Monthly Archives: March 2010

Science and its tribulations – a general comment

A comment by Chuckles, regarding news that the alarm about the Atlantic Conveyor shutting down has had its underpinnings weakened:

@J Ferguson,

If something confirms AGW/CC in expected or accelerated form, there is nothing to check. The consensus is confirmed.

If it does not however, it is obviously in error, and must be debunked, rebutted or refuted, depending on how seriously it is in error.

In any of the heretic categories it is simply necessary for an approved ‘climate scientist’ to disagree in spoken or written form for the correct status to be achieved. In extreme cases a disapproving frown has been demonstrated to be enough.

March 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

Chuckles was commenting at the end about how the scientists at the Climate Research Unit at the U. of East Anglia tried and sometimes successfully blocked publication in major scientific journals of some opposing climate papers.  These efforts are part of the dirtiest part of Climategate, and have disgusted many scientists in particular, and many Joe Main Streets, too.  Peer review is supposed to be objective and politics-free.  Now we all know it is not, and science had gotten a black eye over the revelation.

My reply:

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What is a communist?

I maintain that a communist is someone who doesn’t agree that the oligarchs are entitled to the fruit of another person’s labor.

Just in thinking that, one threatens the status quo, and in doing so must in some way be demonized or eliminated.  The demonization term of the last century and more is “communist.”

Any plan to “share the wealth” in any form-  that the people who participate in the collective activity known as business should get a reasonable share of the wealth created – is labeled “communistic.”  In using that bogey man term,the user knows the audience will accept it.

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A good morning, a good week, and a good spring to all.

Today is the first day after the Congress passed the health care bill – which I hope gets named the Ted Kennedy Health Care System.  Obama is scheduled to sign it into law tomorrow, with an amendments bill to be tackled shortly.

It may not be great.  We may not love it.  It may not be perfect.  But it actually brings us somewhat up to par with the rest of the civilized world.

I went out looking for world reaction, and I didn’t get very far before I found an Op-Ed piece that declared/spun this as a pretty terrible thing for Obama and the Democrats.  Well, I couldn’t exactly let that go without a comment, now, could I?

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The Myth of Pangaea

[Updated May 2018]

Pangaea.  The one, original continent.  The one all our current ones came from.  But it is a fantasy.

Take a look at this image.  You’ll recognize all our continents.  That should amaze you.  And see all those fudge zones?  THAT should trouble you.

Pangaea image from Wikipedia“And why is that?” you may ask.

Because the continents have not always been as they are now.  The center of the US was all ocean at one point – maybe more than one – since the “time of Pangaea.”  There are fossils in the highest reaches of all the current mountain chains.  The Amazon basin is mostly river delta – especially that point that tucks so nicely into the western coast of Africa.  Heck, even that part of Africa is the delta of the Congo River.  S that “match up” with the western coast of Africa?  Just a chimera in time, a coincidence.  And notice the FUDGE ZONE.  It works FINE, if we fudge it!  Had we had maps of the Earth 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs were disappearing, that coastline would have been far different, and that match up would be far less suggestive of Pangaea.  But the scientists build maps like the one here  and make careers based on nothing more substantial than what religions are based on – the belief that what they are taught is true.

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An open letter to the man who first thought of the Younger-Dryas Impact Event

[The following is an email that I sent to a friend, Ed Grondine, who was the first person to theorize that the Younger-Dryas Impact Event was the demise of the mammoths worldwide and for all the megafauna (large animals) in North America.  In the last four years this theory has taken off as the probable reason the mammoths died, though there is still some controversy.  The theory that Clovis people killed them all still has backers, and they are not going gently into that good night.

Ed wrote a book Man and Impact in the Americas which can be bought straight from him (see the link), in which he ties Native American passed down stories with some of the latest thinking on comets.

Ed has been very active in the effort, in an unofficial capacity, to develop means by which our astronomers and NASA could discover and track all the near-Earth objects in space – and then (and most importantly)  to arrive at a realistic method of dealing with them.  He is a man I admire, especially when we get into our discussions in this area: he is a tremendous fount of knowledge, of the basics and the state of the art both.  (I imagine that even though he seems to enjoy our interchanges, he most likely thinks I have a screw loose.  I hope he is right.)]

How anyone thinks that a few thousand hunters with spears and atlatls could in a few years even FIND every mammoth and sabre-toothed tiger and American horse and giant sloth – and then kill them – is patently absurd.  It is a testament to the silliness of scientists not only that someone proposed it, but that others actually thought it was valid.  There is no way the Clovis people could have made a dent in the population of those animals.

For example, look at Africa.  The population of Africa as of the year 1800 in the areas where elephants live was probably a thousand times the number of Clovis people at their peak – yet elephants in Africa at the time were not an endangered species.  The Africans easily had more capacity at that time than Clovis people had in their time.

If even ONE scientist ever ran though the numbers – even as just an intellectual exercise – I have never heard any numbers (and I am pretty sure I would have run across it).  Someone just threw it out and the others pretty much just shrugged and said, “Yeah, that sounds as good as anything we can come up with, so go with it.  What else is on the agenda, guys?”


The email follows:

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Scientists, and how they actually operate

Land o’ Goshen!

Lloyd Pye pointed to this article, and it confirms so much:

Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing Up

I do highly recommend to any and all a read of this.  It will both undo all your preconceptions about science (the ones we were taught in school, in particular) and teach you something about problem solving.

It talks about part of our society that we, those who think differently, all butt our heads up against – the insistence by the rest of the world that we are wrong and they are right.

What it tells us is that as outsiders in the interplay of ideas, we have a role to play – the interested outsider that just doesn’t accept their blinkered way of seeing things and who insists that they pay attention to reality itself, not the expectations of their logic and conformity-think.

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Contradictory curves = no cause and effect (apparently)

I found the following graphs at Joanna Nova’s post

Not FOUR degrees, 1.4 degrees

I think you can see that 1992-1993 the temps are well below the curve in the above graph.

Now look at those same years in the following graph.

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