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Politics

Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science 786

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-who-didn't-want-the-worst-parts-of-politics-in-science dept.
Lasrick writes: Michael Mann writes about the ad hominem attacks on scientists, especially climate scientists, that have become much more frequent over the last few decades. Mann should know: his work as a postdoc on the famed "hockey stick" graph led him to be vilified by Fox News and in the Wall Street Journal. Wealthy interests such as the Scaife Foundation and Koch Industries pressured Penn State University to fire him (they didn't). Right-wing elected officials attempted to have Mann's personal records and emails (and those of other climate scientists) subpoenaed and tried to have the "hockey stick" discredited in the media, despite the fact that the National Academy of Sciences reaffirmed the work, and that subsequent reports of the IPCC and the most recent peerreviewed research corroborates it.

Even worse, Mann and his family were targets of death threats. Despite (or perhaps because of) the well-funded and ubiquitous attacks, Mann believes that flat-out climate change denialism is losing favor with the public, and he lays out how and why scientists should engage and not retreat to their labs to conduct research far from the public eye. "We scientists must hold ourselves to a higher standard than the deniers-for-hire. We must be honest as we convey the threat posed by climate change to the public. But we must also be effective. The stakes are simply too great for us to fail to communicate the risks of inaction. The good news is that scientists have truth on their side, and truth will ultimately win out."

+ - Seismological Society of America Claims Fracking Reactivated Ohio Fault-> 1

Submitted by eldavojohn
eldavojohn (898314) writes "There have been suspicions that fracking has caused minor earthquakes in Ohio but last year seismic data recorded by the Earthscope Transportable Array was analyzed by the Seismological Society of America using template matching and has resulted in a new publication and press release making the statement that Hilcorp Energy's fracking in Poland Township in March of 2014 "did not create a new fault, rather it activated one that we didn’t know about prior to the seismic activity." The earthquakes occurred in the Precambrian basement and lead the researchers to posit that further unknown faults may be activated by fracking. The press release ends with urging for "close cooperation among government, industry and the scientific community as hydraulic fracturing operations expand in areas where there’s the potential for unknown pre-existing faults.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Still useful research (Score 4, Insightful) 224

by donscarletti (#48743503) Attached to: Beware Headlines Saying Chocolate Is Good For You

Guess what, American beers and wines are winning contests in Europe.

Yes, but not the beers and wines that Americans in general actually consumes.

Sure, you can go to a craft microbrew bar in San Francisco and drink a beer the equal of anything coming from Europe's best breweries. But in 99% of the country and at the price range that 80% of the country can afford you can only get Budweiser, Miller or Coors.

Compare this to any country in Europe where you can be in the most backwards, rural town and get something good served to you just by walking to the bar and asking for "beer".

America is a huge and populous country and it stands to reason that there will be a little bit of everything happening there. But nobody cares what you and your hipster friends are drinking and it doesn't change the fact that American beer is shit.

Comment: Re:Accuracy (Score 2) 106

by donscarletti (#48743091) Attached to: European Researchers Develop More Accurate Full-Body Polygraph

Exactly. There's no reliable body response for a lie. All they are measuring is nervousness, which you could have for a variety of reasons.

A polygraph measures nervousness on one axis and time on the other.

The point is not to measure if the subject is generally nervous, it is to measure a nervous reaction to stimulus, usually a question posed by an interrogator.

Polygraph results are not admissible in court, they do not override a suspect's right to not answer questions and unlike torture there is no real evidence that they lead to false confessions. A stupid but innocent suspect could only believe that the polygraph will exonerate them. It's not that judges, prosecutors, the police or anyone in power believes they are more than 60% accurate, what a jury believes about them is irrelevant since if they receive the outcome it's grounds for a mistrial.

A polygraph test is like an IQ test, it does measure something that is very useful for some people in some cases, but what it does measure is very different to what the general public understands it to be measuring. If you however are one of the people who need the information that it actually does measure, it's extremely useful. It seems however that the same group of people have their panties in a knot about both things.

Comment: Early Soviet Computing? (Score 4, Interesting) 80

by eldavojohn (#48738403) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Alexander Stepanov and Daniel E. Rose a Question
Alexander Stepanov, I have never had a chance to ask someone as qualified as you about this topic. I grew up on the opposite side of the Iron Curtain and have constantly wondered if (surely there must have been) alternative computing solutions developed in the USSR prior to Elbrus and SPARC. So my question is whether or not you know of any hardware or instruction set alternatives that died on the vine or were never mass fabricated in Soviet times? I don't expect to you to reveal some super advanced or future predicting instruction set but it has always disturbed me that these things aren't documented somewhere -- as you likely know failures can provide more fruit than successes. Failing that, could you offer us any tails of early computing that only seem to run in Russian circles?

If you can suggest references (preferably in English) I would be most appreciative. I know of only one book and it seems to be a singular point of view.

Comment: Re:Erh... I don't get it (Score 4, Funny) 104

In 1766, the Royal Society commissioned Lt. James Cook to command H.M. Bark Endeavour to sail to the South Pacific to witness the transit of Venus across the sun from the southern hemisphere, where it would be visible. On this voyage he and his crew would become the first Europeans to see the East Coast of Australia and New Zealand.

In the closing days of 2014, the news reaches slashdot.

Comment: Re:TFA is a big bullshit ! (Score 1) 32

by donscarletti (#48674303) Attached to: Inside China's 'Christmas Factory' Town, Yiwu

£200 to £300 is 2,000 to 3,000 Yuan RMB.

In Beijing, where salaries are amongst the highest in China, I know plenty of professionals, like teachers with masters degrees (from BJ's top tier schools) and three or four years experience working for 4,000-5,000. At my company, which does game development, which is seen as a lucrative career, we pay graduates about 3,000.

I don't know about Yiwu, but at least in Ningbo, which is a bigger and wealthier city nearby, where my previous company has got manufacturing operations, salary for factory workers did not reach 1,500 three years ago when I was last there and could not have doubled in these years. Zhejiang people are the most tight, miserly people in China, if not the world, which is why they can create these decorations so cheaply, and they do not do so by paying their workers well.

You cannot make 5,000 doing factory labour anywhere in China, not in Tianjin, not in Shenzhen and especially not in any city in Zhejiang or Jiangsu. Hell, you probably wouldn't get more than 5,000 managing an entire assembly line in Yiwu.

Comment: Re: Motive (Score 1) 282

by donscarletti (#48671215) Attached to: Did North Korea Really Attack Sony?

And with this, you would lose any hope of support from anyone in the region. The South Korean government would either consider this tribute as too much of a humiliation or would consider it as payment for the war in its entirety and not commit any of its own troops. Japan would be skeptical and would start distancing itself, China would use it to enormous political advantage, as would Russia. Not to mention the problems that this tax would have on integrating the brained washed North Korean masses into Korean society, when they are trained to hate everything un-Korean as imperialism for 60 years, then suddenly are conqured by foreign soldiers and are forced to pay 2% of their earnings to a foreign power, learning that Kim Il Sung was right all along.

Basically you would be turning this from something achieved with a few air strikes, lend lease and South korean blood to another Vietnam war, for two percent of the income of a war torn and divided nation.

People like you having the vote is why the framers of the U.S. constitution did not envision a standing army or entering permanent alliances.

Comment: Are You Joking? (Score 3, Interesting) 182

by eldavojohn (#48625017) Attached to: US Links North Korea To Sony Hacking

> It is not known how the US government has determined that North Korea is the culprit

Of course it's known. The same way they established that Iraq had chemical weapons. The method is known as "because we say so".

Are you joking? I thought it was well established that there were chemical weapons in Iraq we just only found weapons designed by us, built by Europeans in factories in Iraq. And therefore the US didn't trumpet their achievements. In the case of Iraqi chemical weapons, the US established that Iraq had chemical weapons not because they said so but because Western countries had all the receipts.

Comment: Is Bloomberg the New Buzzfeed? (Score 5, Informative) 461

by eldavojohn (#48531349) Attached to: Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies
What the hell is up with the title of this article? Nowhere did I find any indication of anyone being "scared" or "frightened." On the contrary the article presents contradicting information:

Still, the Edison Electric Institute, a trade group representing America’s investor-owned utilities, recently announced that its members will help to encourage electric vehicle use by spending $50 million annually to buy plug-in service trucks and invest in car-charging technology. “Advancing plug-in electric vehicles and technologies is an industry priority,” said EEI President Thomas Kuhn.

Uh, "advancing as a priority" is actually the opposite of fear.

Southern California Edison is planning to spend about $9.2 billion through 2017 to allow the two-way flow of electricity on its system, said Edison International CEO Ted Craver. “We are certainly big supporters of electric transportation,” Craver said. He added: “That electric car isn’t just going to stay at home. It’s going to go other places. It’s going to need to get charged in other places. And I think our ability to provide that glue for all those things that are going to plug into that network is really how we see our core business.”

Again, sounds positive. Actually the only negative thing in the article is that electric cars might cause a load our infrastructure isn't ready for -- to the contrary a solar charging station in the home would mitigate this. Is the new journalism format to title your articles with a thesis directly contrary to all the actual evidence you're about to present?

"Being against torture ought to be sort of a bipartisan thing." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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