Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blandly incinerating the base

@ronpaul @mittromney
It’s very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments. We’ve seen throughout the campaign that if you’re willing to say really outrageous things that are accusatory and attacking President Obama that you’re going to jump up in the polls. You know, I’m not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support. I am who I am.
There you go again, Mitt, insulting the base. And when? When you're asked why the base isn't excited about you.

Silly people, they're just too excitable. They want the President called out for his policies by a free-market capitalist (at one time a redundant phrase) who thinks the Constitution means something. Who knows what they might do if you showed a little outrage over the outrageous? Maybe vote for you?

Mitt Romney thinks we need to take our Prozac and get over this obsession that Barack Obama deserves to have accusatory attacks visited upon him every single minute. If you don't like it, you aren't really his base. Mitt is who he is, alright.

I voted today for Ron Paul, because he says incendiary things about ending the Fed, and cites Constitutional limits on the general Government as if they mean something. Ron Paul is who he is, too. The difference is this: Paul espouses principled red meat, rather than pragmatic pabulum.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Heads being filled with slimy mush

John Horgan, @johnhorgan at the Scientific American @sciam blog, poses a moral question regarding Dr. Peter Gleick's recent ethical lapse:
Should Global-Warming Activists Lie to Defend Their Cause?
When, if ever, is lying justified? I talked about this conundrum this week in a freshmen humanities class, in which we were reading Immanuel Kant on morality. Kant proposed that we judge the rightness or wrongness of an act, such as breaking a promise, by considering what happens if everyone does it. If you don’t want to live in a world in which everyone routinely breaks promises, then you shouldn’t do so.

That’s a fine principle, in the abstract, but my students and I agreed that in certain situations lying is excusable. Shouldn’t you lie if your girlfriend asks you if you like her new haircut? If your boss, who’s a vindictive bastard, asks your opinion of his new business plan? What about lying in order to reveal a plot that you believe imperils all of humanity?

That brings me to the latest scandal to emerge from the debate over global warming...
Let's examine the three questions to which Mr. Horgan and his freshman humanities students agreed it was OK to lie:

1- Shouldn’t you lie if your girlfriend asks you if you like her new haircut?
No, you shouldn't lie. She'll keep getting it cut in ways you don't like, making her less attractive to you.  That wasn't her objective. 

2- If your boss, who’s a vindictive bastard, asks your opinion of his new business plan?
No, you shouldn't lie. He'll think he has a good plan (the author appears to assume it's not).  Toadyism might be his preference, but maybe he is just vindictive, not stupid. In any case, your lie will probably damage you and everyone else in the organization.

3- What about lying in order to reveal a plot that you believe imperils all of humanity?
Yes, you should lie. You and everyone else will die if you don't. Revealing a plot that imperils all of humanity (Wink, wink. Nod, nod: What Gleick did.) assumes that you lie by telling the would-be humanicidal maniacs that "I promise never to reveal your plot to kill everyone in the world."

But this hypothetical is not like the others: You lie to reveal, not conceal; And you lie about an existential threat. And it's the wrong lie. In the case at hand, Gleick's, your lie would have to be phrased, “I promise not to fabricate evidence that you have a plot to kill everybody.”

Mr. Horgan is obfuscating his way into an alternate reality where Peter Gleick lied for our sins.  Woe, woe to science when this slippery conflation of ethical situations is its defense of the unethical behavior of the former Chairman of the Ethics Committee Task Force for the American Geophysical Union. 

Woe to freshman humanities students who have such an instructor.

Finally, the fact that the headline can even pass editorial muster is telling.  They couldn't get to, "Are scientists still scientists when they fabricate evidence to protect a cultish mythology pet theory?"

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Disgusting

@powerlineblog notes that an invitation to an exercise in exchanging ideas is likely what set Dr. Peter Gleick on his reputational suicide mission.

This guy was chairman of a scientific ethics committee. He was a honcho in the climate Chicken Little industry. His behavior is that of a religious cultist with an IQ of 75, except the Kool-Aid killed only his conscience. He is the True Believer writ larger, and yet even smaller, than Eric Hoffer could have imagined.

Intellectually degenerate. Morally bankrupt. Despicable, mendacious and proud. If science comes to be disrespected, it will be cretins of this sort who should be held responsible. He damages us all. And he is typical of his ilk.

While we're on the topic, it is worth reading this reality based presentation at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. The climate models are wrong, and the modelers know it. They've got nothing left, except character assassination. And they aren't good at that, either.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Coming soon to a country near you?

From Jim Rickards' @jamesgrickards Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis. #currencywars

Rickards is speaking here about alternatives to Keynesian economic theory.
The most promising new school is complexity theory. Despite the name, complexity theory rests on straightforward foundations. The first is that complex systems are not designed from the top down. Complex systems design themselves through evolution or the interaction of myriad autonomous parts. [Explaining why restricting autonomy is the favored approach for administrative government mavens, AKA "Czars."]

The second principle is that complex systems have emergent properties, which is a technical way of saying the whole is greater than the sum of its parts -- the entire system will behave in ways that cannot be inferred from looking at the the pieces. The third principle is that complex systems run on exponentially greater amounts of energy. This energy can take many forms, but the point is that when you increase the system scale by a factor of ten, you increase the energy requirements by a factor of a thousand, and so on. The fourth principle is that complex systems are prone to catastrophic collapse. The third and fourth principles are related. When the system reaches a certain scale, the energy inputs dry up because the exponential relationship between scale and inputs exhausts the available resources. In a nutshell, complex systems arise spontaneously, behave unpredictably, exhaust resources and collapse catastrophically. When you apply this paradigm to finance, you begin to see where currency wars are headed.
On March 20 Greece has a bond payment of 14.5 billion euros ($18 billion) due. Close enough to the Ides of March for government work.

"[E]xponentially greater amounts of energy."

Source: PBOC, ECB, FED, BoJ (via Things That Make You Go Hmmm...)

Sunday, February 12, 2012