March 19, 2015

Because, Science!

"War is the continuation of politics by other means," said Carl von Clausewitz... and so is environmental "science."

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."

"Any time there are any restrictions, whether it's for wildlife or health or safety, you hear the oil and gas industry complain," Ms. Spivak said.

The coalition's data challenges focus on three "highly influential" scientific reports, prepared by the BLM, FWS and U.S. Geological Survey, that rely on data from "an insular group of "scientist-advocates" who skew their research to advance "policies they personally support," according to the executive summary.

"The Reports were developed with unsound research methods resulting in a partial and biased presentation of information, and peer reviewers have found them to be inaccurate, unreliable, and biased," the summary says. "They contain substantial technical errors, including misleading use of authority and failure to address studies that do not support a federal, one-size-fits-all narrative."

For example, the coalition says the reports are quick to blame human activity for the bird's decline but fail to give proper weight to the impact of predators such as ravens, even though their population has increased by 300 percent and local raven-management efforts in states like Nevada have shown success in boosting grouse habitat.

The three reports "all fail to recognize predation as the single most important factor affecting the abundance” of the Greater sage grouse," according to one of the coalition challenges.

"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.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:00 PM | Comments (0)

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:

Politically motivated science and statistically significant science are much like oil and water. First, they are nearly impossible to mix. Second, oil rises to the top like science that is fabricated to support political motives.


Estimated, assumed, surrogate or fabricated data points predictably produce 'counterfeit-science'.

Too often, we are asked to believe that biological systems are just 'too complex' to support science that is statistically significant. Moreover, we are expected to accept the unsubstantiated and often unverifiable assumptions that are used to calibrate the models.

Scientific reports that are not statistically significant are by definition, insignificant. They are irrelevant, immaterial and inconsequential.

Worse, computer models are too often manipulated to fabricate alleged scientific support to justify a political end.

The modelled reports are then employed to mislead those who believe that science is the 'final word'.

There is no such thing as 'the final word in science'.

Moreover, there is no such thing as 'scientific consensus' or 'settled science'. The scientific method requires that we continue to question, continue to probe, and continue to debate the validity of every scientific assumption.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:32 PM | Comments (0)

Tomorrow's Vaccine

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

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."

Well, here's another question: How do we deal with the false perception that liberals are more inclined to trust science than conservatives? Or, how do we approach the media's fondness for focusing on the unscientific views of some conservatives but ignoring the irrational--and oftentimes, more consequential--beliefs of their fellow liberals?

The whole piece is superb.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

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?"

Oh, yes Indeedy. Reason has gone on Defcon 5, Facebook is a-Twitter and Twitter has turned about-face. Jim Geraghty leads with the politics, linking Ace, channeling nanobrewer.

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.

Almost all GOP politicians are pro-vaccination, of course -- but a distressing number of GOP voters are against it, making this a politically difficult question.

Note that the media could drop any number of such wedge issue questions on Democrats -- do you favor the making taxpayers pay for voluntary sex-reassignment surgery -- but they don't because they're Democrats themselves and want to hide such wedge issues, not expose them.

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:

State-mandated Vaccines?

If an private individual or group of its own volition elects to prohibit un-vaccinated people from entering its presence, the police power is appropriately deployed to enforce that prohibition. But to have the state mandate a segregation between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals is an unjust overreach.

UPDATE II: A new record for updates on Insty's post about this.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Directly answering the FOBOTW commenter above: Yes, state mandated medical treatments is tyrannical.

As dagny wisely observed this morning, the problem only arises because the majority of our school system is "public." If it were private then each school could decide for itself whether unvaccinated children could enroll. The question would be settled freely in a marketplace of vaccinated and unvaccinated schools.

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2015 12:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Very wisely observed. I am new to this debate, I think because it has been ginned up as a GOP Gotcha enterprise. I mean, really, even hard core progressives, how big is the Federal role?

Before reading dagny, the FOBOTW dude, and Judge Napolitano, I would have said that a GOP leader should strongly endorse the miracle of vaccination, strongly condemn the junk science that suggests great risk, and trust well informed polity to do their best.

Now, I will add the Randy Barnett-esque argument that private spaces should mandate vaccination. This "fixes" the free-rider-on-herd-immunity problem without empowering government.

Do I believe the people that brought you "cake police" will allow someone's precious little snowflake to be barred from Disneyland? Not so much. But it is a principled stand I can endorse.

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2015 3:18 PM

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
Posted by John Kranz at 4:49 PM | Comments (0)

January 3, 2015

jk's Niche

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.

The danger is when these ideas get tied up with other, more politically muscular ideologies. Creationism often does, of course—that’s when we should worry. But as vaccine skeptics start to prompt public health crises, and GMO opponents block projects that could save lives in the developing world, it’s fair to ask how much we can disentangle Whole Foods’ pseudoscientific wares from very real, very worrying antiscientific outbursts.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:00 PM | Comments (0)

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.

"Here, at least, is a hypothesis that provides a consistent explanation that includes both how we know photosynthesis works and what's happening at the planetary scale."

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.

However, the rate at which they absorb this has been hard to estimate with many studies producing contradictory results.

As many rainforests consist of mature trees that are often hundreds of years old, they were not thought to absorb much carbon dioxide.

Young fast growing trees tend to absorb more carbon dioxide as they use the carbon as they grow.

Global air flows and data on deforestation also suggested tropical forests were releasing more carbon dioxide than they absorb.

But this new study suggests the tropical forests are using far more of the carbon, and so growing far faster than previously believed.

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?

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:33 PM | Comments (2)
But Jk thinks:

Surely there is some way to slow climate change by clubbing baby harp seals...

Posted by: Jk at December 31, 2014 8:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If it saved even a single tenth of a degree of normalized worldwide average global temperature change, wouldn't it be worth it?

Even if it required clubbing every baby harp seal, to the point of specie extinction?

(Just as long as there's also a wealth transfer component. Naturally.)

Posted by: johngalt at January 1, 2015 6:37 PM

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).

But but but but. I think at 12:50 into this one, he indelicately destroys every government conspiracy theory ever proposed.

I'll wait.

Merry Christmas!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:49 PM | Comments (2)
But dagny thinks:

You know the moon landing was faked too. right?

Posted by: dagny at December 24, 2014 2:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The moon itself is fake.

Posted by: johngalt at December 24, 2014 3:34 PM

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'

Posted by John Kranz at 1:43 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

I'm gonna try this again, even though I got schooled the last time I did it.


Still though, jolly good!

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2014 6:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You buried the lede, bro! In the "Hematoxicity of Bacillus..." video he scoops that the "Omics Publishing Group" founded in India circa 2007 is where papers that can't pass peer review go to get published. And it has hundreds of Journals to its name, many of which may be pushed by your friendly neighborhood conspiratist as "scientific proof" of this or that reason to tell you what to do or where to send your money.

So what this amounts to is, scientific proof that you can't automatically trust peer reviewed science.

Omics Group - Accelerating Scientific Discovery

Yeah, the accelerating part is true enough.

"OMICS Group is a scientific organization that drives the progress of research through open access journals and organizes international conferences."

Heh. "Progress."

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2014 7:17 PM
But Jk thinks:

I guess I am on holiday workload but I watched about six of his this afternoon. The sum of them gives you a great feel for both the chicanery around science and the means of exploiting it.

Interpretated, huh? Is that me or my new buddy?

Posted by: Jk at December 23, 2014 8:35 PM
But jk thinks:

You may be on to something: at 1:58 of this one he says "orientated."

Posted by: jk at December 24, 2014 1:17 PM

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:50 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I hear nobody in Russia has MS either... prob'ly because of the GMO thing. Medical vaycay for your new friend?

Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2014 2:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:
The capacity of the human mind for swallowing nonsense and spewing it forth in violent and repressive action has never yet been plumbed.


Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2014 3:00 PM

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 Page
The EU has responded by "[allowing] her mandate to expire, effectively abolishing the Chief Scientific Adviser role."
Posted by John Kranz at 5:28 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Because: Science!

Posted by: johngalt at December 3, 2014 10:52 AM
But jk thinks:

There's been much erudite and intellectual commentary on the structural, incentive, and personal flaws of the United Nations. But the voice of Larry the Cable Guy goes through my mind. He asked "has there ever been a bigger collection of more worthless sumbitches?"

Posted by: jk at December 3, 2014 11:11 AM

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.)

Posted by John Kranz at 6:36 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2014

Mo Jimmy

Embed no go? Watch on hulu

Posted by John Kranz at 3:32 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2014

The Humanity!

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.

But don't expect kids to give up their sugar fix so easily…

As The Atlantic reports, jonesing students have turned to the junk-food black market… some as dealers, others as addicts.

That's right, kids are smuggling in junk food, risking punishment, but making bank. The Atlantic reports that some kids are making upwards of $200 per week dealing in sugar, and it’s even hit student government. Yup, a student body vice president at one Connecticut school was forced to resign after buying contraband Skittles from a student "dealer."

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."

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:02 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

When Cheetos® are outlawed...

Posted by: jk at August 19, 2014 11:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Cold, dead, orange fingers.

Posted by: johngalt at August 19, 2014 12:42 PM

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" (no proof, ever) [see update] the endocrine system. Botulism will mess with you, fatally in six of ten cases. We threw out dented cans when I was young -- now I buy them on sale.

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.
For underneath his fine incision, lays the culprit: life.

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."

Posted by John Kranz at 10:23 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, well if it's above the CONSUMER'S UNION recommendation, I'm "convinced."

Micrograms, nanograms, picograms, KICK!

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2014 3:42 PM

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..."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:03 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

...air ever exhaled by a Rethuglican...

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2014 2:50 PM

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.

One Polis group, Coloradans for Local Control, donated $1.45 million to another Polis group, Coloradans for Clean and Safe Energy, which is running the campaign to place a slew of anti-fracking measures on the Nov. 4 ballot.

That one donation--the only contribution so far to the Polis-sponsored issue committee--exceeded the combined $900,000 raised by two energy-backed coalitions during the two-week reporting period ending May 14, although their overall fundraising tops the Polis campaign's at $3.77 million.

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!

Posted by John Kranz at 3:36 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Snap! This is a kick-ass takedown of Jared NIMBY-King Polis and his Reason puff piece. This should be tagged in the Rant category. I'm going to come back and read it regularly whenever I'm feeling down.

Posted by: johngalt at May 20, 2014 5:07 PM
But jk thinks:

As I did lapse into all caps, it does indeed belong under "Rant" (added). I had self-visualized better self control when I started :) As the great philosopher Peter Green said, "Oh, well."

Thanks for the kind words.

Posted by: jk at May 20, 2014 5:11 PM

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.’”

“Our experience is this has been a noble way to lose money,” Dear added.

From an article at -- 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.
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2013

Scientific Heresy?

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.]

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:27 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Heretic, is she? Eppur si muove, baby. Sometimes, the heretics are right.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 24, 2013 3:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Dr. Curry made ThreeSources (your home for heretics and heterodoxy since 2003...) on January 9, 2013.

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2013 4:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Copernicus. Galileo. Kepler. Newton. How many of them "felt obligated in substituting the ____ for my own personal judgment?"

Posted by: johngalt at September 24, 2013 4:52 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

When stone-cold scientists substitute their own personal judgment (based on their scientific inquiry)in the place of orthodoxy, you get wonderful discoveries and advances, and they get branded as heretics.

When jurists substitute their own personal judgment in place of the black-letter law, you get penumbras, and they get hailed as advanced and elite, or having grown in office.

I had to say it. I supposed I'll have to be burned at the stake for saying it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 24, 2013 6:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Nah. I submit there is more in common between your two examples than you realize. The key is "based on their scientific inquiry" and "based on their explicit reading of the law." Now, the law was created by man and can be inconsistent. Conversely, reality was created by NED and is absolutely consistent.

And if'n you weren't a heretic we wouldn't let you hang around here.

Posted by: johngalt at September 24, 2013 7:23 PM
But Jk thinks:

Popular Science turns off comments to silence those wacky deniers. Once proud?

Posted by: Jk at September 24, 2013 11:00 PM

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.

"She sat on her, slicing her," Crawford said. "This was a torture crime."

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.

"Was justice done? Twenty-four years is a long time, but I'm not sure," Crawford said.

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.

Linley E. Pearson, who was Indiana's attorney general when Cooper appealed to the state Supreme Court, said research now shows that the human brain doesn't fully mature until age 24.

"So kids can do a lot of things they wouldn't do if they were an adult," Pearson said.

And, it now seems, essentially get away with it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:22 PM | Comments (0)

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:


Posted by John Kranz at 7:29 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Racists! Why can't they leave the President alone? They just hate him because he's BLACK!

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2013 3:02 PM

February 8, 2013

First World Problems

Anything interesting on Facebook today, jk?

  • I shared the Robin Sachs news.

  • An adorable picture of a soldier with four small puppies -- holler if you didn't see that one.

  • Oh, and this:

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?

Science. Yeah.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:11 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2012

Best Chart Ever!

From The Skeptical Libertarian on Facebook.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:33 PM | Comments (2)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Correlation is not causation, but no causation without correlation!

I'm of a mind that the federal deficit is also correlated with the rise of autism. Also the number of "reality" television shows.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at December 13, 2012 7:04 PM
But jk thinks:

If we care about the children, we should address all of these.

Posted by: jk at December 13, 2012 7:34 PM

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.

Mr. Doesken noted that July is inevitably hotter than June, but there are fewer wildfires in July because it’s also wetter. May and June are typically drier and windier than July and August, which are hotter but more humid.

He said the key to this year’s wildfire season was the lack of snow in March, which left trees more stressed than usual going into the dry spring. Was that caused by manmade climate change? His answer: a definite maybe.

"It’s tempting to say, ‘Ah-ha, this is the face of climate change,’ but it might not be. Or it might be one of several things," said Mr. Doesken. "The forests burn when the meteorological conditions are right, and when that’s the case, it’s going to happen with or without anything we call climate change."

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.

Bill Gherardi, president of the Colorado Forestry Association, said the state has historically seen 20 to 80 tree stems per acre in its national forests. Today, he said, the density has increased to 400-1,200 stems per acre.

The problems associated with the lack of forest management are well-documented. A 2011 report by the Forest Service found that the bark-beetle outbreak was partly the result of a drastic reduction in timber sales driven by appeals and litigation by environmental groups, as well as an inability to reach some areas due to inadequate roads.

In Region 2, which includes Colorado, the timber industry declined 63% from 1986 to 2005. “Consequently, few industrial resources were or are available to help the Forest Service in applying management practices in response to the bark beetle outbreak,” said the report, which was requested by Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

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.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:51 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

I cannot believe you are letting gun owners off the hook so easily.

Posted by: jk at July 5, 2012 4:29 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Glad you provided that link to the good ol' days when the Climatgate emails came out. I've been reading some archives but there are seven years of stuff here and I doubt I'll get to it all. I read some from around the 2008 election to get a flavor, and it was Good. Classy, If BHO wins a second term I don't think I'll be able to keep as cool as you guys.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 5, 2012 5:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. If this president wins a second term I don't think I will either!

Posted by: johngalt at July 5, 2012 5:27 PM
But JC thinks:

"Sometime people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief. - Frantz Fanon

Posted by: JC at August 2, 2012 9:45 PM
But JC thinks:

"Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief. - Frantz Fanon

Posted by: JC at August 2, 2012 9:46 PM

May 30, 2012

Jenny McCarthy Body Count

Heh (If your sense of humor is tuned that way).

Posted by John Kranz at 3:56 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2012

Eschew Sanguinity

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 global, or regional, umm county-wide climate change. Not so fast, dear friend. There's big trouble in little Nirvana.

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."

Councilwoman Suzy Ageton said the programs will "crash" if the tax is not renewed.

"We're going to go off a cliff if this doesn't pass," she said.

One wonders if Boulder County's "sustainability tax" will be more sustainable than Boulder City's CAP tax.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

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 back to the caves junk science advocates hold a glimmer of possible future harm.

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.
MYTH: You might have a 0.0001% chance of developing cancer, though it has never been proven.

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.
MYTH: You might have a 0.0001% chance of developing cancer, though it has never been proven.

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:23 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Dude, you are on fire!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 21, 2011 10:51 PM

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:20 PM | Comments (3)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

...women and minorities most affected.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 21, 2011 6:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Friend has not commented, but friend-of-friend asks:

John: That group cannot be trusted when it comes to protecting consumers against businesses. Do you have any links to an organization who actually cares about people and not only profits and that says BPA is safe?

No, Porky, breathe from your diaphragm!

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2011 7:07 PM
But jk thinks:

For those playing the home version, friend-of-friend is pretty nice and gives my response a possibly kinder reception than it deserves.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2011 7:16 PM

April 19, 2011

Scientific Fact...YAWN!

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 a huge development in this ongoing saga and a major endorsement of the scientific method. Over the past decade, German toxicologists had been among the most aggressive in arguing for precautionary standards when regulating plastic additives. BPA is used to line metal cans and make epoxy products and polycarbonate plastics, including children's sippy cups. Phthalates are softeners used to manufacture vinyl products, from gym mats to cabling and medical tubing.

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...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:52 PM | Comments (3)
But Boulder Refugee thinks: old clay pot with traces of lead, zinc and uranium in the soil.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 19, 2011 2:54 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I know whereof you speak. Whenever people see me actually drink water from the kitchen faucet, I never have to wait long for someone to freak out about how dangerous it is. From the municipal water supply! And then they rave on about how I really need to buy water in bottles...

My response to them is that I wish they'd seen me as a kid, drinking water from a hose in my yard while I played. Five decades later, and I have no ill effects. Except for this twitch. Well, it's actually more of a tic than a twitch...


Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 19, 2011 2:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought I could just quip that the scientist who "discovered" these "scientific" conclusions merely needed to be excommunicated from whatever society he's a member of. Then I read the article and learned there isn't just one individual that the enviros can blame.

The author naively asks, "At what point should science prevail?" Why, whenever it agrees with the worldview of them that does the reporting of course, and never otherwise.

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2011 2:59 PM