The pros and cons of tethering

Until Tuesday (2011-11-01), I am sort of half-cut-off from the Internet. I can browse, I can blog, and I can push commits to my project repos, but I can’t do IRC or mail. This is a heads-up for my GPSD and other collaborators; I’m still here.

How this happened is a case study in 21st-century Internet vicissitudes…

That freak early storm that dumped heavy snow up and down the East Coast took out the FIOS line to my house on Saturday night. I was half-panicking at the thought of no Internet when I realized that I could solve p[art of the problem by tethering my desktop machine to my smartphone.

Thus, browsing and blogging and repo pushes. However…because of spam coming off T-Mobile’s network, Freenode blocks connections from it; no IRC for me. I also have no incoming mail because thyrsus.com is the downstairs server connected to my FIOS line.

Sigh…won’t be fixed until Tuesday.

135 thoughts on “The pros and cons of tethering

  1. After last winter, when there was literally a blizzard every week, I no longer call this sort of thing a “freak storm” but rather “par for the course”.

    And yes, I do blame global warming.

  2. It’s rather easy to bypass the IRC block with a SSH tunnel or openvpn. I.e. if you have an account on wesnoth.org , IRC can just be routed through it

  3. There are a few computing in the cloud service providers where you can “store” a spare virtual linux server for free, or almost free, which you can fire up when you need one. That can take up the roles of your basement server (in fact I’m thinking of moving my basement server entirely in the cloud) when needed.

    But haven’t the utilities learned to put essential infrastructure like internet links underground? Where I live the phone company has taken the fibre upgrade as an opportunity to finally do away completely with above ground cables.

  4. @Jeff Read, do you also think CO2 initiates global warming? Don’t forget the inconvenient truth that carbon increases lag temperature rises by 800 years as determined from ice cores. So if CO2 doesn’t initiate GW, then AGW is a fraud.

    Now do sun spots and other factors affect our climate, perhaps somewhat correlated with temperature rises? Maybe. So what?

  5. Why not use a VPN to get around the IRC issue? Also +1 to the suggestion for IaaS/VPS to resolve the mail issue (you could use the same box as your VPN end point).

  6. I seem to remember that Freenode allows SASL-authenticated connections even from otherwise-blocked networks…

  7. @Winter: forget it. Libertarians can’t believe in global warming (let alone AGW) because the only realistic solutions involve massive, international cooperation and that probably means massive, international legislation. Since that outcome is unthinkable if you’re a libertarian, you have to deny the antecedent. The most progress I ever made with a libertarian on this issue (the president of the Ayn Rand Institute, as it happens) was to push him to proclaim that the free market would magically provide technological solutions to global warming (anthropogenic or not), saving us from ever having to cooperate. And that’s when I decided that this was a religious debate—but not like the debates between protestants and catholics, rather more like the debates between atheists and fundamentalists.

  8. @Bennett,

    Which is exactly the point they made in “Eric the Viking”.

  9. @Bennet, can you read? I wasn’t arguing against GW.

    I will ask you though if you passed a basic statistics course, because how can you draw any statistically meaningful conclusions of doom based on recent century or two, when then lag time for CO2 correlation is 600 – 1000 years, and they were farming grapes in the UK and then skating on the Thames within the past several hundred years.

    Do you also believe in Peter Pan, Three Little Pigs, and peak oil.

    Fear shuts down the pre-frontal cortex.

  10. “There are a few computing in the cloud service providers where you can “store” a spare virtual linux server for free, or almost free” — sure, or just fire up an AMI on Amazon EC2. It probably wouldn’t be hard to script the whole process (starting the instance, tweaking the MX record to point to the EC2 machine, etc.).

  11. @Bennett: If the only real solutions are the ones that involve massive international cooperation that basically there are no real solutions.

    The whole debate about anthropogenic climage change is moot. We can’t do anything about it, even if we are the cause. Add the climate will change anyway, even when we aren’t causing it.

    The earth has proven very capable of producing unpleasentness for homo sapiens (ask the Japanese…). The prudent course of action is to asume it will continue to inflict mayhem upon us, and we should be concentrating on increasing our relience, in stead of handing more power to bureaucrats so they can pretend to do “something”.

  12. Same boat here. After I wrote on Cathy’s G+ that it was just my block without power, it turned out we were just the bellwether. We went over to the power company’s office to ask when it would be restored and they had no idea. There are lines down on almost every block and they can’t even keep track of them all. That also means no internet (because the cable company runs their lines on telephone poles), no water (because an electric pump brings it to the top our hill), and GPRS but no 3G (haven’t figured out the reason for this yet). Fun times.

  13. For IRC, without needing to mess around with ssh or a virtual server, you could use the web-based version at mibbit.com. It’s not full-featured but it works fine for the chat part.

    @K_: until last year, I lived in a subdivision built in 2004; it had all underground wiring. If Eric lives in an older neighborhood that was already served by above-ground poles, the local utilities are going to be slow in digging all that existing infrastructure up and burying it.

  14. Well it sounds like it might soon be time to go sack Micklegard again.

  15. >Fear shuts down the pre-frontal cortex.

    Ah, so this must be why you think that having a retirement age of 67 and not correcting retirement payments for inflation are ‘early stage totalitarian eugenic solutions’ leading to a ‘horrific finale’.

    I don’t believe in Peter Pan or the Three Little Pigs, I don’t pretend to know anything about peak oil, but I do believe in (for some value of ‘believe in’) scientific hypotheses which are supported by 99.9% of academic scientists from the field. Yes, there are academics who doubt the GW and/or AGW hypotheses, but they are overwhelmingly from academic fields other than atmospheric physics and climate science. The consensus is probably more widely acclaimed by actual qualified experts than the big bang hypothesis, the theory of evolution or the theory of relativity. But sure, if you think your intellect is superior to the combined intellect of thousands of impartial, super-qualified scientific experts, then maybe your skepticism is justified.

  16. …as I indicated above, however, I’m not holding any hope of convincing you. If you were remotely open to possibilities that threatened your libertarian worldview, you would already be convinced.

  17. Just give the UN IPCC $70T, already and be done with it. They’ll control the weather and we won’t have to listen to them any more. I mean, what else would they do with the money?

  18. @Bennett: It’s no use. No matter where you stand on AGW, you can’t debate with the other side. Arguments on both sides are generally of the ‘It’s turtles, all the way down…” variety. I’m just sorry that I’m old enough to remember when all that climate stuff was blamed on Television and Atomic Testing.

  19. @Adrenalist
    That study acknowledged that the Earth’s temperature has risen since the 1960s. The jury is still out on what is causing the temperature to rise, whether it’s man-made, and whether it will be self-reinforcing or self-correcting. No one is contesting that CO2 *can* result in a greenhouse effect (we have a working model of this on Venus,) but there is room for skepticism about whether that is the culprit in this case.

  20. As far as I’m concerned, it hasn’t been satisfactorily proven either way.

  21. if you think your intellect is superior to the combined intellect of thousands of impartial, super-qualified scientific experts

    If you think your sooper-dooper use of ad verecundiam is sufficient to challenge another’s intellectual gifts….

    I don’t know Shelby, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to assert that he may be smarter than all those thousands of government-teat-sucking parrots. We’re not talking distributed grid computing intellect here….just a cacophony of squawks.

    Science is not a democratic stampede. It only takes one person to be right.

  22. Something happens because of the weather, global warming debates commence.
    Oh Internet, you’re so predictable.

  23. At least you’re not in Connecticut, where our power is all out and the state utility is twiddling its thumbs – especially galling because of the shitty job they did with the hurricane not long ago.

  24. >>At least some are changing their minds.

    >No. Mueller is only pretending to have been a skeptic.

    I don’t know about Mueller specifically, but there have been a lot of liberals that have taken to calling themselves libertarians because they can’t stomache the incredible economic ignorance mainstream liberals present/promote. Go read Megan McCardle’s blog on The Atlantic for a while.

  25. Again, it is the scientist who are collectively stupid, corrupt and easily duped. Wheras those who never made a measurement in their life nor could complete a thermodynamics course to save their life hold the infinite wisdom.

    If you cannot bring yourself to understand a single peer reviewed study on the subject, why do you think you can contribute sonething of value?

  26. “Science is not a democratic stampede. It only takes one person to be right.”

    Yeah…yeah…yeah…

    That’s the war cry of crackpots everywhere….”They laughed at Einstein! I can stand it because I KNOW that I’m RIGHT!”

    One individual may come up with a brilliant idea, but it is the consensus of the other workers in the field that eventually decides if it is brilliantly right or idioticly wrong. That’s how science works in the long term. It tends to be really messy in the short term.

    “They laughed at Einstein. They also laughed at Bozo The Clown.”
    -Carl Sagan

  27. @Max E.

    If you are interested in the science, the first thing to do is head over to the IPCC and start reading.

    Thou shall find no illumination in the darkest punditry plumbed here by our gracious host.

  28. About the liberals and libertarians:

    My experience is that these people are not really libertarian at all.

    Take Bill Maher as an example: The only way he is a libertarian is that he wants to legalize drugs.

    That’s it; that is the beginning and end of his libertarianism; other than that he is statist down the line: single payer health care, micromanaging every aspect of our lives, etc.

  29. Even if global warming were definitively substantially man-caused, it does not follow that the conventional tranzi solution of global redistribution of wealth, I mean “carbon credits” is the rationally consequent solution.

    In fact, it’s rather a stupid solution.

  30. it is the consensus of the other workers in the field that eventually decides if it is brilliantly right or idioticly wrong.

    This quote neatly sums up all that is horrifically wrong with the herd mentality braying the ‘consensus’ view of science regarding AGW.

    No. Science is *never* mere consensus. To promote such a ludicrous concept is to betray science itself.

    When so much propaganda is fluffed up with ad verecundiam and ad numerum, you really should come up for a bresh of freath air.

    For the record, I’m quite content to acknowledge a rise of one degree over the last century, followed by a plateau/slight cool…no problem with those numbers whatsoever. It’s the whole “greenhouse effect” model that has become abused into nonsense physics. No wonder so many are condemning one of the most important gases to life on Earth….GIGO.

  31. Why would you expect that science is immune to corruption and incompetence ? Corruption and incompetence are like hydrogen. AGW science is just as corrupt and it’s scientists just as incompetent as in any other human endeavor.

    As a community of programmers and computer scientists, simply read/skim this one file to draw some simple conclusions about AGW data, analysis, and science: http://www.anenglishmanscastle.com/HARRY_READ_ME.txt

    Meanwhile, climate changes as it will and weather remains chaotic, paying absolutely no attention to what we think or do. Let me know when the weatherman can 100% accurately predict weather 10 days in advance and we can discuss how the climate is changing 1000 years in advance (right). There are real limits about what we do and can know versus hubris. Live with it.

    “I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.” Richard Feynman

  32. >Yes, there are academics who doubt the GW and/or AGW hypotheses, but they are overwhelmingly from academic fields other than atmospheric physics and climate science.

    What fields they tend to come from is neither here nor there. What matters is the reasoning behind their doubts. If their doubts come from the findings of climate scientists clashing with well established findings in their own field, then that should raise a red flag. If their doubts are politically motivated, they can be dismissed as crackpots. Of course, given the political climate surrounding the AGW issue, figuring this out is not trivial.

    Frankly, the issue is so politicized that I trust neither the skeptics in other fields nor the climate science community itself. And I trust even less anything I hear on either side from any politician or news outlet.

  33. Oh, a question more on topic:

    I’m not a smartphone user, and my networking-fu is practically non-existent, but if you can tether your desktop to your smartphone, is there any chance you could get your mail by tethering your server to your smartphone?

  34. Folks, it’s all well and good to discuss AGW, and the significance of a snowstorm, and whether social pressure or physical observation or internal technical consistency or what is more suitable for determining the value of a scientific theory. But you might not experience the highest quality discussion in this article, because many of the people who would contribute something measured are naturally reluctant to derail a post which was primarily about something else.

    If anyone might be interested in taking it elsewhere, of the blog posts and comment threads I’ve seen in the last few days where this kind of disagreement is on topic, I thought the most interesting was http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/10/31/snow-in-new-england.html . In particular, I liked the many provided URLs and citations (e.g. from IPCC, George Monbiot, and scientific journal articles) for statements about AGW and snow (from before and after the cold winters of the last few years).

  35. >Yes, there are academics who doubt the GW and/or AGW hypotheses, but they are overwhelmingly from academic fields other than atmospheric physics and climate science.

    Yep, that is true.

    Unfortunately for the AGW supporters many of these doubting scientists are blowing holes in the portions of their field of practice that the Climate Scientists are using to support the AGW hypothesis. Like Biologists pointing out that tree ring sizes don’t correlate well to atmospheric CO2 or solar physicists pointing out that AGW models take solar radiation as a constant and Sol is a rather variable star. Or statisticians blowing holes in the statistical modelling that Mann used.

    And there’s plenty of Atmospheric Physicists and Climate Scientists also pointing out problems in the AGW hypothesis, including one of Muller’s coauthors who has pointed out that their data set indicates that the warming stopped 10 years ago. Global Warming happens (nobody sane disagrees with that), AGW however is unproven.

  36. >is there any chance you could get your mail by tethering your server to your smartphone?

    Sadly, no, DNS directs mail to a static FIOS address that is not the phone’s.

  37. afterthought: As above, I was particularly interested in the bishophill post. But possibly ESR would find another recent post at least as interesting if like me he hasn’t yet seen the cartoon which is featured without apparent irony there: http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2011/10/28/a-better-world-is-the-story/#comments . Critics sometimes point out that AGW seems like yet another rationalization for the same tranzi agenda. I was startled to see supporters making what seems to be a rather similar point but considering it a feature, not a bug. (By “rather the same point” I mean: remember, it’s virtuous to support the ostensibly-climate bundle of policies whether or not the IPCC’s AGW claims have a factual basis, because many of the policies are those which we fondly believe are the effective way to get good jobs, livable cities, clean water and air, and healthy children.)

  38. @Bennet, you did not address the statistical challenge, which is that it is impossible to say we are not just experiencing the eons of historical cycles of warming and cooling. I don’t care if you have 100 million “scientists” bribed with R&D funding, it still doesn’t hurdle that above inexorable fact of the scientific method. So instead of make a leap of faith (i.e. the antithesis of science), to justify centralizing more of the world’s capital (centralization guarantees it will be wasted). No wonder we have shortages and inflation.

    Can anyone help me understand how a statist (a/k/a “liberal”) brain forms and works? I can’t conceive of how the logic works (or doesn’t work) inside their brain? Some of them obviously have enough IQ to achieve in academics (or is that just memorization and not the ability to form conceptual analysis?), so what causes their thought process to favor a reduction in degrees-of-freedom (i.e. centralization of control of capital) and thus a loss of fitness and resiliency? Do they not believe in evolution? Do they not understand that even the smartest person in the world would create mass starvation if all people had to follow even just a few of his/her decisions? Do they thus not understand that centralization is the opposite of knowledge formation?

    A neuro-biologist explained to me that humans evolved from a primate brain that is rewarded by dopamine, i.e. the good felling we get when we are consuming resources without worry, e.g. together with family, eating a restaurant, having a stable job doing research and feeling we are smart and the world is not chaotic.

    In order to use our highly developed pre-frontal cortex, we have to suppress the addiction to dopamine and favor rational science. However, between the addiction to dopamine and that fear shuts down the pre-frontal cortex, I think I conclude that statists are addicted to their emotions. Has Esr or anyone written on this?

    @Winter, of course my “degrees-of-freedom and fitness” explanations make no sense to you, because you don’t even understand more basic concepts, such as the terms “production” and “productivity”.

  39. Woah, it’s been a long time since an Internet discussion got so bad I wanted to put my hands over my ears and sing “la la la la la” while I read.

    It doesn’t really matter what’s up with the Global Warming. Best we can do is be cautious with the resources we spend, and that’s about it.

    I’m not saying people are writing bad stuff. I didn’t read many of the comments. It would be cool to try and find a workaround, if it exists, for the lack of mail. Not for this case in particular now, ’cause it’s almost Tuesday already, but for the kicks. And for the time it happens to someone else, too.

  40. @Bennett, oh I failed to address your ad hominem attack.

    About genocide, I have repeating historical examples. AGW “scientists” have neither historical examples, nor a sufficient sampling period to gain statistical confidence. In fact, history is the opposite, with repeating warming and cooling over millions of years.

  41. > 100 million “scientists” bribed with R&D funding

    You clearly have never been anywhere near a scientist or a lab or a science funding body, Shelby. Posting this kind of stuff makes you look extremely ignorant. I’m not a scientist myself, so I’m not personally offended, but this is really just the worst of anonymous internet nonsense-mongering, right here. You are like that moon landing skeptic who got punched by Buzz Aldrin.

    If you were actually interested in educating yourself, you could take a tour of an actual scientific lab at a university like Princeton or Harvard (where many IPCC members are), and see how their day-to-day works. I have done this. You could ask what their funding model is. Find out who pays the bills, and how the money is obtained. Find out what kind of oversight their research is subjected to. It doesn’t have to be an global warming lab, just pick any lab in the hard sciences. You would be surprised, I think. But you will never know, because it suits you better to believe that “scientists” are involved in some sort of bizarre, massive banana-republic bribery scheme to line their own pockets with taxpayer money.

    > So instead of make a leap of faith (i.e. the antithesis of science), to justify centralizing more of the world’s capital

    So here it is, you doubt the science because you don’t like the political implications of it. Which is exactly why esr and every other skeptic on this blog doubts the science. What many of you have failed to grasp is that if global warming is real, then capital will be centralized whether it is anthropogenic or not, not only because of corruption, but because cooperative solutions will be required in order to avert massive famines and floods. So you should be denying non-anthropogenic global warming, too. The problem is that, as you’ve correctly deduced, everyone will reject you as a flat-earther if you deny non-anthropogenic global warming at this point.

  42. Again you don’t address the inexorable statistical fact– there is no science, they don’t have a statistically significant period of time. You create obfuscation on the politics.

    I am not rejecting global warming and cooling, because it is a fact of measured science (with millions of years of statistical confidence) and it supports my assertion that near-term extrapolations are faith (standard deviation is 1000s of years), not science.

  43. @Bennet
    I am a real scientist (paid for doing research, doing reviews etc) and I can say that, indeed, shelby, eric and the rest have no idea how science works.

    But the challenge is simple. If climate science is wrong it must be easy to go to Nature and Science and point out the errors in the papers? Instant fame and fortune await you.
    L

  44. “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” – Phil Jones

  45. >Again you don’t address the inexorable statistical fact– there is no science, they don’t have a statistically significant period of time.

    You’re trying to get your point through using some kind of weird a priori argument, to show that no science could possibly prove the AGW hypothesis. The rational way to address your ‘statistical fact’ would be to show you some empirical studies in good journals which have demonstrated statistical significance. But since you stand ready to just reject any scientific data that doesn’t suit your agenda, on the basis that the “scientists” are either involved in a corrupt cabal or that their papers are somehow failing to undergo basic statistical review, there’s no point in debating you on the facts. I’m not discussing statistics with someone who puts the word scientist in quotes.

    @Punch My Ticket. I direct you to http://www.factcheck.org/2009/12/climategate/. Since I doubt you’ll read it though, the important point there is that the papers in question did actually wind up in the IPCC report. But anyone who finds that quote disturbing doesn’t even vaguely understand how the peer-reviewed literature system works. So let me help you out:

    One of the problems with the system is that, to funding bodies, politicians and the general public, all peer-reviewed publications are of the exact same status. But in reality, it is much, much harder to get papers published in good journals than in bad ones, because the good journals have the most competent reviewers and they can also afford to reject a lot more papers for quality reasons. If you run a third-tier journal, you just don’t get all that many publishable submissions, (so you have to let more questionable papers in), and your reviewers are also worse so they are likely to let more bad papers through.

    So if you talk to actual scientists, they hold a publication in a journal like Nature or PNAS in extremely high regard, and they see publications in lesser journals to be almost worthless. What gets frustrating for scientists in the climate debate is that you have hundreds of papers in the absolute top journals establishing that GW and AGW are facts, and then some skeptical paper comes out in some worthless, fourth-tier journal, and you suddenly have people like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin (and sure, Eric Raymond) trumpeting it from the rafters, as though it overturns all the excellent science from the best journals. Since so many people are motivated to believe that AGW is false, because it lets us all off the hook for doing anything about it, this is immensely damaging to the interests of the human species. So, Phil Jones wishes he could redefine these papers as being of a lower status than other peer-reviewed papers.

    The much-discussed McKitrick and Michaels paper that Phil Jones refers to in that quote is in ‘Climate Research’, which has an impact factor of around 2 and is nowhere near being in the top ten journals in the field. Nature has an impact factor of 36. PNAS has an impact factor of 10. Things that are published in Climate Research are not as good, and not as important, as papers which come out in better journals. So now you know what’s going on in that Phil Jones quote. And now you know why ‘Climategate’ produced a lot of noise in the press, but very few serious consequences in the scientific community.

  46. @Bennett
    Indeed.

    And they would have such an easy cause. Hundreds or thousands of papers about climate change have been published in Nature and Science. If they are all wrong, it must be dead easy to pick one out and show us the errors.

    So, “show us the code”.

    You will gain instant fame and fortune if you point out the fundamental errors you claim are in these Science and Nature papers. Go to Science or Nature and point us towards the errors.

    You say it is all wrong. So show us a reference (journal, year, issue, paper, page/table/figure) and tell us what is wrong. Give us the statistics you say should be done. Tell us what data series are fraudulent.

    You tell us it is all wrong, so that must be easy. If it is known what is wrong, it can be corrected.

  47. @Winter Exactly. I find it interesting that it is very frequently engineers who take up this climate skeptic case. I attended a climate economics lecture at Princeton by a famous visiting philosopher, who wasn’t defending the IPCC figures but discussing their economic implications, and he was heckled by an old emeritus mechanical engineering professor for mentioning the IPCC data. I can only wonder if there might be a lot more academic misconduct and industry influence in engineering. If engineers are not subject to the same ultra-strict codes and controls as scientists, that might explain their paranoia when it comes to the behaviour of scientists.

    Here is another thing I want to say: I am deeply disturbed by what I see as a dereliction of duty by libertarians on this issue. There are good reasons to be wary of further consolidation of power either by states or by corporations. If AGW (or even vanilla GW on a short timescale) is correct, then this will almost certainly result in such a consolidation. Libertarians should be talking about how we could to approach the problem without ceding massive regulatory powers to governments. But if they stick to denying reality, then eventually reality will bite, and the collectivists will face no opposition whatsoever from their drastically discredited opponents. You should ask yourself: what should we be doing if AGW is correct? If your answer is ‘the markets will sort it out’ you need to think again about the political realities. Nobody will allow the market to sort it out at that point, even if that was possible (and it probably isn’t because the atmosphere isn’t part of a market).

    And if your answer is ‘No worries, I’ll certainly be ok here in Montana, only brown people will die’ then you aren’t really entitled to a view on what the rest of the world should do about the problem.

  48. One of the many reasons I don’t take AGW and the pseudo-scientists promoting it seriously:

    Nothing brings fear to my heart more than modeling error.

    The weakest link in applied math is often the step of turning a physical problem into a mathematical problem. We begin with a raft of assumptions that are educated guesses. We know these assumptions can’t be exactly correct, but we suspect (hope) that the deviations from reality are small enough that they won’t invalidate the conclusions. In any case, these assumptions are usually far more questionable than the assumption that floating point arithmetic is sufficiently accurate.

    from a numerical programmer.

    And the third comment is pretty relevant too:

    I worried about modeling error when I worked with finite elements, but that was pretty firm ground compared to statistics. If you’re modeling, for example, fluid flow, the basic physical laws are well know, though you maybe guessing about material properties.

    Statistics rushes in where angels fear to tread. Don’t know the first thing about a complex system? Never mind. Fit a regression model and press on.

    In short, I don’t trust their models or the statistics they use in their models. They have repeatedly made predictions since the mid-1980s that have not stood testing.

    As for the number of scientists supporting AGW, most believe in it because of the same reaons everyone else does, NOT because their own work supports it. See the book The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud**And those who are too fearful to do so which both shows how many scientists’ work is twisted to support global warming hysteria, and that most of those scientists still support AGW thinking that the other evidence is still sound.

  49. I’d like to see a CHALLENGE ACCEPTED from you on this, Eric.

    Find the smoking gun that invalidates the research carried out over decades by thousands of climate scientists, worldwide. Pointing to “hide the decline” or other scary out-of-context quotes from the “Climategate” emails doesn’t count.

  50. >Pointing to “hide the decline” or other scary out-of-context quotes from the “Climategate” emails doesn’t count.

    In other words, any evidence you don’t want to pay attention to, you won’t. Therefore, challenge refused. Idiot.

  51. @Jeff Read

    Find the smoking gun that invalidates the research carried out over decades by thousands of climate scientists, worldwide.

    Is it thousands, hundreds, or tens? Can we get a hard number on the number of individual contributors to those journals you respect so? Can we group them by organization, to account for grad students working for professors?

  52. My suspicions of the AGW campaign come from the fact that it’s structured like the hardest possible hard sell:

    “If you don’t buy into this you’ll personally be responsible for the end of the world!”

    Cultists sound much the same. “Place your hands upon your television set! Swear to Almighty God that you’ll sell all your worldly goods and send the proceeds to this P.O. box! Better hurry!”

  53. William B. Swift,

    “There are four kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, statistics, and computer models.” –me.

    Fortunately, we have more than computer models to go on to confirm the AGW hypothesis. We have pretty solid temperature records. We have the fact that as early as the 1950s, quantum physicists had worked out that CO2 makes a particularly effective greenhouse gas. (Niels Bohr was frightened by the prospects of what would happen if we kept burning so much oil.) The computer models are hypothetical calculations of how bad things might could possibly get. I don’t see scientists pinning their entire theory on computer models. It’s the data that counts, and we’ve got that in spades.

    Eric,

    In other words, any evidence you don’t want to pay attention to, you won’t. Therefore, challenge refused. Idiot.

    You ignore decades of literature on this issue and keep thumping emails that serve, at worst, as evidence of curve force-fitting by one group at one university, as if they implicate the entire scientific community in a vast left-wing conspiracy. Projecting, much?

  54. @Bennett

    I can only wonder if there might be a lot more academic misconduct and industry influence in engineering. If engineers are not subject to the same ultra-strict codes and controls as scientists, that might explain their paranoia when it comes to the behaviour of scientists.

    No, engineers actually have to make things work in the real world. The real world doesn’t care how prestigous that journal is. If you’re wrong, it doesn’t work. The plane crashes. The building collapses. The company goes bankrupt because you steered them wrong.

    “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.”
    Jan L. A. van de Snepscheut

  55. What did I say before? “It’s turtles, all the way down!” One side argues ‘facts’ that support their collectivist agenda, the other side has ‘facts’ to avoid threats to their economic security…hmmmmpf!

    In the meanwhile, the measurements indicate that the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere is increasing while the pH of the oceans is decreasing. This cannot be a Good Thing.

  56. Look, the AGW advocates are smart enough to tell the rest of the world what to do. They are not smart enough to fix the problem.

    They are not smart enough to come up with cost effective power generation and storage solutions that do not emit CO2. They are not smart enough to advocate other measures that will actually decrease CO2 emissions. They are not smart enough to advocate and facilitate nuclear power generation!

    They are smart enough to advocate measures that will leave us all poorer, and less able to cope with the changes that they say are inevitable no matter what we do.

    Forgive me if I don’t buy it.

  57. > In other words, any evidence you don’t want to pay attention to, you won’t.

    This seems to work in other contexts, Eric.

  58. @Winter

    A scientist is someone who applies the intellectual toolset called “Scientific Method” to investigate the world around him.

    A scientist is not defined as someone who is paid to work in a university, publish papers, and perhaps teach.

    An engineer or programmer may in fact have more real world experience applying that intellectual toolset than many who work in academia.

  59. They are not smart enough to advocate and facilitate nuclear power generation!

    The people who are smart enough to do that are not smart enough to prevent the massive fuckups that threaten to occur should the worst happen to your nuclear power plant. Major lesson learned from Fukushima, there.

  60. @Jeff Read

    If you don’t like nuclear power, come up with something better. That is, come up with something that meets your CO2 emissions requirements and doesn’t mean the rest of us have to freeze and/or swelter in the dirty dark.

    A real solution will sell itself. You won’t need the power of the state behind it. It also won’t make Al Gore rich(er).

  61. @Bob
    “A scientist is someone who applies the intellectual toolset called “Scientific Method” to investigate the world around him. ”

    And your point is?

    You forgot that Science is a social activity. You cannot do “Science” on your own. If you have ever been part of a peer review process (all sides) you understand perfectly why. If you discover the truth about the Universe on your own it is 1) Not Science (whether it is true or not) 2) You never know whether it is true or not.

    For this technical company I will use a quote of Bruce Schneier about Cryptography: “Anyone can invent a security system that he himself cannot break”.

    The same holds for Science.

  62. @Bob
    “They are not smart enough to fix the problem. ”

    Because the world is full of people like you who actively deny there is a problem, and oppose any action towards solving it.

    It is straightforward to fill up a few deserts with solar panels to supply everyone with twice what the Germans are using now per capita. You only have to want to do it.

    The sums are here:
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=2779#comment-287562

    But this would mean some of the oil, coal, and gas will not be burned. Which makes those who own that fossil, fuel very, very unhappy.

  63. Oh yes. It’s all the eeeeevil oil companies/dogs in the manger!

    That stick points both ways.

  64. @esr
    “In other words, any evidence you don’t want to pay attention to, you won’t. Therefore, challenge refused. Idiot.”

    So, you show us the code?

    You have found the errors in all these Nature and Science papers and will show us where they go wrong?

    I do not care about angry emails, swearing scientists, incompetent students messing up their thesis, or journalists who cannot read a scientific paper. We are talking about thousands in depth studies over decades that have been scrutinized to death.

    So show me where they went wrong. If all these studies are wrong, you must be able to point out some of the errors.

    If you cannot, you cannot show me the code. It all remains empty rhetoric.

  65. @Bob
    “That stick points both ways.”

    Any climate scientist who denies global warming will be rich. Very rich. More, he will get his own university to study.

  66. @Winter

    Any climate scientist who denies global warming will be rich. Very rich. More, he will get his own university to study.

    I think you mean disproves, not denies.

    I do not deny that the northern hemisphere climate seems generally warmer than it was in say, 1776. The Hudson river in New York doesn’t freeze over in the winter any more. The brackish canals in The Netherlands don’t freeze over they way they did in the 1600s.

    The dispute is over causes and trends. The climate varies in cycles and cycles of cycles. Many of these cycles are longer than a human lifetime. How can a bug on the ground tell the difference between a hill and a mountain?

    Even if you could prove to most thinking people that humans are indeed responsible you would still have to prove that your proposed remedy is better than the problem.

    Yes, it would be good to stop burning fossil fuels. Those complex hydrocarbons are very useful for other things. The emissions are no fun to breathe.

    The problem is that the environmental advocacy, bureacratic, and commercial complex has jumped straight from “There’s a problem!” to “Give me all your money!” and “You all have to get used to freezing in the dark. It’s good for you!”

    If electric cars cost the same as an IC car of the same size every two car household on the planet would seriously consider at least one. If PV panels plus financing cost as much or less than the electric bill they offset every household would consider installing them. You would not need the power of the state to force anyone. Subsidies count as force.

  67. Dan said: For the record, I’m quite content to acknowledge a rise of one degree over the last century, followed by a plateau/slight cool…no problem with those numbers whatsoever. It’s the whole “greenhouse effect” model that has become abused into nonsense physics. No wonder so many are condemning one of the most important gases to life on Earth….GIGO.

    The CO2-and-other-gasses greenhouse effect itself is scientifically sound, and pretty much undeniably real. I recall that one’s actually been confirmed by observation in labs, and it’s not even a big deal. No controversy of even the most ginned-up variety.

    The garbage is the “forcing factor”, the multiplier needed to get from boring greenhouse effect warming (which is simply insufficient to be catastrophic, even if we double atmospheric CO2 again, or even twice more) to something scary.

    (And contra Mr. Reed if “Fukushima” is all he has against nuclear power, let’s start building gigawatts of capacity, because that’s a great success story.

    A decades-old power plant got hit with a tsunami wave and earthquake that exceeded its design specs, and even then it only failed because the generators got swamped… and even with a total core failure, zero fatalities [including reasonable estimates for long-term death from radiation exposure, which was naturally vastly overhyped by both Greens and the scientifically illiterate media, which is to say all of it].

    It’ll be really expensive to clean up the site, but that’s it.

    Plants not built in 1970 have better containment systems, let alone current-generation designs like the Pebble Bed that are physically incapable of meltdown.)

  68. @Winter

    It is straightforward to fill up a few deserts with solar panels to supply everyone with twice what the Germans are using now per capita. You only have to want to do it.

    And find the money. How about you guys just let the Greeks default and their economy crater while you do that little thing. Also, I think the green party might have an issue or two with you destroying that habitat mischaracterized as ‘desert’.

  69. Okay I will repeat the points that exceeded those by others.

    @Bennett, as for the “statistical confidence” of empirical models of climate, I refer you to the Ice Age scare from the 1970s and the derivative models from quaints that blew up in this financial crisis. Their models do not correctly incorporate long-term repeatable data which is statistically necessary to make the confident predictions about the long-term. To prove that humans are going to alter the million of years of oscillation in some runaway doom, just can’t be done reliably a priori without a model that can’t be tested over the necessary time periods historically. Then there is the suppression interdisciplinary peer review outside of the mainstream funding and political apparatus and politically controlled journals.

    Oh but we don’t have time for that, because doom is imminent!

    @Winter, scientific method review? 31,000 scientists, including 9,000 PhDs.

    More people get paid to do unproductive things today than in the history of the world (greatest debt bubble).

    Some claim the Royal Society received funding to jumpstart this AGW “science” decades ago, initiated by Thatcher to break the political power of the coal unions. Regardless, climatologists don’t even have statistical confidence, they have models only with extrapolated randomness.

    The Rothschild author of your ‘Global Warming Survival Handbook’ either can’t convince his cousin, or maybe his cousin has an carbon credits exemption like those Obama has allegedly been giving to his campaign contributors such as General Electric.

  70. Anybody who thinks that generally the temperature data in the HadCRUT, GISS, etc are “pretty solid temperature records” is seriously mistaken.

    Anybody who has ever tried to take random replicated temperature data would realize just how large the observed variance and error is. Try it yourself sometime. Take 2 or 4 thermometers and check them all at close to the same time. Unfortunately, HadCRUT, GISS, etc temperature data is neither random nor replicated and generally is a discontinuous daily minimum and maximum temperature from poorly calibrated equipment frequently moved from one site to another. Many statistics employed by AGW publications to not meet the basic requirements for those analyses employed.

    Here is a sample of a HadCrut, GISS, etc sampling station: http://gallery.surfacestations.org/main.php?g2_itemId=831

    About 70% of US surface stations have greater than 2 degree C data set error ratings as internally rated by USHCN network itself, while the average observed increase in global temperature is point 8 degrees C and the US has some of the BEST recording tech in the world.

  71. BTW, I don’t mean to gainsay any increase or decrease in temperature either globally or locally but merely point out that the data is so crappy we can not really say for sure without flogging the data.

    I do know however that as the glaciers in Greenland or the Alps expose more ground, we find human remains left underneath eg. Ötzi the Iceman or Viking farms and graves. Sounds to me like “been there, done that before, have the mummy to prove it” to me.

    There is nothing new under the sun.

  72. @Bob,

    > They are not smart enough to advocate and facilitate nuclear power generation!

    I for one am constantly advocating nuclear power generation. Don’t lump the extreme, religious environmentalist position in with the mainstream AGW consensus. There are all sorts of reasons to prefer nuclear to coal, not the least of which is the radiation difference. And nuclear can in many cases be environmentally preferable to wind, solar and hydro, at least if you think animals are stakeholders and not just human beings.

    @Shelby, you’re babbling now. It’s like you’re sleeptalking, having a nightmare about some frightening coup d’etat by environmentalist ‘scientists’.

  73. @Bennet,

    No well run power company would ever choose to build a nuke plant today unless a massive regulatory and financial subsidy was offered. Not only does it take 10 – 15 years to recover the energy invested in building and operating the plant (EROI) but recovering the capitol invested would take just about just as long. In this market, the cost of bonds would probably be prohibitive and the lawsuits plentiful.

    At any rate, the new natural gas production increases mean that Nuclear is just not competitive with cheap fossil fuels at this time even with this stupid regulatory environment today.

  74. Bob:

    They are not smart enough to advocate and facilitate nuclear power generation!

    Nuclear might be okay for France or the US, but are you willing to advocate for nuclear power in Iran?

    esr:

    In other words, any evidence you don’t want to pay attention to, you won’t. Therefore, challenge refused. Idiot.

    Is this an admission that you can’t argue against AGW if you have to stick to the science?

  75. The USA does not need to invade Iran. Our weapons of cultural mass destruction are working just fine.

    I have always thought that iran’s nuclear ambitions should be greeted with a frank discussion of just what crappy weapons nukes are. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a one time event. Then casually mention that Iran goes to the head of the list of suspects if a nuke just happens to go off on US territory. We still have over 1000 deliverable warheads.

  76. >Is this an admission that you can’t argue against AGW if you have to stick to the science?

    You are wasting my time with cheap rhetorical tricks, and your previous record on such behavior is bad, and I’m running out of patience. This is a ban warning.

  77. @Bob: I’ll give you points for consistency then. I think next-generation nuclear has a place in reducing fossil fuel reliance, but given that nuclear should be a mature technology by now I’d like to see that done with a minimum of financial and regulatory subsidy.

    @esr: I guess that if you’re going to skip any attempts at argument and go straight to insults and ban warnings then you’ll save everyone a lot of time. It also means you’ll be spreading less misinformation. That’s a net win, although you’re missing out on a learning opportunity. That’s kind of sad, because I’ve learnt a lot here, and it disappoints me to see you infected by wrong ideas on such an important issue.

  78. >I guess that if you’re going to skip any attempts at argument and go straight to insults and ban warnings

    Uh huh. That’s the kind of response I was expecting. Yet another attempt to jerk me around by my sense of fair play.

    You’re a toxic troll of the worst kind – the smarmy, insinuating, superficially reasonable one – and I’m through putting up with it. You’re banned as of now.

  79. @Winter
    I have been considering your viewpoint about the need for proof that AGW papers are false, since so much ‘scientific evidence’ has been produced discussing the issue and which seems to support the viewpoint.

    Actually, there is no evidence at all that the observed warming is certainly the result of increased CO2. There is merely correlation and weak correlation at that of a .8 degree C increase in temperature over the last 100+- years with weak data. Correlation is not causation. Only one fact which would contradict AGW theory is all that is required to negate the hypothesis and there are quite a few studies which poke holes in the correlation, not the least of which is the lack of any warming (actually a cooling trend) over the last 11 years while CO2 concentrations continue their increase at the same rate as previously.

    The scientific method does not work as you seem to assume. The hypothesis is that CO2 has caused the increase in temperature. It remains hypothetical since experimental evidence has not been produced, which is not terribly surprising considering you would need a couple of experimental solar systems to run the test on and we are fresh out. Meanwhile, the actual recent temperature observation trends do not support the hypothesis but rather support the null hypothesis.

    We need more data to conclude that the null hypothesis is true or false, but current trends are not favorable to AGW theory. Considering that the increase in temps is so trivial, totally swamped by the error noise, and not continuing their increase, there is no rush. Give the scientific method time to produce confirming evidence of the null hypothesis or not and so confirm the hypothesis or not. That is the scientific method, and we always must describe nature in an iterative process which gets closer and closer to fact by refining our data, methods and understanding.

  80. “you’re babbling now”

    @Bennet, you proved it or you have opinion? The latter is ad hominem. You are wasting my time. No rebuttals that correctly address the statistical confidence of models in the real world of cause and effect.

    I find it ironic that you say you support nuclear power (i.e. advanced energy technology), yet you also are a statist. I have read that the govt demand for weapons grade enrichment is a contributing factor to unsafe nuclear plants, e.g. using plutonium at Fukishima. And then the collectivists misallocate capital which impacts R&D as we see with this massive waste of resources on AGW non-science. I am not going to argue this in depth now. I am in the process writing a pictorial economics lesson, working from the original Fish Story (which is missing the main points about how equality misallocates capital, where equality means debt, insurance, and any political actions).

    @BioBob, “Actually, there is no evidence at all that the observed warming is certainly the result of increased CO2.”

    Also eons of data showing that repeated throughout history of the earth, C02 lags temperature rise (and decline) by 600 – 1000 years, because the oceans release more C02 when they warm. AGW erroneously transposes cause and effect.

    They claim “statisical confidence” of models that they extrapolate, but others here have explained why that is mathematically erroneous. 31,000 scientists in interdisciplinary fields have pointed to holes in their non-science. They drag us into repeating ourselves because of their political effect on the ignorant masses. Education is the key, and they are winning starting at elementary school.

  81. @BioBob
    “Actually, there is no evidence at all that the observed warming is certainly the result of increased CO2. ”

    Then it must be easy to point out the flaws in all those Science and Nature papers? Be a Man/Woman and get the next Nobel price, Fame and Fortune, and explain to the world where the errors are.

    Just pick a few of these papers, and point the errors out. They are all flawed, so it does not matter where you start.

    Btw, only in religion there is Absolute Certainty. In science we make do with 90%+.

  82. > In science we make do with 90%+

    The point is they don’t have a 90% confidence interval over the population for which they are trying to extrapolate conclusions of doom. They may have it for a sample which verifies their model, but like the ant on the mountain analogy, that local confidence is no better than randomness (i.e. aliasing noise) in the broader scope to which it is misapplied.

    Please go take an math degree difficulty Probability & Statistics Theory course at a ranked university, and get a near perfect score as I did.

  83. @Shelby/AGW – Their game is to steer you to scientific studies and bog you down in “stellar” reputations and statistical minutiae. But remember Cannae – lead your opponent where you want them to go and then flank like crazy… Examples:

    a) Please explain what equipment these scientists have been using to measure earth temperatures for the past several decades, and whether this equipment is now and has always been consistent and accurate to a tenth of a degree. Have measuring sites in areas with significant environmental changes – i.e. development, zoning, etc – been removed from any sample?

    This question turns “is the earth warming” into “how do you know that the earth is warming” which is very shaky ground – the measuring stations are a mess by NASAs own admission and the idea that a consistent and accurate temperature monitoring system has been around for decades is complete nonsense. This is the most fruitful scientific argument because the timeline just doesn’t add up – Al Gore was talking about GW before 2000 and would only have had, at best, a couple of decades of shaky data.

    b) Some estimates of carbon trading say that trillions of dollars will be collected in carbon offsets. If that raises the prices of basic necessities like food and energy and transportation, wouldn’t this be the most regressive tax in history and fall mostly on lower and middle income people? Wouldn’t the beneficiaries be mostly upper income people, even millionaires in many cases? Wouldn’t the finance industry be the biggest beneficiary of cap and trade? What government agency or institution do you believe has the capability to manage a trillion dollars of green projects in a completely apolitical manner, given, for example, the UN oil for food fiasco, the US financial crisis and botched bailouts (AIG), etc.

    This question steers you exactly where the warmers don’t want you to go – where the money from carbon taxes will come from and where it will go. Also once the trillion dollar figure is on the table undisputed, you can start talking whether any of the ways in which it will be spent will actually do any good.

    c) If global warming is destroying the planet and life on it, why is the appropriate remedy a tax? Substances that kill people are banned, and people who knowingly kill other people are guilty of murder or at least involuntary manslaughter. Are carbon emissions more dangerous than cocaine or heroin? We send people to jail for ten years for possession of those substances and they are only harming themselves. If this issue is as serious as people say, why aren’t you/they/whoever advocating using the police and military to combat the problem? Perhaps invading countries that use coal like India and China? Or slaughtering pets and livestock because methane is much worse than Co2? Shouldn’t we be building nuclear power plants like crazy because its better to have a Chernobyl or Fukishima now and than to lose the entire planet in three generations, and there’s no way we could bring enough solar or wind power in time? How can we reconcile the rhetoric of “industry is destroying the planet with greenhouse gasses” with a policy that actually won’t prevent a single person, company, entity, whatever from continuing to do so, so long as they are under the cap or can pay the associated fee.

    Exposes the mismatch between the “crisis” and the economic only solution. Also, a climate scientist who creates an economic policy to change social behavior would be out of their area of competence just by definition.

    d) (The fun one.) Let’s say that tomorrow everyone believed global warming, and believed the most dire predictions and that we had to act right now or we are all doomed. What do you think that scenario would look like? Maybe people would flock to churches looking for salvation before the apocalypse. Maybe when they came out of those churches, they would head for the ballot box and vote for the toughest candidate they could find – the bible thumping, steely eyed, cold warrior, drug warrior, pro-life, tough on crime, foreign policy hawk that has the guts to do what needs to be done. Do you think that kind of political environment would Howard Dean or Rudy Giuliani? Al Gore or Gen McChrystal? Kathleen Sebelius or Liz Cheney?

    This one is just to freak out the progs who hate and fear Karl Rove-style tactics, especially because they know they often work. :-)

  84. What bothers me about these debates is how truth-focused they are. If you’re steering a boat and you have some suspicion that there is an iceberg ahead, it scarcely matters whether it’s true or not. Rather what matters is: what are the available courses of action and their consequences? Cutting down emissions of all kinds has certain benefits, certain drawbacks. The public face of the debate on this issue is embarrassing for the human race.

  85. @Shelby
    > I find it ironic that you say you support nuclear power (i.e. advanced energy technology), yet you also are a statist.

    You assume I am a statist because I believe in anthropogenic global warming. I have given you no other reason to think I am a statist. This just goes further to show how deeply the truth and the politics mixed up in your mind.

    But no, I’m not a statist. In fact, I advocate for a stateless society (more or less). That’s exactly why I find global warming so worrying.

  86. > I’m not a statist [...] That’s exactly why I find global warming so worrying.

    An anarchist (non-statist) doesn’t propose applying (mega-)statism to avert the free market outcome.

    Even if you were correct on AGW, only the free market optimizes the outcome to the choices of the participants. One reason is that no person is smart enough to know a priori who will produce the most and allocate resources perfectly. Debt fails because the return on investment can’t go higher or lower, and so the best producers run away from it. Only the low producers use debt, then they spend which incentivizes more low producers to take on debt to produce for them. Insurance is just debt, because it is the only way to “invest” the pool savings, which further lowers productivity, which is the antithesis of insuring adequate resources.

    Any way that is a disjoint rebuttal, because I am working on a pictorial and complete explanation of economics, and I am not going to insert my full argument here in this blog. But the bottom line is, you are a statist.

  87. @esr:

    >is there any chance you could get your mail by tethering your server to your smartphone?

    Sadly, no, DNS directs mail to a static FIOS address that is not the phone’

    For future reference, you could use a dynamic DNS provider for thyrsus.com such as those provided by dtdns.com. You have to pay, of course, to use a full domain, but it’s probably not any more expensive than your current DNS provider and Justin’s DNS service is pretty nice. I even wrote a Python update client for it. :)

  88. @pete:

    @Bob: I’ll give you points for consistency then. I think next-generation nuclear has a place in reducing fossil fuel reliance, but given that nuclear should be a mature technology by now I’d like to see that done with a minimum of financial and regulatory subsidy.

    What nuclear power really needs is less political, legal, and regulatory uncertanty.

    Indefinite delays make nuclear power plants uneconomic. Anti-nuke activists create indefinite delays. Then activists triumphantly point to how uneconomic they are!

  89. > An anarchist (non-statist) doesn’t propose applying (mega-)statism to avert the free market outcome.

    I wasn’t aware that I’d proposed any solutions at all. I certainly don’t like the solutions that are most likely to prevail – either coercive, state-based solutions, or else a total failure to act.

    I am also pretty sure that the free market outcome in this case is going to be a lot of people dying, mainly in the global south, partly because the market doesn’t price in the suffering of people who don’t have any capital, and partly because you can’t have a free market for a resource that everyone has an equal (by force of gas pressure) share of. I’m not ok with that, although I’m guessing you probably are, in which case – shame on you.

    As I said before, I think we need new solutions, and if we don’t want hugely statist solutions then it’s incumbent on libertarians to come up with something more than either 1) “I deny scientific reality therefore no solution will be required” and 2) “the free market will solve this problem, even though free market conditions obviously don’t apply and an optimal free market outcome would not solve the actual problem at hand (i.e. high mortality)”.

  90. In fact, the only solution I’ve ever proposed, either here on this blog or anywhere else, is in a position paper advocating for the development of geoengineering technologies. It’s not yet in print, though.

  91. If global warming is destroying the planet and life on it, why is the appropriate remedy a tax?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigovian_tax

    Pigovian taxes tend to get levied on substances (such as tobacco or alcohol) of which society can tolerate a little consumption, but not overconsumption. The planet can stand some extra CO2 emissions, and for many applications (large-scale transport of people and cargo, for instance) we don’t have any alternatives available to fossil fuel burning.

    By contrast, Freon was banned unilaterally because its use in any amount worth considering was considered environmentally destructive.

  92. @Bennett, by definition, advocating any top-down action, or playing into politics that can support such, is statist.

    I disagree with your fear of increased statism, because statism causes and sustains the problems. Thus if any real threat to humanity ever actually occurs, then the free market has several orders-of-magnitude of suppressed knowledge capacity that will spring into action. In short, if AGW is real, statism will collapse and chaos will rise. Chaos is the maximum degrees-of-freedom of knowledge in action, allowing ingenuity to proliferate. Right now, so much of society is suppressed by debt subsidy, all we can do is talk and pontificate (mostly about things which are totally wrong and irrelevant).

    @kn, do you have a different definition of statism?

  93. You AGW guys don’t have a clue. Planet Earth is a heat engine. Nothing we can do atm will alter that heat engine to any significant degree.

    Humans will likely burn up every economically recoverable gram of “fossil fuel” simply because it’s cheaper than the alternatives. Any “fossil fuel” humans left behind will eventually be burned up simply by plate tectonics and bacterial action. Atmospheric CO2 will rise and fall depending on the vagaries of that heat engine. Humans will have their million years average lifespan on earth plus or minus and fade away like virtual all other millions of species.

    Those are the facts of physics and biology. That portion of earth’s carbon always cycles simply because that’s how it works and the universe does not give a rat’s ass what we think. Only entropy will stop the process.

    @ Winter That’s not how it works. AGW is likely BS because there are more than enough data/papers supporting the null hypothesis, as far as I can see. We only need one. How many support the hypothesis does not matter one whit once the null is supported by one. In the scientific method, the exception is all that is required to falsify the hypothesis. You are not ‘a little pregnant”. Every year with no observed increase in temperatures despite rising CO2 adds another nail in the coffin. We are in no rush to see what happens next and nothing we do will change it in any case until we get a lot more capable than we are now.

  94. > We only need one. How many support the hypothesis does not matter one whit once the null is supported by one. In the scientific method, the exception is all that is required to falsify the hypothesis.

    Statements like this reinforce my judgment that I should trust the opinion of actual scientists on science issues, rather than random computer programmers on the internet.

  95. @ shelby
    > @kn, do you have a different definition of statism?

    since you ask …
    I don’t have a definition of statism. Never heard the word until I came across it in comments here so i’m still in the process of deriving its meaning from the contexts it’s used in.

    that comment was more about how you speak in Absolute Truths, with an undertone hinting at the unintelligible ravings the Oracle of Delphi was known for.

  96. @Bennett, Winter:

    Science is not “a consensus of opinion”, regardless of how many scientists are asked. Balancing opinion is acceptable for awarding the Oscars, but hard science is repeatable, demonstrable experimental results.

  97. James M: Imagine the hypothesis is that your blood is infected with a virus. Ten different scientists test your blood.

    The first nine scientists each take 100 tiny samples of blood, and each of them detects the virus in at least 1 of their samples.

    The tenth scientist takes 5 samples of blood, and detects no viral particles, supporting the null hypothesis.

    According to BioBob (and you), “How many support the hypothesis does not matter one whit once the null is supported by one”. Since we have one study that supports the null hypothesis, on your view we can now be certain that you are virus-free. Clearly this is an idiotic position.

    If you want to know why—precisely—it’s idiotic, it’s because every study and every measurement has an error associated with it. In this case, the error mainly comes from the fact that each sample contains only a tiny amount of blood. To minimize the error within one study, we take multiple samples, as many as we feasibly can, and we average the results. And to minimize the error across studies, we take as many studies as we can, and we average the results. We only throw out good results if we have some reason to think there’s something wrong with the methodology. Whatever Biobob, Shelby and you may think, *that* is the scientific method.

  98. Here’s what I got out of this comment thread: you AGW-deniers don’t understand scientific funding bodies or processes. You don’t understand the peer review system in scientific journals. You don’t even understand basic facts about the scientific method.

    Why would anyone come to you for a reading of scientific results?

  99. @Bennett, I have enjoyed your point by point destruction of the uninformed skepticism that plagues this blog on this topic. You have said pretty much exactly what I have been wanting to say except that I lacked sufficient expertise and background knowledge to communicate it clearly and forcefully.

  100. @Bennett

    No, I have no articles in peer reviewed journals. I do not have a long string of letters after my name.

    I do have over fifty years experience with the perversity of the human race.

    When smart people screw up, they do it bigger and better than the rest of us, and with truly breathtaking arrogance.

  101. @jeffread – Look what you’ve conceded: “The planet can handle a little Co2″. Now I can ask you how you know this and whether you can quantify “a little” with any accuracy and you’ll never get out of that morass – well, you could deliver a proven predictive CO2/climate model and let it run for a decade years I guess. Let me know where you will get the data.

    Piglovian taxes – Here is where the internal policy logic of global warming “policy” is totally flawed. If Global Warming is really going to displace or kill millions of people over the next few decades then scramble the jets buddy and let’s go bomb the middle east and north sea oil wells, tankers, and pipelines tomorrow. Who cares about collateral damage – We’re saving millions of people.

    Now if the warmers want to back off the “existential crisis” talk and say that CO2 emissions harm other people and should just be illegal, then fine. Make CO2 emissions at least as much of a crime as, say, stealing a bike, because although my city can handle a few stolen bikes, we do in fact make that illegal.

    Piglovian – sorry, SINS taxes are reserved for activities which do *not* harm other people and only minimally harm the user but are generally disapproved of by society. If you believe that CO2 emissions justify sin taxes, then you are either saying that CO2 emissions do *not* harm other people and are merely unpopular, or you are saying we should now use sin taxes for activities that do harm other people – activities which deprive those people of their right to life and/or property. Which claim do you want to stake?

    BTW the morality of sin taxes is pretty shaky – your behavior is unpopular so the rest of us are going to vote for a politician that promises to shift the burden of funding the government off us and onto you as a punishment. Addicted? Then I guess you don’t have a choice – heck we’ll push those taxes higher. I guess I should get in the game and advocate surtaxing graduate degrees in climate research 50%.

  102. Piglovian – sorry, SINS taxes are reserved for activities which do *not* harm other people and only minimally harm the user but are generally disapproved of by society. If you believe that CO2 emissions justify sin taxes, then you are either saying that CO2 emissions do *not* harm other people and are merely unpopular, or you are saying we should now use sin taxes for activities that do harm other people – activities which deprive those people of their right to life and/or property. Which claim do you want to stake?

    all your talk about sins and harm and taxing unpopular behaviour is irrelevant. shifting the goal posts, red herrings, and what not.

    Piglovian taxes increase costs, and the market adjusts by lowering consumption and/or production, depending on where the tax is applied
    That answers your question of ” … why is the appropriate remedy a tax” : it’s an attempt to bring “external” costs back into the economic equation and let the market deal with it. That’s all.

    We can still do the jet and the bombs later – If that’s you’re first choice, you’ve been gaming far too much. You should go outside more.

  103. @ Bennett
    > Why would anyone come to you for a reading of scientific results?

    An excellent anthropological question.

    For many readers here, I think it goes something like this: If they don’t like the official results, they just keep asking different people until they get the answer they were hoping for.

  104. If you are ignorant of what statistics can and can not prove, you should trust no one and say nothing, because you don’t have the knowledge to discern who and what to trust. And that is precisely why statism (collectivism with top-down control) fails. It relies on the ignorance of the majority, to decide how to waste the world’s resources. Debt is another example, because it allows the majority to have equal access to resources, yet not all people return the same productivity.

    @kn I simply said two things:

    1) Bennett is a statist, which I proved is a fact of his comments, if you accept that my definition of statism is correct.

    2) It is statistically impossible to prove AGW, because there is no way to get a confidence interval in the period of time that AGW extrapolates to. This is because there is no correlation in history. It never happened before that CO2 lead temperature. So the best they can do is invent models of what they think will happen by extrapolating what their model says has happened over a relatively recent period of time. The problem is statistics can’t do that. There are many issues, such as for example that models of climate are rubbish, because they’ve never predicted anything accurately over the long-term. I can build a model to fit some past data, that gives an opposite outcome. Their models are an arbitrary interpretation of recent samples, i.e. their models are aliasing error. If we get deep into the statistics, we show that. But the problem is that when a mathematician says they are wrong, they say if you aren’t a climate scientist, we won’t listen to you. Then they claim the high ground of being an authority on “climate”– a “science” that afaik has never made any predictions that were repeatedly correct over long periods of time.

    =================

    Here we are trying to make an economic decision for society. Unfortunately the worst way to do that is with a majority voting for a top-down decision. The reason is because “fitness” is only optimized with “degrees-of-freedom”. This is why Bennett’s fear is wrong, and why statists (and government) always destroy savings and productivity.

    The meaning of “economic” is different when comparing individual investments and the performance of society overall, and thus most people have a nebulous definition of capitalism that prevents society from attaining capitalism.

    Theorem: every activity that promotes social equality (or uniformity) is uneconomic.

    Equality is always collective economic failure; conversely, diversity is individual optimization, i.e. freedom.

    Every society has a limited amount of resources.

    If society gives most of these resources to those who don’t produce the most new resources, then poverty and failure will result.

    It is not sufficient to handout the resources to some people who produce more, and others who produce less (than they consume). Even if the total production of society exceeds the total consumption, failure will eventually result because:

    - maximizing productivity and savings is necessary to survive unpredictable severity and duration of disasters and changing economic circumstances.

    - some production is allocated to fulfill the consumption demand of those who do lower production. And some who do lower production will borrow to attempt to supply this production. These additional lower producers create more such consumption demand, which repeats the process, endlessly adding additional lower producers. Thus, unmitigated proliferation of lower productivity and waste of resources.

    Nobody can know in advance how much savings is enough for society to survive all potential future changes in circumstances. Not only natural disasters, also for example a technological or political paradigm shift, such as the sudden migration of jobs to another country (e.g. China) and offshore call centers enabled by the internet.

    The salient point is that maximizing productivity and savings, goes hand-in-hand with maximizing diversity of fitness (i.e. inequality and degrees-of-freedom); conversely, increasing equality lowers fitness, degrees-of-freedom, and thus society is unable to adapt to change. Unadaptability is failure in nature, because life is change. So equality leads to unadaptability, i.e. death.

    Insurance always destroys productivity and savings, so it can not substitute for the need to maximize them. Insurance is always pooled savings held in interest bearing investments (e.g. bonds, savings accounts, mutual funds), i.e. the savings is loaned out to borrowers. Debt creates more low productivity, thus lowers savings.

    Debt Causes Unmitigated Proliferation of Lower Productivity

    Lending is not investing, because debt returns an interest rate, thus not a greater gain for a greater productivity investment. Productivity performance can not be known before it occurs.

    Thus, debt attracts the dumber and/or lazier passive investors. The more knowledgeable and proactive investors are disincentized from participating, as they prefer equity investment where they can maximize their returns.

    The low producers are asymmetrically more incentivized to pursue debt instead of equity financing, because they are more likely to get funded, due to the lower discernment of the financier. The high producers are diluted by (intermixed with, i.e. equated with) the lowest producers seeking debt, because the lender (which is an investor in an interest bearing investment, e.g. bond, savings account, mutual fund) is not paid enough opportunity to maximize evaluation and interaction effort, to optimize the discernment between the lower and higher producers.

    Employing any low effort (i.e. low knowledge and equality aggregate) metric is not a discernment solution, e.g. past performance as an indicator of future performance, rewards gridlock, laziness, inability to adapt and improve productivity. Increased regulation is even worse, because it reduces the knowledge applied to discernment to a fewer number of decision makers, and increases corruption, which will be explained more in the section on government.

    Thus for debt, returns (interest rates) tend to be low, and attract passive capital that isn’t being paid enough interest to justify the effort to know much about the individualized (i.e. diverse or unequal) circumstances that determine the productivity that results from debt.

    In other words, debt does not encourage the highest performing R&D projects, and thus disincentivizes knowledge formation, and results in a dumber and lower productivity society. As explained in the prior section, this effect proliferates as additional low producers jump on board to borrow to produce to supply consumption of the pre-existing low producers, and this repeats ad infinitum until the economy implodes.

    Debt is clearly a scourge and parasite on society that wastes (misallocates) capital to the lowest producers, even incentivizing both savers and borrowers to apply less effort to maximizing production.

    Debt reduces the ability of the society to adapt and produce optimally. For example, making financing available to all college students, or equivalently the government providing public education, misallocates capital under the assumption that all students return the equivalent learning productivity to society. If instead education was only for those who are most motivated to work and save to pay for their education, capital would be more optimally allocated to those who are most motivated to learn.

    As with education, houses, health care, and everything in the economy that is financed with debt, the price is greatly increased as compared to those same things in societies which do not use debt to finance them.

    The reason is because the society is composed of diverse people and situations, i.e. they don’t have equivalent knowledge, skills, aptitude, personality, preferences, attitude, philosophy, circumstances, location, mobility, etc.. Debt accelerates demand by the term of loan into a concentrated area, e.g. education, thus saturating the available limited supply of those that have optimum fitness, e.g. to be a college professor. The supply is limited because the inventory is diverse and thus have optimum fitness only if the demand if also diversified.

    Whereas, if spending will only originate from people who are motivated to work and save, they will spend on diverse things that best-fit to each of themselves individually (i.e. each case is not equivalent), i.e. the sacrifice and delay reduces the demand for “monkey see, monkey do” equality. Thus saving before spending results in many cases of diverse optimum fitness via many more degrees-of-freedom, instead of concentrating demand into a few “monkey see, monkey do” areas of poor fitness to limited supply.

  105. @Bennet and Winter

    LOL Then you should trust what I said since I have a Masters and PhD from Cornell in science (not that it matters). You clearly rely on faith based arguments rather than the rational. There are just some things we do not know or can not predict and concluding otherwise is what the Greek’s called HUBRIS.

    I will finish my comments with a quote from Albert Einstein :
    “When the number of factors coming into play in a phenomenological complex is too large, scientific method in most cases fails us. One need only think of the weather, in which case prediction even for a few days ahead is impossible. Nevertheless no one doubts that we are confronted with a causal connection whose causal components are in the main known to us. Occurrences in this domain are beyond the reach of exact prediction because of the variety of factors in operation, not because of any lack of order in nature.”

  106. @James M
    “Balancing opinion is acceptable for awarding the Oscars, but hard science is repeatable, demonstrable experimental results.”

    You mean, like, having thousands of studies published in peer reviewed journals as opposed to asking a panel of journalists and politicians to vote the most popular theory?

    Where do you think Climate Research stands on this scale?

  107. @BioBob
    “You clearly rely on faith based arguments rather than the rational.”

    Sounds rather odd from a person who argues that the matter is settled if the null hypothesis has been proven once. For such persons, I have an advice:

    https://www.xkcd.com/892/

  108. Every year with no observed increase in temperatures despite rising CO2 adds another nail in the coffin. We are in no rush to see what happens next and nothing we do will change it in any case until we get a lot more capable than we are now.

    The last decade was the warmest on record, fool.

  109. # kn Says:
    November 2nd, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    >But the bottom line is, you are a statist

    the oracle has spoken

    # Rrr Says, As Of Now: After swallowing Sun, Oracle burps mightily. Some may interpret that as speech.

  110. @BioBob, “Occurrences in this domain are beyond the reach of exact prediction because of the variety of factors in operation, not because of any lack of order in nature.”

    I agreed with your other comments, but I had explained in my prior comment, why I think this Einstein sentence is incorrect.

    This is very difficult for people to visualize. It is actually the disorder (degrees-of-freedom) in nature that enables fitness (i.e. optimization). Nature doesn’t know what it is going to do a priori, except that any order is going to get broken down to disorder eventually as the disorder of the universe is trending to maximum and there is no perfectly closed entropic system (using entropic to mean thermodynamic but as applied more generally to any system, as all systems have entropy). And this ability to adapt and fit future actions with a maximized plurality of independent actors is precisely why nature is resilent and top-down order is less optimized and results in disaster (i.e. a logistic waterfall reversion to disorder). Remember disorder means orthogonal (independent) possibilities. Imagine if these statist fools succeed in taxing carbon, they will create a huge monolithic morass that prevents the individuals in the society from adjusting to what ever changes nature is going to make going forward.

    Imagine you tie your feet to your hands. Imagine your car doesn’t have a reverse gear. Imagine all roads go only westward. Imagine a bicycle chain with only 4 links. These are all examples of reduced degrees-of-freedom and are analogies of what statists create.

    Even if they could statistically prove AGW, they have not statistically proved all the other changes won’t happen that humans would need to adapt to, which might be hindered by their carbon tax morass. It is far too complex for anyone to ever contemplate, much less scientifically prove.

    @Winter, at least you have no shame. I am embarrassed for you, to read you repeat the same nonsense again, after we already explained to you that the climate science models can not predict that far into the future. It is statistically impossible. They predicted the imminent doom of an Ice Age back in the 1970s. Statists (and their mind-programmed ignorant masses) never remember the failures of the statists. Well I guess they remember Hitler, but they blame that on a crazy man, instead of on the statism that caused the economic failure that lead to war, war reparations, etc..

    @Jeff Read, “The last decade was the warmest on record, fool.”

    And a fool believes they had widespread accurate thermometers 130 years ago.

    And a fool believes that 130 years is anything more than noise on the eons of historical record of significant warming and cooling cycles.

    And a fool believes that 0.2 C is outside of the noise band of the temperature measuring stations, given that climate moves even if the stations don’t (and some of the thermometers are moving or the environment around them is changing, i.e. reflecting objects, new concrete or steel nearby, etc).

    And a fool ignores the eons of historical record which shows that carbon increase (and decrease) lags temperature by 600 – 1000 years.

  111. And now back to the original narrative. I was in New England on Oct 4, 1987 for leaf-peeping, when a mighty storm overnight dumped two feet of snow all over the place and took out all above-ground lines (that is, everything except gas pipes, so at least we could get coffee). We had to dig our car out and hit the slippery road going the wrong way because the way we were going was closed. Ran perilously low on gasoline, but no gas station had any power for the pumps. Well, we got ourselves back to “civilization” eventually. But the point is, that was 24 years ago! Are you seriously saying things have not gotten any better since? !!

    I should admit to the human foibles and stupitities of my own city and country, though. In that part of it known as “Kiseldalen” or actually Kista, a kinda ripoff of Silicon Valley, where all the hitech giants of the day resided like IBM, Sun, Oracle, Ericsson, Microsoft etc, there was a total power outage some five or ten years ago, due to a fire in the tunnel with the seriously heavy main power cables. It lasted for several days, in winter. Big disruption to industry as well as homes. Turned out, there was in fact a backup cable (in the same tunnel). That’s why it took so long to fix. OK, stupid planners make mistakes. A year later, another fire in the same tunnel. And where was the backup run this time? Three guesses…

    As a kid we used to make fun of the British for their stupid habit of running their plumbing outside their houses on the grounds of it being easier to fix when the pipes froze, that way. People, please protect your important infrastructure instead! Do not run it around tree tops in areas where storms are frequent.

    (Markedly ignoring the AGM sidetrack.)

  112. Clarification: the specific part of Eintein’s statement I was disagreeing with was only the end portion, “not because of any lack of order in nature.”.

  113. @Rrr, imho you pointed out the failure of statism. Individuals and for-profit companies (non-regulated utilities) don’t get to make these decisions.

  114. So Shelby, do you run your own power and telco lines? Or who does?
    Up in the treetops, or underground? In separate tunnels?

    Profit has less to do with it, IMHO, than smarts versus stupid. And competing quarter-by-quarter-profit goals do tend to support the former. Also IMHO, the buck should stop at some well defined point.

    Some things just need to be there and just work, all the time. Such as infrastructure. Didn’t work so well locally on 1987-10-04 let me tell’ya. Let’s not even go to the financial system and banking.

    Sorry, I fail to see the relevance of your distinction between statism and regulation. May be my fault. Well, we all make mitsakes, even Eintein, right ;-) Except some are less forgivable than others.

  115. actually, tend to support the LATTER, I meant. See, I can make mistakes too. And that wasn’t the only one, just teh bigest

  116. Off topic:

    Eric, would LOVE to hear your thoughts w.r.t. TPTB’s financial starvation of Wikileaks and the costs of openness and honesty in the 21st century.

  117. @Bennett: I can’t say that the statist solutions to global warming are working all that well either. When you’ve tried everything else, try freedom.

  118. @Bennett: Anybody who uses the word “denier” is a Global Warming hysteric. He is not advancing science because he has a political agenda.

  119. BioBob: the temperature station near me was moved about 15 years ago from here: 44.564,-75.102 to 44.577,-75.110. Used to be in a field near nothing. Now it’s about 15′ from a house and 15′ from an asphalt parking lot. Of course you can correct for that, just like Tiger Woods gets a handicap when he and I play. Somehow he manages to win every time anyway.

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