So I Was in an Accident...

I drove my car into a ditch a fwe hours ago. It was only by good fortune there were no injuries. Things could have been much worse. This worries me as I think the intersection itself guarantees people will result in people doing exactly what I did. I'm going to try to write some thoughts on this tonight while everything is fresh.

To summarize what I'm going to say, I will offer two contentions. 1) A standard four-way intersection should not be designed so that traveling in a straight line through it will result driving into a 6+ foot ditch and creating a significant risk of bodily injury. 2) Should such an intersection exist, any signage intended to warn drivers should be placed with extra care to ensure they are abundantly clear and visible. When neither of these are true, I believe an unacceptable risk of accidents is created.
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How Can You Plagairize Something you Fabricate?

I had started writing a post about a recent example of misbehavior in climate science where a new methodological paper was published in Nature as a "comment" so as to avoid any critical review/examination of the methodologies because it had a "sexy" headline. Then I realized how pointless it was. That sort of shadiness is nothing new, and nobody really cares.

I was still in the mood to write though, and fortunately, my Twitter feed provided a perfect oddity to discuss in this tweet:

I've always held a love for words. There was even a time I wanted to become a lexicographer (basically a person who makes dictionaries). The idea a major dictionary would fabricate definitions for political purposes was so strange I had to investigate. And boy am I glad I did.
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25,000!

No, Really?

I've lost a lot of motivation for writing posts on this site as the climate blogosphere is basically a dead end of echo chambers and inactivity (and I've been spending much more time on game development projects), but today I heard Michael Mann released e-mails people have spent years trying to obtain via legal means. You can see his statement here as well as find instructions on how to access those e-mails. I wish they were bundled in a zip file so they could be easily downloaded and examined via a more normal method, but it's still good to have access to the information. Especially since it shows Michael Mann and the people he talked to were fully aware of many of the issues his critics would eventually raise.

For instance, a key issue raised by his critics is Mann's results were entirely dependent upon a small amount of tree ring data from one part of North America. Here is an e-mail from Mann in 2000 showing he knew that to be true for his results prior to 1400 AD:

A great deal of time was spent discussing this heavy dependence upon tree ring data from one region. Imagine how things would have played out if Mann had just been up front about this point, which he clearly knew to be true?

For the record, the same thing is also true for his results up to 1450 AD, save that Mann arbitrarily duplicated a series to use a second time and let himself claim he had two proxies that supported his results back to 1450 AD. And even then, he had to secretly extrapolate values for the duplicate series to do so.

It's Easier to See When it's Faster?

In response to accusations the White House was promoting an altered video created as propaganda, a White House spokesperson said, "That’s not altered. That’s sped up. They do it all the time in sports to see if there’s actually a first down or a touchdown."

Man, I couldn't tell if the ball crossed the line or not. You know what'd help? If we sped up the footage!

"Big Victory"

Whatever your views on politics may be, I think we should all be able to get a good chuckle out of this. Now that we know Democrats have won the House, Donald Trump is going around boasting about the "Big Victory" Republicans just had.

What a world we have where it's a "Big Victory" when you lose because you didn't lose by as much as you could have.

Yes, Words Can Have Multiple Meanings

I've been sick for a little while, and while it's not too bad, it has sapped me of almost all my energy. As a result, I was hoping to lie in bed resting and casually browsing the internet without any stress or need for coherent thought. That didn't work out. Instead, I wound up involved in an incredibly dumb argument.

It all started because of an unremarkable news article which discussed plans to install more battery storage capacity in the United Kingdoms electrical grid. Battery storage is primarily used for load balancing, where batteries are charged during periods of low demand so they can provide additional energy during periods of high demand. The use of stored energy for load balancing in electrical grids is commonplace and entirely unremarkable. When the article said:

Planning applications in the UK to install just 2MW of battery storage capacity in 2012 have soared since then to a cumulative total of 6,874MW in 2018. (92% of applications for storage projects are approved first time).

It should have been viewed as an innocuous statement the same as one might see in any of a hundred news articles. Instead, a number of "Skeptics" decided it was wrong. In fact, one decided it was not just wrong, but nefarious:

Why? Because they felt they get to dictate how the word "capacity" can be used. Continue reading

Not Enough Items for the Express Lane?

I needed something lighter to talk about, and today, I chanced upon a perfect case. I was at a grocery story with three items for snacking on tonight, and I saw the sign above one lane which said, "EXPRESS LANE, About 15 items." I wish I had a picture.

That sign confuses me. I only had three items. The sign said the express lane is for about 15 items. Three is nowhere near fifteen. It clearly isn't "About 15 items." Does that mean I couldn't use the express lane? If so, how many more items would I need to buy before I was allowed to use it?

Sadly, I couldn't get an answer to this mystery as the express lane was closed but I did mention it to the cashier who rang up my items. He thought it was funny.

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?