One of the TBS graduating classes having a reunion. Best wishes for them all, but mostly for the ones who can't be there. --S/F --Del
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Doing the math on CO2
The atmosphere as it is at 400 parts per million contains over 800 metric gigatones of CO2. (800,000,000,000+) The difference attributed to human activity is about 240 metric gigatons. That's how much would have to be removed to get us back to where the planet was about a century ago. No
matter if we manage to get everyone in the entire world to cut back to half the use of fossil fuels that is ongoing now (zero chance of this with China building more coal plants every month, plus India, and assorted others), that would just slow the buildup of CO2 down to a crawl, but the level would not go down overall for the planet.
So... this means that if in fact CO2 is the main factor causing warming, THERE IS NOTHING WHATSOEVER WE CAN DO ABOUT IT. And warming will continue, and the smartest thing we can do is start preparing and adapting now. There is no way for us to start sucking a billion tons at a time of CO2 from the atmosphere. (Any program to try would take....
lots of energy! And what will you do with a billion tons of CO2?) CO2 "capture" at energy plants is a nice idea, but basically like shoveling against the tide with a soup spoon.
Screaming about use of fossil fuels and making energy more expensive for everyone is, as the Borg would say, "futile" and just takes away focus from whatever productive things can really be done to make energy use and generation more efficient. Most of which is worthwhile, although I do wonder about the cost in dead birds and bats from wind turbine farms.
Fortunately, all the evidence is that this is not a human caused situation, and clearly the rate of warming is a fraction of what was predicted so confidently, so it's sure not all going to go to hell at some fast pace. --Del
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Science Lies: The “Climate Change March” Edition
Posted by TartanMarine at 5:41 PM
Too Funny: Breaking: Hazmat On Scene Where College Student May Have Been Exposed To Opposing Worldview
Excerpt: BERKELEY, CA—The University of California, Berkeley campus has been evacuated and a hazardous materials team has quarantined the specific location where a college student may have been exposed to a worldview different from her own early Thursday.
Posted by TartanMarine at 4:56 PM
Friday, April 28, 2017
Anti-Semitic UW students vote to sell out only democracy in the middle east that gives women equality.
Posted by TartanMarine at 4:51 PM
Sharia Law in our saudi ally: Man ‘sentenced to death for atheism’ in Saudi Arabia
Posted by TartanMarine at 4:16 PM
California's Road To Single-Payer Ruin
Excerpt: Socialized Health Care: Never let it be said that California doesn't march to the beat of a different drummer. While the rest of the country has had second, third and even fourth thoughts about having a single-payer health care system, the Golden State boldly marches forward into fiscal oblivion. As the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday, "A sweeping measure that would establish government-run universal health care in California cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday as scores of supporters crammed into the Capitol to advocate for a single-payer system." Let's unpack that sentence a bit. It's true that so-called State Bill 562 is "sweeping." It's so sweeping, in fact, that it would likely end the private health insurance business in the state and lead to fiscal bankruptcy. How's that for sweeping? And guess what? The measure covers illegal immigrants. So, if this bill is passed, California will turn into a massive medical magnet for sick people from Latin America and possibly even Asia. Why pay for health care in your home country when you can get it in California for free? Then there's that bit about clearing "its first legislative hurdle." That's not much of a hurdle, really. Thanks to a permanently gerrymandered political landscape and years of Democrats bending the rules to systematically disenfranchise all nonleft political alternatives, California is now a one-party state. Democrats, funded by their public-sector union allies, have total control of the legislature, universities, school systems, bureaucracy and courts. All of it. (California leads the way...But to exactly what is open to a lot of questions. They already have one of the highest tax levels in the country, and will now have to pile on another major jump to begin to pay for this idea. The consequences don't seem that difficult to foresee. This will really be interesting. --Del)
Posted by TartanMarine at 4:06 PM
The ISIS hostage crisis: Christians forced to live for years under Islamic State tell of forcible conversions, torture, and sexual slavery. Will their lives ever return to normal?
Posted by TartanMarine at 4:02 PM
‘World’s largest’ facility for disabled kids opens in Jerusalem
Posted by TartanMarine at 3:57 PM
Random Thoughts for April and May, 2017.
By Robert A. Hall
Feel free to post or forward.
I had to combine the April and May Random Thoughts as I didn't have enough material for just April. I'm working 20+ hours a week, which added to my medical routine and other stuff, really eats up my time. Sorry.
The New York Times new motto: "All the news that fits our agenda, we print."
Trump should handle allegations of scandal as Obama did. Appoint an internal committee from his administration to investigate itself. Claim that not a smidgen of evidence of wrong doing was found. Then do something that distracts attention. Of course, he won't have the media reporting everything he says as Gospel truth.
Despite the talk of shrinking bird populations, the Ruffled Victim Bird is thriving in
North America. They
come in several colors: black, brown, reddish brown, yellowish tan and white.
The more numerous white ones are sometimes called "Snowflakes." you
can identify them by their distinctive cry, "Poor-ME, Poor-ME!"
We're into the "Little Free Library" movement and keep ours stocked with books. But I draw the line at the "Little Free Outhouse" movement.
Some family functions are to be enjoyed. Others endured.
Fame is fleeting, but infamy lingers.
I wouldn't be surprised if the liberals start claiming that Trump shouldn't be president because he was born in
Long time readers of my blog will recall that back in Obama's first term I was saying the birther movement was going nowhere and was a waste of time and effort because the SCOTUS would never overturn an election. I also said that all the talk of impeachment for Obama was crazy because they would never get 14 Democrat senators to vote for it. Impeachment turned
Clinton from a despised
president into a wealthy and admired elder statesman. Some of my predictions
are too easy. Tomorrow, the sun will rise in the East.
From a liberal friend: How can anyone expect people to assimilate into a society where they believe the women are whores who deserve rape or death for appearing in public with no head scarves (much less the bikinis I am seeing along the beach here in San Diego where we are staying this week to commemorate my birthday)? A society where they believe that we men (fathers, brothers, husbands) are scum beneath contempt for allowing our women to dress and behave this way without punishing them. A society whose laws protect women's freedom and equality rather than their modesty, subservience and virginity. Either the Muslims in our midst must stay very small in numbers (not likely, despite Trump) or they must become more modern and Western and tolerant (even less likely) or we must accept Sharia Law (that'll be the day) or there will eventually be blood in our streets. (I'm betting, alas, on blood. ~Bob)
You don't know how strong you are if you don't try.
There was a Prius going slow in front of me recently. I wanted to yell, "Step on the electric!"
Good thing the media didn't go after Obama like they are after Trump. That would have been racist.
If you ask a sales associate in a store if they have X, and he says, "You might try....," you can forget it.
If today's media was around in the 1940s: "Germans fear backlash after it was revealed that a few extremists were running death camps for Jews. "Nothing to do with
says Herr Hitler, "National Socialism is a philosophy of peace.'"
Overheard in an office: "The guy in the cube next to me is creepy. He clips his nails at his desk." Friend: "That's annoying, but a lot of people do it." First person: "Their toenails?"
The essence of freedom is making government your servant, not your master. The liberals who wish to make government all powerful to do the things they believe are good for people may find someone else using government in ways they don't like at all.
From Mirza on Facebook: "When you repeat a mistake, it's not a mistake anymore...it is a decision."
If you are by nature an unhappy, negative and/or complaining individual, I suggest you become a liberal. They always seem to have something to whine about.
I notice a sad trend that unreasonable people get catered to in order to avoid unpleasantness, while reasonable people get abused.
Because you call something a reform, doesn't mean it's good.
Don't buy skinny jeans until after the diet is successful.
Meditation is prayer without God.
"To," "Too," and "Two." "There," "Their," and "They're." Learn to use them correctly to avoid having people on Facebook think you're (not "your") an idiot.
People tell me I live in the past. I say it was nicer then.
If you do not support the right of people to say things that deeply offend you, to say things that you loath, you do not support free speech.
So the first Obamacare repeal failed after all the promises. Too bad we didn't have a good negotiator in the White House. You know, some one known for making deals.
Working PT as a security guard now, I work with a lot of young guys. When I say I was in
many say, "So was my Grandpa!" Hurrump
Given the rabid partisan split in the senate and country, no Supreme Court appointee could now get 60 votes.
The way I saw it, If HC had won,
Garland would have been voted onto the Court
immediately after the election - and BY the Repubs. Why? Because they knew that
HC would have nominated a far more lefty...So...it was a great strategy
to not give him a hearing at all, as that would have required/forced a
vote, and they would have had to vote "No" - which would have knocked
him off altogether... Rather, the Repubs wanted to keep his nomination
alive, just in case, because he is sort of a centrist, and MUCH more acceptable
than any HC nominee would have been...PS I'm glad (so far) that Neal Gorsuch is
a justice. He'll do great. I knew the Gorsuches well. Neal's mom, Anne,
was a State Legislator, and EPA director under Reagan. She was beautiful, a
smart lawyer, and nuts. --From my friend Dorothy, a former Colorado Legislator.
I once asked a four year old what the secret of life was. “Feed the kitties,” she said. “Feed the kitties.” --Ellis Felker
You only have to read the writing of many of today's High School and College graduates to understand why they no longer call the early years "Grammar School."
Pacifists are always at the mercy of the ruthless. Who have no mercy.
If you wish to avoid being late, plan to be early.
Tolerance of the intolerable is not a virtue. I like to think that I'm tolerant. But I'm very intolerant of those whose intolerance of other's views leads them to try to impose their own views by violence. This would include Nazis, Communists, Jihadists and groups of pseudo-Americans who will riot, destroy, intimidate, physically attack and violate the rights of others because they believe their "perfect" ideology gives them the right to do so.
The much-bemoaned "cultural appropriation"--taking ideas, food, styles and better ways of doing things from other cultures, is the essence of what makes diversity of great value to humans.
Politicians lie because the voters want things that are impossible, like more spending and less taxes. So only those who promise what they can't deliver can get elected.
Media Rule: If a Muslim is the victim of a crime, "Muslim" appears in the headline. If a Muslim commits a crime, "Muslim" appears no where in the story. The same applies to immigrant.
You will regret the times when you were not generous, not the times when you were.
You know how tired and achy your legs feel after you run ten miles? At 71, that's how they feel when you get up.
The killer planning mistake: assuming everything will go according to the plan.
You have a boat designed to carry ten people. With luck you might cram twenty into it before it founders and everyone aboard drowns. You are in a sea where a large ship has sunk due to corruption, mismanagement and poor maintenance, leaving over a thousand people struggling in the water. Beside you is a yacht belonging to rich
stars. They are demanding you take everyone in the water on board, but you
don't see them pulling anyone up. This is this situation our country is in with
I hear lots of people say, "I don't need the aggravation." Putting aside the misuse of aggravate (to make worse), who does need more irritations in their life?
When someone says, "That's Islamophobic" to you, the correct answer is, "The truth usually is."
The progressives' slogan should be, "Haters Against Hate."
Doing things at the last minute is the secret of doing things poorly.
Remember when college students were on a relentless quest for truth and knowledge instead of a desperate search to find something new to be offended by?
Get the collection! My “Random Thoughts” from 2008 through July, 2013 are collected in this book: The Old Jarhead's Journal: Random Thoughts on Life,
, and Leadership
by Robert A. Hall Liberty
The Old Jarhead’s Journal is a collection of Random Thoughts on politics and life and Conservative Political Essays, mostly published on the author’s blog, including the essay “I’m Tired” which went viral on the Internet in 2009, “The Hall Platform,” “This I Believe,” and “Why I’m a Republican.” While they will be of interest to conservative thinkers, they are collected here in book form as a service to readers who wish to give a copy to favorite liberals and watch their heads explode. All royalties are donated to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.
Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam Veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate. He is the author of The Coming Collapse of the American Republic. http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Collapse-American-Republic-prevent/dp/1461122538/ref=sr_1_5?s=booksandie=UTF8andqid=1304815980andsr=1-5 For a free PDF of Collapse, e-mail him at tartanmarine(at)gmail.com. Hall’s eleven books are listed here: http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2010/07/new-book-published.html. His blog of political news and conservative comment is www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com.
Posted by TartanMarine at 3:53 PM
Act 10 Battle: What We Have Here Is a Failure To Comply. By Matt Kittle
Posted by TartanMarine at 3:38 PM
Article V Convention Measure Could Be Headed For Senate Vote. By Matt Kittle
Posted by TartanMarine at 3:37 PM
VA Reverses 'Zero' Stance On War Vet's Disability Claim. By Matt Kittle
Posted by TartanMarine at 3:36 PM
From the left: Barack Obama has a powerful voice. He shouldn't use it for paid speeches by Jill Abramson
Excerpt: It’s still early, but so far Barack Obama’s post-presidency has been a disappointment. On Monday – during his first public appearance since Trump’s inauguration – Obama touched on income inequality. But as is becoming glaringly obvious to all, Obama is now firmly in the 1% himself – thanks in no small part to corporate America. The optics of some of Obama’s decisions since leaving office have been damaging. We learned this week that he will be paid a whopping $400,000 speaking fee from Cantor Fitzgerald LP, a bond firm known for dealing in credit default swaps, the fancy financial instruments that helped trigger the 2008 financial meltdown. ... The habitual kowtowing of senior Democrats to the billionaire class has left their party close to morally bankrupt. Bernie Sanders was right to hammer Hillary during the primaries for her speaking fees from Wall Street. Even her most ardent supporters found these speaking fees indefensible. They were certain to be fodder for her opponents. It was misguided of Obama to have signed on with the same DC speakers’ bureau as the Clintons, the Harry Walker Agency. For sure, it’s easy money. This giant of the speaking circuit has enriched the Clintons to the tune of $158m. During her campaign, Hillary explained that she took all that money because “it was what they offered”.
Posted by TartanMarine at 12:31 PM
Mr. President, You Did the Right Thing. By Erick Erickson
Excerpt: No government document is perfect and that includes treaties. The North American Free Trade Agreement is not a perfect document and not a perfect treaty. It has been blamed for the loss of jobs in this country, but the reality is those jobs came because of shifts in the economy already underway that NAFTA sought to address. For every sad story of a job loss blamed on NAFTA, there is at least one other, if not more, that would not exist but for NAFTA. But NAFTA is not perfect. The President’s staff had pushed him to withdraw the United States from NAFTA. Instead, after consulting with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, President Trump has decided to preserve NAFTA, but seek changes. Many of the changes he would like are changes that were already contemplated in the Trans Pacific Partnership and have already been agreed to by Mexico and Canada.
Posted by TartanMarine at 7:46 AM
Thursday, April 27, 2017
There will be blood
Robert A. Hall
What has been a slow crumbling of civilization and civilized behavior has seemed to pick up steam since the Trump election. I am no Trump fan, and did not vote for him. My disdain for The Donald is long standing and has been fully explored on my blog many times, to the dismay of Republican friends who have accused me of being a liberal Democrat!
But increasingly groups feel because they oppose President Trump they have the right to use violence, destruction of property and denial of rights like freedom of speech or freedom of movement to others because they know they are right and anyone else is a hater--and they just hate those haters and will destroy them!
And the authorities are either powerless to protect people's rights to property, speak, move and perhaps even life because they are afraid to be accused of racism, islamophobia, homophobia or maybe cultural appropriation/white privilege. The list of reasons why the lawless and the vicious must be allowed to carry out repugnant acts with impunity grows weekly. Worse, the authorities are often on the political side of the lawless, thus colluding or turning a blind eye just as southern white supremacist governments once did for the KKK and other oppressors of minorities.
Inevitably this will lead to a violent reaction from the people who are their victims. And increasingly it will be from average people outraged at the violence and intimidation, not from the few crazies in the Alt-Right, White Supremacist or skinhead groups. Violence begets violence. Blood begets blood. Destruction begets destruction. We have seen this before in the 1930s in
Germany, Italy, Spain
and the USSR.
We see it now in areas controlled by or attacked by Islamic Supremacists.
As blog readers know, I have been working part-time as a security officer for JBM Patrol, which is several cuts about other private security agencies I have seen, not to mention the one I worked for in college. JBM maintains high standards of appearance, training and professionalism--not an easy challenge even for the military in the face of today's social deterioration. But I think you are going to see a rapid expansion of such private security agencies as more people, businesses and organizations realize that protection from the police will depend on the political leanings of the destroyers and the political courage of politicians--a thin reed. And the uniform will not be a deterrence with these self-righteous, vicious political groups the way it is with casual opportunity-criminals. It will require troops--I use the word advisedly--trained in the use of force, with the will to counter violence with violence, but with the training and judgment not to use force when not appropriate just because they are provoked.
At 71, and having survived a lung transplant in December of 2013, I'm probably not prepared for riot control and it's unlikely I will be on the front lines in five or ten years, even if I yet live. But I see things getting much worse. I am sorry to say there is going to be blood.
Posted by TartanMarine at 6:59 PM
If you believe there is no God, murder isn't wrong
Posted by TartanMarine at 6:20 PM
My Sex Junk - Rachel Bloom - Bill Nye Saves The World
And wish nobody else did either. Remember Bill Nye the Science Guy? He has a new educational program, called Bill Nye Saves the World. In it he helps people learn all kinds of neat new stuff. Check out the performance given there by Rachel Bloom in basic sex-ed for kids. (His program is rate OK for kids 14 and above.) The performance...... it speaks for itself. See if you can figure out what it is she's trying to teach young teenagers. And we're supposed to believe Nye knows all about everything else in the cosmos too? Del
PS: I've had a lot of feedback on that horrendous video, and did some more research on other parts of his show, and he is way, way off any kind of beam about actual science or anything other than a super "progressive" agenda. Nye has flipped out completely and this show is a disservice to
people. My next move is to write to Netflix and protest this program as strongly as I can. In fact, as soon as I finish watching one series I like that's on it, I will terminate the contract. Nothing other than a lot of feedback will get any attention at Netflix, so perhaps others will decide to drop a line to the Netflix people. Del
Posted by TartanMarine at 6:18 PM
Obama’s $400,000 Cantor Speech Makes Him Wall Street's Newest Fat Cat
Former President Barack Obama, less than 100 days out of office, has agreed to speak at a Wall Street conference run by Cantor Fitzgerald LP, senior people at the firm confirm to FOX Business. His speaking fee will be $400,000, which is nearly twice as much as Hillary Clinton, his secretary of state, and the 2016 Democratic Party candidate, charged private businesses for such events. (Someone tell Bernie and Liz! ~Bob)
Posted by TartanMarine at 6:11 PM
A majority of registered voters believe it will take military force to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, according to the latest national Fox News Poll.
Posted by TartanMarine at 6:06 PM
Obama freed 7 Iranians who were threats to US national security
Posted by TartanMarine at 3:24 PM
Number of migrant criminal suspects in Germany soared by more than 50% in 2016, as minister warns the number of crimes has 'increased disproportionately'
Posted by TartanMarine at 3:23 PM
Why I Left Islam: An Iranian-American Speaks
Excerpt: “I see a lot of love in Christianity, I see a lot of anger and hate in Islam,” stated my anonymous Iranian-American interlocutor to me in his condominium building manager’s office. My interview partner related a revealing personal spiritual and geographic journey away from his boyhood Islamic faith and Iranian homeland to an adult Christian conversion in America.
Posted by TartanMarine at 3:22 PM
I was booked by Priceline on Frontier Airlines for a flight from
Cleveland to Raleigh. Price was comparatively inexpensive, $131. When I went to check in, it turns out this is the queen of "gotcha" airlines. Every single seat comes with a price, the lowest is $6, and they warn you all the cheap seats have limited legroom, so you really should pay $25 for one of the nice seats. It gets better. You can carry on a purse or laptop by itself for free. After that, every kind of bag at all costs you, the least cost is $25 if you buy a small carry on ahead of time on line (the kind that would normally fit under your seat). If you use an agent to buy it, it goes up $5 more, if you wait until the airport to buy it, it goes up double. Bigger bags cost you a lot more. To carry on a small bag the lowest you get away with is $30, plus the $6 for the small seat. Check two big bags and get a nicer seat and you will be out $100 if you do it on line, and double that if you wait until the airport. Try to call their office and it turns out you cannot get to a human being, at least I couldn't find a way to do it in 15 minutes of trying. This is the most simple and clear kind of "we're here to rip you off any way we can" that I have seen in a long time. If I had any way to get out of this reservation, even paying more to another airline, I would do it, but I'm stuck with it. As you might guess I will never use them again, and probably never use Priceline again. Be warned, and please pass this on far and wide, maybe a nice Facebook post. --Del
Posted by TartanMarine at 3:18 PM
Advice for Trump: Revise US Military Manuals Corrupted by Obama’s Pentagon http://beforeitsnews.com/military/2017/04/advice-for-trump-revise-us-military-manuals-corrupted-by-obamas-pentagon-video-2478741.html
Posted by TartanMarine at 3:16 PM
Kuwaiti imam advises on what can be done with a slave girl
Remember Kuwait which the US-led coalition liberated from Saddam Hussein in 1991? Did their society change as a result of our actions? Did the US exact any price or change of behavior in exchange for our sacrifices? Slavery is still OK as is seual slavery.
Kuwaiti Cleric Othman Al-Khamis: When A Slave-Girl Gets Married, Her Owner Must Stop Having Sex With Her
Does the US wish to accept immigrants from cultures that adhere to an promote these practices? Yours truly, Larry Greenberg
Posted by TartanMarine at 3:15 PM
ENGINEER FINED $500 FOR CALLING HIMSELF 'ENGINEER'
State penalizes man who found problem with red-light cameras. File this one under “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.” Beaverton, Oregon, resident Mats Järlström – a Swedish-born electronics engineer by training and previous work experience – is $500 poorer after being fined by an Oregon agency following his attempt to point out a problem in the state’s traffic lights that “puts the public at risk.” Specifically, Järlström – after spending a year investigating the timing of yellow lights and red-light camera statistics – found people were being electronically captured running yellow lights because of misapplication of a timing formula developed in 1959 and still used internationally. (This is just a wonderful story, the most beautiful example to come along in a while of how insanely petty bureaucrats can get and how they can abuse their powers. Hopefully the lawsuit and a lot of publicity will bring on so much ridicule that the fatuous idiots who did this will be very publicly embarassed, with consequences to their careers. --Del)
Posted by TartanMarine at 10:09 AM
Bill Nye, the Scientism Guy. By Kyle Smith
Excerpt: The ‘U.S. bad, developing world good’ cliché is not based in science, no matter how many models and rappers say so on Nye’s show. If you loved Bill Nye the Science Guy, do yourself a favor and don’t call up the kiddie entertainer’s new Netflix show Bill Nye Saves the World. Bitter, angry, shouty, conspiratorial, vulgar, wheedling, given to absurd hyperbole, and blithely eager to wreak punishment on his enemies, Nye comes across mentally as several millileters short of a beaker. It’s as if Kermit the Frog somehow morphed into Michael Moore. The new show (supposedly aimed at adults but still written at a grade-school level) uses occasional references to science to introduce simple political advocacy, broken up by bad jokes and interludes of actual screaming. This isn’t science but scientism, the invocation of science in areas where there are legitimate differences of values. “See, you, me we’re in this together,” Nye tells his audience at the outset of the first episode. “If we think together and work together, good things are gonna happen.” This might be a tempting thought to some — “Come, join our mob, happiness will ensue!” But groupthink isn’t science.
Posted by TartanMarine at 10:05 AM
Trump won't scrap Nafta trade deal 'at this time'
Excerpt: US President Donald Trump has told Mexico and Canada he wants to renegotiate - not scrap - the North American Free Trade Agreement. Media reports on Wednesday had suggested Mr Trump was drafting an executive order to end the pact. During his election campaign Mr Trump called Nafta the "single worst trade deal ever" and a "killer" of US jobs. The reversal surprised markets, sending the Mexican peso and Canadian dollar higher after losses earlier this week. (As a free trade, free market conservative, this is good news. ~Bob)
Posted by TartanMarine at 9:55 AM
The "March for Science" and how scientific it was
OK, as many of you know, I am one of those scientists, still practicing science regularly. (Just drew up an experiment for a client, will be giving a tech paper in Cleveland on Thursday.) I benefited from both oldfashioned teaching of Science that stressed rigor in experimentation and the dogged pursuit of objectivity and the years of Philosophy that
also dealt a lot with the idea of working at understanding and minimizing the effects of one's own biases and that hunt for objectivity. Real Science is not about personalities, fads, politics, but about hard data and careful application of reasoning.
But no matter how many degrees one has in Science, mere human traits still exist in us all, and sometimes well qualified scientists fall into the traps of bias, egotism, and the pursuit of money. And they also just make mistakes. How many times have we seen recalls of drugs and surgical items when it was found that in practice they didn't work out as well as
all the years of research and oceans of money said they would? If the latest government interest is in the idea that food or drug X has bad effects over time, how much easier is it to get grant money to investigate those bad effects than to demonstrate they don't exist at the levels claimed?
I happened to listen in to the NPR broadcast on the March for Science, which had a panel of very distinguished scientists in the discussion. But it started off with the NPR host praising all the scientists who had bravely swum against the tide to champion good Science and truths that
were being resisted. Among the names mentioned was Dr. Michael Mann.
Dr. Mann is famous (or infamous) from the publication of a graph in 1998 showing a very steep rise in global temperatures starting in the early 20th century, which he attributed to the increased generation of CO2 gas
by widespread use of fossil fuels in industry, transportation, home heating, etc. This "hockey stick graph" was hailed as a definitive proof of the AGW hypothesis of dangerous planetary warming due entirely to human activity.
Dr. Mann was well known for his work, done using mostly public funds at a university, and for being a Nobel Prize winner. As time went on and the debate grew more intense about warming and its possible causes, other
scientists asked to see all his data, which of course in scientific practice is perfectly normal and it is incumbent upon originator of the work to supply it. Dr. Mann was reticent, and eventually refused to
release all the work and his notes, and even when a FOI suit was filed, which applied since the work was government funded, he and the university went to court and stonewalled it all at tremendous expense. Finally in 2003 a Canadian researcher took what had been released of the data and
the algorithm used to generate the hockey stick graph and demonstrated that even feeding random data into the program would always generate a rising graph. But the best part of all was that after years of people questioning Mann's Nobel Prize, the Norwegian Prize committee finally
issued an official statement that Dr. Mann had never received any such honor and called on him to desist from such claims.
Michael Mann is most certainly NOT someone to be presented as a hero of Science. So the program started off on a false note.
To condense a lot of what could be written about, one major theme of the program was the upset among the panelists that people, apparently uneducated as they are, could question the scientific method and not appreciate Science and not give scientists full credence in all they do. I almost laughed out loud at this, given the numerous times scientists
have gone wrong in various ways. 50 years ago it was predicted the world would be in mass starvation before now, but it's not. 40 years ago we were told we'd all be approaching a new Ice Age by now, but that hasn't
worked out. 10 years ago it was confidently predicted all the arctic ice would be gone by now, but it's still there. Certainly most people don't understand science deeply, but common sense still tells us that scientists are not always correct in what they do or predict.
And the other part of the discussion was about denying that Science is ever political. But supporting the Climate Change program is not politics, it's just solid science according to all those on the program, and there was at least one reference to "deniers", the nicely negative term that the true believers apply to anyone, no matter how well qualified, who has the least reservations about the source of what warming we've actually seen in the past decades. (About 0.3 deg Centigrade in 20 years, which is about 15% of what the much publicized computer models predicted.) In real Science you don't call names just because you don't agree with the other guy. The main "abuse of Science" that has motivated the organizers of the marches is the resistance to the complete adoption of the Climate Change belief.
This topic has become far more about emotion than cold, hard Science. The earth is warming, but then again, it has been for a very long time, since the end of the last Ice Age. And it's had cycles, 800 years ago Greenland was fairly warm, then it froze for centuries, now it's warming
again. Planetary weather is a tremendously complex matter, and the sun is the overriding influence on everything, with lots of complications from sunspots, cloud cover, changing ocean currents, and far more than we know right now.
So yes, Science is super important, it's been the source of all our fantastic progress. But scientists are neither saints nor infallible nor all somehow morally or intellectually superior to everyone else. I'd sure like kids to get a lot of very good instruction in Science in school, and I wish everyone in Congress knew a good deal of both Science and Statistics. But for now, we need to keep muddling along, together. --Del
Posted by TartanMarine at 9:48 AM