Author Archives: Brandon Shollenberger

The Chutzpah

I'm trying to get a bunch of work done on a couple gaming-related projects by Christmas so I'm not spending much time keeping up with things in the blogosphere, but a person drew my attention to a tweet and I had to highlight it:

It's really quite obscene. If you don't know why it's so outrageous, read my response to it:

Lewandowsky and many of his compatriots of his field of study have completely misused simple correlation tests by applying them to highly skewed data sets, violating basic requirements for the tests. The tests require data have a symmetrical distribution (which you can't have in a heavily skewed data set), and because of that requirement, the relationships their results represent will be symmetrical.

Lewandowsky has amazing chutzpah to violate the requirement his data have a symmetrical distribution then turn around and say his results prove there is a symmetrical relationship.

Nazi! Nazi! Nazi!

Lately I've discussed some examples of how the once great site, Climate Audit, has been going downhill as its proprietor, Steve McIntyre, has taken to a strange behavior in which he says and does all sorts of bizarre things which make him seem little more than a mouthpiece for Russian propaganda.

McIntyre complains about being described as such, but at this point, I think it is a completely appropriate description. We've reached the point where McIntyre happily even the most obvious of tricks used in Russian propaganda. Consider, for instance, this tweet of his:

Here, McIntyre slams a group for supporting "Ukraine, one of only three nations in world to vote against UN anti-Nazi resolution." McIntyre apparently feels this is a terrible thing to do, but if so, why doesn't he mention who the other two countries who voted against the resolution were? Maybe it's because he's Canadian, and those two countries are the United States and Canada. I guess he didn't want to admit he refuses to support his homeland due to it being run by Nazi sympathizers.
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That's not Pedophilia!

I've been in something of a writing malaise as of late, and as a result, I've been spending time doing other things, like helping set up a new website I'll be contributing to (for gaming, not cimate stuff). I feel kind of bad about not posting more here, but honestly, the other things I've been doing feel far more productive.

That said, I did see two things I couldn't ignore today on Twitter. I'm going to talk about one today and the other tomorrow. For today's, no real context is needed but most readers have probably heard Senator Roy Moore has been accused of sexually molesting teenage girls. A user on Twitter, who I believe is aso a commenter here, wrote this in regard to those accusations:

Moore's accuser was a 14 year old girl who says he, when he was a 32 years old assistant district attorney, invited her to his house and gave her alcohol. She says they kissed and he undressed the both of them, so that she was weraing just her underwear and bra while he was just wearing underwear. Then, she claims, he made her put her hand on his genitals.

But this isn't pedophilia, because her underwear stayed on!

Happy Turkey Day!

Scheduling issues prevented my family from getting together to celebrate Thanksgivings Day yesterday so we're doing it today instead. I think that's okay. The date of most holidays is arbitrary so if you want to celebrate one day rather than another, who's to complain? Besides, it sure beats going shopping today.

Anyway, I just wanted to wish everyone a happy Turkey Day. I don't actually know how this holiday came about as I'm pretty sure my grade school lessons about pilgrims in their shiny buckles weren't all that accurate, but I can't say I really care. It's a great holiday for spending time with family and something and something... Yeah, I don't know.

I just like to good food.

Prius Too Fast

So I nearly got in a pretty bad car wreck today. Some guy in a sports car decided I was going too slow in my Prius. No prob. He can just go around me. We're on a highway with two lanes going our direction. It's not even a problem he decides to swing back into the right lane even though the left lane was completely clear.

The problem is, somehow, in his nice little sports car, he doesn't accelerate enough so when he swings back into the right lane, he's less than a foot from my car. Panicked, he yanks the wheel left and goes into a full spin, landing in the grass (unharmed). Naturally, when I go to check on him he speeds off before I can even get to his car.

I'm fine as he managed to just barely avoid clipping my car, but I can't get over this. How in the world did this guy wind up in a situation where he would have to say, "The Prius was going too fast"?

November 19, 2017 9:45 Update: This morning when I saw my car, I realized the phrase "close call" might not be entirely accurate:

Lying is Not Okay

A couple days ago I came across a link on Twitter to a post on Judith Curry's blog saying a scientist was suing critics to shut them up. Naturally, I was curious. I went to the blog post and saw it starts off:

Mannian litigation gone wild. — Steve McIntyre

Details given by Michael Schellenberger in Environmental Progress:

Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson has filed a lawsuit, demanding $10 million in damages, against the peer-reviewed scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) [link to published paper] and a group of eminent scientists (Clack et al.) for their study showing that Jacobson made improper assumptions in order to claim that he had demonstrated U.S. energy could be provided exclusively by renewable energy, primarily wind, water, and solar.

A copy of Jacobson’s complaint and submitted exhibits can be found here and here.

What Jacobson has done is unprecedented. Scientific disagreements must be decided not in court but rather through the scientific process. We urge Stanford University, Stanford Alumni, and everyone who loves science and free speech to denounce this lawsuit.

The idea presented here is quite serious, but I wanted to do a little checking before drawing conclusions as filing a lawsuit is not trivial a thing to most people. Why would someone file a lawsuit like this? Would they think they could shut their critics up just by filing baseless lawsuits?

I know plenty of people like to act as though the answer to that question is yes. Anthony Watts ran a post about this lawsuit titled, "UGLY: Disputing peer review by lawsuit" and began it by saying:

Wow, just wow. Some scientists and their egos. Sheesh.

Another blog ran a post titled,

Academia Stunned As Science Anti-Free Speech Neurosis Flares…”Eminent Scientists” Sued Over Dissident Paper!

While quoting the reaction of only one academic (Judith Curry), which seems odd for an article saying academia as a whole is having any particular reaction. There doesn't seem to have been any effort to gauge how academics feel about this in general, much less an effort to examine what the lawsuit is really about. It's just more of the typical lazy talking points with no substance. It makes me wonder, is that all there really is?
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Was Clinton's Server Hacked?

I've been silent on this site recently because as of late I don't think anything I say matters. As I've mentioned a few times lately, the blog I respected the most used to be Cilmate Audit. It and its proprietor, Steve McIntyre, had a huge impact on me as I grew up.

I discovered McIntyre's first website back when I was in high school, and I followed his the subsequent blog for well over a decade. Following it taught me a great deal, both about technical matters and how the foibles of people shape aspects of our world. I could go on, but I don't want to as I've lost any and all respect for the site as of late.

To demonstrate part of why I've become disillusioned, I'm going to discuss the question of whether or not Hillary Clinton's private mail server got hacked. Following from this, I'll ask, did someone commit a felony by destroying the evidence which would have shown whether or not that server was hacked? Finally, did the person investigating this topic ignore such a felony to cover things up? Thses may seem like strange questions, but they stem from McIntyre stating:

Comey whitewashed the situation, saying that there was no evidence that the Clinton server had been hacked. “No evidence” because all the server logs had been destroyed. Comey ignored the obstruction of justice.

According to McIntyre, the head of the investigation into Clinton's use of a private mail server, James Comey, whitewashed the situation by ignoring a felony then misled people by saying there was "no evidence" Clinton's server had been hacked when that was tautological as the evidence which would have shown such was destroyed. This narrative is delusional.
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So Silly

Yesterday I talked about how misquotations are bad because I wanted to show a strange one I found at Climate Audit whose author, Steve McIntyre, chose to ignore. Instead, after the second time I said there was a misquotation, he changed his post to fix a problem he found because of what I said. He then proceeded to say absolutely nothing to anyone about the change he made.

The result was it went completely unnoticed, even by me, until I wrote yesterday's post. I was, I believe understandably, perturbed by this. By changing his post without giving any indication, McIntyre would alter the apparent meaning of my remarks. Anyone who saw me point out problems then looked at the "fixed" version would be misled about what I said. McIntyre defends this, saying:

This denial doesn't deny any facts I alleged. McIntyre claims he didn't make a change secretly, but he doesn't say how anyone could have possibly been aware of the change. On top of this, he doesn't mention the fact he made an additional change to his post which I hadn't noticed. Nobody had.

According to McIntyre, he didn't make any secret change to his post, yet even as he said this, he knew neither I nor anybody else had noticed the second change which I'll discuss today.
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Misquotations are Bad

I have a couple topics I'm supposed to be writing posts about (does anyone remember my correlation series?). I regret how little progress I"m making on them. However, the nonsense going on at Climate Audit has been keeping me distracted. I love that site. It has had more impact on my life than any other site on the internet. It's also going to hell due to the things its proprietor, Steve McIntyre, has been saying and doing of late.

I don't want to talk about all the nonsense that's been going on there lately. If I talk about things like how denying Russia invaded Crimea is both insane and morally repugnant, I might start getting bitter and angry. I'd rather focus on something that at least has some humor in it.

Namely, I'm going to talk about a bizarre case of misquotation. All misquotations are wrong, but what effect they have can vary greatly. Soemtimes a misquotation involves a minor error which doesn't impact the meaning. Other times it can change a person's meaning to the point of libeling them. Then there are cases where the misquotations are... just weird.
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