Monday, November 27, 2017

The Genius of Trump?

      C-span Book TV interviewed the Dilbert creator Scott Adams on his book "Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter."   He had another take on why Trump won that has little to do with politics, disgruntled underemployment, or appeals to racism. 
The entire 73 min interview can be seen here.  

     Adams predicted a Trump victory back in 2015.  Without a doubt the video at C-SPAN is a MUST VIEW.

The Renewable Myth

      We have spent the last two centuries getting off renewables because they were mostly weak, costly and unreliable. Half a century ago, in 1966, the world got 15.6% of its energy from renewables. Today (2016) we still get less of our energy at 13.8%.
     With our concern for global warming, we are ramping up the use of renewables. The mainstream reporting lets you believe that renewables are just about to power the entire world. But this is flatly wrong.

Read the whole story:
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/11/26/the-big-slide-in-renewable-energy-tells-the-real-story/

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dilbert and Curry Explain Lack of Science in Climate


Dr Judith Curry is a leading Climate Scientist.  She is in the considered to be in the fallacious 97% consensus statistic that climate scientists that support global warming. However, the crazies in climate alarmist POLITICS consider her to be a dangerous climate skeptic.  Here is her perspective.

Dr. Judith Curry Explains The Reality Of Bad Climate Science And Bad Politics

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Gore's Climate Sequel Is A Snoozer

From an article in August 4, 2017 issue of The Week magazine, Jordan Hoffman said in TheGuardian.com, "barely finds a way to keep viewers awake.  It's more a portrait of Gore than a call to arms."

Emjily Atkin in the NewRepublic.com said, "The former vice president is, of course, the most polarizing figure in climate politics -- disputed on the Left, and widely loathed on the Right."

The Week summarizes the movie as a middling sequel to the 2006 An Inconvenient Truth.

     They say the sequel is always worse than the original, but Al Gore’s first film set the bar pretty low. Eleven years ago, “An Inconvenient Truth” hyped global warming by relying more on scare tactics than science. This weekend Mr. Gore is back with “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.” If the trailer is any indication, it promises to be more of the same.
     The former vice president has a poor record. Over the past 11 years Mr. Gore has suggested that global warming had caused an increase in tornadoes, that Mount Kilimanjaro’s glacier would disappear by 2016, and that the Arctic summers could be ice-free as soon as 2014. These predictions and claims all proved wrong.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/al-gores-climate-sequel-misses-a-few-inconvenient-facts-1501193349

New York Times Is Engaged in Climate Fraud

The New York Times said yesterday that heatwaves in the past were “virtually unheard of in the 1950s”, temperatures approaching 130 degrees didn’t used to occur, and summer temperatures have shifted towards more extreme heat.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/28/climate/more-frequent-extreme-summer-heat.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1 

Every single claim in the article is patently false, and the exact opposite of reality. The authors intentionally started their study in a cold period, after the extreme heat of the 1930’s.

https://realclimatescience.com/2017/07/new-york-times-shifts-towards-extreme-climate-fraud/

Oren Cass in City-Journal.org reporting of this kind of hyperventilating said, "What hysterical nonsense."

Jonah Goldberg in NationalReview.com said, "The public remembers past doomsday predictions about environmental catastrophies that didn't happen."

In fact even atmospheric scientist Michael Mann said in WashingtonPost.com, "Climate doomism in fact can be just as destructive as climate-change denial"

In US, Belief in Creationist View of Humans at New Low

The percentage of U.S. adults who believe that God created humans in their present form at some time within the last 10,000 years or so -- the strict creationist view -- has reached a new low. Thirty-eight percent of U.S. adults now accept creationism, while 57% believe in some form of evolution -- either God-guided or not -- saying man developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life.
  • 38% say God created man in present form, lowest in 35 years
  • Same percentage say humans evolved, but God guided the process
  • Less-educated Americans more likely to believe in creationism

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Nearly Everyone Will Develop a Psychological Disorder

According to a July 14, 2017 article in Scientific American mental illnesses are so common that almost everyone will suffer at least one diagnosable mental disorder at some point in their lives. Most of these people will never receive treatment. At any time, approximately a quarter of the population experience psychological distress severe enough to impair functioning at work, school or in their relationships. Recent National surveys suggested that close to half the population, would experience a mental illness at some point in their lives.

In a new study, published earlier this year in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that if they follow people and screen them regularly using simple, evidence-based tools, the percentage of people who develop a diagnosable mental illness at any point in their lives jumps to well over 80 percent.

The latest research suggests, for the most common psychological complaints, the disorder is often short-lived, of lesser severity or self-limiting. It is not a livelong ailment.

Even short-lived or self-limiting individuals with mental illness need support.

Three years ago Mental Health America launched a Web-based tool (click here) to allow individuals to discreetly screen themselves for possible psychological disorders. Since then over two million people have used the tool, with over 3,000 people a day now logging on to determine if they may have a condition that could benefit from treatment.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/mental-illness-is-far-more-common-than-we-knew/?WT.mc_id=SA_MB_20170719 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dr Novella Gives Skeptical Opinion of Low Cal Drinks

According to Dr Steven Novella in his blog post, New Review of Artificial Sweeteners, July 19, 2017,
If you are trying to lose weight replacing sugary drinks with low calorie drinks can be a helpful part of your overall strategy. It will not be a panacea, or make weight loss easy. The research shows the most effective strategies involve making permanent changes to your lifestyle regarding food consumption and exercise. Avoiding sugary drinks can be part of those lifestyle changes, and you should not fear drinking LES because of an alleged backfire effect. The research, including this recent review, does not show such an effect in humans.
He clarifies this conclusion as follows:
I think the bottom line is that weight loss is difficult and complex. . . There are many variables, and no study will ever be able to control for all of them. The net effect of consuming LES vs sugary drinks or water is likely dependent on the individual and the situation. But I do think we can draw a couple of conclusions from all the available research. 
The first question is this – is there a health or weight disadvantage to consuming sugar? I think the answer here is a clear yes. Sugary drinks contain many calories that add to total calorie consumption and are counterproductive if your goal is calorie control for weight management. Replacing high calorie sugary drinks with low calorie drinks is therefore advantageous.
The second question is this – is there an unintended backfire effect to consuming LES, because it tricks the brain into being more hungry or some other hormonal or metabolic effect? Here I think the answer is probably no,. . . Randomized controlled trials in humans supersede cohort studies and animal studies in addressing this question. Those studies find, if anything, a modest benefit to consuming LES.. . The randomized trials clearly do not show any disadvantage – no backfire effect.
https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/new-review-of-artificial-sweeteners/

Conciousness

In late April, an editor of Slashdot raved about a TED talk that he had just watched. We tried to find that talk, but it was never posted by people at TED.  Finally, we received notice that it was available. Alhough we are a TED talk junkies but we agree with the editor at Slashdot, this presentation is thought provoking.

Right now, billions of neurons in your brain are working together to generate a conscious experience -- and not just any conscious experience, your experience of the world around you and of yourself within it. How does this happen? According to neuroscientist Anil Seth, we're all hallucinating all the time; when we agree about our hallucinations, we call it "reality." Join Seth for a delightfully disorienting talk that may leave you questioning the very nature of your existence.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Climate Wackos Are Doubling Down

      Governor Brown isn't the only hysteric on the Climate Alarmist wacko bench.  According to Dr Judith Curry, American climatologist and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the New York Magazine in its article the Uninhabitable Earth has even the proponents of Anthropogenic Global Warming crying "this guy is nuts.".  

     According to Curry, 
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/07/17/alarm-about-alarmism/
The climate change debate has entered what we might call the “Campfire Phase”, in which the goal is to tell the scariest story. – Oren Cass (twitter)

She adds, "What is technically wrong with the NYMag article? Andy Revkin pretty much sums it up perfectly with this tweet"
Scariest stuff isn’t worst-case science; it’s bad fit of @deepuncertainty & time scales with indiv. & collective human risk/response traits.

Apart from the predictable takedowns by the AGW ‘unconvinced,’ there has been substantial resistance to the NYMag article from elements of what is usually regarded as the ‘alarmed’ contingent:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Governor Brown Is Clueless Regarding Climate Change

      California Governor Brown and Senate Leader Kevin de Leon have demanded and Californian’s have paid billions of dollars in Cap and Trade taxes (over $5 billion to date) and higher cost renewable energy mandated use (state electric rates 50% higher than U.S. average)  to meet globally irrelevant and meaningless state greenhouse gas reduction targets.
      Brown recently proclaimed that China is “leading” the way in fighting global climate change and made a recent trip to China to discuss climate change issues demonstrate how completely clueless and disconnected he is from reality.
      China is planning to build more than twice as many coal plants in the next decade as the U.S. has in operation today. According to the Global Coal Plant Tracker these 1,600 coal plants would expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent.”
      Under the absurd Paris Climate Accord Agreement provisions China and India, two of the largest CO2 emitters are allowed to increase future CO2 emissions by as much as they want until year 2030 and even in that year no commitment to any future reduction is provided.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/07/13/new-york-times-worlds-nations-building-huge-numbers-of-new-coal-plants-despite-emissions-growth/

      The Carbon Majors Report report found that more than half of global industrial emissions since 1988 can be traced to just 25 corporate and state-owned entities. Chinese coal was 4x more than the next contributor. The report says if fossil fuels continue to be extracted at the same rate over the next 28 years as they were between 1988 and 2017, says the report, global average temperatures would be on course to rise by 8-def F by the end of the century. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Surviving the Misinformation Age

David Helfhand talks the problem, but not the solution.  I guess you have to read his book


He discusses the seriousness of the Misinformation problem of the Internet. Helfhand says,
"The internet misinformation damages our thinking and our beliefs. Even skeptics aren't immune from believing falsehoods they read online."
David J. Helfand, a faculty member at Columbia University,is the author of nearly 200 scientific publications and has trained 22 PhD students, He served as President & Vice-Chancellor from 2008-2015.of Quest University Canada. He is also recent completed a four-year term as President of the American Astronomical Society. His first book, A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age appeared earlier in 2016. He is a Fellow of CSI.

This talk took place at CSICon on Saturday, October 29th, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Paris Accord Hypocrisy

When China halted plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants this year, it seemed to confirm Beijing’s new role as a leader in the fight against climate change. However, new data on the world’s biggest developers of coal-fired power plants indicates a different situation. China’s energy companies will build almost half of the new coal generation expected to go online in the next decade.



Over all, 1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries, according to Global Coal Plant Tracker. These new plants expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent and make it nearly impossible to meet the goals set in the Paris Climate Accord whose target is to limit the increase in global temperatures below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.from pre-industrial levels. Coal fired plants are the biggest single contributor globally to the rise in carbon emissions.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Certainly Trump Has Dangerous Mental Problems

Surely, no one who has seen Trump's recent Tweet with him beating CNN person, can ignore this behavior as not dangerous.  The question is how long should the country tolerate this man?  However, his supporter seem oblivious.  

Adam Roberts says in his July 2, 2018 WIRED article,  The President Does Not Lie Like You and Me
https://www.wired.com/story/president-trumps-lies-and-untruths/?mbid=nl_7217_p1&CNDID=48648177 
To Trump and his followers, it doesn’t matter if we can’t believe the President as long as they ensure we can’t believe anyone else, either. Sure, the apotheosis of all this will make traditional governance—passing laws, making treaties, regulating in the public interest—impossible. But the people in charge will be able to do all kinds of other stuff while no one’s watching, or while no one can see. They can change regulations to make them more favorable to allies and donors. They can figure out how to suppress their opponents’ voters. They can embed moneymaking enterprises into governance. The tsunami of lies will recede, leaving behind only the swamp.
Trump has become such an international embarrassment that almost everyone is just trying to ignore him.  What is scary is how Putin is going to play Trump like a fiddle.  Trump's ego is so far out in front of him, Putin only needs to know one tune. Who knows what lullaby Trump responds in return.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Global Warming BS

We routinely see misrepresentations of global warming.  Few commentators seem interested in sharing the facts.  It appears discussion regarding global warming are extreme with highly polarized claims.  So let offer a very brief summary about what is real.

Global Warming is Caused by Humans:  That is a lie!
The planet has been heating up and freezing for millennia, long before any human was present.  Most recently we have the warm period around 1000 AD and the little ice age around 1800.  The planet is currently warming up after the little ice age.

However, in the late twentieth century the warming seems to have accelerated.  Nearly all scientists agree that humans are responsible for this change through the increased additions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Global Warming is a hoax:  That is a lie!
Same comment as above.

Virtually all scientists agree that the planet is warming and increases in greenhouse gases are the major factor.  This is the case where the science is not disputed.

The Paris Accord can halt Global Warming:  Not Likely
Nothing in the Paris accord will reduce the continued increase is human produced greenhouse gases.  India and China are expected to continue increasing their output of significant greenhouse gases, more than equal to the rest of the world combined.

The posturing by various world governments is mostly for show, including the US's withdrawal.

Climate Models provide a good idea of future warming:  That is a lie
The climate models which have been the basis of much of the global warming hysteria are hugely wrong.  In the last two decades, they have forecasted a 2 to 3 times greater temperature anomaly than actually occurred.

There was an 18 year hiatus in temperature increase that the models totally missed and still have not explained.  The only thing we feel reasonably assured is that the temperature of the planet is increasing, but no where near at the rate the alarmist predicted.

Sea levels are rising:  That is true
Warmer water occupies greater volume.  The seas have been rising at a constant rate since measurements began before the industrial age.  There has been no accelerated rate of increase in recent years.

Polar bears are in danger of extinction:  No one knows
In the last twenty-five years the numbers of polar bears have been increasing.

Weather extremes are getting worse:  Not true
The numbers of tornadoes and hurricanes have been decreasing.

Evidence for these comments can be found on this blog along with adequate reference to sources.
.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mass Hallucinations and Shoddy Journalism

      About 15 years ago, we posted our research of the Bell Witch Legend on-line.  At that time there were NO skeptical examinations of the legend.  It was a good candidate for our work.  The legend was reported to have occurred in Adams TN, which was a forty-five minute car ride from our office. We also read somewhere on the Internet that this Legend was the most documented of any similar occurrence.  However, researching this legend taught us a very valuable lesson -- always trace reports to the "source".  If a report does not identify its basis then one should discard it as strictly opinion and not evidence.

       We found lots of reports of the Bell Witch legend.  It was a very popular story in Middle Tennessee.  Almost none of these reports identified their source.  Every one that did give reference, pointed to only one source -- an 1894 novel by Marvin Ingram, a newspaper man who had a colorful background in "Enquirer type" reports.  He was reporting on an event that occurred three generation prior and for which no eye-witnesses existed.  It didn't take a rational mind very long when reading this novel to ascertain that the whole thing is "poppycock." Nevertheless, that never hindered the spreading of the legend.  Those who want to believe do so regardless of lack of evidence.

     The propensity to exaggerate and report in hyperbolic terms with minimal concern for "facts" is big business.  The king of the 'Alternative' facts is the "Exaggerator-in-Chief" who occupies the White House.  It is almost comical when he points the finger at popular media sources for their "yellow" journalism.  Nevertheless, like it or not, he has a valid point.

      Pull up any popular media website and it is packed with "click bait" -- boring stories with explosive titles or lead-in paragraphs, mostly by advertisers who have paid for internet real estate.  The websites could care less.  They do not realize (or maybe don't care) that these garbage articles "throw mud" on their entire website and diminish their credibility. 

      Robert Bartholomew writes in the Skeptic Magazine 22.1, AN OUTBREAK OF MASS HALLUCINATIONS AND SHODDY JOURNALISM: Why We Need Skepticism More Than Ever, about a mysterious epidemic of hallucinations which was reported to have broken out in Oregon in October of 2016, media outlets around the world portrayed the story as a baffling medical mystery. There’s only one problem, like the story of the Bell Witch, -- it never happened.  https://goo.gl/9SPqNU 

     Bartholomew concludes
What does this episode tell us about the state of journalism in the 21st century? Most sites simply carried the initial breaking news story, never bothering to verify it or contact authorities for clarification. In fact, when the Coos County Sheriff suspended his investigation into the episode on October 27th, local media outlet KCBY-TV continued to maintain that the Department had closed its inquiry into the “five people [who] showed symptoms of hallucinations. This is a story of two outbreaks, the first involving mass suggestion, while the other was even more concerning: an outbreak of shoddy journalism.
      As far as we are concerned, the only thing which is new is the ease at which garbage spreads via the internet and chain email letters, and that it has reached the highest office in America. In Trump's proclivity to throw mud he diminishes his credibility in the eyes of the world and that in turn hurts us all. That is no hallucination.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Chiropractors are Bullshit

We try to keep the posts on this blog relatively fact-based with a minimum of opinion-based article referrals, but this article that we scraped off of Slashdot caught our eye with its catchy title, "Chiropractors are Bullshit". Since it concurs with our general experience with chiropractors and with the skeptical medical community, we decided to read the article.  You can find it at https://theoutline.com/post/1617/chiropractors-are-bullshit 

After reading the article we said, "The article pretty much tells it like it is and offers good advice.  Maybe its good to refer to it on our blog.  But who or what is 'TheOutline.com'?  Are they credible or are we being lured by another smartly crafted fake reporting website?"

We did our usual pro vs con research and found very little.  The organization appears to be less than a year old.  So this is a case of -- we agree with the chiropractic report, but caveat emptor

From a report in the Wall Street Journal we found
The Outline, is a new publication from a former Bloomberg and Verge editor, Joshua Topolsky, who says he wants to establish a next-generation version of The New Yorker while also fixing many of the ills facing digital publishing and advertising.
whatever that means.  It continues
Topolsky says, It is aiming for a smart, highbrow readership -- an audience that falls somewhere between traditional brands like the New York Times and digital natives like BuzzFeed. We want to help people discover things, and keep moving. We don’t want to rewrite lots of stories or just do hot takes.”

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Blog Score Better Than Scientific Articles

According to Daniel Lakens, experimental psychologist at the Human-Technology Interaction group at Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands who has tried to measure blogs and journal article on some dimension.
Blogs, on average, score better on some core scientific values, such as open data and code, transparency of the peer review process, egalitarianism, error correction, and open access. It is clear blogs impact the way we think and how science works.  There is no intrinsic reason why blogs should have higher scientific quality than journal articles. It’s just that the authors of most blogs I read put some core scientific values into practice to a greater extent than editorial boards at journals. 
 
Read his argument at 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Days of "Trust Me" Science Over?

In a 228-194 vote the House of Representatives have voted 1) to require that data used to support new regulation be released to the public and 2) to require any scientific studies be replicable.  What a novel idea!

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr1430/text

According to Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas,
The days of 'trust me' science are over.  In our modern information age, federal regulations should be based only on data that is available for every American to see and that can be subjected to independent review. That’s called the scientific method.
The bill would allow anyone who signs a confidentiality agreement to view redacted personal or trade information in data.