Showing posts with label Science and Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science and Politics. Show all posts

Saturday, October 19, 2013

LA Times Censoring Scientific Debate

I heard on the radio yesterday that the LA Times will no longer print letters to the editor denying climate change, on the assumption, I guess, that such denial would be tantamount to racism or gay-bashing. They evidently do not understand science, the scientific method, or how these issues are settled. Did you know that Einstein's theory of relativity is still being tested? So far the tests continue to support and validate the theory, but even at this late date, we could find something that blows it away. But at least relativity is testable.

I think it’s important to note that the LA Times, as a private newspaper, may exercise their first amendment rights as they see fit. Freedom of the press means newspapers, blogs and broadcasters are free to publish, or not to publish whatever they like. The fact that they have their heads in the sand (or up their asses) is their prerogative. The appropriate response is to start your own publication. “Fair and balanced” isn't a single-publisher proposition. Competition is.

I do not deny that climate changes all the time, as it has done since the dawn of time. We have incontrovertible records of it. I do not deny that we may still be burrowing out of the last ice age. We have incontrovertible records of that too. But I do deny that there is any incontrovertible evidence that humans are in any way responsible, nor can there be. It isn't testable! That's because in order to verify anthropogenic global warming climate change chaos (AGCC) experimentally, we would need a "control planet" (a duplicate earth, but without humans, or at least not industrialized -- it doesn't seem practical to me).

The climate science community has tried to address this shortcoming through computer modeling, but computer models are simply buggy self-fulfilling prophecies. There is no natural real-world way to prove that the computer models have accounted for everything - initial conditions, seemingly negligible factors, getting cause and effect reversed, and the unknown. We can't model what we don't know, and we can't validate what we can't test. It's all synthetic.

I think it's ironic that many of the people espousing computer modeling as a reliable way to prove the AGCC hypothesis are the same ones who denounce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods, artificial flavoring, and who demand "naturally organic" foods. It's inconsistent, to say the least.

Monday, March 11, 2013

DST -- Living the Dream

Actually, my dream was cut short this morning. I used to think morning and evening shifted position together in the same direction with the seasons, more or less, making Daylight Saving Time defensible. But I printed out a local solar noon calendar, and it ranges from 12:24:32 on Feb. 11 to 11:53:51 on Nov. 3. That’s approximately a 30 minute difference around an average noon of about 12:10.

According to the red and orange lines on this graph, sunrise and sunset move in opposite directions with the seasons. The glitch you see in the curve is the rather insignificant effect of DST compared to the physical daylight available each day (the blue line). What a waste of time and effort. Year round standard time would be just fine.

Research is very conflicted as to whether DST saves any energy, or even wastes more. I’m sure the cost of DST switching twice a year wastes far more energy and capital than any imagined savings. It's just more unscientific government meddling. It certainly saves no daylight. It’s like making a blanket longer by cutting a foot off one end, and sewing it onto the other.

Ben Franklin is credited/blamed for DST. He proposed it as a joke! He had his shortcomings, but I think he was smarter than most people today. It is disturbing how often ridiculous ideas have a way of becoming public policy generations later. 

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Trouble With Science

Anthony Watts (Watts Up With That?) posted an article entitled Aliens Cause Global Warming: A Caltech Lecture by Michael Crichton. Crichton presented the lecture on January 17, 2003 -- a decade ago. Watts posted the article in 2010, but I just discovered it. I'm posting this here now because it explains so well the objections I have had to junk science being used to drive faulty public policy and governmental malpractice.

Michael Crichton is of course a well known science fiction writer, known for Westworld, The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, and many others. But he is also a strong critic of junk science and the devolution of science for political ends. He presented many lectures in support of good science. Crichton attended Harvard Medical School, and was a medical doctor. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Climate Panel Adopts Controversial 'Grey' Evidence

NewScientist reports, Climate panel adopts controversial 'grey' evidence. Yeah, this is new...

Climate scientists are likely to face charges of putting politics before science, following two decisions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

At a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, earlier this month, the IPCC decided for the first time to impose strict geographical quotas on the elected officials that make up its bureau. There will also be a push to increase the representation of women among its authors.

Quotas and gender preferences? Sure, why not? Objective scientists do that all the time!

It had also voted at a meeting in Kampala in November 2011 to increase the role in those assessments of "grey literature": publications not subject to peer review. Using such material in the last assessment is what led to the "glaciergate" scandal in 2010, when the report was found to have vastly overestimated the rate at which Himalayan glaciers are losing ice.

I don't think "grey literature" would be any worse than the fraudulent, peer-reviewed "hide the decline" literature. What does peer review matter, when the peer review is hand-picked to rubber stamp the agenda? This saves having to cover up or falsify any dissent among the reviewers. The IPCC has finally publically admitted that it has no interest whatsoever in objective truth; only a predetermined political outcome.

The panel publishes three voluminous assessments of the state of climate science every six years, the last of which came out in 2007.

I got your state of climate science right here! Fortunately, IPCC has absolutely no jurisdiction within sovereign US borders -- right? It looks as if Orwell was only off by 28 years.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Study: Obesity Could Lead To Depletion Of Earth's Resources

Here's your justification for regulating health and food choices:

ATHENS, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) – A recent study conducted by scientists in London found that the obese persons of the world are playing an increasingly large role in the rate at which the planet’s finite resources are used.

“Increasing population fatness could have the same implications for world food energy demands as an extra half a billion people living on the earth,” the study concluded.

The findings were published in the BMC Public Health journal earlier this year. (Continue reading...)

This is a study from London, but this kind of collectivist thinking has been gaining momentum on both sides the Atlantic for a long time. I am becoming more and more convinced that our government run public schools have been doing a great disservice since the early part of the 20th Century, replacing critical objective thought (including the scientific method) with post modern claptrap (progressivism). Our technology (a lingering product of objectivity and the scientific method) provides a wealth of information, but most recent graduates cannot interpret it in any kind of meaningful way. These "scientific studies" always seem to be designed to promote an agenda.

The current dithering with string theory and parallel universes is the price we pay for this uncritical thinking. Have you noticed, science hasn't had any major breakthroughs since around 1920? It ended with Relativity and the Standard Model of Quantum Theory. Is it any coincidence that 1913 was the year we passed the 16th and 17th amendments? The Wilson regime? I'm starting to think not.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tragic, Unhealthy and Completely Predictable

Author Brian Sussman interviews a victim of our public indoctrination system:

Her conclusion is tragic, unhealthy, and completely predictable.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cyber Warfare -- Governments Developing Computer Viruses

Two articles caught my eye in the last week:
Researchers say they have uncovered "proof" linking the authors of the Flame cyber espionage program to Stuxnet, the most powerful offensive cyber weapon ever developed -- both of which are believed to have targeted Iran.
CHICAGO — On the sixth floor of a sleek office building here, more than 150 techies are quietly peeling back the layers of your life. They know what you read and where you shop, what kind of work you do and who you count as friends. They also know who your mother voted for in the last election.
I write software for a living. In recent years, most software vendors have become much more pro-active about hardening their software against security threats. If word of a vulnerability gets out, it is corporate suicide not to address the problem immediately. But this takes lots of time away from doing our primary job of developing programs that address what our customers really want: Programs that make them more productive or provide entertainment. It isn't that they don't want security, but addressing security concerns slows development and increases cost.

I just discovered our job got a lot more difficult and expensive. Until recently, most malware (i.e., computer viruses) was written by "hackers" who want to vandalize your machine, or by organized crime, which wants to steal your identity, and thus, your money. But now, two very sophisticated computer viruses have been discovered in the middle east that are so destructive, and so complex that they could only be developed by a nation-state: a government with the ability to print money or leverage its tax base for seemingly unlimited resources. But my employer doesn't have  unlimited resources. Not by a long shot.

So far, these weapons have been directed at Iran. Stuxnet successfully sabotaged Iran's nuclear program, by making computerized centrifuges spin out of control and fly apart. Flame is a spy tool. Suppose that a government wanted to aim its weapons at its own citizens, or at citizens in another country. We already have political candidates using computer data mining to get themselves re-elected. Who could stop it? Not the private sector.

Both Stuxnet and Flame have leaked out into the wild, which means everyday hackers and "script kiddies" will be able to use these powerful tools for their own nefarious purposes. Think of the dysfunctional computer nerd living in his parents' basement  -- or a crime ring -- with a pile of hand grenades. With these apps, it's essentially the same thing, only much harder to track. How much longer do you suppose the private sector will be allowed to develop software, when software is a military asset?

We're entering a brave new world, my friends.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Demi-God, or Demagogue?

I imagine a hypothesis in which Man releases a miniscule percentage of trapped CO2 into the atmosphere, which causes runaway climate change.

And everyone believes me without any verification.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Can 33 Kilo Volts Deter Crime?

A lot of social engineering is devoted to the deterrence of crime. I have to wonder if it's worth it, after reading this: 
A would-be copper thief was gravely injured early Saturday morning when he attempted to steal copper wiring from a live Edison vault, according to authorities. 
The story continues:
Officials say the suspect is “extremely grave” and that it’s likely he was burned by 33,000 volts of electricity.
(Read the entire story...)

Think about it: You have a man who wants to steal copper. Copper is much less valuable than gold. Copper thieves sell it by the pound to scrap dealers. But this Poindexter is not deterred by thirty-three thousand volts of electricity? That is 275 times higher than the voltage of ordinary  house current, which is already quite lethal. If 33KV  doesn't deter someone, then I really don't know what will. It isn't as if he wasn't warned: If you have ever spent any time around high tension equipment, you know that it hums and buzzes; corona discharges snap and spark. And it's loud, too -- it's all very intimidating.

That smoldering bozo is lucky an arm or a leg didn't simply explode -- being turned instantly to steam when he contacted the hot wiring -- assuming the electrical disruption didn't reset his brain, or send his heart into instant fibrillation. What a maroon.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Type of Automobile For You and For Me

I Fisk an email circulating on the Interntet:
What is this? Will it be the next big thing? Tata Motors of India thinks so. What will the Oil Companies do to stop it?
The oil companies? Nothing! Absolutely nothing. Everyone blames the oil companies for suppressing every impractical alternative energy source since perpetual motion. If someone ever does develop an energy source that is cheaper, cleaner and more practical than gas or diesel, they will become very rich. The oil companies cannot suppress it. There's too much money to be had. It. Simply. Won't. Happen.
It is an auto engine that runs on air. That's right; air not gas or diesel or electric but just the air around us. Take a look.
It's a cute little engine they have there. But it doesn't run on air. It runs on energy stored in compressed air, from a compressor. Powered by fossil fuel, or nuclear, or hydroelectric. I actually don't think compressed air is a very practical energy storage medium. The energy contained in compressed air is similar to winding up a rubber band; there's nothing particularly efficient about it. Plus, there are thermal losses (PV=nRT).
Tata Motors of India has scheduled the Air Car to hit Indian streets by August 2012
Air powered? Zero emissions? Hardly! You have to charge it from some other energy source, so there are emissions, unless your power grid is hydroelectric.
The Air Car, developed by ex-Formula One engineer Guy N. For Luxembourg-based MDI, uses compressed air to push its engine's pistons and make the car go.
The Air Car, called the "Mini CAT" could cost around 365,757 rupees in India or $8,177 US.
The Mini CAT which is a simple, light urban car, with a tubular chassis, a body of fiberglass that is glued not welded and powered by compressed air. A Microprocessor is used to control all electrical functions of the car. One tiny radio transmitter sends instructions to the lights, turn signals and every other electrical device on the car. Which are not many.
Good thing, too. You won't have much excess energy to waste on electrical accessories.
The temperature of the clean air expelled by the exhaust pipe is between 0-15 degrees below zero, which makes it suitable for use by the internal air conditioning system with no need for gases or loss of power.
So if you need air conditioning, you could recover some of the heat lost after compressing the air. Small consolation...
There are no keys, just an access card which can be read by the car from your pocket. According to the designers, it costs less than 50 rupees per 100 KM, that's about a tenth the cost of a car running on gas. It's mileage is about double that of the most advanced electric car, a factor which makes it a perfect choice for city motorists. The car has a top speed of 105 KM per hour or 60 mph and would have a range of around 300 km or 185 miles between refuels. Refilling the car will take place at adapted gas stations with special air compressors. A fill up will only take two to three minutes and costs approximately 100 rupees and the car will be ready to go another 300 kilometers.
It might be practical as a small runabout. Its primary advantage is that it is small and light. That's how it saves energy; there is no free lunch here. Gas or battery (or rubber band) powered cars of similar size and weight would be as efficient.
This car can also be filled at home with it's on board compressor. It will take 3-4 hours to refill the tank, but it can be done while you sleep.
From the power grid.
Because there is no combustion engine, changing the 1 liter of vegetable oil is only necessary every 50,000 KM or 30,000 miles. Due to its simplicity, there is very little maintenance to be done on this car.
That is an advantage, I'll grant you that.
This Air Car almost sounds too good to be true. We'll see in August. 2012
Not too good to be true. Just true. Light, tiny, limited in power, range and creature comforts.

Speaking of clean, cheap, practical energy sources, I actually believe gasoline and diesel are about as close to perfection as we're ever likely to see, especially with today's computerized engines. There are some possible further improvements on the internal combustion engine (so we don't throw away so much excess heat), but given the number of people using them (literally millions worldwide), the problems are actually remarkably few, and the environmental impact about as low as you could ask.

I'll guaran-damn-tee you that if battery technology improved by the order of magnitude necessary to make it practical, and millions of people started driving electric vehicles (or even hybrids) the environmental damage from manufacturing and disposing of all those batteries would be catastrophic. Much worse than the manifold predicted catastrophes that the watermelons pretend to obsess about for fossil fuel.

The real tragedy here is, the six-stroke engines are estimated to be 40% more efficient and less polluting than conventional engines -- a practical and significant improvement -- but since they're fossil fuel engines, the watermelons don’t like them. And, unlike the oil companies suppressing technology, government can and does. So you won't see President Obama giving grants to improved internal combustion engine designs, only to electric cars, and solar and wind power. Therefore, improved I-C designs languish, under capitalized, and competing against impractical, artificially propped-up "alternatives". Not that I think government should be subsidizing them either; government shouldn't be picking winners and losers at all. That's what people voting with their hard-earned dollars every day -- in a free market -- are best at.

Professor Ross McKitrick testifies at the Canadian Senate Hearing - December 15, 2011

Here's some very interesting and critical testimony about IPCC and global warming climate change:

Hat tip to Small Dead Animals. More testimony at the Heartland Institute...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Public Service Announcement and Editorial Comment

This email came to me from a local technical list server that I subscribe to:
Subject: odd phone call
This scam has been going around but it's the first I've heard of it locally. Apparently they are preying upon people who aren't computer smart... they say the computer is infected and then ask for access to the computer so they can "show you the problem" and then they ask that the victim download a file. I have no idea what happens after that but you know it's not good...
As far as reporting it... this appears to be originating outside of the US, so I don't think reporting it to the FTC and/or state Attorney General (as you normally would with telephone fraud) would really be helpful... but warning friends who aren't real good with computers (and who might believe the spiel) would probably be a good idea.
Okay. Now, 'people who aren't computer smart' and 'friends who aren't real good with computers' should heed this warning. But keep in mind that legislators and even some subscribers to the tech list are 'people who aren't computer smart'. If they need a warning like this, then how susceptible do you suppose they are to being fooled by computer models as proof of a scientific hypothesis?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Climategate I and II

Evidence continues to accumulate, that global warming (or the more recently adopted non-falsifiable and self-fulfilling moniker "climate change") is an outright fraud.

Jim Lacey writing in National Review Online states in his article Scientists Behaving Badly,

Last week over 5,000 new e-mails, already dubbed Climategate 2, were released. Anyone still desiring to contest the assertion that only a few persons controlled the entire warmist agenda will be brought up short by this note from one warmist protesting that his opinions were not getting the hearing they deserved: “It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by a select core group.” Over the years this core group, led by Phil Jones at East Anglia and Michael Mann at Penn State, became so close that even those inclined toward more honest appraisals of the state of climate science were hesitant to rock the boat. As one warm-monger states: “I am not convinced that the ‘truth’ is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships.” Silly me, how many years have I wasted believing that the very point of science was to pursue the truth in the face of all obstacles. On the basis of this evidence the scientific method must be rewritten so as to state: “Science must be as objective as possible, unless it offends your friends.”
(Continue reading...)
One by one, scientists are beginning to speak up. Karin McQuillan writes in Scientists in Revolt against Global Warming over at American Thinker,
More and more scientists are revolting against the global warming consensus enforced by government funding, the academic establishment, and media misrepresentation. They are saying that solar cycles and the complex systems of cloud formation have much more influence on our climate, and account for historical periods of warming and cooling much more accurately that a straight line graph of industrialization, CO2, and rising temperatures. They also point out that the rising temperatures that set off the global warming panic ended in 1998.
It takes a lot of courage. Scientists who report findings that contradict man-made global warming find their sources of funding cut, their jobs terminated, their careers stunted, and their reports blocked from important journals, and they are victimized by personal attacks. This is a consensus one associates with a Stalinist system, not science in the free world.
(Continue reading...)
But, there is a real possibility that if humans ever are legitimately linked to global warming or climate change -- anything -- that real scientists and principled public servants will have a much harder row to hoe in order to convince people to take the necessary steps to reverse it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Truth Will Set You Free!

The truth will set you free -- literally -- if you can find it. Canada is reported to be planning to announce it is leaving the Kyoto Protocols. If that isn't a huge blow for freedom, then I don't know what is. There isn't much of anything more oppressive than the government policies (Kyoto, Agenda 21) intended to reduce "global warming", or "climate change" as they now unfalsifiably call it.

The truth is, there is no experiment that you could run that can verify that humans cause global warming, global cooling, or anything in between. All good scientists are skeptics, in search of the truth.

This could be the best news of the year (read more...). I wonder how long before my own country comes to its senses. Although we never ratified the Kyoto treaty, we've been implementing it like mad.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why I Deny Global Warming | Western

I'm not a denier, I'm a heretic, but News Editor over at Western Journalism reiterates what I have been saying since day one:
I’m a denier for several reasons. There is no substantive evidence that the planet has warmed significantly or that any significant warming will occur in the future. If any warming does occur, it likely will be concentrated at higher latitudes and therefore be beneficial. Climate research has largely degenerated into pathological science, and the coverage of global warming in the media is tendentious to the point of being fraudulent. Anyone who is an honest and competent scientist must be a denier.
(Continue reading...)
The alleged degree of global warming over the past 150 years is less than 1 deg C. Yet even in a technologically advanced country like the US, the inherent error in over 90 percent of the surveyed meteorological stations is greater than the putative signal. And these errors are not random, but systematically reflect a warming bias related to urbanization.
Urbanization, as in Agenda 21's "pack & stack". He continues:
Watts has documented countless instances of air temperature sensors located next to air conditioning vents or in the middle of asphalt parking lots. A typical scenario is that a temperature sensor that was in the middle of a pasture a hundred years ago is now surrounded by a concrete jungle. Urbanization has been a unidirectional process. It is entirely plausible – even likely – that all of the temperature rise that has been inferred from the data is an artifact that reflects the growth of urban heat islands.
The thermometers at KCID AM 1490, where I worked as an engineer just out of college was one of those reporting stations that started out in a field of grass. Don’t even get me started on the poor practices of the operators responsible for reading those thermometers. At least half the time, the temperature wasn’t taken at the right time, or wasn’t taken at all, but filled in from memory based on what the announcers were reading off the indoor/outdoor thermometer mounted above the mixing console.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Online Gamers Crack Scientific Puzzle

My wife found this article on The Bellingham Herald website:
For more than a decade, biochemists could not fully decipher the structure of a key protein, called a protease, that retroviruses such as HIV need to multiply. Knowing it would be a key step toward developing better anti-viral drugs.

So University of Washington scientists unleashed an avid group of online gamers. Within three furious weeks of play, pitting teams of non-scientists against each other, the gamers delivered the first accurate model of a retroviral protease. Knowing the structure is a key step toward finding better anti-viral drugs.
(Continue reading...)

As you know, I have been very critical of using computer modeling as a substitute for actual experiments. Computer models are tautologies.

This is different. This is computer-aided problem solving that leverages human strengths, such as pattern recognition, the ability to reason, and our natural propensity for competition. Cut-throat competition is harmful, but as in any successful government, when human nature is harnessed for good, it is very powerful indeed.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hilarious Global Warming Song Parodies

I don't know if these guys paid the license fees to perform these songs in public, so they might be pulled soon. Get 'em while they're hot!

Monday, September 5, 2011

On Being Governed By Scientific Frauds

This article over at American Thinker is a tad hyperbolic, but this paragraph makes it all worthwhile:
Nothing is as toxic as a really bad idea. Hundreds of millions of dollars are still being spent in "scientific" pursuit of disaster scenarios about the earth, fiddling with infinitely variable computer models. This isn't science; the burden of proof has flipped to the skeptics, which does not happen in real science. Albert Einstein had to predict observable outcomes before his ideas were accepted. Watson and Crick had to prove the helical structure of DNA before anybody took them seriously. But in Global Frauding it's the skeptics who are supposed to prove that the latest computer model is not true. If they manage that, the crooks just make up a new computer model. It's a sort of card sharper trick. A con artist can always move faster than the suckers.
(Continue reading...)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gore: Global warming skeptics are this generation’s racists

I don't know if Al Gore truly believes the junk science, or if he is deliberately trying to pull the wool over people's eyes:
One day climate change skeptics will be seen in the same negative light as racists, or so says former Vice President Al Gore.

(Read more...)

“This is an organized effort to attack the reputation of the scientific community as a whole, to attack their integrity, and to slander them with the lie that they are making up the science in order to make money,” Gore said.
No, Mr. Gore, it isn't. It is about watermelons subverting the scientific method for political reasons!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Deniers and Heretics and Skeptics -- Oh My!

Many watermelons argue that preservatives are all a bunch of dogmatic Christian fundamentalists who reject science. I don't think that's true. Let's consider the history of science and the role of skeptics and testable hypotheses in the quest for the truth. Following the line from Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Einstein...