Monday, March 31, 2014

How to Understand Georgia's 'Guns Everywhere' Law: Four Blunt Points - Businessweek

Interesting perspective by a "progressive" on how to accept the reality of today - people trust guns more than government, and are not willing to pretend that surrender of guns to government will prevent evil people from using powerful weapons to kill people.

Matt Ridley—Climate Forecast: Muting the Alarm

The forthcoming report apparently admits that climate change has extinguished no species so far and expresses "very little confidence" that it will do so. There is new emphasis that climate change is not the only environmental problem that matters and on adapting to it rather than preventing it. Yet the report still assumes 70% more warming by the last decades of this century than the best science now suggests. This is because of an overreliance on models rather than on data in the first section of the IPCC report—on physical science—that was published in September 2013.
In this space on Dec. 19, 2012, I forecast that the IPCC was going to have to lower its estimates of future warming because of new sensitivity results. (Sensitivity is the amount of warming due to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide.) "Cooling Down Fears of Climate Change" (Dec. 19), led to a storm of protest, in which I was called "anti-science," a "denier" and worse.
The IPCC's September 2013 report abandoned any attempt to estimate the most likely "sensitivity" of the climate to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The explanation, buried in a technical summary not published until January, is that "estimates derived from observed climate change tend to best fit the observed surface and ocean warming for [sensitivity] values in the lower part of the likely range." Translation: The data suggest we probably face less warming than the models indicate, but we would rather not say so.

Oh Those Poor Uninsured

The individual mandate had the least effect on those it was supposed to encourage to gain coverage—the uninsured. McKinsey & Co. surveys found that a little over one-quarter of people signing up for coverage last month were previously uninsured.Goldman Sachs GS +0.01% analysts estimate that about one million uninsured Americans will sign up for theObamaCare exchanges before open enrollment ends. For perspective, that's about 2% of the 48 million uninsured.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Death Of Expertise (Thank Goodness)

Worse, it's dangerous. The death of expertise is a rejection not only of knowledge, but of the ways in which we gain knowledge and learn about things. Fundamentally, it's a rejection of science and rationality, which are the foundations of Western civilization itself. Yes, I said "Western civilization": that paternalistic, racist, ethnocentric approach to knowledge that created the nuclear bomb, the Edsel, and New Coke, but which also keeps diabetics alive, lands mammoth airliners in the dark, and writes documents like the Charter of the United Nations.

Actually, the opposite is true.  

In short, this author is a pompous ass.  Frankly, when science is conclusive, it doesn't take expert opinion to disseminate it.  And if science isn't conclusive, expert opinion is no more valid than anyone else's opinion.  It isn't the rejection of science, it is the affirmation that opinion is not part of scientific truth.

"Experts" have manipulated us for years with mis-information and outright dishonesty.  They abused their positions of power.  We don't have to depend upon them any longer.  Experts don't always have access to information we don't access to, and we aren't subject to the distorting incentives that experts can be subject to.  

I long for the day that enough folks will have enough scientific literacy that when someone says abnegation of "experts" is against science, the whole room full of people will think "bullshit" and cross that expert off of their list of folks to listen to.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Where Inequality Is Worst In The United States

Morrill's findings puncture the mythology espoused by some urban boosters that packing people together makes for a more productive and "creative" economy, as well as a better environment for upward mobility. A much-discussed report on social mobility in 2013 by Harvard researchers was cited by the New York Times, among others, as evidence of the superiority of the densest metropolitan areas, but it actually found the highest rates of upward mobility in more sprawling, transit-oriented metropolitan areas like Salt Lake City, small cities of the Great Plains such as Bismarck, N.D.; Yankton, S.D.; Pecos, Texas; and even Bakersfield, Calif., a place Columbia University urban planning professor David King  wryly labeled "a poster child for sprawl."
Demographer Wendell Cox pointed out that the Harvard research found that commuting zones (similar to metropolitan areas) with less than 100,000 population average have the highest average upward income mobility.

Climate Scientists' Biggest Challenge Isn't Scientific - Bloomberg View

Opinion is not scientific evidence or proof. A scientist who is an "expert" can still deliver only an opinion. 
The scientific method does not include popularity contests. Consensus is to scientific proof what lemon is to a skin rash. 
This seems so simple to me, but confusion about this matter riddles debate after debate, and the willingness to use govt force in support of "expert" and "scientific" opinion is killing people (low fat diets).