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Comment Re:Class warfare? and Constitutionality (Score 1) 10

In the meantime, we can focus on the initiative itself, and not get bogged down in the Constitutionality issue, since we have a system set up to rule on that.

That's absurd. Yes, there's a system, but it doesn't always work very well. And even if it did, that's no excuse to purposefully break the rules. It's not just agents of the government who have responsibilities as far as our government goes. For instance, perhaps this phrase seems familiar, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Would you have the same approach if the issue at hand were, say, slavery? Freedom of speech? The PATRIOT act? Do you care about the rule of law at all? Or just when it might be convenient?

Comment Re:Uh oh (Score 1) 433

I did read what you said, and it's true you didn't specify what you thought was going on right now as far as people trying to get rid of corruption.

The main theme of the last year has been increasing the size and role of government. Which is what a lot of the screaming is about. Was there something else you were thinking about? Because that seemed like the most obvious interpretation of your comment.

Comment Re:I'm still appalled that anyone defends Chavez (Score 1) 433

So your theory is that the US government giving incentives for companies to make loans and sell them off didn't contribute to problems? Especially when combined with the actions of the Fed. If your argument is that Fannie and Freddie weren't the sole cause, then I'm with you.

I don't know enough about Canadian law to comment on Canadian banks, but the meme that US banks were thoroughly deregulated is...delusional. In any case, as the GP pointed out, it was the US, through regulators and others (yes, including Fannie and Freddie!), that was encouraging the risky behavior of the banks.

Booms and busts are basically a natural thing in biology and economics. But that doesn't mean we need governments providing perverse incentives to make them worse.

Comment Re:Uh oh (Score 2, Insightful) 433

So what you're saying is that we've got a lot of corruption...you don't elaborate, but I'm guessing (based on the types of things I've heard about, say, insurance companies) it's things like corporations lobbying and influencing the government that you were thinking about. And the solution is to make the government more powerful, and therefore make it even more important for those corporations to influence government?

So, what should we do about them taking our liberties?

Comment Obliviousness (Score 1) 7

Let's not forget the actual, not threatened, bullet that was shot into Eric Cantor's office. This is just one more attempt by the Democrats to be victims and to try to distract us from their ridiculous arguments and behavior.

Comment Re:Uh...what? (Score 1) 787

Yes, I grew up in the LA smog in the 1980s. It was pretty bad back then. It's actually nothing like that now. I totally agree that we should focus on actual pollutants, and that in the US, at least, we've made a lot of progress. It just doesn't make sense to focus on CO2 in terms of pollution.

There are certainly limits to everything, but I don't think we're anywhere near it on CO2. Consider that greenhouse operators often add CO2 up to something like 1000ppm. That's more than twice what's in the atmosphere right now. Actually, I've seen studies that say that the oceans are absorbing the same fraction of CO2 as they have been previously, which argues that the oceans probably aren't getting saturated.

Comment Re:I love the double standards (Score 1) 787

Water vapor precipitates out on a short cycle, especially when carried via weather patterns — and, with cloud formation, even has your vaunted negative feedback cycle (in isolation, at least). The cycle for removing CO2 is much longer and much more involved.

That's true, but there's still a lot more water vapor in the atmosphere doing a lot more to warm the planet than CO2. While it precipitates out, it also evaporates a lot into the atmosphere. And with respect to clouds, most models are not using them as a negative feedback.

Here [nasa.gov], knock yourself out. Plenty more where that came from.

Yes, the climate models have generally been available. It's more on the side of estimating current and past temperatures where the sharing has been especially lacking. This is important in order to judge if what's happening is really extraordinary or just another century in the life of the earth.

I know enough about science in general to be able to judge the approach, results, limitations, and (yes) politics outside my particular bailiwick (astrophysics, should you be curious. Credentials available upon request).

Perhaps, but IMHO you haven't shown it here. Credentials are a lot less interesting than the arguments presented. I don't have a background in "climate science", but I do in math, statistics and computer simulation. And I really don't find the evidence for anthropogenic climate change convincing.

Comment Re:I love the double standards (Score 1) 787

Yes, you've pointed out that there is some uncertainty in the issues I presented. Which was pretty much my point.

  • Ocean acidification is really a misnomer. The pH is getting slightly lower, but still above neutral.
  • Yes, carbon is naturally sequestered in several ways. There are also natural sources, such as volcanoes that replenish it in the atmosphere. There's still not very much of it.
  • The net feedback in the models is very uncertain, especially due to the unknown feed backs associated with clouds. And since CO2 has been at least an order of magnitude higher than it is now, I think there's a lot of room to doubt the theory that CO2's feedback overwhelms other feedbacks is pretty shaky, no matter what the source of the CO2.
  • Yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but its effect is dwarfed by the #1 GHG, water vapor.
  • Proxies can be useful, but only if we correctly understand the uncertainty involved.

Of course, as a backdrop to all of this is the obfuscation that's been revealed in climate science circles. The history of not sharing data, models (i.e., statistical) and computer code should at least suggest that we need to review what's already been done to make sure it's correct. A scientist refusing to share data because someone will look at it to see if the scientist made mistakes doesn't mean that he made mistakes, but it does mean that we should have less confidence in it than if he did share, and independent parties came to the same or similar conclusions.

As a parent, I do have skin in the game, and while I don't believe we're going to cause any sort of runaway climate change due to CO2, I'd rather my kids grow up in a warmer, rather than colder world. What's the 'correct' temperature, anyways?

My 'penchant for doing nothing' is only partly based on my respect and understanding of the scientific method. I don't believe that we're causing runaway climate change for similar reasons to not believing in homeopathy: the evidence for it just isn't there, no matter how passionately it's believed in by some. In addition to that, it's not at all clear to me that the consequences, even if we did significantly warm the planet, would be all negative.

You may have much lower standards for accepting scientific theories as truth, but you should at least recognize it when you do so.

Comment Re:I love the double standards (Score 1) 787

I do accept that we'll never have the same sort of ability to test. That wasn't the point. The testing of pharmaceuticals is simply how we validate and verify that our guess about the effects are correct.

We need to do something in the place of that testing, and I'm claiming it hasn't happened anywhere near where I'm satisfied with it. In particular, I think these issues need some work:

  • Measuring changes in temperature that problematic in terms of accuracy and precision, even with modern instruments, let alone paleoclimate estimates based on proxy measurements. Not to mention the questionable manipulations done to those proxies.
  • Unvalidated (and possibly unvalidateable) models with huge uncertainties for very important aspects of the system they are modeling (e.g., clouds). These models are generally dominated by positive feedback, the hallmark of an unstable system. The runaway warming they predict doesn't seem to match what we know about the history or even current behavior of the climate.
  • Evidence of complex behavior on the part of the climate that suggests other, probably stronger influences on the system than CO2.
  • Historical evidence of temperature leading changes in CO2.

Of course, this is simply about the scientific question of whether or not we're causing the climate to change in dramatic ways. The cost benefit analysis regarding what to about it all is the job of politics in general, and politicians in particular, in order to balance the science, economics, morality, etc. of the policy regarding some topic, this one included.

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