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Science

May 19, 2014

"A Wicked Orthodoxy: Global-warming alarmism is not merely irrational"

A very nice summary of the "denier" brief by the U.K.'s Nigel Lawson

However, the greatest immorality of all concerns the masses in the developing world. It is excellent that, in so many parts of the developing world — the so-called emerging economies — economic growth is now firmly on the march, as they belatedly put in place the sort of economic-policy framework that brought prosperity to the Western world. Inevitably, they already account for, and will increasingly account for, the lion’s share of global carbon emissions.

But, despite their success, there are still hundreds of millions of people in these countries in dire poverty, suffering all the ills that this brings, in terms of malnutrition, preventable disease, and premature death. Asking these countries to abandon the cheapest available sources of energy is, at the very least, asking them to delay the conquest of malnutrition, to perpetuate the incidence of preventable disease, and to increase the numbers of premature deaths.

Global-warming orthodoxy is not merely irrational. It is wicked.

May 15, 2014

"20 Things You Didn't Know About . . . Gravity"

Samples:

8. A dime-size magnet has enough electromagnetic force to overcome all of Earth’s gravity and stick to the fridge. . . . 

11. Gravity’s inverse square law also means the reach of gravitational attraction is technically infinite. Whoa.

May 06, 2014

"Impressive common misleading interpretations in statistics to make students aware of"

Fine discussion.

May 01, 2014

"35 Science 'Facts' That Are Totally Wrong"

Most diamonds aren't formed from compressed coal, frogs don't give you warts, lemmings don't commit mass suicide, people use much more than 10% of their brains, and more

April 29, 2014

"The Popularity of Data Analysis Software"

It looks like if you were tooling up--or retraining--you'd want to learn Java, Python, and R

See also "Will 2015 be the Beginning of the End for SAS and SPSS?"

April 28, 2014

"The Pacific’s Salmon Are Back — Thank Human Ingenuity"

You'd think everyone would cheer this.

You'd be wrong.

Robert Zubrin explains:

Native Americans bringing back the salmon and preserving their way of life, while combating global warming: One would think that environmentalists would be very pleased.

One would be very wrong. Far from receiving applause for their initiative, the Haida and Mr. George have become the target of rage aimed from every corner of the community seeking to use global warming as a pretext for curtailing human freedom.

You can't make stuff like this up.

"The Singularity Is Further Than It Appears"

The author--probably unfortunately--convinces me

In short, I think the near future will be one of quite a tremendous amount of technological advancement. I'm extremely excited about it. But I don't see a Singularity in our future for quite a long time to come.

April 22, 2014

"Save Lives & Deter Criminals--Help John Lott start the CPRC"

You can support John Lott on Indiegogo now.  His center concludes that "unbiased research shows that citizens protecting themselves with firearms leads to lower crime".

April 16, 2014

"23 Global Warming & Climate Change Stories All Americans Should Read Before Earth Day"

Excellent list

April 15, 2014

"At 90, Freeman Dyson Ponders His Next Challenge"

Very interesting. Three highlights:

Why math?

I think the decisive moment was reading the book “Men of Mathematics” by Eric Temple Bell. Bell was a professor at Caltech, and he wrote this book, which is actually just a wonderful collection of biographies of mathematicians. Historians condemn it as romanticized. But what was wonderful about this book is that he showed the mathematicians as being mostly crooks and people of very mixed kinds of qualities, not at all saints, and many of them quite unscrupulous and not very clever, and still they managed to do great mathematics. So it told a kid that “if they can do it, why can’t you?”

. . . 

You became a professor at Cornell without ever having received a Ph.D. You seem almost proud of that fact.

Oh, yes. I’m very proud of not having a Ph.D. I think the Ph.D. system is an abomination. It was invented as a system for educating German professors in the 19th century, and it works well under those conditions. It’s good for a very small number of people who are going to spend their lives being professors. But it has become now a kind of union card that you have to have in order to have a job, whether it’s being a professor or other things, and it’s quite inappropriate for that. It forces people to waste years and years of their lives sort of pretending to do research for which they’re not at all well-suited. In the end, they have this piece of paper which says they’re qualified, but it really doesn’t mean anything. The Ph.D. takes far too long and discourages women from becoming scientists, which I consider a great tragedy. So I have opposed it all my life without any success at all.

. . . 

What scientific advance do you see on the horizon that will have a big impact on society?

People are often asking me what’s going to happen next in science that’s important, and of course, the whole point is that if it’s important, it’s something we didn’t expect. All the really important things come as a big surprise. There are many examples of this, of course, dark energy being the latest example. Anything I mention will be something that, obviously, is not a surprise.

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