Sean King

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San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ray Kurzweil's Predictions are Chronicled on Wiki

Those who don't follow science closely might be tempted to conclude that many of his predictions haven't panned out. Take, for instance, this one:

By the early 2000's, Kurzweil predicted that "'[c]ybernetic chauffeurs' can drive cars for humans and can be retrofitted into existing cars. They work by communicating with other vehicles and with sensors embedded along the roads."

Sounds far-fetched, until you remember that he didn't say such cars would be commonplace by then, only that they would exist. In this regard, consider this from Wiki:

From 1996-2001, Alberto Broggi of the University of Parma launched the ARGO Project, which worked on enabling a modified Lancia Thema to follow the normal (painted) lane marks in an unmodified highway. The culmination of the project was a journey of 2,000 km over six days on the motorways of northern Italy dubbed MilleMiglia in Automatico, with an average speed of 90 km/h. 94% of the time the car was in fully automatic mode, with the longest automatic stretch being 54 km. The vehicle had only two black-and-white low-cost video cameras on board, and used stereoscopic vision algorithms to understand its environment, as opposed to the "laser, radar - whatever you need" approach taken by other efforts in the field.

Three US Government funded military efforts known as Demo I (US Army), Demo II (DARPA), and Demo III (US Army), are currently underway. Demo III (2001)[4] demonstrated the ability of unmanned ground vehicles to navigate miles of difficult off-road terrain, avoiding obstacles such as rocks and trees. James Albus at NIST provided the Real-Time Control System which is a hierarchical control system. Not only were individual vehicles controlled (e.g. throttle, steering, and brake), but groups of vehicles had their movements automatically coordinated in response to high level goals.

In 2002, the DARPA Grand Challenge competitions were announced. The 2004 and 2005 DARPA competitions allowed international teams to compete in fully autonomous vehicle races over rough unpaved terrain and in a non-populated suburban setting. The 2007 DARPA challenge, the DARPA urban challenge, involved autonomous cars driving in an urban setting.

In 2008, General Motors stated that they will begin testing driverless cars by 2015, and they could be on the road by 2018 .[5]

In short, fully autonomous vehicles have been around since the mid-2,000's, though they are not yet mainstream. So, was Kurzweil right? I think so. Perhaps it took until the mid-2000's rather than the early 2,000's for computers to drive cars, but in the grand scheme of things that's just a rounding error. The people who laughed at his ideas when they were first published didn't say, "Ray, you're wrong, we won't have fully automated cars until the mid-2000's." Rather, they suggested that the technology wouldn't exist until the mid-21st century, if ever.

Consider another one of this predictions that, by 2009, people would be "wearing" multiple computers, with some of them being placed inside of "jewelry". Many have suggested that this prediction hasn't come true, but only because the misconstrue what Kurzweil meant by "computers." Critic interpret the word "computer" to basically mean multi-purpose PC's, but it's clear in context that Kurzweil didn't mean that at all. Rather, he meant specialty digital devices that aid our daily living in very practical ways. Things like:

* Digital hearing aids;
* "Fashionable" bluetooth headsets;
* iPods
* Watch phones,
* etc.

Kurzweil certainly got some of the details wrong, but in principal he has been incredibly prescient. Given this, one might do well to ponder some of his predictions for the coming decade.

A Geneticist Wins the Templeton Prize


Surprise, Surprise

Half of U.S. Home Loan Modifications Default Again

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Hubble Telescope... sees almost to the beginning of time.

Rodney Johnson:

Our government runs a deficit, and a whopper of a deficit at that. Deficits must be repaid in the future. Hence, money intended to fund Social Security is taxed from workers in a form of forced savings, but is then being lent to the US government so that the government can spend in excess of it’s income. There is no savings. None. Zip. In order to repay this money, which the US government must start doing this year, the government will have to issue more bonds to other suckers investors and send the funds back to the Social Security Administration.

The noose of fiscal profligacy is tightening.

Is the new federal "tanning tax" racist?

Some argue so.

I can see the point, seeing how only whites tend to tan artificially. I mean, can you imagine the outcry if the government decided to tax something that only blacks or Hispanics do?

State as Mother

New York Times:
Buried deep in the health care legislation that President Obama signed on Tuesday is a new requirement that will affect any American who walks into a McDonald’s, Starbucks or Burger King. Every big restaurant chain in the nation will now be required to put calorie information on their menus and drive-through signs.

As much as I LOVE the idea of restaurants publishing health information on menus, I resent with every fiber of my being that the federal government believes it has the right to require them to do so.

Christian Pedophiles

The sex abuse scandal enveloping the Catholic Church moved closer to Pope Benedict XVI today with revelations that in the 1990s the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger failed to defrock an American priest who molested hundreds of deaf boys, despite receiving letters from a number of American bishops pleading with him to act.

Books Everyone Should Read (And Soon!):

Conquer the Crash: You Can Survive and Prosper in a Deflationary Depression (Wiley Trading) (Hardcover)

Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences (Paperback)

The Singularity is Near

Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto (Hardcover)

UPDATE:> Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (Hardcover)

John Stossel:

Bernie Madoff took money from people who thought he'd invested it, gave some to others who thought it was a partial return on their earlier investments, and kept much for himself. That's called a Ponzi scheme, and his $50 billion fraud was called the biggest ever. But it wasn't the biggest. Social Security and Medicare are much bigger ones.

These are trillion-dollar scams. Medicare has a $36 trillion unfunded liability. Social Security's is $8 trillion. There's no money to keep those promises.

But Congress isn't investigating this scam. Congress runs it. That FICA money you thought government had saved for your retirement is gone. There's nothing left but IOUs backed by nothing. Your money was spent not only on current retirees but on wars, welfare, corporate bailouts, earmarks, and all the other stuff Congress wants. For years, this was possible because the FICA tax brought in surpluses that allowed government to pay retirees more than they contributed and still help buy those other things.

Read the whole thing, if you can bear it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Read it and Weep:

People are hyper-focused on the the government's debt which, high as it is, still remains less than 100% of our approximately $14 trillion GDP. But the real, hidden disaster is the level of unfunded entitlements. Unfunded entitlements currently stand at $46 TRILLION DOLLARS, or another 328% of GDP on top of the debt! This is almost a 400% increase since 2000. Said another way, for the government to satisfy all of its debts and fund promised entitlements, AND ASSUMING NO ADDITIONAL INCREASES, it would have to confiscate the TOTAL VALUE OF ALL GOODS AND SERVICES produced in the United States for FOUR ENTIRE YEARS. And this is before we account for ObamaCare!

If debt were our only problem, we would have no problem. The government can simply inflate away debt by devaluing the dollar (i.e., by having the Fed print money to purchase US Government Securities, as it has been for the last year). But unlike debt, entitlement obligations automatically adjust for inflation! Said another way, the more inflation the government creates in order to monetize its debt, the more that inflation increases the amounts owed under these entitlement programs. It's a vicious cycle, and there is no way out.

In short, the US government will never default on its debt, but it will certainly "default" on its entitlement programs--social security, MediCare, and yes, even ObamaCare.

If you think the riots in Greece are bad, just wait until the American people are told that the retirement and health care benefits that they were promised their whole lives simply can't be paid.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds Apologizes to Prostitutes...

...for comparing them to Congress.

And you should be sorry, Glenn. What a terrible thing to say.

Is Congress' Power to Tax Infinite?

David Kopel:
Does Congress have the infinite power to control people’s behavior (such as by ordering them to engage in commercial transactions) via the tax power? I suggest not. When the Bill of Rights was being debated in front of Congress, the skeptical Rep. Theodore Sedgwick of Massachusetts asked if there should also be an enumeration that “declared that a man should have a right to wear his hat if he pleased; that he might get up when he pleased, and go to bed when he thought proper.” 1 Annals of Congress 759–60 (Aug. 15, 1789). Sedgewick’s point was that national laws about bedtimes and hat-wearing were self-evidently beyond the authority of Congress.

However, if the tax power means that Congress can order citizens to buy something they don’t want to buy, why does Congress not have the power to assess taxes on people who get too little sleep, or too much sleep, and thereby harm their own health and the public fisc? Or who wear hats so little that they increase their risk of skin cancer? Or who wear hats so often that they dangerously reduce their levels of vitamin D? In Sonzinsky v. United States (1937), the Supreme Court declared that it would not inquire into hidden regulatory motives that might have motivated a tax. But in Sonzinsky, the underlying activity (running a for-profit commercial business selling machine guns) was unquestionably within the scope of commercial activities that might be subject to an excise tax.

In contrast, not buying health insurance is not in its nature a commercial taxable activity. Neither is wearing a hat, or getting up when you please, or going to bed when you think it proper.
It is eminently within the authority of We the People to act politically on our constitutional beliefs that the congressional power to regulate interstate commerce does not extend to forcing people to buy a product which Congress has forbidden to be sold across state lines; that the power to regulate interstate commerce is not the power to compel a person to participate in instrastate commerce; and the that power to levy income or excise taxes does not include the power to impose punishment in the form of punitive taxes on persons who choose not to buy something–or who choose whether to wear hats and when to sleep.


What Caused the Financial Crisis?

A battle of the sexes wages.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lamar Alexander on Health Care Bill:

“This is an historic mistake. And unlike Social Security, Medicare and civil rights legislation, the only thing bipartisan about it is the opposition to it."

UPDATE: Paul Rahe has some thoughts on this subject:

Abraham Lincoln once observed, “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.” It is possible, of course, that events will intervene between now and November. It is conceivable that the healthcare bill and the manner in which it was passed in both the Senate and the House will be forgotten. But this is not likely. If the Republicans stick together, mount a principled opposition to the Obama administration on all fronts, and recruit first-rate candidates to run in every district at both the state and the federal levels in November, it is highly likely that there will be a political earthquake in this country on a scale not seen since 1932.

As I have argued now for months – first, in August, here; then, in November, here and here; and, more recently, here, here, and here – a genuine political realignment may be in the offing. This has happened at irregular intervals in our nation’s past – most notably, in 1800, 1828, 1860, and 1932 – and on each occasion the political party benefiting from the upheaval was able to paint a plausible picture depicting their opponents as being parties to a conspiracy to overthrow the liberties possessed by their fellow Americans. This is what Thomas Jefferson did to the Federalists in and after 1800; it was what Andrew Jackson did to John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Nicholas Biddle, and the Whigs in and after 1828; it was what Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans did to the slave power conspiracy and its fellow travelers in the North in and after 1860, and it was what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did to Herbert Hoover and the business-minded progressives in and after 1932. When FDR claimed, at the 1936 Democratic convention, that “a small group” of his fellow Americans was intent on concentrating “into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor – other people’s lives,” he was merely rephrasing the charges lodged in an earlier time by Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, and their political allies.

Of course, one cannot plausibly advance such a claim except in circumstances where one has a great deal of help from one’s opponents. In 1800, Jefferson profited from the quarrel pitting Alexander Hamilton against John Adams, and by exhibiting secessionist propensities at the Hartford Convention, the New England Federalists destroyed their own party. Something similar can be said regarding Nicholas Biddle and the supporters of the Second National Bank. The same is true for the supporters of the slave power in and after 1860, and Herbert Hoover was in similar fashion a godsend for FDR.

If the Republicans have a comparable opportunity in 2010 and 2012, it is because of what I described in my very first blogpost as “Obama’s Tyrannical Ambition.” Barack Obama has a gift. He has told us so himself, and he is right, but he errs in supposing that his oratorical skill will enable him to fool all of the people all of the time, and over time he has, in effect, unmasked his own party as a conspiracy on the part of a would-be aristocracy of do-gooders hostile to very idea of self-government in the United States. There is no need for me to review the record of the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress in the last fifteen months. It is enough to say that, in an administration that promised transparency, everything has been negotiated behind closed doors in a manner suggestive of tyranny and that, in an administration that promised to distance itself from the lobbyists, every major bill has been written by them and is loaded with special deals that give new meaning to the old phrase “corrupt bargain.” The stimulus bill, cap-and-trade, healthcare reform: with these Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid have brought home to the American people, as never before, the tyrannical propensities inherent in the progressive impulse. Thanks to them, everyone now knows that there is no such thing as a moderate Democrat.

I've Been Saying This for Some Time

Public Pension Deficits Are Worse Than You Think

European (Dis)Union

German and Dutch leaders have concluded in the nick of time that they cannot defy the will of their sovereign parliaments by propping up a country that lied about its deficits, or risk court defeats by breaching the no-bail-out clause in Article 125 of the EU Treaties.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has halted at the Rubicon. So has Dutch premier Jan Peter Balkenende, as well he might in charge of a broken government facing elections in a country where far-right leader Geert Wilders is the second political force, and where the Tweede Kamer has categorically blocked loans for Greece.

I doubt the Euro will survive the decade.


"This is what change looks like."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

This Gives "Computer Science" a Whole New Meaning

The Singularity Hub is reporting on a genetic discovery brought to you entirely by Adam, a robot at Aberystwyth University in Wales that can conduct its own experiments. Not just that, Adam actually invents its own experiments and defines how to perform each study. After carrying out the task Adam analyzes the data, providing scientists (we'll still call them that) with easily verifiable results.

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Those Amazing Stem Cells

Big news here.

Is it Time to Let Catholic Priests Have Sex?


Do You Know America's Fittest Cities?

Hint: Knoxville isn't one of them.

Good for Them

Pepsi plans to remove all sugary drinks from schools around the world to cut down on childhood obesity.

The company announced Tuesday that it will remove full-calorie, sweetened drinks from schools in more than 200 countries by 2012.

Evolution and Morality

Are we born selfish or altruistic?

Selfishly altruistic, I would say.

Moody's Warns of Social Unrest

Telegraph: The US rating agency said the US, the UK, Germany, France, and Spain are walking a tightrope as they try to bring public finances under control without nipping recovery in the bud. It warned of "substantial execution risk" in withdrawal of stimulus.

"Growth alone will not resolve an increasingly complicated debt equation. Preserving debt affordability at levels consistent with AAA ratings will invariably require fiscal adjustments of a magnitude that, in some cases, will test social cohesion," said Pierre Cailleteau, the chief author.

"We are not talking about revolution, but the severity of the crisis will force governments to make painful choices that expose weaknesses in society," he said.

That's hardly reassuring.

Personalized Medicine

Associated Press:
Doctors are reporting an exciting win for gene testing and personalized medicine: Checking patients' DNA before starting them on a popular blood thinner helps get the tricky dose right and keep them out of the hospital.

There are certainly exceptions, but on the whole...

this finding, reported in The Guardian, is consistent with my personal experience:

According to a study, when people feel they have been morally virtuous by saving the planet through their purchases of organic baby food, for example, it leads to the "licensing [of] selfish and morally questionable behaviour", otherwise known as "moral balancing" or "compensatory ethics".

Do Green Products Make Us Better People is published in the latest edition of the journal Psychological Science. Its authors, Canadian psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, argue that people who wear what they call the "halo of green consumerism" are less likely to be kind to others, and more likely to cheat and steal. "Virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviours," they write.

The pair found that those in their study who bought green products appeared less willing to share with others a set amount of money than those who bought conventional products. When the green consumers were given the chance to boost their money by cheating on a computer game and then given the opportunity to lie about it – in other words, steal – they did, while the conventional consumers did not. Later, in an honour system in which participants were asked to take money from an envelope to pay themselves their spoils, the greens were six times more likely to steal than the conventionals.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Social Insecurity

What's the difference between Social Security and a Ponzi scheme? Not much.

Deflation News

While big companies have been able to borrow in bond markets, smaller companies rely mainly on bank credit, which has been shrinking. In 2009, total lending by U.S. banks fell 7.4%, the steepest drop since 1942. In all, the credit pulled out of the economy by banks since the downfall of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 amounts to about $700 billion, more than double the amount so far distributed under President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus program.

"It's a dismal situation," says Diane Swonk, chief economist at Chicago-based financial-services firm Mesirow Financial. "Banks won't lend to businesses because they're afraid they'll go bad, but that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Ticking Time Bomb?

“Between 2010 and 2014, about $1.4 trillion in commercial real estate loans will reach the end of their terms. Nearly half are at present “underwater” – that is, the borrower owes more than the underlying property is currently worth. Commercial property values have fallen more than 40 percent since the beginning of 2007. Increased vacancy rates, which now range from eight percent for multifamily housing to 18 percent for office buildings, and falling rents, which have declined 40 percent for office space and 33 percent for retail space, have exerted a powerful downward pressure on the value of commercial properties.

“The largest commercial real estate loan losses are projected for 2011 and beyond; losses at banks alone could range as high as $200-$300 billion. The stress tests conducted last year for 19 major financial institutions examined their capital reserves only through the end of 2010. Even more significantly, small and mid-sized banks were never subjected to any exercise comparable to the stress tests, despite the fact that small and mid-sized banks are proportionately even more exposed than their larger counterparts to commercial real estate loan losses.”

The above quotation is from the February 10, 2010 Congressional Oversight Panel’s Special Report entitled “Commercial Real Estate Losses and the Risk to Financial Stability.” The full report is available here.

Increasingly the media is suggesting that the worst of the financial crisis is behind us. But based on original source material such as the above, I'm not so sure.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Christian Pedophiles

Micha J. Stone:
The Catholic church in Germany has been rocked by a sex abuse scandal, a scandal that now threatens Pope Benedict XVI. It has just come to light that while the Pope was archbishop in Southern Germany he covered for a pedophile priest, a priest transferred to a job where he later went on to abuse more children.

Germany is only now beginning to experience the shocking disclosures of widespread child sexual abuse by clergy that are now all too familiar to an American audience. Since the end of January, there has been an explosion of Germans coming forward to report cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

Related story: Swiss Catholic Church investigates 60 claims of sex abuse

Vitamin D as effective as vaccine in preventing flu


Related story here:

There is an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency sweeping across our modern world, and it’s an epidemic of such depth and seriousness that it makes the H1N1 swine flu epidemic look like a case of the sniffles by comparison. Vitamin D deficiency is not only alarmingly widespread, it’s also a root cause of many other serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease.

A new study published in the March, 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that a jaw-dropping 59 percent of the population is vitamin D deficient. In addition, nearly 25 percent of the study subjects were found to have extremely low levels of vitamin D.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Richard Kremer at the McGill University Health Center, said “Abnormal levels of vitamin D are associated with a whole spectrum of diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular and autoimmune disorders.”

This new study also documents a clear link between vitamin D deficiency and stored body fat. This supports a theory I’ve espoused here on NaturalNews for many years: That sunshine actually promote body fat loss. Vitamin D may be the hormonal mechanism by which this fat loss phenomenon operates.

A Peak Inside the Insurance Industry
Today, nearly half of Florida's home insurance is provided by companies whose primary profit comes not from insuring homes but from diverting premiums into a host of side ventures.

Investors and executives in 2008 moved $1.9 billion in policyholder money out of heavily regulated insurers, where profits are capped and dividends are restricted, to separate companies that are owned by the same people, housed at the same address and sometimes use the same employees.

As soon as the money is moved, it is beyond the reach of homeowners who might need it to rebuild after a disaster.

It is also free to be paid to investors and owners as profit without interference from regulators.

Meanwhile, insurance executives complained about losses and state-mandated discounts, and pressured state regulators for permission to charge homeowners more -- even to end rate regulation altogether.

I agree with the Herald Tribune's diagnosis of the problem, but I suspect I will disagree with their prescription for fixing it.

Singularity Hub has a very lengthy article about the Intendix from Guger Technologies (g.tec), a system that allows the end user to type messages my mere thought. The system makes it possible by using an EEG cap that measures the user's brain activity. Supposedly the Intendix is rather simple to use after ten minutes of training.
Here's a video example:

UK Telegraph:

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the adverts – which were based on the children's poems Jack and Jill and Rub-A-Dub-Dub – made exaggerated claims about the threat to Britain from global warming.

In definitely asserting that climate change would cause flooding and drought the adverts went beyond mainstream scientific consensus, the watchdog said.

It noted that predictions about the potential global impact of global warming made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "involved uncertainties" that the adverts failed to reflect.

Full story here. I'm not keen on the whole idea of an "advertising standards authority" in the first place, but at least they got this one right.

Snow Covered Smokies:

Snow Shoe 2010:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Register:

More bad news today for the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as another of its extravangant ecopocalypse predictions, sourced from green campaigners, has been confirmed as bunk by scientists.

The UN body came under attack earlier this year for suggesting that 40 per cent of the Amazonian rainforests - dubbed the "lungs of the planet" by some for their ability to turn CO2 into oxygen, and also seen as vital on biodiversity grounds - might disappear imminently. This disaster would be triggered, according to the IPCC's assessment, by a relatively slight drop in rainfall of the sort to be expected in a warming world.

Unfortunately it now appears that just such conditions have already occurred, and in fact the Amazonian jungles were unaffected.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the baseless IPCC projection originated in a study produced in 2000 by hard-green* ecological campaigning group WWF, which was also implicated in the IPCC's equally invalid prediction that the glaciers of the Himalayas will all have melted within a generation from now.

Full story here. Maybe the science behind this report on birds is sounder.

No Duh!

Vaccines that contain a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal cannot cause autism on their own, a special U.S. court ruled on Friday, dealing one more blow to parents seeking to blame vaccines for their children's illness.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Medical Tourism

But Limbaugh’s choice may also serve to advertise what many Americans traveling here for medical treatment already know: Costa Rica is a fabulous place for medical tourism.

Life expectancy in this little Central American country surpasses that of the United States and at one point, back in the early 2000s when the World Health Organization rated countries’ general health, Costa Rica ranked higher (No. 36) than its northern neighbor (No. 37), despite spending 87 percent less on health care per capita.
Some who've studied Costa Rican health care consider it better overall, and attribute that to the fact that free coverage extends to 86.8 percent of the population.
But the Cadillac-style private hospitals at Chevy Aveo prices are what really draw 25,000 Americans to Costa Rica every year.

“People travel to Costa Rica (and) receive the same quality of medical services for a fraction of the cost,” said Jorge Cort├ęs, president of the Council for International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine and medical director of Hospital Biblica, one of three internationally-accredited private hospitals in Costa Rica. “When people see they can get the same surgery for three or four times less, they decide to get medical care abroad.”

Read the whole thing.

How Low Can "O" Go?

Lower than this if he passed health care reform.

Mind Readers

A scan of brain activity can effectively read a person's mind, researchers said Thursday.

British scientists from University College London found they could differentiate brain activity linked to different memories and thereby identify thought patterns by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

The evidence suggests researchers can tell which memory of a past event a person is recalling from the pattern of their brain activity alone.

The results, reported in the March 11 online edition of Current Biology, follow an earlier discovery by the same team that they could tell where a person was standing within a virtual reality room in the same way.



If only taxpayers got as mad about being fleeced as government workers do about losing their gravy train. . . .

Low Testosterone

Myles Spar:
More and more, we are finding low T in our male patients. This does not appear to be only because we are checking levels more often. A large study showed that average T levels have fallen from 1987 to 2007. Among 1,532 randomly selected men at three time periods between those years, there was a slow, steady decline in T levels such that a 65 year old in 2007 had 15 percent lower T than a 65-year-old in 1987 -- even correcting for being over weight or smoking.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

If the days seem a little shorter than normal...'s because they are:

The earthquake that killed more than 700 people in Chile on Feb. 27 probably shifted the Earth’s axis and shortened the day, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist said.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Remembering the "Farragut Nine"

I went to Farragut, and I'm embarrassed to say that I knew nothing of this history.

Pseudo Science

Prof Jones today said it was not 'standard practice' in climate science to release data and methodology for scientific findings so that other scientists could check and challenge the research.
He also said the scientific journals which had published his papers had never asked to see it.

Well then, Mr. Jones, call it what you will, but your work was not "science." The word science is not a loose term of art but rather has a specific meaning. In short, it describes the body of knowledge gained by application of the scientific method. And, the final step in the scientific method is confirmation:

Science is a social enterprise, and scientific work tends to be accepted by the community when it has been confirmed. Crucially, experimental and theoretical results must be reproduced by others within the science community. Researchers have given their lives for this vision; Georg Wilhelm Richmann was killed by ball lightning (1753) when attempting to replicate the 1752 kite-flying experiment of Benjamin Franklin.

To protect against bad science and fraudulent data, government research granting agencies like NSF and science journals like Nature and Science have a policy that researchers must archive their data and methods so other researchers can access it, test the data and methods and build on the research that has gone before. Scientific data archiving can be done at a number of national archives in the U.S. or in the World Data Center.

But, apparently not at the CRU.

Pilot Adrian Van Zyl and Others Bring Orphans From Haiti:

Adrian is a great guy and an excellent pilot.