Category Archives: Uncategorized

The North Were not the Good Guys, Part One

Neither were the South. The Civil War was not a battle between "good" and "evil." Slavery is evil, but the South doing lots of evil things is not the end of the story. Many conflicts are between bad and less bad people or groups. I want to talk about this because of a set of really bad arguments about the Civil War I came across in this YouTube video:

But before I do, I want to answer the question this video asks. No, we should not still be watching Gone With the Wind. It's a bad movie. Continue reading

If You're Not a Xenophobe, Why Are You So Dumb?

My last post discussed the total lack of skepticism shown by a well-known global warming Skeptic, Jeff Id. His response is fascinating. I had said some sort of racism/xenophobia is the only explanation I could come up with for Jeff Id's deranged commentary on illegal immigrants stealing elections. This seems to have upset him enough to become even more unhinged.

To be clear, the rhetoric Jeff Id uses in his response isn't what I find fascinating. What fascinates me is how bad his arguments are. I can't imagine how anyone could come up with a response as idiotic as his.
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Skeptics Aren't Skeptical, An Example

I recently saw this comment over at Climate Audit:

I recognized the commenters, Jeff Id, as a notable Skeptic who has shown up in various controversies (for example, being a person directly misrepresented by Stephan Lewandowsky in a scientific paper). Having not seen anything from him in a while, I was curious what he's been up to and clicked the link to his site. I quickly found this:

The irony hurts too much not to discuss.
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Half a Year

I'm a couple days early with this, but I wanted to get this posted so I don't forget. Half a year ago (on October 7th, I believe), the IPCC announced the publication of its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. Along with this announcement was a major media blitz to get people to look at the report. In response to this, I asked a natural question, when would the IPCC release the draft versions of the report and the reviewer comments on those drafts? The IPCC had said it'd release that material when it published the report, but in response to my question, the IPCC said:

The IPCC told the public it had published the report, but it also said it wouldn't release certain material because it hadn't published the report yet. That seems to clearly be a lie. The report cannot be "published" and "not published yet" at the same time. The truth is what the IPCC published for its media blitz was a draft version of its report, a draft which would undergo significant changes prior to the "final publication," a fact the IPCC failed to disclose to the public.*

That situation was then compounded in December when the IPCC published what it listed as the official report, and again, failed to provide the material it promised it would release. I asked about this:

It's now been about four more months, half a year since the IPCC engaged in its media blitz about the publication of this report, and the IPCC still hasn't released any of the material it said it'd release when it published the report. Is the IPCC ever going to publish this material? If it doesn't, would anyone care? I'm not sure. Nobody seems to care the IPCC blatantly lied during its media campaign.

*The changes go far beyond simple copy-editing, with entire paragraphs being changed, deleted or even created from scratch. Not only was this fact hidden from the public, no explanation has been provided as to how such changes are reviewed since there was no opportunity for outside reviewers to comment on them.

It's Not the Dishonesty That Gets Me, It's the Stupidity

I wasn't planning on following up my post from last week, but I saw another tweet by the author I criticized in it today, and I couldn't resist clicking the link to a new story he wrote:

The author in question, José Duarte, is really starting to weird me out. It's not that he keeps saying things which are untrue. I'm used to people doing that. It's not even that he says things which are obviously untrue. I'm used to people doing that too. What weirds me out is he keeps saying things anyone who looks at what he refers to would immediately see are false.

I can come up with explanations for dissembling. I can come up with explanations for lying. What I can't figure out is how to explain lying in a way everyone can easily recognize as lying. If you're going to say untrue things, shouldn't you at least try to hide it?
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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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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.