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Messages - mikkel

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Andrew, I completely agree with you about our dire straits. I continuously get frustrated that the scientific community is in a bit of denial about what their own work shows and that even many who aren't in denial haven't been public about it.

The only high profile examples of scientists who I know accurately communicate the "true" consensus are Michael Mann and James Hansen, with Jason Box chipping in on Greenland. Even then, only Hansen has proper emotional sense of urgency in his communication, although this often gets entirely lost when talking in specifics (which he acknowledges).

As I am apt to comment, the consensus is that 4-5C of warming is enough to threaten civilization itself, and the supposedly radical Paris targets are actually for 6C long term. Therefore our "goal" is civilization collapse!

That said, I feel you are being way too hard on these scientists. I completely understand why, as I went through the same phase of grief myself. It drove me to spend many years study propaganda and the nature of mass social movements, with the purpose of somehow teaching scientists how their actions are contributing to the problem.

Instead I came to discover the root of the problem lay in lack of solid leadership and compassion for how society operates. Those of us who genuinely see reality spend our time trying to communicate and get people to understand, because this is what personally moves us. However, it is not the principal driver for the vast majority of people, and in fact information overload causes them to dig in their heels.

By contrast, propagandists are skilled in leading the masses by tailoring communication in ways that are most effective for mass influence.

The fact is that data and models have almost no real contribution to denier propaganda. They literally make up shit even about the most straightforward and clear science, and if it is too hard to spin then it is just ignored. It seems to us that every single statement and paper must be perfect so that we cannot be taken advantage of (e.g. ClimateGates) but this is a trap: the obsession with accuracy and consistency only brings us further down the rabbit hole of disconnection. At its worst, it leads to internal conflict and ad hominems that break down cooperation.

I would strongly recommend you read "Don't Even Think About It" by George Marshall, who does an excellent job of showing how we all contribute to paralysis on social change, and how the propagandists (of which he interviews one) are only a very small part of the puzzle.

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The rest / Re: Fukushima leak emergency: LIVE UPDATES
« on: February 09, 2017, 06:34:16 AM »

Silent on FOX news however was the fact that 20 plus similar GE "Mark I" reactors with the fuel pools high above the ground are still being utilized in the US.  Now to me  that is an emergency that can be reduced.  They  got 40 years production out of most of these prototypes.  They need to be mothballed and the fuel steel dry casked.   Don't hold your breath.  peace out.

Here is a fascinating documentary from Adam Curtis that originally aired in 1992



It centers around the GE reactors and includes an amazing interview with Alvin Weinberg, the inventor of the submarine reactor that was used as the base for GE's. In the interview he explicitly says that scaling up the design makes it inherently unstable and impossible to predict whether the safety systems will succeed.

It irritates me to no end that "nuclear power" has become synonymous with poor designs that they knew were impossible to predict even as they were building them, and that by covering up this fact for decades it has destroyed all credibility in the science and engineering.

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Science / Re: ClimateGate 2
« on: February 05, 2017, 10:38:37 PM »
Mornin' all (UTC),


The first obvious "anomaly" in Mr. Rose's purple prose and pretty pictures is the baseline "confusion" identified by Gavin Schmidt:

https://twitter.com/GreatWhiteCon/status/828085939553583105

Does anyone have an good ideas on how to get the principals behind temperature data to all start using the same *pre-industrial* baseline? For the love of God, it is so important for all communication. So much is made of 2 degree threshold, but that threshold is meaningless when they aren't shown in any of the data or official reporting!

I have seen so many media stories that are completely inaccurate about how much warming there has been, and the majority of them are written in good faith.

I am actually engaged and can't remember what adjustments to give each data set, how is the general public supposed to?

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Arctic sea ice / Re: Home brew AMSR2 extent & area calculation
« on: January 27, 2017, 08:51:04 PM »
Hi guys. I sympathize with etienne here and think it's pretty obvious what the question is. I've seen it in my own work!

From a systems perspective, etienne is merely speculating that there was a rapid phase shift to another attractor, but that the new attractor has the same dynamics as the old attractor of linear decline. How this translates to physical reality is pretty easy to conjecture: the ice decreases until at some time there is a tipping point in a particular basin of the Arctic where the dynamics quickly change, while the rest of the Arctic continues its steady progress down. This isn't exactly hypothetical, it appears that something like this may have occurred around Svalbard -- time will tell.

That said, you guys are completely correct about the statistical treatment for the hypothesis. Etiene's technique doesn't properly test the hypothesis for the reasons you state, however it is a novice attempt at trying to prove the intuitive intuition. I can relate, because I did the same thing early on in my career and it led to this exact same conversation with someone who taught me the proper statistics!

If there is anything I've learned it's that complex systems are very hard to communicate because there are so many different mental models, and analysis relies on making assumptions about which to pick. I've had countless discussions about whether to model things as continuous distributions (say logistic regression) vs multiple linear attractors (with change point analysis) or even as stochastic processes with high dimensionality.

In this example I agree that it looks like it won't pass a change point analysis. However, the residuals are obviously correlated at long tau, so a linear fit isn't correct either. So when it comes to analysis, we have to decide whether to try to fit a continuous distribution or make the assumption that there was a jump to a new attractor but a linear fit is still appropriate for each part.

Both of them rely on assumptions -- which continuous distribution would you pick? -- and neither is going to have statistical validity because there isn't enough data. In this case, like so many, we can be strong in saying that it looks there there is non-linearity, but the type of non-linearity is up for debate.

Unfortunately by the time we know, it will no longer be important. Therefore, at best we can do is use projections in order to try to better grasp what is going on and come to mutual understanding of how to react.

I've learned that quantitative tools have value for expressing qualitative intuition. They can demonstrate what we are thinking even if what we are thinking is not yet provable and therefore there is no way to be "correct." In that view I find Etienne's thoughts very interesting! I personally wouldn't come to the same conclusion, but it gives food for thought.

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