Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

The Paris Climate Con

June 3, 2017

President Trump has announced the US will not be participating in the Paris Climate Accord and the world went wild. According to Weather.com, 150 mayors and 10 governors have denounced the President.

Tornado

Image from NOAA

It never occurred to these public officials that they are violating their oath of office to defend the Constitution. You see, the Paris agreement is a treaty that isn’t a treaty. It was never ratified by the Senate as required by the Constitution. President Obama didn’t want that pesky requirement to get in his way of a milestone so he did an end run. He also didn’t bother to negotiate in the best interests of the US so the accord puts punitive requirements on the US while letting countries such as China slide by not requiring them to reduce carbon dioxide emissions until 2030. According to estimates from the Charles Payne program on Fox Business News, the accord would result in an estimated:

  • 400K overall shortfall of jobs
  • 200K manufacturing shortfall of jobs
  • $30K total income loss for a family of four
  • $2.5 Trillion aggregate GDP loss
  • 13-20% electricity expenditure increase

So, this agreement is un-Constitutional and a bad deal to boot. Moreover, the claim is the agreement will reduce global temperatures by 0.02 degrees Celsius over 50 years. Even if this prediction, based on junk science, were accurate, it’s pretty inconsequential for climate. But the consequences for humans are great, requiring that we reduce our standard of living significantly for the benefit of international fat cats who benefit from scams such as carbon credits.

That last part is why the squeals are so loud. Bravo to the President.

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The DNA of the Left

February 4, 2017

The election of Donald Trump has brought the crazies out of the woodwork, from the “nasty” Ashley Judd to the Madonna terrorist threat to shutting down airports and riots at Berkley. This was predictable by anyone who understands the history and philosophy, that is, the DNA, of the Left.

Karl Marx

Karl Marx

The Left has many factions. In part, that’s to give them the ability to morph into whatever form they need to take for a particular situation. But there are commonalities among them all. The first and foremost is their root philosophy of Marxism. Key elements of Marx’s and Engels’ thinking surface regularly in statements made by Leftists.

For instance, when preaching about the minimum wage, we are told that business owners have excess profits. In debates about international affairs we are told the US is imperialist or exploiting resources of other countries.  We are regularly told the Left is “scientific” while the Right is made up of “science deniers.”

All these claims were made by Marx in his exposition of Scientific Socialism (a tem coined by Engels to describe Marxism) where we are told that all value is created by labor and Capitalists exploit labor by taking profits that, morally, belong to labor. Moreover, Marx lectured us that the Capitalist, to survive, must exploit foreigners through imperialism and war. This is why the Left is anti war during Republican administrations (but not so much during Democrat ones). And finally, Marx posited that his system was scientific and all other social theories were not.

Furthermore, Marx and other socialists theorized that history was determined by class struggle between the various “classes” throughout history. In Marx’s time the classes were the Capitalists and proletarians, or workers. This is why the Left once marched in lockstep with the union movement.

But then, in the 20th Century, Marxist determinism started to break down. First off, the biggest Socialist state, the Soviet Union, did not grow out of a Capitalist society, as Marxists predicted, but out of a Feudal system. Second, Socialist economies did not out-preform Capitalist ones, as Marxists predicted, but the opposite occurred. Finally, the workers of the world did not unite, at least not behind the Marxists. Knowing where their bread and butter came from, workers, even union workers, opposed Socialists, for example, in the conflicts between “hard hats” and protesters in the ’60s and ’70s in the US.

What oh what was a good Commie to do? Salvation came in the form of a group of German dissidents who formed the Frankfurt School. Their big contribution to Socialism was “Critical Theory” and how it changed Marxism to explain the 20th Century failures.

This new thinking is responsible for all modern Leftist dogma. Instead of claiming that Capitalists and workers constituted the struggling classes, we now have the Capitalists versus women, minorities and the LGBTQ individuals. The more recent morphing is white men, versus the aforementioned groups. This explains some of the nuttier Leftist positions, such as defending suicide bombers, choosing Hamas over Israel, and so forth. The Left, true to Marx and Frankfurt, classify all people into tribes and then mark these tribes as good guys or bad guys in the great Class Struggle. So terrorists, because they are not Europeans, must be classified as the good guys.  Violent Black Lives Matter members considered good guys, only because they are not white, and Berkley rioters are justified only because Trump ran as a Republican.

Normal people have trouble understanding how the Left, that still claims a monopoly on science, can defend the indefensible and advocate for riots and atrocity. Simple. We only have to turn to a prominent member of the Frankfurt School and inventor of Critical Theory, Max Horkheimer, who said, according the Wikipedia:

The facts which our senses present to us are socially performed in two ways: through the historical character of the object perceived and through the historical character of the perceiving organ. Both are not simply natural; they are shaped by human activity, and yet the individual perceives himself as receptive and passive in the act of perception.”

The translation is that there is no objective reality. More specifically, a “wise Latina” on the Supreme Court is expected to judge differently than a black justice (Clarence Thomas doesn’t count) or a white one. A man cannot discuss women’s issues, a white can’t discuss black or Hispanic issues, a straight can’t talk about gays and so forth. We each, thanks to our tribe, our group, our class sees a very different reality. Except that the reality of the “ruling class” the rich, the white, the corporations, is corrupt, and the reality of ethnic minorities, gays, women Palestinians is virtuous. So the “news” media can make up stories and Democrat Party operatives can fund demonstrations and riots. Because, after all, what’s true for me isn’t what’s true for you.

In this world of class struggle and polylogism all bets are off. There can be no conversation, much less agreement There can be no justice except “social justice” which is just tribal warfare, not justice. There can be no rules when we each have our own reality. In fact, there can be no science without objective reality. And, of course, there can be no successful “reaching across the aisle.” So the Constitution, the law in general, is moot. All that remains is the great Class Struggle. And since there can’t be a conversation between radically different realities, all that is remains is lies and violence.

The peace and prosperity, the live and let live attitude, that was once taken for granted in America, is not the norm. It’s the exception in human history. Peace, prosperity and freedom are a result of Classical Western philosophy, the Scottish Enlightenment, and the concepts of individual rights, limited government and the rule of law enshrined in the Declaration and Constitution. What the Left delivers, instead, is brutal collectivism, dictatorial tyranny and mindless mob rule, a throwback ideology from a thousand years ago.

 

 

Global Warming

February 12, 2014

The advocates of man-made global warming are fond of claiming science as their ally. But the science is almost immaterial since global warming is a thin disguise for what is a very dangerous political movement, one that would subjugate all of us to a tyranny that claims our lives and values are inconsequential compared to what authorities assert is best for the planet.

But, if we wish to pretend this is about science, the warmers have a few challenges.

Snow Covered MailboxHow do we measure Global Temperature?

We usually take if for granted, but how do we get a number, one number, for the temperature of the Earth? Terrestrial measurements are fraught with error as the environment around many measurement stations has changed. The most extreme examples are of rural stations ending up in the outskirts of cities where temperatures are normally warmer than in the rural location. There are also maintenance issues and other problems with terrestrial measurements.

Satellite measurements are more controlled but don’t go back very far, historically. Balloons provide great atmospheric profile data but weather balloons haven’t been around that long and they are not launched uniformly around the world. Ice core samples provide thousands of years of data but don’t help us know what the temperature was in places that don’t have ice.

So getting a single number for the temperature of the Earth today or historically is a problem. We either have long-term data or global data but not both. Still, we can at least look at something like ice core data and get information about the temperature record at one place on earth (let’s forget for now that the continents and their ice don’t stay put but move around over time.)

And even if we decide which measurements are the most meaningful, how does one integrate all the measurements to achieve one number, one, grand, global temperature?  These are not minor scientific problems.

Is the Earth Warming?

The second problem, after determining one temperature number, is to ascertain whether the earth is cooling or warming or staying the same.  In other words, are the measurement uncertainties small enough to allow us to predict a trend? The Earth’s temperature is certainly not staying the same over time, with or without people on board. (My preference is warming. Cooling would result in mass extinctions.)

Why is the Earth Warming?

Third, if we can get past that hurdles of measuring temperature and determining a trend, we are confronted with proving WHY the temperature is changing and not just qualitatively but quantitatively, to the fraction of a degree. A computer model is NOT A PROOF. A computer model is a hypothesis that must be proven by observation, experiment and testing. This is no different than what is required of any mathematical description of reality be it Newton’s laws or quantum mechanics.

How Do We Change the Temperature Trend?

Fourth, if we decide we can measure the temperature and that the temperature is changing and that people are the cause, we must now propose a solution. And, again, scientific necessity requires that we PROVE the hypothesis, that is, prove the cure we propose. Even advocates of warming have not found a solution tyrannical, oppressive and inhuman enough to make much of a difference in their temperature trend claims. By their own calculations “cap and trade” and other policy proposals make a difference of only a couple tenths of a degree C per century.

Is the Cure Worst Than The Disease?

Fifth, and finally, if we are to be humane, and the warmists show no signs of being humane, we should determine if our cure is worse than the disease. I say it is. The warmists predict oceans rising, cities being flooded and a host of disasters. (But, of course, it’s also true that more carbon dioxide means more plant growth and warmer climates have longer growing seasons.)

The warmists’ cure is an end to individual rights, freedom, capitalism and, frankly, humanity. Is living in a gulag run by enviro-nazis preferable to putting your home on stilts, moving inland or to a more Northern latitude?

Just to cap this off, what do we do if 1) we can measure the Earth’s temperature and 2) we can detect a trend and 3) the trend is caused by people and 4) we have a political cure but 5) our cure goes too far and we reverse the warming trend instead of stopping it? Would you prefer Cleveland is in the tropics or that Orlando is under ice?

More research and information can be found at the Junk Science web site.

Why You Don’t Need a Gun

January 28, 2013

You don’t need a gun for the same reason you don’t need to get a flu or measles  vaccine: Herd immunity. As a public health phenomenon, herd immunity describes a condition where, if enough people are immune to a communicable disease, say through vaccination, the un-vaccinated members of the community, or herd, are protected to a great extent also.

Herd immunity works because communicable diseases are only spread when infected individuals are near susceptible individuals. If enough members of a community are immune to a disease, it becomes difficult, almost impossible, for infected individuals to pass the disease on to susceptible individuals.  The percentage of the population it is necessary to vaccinate for there to be significant herd immunity varies by the disease and how it is transmitted, air, blood, saliva etc. But, generally speaking, the number is usually between 80 and 90% of the population.

Similarly, if enough people own guns and are capable of self-defense, crime decreases. So even those that do not own guns are conferred a form of immunity to violent crime by the credible potential of armed resistance. This form of herd immunity works differently than the form studied by disease immunologists.

Herd immunity to violent crime is due to an economic calculation by potential criminals. Those criminals look for soft targets. If a large number of homeowners are armed, the criminal does not dare enter an inhabited dwelling. The downside risk is too high. He plays the percentages. Instead, the criminal will do smash and grabs or confine himself to burglary (of uninhabited dwellings) rather than robbery (of individuals or occupied dwellings).

The statistics available in various jurisdictions, foreign and domestic, with different gun laws support this. Where guns are banned altogether robbery increases. Where guns in homes are legal, robbery goes down. Even madmen are sane enough to attack gun free zones where their victims will be helpless and avoid places such as police stations, gun shows and so forth.

The great beauty of the herd immunity to crime is that you don’t even need a lot of guns in the hands of the law-abiding. You only need to create the impression that the citizenry is armed. This phenomenon was observed many years ago when a TV news show in Florida broadcast a story that local police were training women to be proficient in firearms. We don’t know how many women in that community actually owned a firearm but violent crimes against women, assault, rape, robbery, dropped to nearly zero while remaining the same in surrounding areas.

Herd immunity from crime goes into effect when citizens are allowed to be armed. But it also works when there is a greater police presence. I have not seen the statistics but our local police chief has explained that in our part of the state, those localities with their own police forces have a much lower rate of break-ins than those communities that rely on the state police, as excellent as they are, because there isn’t the same level of coverage. Again, the criminals are playing the percentages in an attempt to reduce downside risk.

You, or an economist, might consider the un-vaccinated people or the unarmed citizens to be free-riders, getting a benefit without paying the same price others do. I don’t look at it that way. Instead, herd immunity gives us choices that might not be otherwise open to us. First of all, herd immunity is not a guarantee. So if you are un-vaccinated you can still get sick and if you are unarmed you can still be attacked.

What is important to me is that herd immunity protects those that, for whatever reason, cannot participate in the vaccination program. They may be allergic to the vaccine or their immune system cannot respond to it. Regarding guns, the person may, reasonably, feel safer without weapons around or with different weapons. Herd immunity provides these choices.

I would ask those that choose to avoid vaccinations or guns to at least respect that other may make a different decision. After all, the abstainer, usually without being aware of it, benefits from the choices others have made to protect themselves thanks to herd immunity.

Neil Armstrong

August 26, 2012

Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the Moon,  passed away Saturday, 8/25/12, at 82 years old.

Footprint on the Moon

It’s difficult to explain what Neil Armstrong’s  era was like, emotionally, for those of us who grew up then. It was an era of exploring space and landing on the Moon. Try to imagine a culture that embraced science, including nuclear power, space travel and wonder drugs as opposed to our over-lawyered,  culture that fears every technology and every new development from nuclear power to cell phones. It’s the difference between taking flight and hiding under your desk.

It was an inspiring time. I miss it.

Correction: I should have said I miss the attitude, the culture of achievement, not the 60’s or 70’s.