Links 6/26/10

Lunar eclipse ‘magnified’ in US BBC

The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 1) Errol Morris, New York Times (hat tip reader Sundog)

Scientific expertise lacking among ‘doubters’ of climate change, says Stanford-led analysis PhysOrg

Burned girl a symbol of Roma hate and hope CNN (hat tip reader Glenn Stehle)

Oil may pose a hazard for humans, tooMiami Herald (hat tip Doc Holiday)

Tropical Storm May Stop Spill Response For Two Weeks Huffington Post

BP robot accident seriously hampers oil spill containment ComputerWorldUK

Congress Bans Film Futures Trading Deadline (hat tip reader Gonzalo Lira)

Fannie Mae to Charge Strategic Defaulters, for Everything Housing Wire

What caused the Budget Deficit (Before the Financial Crisis)? Linda Beale

Sheila Bair on ‘Too Big to Fail’ Mark Thoma

Chinese pay rises spur move to cheaper sites Financial Times

What might history tell us about the Greek crisis? Michael Pettis. This is a great post, although I have one quibble. He looks at Greece in isolation, and argues at the end that Greece’s insolvency will not be recognized for many years, the reason being that admitting to Greece’s problem blows back to the banking system. But this isn’t just Greece, the other Club Med members also face solvency issues, and austerity is very likely to produce deflation, as it has in Ireland, which will make default more likely. And unlike the Latin American debt crisis, the lenders were in economies are in economies that will be affected by the resolution of the crisis, and some have banking systems too large to be rescued by the government.

The people’s banker Niall Ferguson, Financial Times

Antidote du jour:

Picture 68

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  1. Richard Kline

    “Scientific expertise lacking among ‘doubters’ of climate change . . . .” No shit. But that doesn’t stop them from having an opinion, or falling in love with it. Facts and a command of them? Who needs substance when you’ve got, well, _’me’_?

    1. eric anderson

      @ Richard Kline

      When people with scientific expertise tell me it’s raining when in actuality they are urinating on my leg, it’s hard to believe the experts.

      Anyone, of any background or credentials, can go to and see the weather stations that are reporting the raw data upon which the experts are drawing their conclusions. Any individual can see the high number of stations which are poorly sited and reporting data that is not representative of the area as a whole.

      Garbage in = garbage out. All of the models and all of the prognostications are working with flawed input. These are the facts, and they trump all others. Skeptics are more closely tied to the facts and sound logic than the warmists. But then, who are we going to believe, Dr. Hansen with all his credentials and published papers, or our own lying eyes?

      I guess you have chosen your illusion. I demand a little more care in data collection and handling than we have seen from HadCRUT and its fellows.

      1. Anonymous Jones

        “When people with scientific expertise tell me it’s raining when in actuality they are urinating on my leg, it’s hard to believe the experts.”

        Man, you must have been *pissed* when that dude (or lady) urinated on your leg!

        OK, now, back to your delusional fantasy world in which people are urinating on you (and you know *everything*, despite little to no expertise or experience in anything). Thanks for joining us for a brief moment this morning.

      2. climate bookie

        I believe you meant, Dr. Hansen with his numerous peer reviewed papers over the last three decades representing the work of hundreds of NASA scientists, or your own casual examination of the thermometer outside your kitchen window every so often?

        1. Piero

          That would be the same Jimmy Hansen who, around 20 years ago testified with absolute certainty that if we did nothing to stop the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere that we’d today be experiencing temperatures 6 degrees higher than we did then? That Dr. Hansen?

          That would be the same Jimmy Hansen who went along with Michael Mann’s infamous “Hockey Stick” graph and report, the one that was debunked including having a professor of statistics testify under oath that it was a load of crap? That Dr. Hansen?

          The bitter irony for the Anthropogenic Global Warming promoters is that they don’t have science on their side. Stephen McIntyre dismantled Michael Mann’s work as well as the attempt to support it by Amman and also Keith Briffa’s magic tree work (which attempted to pass off less than a half dozen trees as conclusive proof of global warming, because the other tree data available didn’t support his thesis). More than 10 years later, Michael Mann STILL hasn’t released the data or code for how it was processed for the hockey stick reports which the IPCC trumpeted to all the world as conclusive proof of AGW in subsequent reports.

          If you have an open mind, I suggest that you read this book, by an englishman named Montford, which recounts the amazing story of the scientists like Mann who have acted like advocates and promoters when confronted by McIntyre’s simple request to share information to see if their results can be replicated:

          And, if you have an open mind and are willing to consider information that runs counter to your predilections, here’s a wonderful site run by an economist who, on the side does a lot of statistical analysis of the various temperature records. How do you know what’s going on with global temperatures?

          The tipping point has been passed and people can get angry that their careers and the ideas they were advocating are being taken down by scientists, engineers and statisticians from other fields. They can get angry that these people aren’t PhD’s in climate science. But they can’t stop the power of ideas and facts. And if you read the book by Montford to which I provided an address above, many of them haven’t been behaving like scientists for quite a while and don’t deserve the respect that we reflexively give to that title.

          1. climate bookie

            Actually, I don’t care about the whole climate debate. Only oil, gas and coal men do (and therefore their hired experts), and some climate scientists.

            If you ask me though, if 97% of thirty thousand scientists who study something for a living say something is probable, and on the other side you have some lying-ass economists and business people saying it’s not probable, I think I know where I’m placing my bet.

          2. climate bookie

            Oh yes, and the insurance industry is also putting their bets on global warming. They’ve been factoring it into their actuarial models for years.

    2. J.

      That study on the expertise of climate change scientists seems more like a popularity ranking than an expertise ranking. To determine “expertise”, it looked at:

      1. the number of climate change papers written by each individual, with a minimum of 20 required;
      2. the number of citations for the top 4 papers in any field by each individual;

      then it ranked the top 100 climate researchers based on the number of their climate-related publications.

      Remember the CRUgate flap was partly about pro-anthropogenic global warming (AGW) researchers conspiring to give bad reviews to anti-AGW papers so they wouldn’t get published. I fail to see how this study rules out the existence of an in-group of AGW researchers favorably reviewing and citing each others’ articles while giving bad reviews and no cites to articles produced by the opposition. In fact, if anything, the article supports that view.

      There’s way too much faith in AGW around here. Science can be done badly, and bad “science” can be flat-out wrong. I’m a scientist (not the climate kind) and I’ve seen quite a bit of bad science getting passed off as the real thing. Including this article.

      1. climate bookie

        Then go publish a study disproving global warming with your good science and claim your Nobel prize. Sheesh.

      2. Francois T


        Has your brain been so infected by American style politics that you cannot possibly conceive science as anything else than a “keep the score” bullshit and horse race fuckwadism?

        To paraphrase mark Twain:
        As practice, God invented the idiot; he then created the climate change deniers.

    3. Ignim Brites

      Did the proponents of scientific racism have more expertise in the field than the skeptics? Maybe unfair, but if one starts out with doubts about the worth and validity of a field of inquiry, it is hard to work up any enthusiasm for gaining expertise in it. My guess is that the majority of scientists don’t really believe the core propositions of AGW are likely to be proved out. However, they are collegial and polite enough not to adopt disputatious posture towards it.

      1. Francois T

        Did the proponents of scientific racism had north of 12,000 scientists from across the globe working over 30 years and publishing PEER-REVIEWED papers (a.k.a. subjected to merciless criticism)?

        “Maybe unfair?”

        How about ignorant?

        1. Piero

          Sir, we’re about 7 years past the AGW theory having the scientific high ground. That’s how long ago Stephen McIntyre debunked Michael Mann’s “Hockey Stick” paper and its graph. Your impassioned responses come across a bit like someone at the spanish court in 1499 saying “See! The world’s flat!”

          1. climate bookie

            Let’s look at Stephen McIntyre:


            let’s see…”McIntyre worked for 30 years in the mineral business”… “He was the president and founder of Northwest Exploration Company Limited and a director of its parent company, Northwest Explorations Inc.”
            …ok, so he’s completely unbiased then

            what about his scientific credentials?
            “McIntyre then obtained a Commonwealth Scholarship to read philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, graduating in 1971.” Those seem to
            be the best credentials to dispute global warming these days.

            But what about the validity of what he is saying?
            “McIntyre & McKittrick’s papers were investigated by the US National Academy of Sciences, which issued a report in 2006 that affirmed the hockey stick graph while acknowledging statistical shortcomings of the original Mann et al. analysis”
            Oh well. So the Mann analysis was wrong, but there was
            global warming. Better luck next time McIntyre.

          2. Francois T

            One become easily passionate when confronted with rivers of lies, distortions and willful ignorance.

            Ends up getting on one’s nerves to read constant BULLSHIT…just like the one you posted:

            “That’s how long ago Stephen McIntyre debunked Michael Mann’s “Hockey Stick” paper and its graph.”

            REALLY?? Stephen McIntyre? Why don’t you take a look at his professional credentials? You cherry picked ONE guy, who does not have ANY expertise whatsoever in climatology and peremptorily declared that HE is right?


            Because, you are like all the denialists I’ve dealt with before. Facts do NOT interest you ONE bit if they contradict you world view.

            Before you even think about protesting, lemme ask you this: Would you trust a major in say, biochemistry to perform surgery on you?

            Or would trust a run of the mill physician to be your PhD advisor in molecular biochemistry of computational genetics?

            Get real!

          3. Piero

            It’s too bad that the facts of the case aren’t as important as someone’s background. That seems like religion rather than science. Whatever McIntyre’s background and college degrees, he found massive errors and outright fraud in the work of Mann, Amman and Briffa. A reasonable person might think the real focus in such a circumstance should be on the other people with the “right” degrees who supposedly reviewed and who signed off on the work of the people whose papers McIntyre demolished. Why didn’t they notice that Mann had created a program which tended to make the same graph out of any data? Why didn’t they notice that Amman had done the same thing? Why didn’t they see that Briffa was throwing away data till he got some that said what he wanted it to say?

            One party did a wonderful job of analyzing scientific propositions. Other parties apparently failed to provide due diligence. But we should be upset that the party who did the good analysis doesn’t have the “right” degree? Not that the other parties failed so badly? Really? How is that consistent with good science?

          4. Piero

            And, climate bookie, please go back and read that Academy of Sciences report. It actually agrees completely with the testimony of Dr. Wegman in front of the U.S. Congress who said that Mann’s work provided no support to his conclusions. The Academy of Sciences review conceded every point that McIntyre and McKittrick made but simply slapped on a conclusion that contradicted all those admissions, sort of like a jury conceding that the evidence proved the accused had opportunity, motive and had committed the crime ruling opposite all the facts out of motivation upon which we can only speculate.

            There’s an excellent recounting of the incident here:

            And, as to bias, well, if you can’t see how grant money and the possibility of grant money can be corrupting to science, then I’m not sure what to say. The irony is that the released emails showed that the Hadley Crut folks have partnered with at least one oil company in the last few years while McIntyre has no such affiliation.

          5. climate bookie

            If 97% of scientists are in agreement, I’m going to regard this sort of niggling as conspiracy theorizing funded by oil companies. I refuse to spend time debating conspiracy theorists.

            What is it you want? To burn all the fossil fuels in the ground? You’re gonna get it. No one in politics today will limit that. So what are you worried about?

  2. Richard Kline

    “Fannie Mae to Charge Strategic Defaulters, for Everything.” This is the policy that Barack Obama and his Scheme Team of Geithner-Summers-Emanuel and all the rest have settled on. The hoi poloi _WILL BE MADE TO PAY_ what they owe to the malefactors of great wealth. Said malefactors and oligarchs, by contrast, will be bailed out by direct government subsidy to the fullest extent of the law—oh Hell, who cares about the law, just give ’em a check and tell ’em to write in what they want. And don’t worry about the Ever Livin’ Supremes: they hate the small and worship the tall.

    What we have here, brothers and sisters, is the New Deal Democrats in negative exposure. Soak the poor and fund the rich; harden the program in existing law. Criminalize dissent to it. ‘All Bombs, All the Time’ on 24-hour spin to distract the gullible, and justify ‘extraordinary measures.’ And still the American public just lies there lame and tame.

    1. psychohistorian

      I am making it a point to ask folks about whether they would ever protest or take action and ALL say no.

      None think that we really have any serious structural problems and the current problems will just go away.

      Americans are into some serious denial, IMO.

      1. aj

        I don’t get it either. I wonder if it’s a case of the first domino falling or if it’s because there’s really no leader or movement out there offerring clear alternatives and methods for protesting.

        I look at the pimp bankers and govt. whores and think well, what can I do? Clearly voting for a new party won’t help. Maybe the entire situation is just more hopeless than I thought.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Thanks, I think. Like Yves, you strip unenlightened self interest naked, and it ain’t pretty. Then again, it’s always been naked; we just refused to believe our lying eyes—a case of hysterical blindness.

  3. Bates

    RE: ‘The Agnostic’s Dilemma: Somethings wrong…’

    Yves, perhaps this one should have been tagged ‘must read’…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can you say this is a mild case of phobo-phobo-phobia?

      Or would you say this is phobo-phobo-phobo-phobo-phobia?

    1. DownSouth


      Thanks for the link.

      The glaring double standards just scream at one, no?

      Law Enforcement: The “popular” arm of the international criminal banking cartel—-the Tea Baggers—-can parade around with their AK-47s strapped to their back, advocate violent overthrow of the government and be as loud and obnoxious as they want, and the police don’t utter a word. But let these protesters, who unlike the Tea Baggers actually speak out against the international criminal banking cartel, drag out a megaphone and a video camera, and it’s off to the jailhouse. It’s quite clear that the police and the international criminal banking cartel are in cahoots. The police operate with impunity, just make up this shit as they go along, and can trump up any nonsensical excuse they want to arrest someone with no fear of repercussion. While this alliance between the vandals and the enforcers of the law has currently only been forged with upper level white-collar criminals, it will not be long until the civil disintegration filters down into the broader society. We in Mexico have been at this neoliberal game a lot longer than the US or Canada. A movie coming soon to your local theater (hat tip Sundog):

      Fernando Larrazabal, the mayor of Monterrey’s main district, admits that the dishonesty of some police officers is a crucial element fuelling the violence.

      “I keep on hearing stories from citizens who tell me that they have been picked up by a police patrol for no apparent reason, and then robbed of their money and beaten up by those police officers,” he said.

      When the mission of law enforcement shifts from serving and protecting the people to being a private protection agency for white-collar criminality, this is the inevitable outcome.

      MSM: A handful of belligerent Tea Baggers can stage a little protest, and it’s headline news. But those who protest the international criminal banking cartel, like those at the G-20 last fall in Pittsburgh, don’t even exist. Millions can show up, as they did to protest our entry into the Iraq war, and the MSM ignores them. But a handful of neocon chicken hawks are given coverage ad nauseam by the MSM. And of course it is the handful of chicken hawks, and the Tea baggers, and not the majority of American people, who the politicians cater to. It’s all kabuki to create the impression that the oligarchs who run America actually have some sort of substantive political base.

      1. Doc Holiday

        Re: A handful of belligerent Tea Baggers can stage a little protest

        One of my fears for the internet, is that it will be used to distract, disrupt and distort communication. The mainstream zombies of our voting population seem to still watch TV and absorb the propaganda from BIG media — maybe some of the zombies also read old magazines and traditional newspapers to add depth to the TV news — but the internet, as ubiquitous and pervasive as it seems to be — is as impotent because it is too fractionated.

        I’ve always enjoyed this blog and going over to Calculatedrisk — but even within these blogging communities, there is very little coordination or continuity that connects people in a common thread. As an example, the BP oil spill is just another story with daily links, and a few comments here and there, and a few stories — and like BIG media, this is becoming just another story …. yawn. Another story, kinda like Pearl Harbor or 9/11 — it just sort of dulls the mind to focus on the fact that some massive event is out there, or that there should be a sense of continuity that unites us.

        You would think the BP oil spill would unite people, but it is turning into a PR game and a news blackout and more and more fragmentation, which results in mis-information, dis-information and the disruption of freedom in America. We should all be united in an effort to communicate about the BP event, but from what I can see, very few people here or anywhere are united — we are divided more than ever! The internet is a highway to a black hole……

        See Random Example 1: Italian Fascism: An Interpretation–5_Whisker.html

        “Rocco conceived of creating direct channels of communication between the masses and the party hierarchy. He demanded that a hierarchical arrangement of capitalism be created, one in which the masses would be supportive of the regime because the regime would guarantee them full employment and higher wages. The party would provide the mechanism for mass communication with the leaders of the state. The combination of workers, industrialists and the omnipresent party representatives would ensure full and peaceful cooperation which would benefit all while strengthening the power of the Italian state.”

  4. Michael

    I’m sure it’s not just me that notices Admiral “Thad” sound more like a BP PR spokesman every day? He even used the “we” word in that quote.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s a like the Stockholm Syndrome, except in this case, it’s the Deep Water Syndrome.

      They are more or less the same.

    2. doc holiday

      Leave Thad alone… how would you like a name like that; he finally gets in a position to make friends and then you give him crap over the obvious. It’s people like you (in the first place) that drove him away from America and into the loving arms of the BP payroll department … and let’s be honest here, if these types of cute comments continue, it will only push more and more highly qualified lard asses and irreplaceable people from various tax supported agencies — away from serving the little people that are in the way of the on-going clean-up PR campaign. I hate to make this into a scolding, but WTF good does it do to chastise people like Thad — who are simply creating lasting partnerships with organizations that can enrich their lives ….. huh, … I mean, just because some people are willing to exploit themselves for a buck — is that a friggn crime .. huh, huh, is it punk? Ok, I’ll give you a last clue, as many have heard, a lot of people in America … ok all over the World, are getting old — oooo, what a shock that is — but take a look at Thad — does he look like he has the ability to really be in charge of the greatest ecological disaster America has ever known ……. phfttt, of course this is a joke, but the powers that be are simply helping people like Thad set up retirement accounts that are better than what the Coast Guard has to offer, and thus who better to help out Uncle Sam and Thad, than F’ing BP. Yah, it’s a shitty story, but dude, the admiral has shit to do after this PR stunt is over, and what better way to end a career, than to cash in with a BIG oil company that has massive perks.

      Do I care if he’s wearing an American uniform … ehhhhh, yah kinda, and the American flag and all that stuff is sorta being trashed — but hey, look at the bright side, his son will probably replace him, or the son of a senator, or some other son of a bitch*….

      * The author is concerned that his language is going downhill lately and sorry about the lack of control …. this is just too surreal at this point, so WTF… please check for spelling.

  5. eurocent

    Good article on ignorance-squared, although Errol Morris’ digression on unk-unk by the end can be skipped in its entirety. btw, one misses at least some reference to Goedel’s theorem, which puts an upper limit to what we can expect to know: even if our competence were maximal, it is competence in the use of a tool: logic. And this can reach only a limited portion of what is. Regarding mediocre vs professional Scrabble players, the SCientific Method deals precisely with unknown solutions, and deems every theory “provisional” while nothing better is found.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      the SCientific Method deals precisely with unknown solutions, and deems every theory “provisional” while nothing better is found.


      But how do we know nothing better has been found? Is it another unk-unk?

      Mabye we should trash every current theory, not that replacments are not available, but they are already here but we just don’t know it?

      1. Bates

        “Mabye we should trash every current theory, not that replacments are not available, but they are already here but we just don’t know it?”

        Bingo! Give the man a ciii-gaar! Catch 22 at work here. Lots of theories are developed in the minds of young professionals but those youngsters do not put them into a thesis…because, if they did they would be ostricized from their chosen profession. Too many tenured and published in too many professions…voila! the research fields are hide bound to the old theories until the old, published, tenured die off or retire. Occasionally a young professional steps out of line and puts forward some new thinking and is usually squashed…this keeps the other young minds in rank and file lock step.

        Read the ‘Black Swan’ and come away with a different take on ‘professionals’ in general. There are countless other sources but I use this one simply because it is a recent publication and widely read.

        1. Skippy

          Are we finally contending with a non currency world, one that searches for equilibrium within its acts, if some thing is removed it must some how be replaced, reward is not stored value or purchasing power that creates divisiveness, reward is accolades for the act of discovery or of it self with out egregious profit attached.

  6. Ronald

    Fannie Mae to Charge Strategic Defaulters, for Everything:

    Strategic defaults are reaching new highs and the numbers in the shadows is probably showing even a bigger trend all causing hysteria back in Washington. What impact is strategic defaults having on those carefully crafted risk models? All based on years of data collection now worthless! The idea that average American families can carry and service highly leveraged debt loads as if they were corporations with unlimited access to credit markets is now heading for the trash. Here in Calif medium family incomes of 64K is supporting debt loads for 300K dumpster homes and 40K auto’s and its not working! Wealthy spenders cannot make up the volumes necessary to keep the modern economy on tract and this is particularly truce in auto’s and new housing, WTF do we do now say Fannie and that song will be loud and clear as this crisis continues to unfold.

  7. Anonymous Jones

    Thanks for the Errol Morris link. Obviously, given that it confirms all my pre-existing views, I loved reading it.

    Nevertheless, it still might be correct about a lot of things.

    I make the following type of argument all the time.

    “As Dunning read through the article, a thought washed over him, an epiphany. If Wheeler was too stupid to be a bank robber, perhaps he was also too stupid to know that he was too stupid to be a bank robber — that is, his stupidity protected him from an awareness of his own stupidity.”

    Perhaps I’m too stupid to be able to even understand that there are certain things I think I understand but don’t actually understand. Then again, it might be the people I’m arguing with who suffer from that problem (you know who you are, dammit! :-) ). Please, investigate the possibility, just for a few moments.

    1. Richard Kline

      So Anonymous, Dunning’s proposition has in fact been tested empirically in research on cognitive psychology. At it’s base, it’s true. Those who were determined to be incompetent on fundamental grounds in the evaluations conducted were, as a group, particularly blind to their own lack of capacity. They thought they were Joe Average or a bit better. This was a key element in the _depth_ of their incompetence, in fact, the inability to self-monitor and self-correct. Thing about George the Bush, and you’ll understand this phenomenon exactly as he demonsrated it to perfection from the officially highest perch in the land. —But it didn’t end well, did it?

      1. Ronald

        “anosognosia,” I had to look it up. Here’s one definition:

        Anosognosia is a condition in which a person who suffers from a disability seems unaware of or denies the existence of his or her disability. [11]

        DAVID DUNNING: An anosognosic patient who is paralyzed simply does not know that he is paralyzed. If you put a pencil in front of them and ask them to pick up the pencil in front of their left hand they won’t do it. And you ask them why, and they’ll say, “Well, I’m tired,” or “I don’t need a pencil.” They literally aren’t alerted to their own paralysis. There is some monitoring system on the right side of the brain that has been damaged, as well as the damage that’s related to the paralysis on the left side. There is also something similar called “hemispatial neglect.” It has to do with a kind of brain damage where people literally cannot see or they can’t pay attention to one side of their environment. If they’re men, they literally only shave one half of their face. And they’re not aware about the other half. If you put food in front of them, they’ll eat half of what’s on the plate and then complain that there’s too little food. You could think of the Dunning-Kruger Effect as a psychological version of this physiological problem.

        If you have, for lack of a better term, damage to your expertise or imperfection in your knowledge or skill, you’re left literally not knowing that you have that damage. It was an analogy for us.[12]”

      2. Bates

        I have realized for a very long time that the phrase ‘ignorance is bliss’ has a very deep meaning, even though we hear it fairly often and take it for granted. Ignorance truly is bliss for a large portion of the world’s homo sapien population. As long as most people have a roof over their heads, starch and grease to eat, and some form of distraction, they will do nothing that might endanger their (mostly) meager existance and will believe almost anything they hear from a main stream media source. They will even believe that they are in the ‘middle class’ if the MSM tells them it is so! Will they bother to inquire further? No…instead they watch ‘lives of the rich and famous’, never realising that the truly rich are rarely famous.

        Many times, when power shifts occur, ‘ignorance is bliss’ pays off because the intelligensia are killed and their accumulated wisdom is destroyed…but the ignorant are ignored or even employed to help with the elimination of the intelligent. Many times ‘ignorance is bliss’ does not pay off because the ignorant are inducted to fight the war de jour that the powerful have deemed necessary. I offer no solution to the way things are…In fact, it might be that ‘ignorance is bliss’ is simply a paradox or a ‘known-unknown’…and anyway, I doubt the people running the world, the truly wealthy and unfamous, would want the status quo changed.

        “DAVID DUNNING: People will often make the case, “We can’t be that stupid, or we would have been evolutionarily wiped out as a species a long time ago.” I don’t agree. I find myself saying, “Well, no. Gee, all you need to do is be far enough along to be able to get three square meals or to solve the calorie problem long enough so that you can reproduce. And then, that’s it. You don’t need a lot of smarts. You don’t have to do tensor calculus. You don’t have to do quantum physics to be able to survive to the point where you can reproduce.” One could argue that evolution suggests we’re not idiots, but I would say, “Well, no. Evolution just makes sure we’re not blithering idiots. But, we could be idiots in a lot of different ways and still make it through the day.”

  8. Valissa

    Excellent piece… The Feuding Fathers

    For sheer verbal savagery, the founding era may have surpassed anything seen today. Despite their erudition, integrity, and philosophical genius, the founders were fiery men who expressed their beliefs with unusual vehemence. They inhabited a combative world in which the rabble-rousing Thomas Paine, an early admirer of George Washington, could denounce the first president in an open letter as “treacherous in private friendship…and a hypocrite in public life.” Paine even wondered aloud whether Washington was “an apostate or an imposter; whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had any.”

    Such highly charged language shouldn’t surprise us. People who spearhead revolutions tend to be outspoken and courageous, spurred on by a keen taste for combat.

  9. anon

    George Washington, could denounce the first president in an open letter as “treacherous in private friendship…and a hypocrite in public life.” Paine even wondered aloud whether Washington was “an apostate or an imposter; whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had any.”

    I brought that up in the third grade, along with mason activity. My teacher didn’t appreciate my “opinion”. I told her to look it up.

    Enterprise System Failure

    If we are limited to 1s and 0s, resulting from willfully bred participation in divide and conquer politics, all we can return is digital closed-loop machines, which will naturally propagate exponentially, consume everything in their path, and crash their environments. These systems are crashing, which should have been expected, and yet the popular cry remains for more dependency entitlement jobs to feed the multi-nationals and passive investors, instead of equity participation in community development. Can we design another set of digital enterprise systems for the multi-nationals when the current systems completely crash and wipe out entire populations? Of course we can; if people choose to be ruled by machines, that’s their business.

    Because others choose to feed their children to these slave camps, however, does not mean that we must do the same, at the end of peer pressure or manufactured majority vote. And employing our systems to track us down with family law was pretty freakin short-sighted, as was the participants expecting these same mechanisms not to be deployed against them when the ponzi scheme crashed, or that the multi-nationals and their owners themselves would not be affected.

    Only an unthinking people want a machine to do their work for them, and only an arbitrary, capricious, and malicious owner would deploy such a system. Who else would want an autopilot system so they could pay pilots $10/hr, and who else would get into such a plane. There’s nothing like a digital network to perform algebraic reduction, and the herd is lining up to put a connection in their pocket. They deserve each other, and the planet will only tolerate replication so long; it’s just a matter of time. You may expect the systems to crash.

    Be smarter than the machine; those digital electronic devices are lightning rods. If you have autodeposit, find out when the deposit occurs, and pull that money out when it occurs. That’s your early warning detector.

  10. Mike

    The backing being given for climate science after what is inarguably one of the biggest scientific scandals of all time is amazing.
    One thing I’ve learnt as I’ve got older is that the party that has to belittle its opponents and scream at them is always wrong. Climate change believers are almost always hysterical yet claim science is on their side.
    Climate change may or may not be real. What is very real is that we are engaging in catastrophic destruction of the world we live in. Countries like India and China have reached a point of destruction of the air, water and land that is hard to believe.
    Raising taxes, which Wall Street controls, in the West is an adequate response to this how exactly? Once again well meaning people have a toy dangled in front of their faces (this time it’s climate change) to distract them from the real issues.
    Destroying everyones living space is a crime and needs to be treated as such. A private taxation scheme run by the banks should be abhorrent to the kinds of people that read a blog like this.

    1. Rex

      “Climate change believers are almost always hysterical yet claim science is on their side.”

      One thing I have learned is that people who make disparaging generalizations like that usually have their minds made up and aren’t really listening or debating.

  11. reslez

    Those who Fannie Mae and its servicers deem strategically defaulted will not be able to secure a Fannie Mae-backed mortgage for seven years after the foreclosure and could face legal action in order for the company to recoup mortgage debt.

    That’s right, peasants. Who cares what the mortgage contract says, Fannie will make you pay and pay. You better hope you lose your job because it’s the only way you’re getting out of that mortgage. You’re certainly not selling it with $70k negative equity, and let’s not mention the HELOC you took out to buy stuff on TV (genius!). Thank goodness the bank approved those loans. If you weren’t a slave to your house you wouldn’t be giving them your entire paycheck every month. Crawl on your hands and knees for a mod. Maybe they’ll extend the term to 40 years after they trash your credit.

    Banned from buying a home for 7 years? Where do I sign up? The entire industry should be banned from making home loans for twice that long. If regulators were serious they’d start it retroactively, like in 2005. But that would actually address the problem so forget I mentioned it. This ban will only help the housing market (on some other planet).

    They’re terrified you’ll strategically default because that’s what they’d do in your place. It’s the logical course of action. That’s why they have to keep you terrified, so you’ll listen to fear instead of reason. Oh the shame, Oh the uncertainty! My beloved 750 credit score! As Shakespeare would say, that bat hath flown.

    So keep writing those checks, peasants. It’s their game and their rules and you’re gonna pay to the end.

    * $70k negative equity on average. “The average mortgage debt for properties in negative in equity was $280,000 and borrowers that were in a negative equity position were upside down by an average of nearly $70,000.”

  12. Luke Lea

    “In a quantitative assessment – the first of its kind to address this issue – the team analyzed the number of research papers published by more than 900 climate researchers and the number of times their work was cited by other scientists.”

    You don’t suppose they might be biased about how mature their new science really is? Or do we bet the farm on their say so?

    1. climate bookie

      Au contraire, we are betting the farm against them.
      The payoff if we win is that we get keep burning fossil fuels. If we lose, all water-based forms of life die.
      Wanna take those odds?

  13. Luke Lea

    It would also be nice to know the average SAT scores of climate researchers. How smart are they anyway?

    1. RalphR

      I guarantee they are smarter than you. Exactly how many PhDs and articles published in peer reviewed journals do YOU have? Nah, just easier to make cheap, ignorant shots than actually do science.

    2. climate bookie

      Who cares about smartness when we’ve got the Bible, which says that all scientists are wrong.

  14. Ronald

    “US President Barack Obama launched a new initiative Saturday to wrap up a free trade deal with South Korea delayed for three years due to market access problems over American beef and autos.”

    The political elite can’t wait to export more jobs and factories overseas the trend is your friend unless you are an American worker.

  15. Conor

    RE: Tropical storm interrupting spill response…

    What I worry about is the actual strength of the tropical storms as they move over water covered with oil. Since the oil will retain heat, and the hotter the water the stronger the storms. Scary thought.

    1. Piero

      Do we know whether the oil retains more or less heat than the water? If it’s floating to the surface it’s, presumably, less dense than the water. On that basis there’s at least a possibility that it retains less heat. Do we know for sure which it is?

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