Category Archives: Science

The Tyranny of Pseudo-Science

The hysterical reaction of the left to Scott Pruitt’s plan to create two competing teams of scientists to study from opposite positions the left’s pet myth, man-made global warming, shows just how anti-science the left has become.  The left is a single, stupid collective mind that is utterly incapable of truly independent and free thought.  The left is very much like the Inner Party in Orwell’s classic, 1984, where party members believe things that are obviously not true and in which dissent is – quite literally – unthinkable.

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What, Exactly, Is Feminist Geography?

The bizarre corners of academia are usually Steve’s beat, but a reader sent me a link to an article about a paper published in Gender, Place & Culture, a Journal of Feminist Geography. The paper, by Carrie Mott and Daniel Cockayne, is titled “Citation matters: mobilizing the politics of citation toward a practice of ‘conscientious engagement.’” It urges academics working in the field of geography not to cite works by white, heterosexual men.

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A Quick Overview of the Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement entered into force on November 4th, 2016. It was adopted on December 12th, 2015. One hundred and ninety-five  UNFCCC members have signed the agreement and one hundred and forty-eight members have ratified it.

The agreement calls for each signing member to contribute to the reduction of carbon, making economies “low carbon”.

Carbon is not a pollutant:

CO2 is in our every breath, in the carbonated sodas and waters that we drink and in the dry ice that helps us keep our food cold and safe. We breathe in 400 parts per million and then exhale 40,000 parts per million with no ill effects.

We breathe the 40,000 ppm into victims needing CPR and it does not cause them to die! 

The monitoring systems in U.S. submarines do not provide an alert until CO2 levels reach 8,000 ppm which is higher that natural CO2 levels have been on Earth in the last 540 million years.

CO2 is a great airborne fertilizer which, as its concentrations rise, causes additional plant growth and causes plants to need less water. Without CO2 there would be no life (food) on Earth. The 120 ppm of CO2 added to the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution has caused an average increase in worldwide plant growth of over 12 percent and of 18 percent for trees.

 

There is no way to compel each member to accomplish this by a certain date:

The agreement is meant to be “legally binding” on the parties, at least the regular monitoring and assessment of national carbon-reduction plans. But it does not impose specific emission-reduction requirements on governments or even require them to meet their own “nationally determined” commitments. The administration of U.S. president Barack Obama has adamantly opposed any binding language in those areas, arguing such requirements would require ratification from the Republican-led Congress.

But even the “binding” aspects of accords have no enforcement mechanism or penalties for failing to meet them.

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Some of it is legally binding within the United Nations framework. The regular review and submission of emission reduction targets will be binding.

So too will the $100bn fund from developed economies to help emerging and developing nations decarbonise their energy mix – which means moving away from burning fossil fuels to clean energy sources, such as renewables and nuclear.

What won’t be legally binding will be the emission targets. These will be determined by nations themselves.

Not everyone believes that the American withdrawal from the agreement is a bad thing:

There are positive opportunities that could arise from US withdrawal. One is the re-emergence of climate trade measures, such as border carbon adjustments. …

Withdrawal could embolden other great powers to show more effective climate leadership. Despite having some internal problems , neither China nor the EU face the same institutional hurdles as the US and can offer far more decisive and ambitious leadership.

Considering the above facts, would anyone care about the sanctimonious bluster of wasteful governments and the lack of criticism of genuine polluters like China, India and Russia?

 

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Human history ‘began in Europe not Africa’, scientists claim

For decades, scientists have assumed that the lineages of humans and apes diverged between five to seven million years ago and that the first pre-humans developed in Africa. But analysis of two very ancient fossils, a pre-human tooth and lower jawbone unearthed in Bulgaria and Greece, has thrown the previously-accepted theory of Africa as the birthplace of modern humans into doubt.

Racism!

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These vids certainly show a different side to Bill Nye…

And won’t likely help his reputation: My Sex Junk is a message to the world about sexuality. We can probably miss the one where ice cream cones discover sex.

Pop science is no match for identity politics, as we might have guessed.

Someone asks, does Nye has a future as the ”Pee Wee Herman of popular science”? Maybe that’s what’s left now.

See also: March for Science, Bill Nye, and constitutional government

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Anti-Trump “March For Science” Protest Has Problems W/ Bill Nye Because He’s White

The March for Science is another one of those liberal anti-Trump rallies. This one is being organized by scientists who believe the Trump administration is planning on reversing every scientific discovery since Copernicus. Originally they chose Bill Nye the fraudulent science guy as their public face, but there was an uprising against the decision because he’s a white guy.

h/t Mom

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Science marching away from its real problems

At Marchin’, marchin’: The experts are right, it’s the facts that are wrong, I responded to some comments and offer a linked version here:


johnnyb, Upright Biped, and rvb8, my principal concern is that people, including people in science, can’t better their game if they won’t address their weaknesses.

The Marchin’, Marchin’ for Science movement is dangerously deluded if it thinks that the public is against science, “hates science,” etc.

I’ve followed science stories for over two decades now. As so often, the answer is simpler, clearer, and less comfortable*:

Most people who do not work in science or follow science news interact with it in areas like medicine. Medicine matters.

Even if the Higgs boson were shown to be a fraud, it would be nothing more than the Piltdown Particle. Most people who didn’t care before won’t start to care now.

Cancer diagnoses, by contrast, get everybody’s attention immediately.

So here’s what really happens: People like myself who have dear friends fighting breast cancer find out that treatment drugs failed replication. But, worse, that replication is not usually even risked. Or else we find out stuff like this: Ideological nonsense around gender equality harms, possibly sometimes kills, women patients. Could that have played a role in the death of someone we know?

Anyone who thinks that people who want change are just anti-science should stay clear of public policy for now. Their blinkers will not do them or their causes any good.

Face your desk.

(On the other hand, if I don’t support the cause, maybe I should cheer them on.)

* People facing unaccustomed challenges resort to conspiracy thinking. In politics, for example, recent changes in leadership are blamed on the alt right,fake news, and various conspiracies when the reality is often that people who were trusted were asleep at the switch and didn’t give good answers or advice. Something similar is happening with the marchin’, marchin’ phenomenon in science.

See also: Marchin’, marchin’: The experts are right, it’s the facts that are wrong Reynolds: “According to Foreign Affairs magazine, Americans reject the advice of experts so as “to insulate their fragile egos from ever being told they’re wrong.” That’s in support of a book by Tom Nichols called The Death of Expertise, which essentially advances that thesis.” Hmmm. Sounds like Nichols is another candidate for our Blinkers Award.

Blinkers Award goes to… Tom Nichols at Scientific American! On why Americans “hate science”

Was the exposed Piltdown Man fraudster framed?

Are polls scientific? Well, what happens when human complexity foils electoral predictions?

Reproducibility problem a serious threat to medicine

and

The high cost of marchin’, marchin’ for Science: If female, you could be road kill yourself It’s good that social sciences are not really sciences anyway. But seeing how their point of view has spread into medical sciences, which can actually help people, is disconcerting

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