Which way is north on your new planet?

So, here you are in your starship, happily settling into orbit around an Earthlike world you intend to survey for colonization. You start mapping, and are immediately presented with a small but vexing question: which rotational pole should you designate as ‘North’? There are a surprisingly large number of ways one could answer this question.… Continue reading Which way is north on your new planet?

Generative science

I’m thinking about writing another book. I won’t disclose the title or topic yet, but there’s a bit of research for it I think can be usefully crowdsourced, and may also give a clue about the book for those of you interested. I’ve written before about the difference between descriptive and generative theories. To recap… Continue reading Generative science

Junk science double fail

Two bits of science news appeared on my radar today with not much in common except that they’re both exceedingly bad news for the political class. That more or less guarantees that they’ll get poor or nonexistent coverage in the mainstream media and is a good enough reason for me to write about them. First,… Continue reading Junk science double fail

Seven Eight Warning Signs of Junk Science

I’ve written before about scientific error cascades and the pernicious things that happen when junk science becomes the focus or rationale of a political crusade. The worst example of this sort of thing in my lifetime, and arguably in the entire history of science, has been the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) panic. Now that the… Continue reading Seven Eight Warning Signs of Junk Science

Ecoforming and 1493

I enjoy creating useful neologisms. I’ve floated several on this blog: kafkatrapping, collabortage, politicism, chomskyism, and prospiracy. One could argue that my take on the term “error cascade” is neologistic. Today, another one: “ecoforming”. By analogy with “terraforming”, this is what humans do when they deliberately modify an ecology to suit their purposes. The term… Continue reading Ecoforming and 1493

Categorized as Science

Three kinds of teleology

Some comments on my last post sidetracked into a discussion of evolution, teleology and design and under what circumstances the language of “purpose” or “intention” can reasonably applied to a natural system. I’ve had a new insight while thinking about that discussion, so I’m going to write about it a bit more. And yes, I… Continue reading Three kinds of teleology

A Specter is Haunting Genetics

Had my life gone a little differently, I might have been a molecular geneticist and hip-deep in what is now called bioinformatics. When I was twelve or thirteen or so I came to intellectual grips with the fact that I have congenital cerebral palsy; shortly thereafter I dove into the science of congenital defects, developmental… Continue reading A Specter is Haunting Genetics

Lies and consequences

In the horrible-inevitability department: Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets. My first thought when I read this was: “Creationists opposing AGW hysteria? Wow. So those stupid fucks are good for something after all.” My second thought was: “It’d be a damn shame if AGW ends up discrediting good science with the public, but if it… Continue reading Lies and consequences

The Nose of Peace

My regular readers will know that I’m sometimes fascinated by the extent to which mammalian body language crosses species lines — and, indeed, is so well conserved that families as far apart as felids and primates can communicate in ways that are emotionally satisfying to both parties. We take this for granted, but it’s really… Continue reading The Nose of Peace

Categorized as Science

Phil Jones blows the gaff

The AGW true believers who determinedly reasserted their faith after the Climate Research Unit emails leaked have just been embarrassed by one of the high priests of the cult. Phil Jones, the former head of the CRU, now admits that there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995.

Naming and shaming the AGW fraudsters

James Delingpole, in Climategate: Time for the Tumbrils, noting the public collapse in credibility of AGW “science” utters a fine rant summed up in this wise (parochial references to British political figures and organizations omitted): I’m in no mood for being magnanimous in victory. I want the lying, cheating, fraudulent scientists prosecuted and fined or… Continue reading Naming and shaming the AGW fraudsters

Corrupted climatology

The Times of London reports a determination from the Information Commissioner’s Office of the United Kingdom: members of the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia broke the law by refusing to hand over its raw data for public scrutiny.

Copenhagen Conference Crashes

Well, it’s happened. The Copenhagen climate conference has concluded with a three-page fig-leaf over its naked failure that even the New York Times can’t spin as good news for the AGW alarmists. It’s kind of entertaining to watch them try, actually, but the glum tone of the report is palpable. The best laugh line from… Continue reading Copenhagen Conference Crashes

From Russia, with love

Oh, it just keeps getting better. As the Copenhagen conference collapses, word comes from Russia that the Moscow-based Institute for Economic Analysis has found evidence of skulduggery and fraud in the CRU’s treatment of Russian climate data.