Category Archives: Education

Climate Reporting

It’s a hot mess.

[Late-morning update]

A media round up, and some thoughts, from Judith Curry, on the State of the Union:

what is wrong with President Obama’s statements as cited above?

  • His statement about humans having exacerbated extreme weather events is not supported by the IPCC

  • The Pentagon is confusing climate change with extreme weather (see above)
  • ‘Climate change is real’ is almost a tautology; climate has always changed and always will, independently of anything humans do.
  • His tweet about ‘97%’ is based on an erroneous and discredited paper [link]

As for ‘Denial from Congress is dangerous’, I doubt that anyone in Congress denies that climate changes. The issue of ‘dangerous’ is a hypothetical, and relates to values (not science).

And speaking of the ‘deniers’ in Congress, did anyone spot any errors in the actual science from Senator Inhofe’s rebuttal?

The apparent ‘contract’ between Obama and his administrators to play politics with climate science seems to be a recipe for anti science and premature policies with negative economic consequences that have little to no impact on the climate.

BUt the important thing is that they line the pockets of his campaign contributors.

Maybe some day, in a future administration, we can have a grown up conversation about climate change (natural and human caused), the potential risks, and a broad range of policy responses.

Let’s hope.

“This Is A Liberal Campus”

“We can’t have free speech in a place like this.”

OK, that’s not the exact quote, but I think I captured the idea:

Swain’s speech must be curtailed, Yamin said: “What I’m really trying to show her is that she can’t continue to say these kinds of things on a campus that’s so liberal and diverse and tolerant” or “say bigoted things about her own students.”

It reminds me of the line from Dr. Strangelove. “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here, this is the War Room.”

The Left keeps using that word “liberal.” I don’t think it means what they think it means.

“Charlie,” Free Speech, And Climate Change

Thoughts from Judith Curry:

Anyone defending the satirists at Charlie should have a tough time defending Michael Mann in his legal war against the satirical writings of Mark Steyn and Rand Simberg. It will be interesting to see if Charlie and the defense of satirists changes the dynamics of the Mann vs NRO/CEI/Steyn lawsuits.

For the record, I have never sued, or threatened, let alone committed any acts of violence against people who call me a “denier,” a term I find quite offensive (particularly when they can’t describe exactly what it is I “deny”). I have this crazy idea that the proper response to speech I don’t like is more speech.

[Afternoon update]

“Free speech is so last century. Today’s students want the right to be comfortable.” I like the phrase “Stepford students.”

How Science Goes Wrong

A good survey from The Economist why we can’t blindly accept the “authority” of “science” or scientists:

Too many of the findings that fill the academic ether are the result of shoddy experiments or poor analysis (see article). A rule of thumb among biotechnology venture-capitalists is that half of published research cannot be replicated. Even that may be optimistic. Last year researchers at one biotech firm, Amgen, found they could reproduce just six of 53 “landmark” studies in cancer research. Earlier, a group at Bayer, a drug company, managed to repeat just a quarter of 67 similarly important papers. A leading computer scientist frets that three-quarters of papers in his subfield are bunk. In 2000-10 roughly 80,000 patients took part in clinical trials based on research that was later retracted because of mistakes or improprieties.

It’s a mess.

The New Trauma

Thoughts on “microaggressions” and “trigger warnings.”

My sympathy for your suffering, whether that suffering was real or imaginary, ended when you demanded I change my life to avoid bringing up your bad memories. You don’t seem to have figured this out, but there is no “I must never be reminded of a negative experience” expectation in any culture anywhere on earth.

If your psyche is so fragile you fall apart when someone inadvertently reminds you of “trauma”, especially if that trauma consisted of you overreacting to a self-interpreted racial slur, you need therapy. You belong on a psychiatrist’s couch, not in college dictating what the rest of society can’t do, say or think. Get your own head right before you start trying to run other people’s lives. If you expect everyone around you to cater to your neurosis, forever, you’re what I’d call a “failure at life”. And you’re doomed to perpetual disappointment.

Good thing people aren’t putting themselves into hopeless levels of undischargeable debt to get so “educated.”

Oh, wait.

[Update a while later]

This seems related, somehow: Advice for shy, male nerds:

[Update Monday morning]

Here is a guy who will never get laid:

Obviously, Parton must have been really hurt, perhaps even more hurt than when people ask him to say “Cool Whip.” But because he’s a really sensitive guy, he did not “blame her one bit” for not understanding.

In fact, he said her calloused response made him realize that he might have committed a microaggression against another person at some time in his life without even realizing he was doing it!

“I am afraid because microaggressions aren’t harmless — there’s research to show that they cause anxiety and binge drinking among the minority students who are targeted,” he writes.

I’ve got a better solution to binge drinking. Lower the drinking age.

ClimateGate, Five Years Later

Thoughts from Judith Curry on the legacy:

By the time 2011 rolled around, my ostracization by the climate establishment was pretty complete, so I redefined (broadened) my academic peer group to include physicists, social scientists and philosophers (not to mention the extended peer community developed on my blog). I found this much more stimulating and interesting than circled wagons of the climate community.

To assess the personal impact of Climategate, I’m trying to figure out exactly where my head was at prior to Climategate in 2009. Wherever; I’m not sure it matters anymore. In 2014, I no longer feel the major ostracism by my peers in the climate establishment; after all, many of the issues I’ve been raising that seemed so controversial have no[w] become mainstream. And the hiatus has helped open some minds.

The net effect of all this is that my ‘academic career advancement’ in terms of professional recognition, climbing the administrative ladder, etc. has been pretty much halted. I’ve exchanged academic advancement that now seems to be of dubious advantage to me for a much more interesting and influential existence that that feels right in terms of my personal and scientific integrity.

Bottom line: Climategate was career changing for me; I’ll let history decide if this was for better or worse (if history even cares).

I think history will judge her well.

The “Time Served” Model Of Education

…is breaking down. This, I think, is the key point:

The conventions of the credit hour, the semester and the academic year were formalized in the early 1900s. Time forms the template for designing college programs, accrediting them and — crucially — funding them using federal student aid.

But in 2013, for the first time, the Department of Education took steps to loosen the rules.

The new idea: Allow institutions to get student-aid funding by creating programs that directly measure learning, not time. Students can move at their own pace. The school certifies — measures — what they know and are able to do.

The public-school paradigm is also based on a century-old model: industrial learning. Time to abandon it, but it’s hard, because it so benefits the status quo, even if it’s a disaster for the kids.

Fighting The Left’s Fire With FIRE

Instapundit has some ideas for dealing with the war on college men:

You could add some street-theater when prospective freshmen tour the campus by putting up posters and passing out leaflets telling them that the campus is a “rights-free zone” for men or some such, too. And maybe demand that the admissions people warn admitted men that they won’t have due process, and then making a big stink when they won’t.

Yes, time to take back the campuses. Make all those administrators earn their money.

Nuevo Colorado

Continuing our tour of the six new Californias proposed by Tim Draper, this new state would be the only one with no Pacific coastline. Nonetheless, it has tremendous potential that is currently being hamstrung by Sacramento (or rather, the coastal voters who dominate the legislature). It would have a population of a little over four million, equivalent to Kentucky, and about a million fewer than Colorado. But as I’ll explain, its red depiction on the map below is appropriate, because it could be viewed as another Colorado in the making, except one only a couple-hour drive from the ocean.

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