Bits & Pieces (Tuesday Night Open Mic)

"I can tell you exactly how this will look in one hundred years."

Climate Models Need Revising. And those will need revising. And then those will need revising. Because the climate is god-awful complicated and the predictive power of computer modeling on god-awful complicated systems is still in its infancy. Which is why deniers often bring up our inability to accurately predict the weather a few days (sometimes a few hours) in advance: not because climate = weather, but predicting outcomes in both cases is god-awful complicated, and using them for forecasting the future has, at least currently, very little efficacy.

These results are significant as until now projections of the possible effects of predicted climate change have assumed that droughts and heat waves would always have an effect on ecosystems – and that in turn would lead on to carbon level changes leading to more temperature rises and so on. These assumptions may now have to be revisited.

Also in Climate News: Leaked Climate Gate emails are good and wholesome and totally whistleblowingly appropriate, if they are the emails of climate change skeptics. But could one of them be plant?


The 4 Reasons Why Human Beings Will Never Understand Each Other.

… It’s harder to think that these are human beings who probably don’t arbitrarily decide on a hobby of being wrong about things because it is fun, and that they’re being driven by basic human qualities that we also have, like fear or ego. Or that they feel the need to make larger-than-life monsters and heroes out of real people (throwing away facts to do so) in order to make sense out of the confusing and painful situation our country has been going through (the economy, the release of the Ghost Rider sequel, etc.).

They’re not good reasons, but they are reasons, beyond just “They’re bad people, that’s what bad people do.”

One of the most poorly used words to describe why bad people do what they do is “hate.” Everything from racial attacks to bullying to terrorism to political rhetoric is driven by “hate,” which has pretty much become a catch-all word to cover any kind of conflict.

Unfortunately, sometimes this gives the wrong impression that all the racists, sexists and demagogues are basically the same — they have some kind of burning anger against people who are different and just want to lash out against them. Who knows where it comes from, and who cares?

… But no fucking human being wakes up in the morning and schemes about how they are going to “destroy America” for the sake of evil. No matter how awful you think abortion supporters or opponents are, they’ve convinced themselves that the side they picked is really the right thing to do or, at the very least, they are getting money or positive attention by lobbying for it.

Even people who worship Satan do it because they think it will make them look cool. People do what they do because they think it’s right, or to benefit themselves, or both. Nobody pursues evil like some kind of charitable cause …

And plenty other good points.


A review of Apple’s upcoming release of OS X 10.8 (or Mountain Lion).

No new news on ancient Japanese scrolls that depict the incredible ninja-warrior powers of flatulence. Alas.

A bizarre write-in campaign to keep the Democrats from running anyone against Scott Walker by writing in Scott Walker as his challenger in the primary. How does that work legally? Since Walker cannot run against himself, why not just dismiss the votes clearly intended to sabotage the election? I have a hard time seeing this working.


A vote for Rick Santorum is a vote against Satan. I’m having a hard time getting the audio through the net nanny, but this does not seem smart.

Also, Rick apparently believes that “pursuit of happiness” exclusively means “doing the will of God”. Given that “pursuit of happiness” was at one point the more specific “right to own property”, I think Santorum has that almost exactly backwards. He’s at least 172° out of phase.

And that’s that for me! — KW


For the Calvin and Hobbes fans: Pants are overrated

— Mike

10 Responses

  1. The Wonkblog article on the latest ‘scandal’ is pretty good at establishing the time and the issues. Much better than McArdle who is way deep in the woods.

    I fear that Gleick has been the victim of hoax, either by an overzealous forger, or a disinformation campaign. I would lean towards the former but not rule out the latter. Sadly the existence of the red herring memo will indirectly discredit the real stuff he obtained. Either way his reputation is permanently damaged as ‘The Guy Who Lied To Steal Documents’. This is why the ends rarely if ever justify the means.


    • If the ends don’t justify the means, it is because they don’t, not because you are hosed if you get caught lying and making **** up.

      From what I read, it looks like the case that he fabricated the memo himself is strong. Either way, someone forged it to attack Heartland.

      The rest of the stuff is meaningless.


  2. An slightly amusing take on Windows 8 Beta [not from a “respected” source] to bookend with the Mac preview:


  3. Mark,

    I spent a lot of time listening to podcasts on the TWiT Network (haven’t listened to Windows Weekly in ages, gotta start that one again). The general consensus is that Microsoft is betting on Windows 8, the Metro interface, and tablet computing in a big way, and that it’s going to do a lot of prevent adoption of Windows 8 in the enterprise . . . which that Microsoft, some think, knows is true, but they are fighting for the future enterprise made up of tablets rather than present-day enterprise filled with old fashioned laptops and desktops. Presumably, the Windows Server product would remain stodgy and un-Metro’d, but everything will change from previous version to new version, just so people who have to use it don’t know where anything is after the upgrade. 😉


  4. If the ends don’t justify the means, it is because they don’t, not because you are hosed if you get caught lying and making **** up.

    True. Getting caught is just one of the was the ends don’t justify the means. From a moral standpoint it is always a bad idea as well.


  5. “For the Calvin and Hobbes fans: Pants are overrated”

    Cool. Thanks.

    Shit. Its past daddy’s bedtime.


  6. I tried to post a few things to Plum Line this morning. Network errors, posts disappearing to the ether, errors I had never seen when trying to load more comments. Goodness, what a mess.


  7. Kevin – Even modeling the electronic structure of molecules is complicated and being revised all the time. Fortunately, those in my field didn’t wait for the perfect model before doing a lot of interesting work.



  8. Fortunately, those in my field didn’t wait for the perfect model before doing a lot of interesting work.

    Nor should they. It’s the predictive powers with which we sometimes invest models that I sometimes question (or, lets say, that the popular press and laypeople sometimes invest such models with oracle-like predictive powers). Predictive data from such models should, of course, be considered. Predicting the ocean will be dead in 20 years or that NYC will be underwater in 75 with any degree of certitude seems . . . foolhardy. Its the revising of models that will, no doubt, eventually get us much more accurately predictive models.


Be kind, show respect, and all will be right with the world.

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