all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

27 February, 2012

Another Miscellany

See “Opinion Disguised as Science”, by Donna Laframboise, at No Frakking Consensus:
Not for one moment does anyone think it is the role of a handwriting expert to decide whether the accused is guilty. That is the job of the judge and the jury—after listening to a variety of experts, some of whom will no doubt contradict (and cast doubt on) each other’s opinions.
Although the pathologist who performed the autopsy may have private views about an accused murderer’s guilt or innocence we all understand that it would be inappropriate for that medical professional to voice those views within the courtroom—and doubly inappropriate to do so outside of it.
Yet when it comes to climate, everything gets turned on its head.  People with a narrow specialty (in water resources, for example) nevertheless regard themselves as full-fledged “climate experts.”  Taking on the role of judge and jury, they imagine that an understanding of their small piece of the puzzle translates into firm knowledge of the far more complicated big-picture.  They proclaim that multiple lines of evidence all point to the same conclusion—even though they themselves don’t possess the expertise to evaluate the merits of these other lines of evidence.
Also at No Frakking Consensus, see Peter Gleick—Then and Now.

See “Fakegate: Global Warmists Try to Hide the Decline”, by Robert Tracinski, at Skeptic’s Corner:
Fakegate shows us, with the precision of a scientific experiment, several key truths about the global warming movement.  It shows that most warmists, both the scientists and the journalists, will embrace any claim that seems to bolster their cause, without bothering to check the facts or subject them to rigorous investigation.  (Anthony Watts notes how few journalists bothered to contact him before reporting the claims about him that are made in the fake memo.)  And it shows us that warmists like Gleick have no compunction about falsifying information to promote their agenda, and that many other warmists are willing to serve as accomplices after the fact, excusing Gleick's fraud on the grounds that he was acting in a “noble cause.”  It shows us that “hide the decline” dishonesty is a deeply ingrained part of the corporate culture of the global warming movement.
Gleick wasn’t just an obscure, rogue operator in the climate debate.  Before his exposure, his stock in trade was lecturing on “scientific integrity,” and until a few days ago he was the chairman of the American Geophysical Union's Task Force on Scientific Ethics.  So this scandal goes to the very top of the global warming establishment, and it compels honest observers to ask:  if the warmists were willing to deceive us on this, what else have they been deceiving us about?
Between Climategate and Fakegate, the warmist establishment now has zero credibility, and we must call all of their claims into question.
See “Climate-Change Alarmism: Fuelled by Fantasy”, by Ben Pile, at Spiked Online: 
What concerns this sceptic when it comes to that kind of climate alarmism and the bizarre politics it produces, is the possibility that all too often stories precede science.  There is a widespread idea that there are actual and robust measurements of polar bear populations, the extent of glaciers, the rate of sea-level rise, and the extent of polar sea ice.  But in each of these cases, closer examination of the available evidence reveals the role of guesswork in the estimation of these ‘indicators’ of climate change and its effects.  Worse still, perhaps, is the possibility that these ‘indicators’ are presupposed to be in decline for no other reason than the truism ‘climate change is happening’.
Once you presuppose that climate change is happening, it doesn’t take a leap of faith to incorporate the assumption into models to estimate the health of polar bear populations, the progress of glaciers, and the vulnerability of Arctic sea ice.  There were no data showing polar bears and Himalayan glaciers to be in terminal decline.  Even measurements of Arctic sea ice only extend back to 1979.  And so knowledge which is patchy, based on sparse data, estimates and guesswork is fitted into an encompassing storyline of climate change.  Really, they ought to remain disconnected stories, at least until more robust studies can show otherwise.
The most extreme conditions on the planet are naturally the least accessible and therefore the least understood.  Such regions aren’t simply distant; our primary access to them is through the imagination.  It is no coincidence, then, that stories about climate change seem to be located at the hottest, highest, deepest and coldest parts of the world.  The most alarming stories about climate change rest where there is the least data.  Like explorers in search of Yeti, climate researchers hunt frozen landscapes hoping to make the myth a reality.
See “Why the Climate Skeptics Are Winning” by Steven F. Hayward:
The Gleick episode exposes again a movement that disdains arguing with its critics, choosing demonization over persuasion and debate.  A confident movement would face and crush its critics if its case were unassailable, as it claims.  The climate change fight doesn’t even rise to the level of David and Goliath. Heartland is more like a David fighting a hundred Goliaths.  Yet the serial ineptitude of the climate campaign shows that a tiny David doesn’t need to throw a rock against a Goliath who swings his mighty club and only hits himself square in the forehead.
See “AGW—A Falsified Hypothesis”, by Geoff Brown, at The Climate Sceptics Blog.

See “Fakegate: Can’t Hide This Decline”, by Rand Simber at PJ Media:
For the record, I greatly resent being called a “denier,” with its clear — and fully intended, as the LA Times analogy reveals — connotation to Nazis.  I am a skeptic.  I don’t “deny” AGW, because I don’t have sufficient knowledge of how climate works, or its history, to confidently have a strong opinion about it.  What I do deny is that the proponents of the theory do have such knowledge or competence, and my doubts were buttressed by the release not just of the emails that revealed their duplicitous and unscientific behavior, but of the shoddy and unreplicable climate data sets and models themselves.
So, yes, I guess I am a denier.  Here’s what I deny.
deny that science is a compendium of knowledge to be ladled out to school children like government-approved pablum (and particularly malnutritious pablum), rather than a systematic method of attaining such knowledge.
deny that skepticism about anthropogenic climate change is epistemologically equivalent to skepticism about evolution, and I resent the implications that if one is skeptical about the former, one must be similarly skeptical about the latter, and “anti-science.”
As someone who has done complex modeling and computer coding myself, I deny that we understand the complex and chaotic interactions of the atmosphere, oceans and solar and other inputs sufficiently to model them with any confidence into the future, and I deny that it is unreasonable and unscientific to think that those who believe they do have such understanding suffer from hubris.  To paraphrase Carl Sagan, extraordinary policy prescriptions require extraordinary evidence.
On a different note, see “Arrested without Evidence over Accusation of Gun Ownership” at Shall Mot Be Questioned:
There’s a story out of Canada about a guy who was arrested and told by officers that he was being charged with possession of a firearm.  Normally, you would expect this to happen after they found someone in possession of a firearm.
He was given an attorney who was informed of the charges and even had a date set with a judge for a bail hearing for this charge.  At no point did he ever possess a firearm, but they kept him locked up and moved forward with the charges.
With his wife hauled down to the station and his children taken in for questioning by the relevant agency for possible endangerment issues, he signed a document that allowed police to search his home.  They did and there was still no firearm found in his possession.  Finally, they let him go free.
The evidence seems to come from a he said/she said scenario because his 4-year-old daughter drew a picture of a firearm and said the guy holding it was her daddy who would fight off bad guys and monsters.  Yes, a child who thinks monsters are real was used as evidence for the arrest instead of, you know, actual possession of a firearm.
See “Lower than Pond Scum” by Alan Caruba:
On Thursday, February 23, President Barack Obama was on the UM campus to tell the biggest bunch of lies about energy in America I have heard compressed into a single speech.
This President has already set records wasting taxpayer’s money on a range of so-called clean energy and renewable energy “investments”.  Solyndra, the solar panel company that went bust and stuck taxpayers with a half-billion in loan guarantees is just one of those “investments” and I keep waiting for someone to ask why public funds are being flushed down the toilet when, if the companies involved were viable, they could not raise private venture capital?  [...]
All politicians put the best face on their pet projects, but to flat-out lie about one of the most idiotic ideas to replace oil when this nation has enough oil, domestically and offshore, known and estimated to exist, defies the imagination.  It is an insult to every one of us.  And Obama wants to pump $14 million into algae, otherwise known as pond scum.  [...]
Barack Obama has been lying about so many things for so long I doubt he even knows when he is lying or even cares.  It’s not enough to dismiss this saying that all politicians lie because many do not.  Some in Congress right now are desperately trying to get the public in general and voters in particular to understand that America has more debt per capita than Greece.  We are on the precipice of financial collapse and Barack Obama just wants to spend more and more and more; some of it on pond scum.  [...]
This is the same President who stopped the building of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada that would provide more oil for our refineries and not cost the American taxpayer one penny to build.  This is the same President who imposed a moratorium on oil from the Gulf of Mexico even after the courts told him to remove it.  It caused the loss of an estimated 12,000 jobs while rigs departed for Cuba, Brazil and Mexico.
Between now and November, the President will be out campaigning and telling the same lies.  The rise in the cost of oil isn’t just a seasonal thing though prices have usually gone up in the summertime when people travel more for vacations.  It’s up because the Iranians are closing in on making their own nuclear weapons and their own missiles to hit, not just Israel, but the U.S.  It’s up because it is essential to ensure that the tankers oil-producing nations around the Persian Gulf can enter and exist it via the Strait of Harmuz.

The world isn’t running out of oil and is not about to run out.  The Earth floats on an ocean of oil despite the rising demand from Asia and other developing nations.  To replace foreign oil with algae-based fuel would require a chemically-controlled tank the size of the State of Colorado, about 69.3 million acres.
An Ohio woman who compared animal-welfare work to the liberation of World War II concentration camps has been charged with soliciting a hit man to fatally shoot or slit the throat of a random fur-wearer, federal authorities said.

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