to grow faster.
How terrible! Higher levels of the "pollutant" CO2 cause the earth to be ... GREENER.
But be careful what conclusions you may be tempted to leap toward, Fracknation:
He [NASA JPL researcher Dr. David Schimel] said: "The future tropical balance of deforestation and climate sources and regrowth and carbon dioxide sinks will only remain a robust feature of the global carbon cycle if the vast tropical forests are protected from destruction."
But but but...
... one man's harvesting is another man's "destruction" and didn't you [NASA JPL researcher Dr. David Schimel] say, "Young fast growing trees tend to absorb more carbon dioxide as they use the carbon as they grow?" If I didn't know better I might suspect that he [you know who I'm talking about] just endorsed modern forest husbandry and harvesting. But we all know better than to believe that, don't we?
December 24, 2014
My new favorite Internet star, Myles Power, came to my attention with his anti-anti-GMO work. But I was captivated and watched several of his anti-AIDS-denialism videos (I did not even know that was "a thing.")
And today, it's on to 9-11 truthers -- because it's the spirit of Christmas. (I do know some truthers, BTW, I don't know if we have any 'round these parts).
December 23, 2014
Science is Settled
My new favorite YouTube guy:
Hat-tip: The awesome Sluts for Monsanto Facebook page
UPDATE: No, I haven't had enough: Bad science in the paper 'Hematotoxicity of Bacillus thuringiensis as Spore-crystal Blah Blah Blah'
December 22, 2014
Uncle Vlad Knows.
Some of the superb content one can see on GMO Free USA's Facebook page.
Shared by a new friend. A guitar player with MS. He also shares his "fused" diet. You can look it up but it is about 90% kale. No red meat, no fun. He has been on it a year -- hates it -- but sees a physician who "cured" his own MS by being on this diet three years.
Junk science and chronic diseases make such sad , but unfortunately frequent, companions.
December 2, 2014
99.99% That's Almost a Consensus!
[Anne Glover, the European Commission's Chief Scientific Adviser] had dared to draw on her expertise to conclude that there isn't "a single piece of scientific evidence" to validate anti-GMO hysteria, as she told a scientific conference in Aberdeen, U.K., last year. "I am 99.99% certain from the scientific evidence that there are no health issues with food produced from GM crops." Opposition to GMOs, she said, is "a form of madness." -- WSJ Ed PageThe EU has responded by "[allowing] her mandate to expire, effectively abolishing the Chief Scientific Adviser role."
October 16, 2014
And that phlogisten scare...
I don't do a ton of general purpose trolling on the Internet at large, but I spoke my piece on a "Garden of Eatin'" solicitation for Prop 105 (labeling of GMOs).
Well, yes, that is similar -- there was a junk science article, followed by a big scare and public indignation -- then a lot of manufacturers changed their products. And ten years later, it was proven to be absolute bullshit. Trans-fats don't really hurt you at all.
Good point. (No, that is just for ThreeSourcers, I'm done.)
October 10, 2014
Embed no go? Watch on hulu
August 19, 2014
Removing an option entirely does not help teach good decision-making skills, it’s just temporarily taking something out of the equation for 6 or 7 hours a day.
Yet another argument against prohibition, but this one is not in support of legalizing recreational drugs, or alcohol, or pharmaceuticals. This lunatic nut job is very seriously suggesting the radical idea of unfettered access to ... groceries.
The recent passing of the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act was done with the best of intentions. The act, established as a way to promote healthy eating among kids and decrease childhood obesity, which is rising at alarming rates, sets nutritional standards for school lunches and snacks available to school-age children. That means the end of the elusive vending machine and the high-calorie snacks it contains.
That's "recently passed" as of 2011, but of interest today as it is back-to-school time. This is when it is most noticeable, with flyers coming home in packets of forms to complete. We've never been called into the office for sending our kids to school with Frito Lay products in their backpacks, but one does rehearse speeches in preparation for that possibility.
"We ask you to teach our children how to think for themselves but when it comes to the foods they may eat, you teach them that thinking is forbidden."
June 21, 2014
The Junk Science Hall of Shame
Picking "the worst Junk Science agitprop" is impossible. No matter how bad one seems, you can always come up with another that is worse: a proof-by-induction of infinite suckage.
But, dearest ThreeSourcers, I have a special place in my heart for BPA bottles. Jane Goodall lived with lower primates: I worked with guys who had PhDs who would not drink water out of a BPA bottle (I think that is one point for Jane).
Insty links to a story in that noted scientific organ, The Stir, which is quite sympathetic to the concerned.
For several years now, moms have been making the choice they thought was best for their little ones: Steering clear of bisphenol-A (BPA), the toxic substance in plastic that may mess with the endocrine system, disrupting hormones, and causing a variety of short- and long-term health concerns for our children including asthma, cancer, infertility, low sperm count, heart disease, liver problems, and ADHD. But apparently, even if you've been incredibly conscious and checked every sippy cup and water bottle to ensure it's marked "BPA-free," it may not be enough!
May not be enough (really? An exclamation mark? A period would have been fine!) Enough of what, exactly? Bisphenol-A, like most things hated by The Stir readers, has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Moms today may worry about sippy cups, but my Mom worried about botulism. BPA "may mess with"
While BPA liners are a huge advance, Modernity Guy should contemplate that leached BPA is a call for another innovation. Yet, what the poor Stir Moms are discovering [Shocking Spoiler Alert] is that there is some danger in everything. It seems the Non-BPA bottles leach other and likely worse stuff into baby's organic, alar-free applesauce.
Not to mention incredibly frustrating, considering that we think we're doing everything we can to protect our children by doing the research before going shopping for sippy cups, only registering for the BPA-free baby bottles, keeping certain plastics our kids use out of the dishwasher or microwave, etc. But news like this it makes it seem like even our best efforts are all for naught. It makes it seem like even our best efforts aren't enough to protect our kids, and that's nothing short of extremely aggravating.
Rub a little dirt in it, Mom; he'll be fine.
I am reminded of a favorite Emily Dickenson couplet
The surgeon must be very careful when to use the knife.
UPDATE: A friend (no, not a PhD) sends a link to Mother Jones which contradicts my claim of "no proof ever." I should update it to "scant proof."
June 17, 2014
Think you can buy these people off?
After which it will be "water that has ever been microwaved," "customers who have been vaccinated..."
May 20, 2014
Falsus Libertario Delenda Est!
Having recently escaped Colorado's Second Congressional District, I consider myself well-informed about Rep. Jared Polis (Libertarian? - CO).
He is currently the darling of the big-L Libertarians who are certain to have discovered the elusive "Libertarian Democrat:" cryptozoology's greatest prize! Rep. Polis is a regular on "The Independents" on FOX Business Channel. He received positive coverage in Reason:
A conventional Democrat in some respects, he also supports many causes that matter to libertarians: legalizing marijuana and hemp, restraining NSA surveillance, reforming copyright and patent laws, and making space for the virtual currency Bitcoin.
"A conventional Democrat in some respects." Yes, the obligatory disclaimer for interviewer Scott Shackford. Let me help you, Scott. He is a conventional Democrat EVERY FREAKIN' PLACE AND EVERY GORRAM TIME THAT IT COUNTS. Minority Leader Pelosi does not have to worry about his vote (including yea on ObamaCare on March 21, 2010).
When he's on his own, he pens a Libertarian Editorial in the WSJ. And he accepts campaign contributions in Bitcoin! He's like Mises reincarnate!
If they looked a little deeper, they'd see not only "A conventional Democrat in some respects," but a wellspring of dirigisme. The Blueprint [Review Corner] chronicles Polis as one of four überfunders of statehouse races providing the Democratic legislative majorities in Colorado which brought us draconian gun laws and insane regulations on energy -- especially to rural Coloradans. Thanks, Jared! Or shall I call you Murray Rothbard?
Today, he is in the press for using his considerable funding to force his energy views on the entire state. (Remember when Hayek did that?)
DENVER -- Democratic Rep. Jared Polis reminded Coloradans Monday why it's tough to tangle with a rich guy, outraising his pro-business foes in the latest campaign-finance reporting period on his proposed statewide anti-fracking initiatives.
Those damned oil companies and the nefarious Koch Brothers outspent in one day! By a statist who is feted as a "Libertarian."
If that's what they're like, I definitely want out! Libertario Delenda Est!
October 2, 2013
So that's how the Obama campaign raised so much cash "on the internet"
This could be an "Otequay of the Ayday" post:
“We’re all familiar with the J-curve in private equity,” said Joseph Dear chief investment officer at the California Public Employee Retirement System in March. “Well, for CalPERS, clean-tech investing has got an L-curve for ‘lose.’”
From an article at thefederalist.com -- The Venture Corporatists - "Saving the planet" has made lot of investors richer. Taxpayers? Not so much, which concludes:
As long as green technology remains not simply an economic venture but a moral one, taxpayers will continue to nobly lose money as politically connected “social entrepreneurs” reap a windfall.
September 24, 2013
The once prestigious Scientific American Magazine has taken the "skeptic" label a step further and labeled Dr. Judith Curry, director of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, a "heretic." Then has the audacity to ask in the sub-head, "Why can't we have a civil conversation about climate?"
Her-e-tic: n. 3. anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle. Synonyms: 3. dissenter, skeptic, freethinker.
If science always conformed to established attitudes, doctrines and principles then the earth would still be flat and man would be flightless. At least as far as "science" is concerned.
So, how did Dr. Curry's apostasy begin?
But over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Blackboard. Along the way, she has come to question how climatologists react to those who question the science, no matter how well established it is. Although many of the skeptics recycle critiques that have long since been disproved, others, she believes, bring up valid points -- and by lumping the good with the bad, climate researchers not only miss out on a chance to improve their science, they come across to the public as haughty.
You mean, she's been trying to have a civil conversation about climate?
Ultimately though, I think this one quote is the most important one in the entire article:
Still, once Curry ventured out onto the skeptic blogs, the questions she saw coming from the most technically savvy of the outsiders -- including statisticians, mechanical engineers and computer modelers from industry -- helped to solidify her own uneasiness. "Not to say that the IPCC science was wrong, but I no longer felt obligated in substituting the IPCC for my own personal judgment," she said in a recent interview posted on the Collide-a-Scape climate blog.
That any scientist would ever substitute anything for her own personal judgment is the reason why science got off the fact-finding and truth-seeking track in the first place.
UPDATE: This article was mentioned by Mark Steyn yesterday, but it was published in November, 2010. [No matches found for "curry" in ThreeSources archives from November 2010.]
June 19, 2013
Don't trust anyone under 24
In fact, particularly if you're 15 or younger, you can commit capital murder and be on the streets at 43. That was the fate of Indiana's Paula Cooper:
Cooper was 15 years old when she used a butcher's knife to cut Ruth Pelke 33 times during a robbery in Gary that ended in Pelke's death. Her three companions -- one only 14 --received lighter sentences, but Cooper confessed to the killing and was sentenced to death by a judge who opposed capital punishment, said former prosecutor Jack Crawford, who sought the death penalty for Cooper. Crawford is now a defense lawyer in Indianapolis and no longer supports capital punishment.
Enter European "human rights" activists, the Pope and the Supreme Court, and this confessed murderer's fate takes a U-turn.
Two years after Cooper was sentenced to die, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in an unrelated case that the execution of young people who were under 16 at the time they committed an offense was cruel and unusual punishment and was thus unconstitutional. Indiana legislators then passed a state law raising the minimum age limit for execution from 10 years to 16, and in 1988, the state's high court set Cooper's death sentence aside and ordered her to serve 60 years in prison.
The Supreme Court seems to be sure, as does Indiana's former attorney general:
In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to execute anyone who is younger than 18 years when they commit an offense.
And, it now seems, essentially get away with it.
April 2, 2013
However, Got yer Schadenfruede right here
This is good clean fun (grabbed from Facebook, sorry no attribution).
A very interesting blend of my FB friends is upset about the President bowing to science and reason:
February 8, 2013
First World Problems
Anything interesting on Facebook today, jk?
Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) is banned in the European Union and Japan among many other places around the world and is believed to be a harmful additive by many. It is a member of the Bromide family which has been used in making products flame retardant! Google it. See if it's something you think PepsiCo should be putting in Mountain Dew. If they already know it's too controversial for Gatorade, why are they leaving it in Mountain Dew?
Something bad in Mountain Dew? Ehrmigahd!
This is funny but it isn't. The poster is a PhD who used to work for me. Super bright guy with a mortgage and kids. I know he'd laugh himself into a coma upon encountering somebody who does not believe in global warming. But he signs and posts these all the time.
"Google it.' (It's on the Internet -- what else can I do to prove it?) "a member of the Bromide family which has been used in making products flame retardant!" Jeeburz -- one of the elements is four squares away from Arsenic on the Periodic Chart -- you gonna eat that?
December 13, 2012
Best Chart Ever!
From The Skeptical Libertarian on Facebook.
July 5, 2012
"Colorado Burning" because "Climate Changed?"
Anyone who has read many stories on the Colorado forest fires has surely seen at least one account that links the events with "climate change." Stories like Huffpo's "Stunning NASA Map Shows Severe Heat Wave Fueling Wildfires" are an extreme example. But Colorado state climatologist Nolan Doesken has a much different explanation:
While it’s true that this June was the hottest June on record, averaging 75 degrees, or 7.6 degrees above normal, he said extreme heat was just one of the ingredients–and maybe not even the most important one–involved in this year’s perfect wildfire storm.
The story continues, exploring more likely factors:
Forest-health advocates say there’s one thing missing from the climate-change-causes-wildfires theory: The forests are so poorly managed that it doesn’t take much for them to go up in flames. Twenty years of reductions in timber sales and environmental lawsuits have gutted logging on public lands, resulting in densely packed, tinder-dry trees that are practically designed for crown fires.
So one explanation is 7.6 degrees warmer temperatures for a month and the other explanation includes 15 to 20 times higher density of trees that are diseased and dead, at least partially due to that very overcrowding. Given that tens of thousands of wildfires occur each year in the United States, Colorado's fire disasters are unprecedented for their severity rather than frequency. And that severity is driven more by wind and fuel density than by a dubious, anti-scientific theory called climate change.
May 30, 2012
Jenny McCarthy Body Count
Heh (If your sense of humor is tuned that way).
May 27, 2012
On last week's post criticizing the City of Boulder's "Climate Change Preparedness Plan" brother JK glibly (sarcastically?) quipped that "if things get too warm here [in Weld County] I can drive right over the line [into Boulder County]" where presumably he'll be "saved" from the "deleterious" effects of
Seems the CCPP is part of a larger Climate Action Plan (CAP) that is enabled by a voter-approved tax that expires next March. The tax collects $1.8 million annually for the City of Boulder's pet enviro projects. Apparently Boulder County thinks the city is on to something and they are contemplating a "sustainability tax" of their own. Boulder Daily Camera:
"I'm very concerned that if the county goes ahead, our CAP tax will stand a very good chance of losing," Mayor Matt Appelbaum said. "And that will just kill us. That will set us way back. It would be a huge loss for us if we lost the momentum. There are many programs that are just getting going."
One wonders if Boulder County's "sustainability tax" will be more sustainable than Boulder City's CAP tax.
October 21, 2011
She Blinded Me with Junk Science!
Saw this on the Teevee news this morning:
A major study of nearly 360,000 cellphone users in Denmark found no increased risk of brain tumors with long-term use.
Followed on FOX31 Good Morning Colorado by "advocates claim that the ten year study was not long enough to detect slow-developing tumors" and in the NYTimes it is followed by:
Although the data, collected from one of the largest-ever studies of cellphone use, are reassuring, the investigators noted that the design of the study focused on cellphone subscriptions rather than actual use, so it is unlikely to settle the debate about cellphone safety. A small to moderate increase in risk of cancer among heavy users of cellphones for 10 to 15 years or longer still "cannot be ruled out," the investigators wrote.
One of my lefty friends has become so upset over my Karl Popper "back to the caves" quote that I have been abjured from its use on Facebook. But this ain't Facebook and, at the big kids table, we can draw a generalization about junk science advocates.
I suggest cell phones save thousands of lives every year, allowing people to escape dangerous situations and coordinate efforts more quickly in an emergency. I suspect it is magnitudes above "thousands" but I don't think you can argue a thinking person out of thousands.
Against a real, empirical, substantive benefit of thousands of saved lives, the
FACT: A cell phone can get you out of a dangerous situation because you can afford it and the person you're contacting can afford it.
FACT: Thousands of people used to die of botulism and food illnesses from canned goods. Resin liners with BPA ended that. Poof. Pretty much nobody dies of that today.
Vaccines, GMO crops, hydraulic fracturing, incandescent light bulbs, the list goes on. Modernity and prosperity save real lives today in large quantities. How much more, life-saving modernity and prosperity would we have with rational risk expectations?
UPDATE: Unvaccinated behind largest U.S. measles outbreak in years Two hundred fourteen real kids, today. Rep Bachmann, call your office -- Jim Carrey on line one.
April 21, 2011
Try to Teach a Pig to Sing...
I posted a few days ago (Scientific Fact, Yawn!) on the refutation of the junk science on plastics. I lamented (what I whiner I can be...) that "None will be disabused of their junk-science asceticism." (a whiner with bad grammar, "None" should be singular...)
A good friend who used to work for me is on Facebook today with "Chip in $5 today to our 'Get BPA out of canned goods campaign!'" I'll save you a click to see the linked page:
Moms! And the people who love them! Versus a bald libertarian with a beard! Whom you gonna believe?
This is the most insidious campaign. If my buddy wants to forego the convenience of a water bottle, he's not hurting anybody. But BPA linings have virtually wiped out Botulism and the thousands of deaths it caused annually. This junk science will kill.
I passed along a link to the AEI piece. We'll see if my PhD friend is educable.
April 19, 2011
Looks like we may not all die from water bottles after all:
A comprehensive review by the German Society of Toxicology of thousands of studies on BPA concluded, "[BPA] exposure represents no noteworthy risk to the health of the human population, including newborns and babies." The group, which included several scientists who have advised regulatory caution on BPA, bucked calls by advocacy groups to lower safe exposure levels.
This is near and dear to my heart since I know a lot of these people. They are shocked that I tempt fate by drinking water out of plastic bottles and regale me with tales of outrageous hoops they jump through to avoid it. I mention that about 10,000 people die of food poisoning for every one that dies from the plastic that prevents it. They usually recommend some documentary I have to see.
And I could forward this story to them, but it would be a waste of ones and zeros. None will be disabused of their junk-science asceticism. It's much better to store your mayonnaise in an old clay pot...