Archive | December 2009

Anti Science McCain

Found this on CNN today:

“Mr. McCain has also criticized Mr. Obama’s economic-stimulus plan, saying it has led to wasteful spending. He noted that universities in his home state of Arizona had received stimulus funding to study the division of labor in ant colonies.

“I had no idea so much expertise regarding ants resided in the major universities of my state,” he told reporters at a press conference Tuesday.”

This guy is pathetic. I suppose the only proper uses of money are billions spent on McCain’s cronies. Here’s the research project in question, which McCain surely has not read anything about:

http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/19/3/567

Idiot McCain presents an embarassing document (http://coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=a28a4590-10ac-4dc1-bd97-df57b39ed872) of what he deems to be “wasteful spending” and inserts this quip:

“Over the past ten years, the national debt more than doubled as Congress went on a spending spree—and yet we still find ourselves in the midst of an economic downturn.”

I guess he forgot that we had a Republican controlled executive AND Congress for most of those 10 years.

I challenge McCain and Coburn to go and talk to every single one of the people who applied for these grants. Specifically, McCain should get off his lazy ass and go down the street and talked to ASU and let them know how many graduate students they were able to keep on the rolls, and how the insertion of funds in a bad economy can keep the U from laying off support staff, or raising tuition to pay for infrastructure maintenance. Clearly, McCain and Coburn know more about blowing smoke out of their collective asses to appeal to bitter old white guys than they do about the groups of people who rely on these grants and the people who are able to have jobs thanks to them.

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End of the line

Hopelessly avoiding writing two papers and studying for a not so difficult exam on Monday. It’s easy to not be motivated by school when one is in school. I just thought about it and this is my fourth year of graduate school. If I hadn’t come to Michigan, I’d probably be finishing this year. But I came here and added a couple of years of poverty, not that anybody can get a job anyway.

Checked out some TK WU tonight, no doubt, that some seriousy good food.

Uhhh, that’s it.

East Anglia Climate Debacle

By now, most everyone has heard of the scandal produce by the illegal break in and publication of private email contained on mail servers at the East Anglia Climate Research unit. In these stolen emails, there exist the childish banter that goes on between colleagues of any occupation, that hopefully are separate from public, and more internally regulated, activities. Yet, in more than 1000 emails, we get a few sound bites that supposedly indicate that scientists at the EACRU attempted to obfuscate or falsify results that could indicate that man’s connection to climate change worldwide.

Make it known, that I am highly skeptical that there is any sort of scandal here and beg that someone ask the question as to who staged the break in of private servers and to what end these mails were edited and disseminated on the internet for public viewing. I would also hope and assume that of the multiple publications listed on Phil Jones’ website, at least one would have been noted in the review process to contain suspicious results, assuming that wrongdoing truly occurred. What disturbs me here is not the content of the mail themselves, nor the possibility of wrongdoing, but the reaction of a public at large that the trend toward a climate that rejects and disparages scientists and scientific results.

Recently, I read the “Age of American Unreason” by Susan Jacoby. While I do not necessarily agree with many points in her book , I do agree that the American populace overwhelmingly chooses to steadfastly maintain a status quo of unverifiable claims, fantasies tales of spirits, luck, coincidence and magical fantasies and a celebration of ignorance all the while claiming to have the answers for everything through the power of “folksy common sense”, whatever that is. It seems that every time I read the news, every single American is a qualified economist, a doctor, an epidemiologist, a military expert and an authority on history and theology but the people who are qualified in these fields are maligned as evil, conspiratorial enemies of humanity who are, in no certain terms, to be trusted. This East Anglia debacle along with the absurd conspiratorial nonsense spread about the H1N1 vaccine surely unveils more about the state of the education level of the public and it’s propensity to believe fantasies rather than facts. than anything else.

It is my opinion, that at no time in American history has the general public ever been more anti-science. During the 2008 presidential election, I can clearly recall the endless statements by politicians regarding the waste in scientific spending. Specifically, I can remember Sarah Palin’s rant against “fruit fly research in France”, all the while ignoring that the research itself was performed in conjunction with grape farmers in California dealing with falling profits from an infestation of fruit flys, a variety of which is similar to that which has been afflicting farmers in France as well. So stupid. Way to go Palin, pro business, but anti science, even when it seeks to protect important sectors of our local economies.

I believe the politicization of science to be a bad thing. Hence, the level of involvement and passion amongst climate related scientists in the public foray. politics in science inevitably leads to a desire to make statements in a manner such that support the claims to be made, and to downplay the details and uncertainties. The public does not deal with that which we scientists deal with on a daily basis, namely that the uncertainty is what drives us in this field. Withoutt the uncertainty, we would no longer be necessary and the constant checking and rechecking that is the norm in the world of scientific publication would no longer be required. Fortunately, policy does not work in this manner for if it did, nothing would get accomplished.

Now, what was I talking about?

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