Author Archives: Brandon Shollenberger

Upside Down Proxies in the IPCC AR5

A recent tweet:

Led me to yet another one of those articles which likes to pretend critics of the (in)famous Hockey Stick are just obsessed with one study published twenty years ago, hoping if they can prove it was fraudulent, something, something, something despite all the later work confirming the Hockey Stick was right.

That, of course, is complete drivel. Critics of the Hockey Stick have long criticized many temperature reconstructions and argued the later ones do not validate the original Hockey Stick. In fact, a common point many people have made is that the later work which supposedly confirms the original often uses data from the original. In fact, many later studies took output from the original one and used it as input for their analysis.

(It turns out if you use the results of a study in your calculations, your calculations may well match those of the original study. Who knew?)

Anyway, that's not what I wanted to look at today. That bugs me, but the article made me look at something which I hadn't thought about in some time. When I did a little digging into it, I discovered there was information I had never seen before. It's somewhat interesting.
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Sick, Part Two

About a week ago I mentioned being sick and that it might lead to me being unavailable for a bit. A few days later, I commented to say it looked like my recovery was going well and I'd be fine. It turns out I spoke a little too soon. Mostly because I'm an idiot.

Back when I was 18, I had a bad reaction to some medicine. As part of my recovery, I told the doctor about how I sometimes get migraines and was given some medication as a preventative measure for them. I didn't quite realize these two medications were the same. Just like last time, the medication messed me up and left me semi-stoned the entire time I was on it. Fun times.

Anyway, things are all better now. I'm clearheaded and feel fine. I'll have my next post up within 48 hours. More importantly, I hope this post can continue to exist so I have a record of the word "amitriptyline." I never want to take this again.


Hey guys, just a head's up. I'm coming down with something, and there's a chance it'll be bad enough to keep me offline for a few days. I'm hoping it's not that serious and I'll just be in bed for a couple days, but I wanted to let you know in case I don't post for a bit.

On an unrelated matter, which I mention just because the issue of medicine reminded me of it, here's something I find funny. In the United States, a person cannot buy Albuterol, a popular drug from treating asthma, without a prescription from a doctor. They can, however, buy Racepinephrine to use instead. It is nowhere near as effective (and doesn't really target the cause of the problem), and it is also much more dangerous.

I find that amusing. The safer, more effective treatment is barred from individuals with a doctor's approval, but the less safe, less effective treatment is readily available.

"Skeptics" And Sharing Data

I was supposed to be running my next post on correlations today (my goal is to run one such post a week until the series is finished), but recent political developments have left me in a foul mood. If you don't know what I'm referring to, you can see my previous post here. I don't trust myself to put the final touches on a technical post while in a foul mood, so instead, I'd like to discuss a different, but somewhat related, matter.

I am interested in paleoclimatology. I am no Steve McIntyre (who runs Climate Audit), as has been pointed out by several of my critics, but I like to think I am reasonably knowledgeable on the field. I certainly know more about it than the average person, and when it comes to fine technical details of individual proxies/reconstructions, I might even be more knowledgeable than a number of "experts." SO today, I'd like to discuss a problem in the field.
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Pardon Me

Is that really what's happening in this country nowadays? Is the President of the United States really going to pardon racist sheriffs who repeatedly break the law and willfully violate court orders? The President of the United States is pardoning Joe Arpaio for intentionally disregarding the courts of the United States when they repeatedly instructed him to stop using unlawful practices to target minorities.

We can leave aside how Arpaio is a racist who flouted the law at every opportunity. We have leave aside how Arpaio is so narcissistic he plotted a fake assassination attempt against himself then framed a man for it so he could get good publicity. We can leave aside how Arpaio is responsible for numerous deaths and the continued sexual abuse of many people, including children.

We can leave aside just how horrible a person Arpaio is. It won't change the nature of this case. Arpaio did used unlawful practices as sheriff to target a class of people he didn't like. The courts told him to stop. He responded (metaphorically), "Screw you!" The courts told him to stop again. And again. And again. Each time, he responded, "Screw you!" The courts finally got tired of this and recommended he be prosecuted. He was, and he was convicted.

Then Donald Trump came along and told the courts, "Screw you!" and pardoned Arpaio. Because apparently the President of the United States wants to defend individuals who intentionally engage in unlawful practices to target people he dislikes. Trump basically just told everyone who might want to target minorities, "Hey, don't worry about the courts telling you what you're doing is illegal. Just keep doing it. I've got your back."

I don't have the words.


Post about math is scheduled to go up tomorrow when I'll have time to discuss it/correct errors people might find. In the meantime, I want to share something which amuses me.

In the United States, people have the right to remain silent when questioned by the police. The Supreme Court has ruled to invoke this right, a person must unambiguously indicate they do no wish to speak to the police, such as by saying they want to remain silent. If they do so, the police cannot continue to interrogate them.

To invoke your right to remain silent, you must speak out. Being silent is not invoking your right to remain silent. In fact, remaining silent can actually be a waiver of your right to remain silent:

Thompkins makes various arguments that his answers to questions from the detectives were inadmissible. He first contends that he “invoke[d] his privilege” to remain silent by not saying anything for a sufficient period of time, so the interrogation should have “cease[d]” before he made his inculpatory statements. Id. , at 474; see Mosley , 423 U. S., at 103 (police must “ ‘scrupulously hono[r]’ ” this “critical safeguard” when the accused invokes his or her “ ‘right to cut off questioning’ ” (quoting Miranda , supra , at 474, 479)).

This argument is unpersuasive. In the context of invoking the Miranda right to counsel, the Court in Davis v. United States , 512 U. S. 452, 459 (1994) , held that a suspect must do so “unambiguously.” If an accused makes a statement concerning the right to counsel “that is ambiguous or equivocal” or makes no statement, the police are not required to end the interrogation, ibid. , or ask questions to clarify whether the accused wants to invoke his or her Miranda rights, 512 U. S., at 461–462.
Thompkins did not say that he wanted to remain silent or that he did not want to talk with the police. Had he made either of these simple, unambiguous statements, he would have invoked his “ ‘right to cut off questioning.’ ” Mosley , supra , at 103 (quoting Miranda , supra , at 474). Here he did neither, so he did not invoke his right to remain silent.

I can't get past this. Remaining absolutely silent for three hours while police interrogate you is not invoking your right to remain silent, but speaking out to say, "I don't want to talk to you" is.

Why Did the Civil War Happen?

My last post was more rambly than I care for so I'm going to take the time to make one more post on the subject of the Civil War before moving on. I mostly want to because over the last few days I've been derided, and even labeled a racist, for saying it is wrong to summarize the Civil War by saying, "The Civil War was fought over slavery."

Slavery was obviously an important factor in the Civil War, but for the first two years of the war, slaves weren't freed. More than one Union state had slaves during the war, and the last slaves to exist in the United States were actually ones held by members of the Union. To claim the war was just because of slavery is absurd.
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Not Math

I had a post scheduled to go live today to follow up on the mathematical discussion of my last post. However, the recent unrest in the United States over racial issues, particularly in how they relate to the Civil War, has provoked me to write a different post for today. If you're not interested in such things, or in what's bound to be a lot of rambling, I suggest skipping this.
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