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Comment: Re:Any experienced teacher already deals with this (Score 1) 388

by GlenRaphael (#48809271) Attached to: UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them
Why would you expect a high school math teacher to know any "masters-level mathematics"? They probably got an undergrad degree in "Education", not math. You're lucky if your math instructor even knows math at the undergrad level. I suspect a lot of us have had the experience of figuring out something in math (or physics, or what-have-you) to a level that the teacher didn't understand.

Comment: Some anti-CO2 efforts CAUSE starvation (Score 2) 695

A fair amount of starvation has actually been caused by the effort to FIGHT global warming. In particular, the US biofuels mandate was justified as a way to combat global warming - biofuels are alleged to be a carbon-neutral form of energy. But diverting cropland from growing food to growing fuel makes food more expensive. That creates starvation and causes riots and war and refugees. In short, the effort to fight global warming has itself CREATED some of the very problem it claims to be attempting to fight.

http://www.independent.co.uk/n...

Comment: Re:My two cents (Score 1) 695

The worst case scenario is actually pretty terrible. You could "create a better world" at the cost of a lot of pain and suffering and starvation. The fundamental problem is that spending resources on climate means *not* spending them on every other current or potential threat to humanity. Even a tiny hit to world GDP growth might over many years make the difference between saving the world and not being able to do so when some unanticipated new threat comes along. (Like a comet aimed at the earth or a plague or, heck, the next phase of global cooling.)

Comment: "Good news for X industry" often bad for consumers (Score 2) 88

by GlenRaphael (#48299549) Attached to: China To Merge High-Speed Train Makers To Cut Competition

If China's prices undercut our own train makers, that is great news for our *consumers* - companies that run trains or use trains for transport and individuals who use trains for transport. Contrariwise if China raises the price of trains that almost certainly hurts more Americans than it helps, just like most other price increases.

Comment: Re:This is silly (Score 1) 720

> Never mind that states with higher minimum wage have higher job growth.

Yeah, not so much. There were 13 states whose minimum wage was counted as having increased. 4 of those were deliberate increases due to new legislation (the four: Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island) but the other 9 were insignificant cost-of-living inflation adjustments. If your theory is that minimum wage increases lead to job growth you ought to be able to scatter-plot the two variables and find a positive relationship. We should expect to see that MORE minimum wage increase leads to MORE job growth. Right?

But we don't see that at all in the data.

In fact, the four states that made a substantial deliberate increase in the minimum wage collectively did WORSE than average at job growth. The biggest percentage increases in minwage led to the LEAST job growth.

Of the four aforementioned states New Jersey did the worst, managing to combine its hefty minimum wage increase with literally the WORST job LOSSES of any state in the union. Connecticut's job growth was anemic/flat. New York's was well below average. Of the four states, only Rhode Island did okay (not stellar, but a decent upper-middle-of-the-pack showing).

From these stats we should actually conclude that noticeably raising minimum wage does NOT increase job growth.

(The chart showing the various states and their job growth is here: http://www.cepr.net/index.php/... )

Comment: Re:Polygraph (Score 2) 580

by GlenRaphael (#48120581) Attached to: FBI Says It Will Hire No One Who Lies About Illegal Downloading

> President Bush (41) scored a 98 [...]

You've been fooled by at least one hoax. Somebody invented a collection of "presidential IQs" in order to claim Democrats are smarter than Republicans. There is no evidence for several of the values you give, including specifically that score of 98. Here's the debunk:

http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/...

Comment: Re:Post-PC world? (Score 1) 1052

by GlenRaphael (#41319735) Attached to: Apple Announces iPhone 5

You can get the account for free, but that only lets you try things out in emulation on a Mac. You can't try out your own iOS apps on your own phone without paying Apple $99/year.

Oh, and if you manage to publish an app in the Apple Store, you have to keep paying the $99/year for as long as you want it to stay there. If you let your subscription lapse, your apps are removed from the store and if you renew you have to go through the whole approval process again. :-(

Comment: Re:This pisses me off for so many reasons... (Score 1) 1052

by GlenRaphael (#41318393) Attached to: Apple Announces iPhone 5

> The turn-by-turn navigation feature that their map application has is only usable within the USA.

I'm sure they'll extend it in due time but regardless: wherever you live, you can buy third-party apps right now in the Apple Store that do turn-by-turn navigation. Me, I bought TomTom years ago for US directions. Having turn-by-turn baked into the built-in maps app is very nice to have, but not having access to it for a while isn't a dealbreaker.

I'm more bothered by the (equally temporary) loss of transit directions - it's worth keeping the google app around (or using the google maps website) until they plug that hole.

Comment: Re:an endless series of hobgoblins (Score 1) 735

by GlenRaphael (#39935985) Attached to: Heartland Institute Learning To Troll On Billboards
Sure I know why:

(1) Billboard messages need to be terse and use familiar phrasing or they don't work at all

(2) The ad designer was trying to spark a little controversy and saw it as a fight-fire-with-fire, no-publicity-is-bad-publicity sort of situation.

I agree with you that something like "I still believe in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming" would have been closer to the intended meaning, but few would be able to parse and understand that (or similar attempts to convey more subtlety) while driving 60 mph. :-)

It's also worth noting that Heritage was told to knock it off by its own featured speakers, including the previously-mentioned Ross McKitrick. Ross threatened not to come to the conference and posted his letter to Climateaudit, where many skeptics read it. Meanwhile, Donna Laframboise (creator of NOconsensus.org) actually did withdraw from the conference, also posting the reasoning to her blog. You might want to read both those links before assuming that skeptics in general are fully behind the campaign.

Comment: Re:an endless series of hobgoblins (Score 1) 735

by GlenRaphael (#39934125) Attached to: Heartland Institute Learning To Troll On Billboards
Read Heartland's press release; they're clearly focused on believers in catastrophic global warming, people who believe not just that warming is possible or exists or has happened but also that it constitutes a crisis which demands immediate action. Those are all separable claims and it's bad rhetoric to conflate them.

I claim that "skeptics" generally do accept the possibility that atmospheric composition affects planetary cooling rates. In particular, I claim this with regard to the following people commonly regarded by outsiders as "skeptics": Steve McIntyre, Ross McKitrick, Anthony Watts. I think you will find it very difficult to find some "skeptics" who do not "accept the possibility that atmospheric composition affects planetary cooling rates".

But if you really think "skeptics" have been claiming it's not possible for atmospheric composition to affect planetary cooling rates, it shouldn't be hard for you to name a couple specific skeptics who have done this. In short: name two.

The people that someone at Heritage picked (unabomber, castro...) to claim "I believe in global warming" in ads didn't simply mean by it that "atmospheric composition affects planetary cooling rates". When these (and other!) alarmists say "I believe in global warming" what they believe is that global warming is a crisis that demands immediate action. But to see it a crisis, you need to think that net feedbacks are strongly positive. Otherwise it's just an interesting curiosity.

The standard line among the denizens of ClimateAudit.org is that yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas but the litany overstates the case for strong positive feedbacks and the case that current temperatures are "unprecedented".

Comment: an endless series of hobgoblins (Score 1) 735

by GlenRaphael (#39931807) Attached to: Heartland Institute Learning To Troll On Billboards

governments rule by fiat, by and large, and if they have a thing they feel they need or want to control, they can.

No. In the short run, maybe. But longer term, even the most dictatorial government needs some buy-in from the citizens; democratic ones need this more. And one sure way to get popular support is to encourage the populace to be panicked about stuff. H.L. Mencken probably said it best:

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

Our politicians are constantly encouraging people to be scared of something - maybe this year it's global warming but in earlier years the exact same role has been filled by: Iraq, Libya, muslims, "terrorists" of any variety, "glue-sniffing", "crack babies", "flag-burning", "GM crops", Alar, the "population explosion", "state militias", "killer bees", "christian fundamentalists", "cop-killer bullets", and many other topics. And yes, a few of these topics might even have been worthy of some concern, but you can't deny the overall dynamic has a consistent form: some faction of politicians (on the left or the right, it doesn't matter which) thinks that they can win elections by whipping voters into a frenzy about some scary new thing that will kill us all unless we put The Right People in charge. That faction seeks evidence to support claims of ruin and disaster; the opposing faction seeks evidence that the first faction's claims are specious.

Whichever factions are in power use the state's influence over science to encourage funding that is likely to produce results that make their side look better. results that make their side look worse will be ignored. There's also a Baptist/bootlegger component; some industries that benefits from the scare help pay for it. (in the case of the war on Iraq: defense contractors. In the case of global warming: various parts of the energy industry. For instance, oil companies that hope to profit by selling carbon credits, that have ties to "green energy", or that have especially good political connections such that they can hope to use new laws to get their own operations grandfathered in while hobbling their competitors.)

In short: Governments do generally benefit from scares such as catastrophic AGW whenever these scares can be used to justify giving more money, more votes, or more power to the political class. They benefit from raising alarm over global warming in exactly the same way they benefit from doing so in the War On Some Drugs and the War On Terror.

I honestly can't get into your head where it's easier for everyone disagreeing with you on every forum on the planet is part of a massive conspiracy being easier to accept than the possibility that atmospheric composition affects planetary cooling rates[emphasis added].

Right, there's your problem: What makes you think skeptics don't accept the possibility that atmospheric composition affects planetary cooling rates? The main disagreement at this point is over things like feedbacks - whether they are (and will continue to be) net-positive, how high they might be, how much harm that might cause over time interval X, how certain we can be about all this, what alternatives we have available to us, whether the cost of pursuing these alternatives outweighs their benefits (both now and in the foreseeable future), and basically whether we should be panicking yet or whether we can reasonably afford to wait and learn more. You also don't need to posit a "monstrous conspiracy" where mere publication bias suffices: scary results are easier to publish and make for better press releases than non-scary ones. "It's worse than we thought!" makes a good headline; "It's not quite as bad as we thought" does not. :-)

Comment: Re:It's about damn time (Score 1) 1051

by GlenRaphael (#39901325) Attached to: Rand Paul Has a Quick Fix For TSA: Pull the Plug
Two problems with it being a federal responsibility:

(1) One-size-fits-all government-imposed rules create a single universal point of failure - if they get the rules wrong, they get them wrong *everywhere*.

(2) TSA has essentially no incentive to get the rules right, which includes not just providing actual security but making good tradeoffs between the value provided and its cost in time, money, and general inconvenience.

If individual airlines were responsible for their own security, you'd see competition to provide it efficiently and effectively. Any airline that found a clever way to get you to the plane in a faster or safer or friendlier way could advertise that. Some carriers might specialize in extra "security" while others specialize in extra efficiency. (Me, I'd be willing to pay extra for the old-style no-security option - planes where you could run right to the gate and put your rifle in the overhead bin if you like.)

Comment: Re:The open question... (Score 1) 877

by GlenRaphael (#38779113) Attached to: 2011 Was the 9th Hottest Year On Record

Guess what? Oil is running out as predicted. Estimates say that demand will exceed supply by 2020

Estimates have almost always said we'd run out of oil in a decade or two from whenever the analysis was being done. Not because it's ever been true, but because our best estimate of how much oil there is available is something called "proven reserves". "Proven reserves" counts all the oil that somebody has bothered to go find and explore and analyze and prove that we can get to. There is little incentive to go out and find more oil than we can possibly use in the next couple of decades, so we're often looking at a 10-20 year supply of known, proven reserves. Ten years later we'll have used some of the old reserves but also found new ones.

Also worth noting is the basic economic point that the phrase "demand will exceed supply" makes no sense in the absence of price information. If the quantity demanded at a given price exceeds the supply produced at the same price, the price should rise until they're in equilibrium again.

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