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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Tab Closing

There's a lot of random tabs open. I've been waiting for a consistent theme to emerge, but it hasn't. It's just random.

The article that's had me pondering most in recent history was The White City. I've got friends who've moved to Portland. I've got friends who talk about moving to Portland. It's even a joke in Stuff White People Like. Hell, I loved it when I was there last year. It's a great town. Now why does that make me feel all... wrong... now. Hrmmmm. Ah to heck with it. Ali and Mark and Anyanka live there and that's good enough for me. Harumph. (Plus the food is really good. And Powell's is the best thing ever. And... aw crap. Yeah.)

In other news, apparently radiation is what turns your hair gray. Go figure. I can't say what that means for me, but I can say I'm about 70% gray these days. That runs in my family, but man, it's not fun. I'd love to just grow it out and not dye it all the time, but I'd have to be really horribly ugly for quite some time while it grew out and I don't wanna. Blame it on the radiation. Or genetics. Or something.

Anxiety, OCD, heck even Tourette's... could it be related to that Strep Throat you thought you got over a while ago?

Do you ever get stuck in those weird discussions where someone cites solar flares as the cause for global climate change or says it used to be warmer in the Middle Ages? Scientific American rebuffs climate contrarian darlings in this article. My opinion: global climate change - it's going to be really expensive to deal with the effects, so why not do a little to head it off, eh? Of course, the generation most likely to doubt climate change is also the generation that has saddled me with an enormous national debt to pay off, so why would they want to help head off a problem rather than letting the next generation deal with it?

Well that was depressing. As it turns out, people who are clinically depressed lack endurance. Interesting.

That's all for now folks!

7 Comments:

  • Scientific American rebuffs climate contrarian darlings in this article.

    Scientific American used to be a great magazine. But sadly somewhere in the 90's it started to become progressively less scientific and more political.

    For what it's worth, most of those points are not primary contrarian points but straw men. For analysis, see:
        • The Wall Street Journal
        • Climate Skeptic
        • The Reference Frame
        • Times Higher Education

    it's going to be really expensive to deal with the effects, so why not do a little to head it off, eh?

    Two reasons off the top of my head: it's going to be really expensive to "do a little to head it off" (think the recent global recession times ten), and until recently climatologists were worrying about the upcoming ice age (having alleviated warming would then be worse than doing nothing).

    By Blogger Michael, at 10:24 PM  

  • I read an article about the strep/anxiety-OCD connection a couple years ago. It was a case study. Kid had infection, started exhibiting severe hand-washing suddenly, got antibiotics and went away as quickly as it came. It's amazing how some things can just be there before anyone takes notice of them. That's why I posted the fish oil/schizophrenia article on facebook, I had read something similar years ago.

    By Blogger Chrisfs, at 1:39 PM  

  • So when you say 'closing tabs' is that literal or figurative? You're not the only that uses that phrase. I bookmark stuff, but I never keep a tab open past closing firefox, so it's unreal to me that people will keep tabs open for days. It could be I'm the odd one.

    By Blogger Chrisfs, at 1:41 PM  

  • RE: Global warming and cooling.
    The cooling hypothesis of the 1970's had nowhere near the widespread scientific support as global warming.
    Global cooling is debunked in the New Scientist article
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11643
    "A survey of the scientific literature has found that between 1965 and 1979, 44 scientific papers predicted warming, 20 were neutral and just 7 predicted cooling. So while predictions of cooling got more media attention, the majority of scientists were predicting warming even then."

    See also these nice graphic supporting arguments
    http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/climate-change-deniers-vs-the-consensus/

    http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2009/climate-change-a-consensus-among-scientists/

    Even if we set those aside, let's consider for a moment what preventing global warming would require.
    It means reducing our carbon emissions,
    which in turns means
    -cars with better gas mileage (or ones that use no gas),which will also have the benefit of reducing our dependence on foreign oil
    - developing alternate and more efficient ways of generating electrical power, which will grow new industries and stretch out our reserves of coal and gas.
    - Reducing carbon emissions will reduce smog, which will makes the skies clearer and reduce the incidents and/or severity of respiratory disease,which will reduce medical costs for either people, or govt or insurance companies,
    and increase productivity by reducing sick days.

    All those benefits come from reducing carbon emissions and if along with those things we pay a premium towards a sort of Global warming insurance, that's really not so bad.
    House, car and health insurance seem expensive until you consider the cost of the alternative. If after 30 years, your house never burns down, would you consider the premiums wasted ?
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v304/Spurious_logic/LJpics/2009_December/PettJ20091207_low.jpg

    By Blogger Chrisfs, at 9:04 PM  

  • The cooling hypothesis of the 1970's had nowhere near the widespread scientific support as global warming.

    True in that the hysteria was not as widespread: 'Indeed, the global cooling trend of the 1950s and 1960s led to a minor global cooling hysteria in the 1970s. All that was more or less normal scientific debate, although the cooling hysteria had certain striking analogues to the present warming hysteria including books such as The Genesis Strategy by Stephen Schneider and Climate Change and World Affairs by Crispin Tickell — both authors are prominent in support of the present concerns as well — "explaining" the problem and promoting international regulation.'

    Global cooling is debunked in the New Scientist article

    "A survey of the scientific literature has found that between 1965 and 1979, 44 scientific papers predicted warming, 20 were neutral and just 7 predicted cooling. So while predictions of cooling got more media attention, the majority of scientists were predicting warming even then."


    Published papers are not a proxy for opinion, especially when the peer review system is as broken as Climategate has shown it to be! Better evidence: in around 1992 a Gallup poll of climate scientists in the American Meteorological Society and in the American Geophysical Union showed that 82% disagreed with the view that warming had occurred.

    Nonetheless, ratios of 44:20:7 do not debunk anything any more than similar ratios once debunked relativity. The real issue is simply one of timescale. There is no debate that we have experienced an unusually long interglacial period, and the next ice age is coming. Now it may not come in the next 100 years or even 1000 years — but when it comes, every single year of anti-warming effort will be harmful. The long-term perspective question is not whether we are currently warming (let alone why), but what the average temperature of the earth is, and where we now are relative to that.

    We would do far better by adapting to climate change than tilting at windmills in a futile effort to combat it.

    See also these nice graphic supporting arguments

    Pretty, but hardly rigorous.

    http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/climate-change-deniers-vs-the-consensus/

    This guy is simply not credible. For example, his "counter-argument" to the Climategate exposure of disgraced Climate Research Unit director Phil Jones' email stating "I've just completed Mike's Nature trick … to hide the decline" is to say that "trick" is not a bad word. But who cares about what you call it?! Hiding the decline is still hiding the decline!

    The author is unschooled in climate science and admits that this graphic was produced solely to provide counter-arguments based primarily on an activist web site. In other words, he is an activist relying on other activists' arguments, not scientific evidence. And yet even he concedes, "I was generally shocked and appalled by how difficult it was to source counter arguments".

    That alone speaks volumes.

    http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2009/climate-change-a-consensus-among-scientists/

    This one is no better. As someone else observed, using the logic of the top figure: "only 1% of the city participated in the gay rights march of January 2008, therefore the city believes that gay rights are not worthy of hearing since 99% of the city is in opposition". The middle figure mistaken assumes some kind of neutrality in the peer review process, and the bottom figure is essentially pointless.

    By Blogger Michael, at 11:11 PM  

  • Even if we set those aside, let's consider for a moment what preventing global warming would require.

    It means reducing our carbon emissions


    But that won't reduce India's or China's or Indonesia's or Africa's or pretty much anyone else's. Which means that we will pay through the nose and solve nothing.

    cars with better gas mileage (or ones that use no gas)

    At what cost?

    which will also have the benefit of reducing our dependence on foreign oil

    We could just make it illegal to import oil, but that would not be a good solution either! :-)

    developing alternate and more efficient ways of generating electrical power, which will grow new industries and stretch out our reserves of coal and gas.

    But you cannot just wish these mythical technologies into being. They cost enormous amounts of money to develop, are unreliable, do not substitute for base load, and may very well be entirely impractical. What we could do is use our proven existing technology for efficient, green power generation: nuclear fission. But I don't see many people volunteering to pay double for their power (and that's just for nuclear power, not the unproven sources).

    Reducing carbon emissions will reduce smog

    Carbon dioxide is not a component of smog.

    if … we pay a premium towards a sort of Global warming insurance, that's really not so bad.

    Have you installed solar panels on your house, bought a Prius (although some diesels use less fuel!), installed double-glazed windows, and turned your thermostat down to 65? If not, why not?

    What if on top of that we then double your cost of living?

    House, car and health insurance seem expensive until you consider the cost of the alternative. If after 30 years, your house never burns down, would you consider the premiums wasted ?

    What if the premiums were ten times the cost of replacing the house and its contents and despite that your house would likely burn down no matter what you did? And if fire-proofing your house cost half what the insurance did?

    And what if you discovered that fire is actually good for your house?

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v304/Spurious_logic/LJpics/2009_December/PettJ20091207_low.jpg

    Wouldn't it be great if we created a better world? It would. But there is just one massive problem with this utopian proposition: the mind-numbing, back-breaking, enormous cost — with no meaningful impact.

    In addition to the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education articles referenced in my first comment, here is some bedtime reading from MIT: Global Warming: The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus.

    By Blogger Michael, at 11:27 PM  

  • Plagued by reports of sloppy work, falsifications and exaggerations, climate research is facing a crisis of confidence. How reliable are the predictions about global warming and its consequences? And would it really be the end of the world if temperatures rose by more than the much-quoted limit of two degrees Celsius? — Der Spiegel

    By Blogger Michael, at 5:43 PM  

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