Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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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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That is Not a Correction

In my last post, I pointed out an untrue statement made in an article by a climate researcher which the author obviously knew was untrue. I also predicted in a comment:

It should be interesting to see if he directly acknowledges what he wrote was incorrect and tries to fix it. I'm cynical so I expect he won't. I expect neither he nor anyone else who recognizes what he wrote was incorrect/misleading to do a thing about this. That's been the result in most cases in my experience. My experience is people usually refuse to squarely deal with errors/mistakes.

Sometimes I think my cynicism is excessive, but the researcher posted a "correction" to his article which proved my expectations correct. I'm going to show how the "correction" he posted didn't actually correct anything.
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So a couple days ago my attention was drawn to this:

I'm trying to work out a detailed response pointing out the errors/inaccuracies/misrepresentations in it, but it's so tiring. I don't understand how people can get away with making claims they know to be false over and over. People say science is self-correcting, but just how long is that supposed to take?
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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.