Friday, August 22, 2014

Cosmos again

I've been watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

I've always like Neil DeGrasse Tyson.   Smart guy, articulate, seems to have a sense of humor. I was a little annoyed that he demoted Pluto but he was right.  I really enjoyed the  original Cosmos. The new one is also very good, flashy, but solid and informative.  I've been a bit surprised to see Mr Tyson's opinions on religion not come pouring out unlike another special he did, where he fairly constantly referred to all religions as ignorant superstitions.  Yeah I know that's the standard opinion of virtually every atheist I've ever met.   Those of us who don't care for organized religion and don't like to be preached at by the church, don't much like to be preached at by the other side either.  (I suppose I could be misjudging him on this but it's sure the feeling I got from his other show - The Inexplicable Universe.

One thing I found a little irritating was the time spent on global warming (slightly dates the show doesn't it?).  It was expressed much as the alarmists would have it - fate accompli, the Science is Settled™.  This whole set was preceded by pointing out all the scientists who were ridiculed by the "in" crowd, like the fellow who first postulated plate tectonics - and lots of others.  It was followed by this:
Only a few centuries ago, a mere second in cosmic time, we knew nothing of where or when we were. Oblivious to the rest of the cosmos, we inhabited a kind of prison, a tiny universe bounded by a nutshell. 
How did we escape from the prison? It was the work of generations of searchers who took five simple rules to heart.
(1) Question authority. No idea is true just because someone says so, including me.
(2) Think for yourself. Question yourself. Don't believe anything just because you want to. Believing something doesn't make it so.
(3) Test ideas by the evidence gained from observation and experiment. If a favorite idea fails a well-designed test, it's wrong. Get over it.
(4) Follow the evidence wherever it leads. If you have no evidence, reserve judgment.
And perhaps the most important rule of all...
(5) Remember: you could be wrong. Even the best scientists have been wrong about some things. Newton, Einstein, and every other great scientist in history -- they all made mistakes. Of course they did. They were human. 

Does that sound anything at all like Climate Science? You know the Science is Settled™, shut your mouths or we'll send  you to re-education camps, or GitMo or some other very unpleasant place.   No?  Do you suppose it's because it's not Science?  Maybe because it's the religious dogma of the leftist ideology? 

What happens when you question them?  They tell you to shut up.  (Rule 1 - FAIL)
What happens when you try to do your own analysis?  They try to shut you down by hiding the data (Rule 2 FAIL) 
What happens when you compare evidence to theory? They Deny your results - Our Models Tell Us! (Rule 3 FAIL)
What happens when you ask them to follow the evidence - Prevarication, Obfuscation, Dogma (Rule 4 FAIL)
What happens when you bring up rule 5?   Outrange  - DENIER! Off with their heads!   (Rule 5 FAIL)

Must not be Science.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

That's just scary.

Apparently a Former NYC police commissioner doesn't approve of tactics used by Ferguson cops.

Okay, the city that brought you stop and frisk, and like to shoot innocent bystanders as much as criminals.   Just for a little perspective....

Crony Capitalism

Possibly, the biggest oversight of our founding fathers was, to not include an article in the constitution regarding the separation of economy and state.  I'm still digging to see if perhaps they didn't actually make a conscious decision to leave the possibility of government interference in the free market.

When I was studying Economics in college, I took a course on government regulation.  My conclusion was that, as a company you wanted regulation - yeah I know, that sounds really wrong.  Keep in mind, that regulators, until fairly recently, didn't bother with little industries, there wasn't really enough voter noise for congress to create new regulatory agencies, and regulations.  Mostly it affects large industries. Here's how it works.

In the early stages of regulation you have a government sanctioned monopoly of some domain.  You are essentially guaranteed a return on investment, more than likely there is  government funds to help you build the business.   The second stage comes from the hiring of the individuals who used to regulate your business or, at minimum putting them on the board of directors.  You now have your Washington insider, who has a serious financial incentive to get additional concessions from the 'new' regulator.  Eventually congress get's involved, usually because of a change in technology, or  a perceived change in the competitive nature of the regulated industry.   Now the regulated corporation sends in the lobbyist, who write bills to favor the company, or industry.  They raise funds for re-election, and in return the bills are passed.  New regulators are appointed, old regulators are given very high paying jobs and put on the board of more companies.   Eventually a previous regulator will split off, and via the campaign finance donations bribery paid, they will be appointed to regulation again, where they with their new insight in to what the company needs, adjust the regulations, selectively enforce, or ignore regulations depending on financial gain to their now future employer.

Sometimes, the push to regulation comes from unions, early on, those regulations were primarily to prevent unscrupulous business operators from forcing workers into unsafe work environments.  That for the most part (not entirely) ended back in the seventies.

In the end, the government who was trying to control the business is in fact, owned by the business. As long as they avoid any monstrously huge public impropriety the politicians will work with them and help them fleece the consumer voter.

AT&T benefited hugely from it's government sanctioned monopoly - the euphemistic deregulation phase, on the surface seemed like a good thing, what it in fact did was create new regulatory conditions on multiple smaller organizations.   Additional opportunities for jobs for regulators, lobbyists, and additional complex regulation that would allow the companies to avoid competition, due partly to the onerous barriers to entry crated by the wall of bureaucratic red tape.

Regulation is used as a giant club which is used to beat potential entrants into the marketplace,  thus stifling competition. The large corporation, a million, or even 100 million dollar legal budget is an asset.  It erects barriers that smaller more efficient, more competitive companies can not scale.

Thus crony capitalism is born.

The last thing a crony capitalist really wants is an elimination of government interference.  There are few if any crony capitalists amongst small business.  That generally only happens if a congress critter leaves office and returns home to start said business, or go to work with a friend and long time supporter.

If you want to see this in operation, take a look at the number of ex regulators working at Monsanto, or Verizon, or AT&T, or .....

Why there is no Science in Climate Science

I keep thinking about the battle between Climate Science™and Deniers™ and wondering why there's so much resistance to an actual scientific approach.  For a while, I assumed it had to do with grant money. If you look at where funding comes from - the governments, you need to wonder why they fund non-science.  Certainly there has been sufficient skepticism from ligament sources that they might consider.   I think the answer lies in the centralization of power.

We've all heard the phrase "Never let a crisis go to waste."  A crisis is the fastest way to institute law and regulation resulting in the increase of centralized power.  Why? A crisis brings fear, and people who are afraid look for someone to protect them, sadly, we've replace family and community with government in that roll. So we have a crisis - apparently manufactured - funded by the government, supported by the liberal media.  But it's being used to enact policy that makes little or no sense.

Thermal solar is the least cost effective form of energy in use for large scale production, wind only works when the wind is blowing at a reasonable velocity,  geothermal doesn't seem to work well enough to gain traction, except perhaps in Iceland.  Photo-voltaic is enormously expensive and only useful at a small scale at present.  Both forms of solar are only effective during the day - fortunately solar covers the largest peak usage around noon, although it's less effective for the secondary peak around 5pm.   Neither wind or solar is a viable power source for virtually half the day.   Wave and Tidal power has a host of issues with maintenance costs and not in my back yard complaints.

So the government is attempting to kill coal because "global warming" at the same time, we're ripping out hydro-electric dams, we can't make progress on nuclear both of which are clean sources.  It seems to me, they're not trying to solve the claimed problem. What it looks like to me is an attempt to make people afraid so they ask for protection, since you can't protect someone from something that doesn't exist, the power mongers need to find policies that appear to do something, while at the same time waisting economic productivity (money). Why? People in debt are slaves to the system, they are put in a position where they need help, creating more dependency.  It's a self reenforcing form of serfdom.

Actual science would ruin all that.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A new take on succession

Apparently a very rich liberal and donor to the democratic party thinks the "South" should succeed.

The writer is Guy Saperstein. He’s a major Democratic donor, a part-owner of the Oakland Athletics baseball team, a former President of the environmental organization The Sierra Club, and founder of The Patriotic Millionaires, a group of mega-wealthy Americans who want Congress to raise taxes, according to Media Trackers.

Why?  Apparently the south is holding back the rest of the countries desire to forge ahead with it's progressive agenda.

"For more than 100 years, the South has been dumbing down national politics, tilting the country in a conservative direction, supporting militarism, all while demanding huge financial subsidies from blue states.”

Hmm, that might make for an interesting situation.    I find the remark about dumbing down national politics kinda funny, politicians are constantly making incredibly stupid comments - and - okay I'm biased, but most of them are Democrats - 
Congress "[has] to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it, away from the fog of controversy."  -- N. Pelosi
 Comes to mind. Although there are so many more.

Is it warming or cooling?

From wattsupwiththat.com 


“We have been building models and there are now robust contradictions,” says Liu, a professor in the UW-Madison Center for Climatic Research. “Data from observation says global cooling. The physical model says it has to be warming.”

Okay, here's a thought. Stop trying to draw conclusions from questionable data.

When you get problems like this - the solution is to toss ALL of the preconceived theories.  Go back and look at the data collection methods and determine if they are adequate to the problem.  If they are, everyone needs to agree on what the hell that data is.   It's no good if one group sabotages the data to support their preferred Policy.   Let's try SCIENCE.  Why?  well the left is doing policy and calling it science, and the right is pointing out the BIG ASS HOLES in their data and how bad the computer models are that the left has come up with to support their chosen policy.  But who the hell is actually doing science?    There's probably a few, but with all the noise, it' hard to hear what they have to say. 

I think mother nature is going to solve this problem by doing something nobody wants, in a way nobody expects, because she's tired of listening to the constant squabbling....  "Just wait till your father get's home!"


The scientists politicians call this problem the Holocene temperature conundrum. It has important implications for understanding climate change and evaluating climate models, as well as for the benchmarks used to create climate models for the future. It does not, the authors emphasize, change the evidence of human impact  lack of evidence of human impact on global climate beginning in the 20th century.

       What they said  What they should have said

As near as I can tell, the left saw some localized events, Greenland Ice cover melt, receding glaciers, etc and jumped to the conclusion - Global Warming, then went about faking what ever data they thought might get them additional grant money and have been screening PANIC ever since.  Many on the right simply say - There's no warming! And while they seem to have the data on their side, it doesn't explain the melting.

Frankly the data, as it stands, sans serious tweaking to reenforce policy, pretty much says - WE DON'T FRIGGING KNOW.   There are reasons for some of the local phenomena,  that are currently blamed on "global warming".  But if there's no warming - and there doesn't seem to have been any, then we can probably conclude that's not the cause.   Maybe it's time to start looking elsewhere.    Maybe even use real SCIENCE - yeah I know Math is Hard, Science is really hard....

I haven't heard anyone claim the melt data is bogus.   It might be as simple as changes in volcanic activity under the ice, might be something else altogether.    Might be bogus too, although faking a receding glacier might be tough.   Don't know, maybe that's just what glaciers do when they're not getting bigger. 

I'm sort of curious as to why no one actually wants to know the real reason.



Monday, August 11, 2014