Category Archives: Science

He Said That? 8/19/17

From Neil deGrasse Tyson (born 1958), American astrophysicist, author, and science communicator, The Sky Is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist (2004):

I am convinced that the act of thinking logically cannot possibly be natural to the human mind. If it were, then mathematics would be everybody’s easiest course at school and our species would not have taken several millennia to figure out the scientific method.

Advertisements

Can someone show us a climate prediction that has ever come true? by Jack Hellner

Just because climate predictions have been for the most part consistently wrong doesn’t mean we shouldn’t upend the global economy in service of the latest government and multilateral-endorsed climate prediction. From Jack Hellner at theburningplatform.com:

It’s another day, and we get a new story about how dire the climate threat is and that it is unambiguous that humans are a significant cause.

What is rarely noted in these articles is actual facts that support the theory.  I would love to see actual temperature data for each decade for the last 150 years, including where the measuring stations are located.  It would be especially interesting to see rural data where cement and asphalt don’t inflate the temperature.  It should also always be noted that a “Little Ice Age” ended in 1715 and that some warming would be normal.

Why don’t we see a list of storms, droughts, and floods from each decade to show the trend?  Even if there is some sort of a trend, how would it be attributed to humans, since the climate has always changed through billions of years when humans and fossil fuels could have had no effect?

It would be good to see a sample of sea levels throughout the world for each year for the last 150 years.  A sample of 100 spots throughout the world may give us a reasonable average for comparison.  My guess is that they don’t take actual measurements.

Instead of facts, these articles always give us theoretical predictions.  I would ask the reporters how many previous predictions of the last 30 or 100 years have been accurate.  I can’t think of any.  Why should we believe the new predictions?

We were told after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that hurricanes would be more frequent and stronger than ever.  Instead, we have had more than eleven years where hurricanes have been mild to nonexistent.  Tornado activity has also been lower than normal, so why are we told that storms are getting more extreme?

To continue reading: Can someone show us a climate prediction that has ever come true?

The Goolag Echopeligo, by Robert Gore

If you find the title confusing, DDG the works of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. (DuckDuckGo.com is a search engine whose acronym is hereby designated as one of the replacements for the verb google.)

Warning: SLL is about to put forth two propositions that are so obvious they’re undoubtedly controversial. Readers offended by the obvious but controversial are advised to stop reading.

Proposition one: If Group A and Group B are competing for the same jobs and standards are lowered for Group B but not Group A, on average the members of Group B will not be as good at the jobs as members of Group A.

Proposition two: Men and women are different.

This, when you wade through James Damore’s excruciatingly diplomatic Google memorandum is the crux of what he said. SLL can say it but Damore couldn’t; Google fired him for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.”

Google’s highly compensated management and engineering jobs are held disproportionately by white males. Here’s a fact: the universal set of people inside and outside of Google who have the ability to write complex computer code, or have the ability to manage such people, is disproportionately white males. That may be changing, but as of August 13, 2017, that’s still a fact.

While perpetuating gender stereotypes supposedly got Damore the boot, the money portion of his memo nails the contradiction at the heart of diversity and affirmative action programs: lower standards for Group B in the interest of promoting “equality” is inherently unequal. Group A has been disadvantaged and Group B has received preferential treatment.

From James Damore’s Google memorandum:

The harm of Google’s biases

I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more. However, to achieve a more equal gender and race representation, Google has created several discriminatory practices:

• Programs, mentoring, and classes for people with a certain gender or race
• A high priority queue and special treatment for “diversity” candidates
• Hiring practices which can effectively lower the bar for “diversity” candidates by decreasing the false negative rate
• Reconsidering any set of people if it’s not “diverse” enough, but not showing the same scrutiny in the reverse direct (clear confirmation bias)
• Setting org level OKRs [Objectives and Key Results] for increased representation which can incentivize illegal discrimination

You can have equal treatment or preferential treatment, but you can’t have both. De jure unequal leads to de facto unequal, not de facto equal. It leads to two other consequences: the favored group will on average not do the job as well, and the unfavored group will know it.

A cherished goal of the diversity drones is to get the unfavored group to applaud not just the drones’ enlightened moral status, but to pretend that the favored group does just as good a job as the unfavored one, and that diversity of secondary traits (but not, evidently, diversity of thought) itself confers a benefit. It’s a subset of an “optics” problem that besets the entire redistributive racket: how do you get unfavored producers not just to go along with the scam and keep producing unearned benefits for the racketeers and redistributees, but to pretend they like it?

How a Google coder’s gender or gender identification, race, ethnicity, creed, or any other secondary characteristic will affect his or her ability to spot and fix the flaws in an algorithm is left unstated. But that’s not the diversity drones’ problem. Google makes so much money it can afford some less-than-stellar employees in service to enlightened ideals and the greater good. If members of the unfavored group can’t bring themselves to applaud, they should at least shut up. Or else!

Denounce the theory of evolution and you’ll be roundly condemned as anti-science. Turn around and accept the theory, point out that evolution’s prime directive is the propagation of a given species, that for humans each sex has an evolutionary role, that women’s evolutionary role is to bear and rear children, that men’s role is to protect and provide for the family, especially when the woman is pregnant and then nursing and is unable to do so, and that men and women are equipped with different hormones, sex drives, and yes, brain wiring to facilitate their differing evolutionary roles, and you will earn for yourself  a fusillade of criticism from the same people who were condemning your earlier stance against evolutionary theory.

The existence of differences, and what they might be, are questions for scientific inquiry. Repression is when you get shot for telling the truth. Totalitarianism is when you get shot for asking questions. We’re reaching the point where questions cannot be asked, and all sorts of energy is expended maintaining the fantasy that men and women are not different, that gender itself is merely a matter of choice and can even vary day-to-day.

We’re running into evolutionary dead ends. In the springtime of their lives, when both men and women’s fancy used to lightly turn to thoughts of love—and then marriage and procreation—appreciable percentages of both sexes hate each other. Many feminist groups despise men; men’s groups like MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way, aka Men Grabbing Their Own Weenies) despise women. One suspects that much of the antipathy stems from the eternal rejections and betrayals they’ve encountered with the opposite sex. In the good old days, the rejected and betrayed turned to lyric laments—“Your Cheating Heart,” “You’re No Good”—but didn’t lose romantic hope. Now they change their sexual orientation…or their sex…or embrace celibacy…or all of the above. And the birth rate continues to decline.

There is always one group of victims overlooked when standards are lowered for Group B: the members of Group B who meet the Group A standards. To say that computer coding skills might be more prevalent among men than women and minorities is not to say that no women or minorities have such skills, a point Damore bent over backwards trying to make (he even used illustrative graphs). He urged stepping up “nondiscriminatory” efforts to find them.

The women and minorities who make the “A” grade should be more upset at the lowering of standards than their white male coworkers. They will be unfairly stigmatized, and their advancement within Google will come with an asterisk—winks and nods that they climbed the diversity, not the talent and achievement, ladder.

That is an injustice against these individuals. However, in Google’s brave new world there are only groups, not individuals. Individual James Damore questioned the new order. Google exercised its right to fire him and intimidate everyone else. However, the decision to seek employment with a company is an individual one, as is the decision whether to stay or leave.

The kind of people who draw top dollars and stock options at Google have rare talents and are always in demand. Some of them may depart for companies eschewing today’s fashionable but counterproductive doctrines, where they and their coworkers will be judged on their own merits, not secondary characteristics. In its echo chamber—the Goolag Echopeligo—Google can maintain the fiction that Group A can be replaced by Group B, but competitive edges are remarkably ephemeral. The technology landscape is littered with the corpses of yesteryear’s hot new thing.

The decision to use a particular technology is also an individual one. Individuals critical of Google can refuse to use its products and services. There are plenty of other competitive technologies. DuckDuckGo claims it doesn’t track you. DDG your next search!

BEFORE  THE LUNACY

ROBERT GORE’S CLASSIC NOVEL OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

AMAZON

KINDLE

NOOK

Google Tech Fired for Using Google, by Gavin McInnes

Gavin McInnes hits a nail on the head: most of the hysterical comment’s made about James Damore’s Google memorandum betray the fact that the commenters haven’t read it. From McInnes at lewrockwell.com:

Google is a brilliant search engine where they accrue seemingly infinite amounts of data and organize it into patterns. When you type in “cars” it takes you to the most popular car-buying site as well as all the dealerships within a 30-mile radius. The people who work there are mostly male, mostly white, and I’d assume mostly autistic. These abnormally gifted nerds have been assigned the task of taking this incredible invention that grosses $60 billion a year and improving it.

James Damore did exactly that on Monday when he sent out an interoffice memo detailing the dangers of “echo-chamber” thinking and this strange obsession with making tech 50% female. “Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety,” he began, before adding, “but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.” The CEO of Google cut his vacation short and fired Damore within hours. James is presently exploring legal action.

The story from Google’s side is that the memo perpetuated “harmful gender stereotypes.” The media has run with this narrative, calling Damore’s essay an “anti-woman screed” that “confirms your worst fears.” While sorting through all the pearl-clutching hysteria it becomes pretty clear that nobody convulsing has actually read it. Like most things that cause major controversy these days, it’s remarkably benign. Damore says diversity is good. He says sexism is a problem. He makes it very clear he wants as many women in the workforce as possible. He also says demanding 50% may be dangerous. It could involve discriminating against qualified men, which is illegal. Even reading between the lines leaves you with no “anti” for anything but prejudice and inequality.

To continue reading: Google Tech Fired for Using Google

Thank You, Google, by Bionic Mosquito

Google’s firing of James Damore will reverberate for a long time. From the Bionic Mosquito at lewrockwell.com:

Google engineer James Damore wrote a ten-page memo (PDF), titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.”  Google fired him.

You know all about the contents already.  To make a long story short, he suggests…

…that biological differences could help explain the gender gap in tech employment in Silicon Valley, and criticized Google’s policy of silencing discussion on the issue.

And wouldn’t you know it, Google attempted to silence discussion on the issue.

The ten-page memo is well written and well documented; based on my quick (and likely not perfect) count, he has thirty-four hyperlinks and eleven footnotes.

The reaction from the left is exactly what you would expect.  A typical example is offered by The Guardian.  They found an expert on the topic:

One former Harvard student, who was in the systems biology program at the same time as Damore, told the Guardian that it was not surprising to find out he was the author of the controversial manifesto, which was widely criticized for relying on shoddy science.

“His comments do not reflect the ability to read literature critically that a typical Harvard student develops over the course of actually completing a PhD,” the former classmate said.

A systems biology student.  What is systems biology?

Systems biology is based on the understanding that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It has been responsible for some of the most important developments in the science of human health and environmental sustainability.

This doesn’t sound like someone qualified to pass judgement on the science in Mr. Damore’s memo.  Let’s find someone who is.  How about Jordan Peterson?  Who is Jordan Peterson?

To continue reading: Thank You, Google

More Lonely, Fewer ‘Friends’, Less Sex – Have Smartphones Destroyed A Generation? by Tyler Durden

The nice thing about the WordPress platform is that it optimizes for smartphones, so maybe a few of the younger generation will see this post. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis…

The Atlantic’s Jean Twenge asks the most crucial question of our age“have smartphones destroyed a generation?”

Unlike the teens of my generation, who might have spent an evening tying up the family landline with gossip, [teens today] talk on Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send pictures and videos that quickly disappear. They make sure to keep up their Snapstreaks, which show how many days in a row they have Snapchatted with each other. Sometimes they save screenshots of particularly ridiculous pictures of friends. “It’s good blackmail,” Athena said. (Because she’s a minor, I’m not using her real name.) She told me she’d spent most of the summer hanging out alone in her room with her phone. That’s just the way her generation is, she said. “We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”

I’ve been researching generational differences for 25 years, starting when I was a 22-year-old doctoral student in psychology. Typically, the characteristics that come to define a generation appear gradually, and along a continuum. Beliefs and behaviors that were already rising simply continue to do so. Millennials, for instance, are a highly individualistic generation, but individualism had been increasing since the Baby Boomers turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. I had grown accustomed to line graphs of trends that looked like modest hills and valleys. Then I began studying Athena’s generation.

Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states. The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data – some reaching back to the 1930s – I had never seen anything like it.

To continue reading: More Lonely, Fewer ‘Friends’, Less Sex – Have Smartphones Destroyed A Generation?

New Court Documents Shine a Spotlight on the Shady Business Practices of Monsanto, by Michael Krieger

Evidently scientific “evidence and analysis” is for sale at the right price. Apparently Monsanto paid that price. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

I’ve spent much of my time over the past several years focused on trying to understand the world around me. The most consequential thing I’ve discovered over that time is that an enormous portion of the U.S. economy is little more than a rent-seeking racket. It’s everywhere you look. Throughout every industry, at “think tanks,” and within government, there’s some elaborate scam happening that hurts the many while a handful of parasites win. This is destroying the social and economic fabric of our civilization. It’s basically become a rampant disease, and the recent release of court documents related to Monsanto further highlights the point.

This is precisely why nobody trusts institutions or “experts” any more. People aren’t being anti-science so much as they rationally no longer trust fraudsters acting like they’re doing work to inform the public. It’s not my fault for not trusting them, it’s their fault for being shady.

Here’s some of what The New York Times reported regarding the Monsanto docs:

Documents released Tuesday in a lawsuit against Monsanto raised new questions about the company’s efforts to influence the news media and scientific research and revealed internal debate over the safety of its highest-profile product, the weed killer Roundup.

The active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, is the most common weed killer in the world and is used by farmers on row crops and by home gardeners. While Roundup’s relative safety has been upheld by most regulators, a case in federal court in San Francisco continues to raise questions about the company’s practices and the product itself.

The documents underscore the lengths to which the agrochemical company goes to protect its image. Documents show that Henry I. Miller, an academic and a vocal proponent of genetically modified crops, asked Monsanto to draft an article for him that largely mirrored one that appeared under his name on Forbes’s website in 2015. Mr. Miller could not be reached for comment.

To continue reading: New Court Documents Shine a Spotlight on the Shady Business Practices of Monsanto