Category Archives: Social Commentary

Judith Curry

She is a heretic, who has been cast out of the tribe:

In the run-up to the Paris conference, said Curry, much ink has been spilled over whether the individual emissions pledges made so far by more than 150 countries — their ‘intentional nationally determined contributions’, to borrow the jargon — will be enough to stop the planet from crossing the ‘dangerous’ threshold of becoming 2°C hotter than in pre-industrial times. Much of the conference will consist of attempts to make these targets legally binding. This debate will be conducted on the basis that there is a known, mechanistic relationship between the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and how world average temperatures will rise.

Unfortunately, as Curry has shown, there isn’t. Any such projection is meaningless, unless it accounts for natural variability and gives a value for ‘climate sensitivity’ —i.e., how much hotter the world will get if the level of CO2 doubles. Until 2007, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave a ‘best estimate’ of 3°C. But in its latest, 2013 report, the IPCC abandoned this, because the uncertainties are so great. Its ‘likely’ range is now vast — 1.5°C to 4.5°C.

This isn’t all. According to Curry, the claims being made by policymakers suggest they are still making new policy from the old, now discarded assumptions. Recent research suggests the climate sensitivity is significantly less than 3˚C. ‘There’s growing evidence that climate sensitivity is at the lower end of the spectrum, yet this has been totally ignored in the policy debate,’ Curry told me. ‘Even if the sensitivity is 2.5˚C, not 3˚C, that makes a substantial difference as to how fast we might get to a world that’s 2˚C warmer. A sensitivity of 2.5˚C makes it much less likely we will see 2˚C warming during the 21st century. There are so many uncertainties, but the policy people say the target is fixed. And if you question this, you will be slagged off as a denier.’

This is religion, not science.


Ace has provided a vital public service: “Your Guide to Surviving The Progressive Imbeciles Who Have Spent a Week Cramming on How to Survive You.”

[Update a couple minutes later]

Bill Clinton (of all people) on ideological intolerance:

The candidate for First Man also said, “the polarization of American politics is present not just in Washington, but in American life.” Clinton didn’t call out any institutions in particular, but one wonders if he had the recent campus meltdowns in mind. American universities in some ways epitomize the trends Clinton has described: They pursue aggressive affirmative action, they are saturated with centers for race and gender and LGBT students, their brochures are shot through with paeans to diversity and tolerance—and yet they are now cementing their reputations as the most ideologically intolerant institutions in the country.

For good and ill, there is no reason to think that the trends Clinton described are abating. As we noted last week, millennials are more tolerant of different identities than older generations, but they are also most eager to censor offensive opinions.

This Turkey Day, be thankful that America is winning the war on racism and sexism. And ignore the torrent of articles telling you how to DESTROY your relatives for their incorrect opinions.


[Update a while later]

Somewhat related: How not to discuss Star Wars with your crazy rebellion-supporting uncle.

You have to be careful in discussing Star Wars. It can result in death threats.

Some people take schlocky pseudo-SF too seriously.

The Yale Problem

begins in high school.

Actually, I think it starts earlier than that.

[Update a few minutes later]

Sort of related: How a Progressive became an unperson.

Over on Twitter, I’ve been noting the irony that being a racist was one of the less objectionable things about our first fascist dictator (and arguable worst president, at least until 2009). But they Left was happy with all of the other things Wilson did, including trampling on that pesky, hateful Constitution.

[Update a couple minutes later]

How to spot and critique leftist free-speech tropes in the media. It’s worth noting that Oliver Wendell Holmes’s comment occurred during the Wilson administration.


How the fascists are setting it up as the scapegoat for the next terror attack.

No, there is no “loophole” that allows “terrorists” to buy “assault weapons.”

As (naturalized) American Charles C. Cooke writes:

You will note, I hope, that Reid, Schumer, Jentleson, and co. are not proposing to place restrictions on those who have been “accused,” “charged,” or “convicted,” but upon those who are “suspected.” They are not referring to those who are working their way through the judicial system, but to those who remain outside of it. They are not seeking to limit the rights of those who are out on bail or awaiting trial, but those who have not so much as been handcuffed. Loudly and proudly, they are arguing in favor of removing fundamental rights from anyone whose name has been written down on a list. Because they hope to confuse the public, their talk is peppered with references to “Paris-style” “assault” rifles and “automatic” weapons. But this is a red herring: Their proposal applies equally to guns of all types, not just those that give Shannon Watts and Diane Feinstein the willies.

In times past, officials advocating the simultaneous undermining of a range of constitutional rights would have been tarred, feathered, and dumped into the sea, along with their staff, their press agents, and anyone else who saw fit to acquiesce in the scheme. A little of that spirit might be welcome here.

However the press might cast it, there are not in fact “two sides” to this issue. It is not a “tricky question.” It is not a “thorny one” or a “gray area” or a “difficult choice.” It is tyranny. Somewhere, deep down, its advocates must know this. Presumably, Chuck Schumer would not submit that those on a terror watch list should be deprived of their right to speak? Presumably, Harry Reid would not contend that they must be kept away from their mosques? Presumably, Diane Feinstein would not argue that they should be subjected to warrantless searches and seizures? Such proposals would properly be considered disgraceful — perhaps, even, as an overture to American fascism. Alas, there is something about guns that causes otherwise reasonable people to lose their minds.

And lose their minds the bill’s champions have. As of today, there are almost one million names on the terror watch list — that’s names, not identities — of which around 280,000 are linked to nothing much at all. This should not surprise, for one does not in fact have to do a great deal in order to find one’s way onto the list. Perhaps you know someone who is already on it? That’s suspicious, right? On you go! Perhaps you have annoyed someone powerful? Oops! On you go! Perhaps you once said something intemperate in public? Better to be safe. On you go! Perhaps you are a Muslim? On. You. Go.

The nation would be much improved with a return to tar, feathers and the stocks.

Top Nutritionists Attempt To Reach A Consensus

…and end up in a food fight. This would be funnier if it didn’t have such profound implications for health. I don’t know why anyone pays attention to that quack Dean Ornish. It was low-fat recommendations like his that almost surely killed my father thirty-five years ago. I enjoyed this, too:

In the spirit of the conference, he did make a concession: Red meat, a staple of a Paleolithic diet, “is a real problem” due to its carbon footprint, said Eaton, and he proposed a more sustainable Paleo diet that instead derives its protein from plant sources, poultry, and seafood.

Because nothing is more important when it comes to nutrition than carbon footprint. And this:

Those who follow a low-glycemic diet might eat, for instance, pasta but not bagels, parsnips but not potatoes, grapes but not raisins.

Bagels are worse than pasta? Who knew?

From Hunting/Gathering To Farming

Yes, humans evolved in the age of agriculture.

Per the end of the piece, this doesn’t really invalidate the paleo diet theory. It makes sense that we would have adapted to milk; it’s a useful high-protein food source. There would have been less evolutionary pressure to be able to handle grain, because the ill effects don’t occur until later in life, past child-bearing age.

Treating Brain Cancer

with a ketogenic diet:

After quitting my job, I decided to study for a Master’s degree in Nutritional Therapy. As I got deeper into my course work,I was shocked to discover that everything I had learned during my undergraduate studies was either false, misleading, or outdated information.

It’s an anecdote, but a pretty powerful one. The ignorance about nutrition in the health-care field is probably killing thousands.