Thursday, December 31, 2009

 

Straussianism

Some scattered thoughts.

  1. Strauss is like Keynes or Nietzsche. He wrote unclearly, but was very stimulating, so people have fun interpreting him. Like Nietzsche, if not, perhaps, Keynes, he had an Attitude, not a System.
  2. Strauss was like economist Frank Knight at Chicago, someone whose teaching was hugely influential but whose writing was less important--- perhaps even mediocre.
  3. What have been the good Straussian writings? "Persecution and the Art of Writing" by Strauss himself. The Strauss and Cropsey political philosophy survey. Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind, and his translation of The Republic with its essay by far the best things. The wonderfully derogatory review of Rawls---was it by Cropsey, or by Bloom? Bloom and Jaffa on Shakespeare. Paul Rahe's books. Jaffa on Lincoln is supposed to be very good, tho I haven't read it. Rhoads on regulation is first-rate-- up there with Bloom--- though I don't know that it's particularly Straussian. I don't recall anything else right now that should be on the list, though I've read other things by Strauss, Pangle, Fukuyama, and Mansfield that didn't impress me so much.

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The 'Fire Napolitano' Debate [Andy McCarthy]

A post so good from Andy McCarthy that I reproduce it in full:

A couple of months back, Sean Hannity invited me on his nightly panel on a special show that was dedicated to ten of the more problematic figures in the administration — Van Jones, Kevin Jennings, Carol Browner, John Holdren, and some others. (Napolitano was not egregious enough to be included.) Sean pressed me on whether this one or that one should be fired, and I just shrugged my shoulders. The suggestion (not by Sean, but in a lot of the public debate) had been that these people had not been properly vetted. My reaction was that they had been extensively vetted — the "czars," like Jones, were made czars rather than cabinet nominations precisely because they were the people President Obama wanted but he knew they'd never get through a confirmation hearing. Sure, you could fire those ten, but the same guy who picked them would be picking their replacements.

I never thought we should have created a Department of Homeland Security. People's memories are short. The original idea behind DHS was to solve "the Wall" problem — the impediments to intelligence-sharing that were making the FBI, our domestic intelligence service, ineffective. But while DHS was being debated and built, the FBI and the intelligence community furiously called on their allies on Capitol Hill and protected their turf. By the time DHS formally came into being, they made sure it had no intelligence mission — in fact, it had no real clear mission at all except to be the unwieldy home of a huge agglomeration of federal agencies. Basically, we moved the deck chairs around on the Titanic but did nothing to improve homeland security.

Napolitano is an apt representation of Obama-style detachment from national security: She doesn't know where the 9/11 hijackers came from; she doesn't know illegal immigration is a criminal offense; she won't utter the word "terror" (it's a "man-caused disaster," just like, say, a forest fire); she thinks the real terrorists are "right-wing extremists" aided and abetted by our soldiers returning home from their missions; when a jihadist at Fort Hood massacres more people than were killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, she won't call it terrorism and worries mostly about racist blow-back against innocent Muslims; she doesn't see any indications of a larger terrorist conspiracy even after a captured — er, arrested — terrorist tells agents he was groomed for the airplane operation by al Qaeda in Yemen; she thinks the "system worked" on Christmas when every element of it failed; and even her walk-back on the "system worked" comment — i.e., that it worked after the fact because all the planes then in the air were notified to take extra precautions "within 90 minutes" of the attack — is pathetic. You may recall that on 9/11, the first plane hit the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. and the second at 9:16 a.m.; the Pentagon was struck at 9:37 a.m., and, thanks to the heroic passengers of Flight 93, the last plane went down a little after 10 a.m. — about 20 minutes from its target in Washington. A lot can happen in 90 minutes.

When DHS came into being, a good friend of mine put it perfectly: "We already have a Department of Homeland Security and its address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." It is there, not at DHS, that the problem resides. The President has in place exactly the team he wants. To clamor for Napolitano's firing when she is just carrying out the boss's program is to shift the blame from where it belongs.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

 

The Nigerian Terrorist

From Maureen Dowd:
If we can’t catch a Nigerian with a powerful explosive powder in his oddly feminine-looking underpants and a syringe full of acid, a man whose own father had alerted the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, a traveler whose ticket was paid for in cash and who didn’t check bags, whose visa renewal had been denied by the British, who had studied Arabic in Al Qaeda sanctuary Yemen, whose name was on a counterterrorism watch list, who can we catch?

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John Derbyshire is very good in his 2001 Crusading They Went The deeds and misdeeds of our spiritual kin.

...the Crusaders were our spiritual kin.... Time and again, when you read the histories of this period, you are struck by sentences like these, which I have taken more or less at random from Sir Steven Runciman's History of the Crusades: "[Queen Melisande's] action was regarded as perfectly constitutional and was endorsed by the council." "Trial by peers was an essential feature of Frankish custom." "The King ranked with his tenant-in-chief as primus inter pares, their president but not their master." ...

No sooner had Godfrey of Bouillon been elected supreme ruler of Jerusalem ... than his first thought was to give the new state a constitution. This was duly done, and the Assize of Jerusalem — "a precious monument of feudal jurisprudence," ...What were their notions, their obsessions? Faith, of course, and honor, and then: vassalage, homage, fealty, allegiance, duties and obligations, genealogies and inheritances, councils and "parlements," rights and liberties....

...the virtues of men like Saladin rose as lone pillars from a level plain. They were not, as the occasional virtues of the Crusaders were, the peaks of a mountain range. The Saracens had, in a sense, no society, no polity. Says the Marquis to the Templar in another great Crusader novel, Sir Walter Scott's The Talisman: "I will confess to you I have caught some attachment to the Eastern form of government: A pure and simple monarchy should consist but of king and subjects. Such is the simple and primitive structure — a shepherd and his flock. All this internal chain of feudal dependence is artificial and sophisticated." Well, artificial and sophisticated it may have been, but in its interstices grew liberty, law, and the modern conscience.

 

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“I think of all Harvard men as sissies”

The Yale Daily News via Pajamas Media:

The [Freshman Class Council] has decided to change the design of its shirts after the original design, which was submitted by students and voted on by the freshman class, sparked outcry from members within the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. …

The original design, which won out over five other entries, displayed an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote in the front — “I think of all Harvard men as sissies” — in bold white letters. The back of the long-sleeved, navy blue T-shirt said “WE AGREE” in capital letters, with “The Game 2009” scrawled in script underneath it.

I won't be contributing to Yale for a while, and I don't think I'd want to send my children there. Alas!

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"Man, Do I Hate Holiday Travel"

Via Instapundit, this Iowahawk story is funny:

Time was, a suicide mission to explode an international jumbo jet was an event full of glamor and excitement; but now it seems to be a endless series of delays, hassles, pushy jerks and third-degree testicular chemical burns.

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The Low State of English Departments


What I find most appalling here is not that the top 20 English departments don't have specialists in Jewish-American literature, a subject of tiny importance, but that they do have specialists in other ethnic literatures. No doubt Asian-American literature, like golf literature or science literature, is a worthy subject of study for someone or other, but to have a specialist in every department is crazy.

And of course it's bad that he uses U.S. News & World Report as his criterion for excellence, even if he tries to backtrack with caveats.

Joshua Lambert, an assistant professor of Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University, kicked off the discussion with an analysis of the top 20 English departments (as judged by U.S. News & World Report, a source that he acknowledged was flawed, but that he used to get a group of programs at highly regarded universities). He found that at these departments, every one has at least two and typically more specialists in African-American literature. All but two have at least one scholar focused on Asian-American literature. All but five have a Latino literature expert. All but 9 have an expert in Native American literature on the faculty.

Only two of the institutions have a tenure-track faculty member whose area of expertise is American Jewish literature, he said. (The University of Michigan, where Lambert earned his doctorate, is so ahead of the pack, with seven, that someone later referred to it with admiration as a shtetl.)

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

 

Regressions and Global Warming

The webpost http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/how-long/ has a nice step-by-step exposition of how to estimate whether there is a warming trend in temperature data 1975-2008, first using OLS, then using an AR-1 process, then an ARMA. The trend is significant. But the post is responding to the observation that the trend has flattened out since 2000. It doesn’t really respond to that.

To see why, note the graph above. It has artificial temperatures that rise from 1975 to 2000 and then flatten out. If you do an OLS regression, though, YEAR comes in significant with a t-statistic of 25.33 and an R2 of .95. I just did it with Excel, because I haven’t installed StarOffice or STATA on my new computer here, but I’m sure that doing a serial correlation correction wouldn’t alter the result much. Yet eyeballing it, we can see that though it is clear that temperatures have risen since 1975, it is also clear that they’ve flattened out since 2000. A linear regression just doesn’t summarize the data correctly.

Let’s do a couple more examples for fun and to drive home the point. In the second figure, the temperature levels out in 1982 but year is still highly significant, with a t-stat of 4.89, though the R2 drops to .42 (what’s the R2 with the real data? –very small, I’d expect).

Okay, now look at the third figure, in which the trend actually reverses. The t-stat is actually bigger—4.98--- and the R2 is .43.

So don’t go and use a linear model when eyeballing the data tells you it isn’t appropriate. When you have a simple regression in which only one variable explains another, use your eyes first, and software second. Do remember, though, that checking for statistical significance--- and autocorrelation and all those other things--- are useful too, so long as you start off right. Here, the question is not just “Have temperatures been rising with time over the past 30 years?” but, separately, “Have temperatures been rising with time over the past 10 years?”

The way to start addressing that with regression, by the way, is to do a regression of temperature on four variables: Constant, Year, a dummy equaling 1 if the year is after 1999 and 0 otherwise, and an interaction of that dummy with Year.

If a lot of people are interested, I could apply the serial correlation corrections to the artificial data or do this 4-variable regression on the real data, but maybe somebody else can take over now. My Excel spreadsheet is at http://rasmusen.org/t/2009/warming.xlsx, this document at http://rasmusen.org/t/2009/warming.pdf, I’m Eric Rasmusen at erasmuse@indiana.edu, and this is December 29, 2009, and I've put a pdf of this post at http://rasmusen.org/t/2009/warming.pdf.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

 

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! (though sad, too--- our card is here)

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Spending on Global Warming Research

Mark Kleiman writes

Bjorn Lomborg turns out not to be a global-warming denialist. He wants to spend $100 billion a year on what he calls “green energy research and development.”... I’m waiting to hear all the Republicans and libertarians who love to cite Lomborg as a guru when he’s attacking Ky0to and its progeny endorse his proposal, and the new taxes required to pay for it. But I’m not going to hold my breath.

I'm a definite skeptic, and I certainly would not reject Lomborg's proposal without mulling it over. I think a lot of skeptics would support it, in fact--- even those who would put the probability that carbon dioxide is causing temperature growth at only 20%. It's a matter of cost and benefit. Here are some reasons:

1. $100 billion per year is small compared to the cost of the carbon-reduction proposals that have been made.

2. Whether the research is making progress or nor would be much easier to see than whether a carbon-reduction proposal is working.

3. Some of that money, I hope, would be used for seeing whether global warming is actually occurring. I know this would benefit the climatologists who have been such frauds, but if the money were spent on honest research, that would be very useful.

4. Research has a good hope of finding a way to solve the problem. Carbon-reduction proposals just slow down the growth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (well, almost all of the proposals-- that Canadian editorial's ruthless "one-child" policy would work). Roughly, instead of the temperature rising X much by 2100, the typical leftwing proposal has it rising X much by 2120.

5. Research spending can be done unilaterally and succeed. Germany, for example, could decide to go-it-alone and spend the $100 billion, find the solution, and give it away.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

 

Rose Friedman

Somehow I hadn't realized that Rose Friedman died this fall. John Taylor has a good one-page note on her and "TV Ears". She sounds like such a fun person to know.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

 

Latest Links on Global Warming


I've decided to use this page for lots of global warming posts. I'll cut and paste it to the top of my blog every once in a while, so I can have easy access to it. The bottom items in it will be the older ones.

  1. "A Petition I Am Thinking of Circulating." My draft ClimateGate petition for economists to sign, which has lots of ClimateGate email excerpts on the two topics of fiddling with journals and hiding data.

  2. This 2005 post at ClimateAudit thoroughly discusses the open-data policies of the US funding agencies that the East Anglia people ignored (and the US D. of Energy condoned). It has the story of the famous Philip Jones email quote, when refusing to disclose his data: "We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it."

  3. Dec. 18 in NatureNews, two prominent climatologists not at East Anglia, Von Storch and Allen, show their total unconcern with the unethical practices displayed in the Climategate Emails: "We welcome debate about the ethics of science prompted by the language of some of these e-mails, which, rightly or not, have created concerns about the scientific process."
  4. This 2009 post has the story of the Kamel Siberia paper that Jones boasted of having gotten rejected. "In the case of another paper (Aufhammer et al )[the economists], obstruction has delayed publication of the paper by six years but the authors are still endeavouring to get the paper into print. This was not the case with the Kamél paper; Kamél himself had abandoned the field."
  5. This pdf article by James Hansen is a good survey of lots of global warming issues from his warmist point of view. It shows what a fraud he is, too. Two things I note are (1) when he discusses the year-2000 mistake, he fails to point out that it was a skeptic who found it in spite of Hansen's total lack of cooperation, and (2) when he discusses the failure of temperature to rise over the past decade he says that temperature did rise, because the 11-year moving average rose. (This last is blatantly deceitful, because if temperatures are rising and then flatten, it will take 11 years before the 11-year moving average stops rising! Note, too, that 1998 was by his own admission a year that was unusually warm for reasons unrelated to CO2.) The best place to prove a man's lack of integrity is from his own writing.

  6. December 20, 2009 A Climatology Conspiracy? By David H. Douglass and John R. Christy. On the conspiracy to slow down an article's appearance in print till the warmists could write a response (and the editor's acquiescence and apparent guarantee of acceptance).

  7. Climatedebatedaily is a very good site that in two columns links to Warmist and Skeptic webposts, and even links to "Ripostes" and "Replies" to each webpost. It is especially useful for the Warmist column, I think--- better than RealClimate.

  8. Wikipedia’s climate doctor: How Wikipedia’s green doctor rewrote 5,428 climate articles December 19, 2009, Lawrence Solomon

  9. There;s a good post by a statistician showing step by step how to do your own Hockey Stick, at

    http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2009/12/fables-of-the-reconstruction.html

    I'd like to try this out myself, but I haven't yet. He even limits himself to free spreadsheet statistical software (Star OpenOffice--Excel doesn't have the tools). Any statistician could have found out what was wrong with the Hockey Stick paper, one of the most important in the field, if he'd been allowed to see the data and techniques.

  10. EUReferendum reports on the truly remarkable number of conflicts of interest thatDr Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, has. It's about as bad as if he were a director of Exxon. The number of directorships and consultantcies he has must make him a very rich man. Pegasus Capital, Siderian Ventures, The Sustainable Future Fund Iceland, International Risk Governance Council, Asian Development Bank, GloriOil Limited,Chicago Climate Exchange, Inc. , Oil Trade Associates Singapore, Climate Change Advisory Board of Deutsche Bank. Some of these are "advisory board" positions, so maybe they aren't paid much, but it makes one wonder.

  11. A good post on public opinion: "You can feel that most crucial of propaganda processes happening with Climategate: the reversing of the burden of proof."

  12. Hamweather record weather events mapped over the US for last week.

  13. RealClimate, the main Warmer blog, has been surprisingly quiet about ClimateGate. Below are their most recent updates on it. These are useful because they present the Warmer case, which essentially is "I'm a very good guy and so is Phil Jones and it's a shame people are saying bad things about him " without mentioning anything specific. There's not a sign of contrition. Don't take my word for it--- read these.

    Further update: Nature’s editorial.

    Further, further update: Ben Santer’s mail (click on quoted text), the Mike Hulme op-ed, and Kevin Trenberth.

  14. "Pielke Sr. responds to NCDC’s “Talking Points” about surfacestations.org". Arguments that the US raw temperature record is of dubious value for looking at long-term trends. Very feeble response from the weather station people, it seems.

  15. "The Climate Research Dispute over Publishing Soon and Baliunas". Response of the journal editor to complaints about his publishing a Skeptic article.

  16. It's interesting how comments are so often better informed and wiser than the writer. This Megan McCardle post is about death threats to climatologists after ClimateGate. The comments note that the only evidence that such threats were really made comes from the same scientists who have been discredited in the scandal itself.

  17. Fables of the Reconstruction (Or, How to Make Your Own Hockey Stick). This goes through it, supplying the temperature and proxy data and telling you how to download and use OpenOffice to do principal components analysis. I'll do this myself when I have time. I emailed the author asking why principal components was a better technique than just regression here.

  18. From Mark Steyn:

    The documents were leaked on the Internet, the CRU confirmed their authenticity, they've announced that they've thrown out all their raw data, the head guy has stepped down . . . But that's no reason not to "continue to look into the issue" for another, oh, three, four, seven months before running a story. I like this fellow's sign-off:

    Slice your average environment correspondent through the middle and you're going to find a left-leaning liberal arts graduate who is utterly out of his/her depth. Their world view is being swept from underneath them and they are being shown — in ways that they do not really and have never had to understand — that the guys they thought were the goodies are in fact "at it" and that those they have spent a decade disparaging as deniers were in fact spot on.

    I would find that hard to report too.

    Like eight year olds that just found out there's no Santa. Kind of earth shattering and traumatic. Lied to by those you most trusted.

  19. The Harry Read Me file is worth having a link to. Here are some excerpts. One of them: “So with a somewhat cynical shrug, I added the nuclear option — to match every WMO possible, and turn the rest into new stations … In other words what CRU usually do. It will allow bad databases to pass unnoticed, and good databases to become bad …”

  20. In my regulation class this week, a Taiwanese student jokingly suggested that the way to solve global warming would be to kill any children born to a family that already had one child. Then this Op-Ed appeared in one of the top Canadian newspapers: "The real inconvenient truth: The whole world needs to adopt China's one-child policy"

  21. Megan McCardle very gently brings up the Darwin data fraud and politely asks if there's some reason it's not as bad as it looks. She hopes the warmist blog RealClimate will say something about it. I've been checking that site regularly, and they seem to have adopted the strategy of saying very little about ClimateGate and related scandals, probably because they can't give good answers and they don't want to even give their readers access to any details that might upset their views.

  22. Look at the comments on this Boston Globe blog in which Harvard Prof. McCarthy tries to dismiss ClimateGate. The amount of scorn heaped on the Globe is amazing.

  23. Bellamy: Twenty-Eight Years on TV, Then Blackballed for Challenging AGW

  24. Global Warming US Cities Getting Warmer: This is a You-Tube video a geneticist made with his son showing how only the urban temperatures in the US are going up, not rural stations. "A comparison of GISS data for the last 111 years show US cities getting warmer but rural sites are not increasing in temperature at all. Urban Heat Islands may be the only areas warming." The emperor really does have no clothes. I've wondered about that myself, but I thought people in the field had surely looked at something so simple.

  25. Climate Scientist to Revkin: "we can no longer trust you" to carry water for us. Another incredible email leak. A well-known U. of Illinois scientist condemns a NY Times liberal writer for making light of global warming and threatens to cut off his sources. These people have no shame, and no sense of humor either.

  26. It is worth keeping in mind that maybe people who say they don't believe in absolute truth and who believe that the most important things for scientists to do is to help people, not to advance science, actually mean what they say, in which case they believe that a scientist has a duty to lie about his results if he thinks that will advance social justice. And if they believe that, they'll do it.

  27. Nature has an editorial belitting the importance of ClimateGate and making misstatemetns such as that Antarctic sea ice is diminishing. Read it, and think less of that journal.

  28. A good Levitt-Dubner comment on why anything happening with glaciers is unrelated to global warming (for example-- where glaciers are melting, temperatures aren't rising!)

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Affirmative Action and Incompetent Doctors

Affirmative action kills. I just came across the New York Times obituary for Patrick Chavis, one of the five medical students whose race gave them admission over Bakke in the famous case.

In 1996, Senator Edward M. Kennedy called him a "perfect example" of how affirmative action worked. "... The University of California at Davis has no records of what the four blacks admitted with Dr. Chavis are doing, a spokeswoman, Julia Ann Easley, said. By 1996, Dr. Chavis was using liposuction to help women lose weight after giving birth. He was accused of mistreating eight liposuction patients, one of whom died. In 1998, the Medical Board of California revoked his license for "gross negligence, incompetence and repeated negligent acts."

His professional difficulties began in 1993, at Long Beach Memorial Hospital, when he was accused of mishandling a delivery, and the hospital began monitoring him.

He sued, charging racism. In a jury trial, he won $1.1 million in damages, but a judge overturned the verdict. By 1997, he said he had delivered 10,000 children and performed thousands of abortions. About that time, he added liposuction to his practice. His personal and professional life then took a further downturn. In 1997, The Associated Press found in court records that he had been sued 21 times for malpractice and had settled some suits with no admission of guilt.

He declared bankruptcy and went through the second of two divorces. In 1997, his license was suspended, for not paying child support, but he continued to practice. The medical board used that as one of more than 90 counts in revoking his license the next year...

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Monday, December 21, 2009

 

Updating Blog Posts


Here's features I would like for my blog:

  1. A way for commenters to be emailed future comments on a thread. Volokh Conspiracy has that.

  2. A way to make sure that a particular post is "sticky" and stays as the first or the second or the n'th post appearing. VC has something like that too.

  3. A way for any post that I update to move from whatever date location it is in to the top of the list, with a note as to its original and new date.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

 

Aspirin as First Aid for Heart Attacks


I was talking with Pastor Bayly the other day and asked him why he had a pillbox on his keychain. He told me that if you have a heart attack, you should immediately chew up two aspirin. I googled and found that that's true (though it seems one aspirin is probably enough). It makes sense-- aspirin reduces clotting, which is why it bothers some people's stomachs. I saw one comment which pointed out that you should also tell the 911 operator that you took the aspirin, so the ambulance people don't give you more (via a suppository if you are unconscious, say) and you get too much.

Note, too, that if you have aspirin on hand you can help out the improvident heart attacked who neglected to bring theirs. One more reason, till you get round to buying your keychain pillbox, to attend Pastor Bayly's sermons.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

 

The Just Price


Suppose I am the only person who can sell a widget to John Doe. It costs me $10 to sell it to him, including the cost of my time and a standard profit rate. He would pay up to $30 for it, if he had to. What price am I justified in charging, if I can make a take-it-or-leave-it offer?

Note that I am leaving John Doe better off than if he never met me even if I charge him $29.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

 

Applying Time Series Econometrics to Temperature and Carbon Dioxide

For an economist, what I suggest below is obvious, but I wonder if anybody has done it.

  1. Does the world temperature rise over time? Check the statistical significance of a time trend.
  2. Next, check for serial correlation, and re-check for whether there is a time trend.
  3. Now regress temperature on carbon dioxide levels. Is there a significant relationship?
  4. Now add a time trend for 1950-2009. Does it explain temperature better than carbon dioxide?
  5. Now start applying some time series econometrics. I don't know that stuff really. But what we'd want to do is to detrend the variables and include lagged values.

Eyeballing the data, it's hard for me to believe there's a significant relationship. The temperature is highly variable from year to year, and the amount of average increase 1970-2000 is tiny compared to year-to-year variation. Once we allow even for first-order autocorrelation, finding an effect would be tough.

As I said, to an economist this is the obvious way to proceed. But has anybody done it? Now that we are finding out how poorly constructed the temperature series are, we'd better ask about all kinds of things.

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The Direct and Indirect Implications of the ClimateGate Emails


I was just reading a post and comments by a reputable statistics blogger who seems blind to the implications of ClimateGate. My sense is that he hasn't really looked into it much--- he doesn't seem to realize that the Medieval Warm Period's existence has important implications, for example. My comment:

It is true that only a few climatologists are implicated in the appalling emails about concealing data and pressuring journals. But just as CO2 is the just the direct driver for warming and the real action comes from indirect effects, we need to look at a second layer: the response of other climatologists.

In my field, economics, if it were revealed that top people in the field had sent emails like this, they would be repudiated by the rest of us. I have had my PhD for 25 years and I've never heard of anything like this. There's sloppy work and contrived results, but we don't need to use FOIA to get people's data.

But in climatology, where's the condemnation? The response seems to be, "Oh, this kind of things is just how scientists talk in private," and "Well, other scientists have reached much the same results, so this isn't really misleading," or "How dare someone leak private emails!". I don't trust *anyone* in a field that responds like that. If they say this is humdrum behavior, we can assume they do it themselves, or are so intimidated that they don't dare publish papers contrary to what the East Anglia people like to see.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

 

Attitudes towards Murderers


From the December 7 HT (I need to update this to add the newspaper comments, which is what's really the point):

Blade Reed, 14, sentenced to 30 years in home invasion, attack"

Physical and sexual abuse as a toddler followed by emotional trauma, foster care placements and then adoption into a dysfunctional family marked Blade Reed’s first 14 years.

The teen will now spend the next 14 behind bars for his part in a brutal attack against elderly neighbors last year that left 84-year- old Richard “Dude” Voland dead and his wife of almost six decades shot and stabbed. A judge sentenced him today to 30 years in jail, of which he will serve half; he gets credit for nine months spent in jail since his arrest. ...

The Reed brothers rode their bicycles a mile or so to the Volands’ Helmsburg home in the early morning hours of Nov. 15, 2008, intending to steal beer. The two took along a .25 caliber handgun stolen from another neighbor. They knocked on the door and asked to use the phone. When Bennie Reed pointed his gun at Dude Voland and said “no one needs to get hurt,” the 50-year National Rifle Association member drew his own weapon. Reed tried to knock it from the man’s hand, and a bullet fired from the gun hit him in the arm. The teen then fired back, and a bullet from the stolen gun struck the man in the head.

Bennie Reed then shot Mary Voland in the stomach with her husband’s handgun after she came out of the bedroom and provided medical care to her husband and also to Reed.

As the boys were leaving the house, without beer and wearing bloody clothes, Bennie Reed told his brother to cut the woman’s throat since she had witnessed her husband’s shooting. The then-13-year-old admitted he sawed back and forth on the woman’s neck with a kitchen knife.

This afternoon, he pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and robbery resulting in serious injury. ...

During a previous hearing back in November, Brown Circuit Judge Judith Stewart determined that despite an agreement between the prosecutor and defense attorney that Blade Reed should spend the time until his 18th birthday not in prison but at the Indiana School for Boys with other offenders his age, the law does not allow that placement. So Reed will be incarcerated with other youthful violent offenders in a special housing unit at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in Carlisle.

Brown County Prosecutor Jim Oliver said justice was served. “This plea was justice. He committed an adult crime and he has received adult consequences,” Oliver said in a written statement. “Blade Reed pled guilty to what he agreed with his brother to do that night, which was to commit an armed robbery. He received the maximum disposition for his attack on Mrs. Voland.”

Cited among aggravating circumstances at the sentencing hearing was the recognition that the boys played on Richard Voland’s kindness to gain entry to his home that night. Oliver listed three mitigating circumstances: the boy’s age, that he didn’t intend for anyone to get hurt and his accepting responsibility for his actions....

This is the front line of the Culture Wars. We have Tim Bayly and we have Dawn Johnsen, to name two of our citizens with national (if specialized) reputations. Massachusetts and Idaho are safe territory for each side, but not Bloomington.

A joke:

Two social workers were walking through a rough part of the town in the evening. They heard moans and muted cries for help from a back lane. Upon investigation, they found a semi-conscious man in a pool of blood."Help me-I've been mugged and viciously beaten" he pleaded. The two social workers turned and walked away. One remarked to her colleague:"You know the person that did this really needs help".

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Latest Links on Global Warming


I've decided to use this page for lots of global warming posts. I'll cut and paste it to the top of my blog every once in a while, so I can have easy access to it. The bottom items in it will be the older ones.

  1. "A Petition I Am Thinking of Circulating." My draft ClimateGate petition for economists to sign, which has lots of ClimateGate email excerpts on the two topics of fiddling with journals and hiding data.

  2. Climatedebatedaily is a very good site that in two columns links to Warmist and Skeptic webposts, and even links to "Ripostes" and "Replies" to each webpost. It is especially useful for the Warmist column, I think--- better than RealClimate.

  3. Wikipedia’s climate doctor: How Wikipedia’s green doctor rewrote 5,428 climate articles December 19, 2009, Lawrence Solomon

  4. There;s a good post by a statistician showing step by step how to do your own Hockey Stick, at

    http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2009/12/fables-of-the-reconstruction.html

    I'd like to try this out myself, but I haven't yet. He even limits himself to free spreadsheet statistical software (Star OpenOffice--Excel doesn't have the tools). Any statistician could have found out what was wrong with the Hockey Stick paper, one of the most important in the field, if he'd been allowed to see the data and techniques.

  5. EUReferendum reports on the truly remarkable number of conflicts of interest thatDr Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, has. It's about as bad as if he were a director of Exxon. The number of directorships and consultantcies he has must make him a very rich man. Pegasus Capital, Siderian Ventures, The Sustainable Future Fund Iceland, International Risk Governance Council, Asian Development Bank, GloriOil Limited,Chicago Climate Exchange, Inc. , Oil Trade Associates Singapore, Climate Change Advisory Board of Deutsche Bank. Some of these are "advisory board" positions, so maybe they aren't paid much, but it makes one wonder.

  6. A good post on public opinion: "You can feel that most crucial of propaganda processes happening with Climategate: the reversing of the burden of proof."

  7. Hamweather record weather events mapped over the US for last week.

  8. RealClimate, the main Warmer blog, has been surprisingly quiet about ClimateGate. Below are their most recent updates on it. These are useful because they present the Warmer case, which essentially is "I'm a very good guy and so is Phil Jones and it's a shame people are saying bad things about him " without mentioning anything specific. There's not a sign of contrition. Don't take my word for it--- read these.

    Further update: Nature’s editorial.

    Further, further update: Ben Santer’s mail (click on quoted text), the Mike Hulme op-ed, and Kevin Trenberth.

  9. "Pielke Sr. responds to NCDC’s “Talking Points” about surfacestations.org". Arguments that the US raw temperature record is of dubious value for looking at long-term trends. Very feeble response from the weather station people, it seems.

  10. "The Climate Research Dispute over Publishing Soon and Baliunas". Response of the journal editor to complaints about his publishing a Skeptic article.

  11. It's interesting how comments are so often better informed and wiser than the writer. This Megan McCardle post is about death threats to climatologists after ClimateGate. The comments note that the only evidence that such threats were really made comes from the same scientists who have been discredited in the scandal itself.

  12. Fables of the Reconstruction (Or, How to Make Your Own Hockey Stick). This goes through it, supplying the temperature and proxy data and telling you how to download and use OpenOffice to do principal components analysis. I'll do this myself when I have time. I emailed the author asking why principal components was a better technique than just regression here.

  13. From Mark Steyn:

    The documents were leaked on the Internet, the CRU confirmed their authenticity, they've announced that they've thrown out all their raw data, the head guy has stepped down . . . But that's no reason not to "continue to look into the issue" for another, oh, three, four, seven months before running a story. I like this fellow's sign-off:

    Slice your average environment correspondent through the middle and you're going to find a left-leaning liberal arts graduate who is utterly out of his/her depth. Their world view is being swept from underneath them and they are being shown — in ways that they do not really and have never had to understand — that the guys they thought were the goodies are in fact "at it" and that those they have spent a decade disparaging as deniers were in fact spot on.

    I would find that hard to report too.

    Like eight year olds that just found out there's no Santa. Kind of earth shattering and traumatic. Lied to by those you most trusted.

  14. The Harry Read Me file is worth having a link to. Here are some excerpts. One of them: “So with a somewhat cynical shrug, I added the nuclear option — to match every WMO possible, and turn the rest into new stations … In other words what CRU usually do. It will allow bad databases to pass unnoticed, and good databases to become bad …”

  15. In my regulation class this week, a Taiwanese student jokingly suggested that the way to solve global warming would be to kill any children born to a family that already had one child. Then this Op-Ed appeared in one of the top Canadian newspapers: "The real inconvenient truth: The whole world needs to adopt China's one-child policy"

  16. Megan McCardle very gently brings up the Darwin data fraud and politely asks if there's some reason it's not as bad as it looks. She hopes the warmist blog RealClimate will say something about it. I've been checking that site regularly, and they seem to have adopted the strategy of saying very little about ClimateGate and related scandals, probably because they can't give good answers and they don't want to even give their readers access to any details that might upset their views.

  17. Look at the comments on this Boston Globe blog in which Harvard Prof. McCarthy tries to dismiss ClimateGate. The amount of scorn heaped on the Globe is amazing.

  18. Bellamy: Twenty-Eight Years on TV, Then Blackballed for Challenging AGW

  19. Global Warming US Cities Getting Warmer: This is a You-Tube video a geneticist made with his son showing how only the urban temperatures in the US are going up, not rural stations. "A comparison of GISS data for the last 111 years show US cities getting warmer but rural sites are not increasing in temperature at all. Urban Heat Islands may be the only areas warming." The emperor really does have no clothes. I've wondered about that myself, but I thought people in the field had surely looked at something so simple.

  20. Climate Scientist to Revkin: "we can no longer trust you" to carry water for us. Another incredible email leak. A well-known U. of Illinois scientist condemns a NY Times liberal writer for making light of global warming and threatens to cut off his sources. These people have no shame, and no sense of humor either.

  21. It is worth keeping in mind that maybe people who say they don't believe in absolute truth and who believe that the most important things for scientists to do is to help people, not to advance science, actually mean what they say, in which case they believe that a scientist has a duty to lie about his results if he thinks that will advance social justice. And if they believe that, they'll do it.

  22. Nature has an editorial belitting the importance of ClimateGate and making misstatemetns such as that Antarctic sea ice is diminishing. Read it, and think less of that journal.

  23. A good Levitt-Dubner comment on why anything happening with glaciers is unrelated to global warming (for example-- where glaciers are melting, temperatures aren't rising!)

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