As I noted on Twitter, two points. First, there really is no good physical case to be made that warmer global temperatures results in more extreme weather events. Storms are heat engines, driven by temperature differences, not total enthalpy. Also, I wrote about the fallacy of the precautionary principle as applied to climate policy four years ago.
A new essay from Bill Whittle:
Anduril reminds me that there is no Greatest Generation. There is no sword broken; there is no Golden Age lost and locked in the past. There are only shards lying before us, waiting for us to gather the will to reforge and wield them. It’s a decision, not a doom or a destiny, and we have to make it every day.
I don’t know if we can stop the destruction of everything we love in this world. I don’t know that we can destroy this all-seeing eye that seems to watch us all now, day and night, in this once-free land. I don’t know if all of my efforts will amount to anything at all, in the end, and I don’t know if yours will either.
I only know that every day I will make a decision to do everything I can to make sure my land, my realm, my America does not fall into darkness today.
We are apparently born with it.
This doesn’t surprise me at all. There are sound evolutionary reasons for us to cooperate. But these are statistical studies, and some people are clearly miswired and sociopathic. Many of them become politicians.
[Update a few minutes later]
This seems related somehow: Ace on the psychopathy of the Left:
Leftist politics, I maintain, are not a politics at all, but a psychological response to one’s shortcomings and feelings of failure. Leftist politics are, simply put, a way of getting even with a world that’s done one wrong — and most people carrying about such grievances against a world that’s done one wrong are psychologically broken.
These fairytale “politics” give them an avenue to vent their rages and turmoils about their failures and inadequacies in a way that is deemed, incorrectly, to be socially acceptable and even high-minded.
If a man were raving on the street in this fashion — about his hopes that someone would literally sh*t in a perceived “enemy’s” mouth (a perceived “enemy,” who, crucially, he’s never actually met) — most of us would shake our heads in secondary shame. Some of the more empathetic of us would call social services and attempt to have the madman brought in for psychological treatment.
But the left — Martin Bashir, Chris Matthews, Daily Kos, all of the hateful, raging, vibrating-with-resentment left — does this sort of thing in the guise of “political commentary” and no one makes the connection between this broken-souled primal screaming and mental unwellness.
All while their ratings remain in the same gutter as their political views.
Some thoughts, and a link, from Mark Steyn.
Thoughts on the narcissistic incompetent Prevaricator-in-Chief.
I’d say that the day Victor Davis Hanson has been predicting for years has finally come to pass.
“Sabotage! Them’s fighting words. Them’s also Bolshevik words, but never mind that for now.”
It’s also language similar to that used by Goebbels to demonize the Jews.
Non-video thoughts from Bill Whittle.
Some depressing thoughts on the state of the nation from Roger Kimball.
I have a piece up on that subject over at Reason. It’s a reprise of some of the arguments I make in the book, which I now expect to be available next week (my printer screwed up). I’d hoped to have them available for SpaceUp LA this weekend, but that’s not going to happen.
Some interesting discussion from those suffering it.
There’s nothing “liberal” about them.
If you’re not attending the event in LA tonight, you can watch live on Reason TV.
…is resurrected. Though, if there were viable seeds, can the species really be said to be (or have been) extinct?
Why it’s more humane than prison.
I think that any prison warden that tolerates prison rape should be flogged.
…and the future of liberty:
it is worth pausing to register the medium in which the ideas unfold: English. Nalapat remarks that “The English language is . . . a very effective counter-terrorist, counter-insurgency weapon.” I think he is right about that, but why? Why English? In a remarkable essay called “What Is Wrong with Our Thoughts?,” the Australian philosopher David Stove analyzes several outlandish, yet typical, specimens of philosophical-theological linguistic catastrophe. He draws his examples not from the underside of intellectual life—spiritualism, voodoo, Freudianism, etc.—but from some of the brightest jewels in the diadem of Western thought: from the work of Plotinus, for example, and Hegel, and Michel Foucault. He quoted his examples in translation, he acknowledges, but notes that “it is a very striking fact . . . that I had to go to translations. . . . Nothing which was ever expressed originally in the English language resembles, except in the most distant way, the thought of Plotinus, or Hegel, or Foucault. I take this,” Stove concludes, “to be enormously to the credit of our language.”
Unfortunately, the people in power right now resonate much more strongly with Hegel and Foucault than they do with Locke and Madison. Not to mention Rousseau. And they care little for liberty, preferring instead “social justice,” which means nothing more than “what I want.”
I agree with James Taranto:
We resent being told how to feel, and we hope ObamaCare fails, spectacularly and quickly.
We hope it fails spectacularly because that would provide an emotionally satisfying dramatic conclusion. If Barack Obama is forced to spend, say, the last two years of his presidency contending with the undeniable failure of his signature initiative, that would be a fitting punishment for the hubris of his first two years, especially since the imposition of ObamaCare on an unwilling country was the main consequence of his hubris.
We hope it fails quickly for an additional reason: to minimize the damage. Imagine if the Post had written a similar editorial in 1917, after the Russian Revolution, titled “Everyone Should Hope Communism Works.” That would have seemed equally high-minded: If communism didn’t work, tens of millions of people would be made miserable.
Which, of course, is precisely what happened over the next 70-plus years. The Post might respond that that’s an argument against communism rather than an argument against hoping communism works. But when you put it that way, it’s not such a clear distinction, is it? The communist revolution would not have succeeded absent a critical mass of people hopeful communism would work. Nor would it have endured as long as it did if no one had an emotional interest in its perpetuation.
Unfortunately, many still have that emotional interest.
It’s suffering from permanent paradigm paralysis, and it’s time to put it down:
Paradigm paralysis is the inability or refusal to see beyond the current models of thinking. The vast amount of scientific and political capital invested in the IPCC has become self-reinforcing, so it is not clear how move past this paralysis as long as the IPCC remains in existence. The wickedness of the climate change problem makes if difficult to identify points of irrefutable failure in either the science or the policies, although the IPCC’s insistence that the pause is irrelevant and temporary could provide just such a refutation if the pause continues. In any event, there is a growing realization of that neither the science or policy efforts are making much progress, and particularly in view of the failure climate models to predict the stagnation in warming, and that perhaps it is time to step back and see if we can do a better job of understanding and predicting climate variability and change and reducing societal and ecosystem vulnerabilities.
Read the whole thing.
President Obama has had a rude awakening in the Middle East. The region he thought existed was an illusion built on American progressive assumptions about the way the world works. In the dream Middle East, democracy at least of a sort was just around the corner. Moderate Islamists would engage with the democratic process, and the experience would lead them to ever more moderate behavior. If America got itself on the “right side of history,” and supported this hopeful development, both America’s values and its interests would be served. Our relationships with the peoples of the Middle East would improve as they saw Washington supporting the emergence of democracy in the region, and Al Qaeda and the other violent groups would lose influence as moderate Islamist parties guided their countries to prosperity and democracy.
This vision, sadly, has turned out to be a mirage, and Washington is discovering that fact only after the administration followed the deceptive illusion out into the deep desert. The vultures are circling now as American policy crawls forlornly over the dunes; with both the New York Times and the Washington Post running “what went wrong” obituaries for the President’s efforts in Egypt, not even the MSM can avoid the harsh truth that President Obama’s Middle East policies have collapsed into an ugly and incoherent mess.
I wonder if Mead, usually a very measured man, realizes the irony that many of the president’s opponents have impolitely (but not inaccurately) nicknamed him “Bambi.”
And then there’s this, strongly related:
What is the common denominator of his failed foreign policy initiatives (reset with Russia, a new, kinder, gentler Middle East, supposed breakthroughs with China, outreach to Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela) and his domestic catastrophes (Obamacare, deficits, huge debts, or chronic unemployment)? In a nutshell, he does not seem to know much about human nature, whether in the concrete or abstract sense. Obama either never held a menial job or ran a business. In lieu of education in the school of hard knocks, he read the wrong, if any, seminal texts at all.
That’s the fundamental problem with Marxists and leftists in general, all the way back to Rousseau. They either completely misunderstand human nature (“the noble savage”) or they completely deny its existence (“the New Soviet Man”).
No, it’s not a big libertarian conspiracy.
Is it ethical?
I haven’t read the paper yet, but I’ll be interested in comments from people who do.
What do various religions think about it?
That term, used primarily by bioethicists and medical researchers, is still surfacing in mainstream conversation—most people report that they haven’t heard it before—but that’s changing quickly. Radical life extension doesn’t usually conjure Itskovian avatars, but rather a body of slightly more intuitive (but still abstract) “treatments aimed at prolonging life.” The Pew project was undertaken because leading bioethicists foresee schismatic discussion around anti-aging research and treatments to become increasingly pointed in the not-distant future. Here we have the first large-scale breakdown of public perceptions.
I found this kind of interesting:
…people who do believe in an afterlife are actually more likely to favor radical life-extending therapies.
Which is a little counter-intuitive. Then there’s this:
Radically extending life “probably wouldn’t be a problem for most” Muslims, according to Aisha Musa, a professor of religion at Colgate University. According to Musa and others, Muslims believe Allah knows the exact life span of each person from birth to death, or what the Quran calls one’s “term appointed.”
“Since you can’t really violate God’s plan for you, life extension is alright because it’s part of God’s will,” Musa said.
According to Mohsen Kadivar, a Shia theologian currently teaching at Duke, many Shia ayatollahs would likely sanction life-extension therapies as long as their object was not to extend life indefinitely. “There is a difference between life extension and immortality,” Kadivar says, adding, “The first is acceptable and the second is not acceptable, according to Islam and the Quran.”
Yes, that is a crucial distinction. As I’ve noted before, I don’t know many (or perhaps even any) people who seek immortality in the community. We just want to live as long as we want to live.
One concern — natural resources depletion, and running out of room — would be eliminated by expansion off planet, of course, something not considered by those putting together the survey. It would be interesting to see if responses change if that’s pointed out.
The five most destructive ideas in them. I liked this review of Elysium in comments:
The liberals win and create a future society that makes the entire Earth into Detroit. Obamacare is in full effect and as a result — shock — there is a shortage of doctors, medicine and advanced medical equipment.
The conservatives leave the Earth (kinda aka Atlas Shrugged) and build this magnificent Space Station with all the trappings of a productive and prosperous people — replete with advanced medical technology.
Since they cannot build and create a similarly advanced and prosperous society, the liberals decide that they will take what they did not earn and ultimately (through violence and magic of course) heal everyone in the world — especially the babies.
I’ll wait until it’s on free television. I don’t really like to put any money in the hypocritical moron’s pocket.
This kind of article drives me up the wall:
NASA Ames’ main goal now is to transfer technology for commercialization and the betterment of mankind… However, over the years, government and popular support for further space exploration has dwindled, despite its many benefits. So, I’ve made a list of the top 10 reasons we should continue to explore the outer depths, “to go where no man has gone before”.
It then goes on to list a number of earthly spin-offs, few if any of which have much to do with going “where no man has gone before, and at least one of which that isn’t related to space technology at all, other than it may have been helped by NASA on the aeronautics side. This irritates at least two of my pet peeves.
First is the notion that what NASA does or should be doing is “space exploration.” JPL does that, but it does it by sending robots where no robot has gone before, not man. The vast majority of NASA’s budget, and particularly the human spaceflight budget, has little-to-nothing to do with space exploration. Now, I don’t actually mind that this is the case, because I’m not that big on space exploration myself. I think it’s a worthwhile thing to do, but it’s a means to an end, not the end itself. But people who think that “exploration” is the be-all and end-all of what NASA does, or should be doing, are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Unfortunately, the public (and the media) has appropriated the word as a catch-all for orbital research, technology development, launching rockets (even for defense or commercial satellites), etc. — anything having to do with space. And as long as we misuse the language in such a way, we’ll continue to be unclear in our goals and our policy.
Second is the notion that spin-offs are a good argument for “space exploration,” even if space exploration actually results in the spin-offs (as already noted, they didn’t). The first reason is that they don’t generally come from “exploration,” even if they were a serendipitous result of some NASA expenditure. The other is that serendipity is by definition too unpredictable to use it as an argument for efficient technology development. The third is that it assumes that the technologies wouldn’t have been developed absent the space application. One of the favorite false myths of the spin-off crowd was that we wouldn’t have had large-scale-integration of semi-conductors in the absence of Apollo, which is simply nonsense. The technology was driven much more by military satellite requirements and miniaturization of warheads than by human spaceflight.
When I saw the headline, I expected to see the word “exploration” misused, because it seems as though it’s almost a professional requirement on the part of the media to do so, but I hoped to see some actual compelling reasons for continuing to fund spaceflight. For example: develop the ability to divert asteroids, utilize extraterrestrial resources beyond the silly example of “gold,” provide humanity backups in case things go sour on this one planet where we evolved, offer a new frontier for human freedom, even philosophical ones such as helping the planet to reproduce and spread the seed of life throughout the universe. But no, with the exception of orbital gold mines, it comes off as just more teflon and tang (both of which existed before NASA was formed).
“…is critical-care medicine taken to the next step.”
The back story.
This is something that used to concern space activists even in the seventies:
“In my comic, our civilization is long gone. Every civilization with written records has existed for less than 5,000 years; it seems optimistic to hope that the current one will last for 10,000 more,” Munroe told WIRED. “And as astronomer Fred Hoyle has pointed out, since we’ve stripped away the easily-accessed fossil fuels, whatever civilization comes along next won’t be able to jump-start an industrial revolution the way we did.”
You could think of fossil fuels as the yolk of an egg. If we eat it up, but fail to hatch and get into space, then this planet won’t reproduce.
One of the nastiest strawmen continually being flung is that libertarians are anarchists. No, the Occumorons are anarchists, and nihilists (or at least they look to them for their political tactics, even though they want the government around to give them stuff). Limited government, as the Founders laid it out, is not anarchy. In fact, you could almost say that a lawless government of men, like the current one, is more anarchical than one based on the Constitution and law.