Sunday, September 7, 2008

Message From A Vet...

You don't want to miss the end of it.

A Light Footprint...

This post by John Hinderaker (at Powerline Blog) contains this bit that resonates strongly with me:

Krauthammer thinks that by selecting Palin, McCain threw away his best argument, the fact that his own qualifications are so obviously superior to Obama's. That was my concern, too, when I first learned of the Palin pick. But it fails to give enough emphasis to the basic fact that Obama is running for President, not Vice President. It also fails to acknowledge that Obama and Palin, being middle-aged, do have track records, and those records are very different. Obama has never been a reformer. He has always been a careerist. Wherever he has gone, he has left an extraordinarily light footprint. He has had little or no impact.

The opposite is true of Palin. She entered politics as an outsider--in Alaska!--and as a reformer. Wherever she has gone, she has made a difference. In political terms, her record usefully shows up the fact that Obama is a poseur.

That observation about Obama's few actual accomplishments versus Palin's many strikes to the heart of the matter.

And isn't it interesting that so many are comparing the Republican Vice Presidential pick to the Democratic Presidential pick?

Lipstick On A Pig...

Michael Mann is the creator of the infamous “hockey stick” temperature graph (at right) that in 2001 started the whole anthropomorphic (human-caused) global warming (AGW) madness. Though he is a scientist, Mann did something very unlike a scientist: he published his results, but not details of his data and methods that would allow independent scientists to replicate and verify his work. Replication and verification is a cornerstone of the scientific method, and it absolutely relies on full and open disclosure of everything underlying a result.

Mann was roundly criticized for this transgression, by both skeptics and advocates of AGW. So recently he published a reworked version of his original study, and this time he was more open about his data and methods. Warren Meyer, writing at Climate Skeptic, dubbed this new study “Lipstick on a Pig” – read his excellent article to see why. Meyer's post led me to Steve McIntyre's outstanding Climate Audit site and this article, where McIntyre did something very interesting that makes the root of his skepticism very accessible to people who don't know the math and are not climate experts. Spend a few minutes looking at the links below and you'll come away with a much better understanding of why I and many others are so skeptical of AGW.

First of all, here's the links (from Climate Audit): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. McIntyre broke this into five parts only because of limitations of the software he used to produce them.

The posts themselves delve into the technical reasons (though not too deeply) why so many scientists are concerned about Mann's study. But the graph animations linked above are simple enough for anyone to understand. McIntyre took all the temperature data that Mann started with, reformatted it so that he could display each source of data on an identical graph, and then flips through them one after the other. What anyone is immediately struck by is just how random the data is – there's no clear pattern in it at all. As a commenter observes, by cherry-picking and massaging this data, one could make a graph that has any shape you'd like it to have!

And cherry-picking and massaging is exactly what Mann has done with this data. What he most definitely did not do is simply average it all out – others have done this, however, and found no trend whatsoever. I'm not saying that a simple average is the right thing to do – but I am saying that if a simple average shows no trend at all, and Mann's manipulation shows the pronounced hockey stick, then we should be very skeptical indeed of Mann's results.

This kind of data manipulation hocus-pocus would be instantly condemned – and rejected – in just about every other field of science I'm familiar with. No reputable scientist would even consider relying on such a shaky foundation for public policy decisions that have trillions of dollars in economic impact.

Why are we allowing this to happen with AGW? Why do so many people listen to Al Gore rather than use their own common sense? I sure wish I knew the answer to that...

A Question for Obama...

Senator Obama, for the last week or so you've been repeatedly asserting that “we won't be bullied!” How, exactly, have you been bullied, or even threatened with bullying?

I see many who disagree with Obama, or who find him far more stylish than substantive...but bullied? Not unless that word has a far different meaning for Obama than it does for me. And I have to say that if Obama believes he's being bullied simply because there are some who disagree with him, or who don't find him admirable, then I find that alone a bit worrisome.

Seems a lot like whining. Like he needs his momma to come help him out with the meanies. Just sayin'...