The Problem With Science

…is scientists:

Before I go on, I should note that my objection to Professor Weinberg’s essay is the stupidity and crudeness of its argument; I largely agree with his position about funding ambitious science. In fact, it is because I agree with his position on Big Science that the rest of his essay vexes me. His good point is wrapped in a wrongheaded and poisonous generality; it’s like serving an ice-cream sundae in a bowl shaped like Andrew Cuomo’s face.

Note also Weinberg’s ignorant bashing of ISS. It’s so funny that he thinks it’s about science.

Also read Charles W. Cooke’s appropriately pitiless (as Kevin says) take down of the Neil deGrasse Tyson cult. [Note, it's behind a paywall]

Auditing The IRS

Time to turn the tables on them:

From testimony by the nation’s archivist, we know the IRS destroyed e-mails, contrary to federal law. From IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, we know it did so even though they were evidence in another case.

If the IRS indeed has nothing to hide, the best way to prove it is to get that independent audit True the Vote is asking for.

Indeed. Why would they object.

Unless, of course, they have something to hide. Which looks more likely by the day.

The Big Fat Silence

It’s time to end it:

…if one has been teaching that high-fat diets can lead to heart attacks for 30 years but then finds that this may not be true, or that, indeed, more fat and less carbohydrate in the diet may be beneficial to one’s health and longevity, feelings of discomfort can result. Subconscious mechanisms may then keep enduring convictions firmly in place for extended periods of time, despite evidence to the contrary.

And it’s hard to confront the fact that you may have been responsible for the poor health and lives cut short of people you’ve been advising.

Bill Gaubatz

I’m hearing that he passed away yesterday. If so, it’s a loss to the space community. I don’t think I’d seen him since last August, in Alamogordo. I’m glad I got his signature on my DC-X model.

I’ll update as I get more info.

[Evening update]

OK, I reported it first, but now Jerry Pournelle remembers Bill. and DC-X. His conclusion, with which I agree:

I note that over the years many of the participants in making DC/X possible have died. Those include Robert Heinlein, Harry Stine, Duke Kane, Steve Possony, Dan Graham, and I’m sure many more. I hope they’re all waiting to welcome Bill Gaubatz to the old space warriors club.

I’m not big on the concept of the afterlife, but if it’s true, I hope so, too.

Hard Drive Prices

Seeing three terabytes for a hundred bucks at Newegg.

My problem is, I don’t know what I’d do with that much storage. I don’t need bigger drives; I’d like cheaper ones. But as with restaurants and food, the marginal cost of adding capacity is low, but the basic overhead of manufacturing a drive seems to set a lower limit on the price.

Hobby Lobby Boycotters

aren’t crafty enough:

Culture warriors face two additional problems:

They tend to want to boycott places they never shopped at in the first place.
The company’s actual core demographic takes umbrage about the boycott and stages a much more effective counterboycott.

I can’t tell you how many times I have had some version of the following conversation:

Angry person on the Internet: Wal-Mart’s treatment of its workers is shameful. I am not going to give that company any of my business!

Me: How much did you spend at Wal-Mart before you realized its treatment of workers was shameful?

The modal answer to this query is sudden disappearance from the conversation. I’m not sure anyone has confessed to spending as much as $1,000 a year at the stores. Of those who claim to shop there, most seem to do so almost entirely on vacation in rural areas.

If this describes you, you are not Wal-Mart’s core demographic, and its executives don’t care whether you boycott the business; the loss in sales is less than they experience from miscalculating what sort of sunscreen to buy. They care very much about what their core demographic thinks, but those people are, by and large, not interested in these boycotts; they’re interested in paying 12 cents a can less for tomatoes.

As she notes, Chick-fil-A is a canonical example.

Steve Martin At The Hollywood Bowl

In our seats, waiting to hear him play banjo with a bluegrass band and Edie Brickell. Then, the fireworks.

[Saturday-morning update]

What a great show. I hadn’t realized how seriously Martin had gotten into his music in the last few years. He’s equally adept at both bluegrass fingerpicking and clawhammer, and he and Brickell did some beautifully spooky songs in the latter style. He also hasn’t lost his comedic touch. “It’s always been my dream to play the Hollywood Bowl on the 4th of July. Call me crazy, but I feel that, as I step on this stage, I’ve taken a big step in that direction.” (Paraphrase).

Only disappointment was that the show wasn’t long enough, and the fireworks (accompanied by a medley of Sousa tunes from the Air Force Band of the Golden West, ending with the classic Stars and Stripes Forever) less spectacular than I’ve gotten used to in recent years, but still well worth the money and effort to attend.

[Update a while later]

One other thing. Paul Simon made a guest appearance, and sat in for a song.