Sunday, July 04, 2010

Clarifications re Climate Skeptics and Deniers

Keith Kloor's blogged description of my "Climate Skeptics and Deniers" article (in SKEPTIC Magazine) drew hundreds of comments. (My original article is posted on my website.)

Mr. Kloor himself seemed to understand the core point that I was making -- that skepticism in science is all very good and helps drive the process.  But for science to be useful in informing and guiding public policy, we all have to develop a sliding scale of BURDEN OF PROOF.

Given the firestorm that even re-quotations of my article seem to have stirred - (I love doing that!) - I sent in the following comment to Mr. Kloor's community. You may find it useful, too.

The denier movement pretends to be about asking honest questions about a scientific matter that is both complex and *possibly* fraught with systematic errors.  I believe that honest skeptics can play an important role there.  But denialism is ALSO about preventing the community consensus in atmospheric science from affecting public policy.  They insist on a burden of proof that 99%+ of skilled experts in a field are insufficient - and yet a slim majority of science-illiterate politicians (during the Bush Era) and now a 40% *minority* of science-clueless politicians - should have absolute power to ignore the best scientific advice of the era.

This legerdemain and sleight of hand over burden of proof is dismal, ignorant, dishonest and purely a product of left-right fixated ideology.  By any standard of logic -

1) the burden of proof falls upon those dissenting from the current standard model, especially when the percentage of experts hewing to the SM is in the high 90s and when that field has a recent track record of being very very very very smart. (e.g. atmospheric studies of far planets, correlating perfectly with weather models that have improved reliability from three hours to four days(!) in just a generation.)

2) When the precautionary principal shows us a genuine (if as-yet unproved) chance of catastrophic risk, prudent measures are called for before the risk is "proved."  Yes, there can be arguments over other tradeoffs like economic impact.  But when the denier side was responsible for (a) catastrophically bad economic management and an economic theory (supply side) that always and universally failed, and (b) deliberate obstruction of ANY climate palliation measures, even basic research...

...then that side merits very little credibility under our present conditions.

3) Since most (admittedly not all) climate palliation measures are blatantly "things we ought to do anyway"  (TWODA), in order to seek economic success, reduce dependence upon foreign petro-lords, dominate new industries and make a safer world, this obstructionism is especially nonsensical.  Indeed, this is the smoking gun proof that koolaid-drinking deniers are parroting talking points from a conniving oligarchy that is spreading sedition purely for personal benefit.  Those who dance under such marionette strings may not be directly culpable.  But neither do we have to give credibility to puppets.

(An aside: I have yet to see anyone, on either side of the debate, consider the Tobacco Precedent... that those who have used very similar tactics to obstruct and delay action on climate change may be gambling their bankrolls. If HGCC does prove to be calamitous, an angry world may seek tort redress from those who blocked palliation efforts.  Think about it.)

This was the reason for my article in SKEPTIC Magazine (subscribe!;-)  Those who are genuine, nit-picking and scientifically informed skeptics ought to be able to say - aloud - all of the statements that I list.  Statements that clearly distinguish such people from members of a flagrantly loony Denier Cult.

Anyone who can say those very reasonable (!) statements aloud can proudly step aside from that pack of lemmings.  Such a person thus merits the word "Skeptic" and deserves respect - indeed, more respect than the harried and distracted scientists are giving to sincere question-askers, right now! (I also wrote the piece to help my scientist friends to parse these two kinds of questioners apart, and to be more fair to the sincere skeptics.)

If curiosity is your motivation, you SHOULD be part of this ongoing debate... WHILE our civilization also makes strong public policy moves to act upon expert advice and enact sensible TWODA measures, while funding research, even by dissenters so that we'll know more next year than we do, today.

But if curiosity is your motive, you will distance yourself as far as you can from Rupert's Cult.

115 comments:

Tom said...

Well, I'm happy to be first--doubt if I'll be the last.

Thank you for your contribution to the debate. (I asked to interview you about it a year ago, but you perhaps wisely declined at that time.)

As a 'lukewarmer' I have consistently advocated for immediate implementation of what I call 'no regrets' actions which you label TWODA'. I've advocated a price on carbon, higher CAFE standards, subsidies, tax breaks and guaranteed loans for renewables, etc. etc.

I am daily called a 'denialist' and much worse by advocates of the consensus side, because I don't blindly fall into step behind their policy proposals. Like many other 'lukewarmers' I am a liberal Democrat--I live in SF and will vote again for Nancy Pelosi in November.

Your focus on the 'skeptic' brigade both ignores those of us trying to establish a middle ground and holds blameless those on the consensus side who are free to use vitriol that would be more at home in 18th Century England in defense of claims that the science doesn't make, such as 20 foot sea level rises, etc.

Acknowledging some uncertainty in the science doesn't mean we should do nothing. But giving carte blanche to a certain subsection of those on the consensus side because we need to do something is... not... working.

If things work as they do typically on climate blogs, you might brace yourself, Dr. Brin.

I'm surprised you didn't suggest the intervention of a suitably befeathered Suzerain of Cost and Caution...

Tim H. said...

There could be a large efficiency improvement just in bringing HVAC and insulation up to date, but this won't be done by a workforce on minimum wage. If prosperity returns, a lot of what you want will follow.

Anonymous said...

That was a good article, Dr. Brin.

I look forward to the usual sort of response that ideologically-impure skepticism such as this evokes from the Randian portion of the Skeptic readership - however, I agree with Tom in that you're likely to be immersed here in the same sort of flying monkey tsunami that you would expect to get if you'd posted this at the Analog forum. Skepticism is only acceptable as such when the oxen dear to the political left, or thought to be so, get gored.

And I think that a lot of the "vitriol" that we see coming from the "consensus" side is due to simple dog-weariness at having to repeat the same arguments over and over again, in response to challenges that were invalidated years ago, but spring up today as fresh as when they were new-minted, thanks to a vigorous and pervasive talking-point distribution network. It's due to being utterly fed up with "criticism" of the science by those who have no interest in or understanding of science whatsoever, but need to bring it to the heel of business or ideology when it tells us stuff that anti-Enlightenment elements don't want to hear, or don't want the peasants to understand. If you want some idea of why the "consensus" (i.e. most likely correct and most certainly relying upon the methods and findings of real science done by real, disinterested scientists) are so pissed off and snarly, try asking an evolutionary biologist how he or she reconciles the account in Genesis with his or her so-called research. You'll get the same sort of response, and for the same reason.

- Lars

Bill said...

I've been following the thread at Kloor's--that's been a very interesting conversation. Actually, anytime you get enough people like Keith Kloor, Judy Curry, Bart Verheggen, Michael Tobis, and Tom Fuller in the same thread, you can pretty much be assured that it will be an interesting thread. So thanks for the article that prompted it.

I just read the original article (Keith's link was the paywall site--didn't see the one to your homepage until a while ago), and I have to ask a question: do you believe that there are any non-conservative "deniers"? Because I definitely didn't get the sense from the article that you think it is possible.

Thanks.

Stefan Jones said...

Lars noted:

'And I think that a lot of the "vitriol" that we see coming from the "consensus" side is due to simple dog-weariness at having to repeat the same arguments over and over again'

Also, from seeing deployed in this fight the same disingenuous tactics that were used to fight policy changes on tobacco and limits on ozone-depleting CFCs.

That's a "tell." An indication that the folks you're in a scientific debate with are just one front in a big PR campaign designed to prevent policy decisions from being made.

Ian said...

"2) When the precautionary principal shows us a genuine (if as-yet unproved) chance of catastrophic risk, prudent measures are called for before the risk is "proved." "

Funny, isn't it how the possibility of Iraqi WMDs was sufficient to justify the invasion of Iraq?

As fro vitriol, when the advocates of action to prevent or minimise global warming start accusing their opponents of hating freedom, being part of a world-wide decades-long conspiracy to establish a global Marxist dictatorship and wanting to exterminate 90% of the human race I'll accept that we've sunk to the same level as our opponents.

Hank Roberts said...

Dr. Brin wrote above:

"Those who are genuine, nit-picking and scientifically informed skeptics ought to be able to say - aloud - all of the statements that I list. .... (I also wrote the piece to help my scientist friends to parse these two kinds of questioners apart, and to be more fair to the sincere skeptics.)"

I'd love to see a gathering of people who do agree to your list create a forum dedicated to a conversation with the climate scientists. It'd be _interesting_.

David Brin said...

Tom, you should read my whole SKEPTIC article. You sound as if you might be a bona fide skeptic...

...in which case don't complain about how the consensus scientists treat you. They are human beings and have suffered truly horrific abuse at the hands of the Rupertian Denialist Cult. If you have complaints about the experts, your voice has been robbed from you by the fanatics.

Bill, I believe there are plenty of jibbering loons on the left, and I frequently lob grenades in that direction too. But because of the standard details of leftist cant, I doubt you'll find many who specifically deny climate change. After all, this plays into the common leftist "technology is evil" meme.

We modernists are stuck with leftists who hate technology and rightists who despise science. Yet people insist that left-vs right is the distinction that really matters. In fact, it is future vs past.

Let me tell you the real difference between loony leftists and neocons. Neocons control their wing of the spectrum. All conservatism and libertarianism is controlled by the right's monsters. They run a political party of the US and ran the country for a long time (into the ground.)

By contrast, the lefty loons are inherently as awful... but they are fewer, pathetic, limited to a few cities and university lit and soft studies departments, and have no control over anything, anywhere. Most Liberals are instinctively wary of their leftist allies. That's the difference. And it is why we CAN ally with them, for a while. A very wary while.

David Brin said...

Hank, if I saw a new group of genuine skeptics who took the "Brin Pledge" by reciting my list of statements... I would proceed to fight to drag a number of my atmospherics acquaintances into a teach-in.

Heck it would even make good television!

But TWODA would be a big declaration.

Michael Tobis said...

Your insights into the big picture are almost flawless and much appreciated, but it seems you're unfamiliar with the dramatis personae on the main stage. I'm not sure you care to get involved at that level.

Tom, alas, is coauthor of a "climategate" book and thus prominent among the tormentors of climate scientists. Nor, frankly, is he, (in my opinion, as one holding a doctorate in a relevant field) in a good position as far as background and training is concerned, to challenge the substantive foundations of climate science in the ways he typically does.

I suppose there is little point in getting into this on your blog and I won't pursue it further here. But you may wish to note that your position is being embraced by people with a wide variety of beliefs, all considering themselves innocent as lambs.

In other words, there may be people whom you would consider part of the problem who are happy to consider themselves part of the solution. You may find this to be of some interest.

My own commendation of your article (I actually bought a copy of the magazine on the newsstand) is toward the end of this blog entry: http://is.gd/dfJV7 .

Thanks again for your efforts.

Steve Bloom said...

Alexander Cockburn is a prominent example of a leftist denier.

Offhand I can't even think of another. Leftists who respond by simply pretending it isn't happening are common enough, but arguably they're part of a vastly larger grouping that cuts across ideological boundaries.

Tom said...

Michael Tobis, that was a bit rude, considering you know nothing of my background.

So where do I sign on to TWODA?

Michael Tobis said...

You've described your background many times, Tom.

http://is.gd/dfLsf

But it's not the lack of credentials that concern me, it's the lack of clue. Consider our recent discussion of error and bias. I said "you have shown error, but not bias" to which you replied

"The presence of error doesn't mean there is no bias. Indeed the presence of error means the survey's authors should work twice as hard at assuring readers that the error did not in fact introduce or reinforce bias."

You do not know why that sounds silly. Yet you choose to criticize practicing scientists.

Ian said...

"By contrast, the lefty loons are inherently as awful... but they are fewer, pathetic, limited to a few cities and university lit and soft studies departments, and have no control over anything,"

As someone who leans to the left and looking at matters fro ma global rather than exclusively US perspective I'd have to confess that leftist opposition to free trade has done huge harm to many people around the world - and most particularly to the very people the leftists claim to be concerned about.

It was leftist ideology that kept India's economy hobbled for decades, keeping hundreds of millions mired in absolute poverty and causing uncountable deaths.

European leftists' opposition to genetically modified food is every bit as irrational as the worst excesses of so-called skepticism regarding AGW although its effects haven't been nearly as bad.

lucia said...

David--
Could you clarify a few things?
* What do you consider to be the "SM"? The basic greenhouse effect. The enhanced greenhouse effect? A specific paragraph in the AR4?

* You are discussing deniers and denialists vs. skeptics. How do you identify a person is what you call a skeptic in the first place. This is a question I asked over at Keith's; the questions springs from the rather lose usage of 'skeptic' everywhere? The reason I ask is readers need to figure out who you are advising to dissociate from whom. (Names would actually help here.)

* Do you think you are going to persuade whoever you think are honest skeptcs to take you seriously when your writing style is loaded with things like "koolaid-drinking deniers are parroting talking points from a conniving oligarchy that is spreading sedition" and you seem to be insisting that proving they are skeptics means they are required to use similarly distasteful language?


* What in the heck is Rupert's Culture War?

Woozle said...

I absolutely agree that we need standards in this area, guidelines for acceptable practices in criticizing dominant views, and guidelines for acceptable practices in defending the dominant views against criticism.

Both sides are subject to abuse, and this only harms the search for truth.

(I have more thoughts on this, but am out of time at the moment.)

Marino said...

Lucia:

* What in the heck is Rupert's Culture War?

The support to the most reactionary causes by TV and media owned by Rupert Murdoch

Jumper said...

I began to recognize some time ago what I call the "mountain of lies" technique of political gamesmanship. A lie requires limited space, thought, and effort. Its refutation takes more space, time, and effort than the lie does. It's like missile defense.

To be clear, on this matter the deniers spew the lies, and the scientific researchers are stuck with the effort.

One supposes that some good can come from this, but it's an uphill slog and people should be aware of the tactic itself and not be sucked in without awareness of the structure of the common trap.

Hypnos said...

I think the idea that there is a legitimate group of climate skeptics that must be separated from the deniers so that scientific debate can take place is insulting to all climate scientists.

Because it is suggesting that they are not operating on the basis of good science - i.e. they are not constantly questioning their own theory.

Do we also need genetics skeptics? Physics skeptics?

No. Suggesting that would be ridicolous, because we know that propositions and theories put forth in the field of genetics or physics are constantly challenged by scientists within that very field - because that is the essence of science.

So why now we need an external group to audit the accomplishments of climate science?

Isn't the very act of suggesting that an external control group is needed an admission that climate science is "rotten", no longer functioning as normal science, no longer self-correcting in a free, open and competitive setting?

A legitimate climate skeptic is simply another climate scientist who publishes a peer-reviewed report arguing against some major aspect of the theory. Or the peer-reviewer himself who rejects a study because it is unsubstantiated.

If climate science is healthy and sound, that is, if it is good science, no other process or control group is needed - skepticism is embedded within the scientific process itself. To be a scientist is to be skeptic. That is a fact.

So when you see that the overwhelming majority of active, publishing scientists are all in agreement with one basic fact - that the world is warming, that it is due to anthropogenic emisissions, and that it will have harmful consequences on human society - there are only two possible conclusions you can reach:

1) That the Global Warming theory is as solid as the Theory of Gravity or the Theory of Evolution.

2) That the Global Warming theory is a scam because climate scientists are corrupt and no longer acting as their own skeptics.

And there you have it. Real skeptics will agree with number 1 - in other words, they will look at all the evidence, and come to the only possible conclusion, given that evidence.

The rest are deniers.

lucia lilejgren said...

As a person who is often often labeled a Skeptic, and called a denier by people like Steve Bloom (see deltoid, I'm going to comment on this, which seems to be the Brin Pledge:

"Okay, I'll admit we need more efficiency and sustainability, desperately, in order to regain energy independence, improve productivity, erase the huge leverage of hostile foreign petro-powers, reduce pollution, secure our defense, prevent ocean acidification, and ease a vampiric drain on our economy. If I don't like one proposed way to achieve this, then I will negotiate in good faith other methods that can help us to achieve all these things, decisively, without further delay and with urgent speed.



Why would I preface that statement with "Ok, I'll admit"? I'm a mechanical engineer with a background in thermal-fluids. On of the main thrusts of for people in this area is energy efficiency. I've always said we need more effiency etc. I'm also for more production, support nukes as a first choice for baseload, but I support green technologies and always have. Way back in the early 80s, my undergraduate senior project was in solar energy.

"Further, I accept that 'waste-not, want not' and 'a-penny-saved, a-penny-earned' and 'cleanliness-is-next-to-godliness' and 'genuine market competition' used to be good conservative attitudes.




Accept? Other than the placement of cleanliness to godliness, what's to object to there? (As an atheist, I'd rather not see "cleanliness" relegated to "something that doesn't exist".)



But the "side" that has been pushing the Denial Movement — propelled by petro-princes, Russsian oligarchs and Exxon — hasn't any credibility on the issue of weaning America off wasteful habits. In fact, it's not conservatism at all!

lucia lilejgren said...

What the heck is with this folderol? Why in the heck do I have to have any opinion on petro-princes, Russina oligarchs and Exxon when trying to dive into thinking about uncertainties in projections for climate change? And given that the "denier" label is routinely applied by people on this thread (e.g. Steve Bloom) to people who believe in AGW (like me) , why in the heck would I say this? What am I supposed to think the term the "Denial Movement" means to the broader public or to people participating in climate-blog discussions -- including Steve Bloom and Michael Tobis -- who as far as I can tell, think that movement includes people like me and Tom Fuller? (If so, rest assured what we think has nothing to do with Russian oligarchs.)

"And so, for those reasons alone, let's join together to make a big and genuine push for efficiency.



Well... if you skip the ""reasons alone" bit which suggests I see no other reasosn to push for efficiency, I'm fine here.



"Oh, and by the way, I don't believe in Human-caused Global Climate Change! But if I am wrong, these measures would help deal with that too.



Why the heck would I lie and say I don't believe in Human-cased Global Climate Change? I do believe in Human-caused Global Climate Change. Heck, I believed it during the 90s. I believed it in 1998 when my husband got stuck on an icebreaker involved in the SHEBA project (whose mission involved research in climate change.)


"So there, are you happy, you blue-smartypants-eco-science types?



Why the heck would I recite a pledge where I call any group of people l "blue-smartypants-eco-science types?!



Are you satisfied that I am a sincere Climate Skeptic and not one of the drivel-parroting Deniers? Now can some of your atmospheric scientists put on an extended teach-in and answer some inconvenient questions? (Oh, and thanks for the vastly improved weather reports; they show you're smart enough to be able to explain these things to a humble-but-curious fellow citizen like me.)"



I've never complained about weather reports. With a background in fluid mechanics and heat transfer, I am perfectly aware that the important difficulties afflicting weather prediction are quite different from those afflicting climate projections.

Ok, Brin. I'm not going to ask you or any "blue-smartypants-eco-science types" whether or not your happy or satisfied.

What I am going to ask you is this: tell me what's going on when I am labled a denier by people like Steve Bloom here?

lucia said...

What the heck is with this folderol? Why in the heck do I have to have any opinion on petro-princes, Russina oligarchs and Exxon when trying to dive into thinking about uncertainties in projections for climate change? And given that the "denier" label is routinely applied by people on this thread (e.g. Steve Bloom) to people who believe in AGW (like me) , why in the heck would I say this? What am I supposed to think the term the "Denial Movement" means to the broader public or to people participating in climate-blog discussions -- including Steve Bloom and Michael Tobis -- who as far as I can tell, think that movement includes people like me and Tom Fuller? (If so, rest assured what we think has nothing to do with Russian oligarchs.)

"And so, for those reasons alone, let's join together to make a big and genuine push for efficiency.



Well... if you skip the ""reasons alone" bit which suggests I see no other reasosn to push for efficiency, I'm fine here.



"Oh, and by the way, I don't believe in Human-caused Global Climate Change! But if I am wrong, these measures would help deal with that too.



Why the heck would I lie and say I don't believe in Human-cased Global Climate Change? I do believe in Human-caused Global Climate Change. Heck, I believed it during the 90s. I believed it in 1998 when my husband got stuck on an icebreaker involved in the SHEBA project (whose mission involved research in climate change.)


"So there, are you happy, you blue-smartypants-eco-science types?



Why the heck would I recite a pledge where I call any group of people l "blue-smartypants-eco-science types?!

lucia said...

Are you satisfied that I am a sincere Climate Skeptic and not one of the drivel-parroting Deniers? Now can some of your atmospheric scientists put on an extended teach-in and answer some inconvenient questions? (Oh, and thanks for the vastly improved weather reports; they show you're smart enough to be able to explain these things to a humble-but-curious fellow citizen like me.)"



I've never complained about weather reports. With a background in fluid mechanics and heat transfer, I am perfectly aware that the important difficulties afflicting weather prediction are quite different from those afflicting climate projections.

Ok, Brin. I'm not going to ask you or any "blue-smartypants-eco-science types" whether or not your happy or satisfied.

What I am going to ask you is this: tell me what's going on when I am laeld a denier by people like Steve Bloom here?


(Sorry for breaking. Your comments block has a character length limitation and I don't think it makes sense to have this conversation scattered over 3 blogs.)

lucia liljegren said...

Marino
The support to the most reactionary causes by TV and media owned by Rupert Murdoch
Well. which causes are the most reactionary ones? Are we to take it a true skeptic can't be against lower capital gains taxes? Or for charter schools? Is there something about skepticism that requires people to adhere to foregone conclusions on these subjects?

(Dang the autofilled mis-spelled last names above! :) )

Hank Roberts said...

It's always possible to update one's political views to reflect the new realities. E.g.:
http://www.lyricsdownload.com/jello-biafra-love-me-i-m-a-liberal-lyrics.html

Tom said...

Michael Tobis's inaccurate sniping aside, there are a number of people on the consensus side who have a mistaken idea of the groups that are questioning them. (So far we've been lucky--Michael is the only real representative to show up, and at least he can sound reasonable. Wrong, but reasonable.)

I do think that a similar exercise from the consensus holders would be equally useful. There are people hiding behind the science and the scientists with just as powerful mtives and just as skewed perspectives as the Big Tobacco companies and tactics they see behind every bush.

And they do call people denialists without reason. And they do question peoples' understanding of the science without evidence. And they do accuse us of being flat earthers, creationists, birthers, ad nauseum.

And they are an odious group. On Keith Kloor's blog I proposed a simple, four-group view of the main parties to the debate, labeled by the proponents often seen in the blogosphere.

But the fierce acolytes hiding behind the scientists can only see two groups: Themselves and the denialati. Until that changes, searches for good will and understanding will be very difficult.

Carl said...

When controlled experiments are difficult to impossible, mainstream science can get it wrong with strong consensus. Just look at nutrition. We got the food pyramid by scientific consensus,and then we got fat. We have villification of saturated fat even though many of the studies pointing to harm from saturated fats were actualy studying Crisco.


How much do we really know using ancient proxy data? How the frack can you "correct" for urban heat island effects.

I'm all for being precautionary and have been on record for a carbon tax for quite some years. But this witch hunt atmosphere and calling for lawsuits reeks to high heaven. It's utterly despicable.

Go back and jail every commie sympathizer from the past 50 years and arrest people for wearing a Che T-shirt and then I'll give you a C for constistency. Until then, admit the error bars and advocate accordingly.

David Brin said...

One correspondent who objected to my Skeprics/Deniers paper cited Carl Sagan's "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence" in order to push the party line that a 99% consensus on the part of a community of experts still bears a steep and unachievable burden of proof, regarding climate change.

Of course, Sagan's statement was about UFOs. Is this character really putting the worlds entire atmospheric science community into the same category as UFO kooks?

Furthermore, I would follow the precautionary principle even regarding UFOs! In that there are Things We Ought to Do Anyway (TWODA) that could also (dual use) reduce the ability of space-knave elfs to kidnap and probe US citizens. Today's proliferation of cameras - many of them sophisticated instruments in the hands of backyard scientists - has already made it near impossible for flying saucers to zip into the areas where they purportedly prowled freely, just a decade ago. This trend could be encouraged, at little alternative tradeoff cost to civilization.

Am I being tongue in cheek here, with that comparison? Of course I am. Attempts to shift burden-of-proof from dissenters to the expert consensus is fallacious enough, as it is, but to ridicule that community of expertise and demand that it be ignored - in the development of urgent public policy - until 99% becomes 99.9% ... or even 99.99%... is simply execrable.

Again, politics is messy and determining public policy - filled with potential mistakes and tradeoffs - is never easy. But those who would banish scientists from any influence over public policy have been relentless, for twenty years. They dissolved the Congressional OSTA specifically in order not to hear inconvenient facts. They cut research in the very fields for which they shouted "we need more research!" They put shills into civil service positions that were intended to be filled by men and women of technical competence... with results we now see in the Gulf of Mexico.

If denialism had been an isolated matter, it would be one thing. But its direct, consistent, persistent and monochrome affiliation with a particular "side" in Culture War... a side that brought us creationism, voodoo supply side economics and the War on Science... is more than enough reason for genuine "skeptics" to abjure and separate themselves, reciting aloud the statements that I recommend in my article, in order to distinguish themselves from those who have - and deserve - no credibility at all.

===

Ian... I despise the so-called left-right axis, and hence apologize if my blithe dismissal of all "lefties" - as distinguished from what we yanks call "liberals and progressives" - offended you. It is true that in Europe and Australia, there is a stronger surviving labor movement and it maintains some "left" affiliations.

Nevertheless, the distinction is useful and I'll stand by it. Moderate progressivism needs to become militant. Pragmatic problem-solving, utilizing the full range of government and market solutions, and above all the enlightenment process called negotiation, has got to win out over ideology-based, simplistic prescriptions.

===

Lucia, an HGCC "skeptic" in my mind is someone who can recite my list of open statements without blinking or feeling coerced. They are all reasonable things for a reasonable person to say, if they are more motivated by curiosity in this matter, than by political loyalties.

My hot language that you cite is not something I am proud of. But note that it was deep in a comments section. In any event, I have a perfect right to be angry. I see a great and mighty civilization, stymied at every turn by a bona fide cult, that is busily re-igniting phase three of the American Civil War.


==> More to Lucia

David Brin said...
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David Brin said...
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David Brin said...

Hypnos said: "I think the idea that there is a legitimate group of climate skeptics that must be separated from the deniers so that scientific debate can take place is insulting to all climate scientists."

What? Exactly where do you see me ever calling for an "external control group?"

I think I see the problem here. You skimmed something from my article that wasnn't even remotely there, fantasized a strawman and wrote in about it. I agree with all that you say, in refuting that strawman... that had nothing to do with anything I said.


Lucia again: Okay... you got me on "admit and accept." I apologize for those. But you must understand, I in this article have been TRYING HARD to hold out an olive branch from the science side, offering an island of neutral ground where civil discussions might recommence. I think I overall did a pretty good job of offering a position from which genuine skeptics might join in discourse on this matter...

...and whereupon scientists might allow their hackles to drop enough to engage in the questions asked by sincere, curious skeptics. Give me some credit here. Hm? Have you seen anyone else work so hard to do this?

"What the heck is with this folderol? Why in the heck do I have to have any opinion on petro-princes, Russina oligarchs and Exxon when trying to dive into thinking about uncertainties in projections for climate change?"

You may think it unfair, to be tarred with guilt-by-association, with the horrific, oligarchy-pushed cult that misgoverned america so badly that EVERY measure of national health declined under neocon rule...

..but sorry, guilt-by-association is perfectly natural. If your talking points are coming from the very same machine that is spewing creationism and supply side economics and that crushed US science for years, then we have a perfect right to demand some effort on your part, distinguishing yourself from all that. Sure, your cogent questions may have merit in their own rights! And if we all had infinite time and capacity (as in my novel KILN PEOPLE) scientists could assign neural capacity to answer even people shouting from the ranks of Culture War.

But we are human. And that "side" has no credibility left.


BTW... sure, you can be irritated by my sometimes sarcastic choice of words like "smarty pants" and "admit".

And it is equally immature not to simply turn your dials and soften those purple modifiers IN YOUR OWN MIND. Fact is, my list of things to distinguish skeptics from deniers are ALL reasonable things any genuine skeptic ought to do, if she or he truly wants to engage in this - or any - mature debate.

David McCabe said...

It looks like we can chalk up another failed deregulation by the Republicans: Helium.

rooking: Being a meanie at chess.

lucia liljegren said...

David
First, I think if you are trying to foster communication, you need to first take of your blinders and identifying the characteristics or belief of people actually participating in debate about climate change. I'm pretty sure you have some strong light blocking blinder based on my reading of our article in the Skeptic with it's odd pledge for "skeptics", followed by your purple prose in the post here and then by your answers in comments.

But before I go further:
1)When you wrote this did you intend readers to understand that what you call a "skeptic" is someone who does not believe in HcGCC?

2) Are you familiar with how the term skeptic is actually used in discourse of climate change? Are you aware that it is applied to people who believe in HCGCC?

3) If your answer to (2) is yes, why would you think any "skeptic" would be comfortable saying ""Oh, and by the way, I don't believe in Human-caused Global Climate Change! But if I am wrong, these measures would help deal with that too. To say that would be called lying because they believe in HcGCC.

4) Do you believe that people who believe in HcGCC but criticize the IPCC for other reasons should be requried to lie and claim they don't believe in HcGCC before they can present the anointed with questions?

I remain mystified who your article in skeptic was written to address, since it seems to overlook the existence of the main group of people called "skeptics" when doling out advice to "skeptics". The preponderance of people labled "skeptics" in various debates are people who believe in HcGCC, yet your "mantra" would force them to lie and claim they don't believe in HcGCC in order to gain the right to participate in any sort of discussion. This is truly perverse. I also doubt it would advance any sort of understanding and discussion, and I doubt you are going to get people who believe in HcGCC to pretend to disbelieve merely to feel they have gained your good graces.

AK said...

Hello David...

I enjoyed your article, but I doubt your prescriptions would work: there are plenty of denialists who'll pretend to just be asking questions, but simply won't accept even the basics of radiation transfer theory.

A while back, I was highly skeptical of the "greenhouse effect" because the cartoons then available didn't square with what little I knew of radiation theory. After asking all around trying to get AGW enthusiasts to answer my questions (and getting furious rejections as an oil-company shill for response), I finally persuaded Michael Tobis to address my issue (which took him just a couple of minutes writing on his blog at Wired (IIRC)). He also challenged me to actually study the radiation transfer theory involved, which I did.

So then, newly converted (WRT the "greenhouse effect"), I went around to various "debate" sites trying to explain how the "greenhouse effect" cartoon was wrong and the mechanism by which the "greenhouse effect" actually increased heat retention at the surface.

The result? At both places I tried I ran into a small clique of denialists who simply shifted from one position to another, asking irrelevant questions, referring to quantum effects they didn't understand, or engineering formulas designed for heat transfer by conduction, or what not.

Eventually, I gave up at each site, but when I dropped back (lurking) later I discovered the same denialists wasting new people's time with the same questions again. They didn't bother studying the textbooks on radiation transfer, didn't bother listening to what people explained, they seemed to be working from a simple script with enough variation so they couldn't be accused of asking a question already answered in one thread, just waited for another and started over (or started the new one themselves).

The problem is these people will infest any effort to answer questions in good will, and simply keep up until they've used up all the patience of everybody involved.

Arthur said...

David - I have to say I found it pretty funny that Keith Kloor managed to either misinterpret your article or snooker his readers into spending several days thinking that by "skeptic" you meant people like McIntyre, Watts and friends. And then he took great umbrage when I accused him of doing so! But I think they've figured it out by now.

My one comment/question: do you think the population of honest skeptics (among those who actually doubt some large component of the IPCC consensus, however defined) is actually very large? Can you suggest some names?

It seems to me that there was quite a large population of such folks about 20 years ago, when the science was much less clear. But I am certain it has significantly dwindled, and those who remain (I have run into a few in the last couple of years) have just not been motivated to look into the science very much themselves up to that point, rather their opinions come from trusting denier friends without realizing their lack of true skepticism.

It can be hard to break through those relationships, of course - even the most skeptical are still human and have unexamined biases. But over time it seems to me that this group is necessarily shrinking. Do you agree?

David Brin said...

AK, you describe the methodology of the neocon movement precisely. When they took over the executive branch in 2001, several White House aides were caught parroting Straussian lines about how sheer will can overcome (or "triumph") over what they contemptuously called the "reality-based community."

Since then, we have seen one half of the political spectrum abandon all of its conservative roots in decorum, logic, evidence etc, in favor of tactics like argument by assertion and guerilla agility, whenever evidence overwhelmingly defeats this or that point.

That is why my Skeptics essay is not at all about "evidence" but rather about the basic logic of illogic. It is about the Burden of Proof tactic and the dismissal of expertise and the political guilt by association with the same community that pushes creationism and the War on Science.

Without mistake, we are back in phase three of the American Civil War, pushed by similar oligarchs and fired by similar populist resentment toward the future, by similar demographies to those embroiled in phases one and two.

===

Lucia, I have tried but you seem persistent in seeking causes for affront, on bases that are plain silly. Instead of focusing on the discursive meaning of the various points of my article and subsequent responses, you parse down to minutiae in order to find offense.

Why should it matter which TYPE of skeptic that I am referring to? The vast and top-important points of my essay should be said aloud whether the skeptic is an HcHCC doubter or merely ticked off over imprecisions and sloppy reporting by the IPCC! In either case, it does no hard to (for example) avow that the experts are smart and that a 99% consensus means that dissenters bear the larger burden of proof when it comes to public policy implications.

(Oh, I have already avowed that "I admit" and other weighted phrases can be omitted. Heck, paraphrasing is fine!

"The preponderance of people labled "skeptics" in various debates are people who believe in HcGCC, yet your "mantra" would force them to lie and claim they don't believe in HcGCC in order to gain the right to participate in any sort of discussion. This is truly perverse."

No what is perverse is your even making such a point. It is bizarre, illogical and flat-out weird! All along you have insisted on literal, word by word nitpickery of my sentence-word choices, as if they were grand and towering infernos of bad thinking. Sorry, by this is a case of forest for the trees" and I'll not participate, anymore.

You are welcome here. But chill, please.

Hank Roberts said...

> criticize the IPCC
> for other reasons

Other than related to climate change? What else matters to you?

Michael Tobis said...

Thanks, AK, you made my day!

You might be interested in this rant which came out of the conversation at Kloor's.

Sociotard said...

What the average person can't do: The average person will not be able to understand all the climate science out there. It just won't happen. Even if our public schools did ten times better, it still wouldn't be enough to inform the entire populace well enough to understand the very specialized science there.

What the average person can do: The average person can notice how a persons actions relate to their words.

Imagine you are a villager and don't know anything about disease beyond "don't hang out with sick people". One day a man comes to your village and gives a big presentation about how there are things living in the water that cause plagues when people drink the water. He says you should boil water before you drink it. Well, later you catch him drinking unboiled water. You know the man is smart and has all kind of accredidation, but you also know that he just drank unboiled water. Will you really think unboiled water is unsafe?

So, now we have a broad consensus among scientists that anthropogenic climate change is real and probably bad. That is easy to cite. Do you know what isn't easy? To figure out how those scientists are living.

Relative to other people in their socioeconomic class:
* How many live in suburbs and not the more efficient cities?
* How many of them ride bikes to work? How many of them change relavant factors (where they live, etc) so they can bike to work?
* Do they telecomute or fly?

I don't have any data on the subject. I do know that the most visible Anthropogenic Climate Change apologists, like Al Gore, come off looking like unboiled-water drinking scientist in my metaphor.

Sociotard said...

My last post made more concise: Try proving to people how convinced scientists are that anthropogenic climate change is real and probably bad, and go beyond showing lists of signed names. You'll get nowhere trying to prove things with actual science, because you'll be speaking Greek.

Bart Verheggen said...

Lucia,

What a small world. I was involved in the Canadian addition to SHEBA in 1998, based in Inuvik, NWT. (FIRE-3 or FIRE-ACE) I remember that a x-country ski event up there North of the polar circle in april had to be cancelled because almost all the snow had melted. I remember the el nino of 1998.

AK,

Thanks for that story of being truly skeptical. There's a lesson in your story as well, in that supporters of mainstream science shouldn't judge people who ask questions too quickly (i.e. you recalling being called names by "AGW enthusiasts")

I have a post on a related theme, different reasons for (pseudo-) skepticism on my blog: http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/climate-skepticism-comes-in-many-shades-of-grey/

Hypnos said...

Dr. Brin:
"What? Exactly where do you see me ever calling for an "external control group?"

I think I see the problem here. You skimmed something from my article that wasnn't even remotely there, fantasized a strawman and wrote in about it. I agree with all that you say, in refuting that strawman... that had nothing to do with anything I said."

I'm sorry if I misunderstood. I read the original comment and the excerpt in the other blog, but not the whole article, so shame on me for that.

But if you agree with me that a skeptic position is, by definition, already embedded in any scientific endeavor, then who are the legitimate skeptics that scientists should engage with?

I am sincerely curious. I tend to be dismissive of all self-defined climate skeptics because they behave like conspiracy theorists - repeating self-contradicting and debunked claims ad infinitum (e.g. "it's not Co2, it's the sun" "Antarctic is gaining ice, there is no warming" "Co2 is only 0.001% of the atmosphere"). I see no point in engaging or debating with such people. I am actually admired by the self-restaint and cool-headedness climate scientists are showing. If my line of research were to be constantly misinterpreted and lied about like that, I'd be issuing death threats.

But you are a strong supporter of knowledgeable amateurs, so perhaps you have some group or person in mind who fits the description of legitimate skeptic. I haven't been able to find any.

The way I see it, there are two positions on Climate Change. The first is the IPCC's, which is the moderate, mainstream consensus. Then there are fringe positions, the "catastrophists", we might say.

What I find deeply worrying is that in many areas, even the worst-case scenarios predicted by the IPCC are being surpassed by reality - and not in the far future. It is happening NOW. Arctic melt is offscale and on track to be ice-free in the summer before 2015. That means vastly accelerated permafrost thaw and massive releases of methane, possibly before 2050. That's within my lifetime. That's terrifying.

We're having a debate about the necessity of engaging with skeptics, when we probably should be having a debate about enacting a massive, war-like rationing program to move away from fossil fuels entirely in the shortest time frame possible, while also inventing syntehtic bacteria that scrape Co2 from the atmosphere, and some geoengineering programs to spare.

When faced with the possibility of demise, the first psychological stage a human being enters is denial.

I believe that, alone - rather than a conspiracy of Saudi petro kings - is enough to explain the vast majority of climate skeptics.

And that makes it useless, for those of us who have already moved to acceptance, to have a debate with them.

But then again, I hope I am wrong. I want to be wrong. I want a knowledgeable, honest skeptic to come out and say "look, there's nothing to worry about, because of this and that".

It would be better if that skeptic was actually publishing high-standard scientific research, rather than blog posts. And if that research managed to stand up to even cursory examination.

I haven't been able to find any of that. Any pointers?

lucia liljegren said...

Bart
>>I was involved in the Canadian addition to SHEBA in 1998
On jim's shift, the "runway" became too soft to permit aircraft to land so the delayed the change in shift. They had to organize sending a US coast guard ship up to change crews. A helicopter was used to move people from shift to shift.

On the next shift, those in charge new in advance that they weren't going to land an aircraft, so they planned in advance.

Abilard said...

Michael Tobias wrote:

"Nor, frankly, is he, (in my opinion, as one holding a doctorate in a relevant field) in a good position as far as background and training is concerned, to challenge the substantive foundations of climate science in the ways he typically does."

And then later:

"But it's not the lack of credentials that concern me, it's the lack of clue."

If it did not concern you then you would not have brought it up. Should it concern you, and everyone reading these debates?

Certainly. Degrees are our primary way of measuring a person's knowledge. To the extent that claims of such credentials can be taken seriously on a forum such as this, they add credibility to the poster's case.

That said, knowledge is not the exclusive province of degree holders. Nor does having a degree give one a claim on the judgment of others. Minds are free. Holding a science degree is not a trump that can be used to silence questions. The notion that receiving the imprimatur of an institution gives one the right to think for others is an idea best left to the Dark Ages.

Nor should skeptics have to take a pledge, just because in the scientific community it has become common (apparently) to adopt a siege mentality. Thanks to the enemies of AGW theory and science in general it has become "common" to think that climate scientists fabricate data. Should every AGW supporter preface posts with a claim that he or she does not support faking data, in deference to a common mis-perception?

Debate the ideas (or not, as you choose), support your arguments with all the facts available, and support your credibility as best you may, but do not attempt to relegate opponents to second-class status to avoid addressing their arguments.

Ian said...

News you won't see on Fox.

!. Obama administration plans the largest budget deficit reduction is US history.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-05/deficits-shrink-most-in-decades-as-slowing-growth-still-lets-s-p-500-rally.html

2. Despite 1, budget projections provide for a real, post-inflation increase in defense spending.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-06/weapons-budget-defies-obama-aim-to-hold-costs-pentagon-comptroller-says.html

Michael Tobis said...

Abilard, it was my opponent who raised the matter of his credentials.

lucia liljegren said...

Ian--
US Budget deficit

2008: $ 460 billion (wikipedia)
2009: $1,410 billion((wikipedia)
2010: $1,400 billion -- Source: your link.
2011: $1,100 billion -- projected. (Source: your link.)

It's not surprising that the $300 billion deficit reduction from 2010 to 2011 is the largest ever. It's more than 50% the entire deficit for the year 2008.

I don't get cable and don't watch Fox. But why do you think Fox news would fail to cover this story?

Abilard said...

"Abilard, it was my opponent who raised the matter of his credentials."

Ah. The dangers of cross-fora discussions I suppose, as I think you brought up the topic first here.

Judging from your bio page you are a rather bright guy, and a baby-boomer coder, which is rare. Given the complexities of modelling the climate I suppose you would have to be. The system seldom seems to behave predictably.

Broad-brush, do you think feedbacks from Siberian methane, oceanic hydrocarbons, and such could tip us toward Venus, or is a repeat of PETM more the risk?

Hank Roberts said...

> deficit
Good grief, people. Once you look at the history you'll quit bringing this up.

"the fact remains: Together with the economic downturn, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years (see Figure 1)."

http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-bush-policies-deficits-2010-6

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3036

The USA has a money problem.
It's trivial compared to the cost -- at the observed rate of change -- of global climate, particularly the ocean.

Paying for costs instead of fobbing them off on other people and people's descendants -- something we can agree is smart?

Is that not what Dr. Brin is pointing out:

-- being honest and conservative about what we do is possible, with good science?

-- oligarchs have always been and are now profiting by pushing costs on other people and their descendants

-- the 'culture war' is suckering many people who think they're conservative into supporting the oligarchs and greed, rather than conserving

Extraction that externalizes costs wrecks ecosystems:
Jeremy Jackson: How we wrecked the ocean -- TEDtalks
http://www.youtube.com
/watch?v=u0VHC1-DO_8

Management works!
http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0730-fisheries.html

David Brin said...

Michael thanks for this link:

http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/07/there-are-skeptics-and-then-there-are.html

That guy weighed in about the illogic of the denier position in ways that I never even touched upon.

Sociotard, there is only one thing an average person can do. Guilt by association is pushed by one side of culture war and they need to die (figuratively) by their own weapon. No matter how many flaws there may be in climate science, three things matter most:

1 The best experts should be heeded when they war that public policy moves are needed in order to avert disaster. Burden of proof falls on those who demand we ignore expert advice.

2 TWODA endeavors (things we ought to do anyway) should accelerate dramatically, and yes, at some economic sacrifice.

3 Guilt by association tars everyone who affiliates with the "side" that brought America tumbling downward in EVERY unambiguous metric of national health. People who pick up an issue out of the basket of rotten grudges being offered by Fox should not be surprised if we refuse to bite from the apple... when everything else in the barrel is rotten.

HYPNOS... thanks for the apology and accepted. As for other matters, you are right to point out the irony... that I am a CHAMPION of the "age of amateurs" (see below)! And yet, my skeptics screed preaches respect for the professionals.

There is no conflict. I am (like Ray Bradbury) a fiery, ferociously fervent and militant moderate! Moderate, pragmatic, future-oriented, problem-solving, can-do, negotiation-ready moderation is precisely the spirit of the American Founders and they were willing to fight and die for it. I betray them if I am any less fierce in my devotion to the same cause.

Hence, I distrust accumulations of undue power and agitate for dispersal of expertise... but also for an advanced civilization that acts in consensus when needful. A baking world is need.

I agree that denial - in the sense of averting the gaze from complex difficulties - is the top explanation for the populist know-nothing cult. But to say that it is not being deliberately riled up and stirred and propelled toward cynical aims by an oligarchic bunch of connivers is simply naive.

Where I MAY be going too far is when I posit that the connivers may be organized specifically around a goal of weakening Pax Americana. I freely admit that is unlikely! But given all the circumstantial evidence, it is only unlikely at say 2:1 odds. That means that I am perfectly right to keep raising it! Because absolutely no one else will even talk about it as a What-If obscure possibility.

Everybody poo-poos "Don't explain with malignity what can be more easily explained by incompetence." BULLSHIT! History is rife with genuine, real, manifest conspiracies. Just because UFO and Loose Change and Kennedy conspiracy nits are loons doesn't mean that there wasn't a Reichstag fire or an October Revolution or a deliberate campaign to stir up secession and break up the US in 1861.

===

re the deficit, right now the Keynsians are desperately trying to stave off deflation. If they must print money to do so, that's their thing and they have earned the right to try their hand at fixing things, after EVERY prediction made by supply side turned into LSD-tainted smoke.

Hank Roberts said...

"Capitalism never solves it problems; it moves them around geographically.... you should know it's crap and say it is."

An appeal from an academic to go beyond the current arguments to look for a broad-based agreement on how to live together in the
world.

It's another brilliant animation from RSA.

http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/07/02/communism-and-the-financial-crisis-cartoon-edition/

Rik said...

Tom's comment (the first here) is the most telling: it's not about the science, much less about what the average person does or does not understand. It's all about (perceived) policy. Exaggerated: To denialists anything prescribed by the advocates is a bridge too far, to the advocates hardly anything can go far enough. Me, I watch, read around, wait & try to be optimistic. (but I can't remember why I read that, in spite of the failure of Kopenhagen, US businesses reduced their emisisons)

Re the deficit: stop worrying! The worst thing you or anyone else can do is to let either deficit hawks of deficit doves cut public good in order to cut deficit because (stupid) theory says so, regardless of reality. Or TWODA.

Re left vs right: I think the two are about to become obsolete. They belong to parties and why would you vote for a party? You vote for someone with an agenda, someone who has assembled a group around him (the party might have one member: the candidate). In European politics there are always excellent candidates whose party remains too small; and thus, they are never elected.

Ian said...

"Ian--
US Budget deficit

2008: $ 460 billion (wikipedia)
2009: $1,410 billion((wikipedia)
2010: $1,400 billion -- Source: your link.
2011: $1,100 billion -- projected. (Source: your link.)

It's not surprising that the $300 billion deficit reduction from 2010 to 2011 is the largest ever. It's more than 50% the entire deficit for the year 2008.

I don't get cable and don't watch Fox. But why do you think Fox news would fail to cover this story?"

Fox has a long history of downplaying or ignoring stories favorable to Democrats or unfavorable to Republicans.

As for the budget deficit:

1. the Bush administration insisted on treating the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as emergency one-off off-budget expenses, year after year after year.

That way, they could exclude the expense - roughly $200 billion - from the officially reported budget deficit.

That and other similar accounting tricks (like ignoring the practrice of all previous administrations and not including a budget provision for natural disasters) was how they managed to report budget deficits of around $100 billion a year while blowing out the national debt by $4 trillion in the first seven years of the Bush administration - i.e. ca. $550 billion a year.

That's before the Global financial Crisis hit.

The 2009 financial year budget - the last Bush budget - would have shown a deficit of close to $2 trillion if prepared on the same basis as the subsequent Obama administration budgets.

2. The CBO predicts the deficit will fall to around $600 billion in 2012 and further thereafter.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/105xx/doc10521/2009BudgetUpdate_Summary.pdf

That's because much of the rise in the deficit has been due not to increases in discretionary spending but to falls in tax revenue due to the recession and higher welfare spending - also associated with the recession.

So within a couple of years the budget deficit will be back to roughly the same level as under Bush once the fraudulent accounting practices of the Bush administration are taken into account.

Due to economic growth, the deficit as a percentage of GDP will be lower than under Bush.

3. Once the recovery is more firmly established its a near certainty that there will be budget cuts and tax increases.

Assuming Obama is re-elected, which remains highly likely, there's a good chance the budget will be back in surplus by the end of his second term.

Wikipedia has a pretty good summary here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget#Causes_of_change_in_deficits

Ian said...

"Ian--
US Budget deficit

2008: $ 460 billion (wikipedia)
2009: $1,410 billion((wikipedia)
2010: $1,400 billion -- Source: your link.
2011: $1,100 billion -- projected. (Source: your link.)

It's not surprising that the $300 billion deficit reduction from 2010 to 2011 is the largest ever. It's more than 50% the entire deficit for the year 2008.

I don't get cable and don't watch Fox. But why do you think Fox news would fail to cover this story?"

Fox has a long history of downplaying or ignoring stories favorable to Democrats or unfavorable to Republicans.

As for the budget deficit:

1. the Bush administration insisted on treating the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as emergency one-off off-budget expenses, year after year after year.

That way, they could exclude the expense - roughly $200 billion - from the officially reported budget deficit.

That and other similar accounting tricks (like ignoring the practrice of all previous administrations and not including a budget provision for natural disasters) was how they managed to report budget deficits of around $100 billion a year while blowing out the national debt by $4 trillion in the first seven years of the Bush administration - i.e. ca. $550 billion a year.

That's before the Global financial Crisis hit.

The 2009 financial year budget - the last Bush budget - would have shown a deficit of close to $2 trillion if prepared on the same basis as the subsequent Obama administration budgets.

2. The CBO predicts the deficit will fall to around $600 billion in 2012 and further thereafter.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/105xx/doc10521/2009BudgetUpdate_Summary.pdf

That's because much of the rise in the deficit has been due not to increases in discretionary spending but to falls in tax revenue due to the recession and higher welfare spending - also associated with the recession.

So within a couple of years the budget deficit will be back to roughly the same level as under Bush once the fraudulent accounting practices of the Bush administration are taken into account.

Due to economic growth, the deficit as a percentage of GDP will be lower than under Bush.

3. Once the recovery is more firmly established its a near certainty that there will be budget cuts and tax increases.

Assuming Obama is re-elected, which remains highly likely, there's a good chance the budget will be back in surplus by the end of his second term.

Wikipedia has a pretty good summary here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget#Causes_of_change_in_deficits

Ian said...

Going to have to break this into two sections:

I don't get cable and don't watch Fox. But why do you think Fox news would fail to cover this story?"

Fox has a long history of downplaying or ignoring stories favorable to Democrats or unfavorable to Republicans.

As for the budget deficit:

1. the Bush administration insisted on treating the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as emergency one-off off-budget expenses, year after year after year.

That way, they could exclude the expense - roughly $200 billion - from the officially reported budget deficit.

That and other similar accounting tricks (like ignoring the practrice of all previous administrations and not including a budget provision for natural disasters) was how they managed to report budget deficits of around $100 billion a year while blowing out the national debt by $4 trillion in the first seven years of the Bush administration - i.e. ca. $550 billion a year.

That's before the Global financial Crisis hit.

The 2009 financial year budget - the last Bush budget - would have shown a deficit of close to $2 trillion if prepared on the same basis as the subsequent Obama administration budgets.

2. The CBO predicts the deficit will fall to around $600 billion in 2012 and further thereafter.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/105xx/doc10521/2009BudgetUpdate_Summary.pdf

Ian said...

Part Two:

That's because much of the rise in the deficit has been due not to increases in discretionary spending but to falls in tax revenue due to the recession and higher welfare spending - also associated with the recession.

So within a couple of years the budget deficit will be back to roughly the same level as under Bush once the fraudulent accounting practices of the Bush administration are taken into account.

Due to economic growth, the deficit as a percentage of GDP will be lower than under Bush.

3. Once the recovery is more firmly established its a near certainty that there will be budget cuts and tax increases.

Assuming Obama is re-elected, which remains highly likely, there's a good chance the budget will be back in surplus by the end of his second term.

Wikipedia has a pretty good summary here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget#Causes_of_change_in_deficits

Ian said...

Sorry for the multiple posts - Google kept giving me an error message which I thought meant the comment hadn't been posted.

Abilard said...

@Ian

They are having issues right now.

Sociotard said...

1 The best experts should be heeded when they war that public policy moves are needed in order to avert disaster. Burden of proof falls on those who demand we ignore expert advice.

Why would I listen to what experts say when what they do thunders so loudly in my ears?

Okay, my point had an element of 'guilt by association'. Fine. Lets make it more specific, to avoid that pitfall.

Demonstrate to me that David Brin believes that anthropogenic climate change is real and probably dangerous.

David Brin is a scientist with a PhD. He follows this subject and he claims he has been convinced. But what evidence is there that this is what he believes?

Does David Brin live in a suburb or a more energy efficient condo or apartment? Does David Brin fly to his many appearances or does he insist on telecommuting? How many miles a week does he travel by bike or public transportation rather than drive?

I have no PhD, but I commute to work by bicycle. Last year that meant that I did so 11 miles each way, in the middle of an Idaho winter. That is evidence that I believe in anthropogenic climate change.

So here's the dare: show me that you actually believe, and that you aren't just talking, or I will claim that you only believe in anthropogenic climate change in the way that Ronald Regan believed in Small Government. (you make a nice speech about it, but it doesn't translate into action)

David Brin said...

Um bugger off?

I'll admit your bicycle is more virtuous than my car... if you'll show me that you've converted as many people as I have, with EARTH alone, to joining action-proxy orgs that fight for our future, justice and eco-sense.

And to generally becoming more active as citizens and to be armed with tools they need for these times.

You're like those dopes screaming at Al Gore for flying in jets. That is how our civilization is made, and each trip he does vastly more good than harm. And so do I.

Tony Fisk said...

In other words, sociotard, the change required is systemic: individual responses are like fighting bushfires with an eyedropper.

In these circumstances, while there is moral virtue in 'walking the walk', insisting that prominent people do so can smack of distraction.

(from someone else who also pedals 15km to work ;-)

squagler: someone who thinks Al Gore is a jet-setting hypocrite.

Sociotard said...

Um bugger off?
Okay, I maybe deserved that.

You're like those dopes screaming at Al Gore for flying in jets. That is how our civilization is made, and each trip he does vastly more good than harm. And so do I.

I remain unconvinced. This is the kind of thing that is very difficult to demonstrate empirically. Sure, you can show that people who go to his slideshow presentation get inspired and join groups and so forth. It is difficult to show that the slideshow was the cause. After all, the audience would kind of self select in that kind of situation, i.e. preaching to the choir.

Besides, why couldn't Al Gore move into a smaller, more energy efficient house? Why couldn't he telecomute to his slideshows? Is there some element in his preaching that requires he not live his ideals?

In other words, sociotard, the change required is systemic: individual responses are like fighting bushfires with an eyedropper.

Systemic just means changing the rules of governments and corporations so everybody has to sacrifice. Instead of one rich dude declining to fly, a government requires all airlines to convert their fleets to more fuel efficient planes. Flight tickets go up for a decade to pay for it. Eventually the fuel savings pay off, and people fly even cheaper and more carbon neutral than before. But what about that decade or two? You think Al Gore will have to stop flying because he can't afford it anymore? I don't. I think it's going be people in my economic bracket who will have to just do without.

I'm willing to believe in positive sum games. I just don't believe they can be played entirely without sacrifice at all stages, and I have no illusions about what economic classes will be forced to sacrifice first. I wish Al Gore well. I just wish he'd show me some solidarity and demonstrate the kinds of sacrifices his future will require me to make.

Till then? I'm not sure he believes those sacrifices are worthwhile himself.

Hypnos said...

Sociotard, I think most people who believe we must act now to prevent GW stand by their beliefs in that they are ready to vote for and support policies that will mean higher taxes, higher prices, which will hit them as well.

That is, they are willing to sacrifice, but only when those sacrifices can be shown to be effective, that is when they are forced upon everyone. Because biking to work while 90% of the population still drives and flies is useless.

That is not at all like stating that unboiled water is dangerous and then drinking it nonetheless (even tho there are MDs who smoke, does that undermine the consensus of the harms of smoking?).

Drinking unboiled water will affect you directly. Biking when everybody else doesn't won't affect GW in the slightest.

So, advocacy to bring about social change is much more effective than individual sacrifice.

Tony Fisk said...

Meanwhile, cynicism is obedience... to the status quo.

Robert said...

Several months ago, I was moving out of my apartment and to a new locale (long-term house-sitting for a relative in a nursing home). My car has decent fuel efficiency (around 30 mpg), but can't exactly carry a heck of a lot. In the final day of the move, after help from my folks (who have a van and a minivan) to move the large stuff, it took another six trips on my own via my car (in the middle of a freaking snowstorm, but that's another story).

It probably would have taken one or two trips via the van. While the van has lower fuel efficiency, it has a lot more holding capacity. Thus I would have been able to with one trip use far less gas and pollution than the multiple trips with my car. (The reason I didn't do this was I was still packing and throwing stuff out, but that's tangential to what I'm getting at.)

Fuel efficiency is not the end all and be all of being "green" or the like. There is also the effective use of one's tools. If I'm going to do grocery shopping for the week, I'm using my car. While the grocery store is only a two-to-three-mile walk or so from the house, I would be hard-pressed to walk home with multiple bags of groceries. (Not to mention that I don't know the neighborhood further up, and did hear what I believe to be gunshots several months back - at least, it was the proper number of shots for someone unloading an entire clip from a semi-automatic. So, potential safety issue.)

As for Al Gore? He's just a politician who has glommed to the environmental issue. I don't listen to him concerning the state of the planet. I listen to scientists who know what they're talking about. And the scientists? They're worried.

Hell, the Pentagon is worried. They're planning for an ice-free Arctic, and the probable need to have a fleet of ships that patrol the Arctic during the ice-free periods; after all, it would be simplicity itself for a Russian fleet to sail across the Arctic Ocean and push into Canada and the U.S., and unless we've ships up there to stop them, we're fighting on our own soil.

Hmm. I wonder what the extra cost of building those extra ships (and military-issue icebreakers because from the way the ice tends to break up, the U.S./Canada side remains iced longer than the Russian side) would be? Probably a bit. Wouldn't that money be far better spent on subsidizing green energy systems to try and lessen the effects of global climate change?

Robert A. Howard, Tangents Reviews

Carl M. said...

Let's see who is more guilty of playing Culture War. This guy?

http://climateaudit.org/2005/02/20/bring-the-proxies-up-to-date/

Or this gal?

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-07/six-quiet-climate-villians

I prefer scientific discussions to witch hunts.

Hypnos said...

Carl:

Considering McIntyre has consistently lied, misrepresented, distorted the facts, quote-mined stolen emails and omitted key sentences, slandered scientists at will, and always refused to even remotely aknowledge any of this, let alone issue any retraction?

http://deepclimate.org/2010/03/10/mcclimategate-continues-yet-another-false-accusation-from-mcintyre-and-mckitrick/

I'd say it is extremely clear who the guilty party is.

Hint: it's the one that lies.

Hypnos said...

Some more false statements and accusation by McIntyre:

http://deepclimate.org/2010/06/29/revisiting-tar-figure-2-21-part-1-another-false-claim-from-steve-mcintyre/

http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/11/mcintyre-provides-fodder-for-skeptics/

http://deepclimate.org/2010/05/11/how-to-be-a-climate-auditor-part-1-pretty%c2%a0pictures/

Clearly, this person is the complete opposite of the honest, legitimate skeptic Dr. Brin says scientists should debate with.

rewinn said...

Tony Fisk said...
"cynicism is obedience... to the status quo"


Is that original?

Cuz I'd sure like to use it ...

rewinn said...

@Carl

I don't see how the Popular Science article can be called culture warring.

Sure, it's not written for scientists; it's in plain language without any equations. But that's because its audience is the public, not scientists.

It usefully talks about the mix of science and politics that factors into AGW denialism. For example, it makes helpful distinctions between climatology and meteorology which is especially important because most ordinary people don't know why their weatherman isn't an expert on climate science.

This is not "culture warring"; its explaining science to the people so we can make our own decisions.

David Brin said...

Guys, what is a .VOB file? Some kind of video footage, I believe. What program do I need to view it on a Mac or to convert it to YouTube?

Does anyone have the facilities needed to do such a conversion and posting?

It's one of my recent talks.

Abilard said...

I assume it is this:

Wikipedia - VOB File Format

You might try the ubiquitous VLC to play it.

I have no personal experience with the format, but this site apparently hosts a free conversion program:

www.convertvobtoavi.com

Good luck!

BrotherDoug said...

a depressing story a friend posted about the evils of the "free market" starving 200 million people.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/how-goldman-sachs-gambled_b_633436.html

Tacitus2 said...

Robert

A successful invasion of the US/Canada over the melted North Pole is highly implausible. Neither northern Canada nor northern Russia has any significant infrastructure. Not much in the way of roads, much less ports, rail connections etc.

Regards governmental action to counter global warming, I spent a bit of time looking over the stimulus spending summary at ProPublica.

There was some worthy stuff in there to be sure, alternative energy funding, high speed rail infrastructure. But the largest chunk was plain old highway projects, essentially facilitating urban sprawl. (now I am a realist, the greener items deserve credit, and you cannot expect the whole thing to be funding for solar panels and bike shops)

Of course good intentions only go so far, and a stern accounting is necessary to make sure this funding does not just disappear into the pockets of cronies. Yes, I can imagine a green Haliburton.

Obama got off to a poor start with appointing Van Jones as a "green jobs czar". Hardly the most qualified person for this job, it smacked of political patronage on an issue of potential critical importance.

Tacitus2

Tony Fisk said...

@rewinn: although the addendum is mine, I picked the phrase up from Alex Steffen (and if you go ogle* the phrase , Alex does appear to be the main source)

* Producers of a certain popular search engine do not like their name being taken in verbage

Tony Fisk said...

From the same source:

"Optimism is a political act."

rewinn said...

While the "Gambling On Starvation" report can be depressing, I think it's also a call to action on several fronts:

First, it's reminiscent of the Irish potato famine as I was taught it: utterly unnecessary from a physical POV but driven by the Aristocracy's need to have a little more gilding on their lilies ... and an utter lack of pity for those they considered their inferiors;

More importantly, it may drive home to some who have never thought of it that the battle between unregulated organizational life and human life, we humans are losing;

Third, thoughtful persons will not expect hungry people to go quietly forever. We've been relatively lucky on that front but it can't last.

Hank Roberts said...

Alex Steffen is quoted here:
http://livinggenerously.com/articles/164

cited to "a recent interview with The Sun Magazine" -- here:
http://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/412/the_bright_green_city

... ‘Optimism is a political act. Those who benefit from the status quo are perfectly happy for us to think nothing is going to get better. In fact these days, cynicism is obedience’ ...

Rob Perkins said...

VOB is the file extension for video on a DVD. Virtually all commercial DVD's have them, but their contents are encrypted.

VLC Player can open and play them, but the experience is not universally good. I use a Mac program called "HandBrake" to transcode video files from one format to another. That plus VLC should give you all you need to open a VOB.

mookraker said...

Brin, I love your books, your short stories (esp. Detritus Affected and Lungfish), and your blog as well.
However, the "kool-aid" reference has become awfully popular in many circles, and I've about had it. The term is nearly useless anymore, if it was ever useful outside the Jonestown events. It's doubtless a small point, but could we try, collectively, to find an epithet which isn't regularly used also by demented morons? It's unbecoming of a learned, good-natured person such as yourself.

Robert said...

How about lemmings marching to the sea? I think that one works on a number of levels. =^-^=

Rob H.

Rob Perkins said...

I thought that lemming thing had actually been debunked or exposed?

Anonymous said...

Examples of Fox's bias: Whenever a Republican politician is caught in a sex scandal, the politician is pictured on screen, identified below by name, position, state, and the letter D (denoting Democrat).

David Brin said...

Rob, Handbrake offers a download of a power pc version, but requires 10.5 or above, while my machine retains tiger. I'll try again on my wife's more modern mac.

What is VLC?

Yeah, koolaid is a tired reference. But seriously, Rupert's poison is just as deadly to the republic as the stuff was at Jonestown.

Rob Perkins said...

David, go here:

http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

"It plays anything."

Tiger is now deprecated, both for security and feature set reasons. Get a copy of 10.5, but not 10.6.

And, why not upgrade to an Intel Mac? Don't mourn the loss of PowerPC chips to Macs; they are found in every XBox 360.

Rob Perkins said...

Oh, sorry; I just noticed your mention that your wife has an Intel Mac.

Tim H. said...

David, I think you'll like 10.5, but it requires a minimum G4 867 mhz, and does work a system harder than 10.4, so maxxing out the RAM wouldn't be a bad idea. The negative I ran into when upgrading to leopard is no OS 9 compatibility, if you've done something in Appleworks, it won't be available in 10.5.
As far as video players, you might be able to find older 10.4 compatible versions of VLC, mplayer might be worth a look also.

David Brin said...

I use Tiger because I need OS9 in order to run the only decent word processor ever made.

All moder WPs - including recent Word Perfect - copy formalisms of MS Word... a horrific insult to human intelligence and creativity that people cling to because the actually think that the required small hammer hitting the side of their heads - every few seconds - is a GOOOOOOOOD thing!

It is actually a torture system/experiment from that infestation of aliens in Redmond, mostly from Planet Asperger. God bless em and they are welcome here. But I want a system that helps me be productive, instead of ruining my day.

Rant? sure. At this rate I'll be running classic in 2040.

Tony Fisk said...

Maybe what the punters would like is a skinnable word processor (as opposed to a ropeable one?)

The Office interface seems to undergo radical alteration and re-shuffling of features with every release (as well as serving as an 'alpha' version of the next incarnation of Windows). The useful features appear to be hidden away in ever more obscure locations. I dread the coming of the touchscreen PC: just think where they could hide the virtual keyboard!

You are in a maze of pretty, twisty little menu options, all alike...

Interesting anecdote: a couple of weeks ago, my 6 month old computer reported an impending failure of the hard drive. Not happy! Still, it was interesting to compare the reactions of the various inhabitants of said drive:

Linux: your hard drive has reported an error and may fail in the future. Meanwhile, do carry on.

Windows 7: your hard drive has reported an error and may fail in the future. *HUFF!*

Rob Perkins said...

I take your point about Microsoft, feeling it myself with respect to their development tools. "Silverlight" has gone through four MAJOR revision updates in just the last 24 months. Their buzzword machine, which used to be annoying but possible to penetrate, is in full steam about a bloat of "tools" and "frameworks" that they insist will be necessary to solve the problems of tomorrow.

Meantime, Apple, annoying as they are, keeps facilitating "apps for that" with a 25 year old development model that, lo and behold, appears to be great for making applications.

I feel your pain. But, Pages won't do the trick for you after nine revisions? That really surprises me.

David Brin said...

Alert. Cranky man in his 50s is about to whine about the goll-durned TV show he can't figger out how to watch online! Serious folks skip ahead!

I am having a helluva time finding out how to play the episodes of FLASH FORWARD that I missed before it was cancelled. The ABC site lists the shows I want at:

http://abc.go.com/shows/flash-forward/episodes-list?cid=showsitelinks_search

But there is no apparent way to view them! I thought they wanted to make money from advertisers gaining access to our eyes during 30 second "breaks" and I am willing to watch the commercials! So why won't they let me see episodes from season 2?

Specifically "Queen Sacrifice" and the following episodes. And why are these sites designed deliberately to obstruct the business obstruct the business of the site and make the customer howl?

David Brin said...

The program I use is 1997 version Word Perfect for Macintosh.... before WP sold out and imitated the horrific, productivity-destroying and mind-warping formalisms of Word.

Robert said...

Why not just use Wordpad? It's fairly free of bloat. It would be ideal except for the lack of a spellchecker, to be honest.

There's also a number of free- and share-ware word processors out there.

Rob H.

Pat Mathews said...

Seriously OT, but since it's about transparency -

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0710/39410.html

The year of 'no comment'

Tim H. said...

Never did get the hang of wordperfect on ST or mac, but then, I don't write professionally. Such as I do lately is in Textedit. Here are some word processor reviews, that might be helpful..

http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/features/featured_review/P100/
http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/review/copywrite_for_writers_has_the_write_stuff/
http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/review/jers_novel_writer_is_a_memorable_writers_app/
http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/review/scrivener_brings_out_the_scribbler/

If only WordPerfect works, you might think about a dual-boot, with a partition (Or new drive) with 10.4.9 that rarely sees the outside world and 10.5 for web, e-mail and etc., if your monitor will accept dual inputs, you could just plug a new mini into the second set of inputs, and have rapid access to both worlds. I still have a G3700 iMac with 10.4.9, somewhat limited, but just fine for streaming music in the kitchen, glancing at weather forecasts and looking up recipes. Hope you find something that works for you, Tim.

Hank Roberts said...

> cranky

You're a lucky youngster. Time to dedicate hardware to typing, and buy extras for when it fails, and set it on a separate desk from your modern stuff.

I write well, fast, and without carpal tunnel pain only on a DOS/WordStar machine with a keyboard that has the CRTL key next to the A key where it belongs. There's a critical period in development, I think, for finding the right tool. Sawyer agrees: http://www.sfwriter.com/wordstar.htm

Yeah, there's always hope. I'm trying this next: http://www.dosbox.com/

Hat tip to http://www.chinwong.com/index.php?/site/comments/dos_daze/

Those a few years older still prefer typewriters; we're lucky.

rewinn said...

@Tony Fisk
”… I dread the coming of the touchscreen PC: just think where they could hide the virtual keyboard!

Just got one. It didn’t default to looking for the wireless keyboard that came with the thing so during initial setup I had to use the virtual keyboard until in frustration I dug out an old keyboard w/USB plug.

Among the virtual keyboard issues is the difference between typing on a vertical vs. horizontal surface, and touch feedback. OTOH whenever the cat goes by she brushes the screen with her tail so I’ll react to her!

===

I'd like one wordprocessor for when I'm just blazing through some text and not interested in formatting. WordPad is almost good enough. Today's Word is lousy for that, especially since when you copy from other documents it seems to accept all sorts of ugly formatting issues.

When it's time to dress up the text in niceness, the latest Office release has many nice features, but it's almost like I need a different piece of software for a different sort of writing business.

David Brin said...

Robert said: "There's also a number of free- and share-ware word processors out there."

Alas, you are not listening. I did not complain of bloat. I griped about genuinely counter-intuitive and counterproductive or even downright insane formalisms and methods. These have spread outward as all word processors copy Word layouts and methods... e.g the "document and paragraph" layout control boxes, which make formatting insane. Or the insistence on hiding the ruler EXACTLY when you want to use it.

I cannot explain this. I use a WP that was designed to actually help a person write.

No one with suggestions how to view Flash Forward episodes?

Rob Perkins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob Perkins said...

David, I think HBO hasn't released the second season to ABC for online viewing; I can't find season 2 on my ABC iPad app either.

All the entertainment companies make a habit of milking DVD sales for all they can before they cut shows loose.

Rob Perkins said...

David, with respect to word processors, I suggest adapting sooner than later; your G5 won't last forever, and the people who made WP '97 are long gone.

gg said...

The 24-hour solar-powered plane flight concluded. It's possible to absorb enough energy during the day to run all night. Making it practical for Al Gore is just a matter of engineering.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100708/
ap_on_hi_te/eu_switzerland_solar_adventure

David Smelser said...

@DB, I'd recommend using www.hulu.com for watching the fast forward episodes. But season 2 won't be available until august.

Brendan said...

I am still not sure what the problem with WordPerfect is. The current version you can customise the keyboard, menus, toolbars and environment to however you want with an option for WP5.1 as one of the defaults throughout. The file format hasn't changed since WP6 so there is no hassle about reading old files. It still does do a poor job of reading Word docs though, Corel really need to have a chat to the Open Office guys about that.

If you don't like the current flavour though there is a linux version floating the net of WP8 that will cost you nothing.

David McCabe said...

Now I'm curious about how WordPerfect works.

You can run OS 9 on Sheep Shaver, which is a free Macintosh emulator.

All current OSes can be configured to treat the Caps-lock key as a Ctrl key. Highly recommended.

Rewinn is right that writing and typesetting are different tasks. For me, the only adequate typesetting tools are TeX and InDesign, but I'm way too picky.

boldra said...

Hi David, you're not the first to make the tobacco link.

Amazon:Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming

Woozle said...

Dr.B: on the WordPerfect thread -- I know you probably don't have time for this, but if it were possible, the next step I see towards solving the problem would be either:

1. a list of the specific features of WP1997fM which make it Not Evil (i.e. distinguish it from the "modern" breed).

OR

2. a few minutes of video of you using WP1997fM to edit a document, and demonstrating those features

It may be that among the large selection of open-source word processors, there is one which is either already suitable or close enough that it could be made suitable without core modifications.

Failing that, software development has gotten a lot cheaper and easier since 1997; maybe someone would be willing to write a WP1997fM clone and open-source it.

I know I've never been completely happy with the document model used in most word processors, but I've never seen or used WP1997fM so I don't know what the alternative is like. (I kind of liked MacWrite 1.0...)

Joel said...

If you love controversy, maybe you could comment on souseveillance and its effect on the Oscar Grant verdict, versus similar shootings in the past.

Anna Haynes said...

> "(in SKEPTIC Magazine)"

In considering whether to buy a subscription, I see this same issue has a review of SuperFreakonomics, by a P.J. Rooks.

Can anyone report - as a litmus test - what it says about the "global cooling" chapter?

Hank Roberts said...

http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/10-02-17/#feature

Hank Roberts said...

In case you missed this in the parallel Deltoid thread:

---- excerpt follows -----

In the ultimate irony, Nova ends her BNP cite with:
"The Era of Enlightment: 1637 - 2010"
....

This is the current meme in the deniosphere: the Warmists have destroyed science by engaging in a conspiracy to fabricate data, process it to make it even more dishonest, construct models that say whatever they want, subvert the peer review process, and hide all this by taking over the mass media and using ad hominem attacks against the Sceptics, who are of course the only Real Scientists left.

Oh, the f!!!!ing irony!

I see that Nova is using Descartes as the starting point for the AoE. Most would put it a lot later, close to 1800.
....

Having Descartes as the beginning of the age of reason is rather ironic coming from the denialosphere.

"I think therefore I am" would prove Jo doesn't exist, surely!

---- end excerpt ------

Hank Roberts said...

Welcome back from your relaxing vacation (grin). After you've caught up on rest and had someone come in to tidy up the blogspammers' droppings, there's still a bit of a tempest left in this teapot. It might be a comment from you could revive the thread here.

I'd hoped for more here from your regular readers, but while you were traveling, this thread has gone fallow.

By now it's mostly about KK, including opinions about what you think he thinks you think

http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/kloors_five_strikes
versus
http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/08/20/the-brushback/

It'd be great if you could bring attention back to the planet and what we're doing with it longterm.

Hank Roberts said...

Also relevant to this thread:

http://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/welcome-to-azimuth/

"Welcome to Azimuth
Hello! This is John Baez’s new blog.... in general, centered around the theme of what scientists can do to help save the planet...."

Anonymous said...

A UT climate scientist blogs at http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/. You might find some of his content interesting.

Storm said...

With methodology proved not merely sloppy but intentionally dishonest (I refer to to both the hockey stick graph and the ice core samples) how on earth can any reasonable person accept the political positions which are presented as conclusions based upon these false premises? We could of course go into the expansion of the ice layer in Antartica or the artic, both of which are easily proved, when one examines more than merely the low point data.

I have no dog in the fight, other than a pure love of truth, something the IPCC and its supporters have never once allowed to sway their proclamations..

BTW the 99% figure you use can only come from considering uneducated politicians such as the IPCC as the hieght of scientific accomplishment.. Without such false' assumptions the figure flips completely near as I can tell from examining individuals interested in truth rather than political objectives.

I sincerely hope that you consider the evidence in the case against AGW and for reason, all while keeping up the fine contributibution to sci-fi..