Author Archives: Brandon Shollenberger

I Am Actually Afraid

I know some people will say this issue is just "more of the same," but I posted this on Facebook a few days ago:

Greg Gianforte assaulted a reporter out of annoyance, had his staff lie about it, got reelected mere days later then pled guilty to the crime after the election. Rather than be condemned and driven out of the party, the Republican party has backed him to the point the president of the United States lavishes praise on him on national television.

Say what you want about political issues and how the "other side" does blah, blah, blah. Just understand this. If you support Trump and are physically capable of body slamming me, I'm going to be a little afraid whenever I'm near you.

And I mean it. I know some people made jokes when people talked about things like "Trump induced anxiety" or "Trump Stress Disorder," and I do understand why. The idea Donald Trump getting elected should be enough to cause a an actual disorder seems outlandish. But is it?

The President of the United States goes on the national stage to celebrate criminally assaulting people his group doesn't like. Not in theory. Not with rhetoric of, "We should go after them!" Those would be bad enough. But no, Trump takes an actual case where an elected official assaulted a man and praises it as a good thing. And Republicans are content with this.

This frightens me. It doesn't frighten me for some hypothetical, moral reason. This is plenty disturbing in matters of principle. I'd understand being worried because of that alone. But I live in an area that overwhelmingly voted for Trump. Many didn't just vote for him, but are proud supporters of him. They are proud of Trump, Trump says assaulting people who are the enemy is good, and I am an outspoken critic of Trump. Is it really unreasonable to think this might lead to me getting hurt?

Side note, a bunch of people who support Trump honestly believe the dozen or so devices sent to people on the Democratic side were a false flag operation. They were certain of that before any information or evidence was available. It was nothing more than them forcing things to fit their incredibly biased worldview.

I won't say I'm suffering depression from all this, but it is hard for me to want to interact with people. I've tried to write several blog posts in the last week but couldn't finish any of them because of this. What's the point? Sure there are tons of people who don't support Trump, but is that because they are of good character or because Trump's platform just doesn't line up with their personal desires?

But... He Didn't Say That!

I have a number of hobbies I don't typically talk about here as that's not the purpose of this site, but today I want to share something that came up due to my involvement in a gaming ocmmunity. Given the title of my last post, it seems fitting.

For a bit of context, a person made a video talking to people about a type of strategy they can use in timed matches for a card game. A different person made a response condemning the first video for openly promoting "slow play," a method of play that is against the game's rules. Here's a ~30 second video showing why I feel this is relevant.

I can't think of the last time I've seen such a blatant misrepresentation of what a person said..

But... It Doesn't Say That!

I had a post planned for today, one which is half written, but I'm going to have to call an audible. I came across something that's too weird not to discuss. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report makes this claim in its Summary for Policymakers (SPM):

Coral reefs, for example, are projected to decline by a further 70–90% at 1.5°C (high confidence) with larger losses (>99%) at 2ºC (very high confidence). The risk of irreversible loss of many marine and coastal ecosystems increases with global warming, especially at 2°C or more (high confidence). {3.4.4, Box 3.4}

This is a dramatic claim which holds (virtually) all coral reefs in the world will die. Given such a serious claim, I'd expect there to be lot of good research supporting it. Instead, it turned out not even cited portions of the IPCC report make the same claim.
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Skeptics Will Believe Anything (Part 1?)

I was wanting to discuss a couple substantive issues with the latest IPCC report and how the review process either failed, or actually introduced new problems, but unfortunately the IPCC has not published the draft versions and reviewer comments they said they'd publish. They explain this:

Which is rather strange given the IPCC has launched a PR campaign in which it talks about how the latest report has now been published. The contradiction here doesn't seem to bother the IPCC. I've talked about it before, and I've actually contacted the IPCC directly about this issue in the past. Their response has always been to shrug it off, because apparently it is okay for the IPCC to blatantly contradict itself. Because... consensus?

I don't know what to make of the IPCC simultaenously saying this report is both published and not published. I don't know what to make of the IPCC saying draft versions can't be quoted, cited or distributed while running a PR campaign in order to get as many people to read a draft report as they can. It's weird. And perhaps more importantly, it interferes with anyone's ability to fairly judge the reports the IPCC makes. I don't know how the IPCC can "publish" its report then say it won't release its drafts and reviewer comments for months because the report isn't published. What I do know is there's a lot of material we can't effectively discuss because of it.

That all said, Skeptics don't care about this. You won't see them complaining about this. They won't complain because they don't care. Skeptics are lazy and don't actually want to examine things. They just want easy talking points they can throw around. This report is providing some perfect examples. Today, I'd like to highlight one from the big name Ross McKitrick:

This is idiotic. The highlgihted passage by the IPCC cites two trends, one from recent times and one from times long ago. As references, it cites two sources, one a temperature record of modern times and the other a temperature reconstruction of olden times. McKitrick says this is wrong because the second source, the one reconstructing temperatures thousands of years back in time, can't be used to show modern temperatures. In doing so, he simply ignores one source is a reconstruction of modern temperatures.

There are many problems with the new IPCC report, and oen could even argue this particular passage is wrong. But as long as Skeptics keep making and embracing these sort of lazy, idiotic talking points, why should anyone listen? Why should anyone care? They shouldn't. They won't.

Still, tomorrow I'll talk about a troubling issue in this IPCC report. I can't give as much context as I'd like since the IPCC knowingly makes false claims to the public, but I'll do what I can.

Totally Unbiased

Sometimes people make it too easy. I saw this tweet yesterday:

So I commented on how people who write that sort of headline are a key reason meaningful action won't be taken to combat global warming. That sort of headline inspires distrust as it makes it appear the source is extremely biased. I won't dwell on that since it's boring to drone on ad nauseam about how people are so partisan truth accuracy seem to have little value anymore. Suffice to say, the headline is terrible. The fact it went to print speaks volumes about the BBC.

Which is why the BBC secretly changed the headline. You can see the original article here. You can see the current one here. The headline has been changed to read:

Final call to save the world from 'climate catastrophe'

If terribly biased (and incidentally, inaccurate) headlines aren't enough to show you're untrustworthy, secretly changing your publications to try to hide your idiotic mistakes arising from your bias ought to be.
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Moderation Hole

It's happened again. A user at this site has decided he doesn't need to follow the site's rules, no matter how simple. Some sites would ban a person for that. I've never liked that idea. Some people are arrogant jerks who feel they don't need to play by the rules, but that's not something I feel means they should be banished forever for.

I came up with an idea to handle this years ago. People who can't follow the rules but don't post things which necessarily need to be deleted will not be banned from the site entirely. Instead, they'll be allowed to post in a single, off-topic thread. I haven't made such a thread in ages as I've not needed to so here's a new one. All people, including anyone soft-banned from this site can use the thread for whatever they want (save for things like cursing and pornography).
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That's "Skepticism" For You

One of the most common complaints of the global warming "Skeptic" movement is people get censored for having views considered to be problematic by the mainstream. This might lead you to think they believe censorship is bad as an open exchange of ideas is important. My experience suggests that's wrong. I've had comments deleted from Skeptic sites numerous times without breaking any rules, I've been banned from a number of Skeptic sites despite behaving better than most of their regulars, and I've even had Skeptics pass around e-mails telling others not to talk to me.

Here's the latest example. Earlier today, I posted a comment comment at the site Cliscep which simply said:

There is nothing in that comment which breaks any rules or norms of civil discourse. Naturally, it needed to be deleted. You see, while Cliscep describes its group as:

Our thinking in launching this new blog (called – very originally – Climate Scepticism) is that a joint site, with more frequent and more varied articles, would be more visible and possibly more useful. 
We don’t aim to compete with Bishop Hill or WattsUpWithThat on the news-gathering front, but to assemble a number of disparate voices in a joint venture. There’s no “party line” or rulebook, and certainly no 97% consensus about anything.

The reality is there is very much a "party line" to that group, just like there is to the Skeptic movement in general. If you cross it, Skeptics will do everything they can to punish you and prevent you from participating in discussions in the future. Even (or especially) if that means censoring you when you point out their errors.
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This Made Me Laugh

I was reviewing some past topics of discussion today, and I happened to spend some time reviewing what happened with a libel lawsuit a scientist (Mark Jacobson) published after he claimed criticis intentionally published false claims about his work. The case itself doesn't matter for today's purposes. What matters is he sued both an author of a paper which made the claims and the journal the paper was published in. That journal is named the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). It made a hilarious argument in response to the lawsuit:


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