Top Science Stories Of The Decade

Without getting into the issue of whether this year is the end of the decade, Alan Boyle has a list of science stories of the ten years of the double goose egg, of which this is definitely the last. I have a couple nits, though.

First, SpaceShipOne and the X-Prize had nothing to do with science really — they were engineering achievements. Spaceflight is not synonymous with science, and the notion that it is is one of the things that holds us back from doing more of it, and more cost effectively.

And if the 2007 Nobel prize to which he is referring was Al Gore’s, it had nothing to do with science either, unless it was bogus science, as his “documentary” was (for which the Oscar should also be revoked). It was a Peace Prize, not a science prize.

Lit Crit

…of Al Gore’s poetry:

I have read worse poems than “One Thin September,” but not all that many. It is a dull, anaphoric litany riddled with malapropisms and marred by an unabashed tendency to pure bathos — no different from his prose. Close assessment of the piece might offer a corrective to those who continue to venerate its author.

…In sum, “One Thin September” is a dreadful piece of unmitigated fustian in every possible respect — tonal, structural, lexical, semantic, metaphorical — and should never have seen the light of print. If anyone ever needed fresh evidence for Al Gore’s want of discernment and unstinting self-infatuation, this is it. Those who don’t have the time to wade through 400 pages of largely tendentious argument and special pleading may content themselves by reading the poem. It tells them all they need to know. And the irony is unmistakable. For no matter how reluctantly, we owe him a debt of gratitude for this unintended exhibition.

One of my tests of someone’s political judgement is whether or not they any longer take Al Gore seriously.

The Force Of The Gore Effect Is Strong In This One

Kyopenhagen abounded in irony, as all of these circuses do, but I found it quite delicious that Obama (and Pelosi, and many other DC denizens) had to rush home from a global warming conference to avoid getting shut out by an approaching blizzard* in the nation’s capital.

I would also note that, while I’m agnostic, I like the old phrase, “Men make plans, and God laughs.” This may put a dagger through the black heart of the health-care disaster, or at least its being passed by Christmas, which means that it may be dead for good (or at least this session, which will buy a lot of time after next year’s elections). But I won’t consider it over until it’s over.

* Yes, I do know the difference between climate and weather. When it’s warm, it’s climate; when it’s cold, it’s weather. Thanks for asking.

Thoughts On Corporatism

From Ross Douthat, and Jonah Goldberg, which is on full display in the health-care debacle, with the weird and awkward bear hug between Washington and the insurance companies:

If you want to know why business takes such an interest in Washington, the answer can be found in your low-flow toilet, in the warning labels adorning your cars, in your 8 zillion page tax returns. It can be found while you wait on hold trying to get a human to answer your questions about your health insurance. And the answer is most certainly somewhere in your box of cereal, made with grains subsidized by Uncle Sam and coated in sugar that has no business being grown in the United States of America. Corporations meddle in Washington because Washington meddles with them.

It is simply naive to believe that a businessman will have no interest in politics when politicians have taken a great interest in him. And it is grotesquely unfair to assume that businesspeople are corrupt simply because they want to support politicians less inclined to hurt them.

Yes, Bill Gates learned that lesson the hard way.

Pumping Air Back In The Balloon

Mann attempts to defend the manufactured consensus.

[Update a few minutes later]

Note, as usual, that he confines his defense to the emails, and never even attempts to address the much more damaging revelations from the models and data sets:

I cannot condone some things that colleagues of mine wrote or requested in the e-mails recently stolen from a climate research unit at a British university. But the messages do not undermine the scientific case that human-caused climate change is real.

Both true, and irrelevant. A straw man, in fact. The emails raise suspicion to tropospheric levels, but no, they don’t in themselves undermine the case. What does that is the clear cherry picking of station data and arbitrary “homogenization” that miraculously always results in a temperature increase.

[Mid-afternoon update]

Patrick Michaels isn’t impressed by the apologia:

Penn State and East Anglia have initiated “investigations” into Mann’s and Jones’s activities. Will Penn State request all of Mann’s e-mails from University of Virginia, where he was for the most of Climategate? Will the school comply? Will East Anglia clean out its massively politicized house?

Don’t hold your breath. Penn State gets over $750 million in federal-taxpayer dollars, and Jones alone received $22 million since the turn of the century. Because universities charge 50 to 125 percent “overhead” on research dollars, climate change is supporting a lot of humanities departments around the world.

So, the tragedy of Climategate is that we simply don’t know how many papers were rejected or simply not submitted because skeptics found it very difficult to publish in this climate. Does anyone seriously think Penn State and East Anglia are going to starve their English departments because of the activities of a few climate scientists?

Curiously, none of this — the attempts to rig the peer-reviewed literature, or the massive amounts of money that likely to influence any university investigations — were discussed in Mann’s Washington Post apologia.

Federal funding of higher education is one of the things that allows the academic bubble to stay inflated, and it’s a vast enabler of left-wing propaganda on campus, in addition to supporting fraud and corruption like this.

[Bumped]

Happy About Kyopenhagen

That’s what the Club For Growth is:

“Like most Americans, I feared President Obama went to Copenhagen to sign a binding, job-killing, economic suicide pact.

“I am greatly relieved that the last-minute agreement President Obama negotiated is being widely described as ‘meaningful.’ When politicians call something ‘meaningful,’ that means it isn’t.

“Without even reading the accord, pro-growth, limited government conservatives today can celebrate the word, ‘meaningful.’ Today that adjective probably saved thirty million jobs.”

Yes, it was the best possible outcome from a blatherfest like that.

Incoherent

Julian Sanchez is as confused about the rationale for the current health-care deform as I am:

So we’re eliminating the rationale for the role private insurance companies play in our system, but insisting that it continue to revolve around them and, even better, handing them an enormous subsidy. What we’ve eliminated is the counterweight designed to check costs, because that part, according to a logic I completely fail to fathom, is especially socialist.

What’s remarkable about this is how naked and brazen it is. That is, I can’t come up with any remotely coherent pretext for thinking this particular policy combination makes sense on any set of background assumptions or values. (Which isn’t to say the same system with the public option was much more coherent.) Contemplate how extraordinary that is: There’s almost always at least some fig leaf of an ideological principle or an economic argument strung up in front of even the most naked interest group grab. But nobody seems to be even pretending this compromise amounts to anything but an open bribe to the very insurers whose existence it renders unjustifiable.

Also, if I hear one more economically ignorant moron tell me that we “need a public option to provide competition for insurance companies,” superheated steam will come out my ears. This is a phrase so absurd that I don’t know why its utterers don’t melt down in the sheer incandescent idiocy of it. If there isn’t competition in the insurance business, it is because (as is always the case in which there is no competition) there is some government policy that prevents it. Fix that. Don’t set up a health-care DMV to “compete” at taxpayer expense.

[Mid-afternoon update]

One of the deranged but prevailing myths among Democrats is that they lost the Congress in 1994 because they didn’t pass HillaryCare, when in reality, their loss was due to a combination of their attempt to do so, plus the “assault” weapons ban, and other misbegotten legislation. But because they continue to indulge themselves in this bizarre fantasy, they continue to equally imagine that their key to political success is ramming this monstrosity through. Sean Trende makes a devastating case against that lunacy as well, and explains why it would actually be political suicide for them. Which almost, but not quite, makes me want to see it pass.

[Bumped]

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