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Messages - 6roucho

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After several months of the torch of public attention, Scott Pruitt has finally melted. Global slime levels rose perceptibly. Good riddance.

His replacement, Wheeler, is worse. Same ideology, lobbyist for coal, buddy with Inhofe, much more presentable, won't tick all the boxes for corruption. Like Pence, he will do more harm than the original.

It’s like the sea. We need a sea change, where science becomes important to leaders again.

After several months of the torch of public attention, Scott Pruitt has finally melted. Global slime levels rose perceptibly. Good riddance.

Policy and solutions / Re: Carbonfile
« on: June 25, 2018, 06:46:40 PM »
Actually, thinking more about Neven’s questions: an inventory for a person or household would probably be overkill. People have a carbon footprint. Inventories are really for industry, and informing public policy. But the system could have a place for carbon footprints. It’d be quite informative (and fun) to put your footprint in the blockchain, for future generations to see.

Policy and solutions / Re: Carbonfile
« on: June 25, 2018, 04:09:34 PM »

An inventory records emissions to the atmosphere and removals from the atmosphere to sinks [such as storage in forests, vegetation, and soils] of all the greenhouse gases [Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, chlorofluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons]. It's a more formal expression of a carbon footprint.

This service is for anyone to use, but only people and enterprises we've verified will be published online, otherwise people could game the results. Scientists could use the service to make a permanent record of their research findings. We hope to move towards an interesting, aggregate ledger in the blockchain.

Most countries publish inventories, so we'll be grabbing those and publishing them.

Policy and solutions / Carbonfile
« on: June 25, 2018, 12:15:27 PM »
Hi y'all,

I've recently become involve in a project to implement a GHG inventory in the blockchain, based on the concepts and language of ISO 14064.

The idea is that it'll be free for private use, including scientific use. We'll charge willing corporations something for verified membership [meaning public results] and that'll hopefully pay for the project.

I'd really appreciate any ideas from the citizen-scientists here about how to make it the *most useful*.


Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018 melting season
« on: April 12, 2018, 06:50:14 PM »
Wasn’t 2000 in the 20th century?

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: November 29, 2017, 04:55:45 PM »
Thats interesting: fossil energy budget at DOE cut by 45% since 2016 ? Is that an error or are they sneaking the money back in somehow ?

The bulk of dollars that got cut in the "fossil energy" section is in "Fossil Energy Research and Development".

Here is an overview of that program :

Secure, affordable and environmentally acceptable energy sources are
essential to the Nation’s security and economic prosperity. The Fossil
Energy Research and Development (FER&D) program leads Federal research,
development, and demonstration efforts on advanced carbon
capture, and storage (CCS) technologies
to facilitate achievement of the
President’s climate goals. FER&D also develops technological solutions
for the prudent and sustainable development of our unconventional domestic

So we are mainly looking at the Trump administration killing off CCS technology.

Overall, the biggest looser in this budget is "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy" which got cut by far the largest amount ($1.4 billion; a whopping -69%).

The real ‘budget’ for extraction industries comes in the form of subsidies across their business cycle, from exploration to construction to distribution networks, which amount to trillions of dollars over time. The forthcoming corporate tax cut is more of the same, since the fossil fuel industry remains nx the size and profitability of the renewables sector. That amount of money pays for an awful lot of competitive advantage.

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: October 18, 2017, 06:09:20 PM »
You have to wonder how an administration selected by the rejection of facts [climate change deniers, birthers, conspiracy theorists] can actually govern. I guess it depends on whether they’re continuous or discontinuous contrarians. If they’re discontinuous, then at least the ones who believe the truth in one field can cover for the others who choose not to, like the apocryphal monks, feeding each other with long-handled spoons. The weakness is climate science. None of them seems to believe in that.
I think most of them agree that government is bad. And done the way they do it, it is.
Efficient markets also depend on real information. These people are just picking different winners. Overwhelmingly, the fossil fuel industry.

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: October 17, 2017, 01:18:40 AM »
You have to wonder how an administration selected by the rejection of facts [climate change deniers, birthers, conspiracy theorists] can actually govern. I guess it depends on whether they’re continuous or discontinuous contrarians. If they’re discontinuous, then at least the ones who believe the truth in one field can cover for the others who choose not to, like the apocryphal monks, feeding each other with long-handled spoons. The weakness is climate science. None of them seems to believe in that.

Consequences / Re: Hurricane season 2017
« on: October 13, 2017, 06:57:04 PM »
There is very little long-term trend in hurricane activity, and this is supported by most of the data.
Maybe, it's not significant. Nevertheless, 30-years average Atlantic ACE (red line) has increased compared to the past.

Yes, there has been a slight long term increase.  But it is much less than the 40% claimed in an earlier post.
Doesn’t that graph show about a 40% increase?

Science / Re: Modelling the Anthropocene
« on: September 13, 2017, 08:14:04 PM »
AnruptSLR, how do you read so much and so widely? You're a machine!

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: September 11, 2017, 04:48:01 PM »
At a moment climate change is hard to ignore, the EPA is being pointed elsewhere.
Pruitt even denies CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday he is not convinced that carbon dioxide from human activity is the main driver of climate change and said he wants Congress to weigh in on whether CO2 is a harmful pollutant that should be regulated.

The idea that we should open a public debate about warming is equivalent to the idea that we should open a public debate about evolution. It leads the public to believe that two sides of an argument about an established fact have equivalent merit, which provides policymakers with political cover for making expedient choices in favour or their real constituency, the corporations who fund their politics.

Pruitt's a killer, every bit as anyone on death row. Conservatives would undoubtedly paint that opinion as hysterical, but how else can we describe it? History will judge him that way, for what it's worth. I doubt he gives a goddamn.

Science / Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« on: September 07, 2017, 12:35:22 PM »
All we need is sufficient time.
Perhaps you do not appreciate the differences between the teachings of the Buddha and eastern mysticism. The Buddha taught that there is no magic in the universe, yet to reach the ultimate empirical truth he taught that one must transcend the illusions of time and space (as proven by holographic theory), using the recursive application of: deductive logic, inductive logic, the reduction of entropy, concentration/focus/effort/work and letting go of preconditioning; all of which underpin the scientific method.
Maybe I don't. I consider some of the teachings of the Buddha to be eastern mysticism, since they include unprovable metaphysics, such as reincarnation.  I also consider some of the ideas of my my own religion [Taoism] to be mysticism, although somewhat less so, since Taoism rejects the unprovable.

That doesn't mean *all* of the teachings of Buddha are mysticism. It's easy to find elements of both religions that align with [and predate] modern physics.

I have no problem with mysticism, as long as we recognise it as such, and we're sufficiently rigorous about how we allow it to inform us about the nature of reality. There's undoubtedly a spiritual realm. How and where is crosses the Real is a valuable question.

Science / Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« on: September 06, 2017, 10:47:42 AM »
AbruptSLR, no: as a [sometimes] working mathematician, I do know the difference between holographic theory and eastern mysticism. I make far bigger mistakes than that, as in my previous dumb comment to you. :-)

But I take your point. I'm not positioning philosophy relative to science, but as as a necessary part of it. Popper doesn't downplay empiricism: he considers its limits. Without epistemology, we'd lack part of the formal language necessary for understanding what true statements mean. Without the language to define proof, how can we have proof?

So, in that sense, we do still need the 20th century.

There's a lame undergraduate joke that "Even Karl Popper gets up in the morning." That's a reference to Popper's [rigorous] disproof of inductive logic. It isn't possible to prove anything by induction, even if induction is useful. Like many useful tools, understanding its limits is a necessary precursor to using it, since otherwise we might feel we've proved things we haven't.

What the joke means is that even though we can't prove the sun will rise tomorrow, simply by reference to a large set of data, it probably will. And probability, in the end, is all we have to go in in the physical sciences. Observing a thing five times doesn't mean it will happen a sixth time, even if we understand all the reasons. One day, that electron [or table] *will* tunnel through that wall. All we need is sufficient time.

Science / Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« on: September 05, 2017, 06:45:46 PM »
AbruptSLR, I think there's a great deal of philosophy you may be missing out on, which has nothing to do with theology. As Anne says, most of western philosophy (including metaphysics) has the objective of being rigorously empirical; of making real statements about the world, and of defining what form those statements can meaningfully take. Much of the stringency of the scientific method has its roots in the rigours of formal philosophical discourse. Wittgenstein [or Karl Popper] might be a better starting point than eastern mystics.

Science / Re: Anthropogenic Existential Risk
« on: September 05, 2017, 09:39:41 AM »
I wouldn't disagree with Musk on this. Prudent risk management says we should stringently mitigate this risk, because it *is* existential, but at the moment, its in the hands of individual scientists, and more worryingly, of government labs.

There's a great deal of head-in-the-sand denial from technology businesspeople who say this isn't a risk, because, like, it isn't. Methinks their eye is on the size of the prize, not on the chance of collecting it. When we finally crack the problem of inventing a species more intelligent than we are, there's no good reason to think it'll be well-disposed towards us, apart from optimism, and some lame first-directive-style sci-fi tropes.

As a risk analyst, I throw my tentacles in the air in despair.

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: September 04, 2017, 01:29:59 PM »
This from Forbes, by no stretch a contrarian publication:

Reject This Incompetent Trump Nominee; He's Not A Scientist

President Trump has nominated a non-scientist to be the chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is an outrageous slap in the face to science. It's also a slap in the face to Congress.

As I predicted back in May, Trump has tapped Sam Clovis, a former right-wing radio talk-show host and failed Senate candidate from Iowa. ProPublica, revealing the expected pick, noted that Clovis was a vocal climate change denier. Clovis has an undergraduate degree in politics and graduate training in business, but he has no formal training in science at all.

Clovis does have one qualification, though. As ProPublica pointed out, he has been a "fiery pro-Trump advocate on television." Sounds like a good candidate for a chief scientist job to me.

Fortunately (perhaps), the Senate has to approve this appointment. The Senate itself stipulated, in a bill that Congress passed in 2008, that the USDA's chief scientist (the under secretary for research, education and economics) must be appointed from among "distinguished scientists with specialized or significant experience in agricultural research, education and economics."
The law also says, just to make it crystal clear, that the under secretary "shall hold the title of chief scientist of the department."

Why is this appointment so wrong? I'll repeat what I wrote back in May:

Overseeing the USDA's research programs requires strong expertise in biological science. A non-scientist has no basis for deciding which research is going well or which questions present the most promising avenues for research. A non-scientist is simply incompetent to choose among them – and I mean this in the literal sense of the word, i.e., not having the knowledge or training to do the job. This does not mean that I think Sam Clovis is incompetent at other things; I don't know him, and he might be very capable in other areas. A non-scientist leader of a scientific agency will be incapable of using scientific expertise to set priorities and instead can make up his own priorities.

If the Senate has any backbone at all – if Republicans are willing to show that they are capable of doing something other than rubber-stamping every action of our self-absorbed, ignorant president, no matter how damaging – then they will turn down this nomination. Sam Clovis is so obviously unqualified that this should be easy to do.

Actually, if Clovis cared about the USDA's mission, he would recognize that he's the wrong man for the job and refuse the nomination. Even Dan Glickman, a former secretary of agriculture, said, "I wouldn't be qualified for that job," referring to himself (he's a lawyer), in a recent interview about Clovis' appointment. The current and previous chief scientists at the USDA have Ph.D.s and extensive scientific publication records. Clovis does not. (Note that when I wrote to Clovis in May to ask about his potential nomination, he declined to respond on the record.)

Steven Salzberg is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, and Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University.

While Clovis was a tenured professor of economics at Morningside College, a private, liberal arts college [which by and large are wonderful institutions] he holds no economics qualifications either. His bachelor's degree's in political science. He has an MBA and a PhD in public policy. So, clearly no fool, but neither an economist nor a scientist.

There's no such thing as gravity. The world sucks.

This report would be a Sword of Damocles for Trump, if only he weren't so ignorant. His only concern will be whether suppressing it makes him look bad.

Science / Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« on: August 04, 2017, 05:09:10 PM »
So what do I do? Do I cry wolf or keep quiet and hope it wasn't a wolf after all?

"Precautionary principle"

Extract: "The precautionary principle (or precautionary approach) to risk management states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public, or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus (that the action or policy is not harmful), the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking that action."

Does that apply to the precautionary principal itself?

Science / Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« on: July 29, 2017, 06:55:00 PM »
You can find consensus in the war against climate change — as long as you don’t call it “climate change.”"

Then let's just call it what it is:  Global Warming.
Conservatives despise that equally. Perhaps The War on Leftwing, Liberal, Goddam Unamerican Heat.

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: July 26, 2017, 05:42:42 AM »
“Also, as the Earth warms, we are seeing beneficial changes to the earth’s geography,” he writes. “For instance, Arctic sea ice is decreasing. This development will create new commercial shipping lanes that provide faster, more convenient, and less costly routes between ports in Asia, Europe, and eastern North America. This will increase international trade and strengthen the world economy.”
Such a brazen [and slippery smooth] segue by Smith, from the hard denial of warming to the denial of consequences. Evidence [as if any was needed] of the expediency of the whole movement. It'll be interesting to see whether the reality of warming is even debated in the Red-Team / Blue-Team show, or simply ignored, a sacrificial part of the argument, that has outlived its usefulness.

Science / Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« on: July 20, 2017, 08:09:33 AM »

Extract: "It's as pointless for Obama or anyone else to rail against the use of fear to sway voters as it is to bemoan humans' inability to hear pitches as high as dogs can. The brain structure that processes perceptions and thoughts and tags them with the warning "Be afraid, be very afraid!" is the amygdala. Located near the brain's center, this almond-shaped bundle of neurons evolved long before the neocortex, the seat of conscious awareness."

Hmmm. I think should all feel free to rail against the manipulation of fear to sway voters, which is a complex social activity that originates in the same place as the railing: the prefrontal cortex.

Great posts btw, ASLR.

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: July 15, 2017, 11:01:12 AM »
Trump aims to use UN climate fund for coal plants

The Trump administration is angling to use a United Nations climate change adaptation fund to pay for the construction of coal plants instead, Bloomberg News reports.

An official told Bloomberg that the White House is pushing to use the Green Climate Fund, which the U.S. has contributed $1 billion to, for more "clean coal" power plants around the world.

The Green Climate Fund is a U.N. effort designed to send contributions from rich countries to developing nations who are bracing for the worst impact of climate change.

Some of the programs the GCF has funded include hydropower projects in the Solomon Islands and Tajikistan and a renewable energy push in Egypt. A Trump official told Bloomberg the U.S. would push to spend future money on “clean coal” and other power plants that aim to produce fewer carbon emissions than existing power facilities.

One of President Trump’s main complaints about the Paris climate agreement was the $3 billion pledge the Trump administration made to the GCF. Former President Barack Obama was able to contribute $1 billion before he left office earlier this year, and Trump has said the U.S. will stop future payments to the fund.

But the U.S. still has a seat on the GCF’s board by virtue of its previous contributions. The GCF funds projects on a consensus basis, making it more difficult for the U.S. to push a coal project through without buy-in from other nations.

Science / Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« on: July 11, 2017, 11:40:54 AM »
I think this is perhaps the most chilling [sic] assertion:

But the many sober-minded scientists I interviewed over the past several months — the most credentialed and tenured in the field, few of them inclined to alarmism and many advisers to the IPCC who nevertheless criticize its conservatism — have quietly reached an apocalyptic conclusion, too: No plausible program of emissions reductions alone can prevent climate disaster.

It's chilling because it's so plausibly true. Where does that leave us? With geoengineering, and let's be honest here: our inability to coordinate on emissions bodes badly for our ability to coordinate on geoengineering, which is a project that carries vast risks, and must be done with the greatest respect for unintended consequences.

What happens if [for example] a maverick national government makes a purely political decision to go it alone, based on half-baked science or no science at all?

Imagine if a Scott Pruitt or a Myron Ebell were tasked with delivering a geoengineering solution. The project would be run for the short-term advantage of corporations, based on "science" made up for the purpose, and we'd conceivably be worse off, in convenient preparation for another, even-more-profitable geoengineering project.

It's enough to make one believe that there really is a cosmic filter for civilizations. Pass this test, and you're allowed to proceed.

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: July 08, 2017, 11:00:32 PM »
I know it's easy to post images of idiots behaving badly, but for crying out loud.

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?
            The barbarians are due here today.
Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?
            Because the barbarians are coming today.
            What laws can the senators make now?
            Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

C.P. Cavafy, Waiting for the Barbarians

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: July 05, 2017, 02:58:20 PM »

This, very sadly, speaks for itself.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The Slow Transition
« on: May 11, 2017, 05:27:21 PM »

Smells Post Hoc to me.

We are watching the Arctic melt therefore the models are tweaked to show the Arctic melting.

Isn't that exactly how you are supposed to make models better?

Compare a model to reality, and if the model doesn't match, then adjust it until it does. Then let some more time pass, see if it still matches reality, and if it doesn't, then adjust again.
That's true provided the change that results in the improved performance is a better model of the physics, rather than just producing a better result, otherwise the model may have no increased predictive power.

Sorry I am beginning to rant!!! ;-) Maybe it was the sales guy dig. It is the same as I used to do because I am actually a technical man originally and a sales guy by providence (accident).
It wasn't a dig, Ranman99, it was a compliment. This is veering off topic, but sales is a highly skilled activity. One you've learned to do, and good on you. Public relations is the same. When scientists try to do public relations, such as by giving interviews, they're like PR people doing experiments by putting stuff in beakers and heating it up. It may by some chance be mostly correct [e.g. they've seen it done so know roughly how to do it] but it's only scratching the surface of a highly complex process.

Again, there are individual exceptions, but even the best public intellectuals need the machinery of communications in place to change opinions. In science, this is often provided by the mainstream media. Without them, public knowledge of science would be sunk.

That said, it wouldn't be the first time an academic published his findings without considering the implications in a larger world.

This is so unfair to the scientists. They are trained in mathemathics and science,  diciplined knowledge and  documentation not in public relations or public policy.

I respectfully disagree. Scientists are not a different species and they exist in academia, which is one of the most political environments there is. Every action has consequences and we all should be accountable for our actions.

To say that a scientist is exempt from the the realities of life is to just reinforce the "ivory tower" stereotype.
I think Archimid means scientists aren't necessarily good at public relations or public policy, and I think that's true [even if it's a stereotype]. One reason is that science requires honesty, while public relations and public policy are both prone to gaming by the unscrupulous. If a system doesn't constrain cheating, then cheats have an advantage. Another reason is specialisation. I work in a business that has both scientists and salesmen. I'd never ask a salesman to perform research, because the result would be nonsense. For the same reason, I hate it when scientists try to do sales. There are of course individual exceptions.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2017 melting season
« on: March 16, 2017, 04:10:07 PM »
That big floe turning the corner seems to move a longer distance from 14 to 15 than from 13 to 14. I wonder if that is an artifact of the images or is it actual acceleration of the floe.
Venturi effect?

The rest / Re: 2017 open thread
« on: March 02, 2017, 06:57:04 PM »
I have to say, after reading some responses here and elsewhere, I am very optimistic, where I had given up all hope days before. I actually see that this shift we are describing is slowly happening - we are a part of it right here. It is happening, and we ARE in for unbelievable things together. There is much to see. Real impactful change and a future full of love and compassion beyond that could happen, together. We are so close to trying. That's why "they" are discrediting the news and information now, in advance - They know that this is humanity's chance. They have chosen inaction, destruction, unless they have proven to be truthful and productive in what THEY choose to talk about as politicians. It is high time we discard their opinions unless they are wiling to be honest.
These are fine sentiments, and I hope you're right, but the good people you describe are such a small minority. Even the upwelling of rational, liberal sentiment in the United States now is the work of a small minority. It looks big, because it's loud, but the voting majority don't want to know about it. They'll be convinced by some proof of something that interests them, such as personal financial loss, or a challenge to their national pride.

The best hope for the world may be that Russia really did collude with the Trump campaign, because then a cache of progressive issues might enter the mainstream on the coattails of dissent.

The rest / Re: 2017 open thread
« on: March 02, 2017, 06:10:26 PM »
I think a lot of the current turn toward insularity and xenophobia is in fact a response to a looming sense of resource scarcity and competition.  Naomi Klein has characterized the future as a battle between "disaster capitalism" and communalism.  It appears for now that the battle lines are being drawn and our better angels are losing. 

I find myself coming back to a sort of old-fashioned word for what I think we need: "conviviality". We need a rise in neighbors working with neighbors within a relocalized and vastly constrained economic model.  To do that, we need to learn to get along and appreciate one another.  While I try and surround myself with people that appreciate that view, I find the world around me increasingly hostile to it.
A very intelligent comment.

The rest / Re: 2017 open thread
« on: March 02, 2017, 03:34:09 PM »
Building on what 5to10 is saying, there is a pretty deep literature on how social movements begin and build.  It is a highly non-linear process.  Ideas do sweep through populations in a dramatic way and it's not well understood exactly how it happens (and it may not really be fully understandable).  Sometimes it has it roots in self-preservation.  Think the change in public attitudes about smoking in this country.

But there are lots of examples of huge shifts in the public zeitgeist: slavery, gay marriage and LGBT rights, drunk driving, seatbelt use, etc. The media play a role but they are not the be all and end all of how these changes arise.

Obviously the shift we need is far vaster and more universal than any that has ever occurred on the planet.  It will come, if it does, after it is "too late" in many ways, but it may yet come.  Like many here, I think some irrefutable weather disasters will probably be needed to catalyze it.  So far, what seems irrefutable to us is still roundly ignored by most.  We shall see...
One problem is that there's a powerful shift already underway, and its towards nativism and nationalism. It could be argued that this is a misguided response to politics, but if it takes hold then it'll be as hard to stop as other populist movements.

The rest / Re: 2017 open thread
« on: March 02, 2017, 11:39:34 AM »
Beyond a shift in consciousness, what about quantum computing? A focused effort on a specialized rig that can offer us solutions based on the vast amount of data?
Unfortunately, realty is a far more powerful processor then even quantum computers. There's no point at which a sufficiently detailed model of a tree becomes a tree. Thus, the tree will always have the potential to surprise us. Large, dynamic, natural systems commensurately more so.

The rest / Re: 2017 open thread
« on: March 02, 2017, 11:36:19 AM »
>I agree it's a mistake to think of evolution as a goal: evolution is purely a process, but it undoubtedly is responsible for [almost] everything we are as animals.

Although CRISPR has the potential to change all that!
I had to Google that. That's pretty cool. Except in the hands of politicians.

The rest / Re: 2017 open thread
« on: March 01, 2017, 05:12:27 PM »
I have lived and worked in many countries either in or exiting from dictatorships.  I failed to find one either intelligent or benevolent.
Unfortunately for our survival as a species, intelligent benevolent people don't seem to lust after power. There must be an evoluionary reason for that.

this depends whether evolution is the goal
I agree it's a mistake to think of evolution as a goal: evolution is purely a process, but it undoubtedly is responsible for [almost] everything we are as animals.

The rest / Re: 2017 open thread
« on: February 28, 2017, 07:04:23 PM »
I have lived and worked in many countries either in or exiting from dictatorships.  I failed to find one either intelligent or benevolent.
Unfortunately for our survival as a species, intelligent benevolent people don't seem to lust after power. There must be an evoluionary reason for that.

The rest / Re: 2017 open thread
« on: February 28, 2017, 02:13:08 PM »
Nonsense, all of it.

If only one had more wisdom and foresight to see the long-range outcome of what he does than the inventor of the internal combustion engine or of the first coal powered anything. Those people and the observers of their day, no doubt marveled at their accomplishments.
There is truth in that, but there is also fallacy; those technologies transformed the world and in fact led to the innovations in science and technology we see now.

The key problem is, has been, and always will be, the failings of people - men and women who put their interests above that of everyone else around them, and ignore science either through malice or stupidity.

The internal combustion engine and coal-fired steam plant did not cause us harm, people did.
Specifically, a cultural inability to act wisely. Even when we knew what the risks were, we failed to mitigate those risks, because that involves costs.

At the risk of sounding authoritarian [which I'm not] it's a problem with democracies. A benevolent and sufficiently intelligent dictatorship would be better equipped to handle long-term existential risk.

Democracies will always be at the mercy of the electoral cycle, and the political attention span of humans, whose average IQ is 100, and whose average main nerve terminates in the hip pocket.

I like this thread.

This post is slightly off-topic, but I was pondering the differerence between liberalism and conservatism today, while watching the Donald on TV,, and it struck me as equivalent to the elemental struggle between good and evil.

I do not mean traditional conservatism, which is a rational philosophy, and necessary to balance the inherent divergence of liberalism, but the nutjob rightwing radicalism that has colonised the right of politics.

These people are evil, wth their anti science, anti evolution, anti vaccination, Mexican wall fuckwittery.


as this is the place I would just like to say how fuckin pissed off I am that A-team is gone .. a victory for thread dilution . Does he post elsewhere ?
The thing is, this is the Internet, a messy human community. Language is messy. People want different things from scientific discussions, even different scientists.

What would be useful is the capability found in many forums to put individuals on ignore. I don't want to see (let alone read) feeltheburn's motherfucking concern trolling.

My favourite sign from the recent street protests:

First they came for the Muslims.
Not today, motherfucker.

Science / Re: ClimateGate 2
« on: February 16, 2017, 04:55:28 AM »
The is also off-topic, but I think uncontrolled debt is one symptom of a larger problem, which is the money supply.

There are plenty of conspiracy cranks who dog this subject online, but in this case they're partially right. Uncontrolled bank credit has created too much money in the global financial system, which societies are struggling to deal with, without the normal systemic response of strong inflation.

In the past, this dysfunction was swept under the carpet by inequality between nations. No one in power cared if emerging nations were economic basket cases. The fear of global economic equality is one of the drivers of the anti-science movement, because open science is a meritocratic levelling mechanism, hence the conspiracy nonsense about China and climate change fraud.

Science / Re: ClimateGate 2
« on: February 14, 2017, 10:35:37 AM »
this kind of stuff is s far off what everyone who wants can see with his own eyes that i often have genuine trouble to believe what i'm reading, can only be personal interest (money, carrier) and/or outright stupidity.
I think it's money, magnamentis. Industry is terrified by the multi-trillion dollar asset bubble implied by all the fossil fuels that must be left in the ground, that has already been priced into economies. They have a budget, and they pay people to lie.

This then gets amplified in the contrarian echo chamber. Contrarians literally don't care what's true, they only want to take a position that nurtures their self-image. All that matters is narrative.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2016/2017 freezing season
« on: February 13, 2017, 05:46:01 PM »
freezing degree days aren't binary (freeze or no freeze), it's a measure of how many degrees below freezing the average daily temperature is.
Apologies! I should have read some climatology! [/embarrassed]

Science / Re: ClimateGate 2
« on: February 12, 2017, 04:22:24 PM »
DAVID ROSE: How can we trust global warming scientists if they keep twisting the truth

They were duped – and so were we. That was the conclusion of last week’s damning revelation that world leaders signed the Paris Agreement on climate change under the sway of unverified and questionable data.

A landmark scientific paper –the one that caused a sensation by claiming there has been NO slowdown in global warming since 2000 – was critically flawed. And thanks to the bravery of a whistleblower, we now know that for a fact.


No one, to be clear, has ‘tampered’ with the figures. But according to Bates, the way those figures were chosen exaggerated global warming.

Shameless. Aren't there laws about blatantly lying, and manufacturing false quotes, in British newspapers?

Science / Re: ClimateGate 2
« on: February 11, 2017, 10:39:35 PM »
And the same goes for the BBC, for having that murderer on and not deconstruct his lies for their viewers (or did they?).
No, they didn't Neven. They gave him an easy time. As did CNN.

Science / Re: ClimateGate 2
« on: February 11, 2017, 09:38:50 PM »
Myron Ebell on BBC Newsnight tonight, blithely arguing that 25% of carbon emissions have been in the last 30 years, and if there was a relationship between C02 and warming then there would have been warming but there hasn't. He also talked about fraudulent temperature records. History will judge him as responsible for millions of deaths.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2016/2017 freezing season
« on: February 11, 2017, 08:28:14 PM »
Quote from: BenB
And Celsius is normally used for freezing degree days.
Surely a freezing degree day is the same regardless of the scale used?

No, since individual temperature units from different scales vary they would not be the same in every scale.  Calculated in °C or K they would be the same, but FDDs in Fahrenheit would be significantly different.  It's no different than miles versus km. 

It's always important to know the definition of the units one is using.
Of course. I remember my high school mathematics (all the way through to my postdoc). I meant to say that a freezing degree day is a binary, regardless of the scale used. It either is or it isn't. Measuring in Kelvin would produce the same set of days, even if the numbers on the scale are different. But Nevin is right: it was a lame question!

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2016/2017 freezing season
« on: February 10, 2017, 06:05:07 PM »
Quote from: BenB
And Celsius is normally used for freezing degree days.
Surely a freezing degree day is the same regardless of the scale used?

Science / Re: ClimateGate 2
« on: February 08, 2017, 11:25:26 AM »
An intriguing interview with ""Whistleblower" John Bates:

The federal climate scientist hailed by conservatives as a whistleblower for allegedly revealing manipulated global warming data said yesterday he was actually calling out a former colleague for not properly following agency standards for research.

In an interview with E&E News yesterday, former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration principal scientist John Bates had a significantly more nuanced take on the controversy that has swirled since a top House Republican hailed his blog post as proof that the agency "played fast and loose" with temperature data to disprove the theory of a global warming "pause."

Bates accused former colleagues of rushing their research to publication, in defiance of agency protocol. He specified that he did not believe that they manipulated the data upon which the research relied in any way.

"The issue here is not an issue of tampering with data, but rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was," he said
It's very hard to backpedal against a tide of contrarian outrage.

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